Most Amazon sellers have a handful of painful lessons learned the hard way. Amazon can feel like an intimidating place for good reason. Whether you’re new to selling or a seasoned seller, here is a list of pitfalls to avoid.
1. Not researching the competition on Amazon
Many sellers assume they know their competition on Amazon because it’s the same across other channels. The truth is there are a lot of brands who sell exclusively on Amazon, so you can’t assume the competition is the same. Your competition shouldn’t dictate your actions, but it should help you determine your market potential and metrics for success. Take time to understand who your competition is and how big of the pie they have. Start by searching relevant keywords to your product and making notes on brands, prices, reviews, images, and features.
2. Lazy Search Engine Optimization
Good optimization is an ongoing process. Focus on maximizing quality and complete information. Most of the time poor optimization comes from not knowing your customer’s buying behaviors. Content, Imagery, Keyword should be strategic and speak to your customers’ pain points. With more customers buying on mobile make sure you view your listings on a mobile device to see how the images, bullets, descriptions, titles look. Experiment with different keywords in the title and bullet points to maximize sales potential.
3. Not keeping up with Amazon Updates
Amazon’s unrivaled success is in large part due to their relentless commitment to innovation. Over the last year alone, Amazon made several big changes including, decreasing search term character count as well as adding video capabilities and brand storefronts. They will continue to make changes to better serve customers and increase conversions and sellers achieve their desired level of success and let things go only to watch their rankings and sales drop off. Spend time staying up to date on industry news on Amazon updates and make the necessary changes to stay on top.
4. Failing to get product reviews early on
Product reviews have an enormous impact on product success on and off Amazon. A recent study found that 30% of online consumers turn to Amazon to research a product before making a purchase. Make sure you have a plan in place to get the early reviews soon after a product launch. Understanding how many product reviews you need depends on how many similar products have. One easy way to get started is enrolling the product in Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program.
5. Lacking a marketing vision
Sellers without a vision outside of Amazon won’t magically find success thanks to the massive amount of traffic. Spend time clearly defining your marketing vision on Amazon taking advantage of the unique tools available. Amazon continues to improve brand marketing capabilities. Utilize marketing products like Lighting Deals, EBC, Headline Ads, storefronts, and promo codes. The boost in sales and visibility from taking advantage these features can have a lasting effect on growth and help determine where to focus marketing efforts in the future.
6. Failing to Forecast
Understanding how much inventory you need to send in, or even have on hand, will help limit lost sales due to inventory out of stock. Forecasting should be a continual focus to stay ahead of inventory issues on Amazon. Some sellers aren’t willing to allocate more than a certain percentage to Amazon and suffer consequences of running out of stock. While many brands are more profitable on other channels, it’s imperative to weigh the risks of running out of stock and potentially taking months to recover keyword rankings and sales.
7. Forgetting PPC Campaigns
Amazon sponsored ads can’t just be created and set to cruise. They are most effective when you regularly optimize them. Bidding on the wrong keywords and letting your ACoS can be a difficult thing to explain to your boss, or even more difficult to explain if you are the boss. After you run the initial campaign to gather data, make sure you adjust bids and keywords and continue to do so until you reach goals for ad spend and returns.
8. Being inflexible on Price
If you want to be successful on Amazon you have to understand how important price is on the marketplace. Amazon CEO said, “We’ve done price elasticity studies, and the answer is always that we should raise prices. We don’t do that, because we believe — and we have to take this as an article of faith — that by keeping our prices very, very low, we earn trust with customers over time, and that that actually does maximize free cash flow over the long term.” Because Amazon focuses so heavily on price, sellers should do the same. Be willing to change your price not only to be profitable but to find the optimal price for the Amazon sales channel.