Amazon, the e-commerce juggernaut
Amazon is the e-commerce juggernaut that draws 183 millions unique visitors and sell 375 million products per month. But there is something else you may not have heard : Over 50% of merchandise sales come from Marketplace sellers like you. Competition on Amazon is fiercer than ever, if you want to be successful you have to establish a strategy.
The key to success on Amazon is to sell the right products. If you set up a store before knowing what you are going to sell then you are setting yourself up for failure. Whether it is a product from the top selling or a niche product, you must absolutely do market research to understand and evaluate your possibilities.
• The product : What is the size of the market? Is it profitable? How is it evolving? What is your target customer?
• The competitors : How many competitors selling the same product do you have? How many competitors selling substitution's products to your offer do you have? What are the characteristics of the leaders? How will you compete with them?
• The suppliers : Who and how many potential suppliers do you have? What are their prices? How much are you going to pay for the shipping?
Do market research before starting a business
The common mistake most entrepreneurs make is to start their business on saturated markets. It's not such a bad idea, if there is lot of competition, it means there is lot of potential customers too. But the problem comes from how they do it, always in the same way, by trying to copy everyone.
Stop trying to sell everything and anything, you must find YOUR product! And I strongly recommend you to sell products you find interesting.
But what is a niche market? It is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused. It also means less competition and a better visibility.
Your goal will be to become the leader of a niche market and in order to reach this goal you'll have to adopt a different strategy to get noticed.
Niche market means less competition and a better visibility
There is a fierce competition within the most popular product's categories, when you are trying to find ideas of products, don't be afraid to choose smaller product's categories and niches.
A good starting point is to check the products on trending websites and the trends from other countries. To follow the trends is a good way to get new ideas and discover new categories of products.
Go on Alibaba or Aliexpress and check the new products in every category. China is the biggest supplier in the world, it is a good place to find out new trending products from other countries.
Amazon provides lot of informations helping you to evaluate the market and the trends. browse the different categories and sub categories and check your potential competitors, read the reviews to learn what buyers are not happy about to improve a product, etc.
Check the Best Sellers, the Most Wished For and the Most Gifted products while browsing categories on Amazon. It will help you to find out what kind of product the audience of a category is interested about.
Google trends might also help you to find a growing trend or a potential demand for a specific product. It measures the frequency of a particular key words used with their search engine across various regions of the world, and in various languages.
Amazon fitness trends
You have a product in mind but now you need to know where to find the best price to get good margins.
The best place to find suppliers are :
• Alibaba : the world's biggest e-commerce platform with tons of suppliers
• Made-in-china : a Chinese platform facilitating global trade between worldwide buyers and Chinese suppliers just like Alibaba
• Aliexpress : similar to Amazon, it is B2C online retail service allowing Chinese suppliers to sell their products directly to foreign customers. The best platform to do drop shipping business
An other possibility is to require the services of a sourcing agent. They can find you tons of new products not available on the e-marketplaces while providing you extra services and better prices.
Sourcing agents can find you tons of new products not available on the e-marketplaces
To get the best margins, you must negotiate the prices and the conditions with the suppliers. Very often a price is displayed, however you must not be scared to negotiate.
Ask a bigger quantity than what you were planning to order to get the attention of the supplier, he will be more open to your request. When you contact a supplier, be serious and professional if you want get his trust.
Don't be scared to negotiate with your suppliers
When you sell on Amazon you also benefit from a reputation, a trust and an exceptional traffic without doing anything. Amazon's products are often on the first page of Google, because Google trust Amazon, good descriptions and well targeted titles.
If you work on a niche market you'll have to spend lot of time to advertise in order to get noticed by the customers. It is important because it will allow you to be more visible on internet.
After checking in Google if it worth the effort or not, you may consider to make a website, a blog, or at least a Facebook blog to enhance the indexing of your Amazon product's pages. Why Facebook? because it is easy and fast to use and there is a large number of users.
Having your own website or blog you can also use Amazon Affiliate service to promote your own products and receive up to 10% on every sales.
You can also post directly the links of your products in the comments of articles, on forums and blogs. Make a video on Youtube introducing your product, with a link of your Amazon page in the description. Google loves videos and pictures for the indexing.
Handling yourself the indexing of your products, they will reach higher positions within natural search results and will improve the traffic of your products. To make it simple, traffic means more sales.
Advertise your products on your own blog
Being the best seller of your category will increase your sales. It is based on two factors : the numbers of sales and the comments.
The first 24 hours of a product's launch are crucial. It's within this period of time that you must reach the first places of your product's category. Once best seller you'll have nothing more to do, the sales that will arise from it will maintain its ranking.
Concerning the sales, the best way is to offer gift coupons to your friends and family to use for the product launch. For a classic product with moderate competition, ten comments with different times of day are enough. Get them involved to improve your sales.
If you have a mailing list from a blog or any social media page like Facebook, you can propose to your subscribers discount coupons to boost your sales during these 24 hours. The great bloggers often become top sellers when they sell products.
The strength of the comments on internet is big. When you buy a product from an online shop it's almost impossible not to read few of them. Yes lot of comments are fake. But you should not consider to post fake comments too, Amazon is aware of it and if you get caught you might get banned forever from the Amazon professional seller's list.
But it's not forbidden to ask friends and family to post a positive comment. If they bought your product, their comments will be tagged "Verified Purchase". This short message proves that the comment is not fake and it will help potential customers to make their decision. For the product's launch, try to get at least three positive comments.
Next to every comments there is an option "Was this review helpful to you?". Ask again your friends and family to click "Yes" on the best comments for you. They will become the first comments your future customers will see. Really useful when you have lot of comments.
Comments and reviews from customers are important
Do not neglect the "Add to cart" box. If you are the only one to offer a product, then you have no competition with regard of this box. But if you include your offer to a previous one, then you must win this "Add to cart" box.
You must have noticed that only one seller is displayed in this box, the others are displayed in other boxes named "other sellers on Amazon" and "used & new". This seller will get 80% to 98% of the sales thanks to his position. You must get this position.
How to get this first place? It is based on your number of sales and your shipping method.
Concerning the sales volume you can use the methods I already mentioned. But you can also go to your Amazon account and propose a discount for your product. It will be wise for the product's launch to propose to your customer the best price they will see. This discount should last two or three days.
Amazon is particularly fond of the sellers using their shipping service. If your price is the same as your competitors, but you use the service "Fulfilment by Amazon" and he doesn't, then the platform will put you first! It's good to know isn't it? The reason is simple : they earn money when you use their logistic service and when you sell a product on their website. In order to achieve advantages over competitors I recommend you to use it.
You must win the "add to cart" first place
You must apply a pricing strategy to become the best seller. A classic trick is to artificially set up a high price with a big discount. For example, set a regular price at $49.99 and the sale price at $27.99. Buyers like to feel they are getting a good deal, and your products will sell much better this way.
The perfect target sale price of a product is between $10 and $50, but you don't have to follow it, your target sale price depends of the product you are selling too. Also, your total cost shouldn't be higher than 35% of the sales price. The total cost includes the Amazon fees, the cost of your product, the shipping from the supplier and the shipping to the customer.
You must apply a pricing strategy
The content of your page is made of three elements : the title, the description and the pictures. They can make the difference between a professional and an amateur. The title and the description must be unique for indexing reasons. You must not copy from an other website.
• The title should usually be made up of : Key words / Secondary Key words / Informations / Advantages and Guarantees
Example with the Electronics & Computers category's best seller – Phones & Accessories :
[3 Pack] iPhone 7 Screen Protector, MaxTeck 0.26mm 9H Tempered Shatterproof Glass Screen Protector Anti-Shatter Film for IPhone 7 4.7" Inch [3D Touch Compatible]
Key word : iPhone 7 Screen Protector
Secondary Key Words : Iphone 7 4.7" Inch
Informations : MaxTeck 0.26mm 9H Tempered Shatterproof Glass Screen Protector Anti-Shatter Film
Advantages and Garantees : [3 Pack] + [3D Touch Compatible]
• The description must be simple and clear. You must explain in which situations the customer need your product, describe the advantages and the problems it resolves. Try to write the warranty and comments from people or famous magazines too, they will provide legitimacy to your item and allow customers to purchase with confidence. You have lot of space to describe your product but don't lose your customers with too much technical details.
Amazon allows HTML content, you can play with bold/italics and the bullets too. A description properly presented will be easier to read than a bloc of text.
• The pictures are essential. It sounds obvious but it is really important to show pictures with the best quality. If we can zoom in, it's even better ! To make sure the product matches his expectations, the customer need to be able to imagine the product. As a professional seller you are allowed to upload three pictures. They should be different in order to give a complete picture of your item.
The product on the picture must be clear, close enough to see the details, and above all well lit. But beware : Amazon allows products pictures only on a white background ! It is also a good idea to show the product while being used, it allows the customer to picture himself using it. The buyers can post pictures too with their comments, ask your friends and family to take pictures of your products with their phones and to post them. More there is different pictures, better it is.
• And last, but not the least, Amazon offer a space for discussion between the buyer and the seller. Be reactive and answer your customer's questions as best as you can. You'll show to your customers you are serious if you answer quickly and effectively.
Your pictures must be clear and well lit
The bundling is offering several products for sale as one combined product. The extra product often doesn't work without the first one. A photo camera with an extra memory card or a TV with a warranty are perfect examples of bundling.
How can it help you to become the best seller on Amazon? It's quite simple, imagine an electronic product which is selling like hotcakes. The seller is already well established and you can't compete against him. Sell four batteries, necessary to function the device, in a bundle with the first product ! It will sell better than the original offer, because the customers want their device to function right away !
There is lot of examples of bundles, to sell extra razor blades with a razor, cleaning products with a pair of sunglasses, etc.
"Frequently bought together" can give you ideas of bundles
Amazon is very severe with his sellers and require from hem a customer service as good or even better than his own customer service. When there is problem you should fix it right away before the customer contact you.
Amazon will completely block your account and your money if something is wrong, they might even forbid you to do business on their platform forever if you are not careful.
Amazon rules are :
Defective product's rate must be lower than 1%
Order cancellation before processing the order's rate must be lower than 2,5%
The shipping delay's rate must be lower than 4%
Amazon policy is clear : the customer is always right.
Don't neglect your customer service
Amazon isn't the only marketplace, there is also Etsy, Ebay, Bonanza, etc. Lot of sellers are on several marketplaces at the same time in order to maximize their sales. You should give it a try once you feel comfortable with Amazon.
September 21, 2017 by Nicole