In this article I’d like to share key 3 lessons with you for Amazon success. They will help you decrease loss, increase sales, and exponentially change the game when it comes to selling your products on Amazon… I hope you enjoy it.
It was 2011 and I had just returned to the US from a 15 month stint in East Africa with my wife. We had been serving with an NGO (Non-Government Organization) doing business training and operations to equip and empower local Tanzanian leaders to make a positive impact in their community. While difficult at times, it was one of the most rewarding and impactful times in my life.
Returning home, I had made one commitment: I had created a product a few years prior and wanted to sell it on Amazon. I didn’t know much about the platform or how to grow towards Amazon success. I just knew it had a huge audience and was the fastest way to generate sales. So I went to work, did some research, bought a UPC code and put the product up. And… Crickets. I just lost money the first year. The second year, I got a couple of reviews and a handful of sales, but it was still pretty disappointing.
At the same time, I was working with a friend and colleague Eric Kooymans, who helped me start my own web design business. I was learning about SEO and one day, it hit me, “I wonder if SEO works on Amazon the same way it does on Google?” I decided to test it. After doing the keyword research, I discovered that there was one keyword that my product title was missing. I added it, and…
My sales increased by over 1,000%.
Since I’m an educator at heart, I’d like to take a moment and share with you three Amazon success lessons that I learned. I want you to benefit from this experience and avoid the pain of having the same trouble. There’s no reason to suffer minimal or stagnant sales on one of the world’s most powerful eCommerce platforms.
So, I had unlocked the key to Amazon success, what I call, “The Amazon Trifecta.” I decided then that I never wanted to venture into a new business without having someone who had already been successful show me how to be successful as well.
The first key to Amazon success is what I call Discoverability.
This is how Amazon’s A9 search algorithm knows what your product is. The way you achieve discoverability is by including keywords into your product listing – the product title, the product features, and even the search terms in the backend.
That way, if somebody searches one of those terms, Amazon knows that your product is relevant and will serve it up in organic search results. This is important because 80% of customer search terms on Amazon do not include a brand. They are instead relying on a generic search term.
The second Amazon success lesson in the Trifecta is Buyability.
This is your detail page listing optimization. It’s things like including a unique value proposition in your title, making sure that your product features are geared specifically towards your audience and include a feature and a benefit. It’s making sure that you have high quality product photography, lifestyle images and infographics, as well as good product reviews. That way, when a customer lands on your page, they know they want to buy your product.
Discoverability + Buyability = Rankability.
The final Amazon success key is the result – Rankability.
This means that over time, as customers search a term and purchase your product, your product is going to rank higher for that search term, organically. This is simply how the Amazon ranking algorithm works.
That’s it. The Amazon Trifecta is so important for you to implement. Make sure you:
This is how you increase the organic sales of your product and get on your way to Amazon success.
Back to my story.
At that same time, I started working for an international apparel company whose Amazon listings were a complete and total mess. They had duplicate listings, parentage issues, unauthorized sellers, etc. There weren’t any resources at the time to help guide me through the process. I had to spend two-and-a-half weeks on hold with Amazon Seller Support to try and get some help. Through trial and error, I eventually figured it out.
We removed the unauthorized sellers, added the remaining 75% of their inventory, and optimized the listings. The result? Their sales increased by 400% the following month and continued to increase month-over-month, and year-over-year after that.
This plays into the second most important lesson that I had learned working on Amazon. “Amazon’s goal is to be the most consumer-centric company in the world. That means by default that it is not the most seller-centric.” It’s a constant frustration for many brand owners, inventors and entrepreneurs. Amazon is an incredible platform, and you have to be there, but you need someone on your team who can help you navigate it’s sometimes treacherous waters. And that takes us to lesson number two…
After working with over 90 companies over the past 7 years, I’ve learned that the reason most businesses fail selling on Amazon because they don’t know what they don’t know.
Amazon is constantly changing and innovating, and nearly impossible to keep up with. I find that even businesses that have been selling on Amazon for 10+ years are often missing 50% – 60% of the opportunity available to them.
In addition, most businesses and brand owners use a piecemeal approach when it comes to Amazon: getting small tidbits of information from YouTube, Facebook, Webinars or Conferences. Those are all great ways to get additional information. What every business needs to be successful selling on Amazon is all of the information, in one place, knowing that it’s up-to-date and in line with Amazon policy.
This leads me to lesson number three, understanding the Amazon Flywheel. Years ago, Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great,” spoke at Amazon about his concept of a flywheel. A Flywheel is simply an object that once you get it spinning, it begins to generate momentum on its own and carries on without you having to push it forward.
Amazon’s flywheel is this: lower prices drive more customer traffic, more traffic brings in more third party sellers, which leads to greater product selection, which in turns drives down Amazon’s cost structure and allows them to offer: lower prices. Amazon figured it out and WOW is it working…
But the flywheel for a brand selling on Amazon is different. Your goal as a brand owner is not to lower prices but to drive sales. Here’s what the Amazon flywheel looks like for you as a seller on the platform.
The first stage of the Amazon Flywheel is Listing Optimization.
It’s super important that you optimize your listings before you drive traffic. This means optimizing your title with keywords, your product features with benefits, your images with infographics, and adding helpful videos and A+ content.
Each one of these elements are vital for customers who land on your page to decide whether or not to purchase your product.
This leads us to the second phase in the Amazon Flywheel: Launching your Products.
This means driving internal and external traffic to your listing in order to generate sales. Most sellers, like myself, initially, simply put their product on Amazon, cross their fingers, and hope it sells. Not likely.
Instead, you have to do things internally, like run Amazon campaigns, promotions, include SEO in your listings (which is going to generate organic traffic) as well as drive external traffic, like social media, email lists, affiliate traffic and more. The more relevant the traffic and ready those customers are to make a purchase, the more effective those efforts will be in successfully launching your product on Amazon.
The third phase in the Amazon Flywheel is Analyze.
It’s so important that brands analyze the key elements of their Amazon business in order to determine what’s working, how well it’s working and what they can do to help it continue to grow.
The most important things that you need to analyze are:
Sessions will tell you how much traffic you’re generating, while conversion rates will tell you how relevant that traffic is and how optimized your detail page is. Average order value reveals average spend and can help you make decisions regarding multi-packs, bundles and cross-promotions designed to increase spend. Your campaigns will reveal which keywords are most relevant to your listing. In conjunction with your organic rankings, they will show how effective your SEO strategy really is.
It’s important that sellers do this repeatedly and not just simply one time. Amazon success is not a one-and-done. It is an ongoing process that requires persistence, insight, the right tools, effective strategies, and a continued adherence to Amazon’s changing policies.
I hope you find these lessons as valuable to your business as I have to mine. My goal for you is to make selling on Amazon simple – and successful!
This post was contributed by Shannon Roddy, Amazon Expert, Speaker, and founder of Marketplace Seller Courses. He has consulted with over 90 clients to help them successfully launch, grow and protect their brands on the Amazon platform. In addition to creating Online Courses for brand owners, Shannon provides 1-on-1 Coaching for inventors, brands and agencies to leverage new opportunities on the Amazon platform.
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