Last time, we discussed how selling on Amazon can open many new doors for brands and help them to increase sales. We also discussed the first four ways clever brands can get ahead within the Amazon Marketplace. They included:
- Building a recognisable and trustworthy seller profile
- Getting the basics right and showcasing your product at its best
- Working hard to encourage positive customer feedback and product reviews
- Not ignoring negative feedback or reviews if you receive them
Today, we’re continuing our list and exploring four more ways to ensure you beat your competitors in the race for Amazon supremacy.
5. Take Advantage of What Amazon Has to Offer
“To be successful on Amazon, you simply need to know how to leverage their advantages for your own business,” says Kelly Fedio, founder of One Savvy Life. This includes taking advantage of things like the Buy Box, Amazon Sponsored Product Ads, Lightning Deals, and Fulfillment by Amazon.
The Buy Box is the box on a product detail page where customers can begin the purchasing process by adding items to their shopping carts. A key feature of the Amazon website is that multiple sellers can offer the same product. If more than one eligible seller offers a product, they can compete to be featured in the Buy Box for that product (if it can be shipped to the customer’s address).
For many sellers, Buy Box placement can lead to dramatically increased sales. However, to be eligible to “win” the Buy Box, Amazon requires sellers to meet several performance-based criteria:
- You must have a professional account.
- Metrics like your Order Defect Rate, Cancellation Rate, and Late Shipment Rate, along with aspects like price, positive customer feedback, inventory volume, and low return/refund rates determine eligibility. The better you perform, the higher your chances are of becoming Buy Box eligible. See how you’re doing on the Account Health
- To accurately assess your performance, Amazon also require that you have sufficient order volume (which varies among categories).
Amazon Sponsored Product Ads
If you’re selling on Amazon, it makes sense to utilise their Sponsored Product Ads to help drive more traffic to your products. Sponsored Product Ads put your product(s) in a range of special ad placements across Amazon. For example, they can ensure your product appears on page one of Amazon search results based on the keywords consumers use to search, or they can display your product on the product details pages of competitor products as an alternative purchasing option.
Much like Google Adwords, all Amazon requires you to do to get started with Sponsored Product Ads is to enter a campaign name, an average daily budget, the targeting type (automatic or manual), the product you would like to promote, and the maximum you would like to pay per click. Your success is then determined by the amount of your bid and the relevancy of your ad to the keywords consumers use. Note: You must be winning the Buy Box for your ad to display.
A Lightning Deal is a time-bound, promotional offer where a product is featured for a limited number of hours (usually 4-12 hours, as determined by Amazon), on the Amazon Deals page. However, much like winning the Best Box, to be eligible for Lightning Deals, you and your products must first meet several criteria:
- You must have a professional account.
- You must receive a minimum of 5 ratings per month and have at least an overall 3.5-star rating.
- Products must have a sales history on Amazon and at least a 3-star rating.
- Deals should include as many product variations (e.g. size, colour, style etc.) as possible. For some products (e.g. clothing and shoes) at least 65% of variations should be included in the deal. The pre-determined minimum percentage of product variations are specified when you create the deal.
- Restricted products are not eligible.
- Products must be Amazon Prime eligible.
- Only items in New Condition are eligible.
Fulfillment by Amazon
According to ecomdash.com, most top sellers on Amazon use the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) option to ensure their customers receive the most efficient service possible. With FBA, you send your inventory to Amazon and they take care of everything else from there. When one of your items sells, Amazon fulfils the order, packages it, ships it to your customer, and handles any customer support issues or returns for that inventory.
Using FBA means you don’t need to worry about limited storage space, you can sell far higher quantities of your products if the demand is there, you can sell internationally (by signing up to the FBA Export program), and as an FBA user you automatically qualify for three of Amazon’s most popular features for no extra cost: Buy Box eligibility, Amazon Prime (Prime customers spend almost twice as much on the site as non-members do), and Super Saver Delivery.
6. Scope out the Competition
The Amazon Marketplace is super competitive, so before you enter it, find out what you’re up against and arm yourself with some important insights gleaned from your competitors.
- Read their product descriptions and images – Do they have a clearer way of explaining product benefits and usage than you do? Are they using important keywords that you aren’t? Do they show the product more clearly in the images they use? Have they zoomed in on any product details you haven’t? Do they utilise seasonal photos (e.g. Christmas or Halloween) to promote their products at different times of the year?
- Read their customer reviews and Q&As – Are customers complaining about a particular aspect of your competitor’s packaging? Do they ask the same questions repeatedly, implying that your competitor’s product description isn’t up to scratch? Do many customers mention price in their reviews of your competitor’s product? Do they mention any complimentary products that they use alongside your competitor’s product?
- Look closely at their pricing strategies – Observe what price they offer and whether that price changes at different times in the year (e.g. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas etc.).
- Find out what complementary categories your competitor’s products are doing well in – Are there any insights on the customer reviews of the complementary product about what lead them to purchase your competitor’s product?
- Look out for opportunities – Keep an eye on whether your competitors run out of stock on certain items, as that may be a good time for you to lower your pricing and/or increase ads.
7. Drive External Traffic to your Amazon Listings
It may seem counterintuitive to actively send potential customers away from your own eCommerce site to buy your products, but if you want to increase your sales on Amazon you need to spend time promoting the fact that you do sell on Amazon.
So, take some time to strategically decide which of your marketing channels make sense to direct to Amazon. While content marketing efforts on your own blog and email campaigns make more sense to direct to your own eCommerce site, ads on the likes of Facebook and Google (places where consumers discover products) may make more sense to direct to Amazon. Also, if you utilise influencers (bloggers, vloggers etc.) to promote your products these people often prefer to direct traffic to Amazon because they can often collect an affiliate commission on customer purchases that come from their custom link.
8. Follow the Rules and Regulations
Of which there are many! Amazon have strict guidelines for how Marketplace sellers should conduct business and to ignore them means risking having your account suspended or completely shut down. Tax policies, listing restrictions, restricted products, fee schedules, intellectual property policies – familiarise yourself with everything Amazon features in its Policies and Agreements section and if you need specific help, use Amazon’s Seller Central help platform to ask a question. We also have a number of resources here to help you.
Interested in discovering more about how to increase your sales on Amazon? Get in touch with our team today!