Amazon is the most extensive marketplace online. You already know this and that’s why you have signed up for its FBA program. Amazon gives equal opportunity to small and large businesses to place their product in front of millions of potential customers. Or does it really?
With millions of customers, you also get millions of competitors. So how do you stay ahead of them and become the best selling product in your category. Here are five tips to help you create strategies that will improve your Amazon search ranking, drive traffic, and increase sales.
A. Price Your Product Competitively
With so many sellers in the Amazon marketplace, you need to price your products competitively. However, pricing competitively does not mean pricing lower than the lowest price in your segment. That might start a pricing race to the bottom, ensuring a loss for all the sellers. That is why intelligent sellers, which you should be, never start this loss making phenomenon.
But how can you price your products competitively? Well, you need to have a pricing strategy in place. Here is how you can go about it.
#1. Calculate the minimum price you can afford
The first thing you need to know is what the minimum price is at which you must sell to remain profitable. So include all the costs like manufacturing, marketing, infrastructure maintenance, storage and warehousing, shipping, customer service, Amazon commission, Amazon FBA fees, and everything else that you can think of, to calculate the minimum price you can afford.
When you are considering marketing costs, remember that selling on Amazon itself is a form of advertising. If you sell through your own website, you would need to buy pay per click ads, online ad spaces, FB product promotion, etc. With Amazon, you need to pay only listing fees; your product is exposed to the vast range of customers automatically.
You also need to consider your own costs and Amazon fees if the item is returned by the customer. ProductSpyPro offers Amazon FBA calculator which allows you to calculate cost of your product and figure out the profit margins.
#2. Know your competitors’ price range
After knowing your minimum price, you also need to know your highest price. This can be fixed by looking at your competitors’ pricing.
70% of sales on Amazon happen through page one of organic search listing. Search for the keywords you are targeting and look at price range of products on page one. If the minimum price on page one is $38 and maximum $45, the most that you can go up to is may be $50. If you price higher, your product will not succeed. Because good products are available at lower prices, customers will opt for them rather than yours.
#3. Don’t oscillate between floor and ceiling prices
You know the minimum and maximum prices for your product, but try not to fluctuate the prices too much, especially touching floor prices often. This will build both customer trust and brand reputation on Amazon, the two of the most sought after commodities for sellers.
However, exceptions can be made in case of situations like increasing sales rank, participating in Amazon Lighting Deals, stock clearance of slow moving products, product launches, etc.
#4. Never start a race to the bottom
As discussed earlier, all sensible sellers avoid a pricing race to the bottom. Remember that Amazon itself is your competitor. As a third-party seller, you must pay Amazon fees, FBA fees and sometimes extra ad fees, which Amazon Retail does not incur. Therefore, do not price your product below Amazon price, only match it. Because if you price lower, Amazon can easily undercut you, without taking much blow to their bottom line.
#5. Aim for the Buy Box
However, there is one situation where you could try pricing lower than Amazon – getting the Buy Box. First try to get the Buy Box by matching Amazon price. If that does not work, you can start undercutting Amazon by small percentage points like 2%, 3%, or 5% till you get the Buy Box. However, always keep an eye on the floor price of your product; you don’t want to eventually end up losing on sales.
B. Strategize your product listing
As of January 2018, more than 3 billion products are listed across 11 Amazon marketplaces, with Amazon US accounting for more than half. Amazon Retail accounts for some 120 million products of its own. With so much competition, third party sellers need to strategize their product listings
#1. Unique listing
Looking at Amazon retail product numbers, it seems as though Amazon sells everything. But that’s not strictly true. There are many items on Amazon marketplace that are sold only by third party sellers. If you look hard, you will be able to find items that are not sold on Amazon. If the product you want to list is unique, you have no competition. At least till someone else sees only one competitor as a good business opportunity.
Listing unique products enables you to sell on high profit margins.
#2. Optimize product description
Once your product is listed, unique or not, you must optimize your product descriptions to rank high in Amazon’s organic search. If you do not come up on page one of Amazon’s organic search results for your targeted keywords, you have all but lost the battle before even beginning. In fact, you should aim for first 3, or maximum 5, items because that is what shows up on Amazon shopping app on mobiles.
- The first step in optimizing product page is zeroing in on keywords. Once you know the keywords, you must use them judiciously in your product title and product description. Judiciously because Amazon algorithm is different to Google’s:
- Title and description are treated equally by Amazon search algorithm, so there is no need to repeat keywords.
- Too much repetition of keywords or using singular and plural forms is frowned upon, so you will be better off researching multiple related keywords and using each of them once.
- Amazon might delete you if you use competitors’ keywords if they are not relevant to you and only serve the purpose of luring customers.
- Commas are not required by Amazon algorithm to separate two keywords, a blank space is sufficient.
- Productspypro provides a listing grade which helps you to optimize the listing and it offers Amazon listing analyzer which helps to analyze listing for specific keywords.
C. Use Amazon Ad Platform
Amazon boasts of a robust ad platform that you can use to market your products. Amazon sponsored ad is modelled after pay per click model. Once you sign up for this, which is fairly straightforward in the seller console, your product listing appears in both search results page and product details page.
However, before you sign up for the program, you need to understand how you can measure your ROI on the ad spend. And when you talk of ROI, direct sales is not the only return here. You also gain lots of information using the three metrics provided by Amazon:
1. Impressions, i.e. frequency of appearance of your ads. Amazon tells you how many times your ad appeared.
2. Click thru rate, i.e. number of times customers visited your products page by clicking on the ads.
3. Conversion rate, i.e. probability of making a sale when the customer clicks on your ad. Amazon calculates, tracks, and shares total sales as percentage of total ad spend.
As you can see, each metric is dependent on the other. So, you need to have a strategy in place to make full utilization of your ad spend. Here is a suggested list of steps you can follow to make sales as well as collect valuable information using Amazon ad platform.
- 1. Analyze your target marketplace. You can use some sales analysis software to find information such as keywords used by customers, your market share, competitors’ price range, etc.
- Based on your analysis in step 1, design your campaign, incorporating target keywords.
- It is best to have two campaigns in place – manual as well as automatic. Manual campaign allows you to focus on the keywords that came up during the market analysis phase. Automatic analysis reveals keywords you might have been missing out on.
- Give your campaigns 3-4 weeks before you start analyzing reports provided by Amazon.
- Refine your strategy based on information gathered in the previous step.
- The general trend among sellers is to start small when it comes to ad spend. However, on Amazon, owing to its immense size, you need to be generous in your ad spend initially to gather data. Once you have gathered relevant data, you can design highly focused campaigns and run them as per requirement. This will enable you to increase organic search ranking while decreasing Amazon sponsored ad spend.
D. Utilizing Amazon Promotion Program
Amazon has many promotion schemes available for its vendors. As a third party seller you can use them to promote your products and increase sales, especially during the holiday season. One of the most useful promotion programs is coupons. Besides being a great way to attract customers for whom savings is an important decider, there are many reasons why you should use coupons for your Amazon products.
#1. Increase visibility on Amazon
When you sign up for Coupons Promotion Campaign (CPC), your products with their promotional offer appears at several areas across the site, like Gold Box page, search results, email campaigns, shopping cart, etc.
#2. Launching New Products
Even if you are an established seller, running promotions can be a great way to launch new products. You can also request these initial customers to leave a review on the products page. Mind you, you can only request them to leave a review, not a “positive” review. That would be against Amazon’s rules.
#3. Direct external traffic
Giving away coupons on your site, Facebook page, email campaigns, etc. is a great way to drive off-site traffic to your Amazon products page. We will talk about this in the next section on driving external traffic too.
#4. Gather valuable information
Similar to the Amazon sponsored ads program, Amazon coupons program provides lots of metrics to the vendor. Some of these include:
• No. of times coupons were clipped
• No. of times coupons were redeemed
• Budget spent till date
• Increase in sales in terms of units sold
You can use the data to refine further CPC for your products.
E. Drive External Traffic
When you sell on Amazon, you can drive external traffic to your Amazon products page too. Many sellers forget this aspect in their marketing strategy because Amazon seems such a complete unit in itself. After all, more than 20% people in US start their product search from Amazon.
But why not drive external traffic to your own site rather than Amazon products page. Well, because people are more willing to visit Amazon page rather than any website about which they have heard nothing, which is you!!
Here are some ideas to help you design your strategy for driving external traffic to your Amazon page.
#1. Coupons promotion
As discussed earlier, coupons can be great way to launch new products and aim at volume sales for existing products. Each CPC allows you to create a coupon landing page, whose links you can share with others.
#2. Using deals sites
You can lower your prices on Amazon for a couple of days and post that to deals sites. Remember to craft an enticing ad and put a deadline to your deal.
#3. Building an email list
I should have probably put this at the top, but it is a slow process that requires lots of time, strategizing, and perseverance to build one. So I put the two most easily doable things at top.
Spruce up your website, sign up for email marketing services like MailChimp or Aweber, add opt-ins to your webpages and you are ready to go. Start sending offers to your email subscribers to increase your sales.
#4. Affiliate marketing
Research bloggers in your niche and contact them to see if they would like to be an affiliate for your product. Here again, they would be more willing to share Amazon links than those to your own website.
#5. Content marketing
Creating informative content in forms of blogs, ebooks, podcasts, vlogs, etc. can be a great way of building email lists as well as driving traffic to your Amazon product page. But it is a slow process that needs you to strategize properly, researching the market, finding keywords, and creating a content marketing plan.
With so many online platforms available for marketing, you must do your research to decide the ones that you will target. For example, if you sell puzzles for children aged 10 to 15, LinkedIn will not serve your purpose as it is a professional networking site. However, if you are into ERP software solutions, that is the site you would target.