Start and grow your Amazon business - Interview with an Amazon veteran

Posted on 6 February, 2017

When it comes to selling online, everyone wants to grab a piece of pie from Amazon.  Selling on Amazon can be overwhelming if you are just getting started. A seller who is just getting started on Amazon has many questions in mind like: 

  • Which product to sell?
  • Where to find the suppliers?
  • What should be the pricing strategy?
  • How to get the product ranked on top of the search results?
  • How to increase the conversion rate?
  • How to scale up the sales?
  • How to manage the inventory and cash flow?
  • To go for FBA or fulfill as a merchant?

And many more….

What everyone probably does when they have this question is google it, go through a bunch of articles which talks about the exact same thing, get the solution, implement it and forget it. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. All those articles out there helps you get started and don’t define the exact path of success. Let’s face it, if there was a ‘Secret sauce to success on Amazon’ no one would ever give it out.

I have had the opportunity to interview one of our clients who is making it big on Amazon and handling 1500+ orders a day. He requested to be anonymous but answered every question with the utmost details. In this article, I am going to cover the pieces of advice he gave to me when I asked him the above listed questions. So the tips and strategies which I am going to list are tested and working.

Every Amazon seller faces different problems and have different questions depending upon their level of sales. I will divide them in 3 levels.

Level 1: Sellers who are just getting started and having a few sales a day (1-2) or waiting for their first sale.
Level 2: Sellers who are already getting few sales per day (10-12) but want to scale it up.
Level 3: Seller who have already scaled and having more sales than level 2 but are facing inventory issues and cash flow issues to scale things even more.

Level  1

Level 1 is when you are just getting started, and you are looking for products to sell profitably. What most people do is that they go to Alibaba, search for some random product and check their price, search that product on Amazon and make profit calculations. That’s it.

Only if it were this easy. The right approach here is to start with a product niche you already have knowledge of. Sure, other niche may be more profitable but as you are just starting, you need to have a solid profile and product. If there is a niche you already know about, go for it first and then expand later.

A lot of Amazon sellers are doing private labeling these days and most of them make the same mistake of having the exact same product and fight on prices which leaves them with no revenue. Private labeling works, but don’t get the exact same product. Make some small changes to it and make it unique, the prices will be a bit higher, so will be the sales.

If you are into Private labeling, make sure that your products stand out from the rest. Make the product unique, offer a value added services (like a recipe book) with the product for free, have a unique or creative packaging and highlight it with the product. Make a better product listing; invest in product videos and photos to make your listing stand out.

There is a small hack to check if the product you are thinking of will work in your target market or not, this works when you don’t have time to do the basic product research. Buy that particular product from Ali express in small quantity and start selling that. It will cost you more than the wholesale price and you might even not make profit on them but it will give you important data if the product will work or not. If it is a product on which you have to work hard to get a few sales and still it does not give the desired results, it is not worth it.

Level 2

Level 2 is when you want to scale things up. You want to get more sales, reviews and bring your product on top of the search results. Getting more sales is connected with the number of reviews and rank on the search results.

Amazon’s algorithm is not as complex as Google. Amazon wants to make the most revenue out of every click. What this means is that they will show those products on top of search results which will bring them most revenue.  Amazon shows those products at the top which a customer is most likely to buy.

Three pillars of Amazon’s search algorithm are:

  • Conversion Rate
  • Relevancy
  • Customer Satisfaction and retention

Conversion Rate: You can get the conversion rate data into the business reports from your Amazon seller central account. A higher conversion rate clearly indicates that customers are more likely to buy that product over the products with low conversion rate. 

Relevancy: A product is considered relevant if the search query matches your product. Include proper keywords in your title, descriptions, technical specification to make your product relevant. Make the most out of the search terms field and include every possible relevant keyword.

Relevancy Hack: This is one of the ways through which amazon determines the relevancy of a search term.

Let’s say I am searching for a smart watch. My obvious keyword is, ‘Smart Watch’. I get a list of products and I select click on one of them. The URL of that particular product looks like this:

https://www.amazon.com/Sweatproof-Monitor-iPhone-Android-SmartPhones-Silver/dp/B01NALS279/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1486188144&sr=8-4&keywords=smart+watch

If you notice, Amazon has appended keywords at the end and this is the way they are tracking every click. If I buy that particular product, Amazon will think that the product is highly relevant as there was a sale made on it. So the next time a person searches for the same term, Amazon will likely show it at the top of the search results.

#HACK

  1. Construct a URL for your product using [&keyword=your+keyword] query. Replace the keyword with your keywords.
  2. Use a link shortening service to make the URL more shareable
  3. Drive traffic

Every sale you make with that URL, you will make Amazon think that the listing is more relevant for that particular keyword.

To bring in more reviews, write to every customers who have placed an order to give you a review. You can use automated tools like Feedbackz and Jumpsend.  These tools will send customers a mail asking for the review automatically. You can giveaway your products on Jumpsend as a part of promotion to their wide customer base. Giving away product for a low price is not against Amazon’s terms and conditions. But giving away a product for a really low price and asking for a positive review in return is. If you give away a product for a low price, most customers will reciprocate with a good review. This is how you get started on getting reviews to your product listing.

If you follow the above steps, it will give a boost to your sales and scale your operations by a small amount. At this step, you can start using Amazon ads to give your products more visibility and increase sales.

Level 3

At level 3 you want to scale your operations even more and also keep the cash flow and inventory synchronized. At this point, you already have got reviews on your products and a good position in search results. The main objective at this level is to increase sales.

To scale at level 3, you must have a data driven approach to increase sales. If you have a product listing there are many sellers and all of them are fighting for the buy box, you have to frequently keep on changing prices of your product to get into the buy box. This task can get cumbersome if you have a wide inventory, to tackle this situation you can use repricing apps like FeedvisorRepricerexpress  or Xsellco. What these tools does is that they automatically change the prices of the products based on the prices of other sellers so that you appear in the buy box. You can give a minimum and maximum threshold so that you don’t make any loss. 

To take this process even further, you can A/B test the price and the product landing page with the help of tools like Splitly. Splitly helps you test different variations of prices and the landing pages to find out the pages with the best conversion rate. Higher conversion rate means higher sales and better search position.

When you scale your operations, the major problem you face is of business and inventory. Having your product out of stock can hurt your product ranking so you don’t want your products to be out of stock. Most of the amazon sellers who reach this level make the mistake of not planning the inventory well in advance. The result of this is lower sales and cash flow. To avoid issues of inventory running out of stock, you need to plan everything in advance. If you don’t have an ERP system, get it implemented and connect it with your Amazon stores.

If you are just getting started, the best solution is to implement Odoo and integrate Amazon with the help of Amazon Odoo connector.  This implementation will help you manage your inventory and forecasts your stock requirement; it can even integrate your purchase orders. This helps to integrate everything under one dashboard and help you make data driven decisions. It can even help you manage all your stores within one system to help you save time.


At Emipro, we specialize in integrating your Amazon business with Odoo and shape it in a way that it helps your business grow. Contact us to know more about what we can offer to help you scale your business to the next level.


Shetul Majithiya , Digital Marketing Executive

Biznote

About Emipro

Being an emerging leader in IT market since 2011, Emipro Technologies Pvt. Ltd. has been providing a wide range of business solutions in Odoo & Magento. We are pleased to have a large pool of contented customers with our meticulous work in the domain of ERP & e-Commerce. Our customers are companies of all sizes ranging from startups to large enterprises who realize that they need a professional internet solution to generate revenue streams, establish proper communication channels, to achieve desired goals and streamline business operations. [....] Read More

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