By Amazon’s own measurements, third-party sellers account for around 60% of all physical products sold on the platform. Plus, Amazon Prime Day 2020 resulted in a whopping $3.5 billion in sales worldwide. While setting up an online store is just the first step in taking a crack at some of these revenue numbers, Amazon makes it easy to get started. But how do you keep the momentum once you’ve launched?
Amazon third-party sellers have to be nimble, ready to learn, and confident in their selling strategy. It also helps to follow in the footsteps of already-successful sellers, who often provide great advice on the Amazon forums on everything from new store rules to sales trends. And to help you out on your new endeavor, we’ve condensed the best Amazon seller advice into a set of tips that everyone can use.
Top 10 tips for selling on Amazon
Are you looking to boost your sales? Consider these expert-recommended tips for making the most of your seller account. Today’s top sellers utilize most of these Amazon selling techniques, and even if you only do a few, you could start to make a dent in this competitive marketplace.
1. Market everywhere
Don’t assume you can rely solely on Amazon search to help people find you, because the competition will likely keep you from showing up at the top of the results. Instead, market directly to your audience. Make good use of social media and YouTube video description links to get your product buzz out there.
If you have an email newsletter, remind customers of your new products, too. If you sell enough of a product, consider reaching out to influencers to tell their audiences about your product.
Did you know that you can get paid by selling your wares and by referring sales to Amazon? As an Amazon affiliate, you’ll get paid twice for links coming from your website. Just be cautious about selling on social media. Read their terms for full details of what’s allowed and what’s not, since they specifically prohibit using links from unapproved sources.
Also use the Amazon-approved disclosure language on any sites or platforms where you use affiliate links, as well as phrases like "sponsored," "promoted," or "affiliate" in every mention you make. Buyers must be aware that you’re earning a commission.
3. Pick the right niche
Some categories are always in demand, but their competition may be fierce. Do your research to find a category that’s popular, then make your mark.
How can you know what’s hot? You can always use Amazon search to see what people are buying, but don’t just stick to what's popular on Amazon because other sellers are doing the same thing. Look for items that solve a problem people have right now, that you can sell without too much competition, and that’s priced right. You don’t want to sell a widget that has no margin after you’ve shipped it. You can also look to eBay, Etsy, and department stores to research their hottest items.
4. Make it easy for customers to narrow down search
Think about the last time you bought something from Amazon. What word or phrases did you use to find it? Using the best terms when describing your product will helping customers find it more easily. Think of all the ways you could describe your product, its uses and benefits, and items it could be used with.
If you’re selling replacement parts or accessories, use model numbers of the related item or brands using this part. If your product qualifies for the Amazon compatibility tool – this lets shoppers input the model of their fridge, for example – take advantage of this additional method to let customers know you’re a good fit for their needs.
5. Sell popular items at a lower price
When competition is high, you may not have a choice but to go lower on price. Even a few pennies can be enough to separate you from the pack, but keep your eyes open as others will use this same trick. Make sure you factor in your price after shipping, which may or may not show up in the initial price listing and may deter shoppers with Amazon Prime from clicking “buy.”
Better yet, find a way to make your product unique in some way, such as color, size, or customization. By doing this, you can keep your price the same, but you may intrigue consumers looking for something slightly different.
6. Learn what your competition is doing wrong
Even if you sell a product that others offer, you can take the lead by looking through their reviews. Do their customers consistently complain of misleading product descriptions, broken parts, or lackluster appearance?
Ensure your product doesn’t fail in these same areas and get your reviews to reflect it. Customer service is often the most feasible way to beat the competition, especially if others have slow shipping times or if they use shoddy packaging, leading to damaged goods.
7. Be a stickler for inventory counts
You should always know how many of each item you have in stock and stay on alert for any possibility of selling out. If you sell through other outlets, such as eBay or at trade shows, you need to stay on top of your inventory to avoid losing a sale because you ran out early.
Likewise, it’s bad business to cancel an order because you sold a product you didn’t have in stock. Buyers will remember this, and it’s hard to fix your reputation. Plus, Amazon frowns upon orders canceled by the store.
8. Focus on performance and seller ratings
Shoppers don’t always care who sells them their desired product, but they want assurance that the product is a quality one – and that they’re not getting ripped off. That’s why both product reviews and store ratings are essential for survival.
This is especially crucial when you are starting out since you won’t have many reviews. Even one bad review can tank your score and push you down in the results, making it difficult to earn your way back. Endeavor to do well all the time, because this is the best way to compete on Amazon.
9. Ask for reviews
Don’t assume buyers will leave a review. People are busy and often require prompts to provide feedback. Leave a note in their packaging asking them to leave a review, but don’t specifically mention a positive review or tie their feedback to a discount or free gift. It’s against Amazon’s terms to exchange items for reviews, so simply provide a reminder that you appreciate their comments.
Also, don’t reach out through the Amazon communication platform to ask for reviews. This is reserved for rectifying issues or following up on questions. If you abuse this tool, Amazon can revoke your selling privileges.
10. Reserve your options
If you’re passionate about what you sell but you're seeing underwhelming results with Amazon, don’t feel as though you must continue as a third-party seller. Not every product will do well on Amazon, so it’s important to explore other ways to sell your goods.
From using another third-party site, such as eBay or Etsy, to hosting your own ecommerce site with platforms like Shopify, there are dozens of other ways to sell these days.
What Amazon sellers need to know
It may seem overwhelming to follow through with all these Amazon store tips at first. And it’s a huge task to master the search function alone. Despite the learning curve and need to stay on top of all of the platform's changes, there are significant and unique advantages to selling on Amazon over hosting your own ecommerce site.
For one, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel because Amazon includes most seller tools. Second, just about everyone knows about and uses Amazon. The brand recognition is significant and would take you a lifetime to try to garner on your own. If you're agile, there’s a lot of potential here, but it helps to pick one strategy and see it through.
Because Amazon is driven by trends, you may be tempted to change your methods after reading every new data report. Most long-time sellers know that it takes some time to get your footing, however, and that too many changes to your selling strategy will make it difficult to know what's working and what's just coincidence. If you stay flexible and see your plans through (and don’t rush them), you stand a better chance of making it work, even in these turbulent times.
Linsey Knerl is a contributing writer for HP® Tech@Work. Linsey is a Midwest-based author, public speaker, and member of the ASJA. She has a passion for helping consumers and small business owners do more with their resources via the latest tech solutions.
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