State of Amazon – Selling Tips in 2018
I’m in Las Vegas this week attending the Prosper Show, an Amazon conference, where I’m enjoying a lot of great speakers and topics.
Probably the most experienced keynote speaker I’ve ever seen at an ecommerce event. @MichaelEGerber #prosper18 “go to work at Old Co for sustainability, go to work at New Co to grow. Keep them separate.” pic.twitter.com/Y7J3UlCrFb
— Steven Pope, MBA (@NewAgeMarketer) March 13, 2018
While sifting through a lot of new information here at the conference, I found myself thinking that many Amazon sellers just need some practical down-to-earth advice on ways to improve. This article focuses on that, as well as some general big Amazon news pieces. And, as always, if you need help with your Amazon account you can reach me by email.
Top 3 hacks at Prosper Show:
- https://www.pickfu.com to quickly AB test for anything like what main photo to use
- File tickets through Seller Central using tax question in drop down when you have a case you can’t get resolved properly, it routes to USA based support. Even if not a tax question. Also an easy dial in way to get to USA catalog team. Ask for a transfer.
- Find anonymous customers name on Amazon when they show up as “Amazon customer” on a review by clicking their name and check their wish list. Their name will show there. (Bet this gets patched soon)
These hacks received 3/4 the vote of 500 attendees at Prosper Show. Out of 12 hacks.
First a brief mention of the potential ways to sell on Amazon. This continues to be important because your sales outcome is impacted by other platforms.
Vendor Central vs Vendor Express vs Seller Central
Most sellers should be on Seller Central. Big brands who focus on manufacturing or wholesale should be on Vendor Central, most likely. Sold by Amazon is the #1 threat to Seller Central businesses due to logistics control. Resellers are getting hurt big time. I’ve seen a ton of new intermediate parties who sell direct to Amazon on behalf of wholesalers. If you sell on Seller Central, and you are a retailer who shares the selling rights of goods, you have a huge business threat. Try to work with wholesalers or manufacturers for exclusive rights to sell on Amazon.
Increased Selling Costs
Seller Central accounts are getting hit hard with increased costs, warehousing fees and 6-month overstock fees now hitting monthly. See latest Amazon announcement here.
What’s the Target Price Point to Sell at?
Seller Central accounts should target items $20 and above, if you sell items at retail for less than that, you should be vendor central due to fulfillment fees.
Best Amazon Tools:
- #1 best Amazon tool right now is Jungle Scout
- I learned about an up-and-coming tool at Prosper called Viral Launch.
I use both Jungle Scout tools, the onetime fee paid app, and the monthly subscription to gain access to sales data, product tracking, keyword data and more.
Brand registry is more important than ever for the following reasons:
- Controlling data
- Headline Ads
- Brand pages
- Enhanced Content (From the manufacturer section)
Brand pages should be the #1 takeaway that can have immediate positive impact on your sales. Push this hard. I recently sent a physical mailer, yes, you heard that right, an eCommerce guy is talking about snail mail. And I’m pushing traffic to brand pages. Brand pages are basically a customizable landing page on Amazon. You hold all the links, you can send your headline ads here, you can send external traffic here, and conversion rates sky rocket compared to typical search results on Amazon. It’s basically a landing page for Amazon. Dedicated URL to drive traffic to only your products. It replaced Store pages.
Ultimately you need a trademark on your brand to get into the brand registry. Learn how to setup brand registry here: https://brandservices.amazon.com/
Sellers can easily upload videos in shorts now. I use Snagshout, which is a deals-based website but has some great seller tools to drive external traffic. These tools include purchases, ranking improvements, and, as of last month, their newly launched product will help you upload video shorts onto Amazon.
Vendor Central users can upload videos to photo location. Seller Central accounts can only load to the video shorts section. Rumor is that this is coming to Seller Central via Brand registry soon.
Examples of video shorts can be found here.
Here’s a live listing for Savoy House on Amazon, scroll to the bottom and you can see where a video short appears.
Amazon keeps taking away seller tools, and customer touch points
Feedback Genius and other email programs have lost a lot of value recently. Almost a year ago Amazon started allowing customers to opt out of seller emails altogether. As recently as two weeks ago rumors swirled that Amazon had a new policy to limit to a single email per buyer. However, Seller Labs came out rather strongly saying this rumor was false.
In either case, it now feels like 60% of customers have completely opted out of seller emails all together. I am only citing that based on my current rejection notices.
How to grow Amazon sales
Growing Amazon from product perspective
- Build a product that is already in demand but improve upon it, read the reviews and figure out what is lackluster, sometimes simply duplicating a product and shooting better photos is still enough. Duplicate what’s working, and improve upon it. Fixing issues flagged in user feedback can be really helpful.
- Kitting – Adding two products (or more) and selling them together. This can lower fulfillment costs and make your product more price competitive.
Growing Amazon from marketing perspective
- Amazon is aggressively reaching out to brands to pitch $35,000 advertising programs for external traffic, which they pitch as HIGH funnel, while maintaining sponsored ad program which is LOW funnel.
- Internal traffic more competitive than ever.
- Sponsored Ads – everybody been doing this for 10 years. But a lot has changed (besides a new UI rolled out last week).
- Auto campaigns for first time are surpassing manual campaigns. Making manual marketers like us less valuable.
- PPC competition varies widely between industries.
- Avg PPC cost in Home goods still low, 50-80 bids still work in many home sub categories. Low bids still also work in grocery.
- Whereas PPC costs in beauty are averaging 1.5-2.5. Most competitive category on Amazon seemingly.
SEO tricks still exist, better to have lengthy titles. Big brands still haven’t optimized titles, private label brands are all over this.
Seeing tons of SEO black hat firms pop up who can successfully push to page 1. I see Facebook ads target to me as a marketer for these constantly.
Optimize your listings. Ton of guides on this so I’ll link to one instead.
Nexus and tax issues were the #1 hot topic at Prosper. There were handfuls of tax vendors with booths at Prosper. Expect big changes in the next 1-2 years from Amazon on tax issues. Even as of last week Massachusetts is now requiring taxes to be collected on Amazon sales. Washington already collects it.
Stockouts should be avoided at all costs. Use software to keep in stock if necessary.
Seller Central accounts can now participate in the Early Review Program.
If you need help with any of the above on your own seller central, vendor express, or vendor central account, reach out to me here.