Today, Amazon is the largest marketplace in the world and many researchers point to it as the future of e-commerce. Best practices for selling on Amazon are related to wide reach, operational infrastructure, payments, customer communication or promotion from day one of the sale. This is a considerable saving compared to building this in your own e-commerce sites. Amazon is the perfect place to start selling, used by thousands of businesses around the world. With competition growing by the day, you need to be well prepared to make your sales as effective as possible. In this article, we will share some general tips for selling practices on Amazon that will increase your chances of success on this platform.
The customer and their experience (positive) is paramount
Since customer service is the key metric by which Amazon determines your success as a seller, it’s important to make things like handling sales on Amazon and customer contact a top priority. If you’re using the FBA or Amazon Vendor Central model then most of the operational handling is taken on by Amazon, but if you’re working on the FBM model then you and your actions are crucial to the customer service and order process. Monitoring new orders daily should become a routine for you, like having your morning coffee. It is important that new orders are confirmed within the timeframe given by Amazon, but if you can do it faster, then all the better for you. Amazon will reward this in the form of being able to reduce delivery times.
By confirming your shipment, you are providing Amazon with information about how quickly you are processing orders and allowing them to update the shipping information in the customer’s account so they can see the status of their order. That being said, you should also make sure that you include all relevant information – date, shipping method and tracking ID – when confirming your shipment.
Shipping time is one of the primary factors that influence purchase decisions, but it’s not the only thing that’s important. The product should not only reach the customer quickly, but also in perfect condition, so opt for packaging and security features that are as effective and safe as possible.
Of course, even if the sales service on Amazon is top-notch and we do our best to keep the customer happy, there are situations that we could not foresee. If an order is delayed, you should contact the customer to let them know. On the other hand, if a customer contacts you because they didn’t receive a shipment or the product was damaged, respond immediately and take steps to resolve the situation. By communicating quickly and effectively, not only will you prevent many problems, but you will also increase the likelihood of a repeat purchase and positive feedback. Remember that in this communication you need to embrace the premise that Amazon is all about – the customer comes first.
In a way, customer service affects sales and bestseller ranking on Amazon. The more positive product reviews you get, the more likely you are to increase sales, and when you increase sales, your products will rank higher for products in the category. This is what successful selling on Amazon looks like.
Inventory – the key to peace of mind
Although the tip of keeping an eye on the availability of products on Amazon corresponding to our stock levels may actually seem obvious, many sellers still forget it. You’d probably prefer not to find yourself in a situation where you’ve received an order for something you no longer have in stock. This is a ready recipe for negative customer feedback – which can have a dramatic impact on future sales. You should keep track of the number of items in stock at all times and update it in your Seller Central – automatic stock integration is certainly a good solution, and there are simple tools available on the market for such integration.
Amazon’s algorithm takes a variety of factors into account when ranking products, including, of course, the timing and quantity of sale, but also the number of products available for sale. If you show that their stock is relative to your current sales and you’re making them efficiently, it’s more likely that Amazon will display your products higher in search results. If the availability statuts of your products change to “out of stock” they will be lower and lower in the search results.
The same is true if you use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), but here it’s even more important to check your stock frequently and schedule deliveries to Amazon’s warehouses in advance. All your goods should be ordered and shipped before they run out of stock in Amazon’s warehouses. When using shipping from FBA, but also shipping from our own warehouse, we should never allow our product to be sold out. Products that are out of stock for an extended period of time lose their previously earned ranking in the category and drop in search results.
To increase your sales, a good option is to switch to the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) model. This is a program that allows a seller to ship merchandise in advance to Amazon’s warehouse. At the time of sale, Amazon sends it to the buyer. In addition, FBA largely takes care of customer service, delivery, product returns and money. In short, it gives you plenty of time to focus on other aspects of your sales on Amazon. Of course, warehousing and shipping through Amazon comes at a price but it significantly increases your sales volume (in our experience it’s between 30-70% compared to selling through FBM) and has a very positive impact on your Buy Box, which we wrote about in the article “Amazon Buy Box – what it is and how to get it”. In most cases, the extra FBA fees are offset by a reduction in the costs of packing, labour and shipping products that you incurred in the FBM model. This saves you time and effort that you can spend on your products and customer service. Selling products through FBA also gives us the huge advantage of earning the “Amazon Prime” label – Prime customers can count on fast and free delivery of their orders, among other things.
Product offering – the lift to increased sales
Anyone involved in e-commerce sales pays particular attention to the quality of product content in online sales. Successful selling on Amazon is based on what you are able to show your customers on screen and thus convince them to buy.
To increase sales, you should make sure you use all available fields for your product description, add high-quality, professional images, and when creating titles and descriptions, take into account the best keywords and Amazon’s algorithm guidelines. It’s good practice to use Benchmark listings that already exist on Amazon and other marketplaces to see what positions the products in question rank in the search engine and how your listing can compete with them. That way, you’ll learn what elements are key to achieving that position and how to choose the best ways to sell on Amazon.
Amazon has tens of thousands or even millions of products in many categories and your listing should contain as much valuable information as possible to have a chance of being noticed. Here, product details play a key role. Authentic and detailed information or product specifications increase the chances of a more successful search match for a buyer. However, your product listing must also be friendly to Amazon’s algorithm, so it should contain carefully selected keywords and phrases that will be indexed by Amazon and appear in customers’ search results.
Images are also crucial when selling products online. A listing is incomplete without good images and graphics. Good quality graphics and photos that inspire confidence and allow customers to explore product details and satisfy their questions or concerns are simply a “must have”. Selling your product will be successful if the product listing is consistent and the product photo is consistent with the details provided in the information in the product description.
Customer feedback – in the pursuit of perfection
If you want to sell successfully on Amazon, you need to take care of product reviews and feedback, aiming for scores that are the highest on Amazon’s five-star scale. Doing so will both improve buyers’ perceptions of your product listings and improve your ranking. There are several practices for selling on Amazon that you can employ to build a good reputation:
Describe products accurately and in as much detail as possible.
Ship products to customers as quickly as possible
Keep track of public questions from customers on the product card and feedback, and based on these, supplement your listings with missing information.
Contact customers proactively with any delays or changes to their orders.
Respond to customer queries within 24 hours.
Ask customers to leave product feedback after purchase using automated mailings.
A negative or even neutral review can ruin a product sale and adversely affect your business, and in some cases your seller rating and account can be suspended. Therefore, always try to remove these reviews by contacting the customer directly, explaining the circumstances and offering a convenient solution. If the review does not reflect the actual circumstances, contact Amazon, which can remove the questionable review.
Amazon currently has more than 2.5 million active sellers on the marketplace (Marketplacepulse, 2019), and in 2020 the number of new registered sellers exceeded one million. Among them, there are about 25,000 sellers whose sales exceed $1 million per year and about 200,000 sellers whose sales exceed $100,000. With results like that, Amazon is the place to be, but just being there is no longer enough. You need to make your listings stand out from the competition and attract the customer.
All of the above selling practices on Amazon are very soft and may seem trivial on the surface, but remember that Amazon’s core values are to put the customer and their experience at the heart of the business – they and their needs should drive every single thing you do as a seller. Simple principles like putting the customer first, caring about them and their experience are just some of the actions that will bring you higher sales, but these are the ones that are rewarded by Amazon and its algorithm.
We are happy to share our knowledge and listen to you. If you have any comments or questions please share them below. Maybe they will help other Amazon sellers too.
Head of Content