You can do 1000 things to help amazon sales. Which ones are essential?
Keep It Simple
There are hundreds of courses nowadays on Amazon selling. The problem with the courses are, that the information is often hard to follow or action. Also, there is an obligation to give perceived value in the courses, when in fact, much of what is in them is filler content. There are very fundamental things that will work on amazon, businesses need these to succeed, then there are cool tricks, hacks and shortcuts that last a while. However here are the core fundamentals:
1) Pricing Strategy, Value and Perceived Value.
Is your product good value for money? Everything has a price, is yours right for the ACTUAL value and the PERCEIVED value of your product? Actual value is what your product is worth, perceived value is what buyers think your product is worth, based on your listing.
If you have a great perceived value but a poor product (great listing, imagery etc), you will sell it on amazon, but this will lead to customer disappointment and negative reviews. Your success be short lived, and the product quality will catch up with you.
However, if you have a great value product but a poor perceived value on amazon (a poor amazon listing, poor imagery or poor reviews) you will simply not sell enough of the product. The listing quality needs to justify the price. People who do buy it will be happy and wowed but the sales and conversions you make will not be enough to drive your product on amazon.
Assuming you have a good product, the biggest thing you can do on amazon is to price according to your perceived value. This might mean that when you are new, you have limited reviews, you price lower. Even at a loss or break even. As the customers expectations are exceeded and sales start coming in, gradually increase the price to your target price.
I understand that this has knock on effects for products in retail outside amazon where price matching takes place, however done correctly, this is the single most powerful way to drive ranking and sales on amazon. There are many ways to do this effectively.
High perceived value + Listing Traffic = Sales + Rankings
We will come to where the traffic comes from later.
Imagery is huge. People are often lazy shoppers. People often form an opinion about your product within seconds. Imagery is HUGE in amazon, especially the main image. It can set you apart from a listings page and can say more about your product than anything you could write.
Get professional Imagery! At least a great shot of the product from a few angles, then use freelancers to make infographics of the products, showing their uses.
The main image is the most important, it should use the maximum 1000 X 1000 dimensions allowed in amazon. This allows the zoom-in feature and makes the product stand out more and look bigger (more perceived value).
Thumbnail pictures are great for in-use shots of your product. They are also great for highlighting use cases, features, benefits and other key messages. Use all the space you have in these and make the image set the best you can. I see brands with amazing social media sites and own sites who have lacklustre amazon imagery. They would never use this on their own brand assets, so do not skimp with it on amazon.
Imagery is a massive influencer of perceived product value.
Get a UK trademark for £170, if you do not have one then sign up for amazon brand registry and use their A+ content. This will increase your conversion rate between 2 and 10% in my experience.
3) Amazon PPC and Paid Advertising
You have a great listing, but everyone starts with no ranking on amazon. How do you get eyeballs on your product? Amazon PPC is almost essential for this I would say. It allows you to start making sales and generating reviews. I tend to be extremely aggressive with PPC for new products or products I am trying to rank. I want maximum eyes on it and maximum sales. Amazon rewards products that sell more. You need to start the ball rolling, start generating sales and you need to do it fast.
There is another reason for hitting ads hard at the start. New products get something called “the honeymoon period” where they are given preferential treatment in rankings. It is said this period lasts between 1 and 3 months and amazon are trying to get an idea of where your product fits into its eco system. To do this, it is happy to give you more exposure to create that sales history and data.
Lower price + high perceived value + aggressive amazon PPC = high sales + high conversions + high rankings
Move your price up to your target price, once hitting certain thresholds of sales.
4) Conversion Rate of Your Listing
Along with higher sales, amazon rewards higher converting listings. Again, simple business. If you own a retail store, you will put the better selling products in your shop window. In the same way, amazon will put the better selling and converting products higher in its rankings.
Conversion rates of listings are based amongst many variables of differing influence such as:
- Listing copy/content
- Keywords used and title
- Host of other smaller factors such as customer Q and A, vouchers and overall listing quality
- Competitor tactics
- Time of year
When your listing converts well, your ROI is vastly increased. Your ad spend ROI is improved and your product can really scale. Without a high converting listing, you will always be fighting amazon.
If you do push your lowly converting product to high rankings, with various tricks and methods, it will always be trying to fall down again to its correct rank. Remember amazon has data for what each product should sell in each position in its rankings. If yours falls short, you will not last long OR will have to slash the price to keep it highly ranked.
You can see your conversion rate per product in amazon seller central by going to Reports > Business Reports > Detail Page Sales and Traffic. Sort it by date (last 30 days) and then see your “Unit Session %” column.” That is your conversion rate and the total sales for every 100 people that visited your listing. There is also B2B conversion rate in the next tab.
Industries vary but this figure is a key KPI.
5) Profit And ROI
Amazon does not care if you sell on tiny margins. In fact, it does not care what you lose as a seller. It cares about its buyers and the value given to them. I used to be guilty of focusing on sales numbers and less on profit. Madness, I know. Selling 6,7,8 figures sounds great but not at tiny margins.
So, here are my following tips on profit and ROI. They are general and can vary but gives you an idea:
- I aim for 30% profit and 100% + ROI.
- The landed cost of my product (after freight, duty, VAT) needs to be at least a third of my sales price. This allows me room for amazon advertising and fees and looks like this on a £30 RRP product giving 100% ROI.
Product landed cost £10 > Advertising, selling fees, VAT, returns etc £10 > Profit £10 (100% ROI).
- Use helium10. The tool is worth it just for the profit tool but it does hundreds of other things. IT tracks PPC spend, returns, amazon fees, VAT and more to give you easy to view REAL profit and ROI figures.
- Do serious research before bringing a product to market. Can it meet this ROI? If not, scrap it. There are others that will. There are products that will give 500% ROI. ROI and reinvestment is the way to grow a business on amazon.
I had product A landing at £15. I was making £7.50 per unit in profit after tax and it sold well. This was good, though my order values were getting into 6 figures for it, tying up a lot of cash. My exposure was big. My ROI was 50%, (if I invest £1 I get back £1.50).
I had another product B, landing at £3 and making £6 per sale in profit. It sold a lot of units. The ROI for this one is 200% so if I invest £1, I get £3 back in total.
Smart business dictates I do more of Product B, even though it makes less money per unit sold. My cash flow risk is less, my ROI is better. Rather than scrapping product A, I scaled it down and increased the price.
Be stringent about this. If a product cannot trade at your desired margins, scrap it or scale it down to a level where it does hit the right numbers. Use your cash wisely.
6) Sell Prime
However, you sell on amazon, whether it be by Vendor, Merchant Fulfilled Or FBA. Sell with amazon prime.
Amazon prime will increase your conversions by around 30% on average (data from amazon insider). It will pick off the more active buyers and gives a bigger level of comfort, as well as free delivery to Prime members.
Vendor Central is always prime.
Merchant fulfilled you can use Seller Fulfilled Prime. Ship out yourself but retain prime.
FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) is always prime.
In the EU, use Pan EU to sell to Germany, France, Italy, Spain using Prime.
Now the above is enough for any business to succeed on amazon. I could go into:
- Launches using chat bots
- External traffic and amazon attribution
- Black hat services
- Competitor analysis tools
- Keyword deep dives
- FBA, Seller fulfilled prime, Vendor
- Lightning deals
- Cross selling
And about another 100 things that will all help. The truth is, however, you can have a great business with just the 6 topics I mentioned above. The others are often made up of the latest shiny object, used to sell a course, that many people cannot do or do not have time to. In the spirit of 80-20, keep tunnel vision, use the 6 steps above and scale them. Then look at the shiny hacks and add-ons.