For the past couple of weeks, I have been learning the basics (and advanced procedures) of listing products on Amazon. Through my research and time spent entering product descriptions, navigating the many rules, and updating product images, I have compiled a list of tips and tricks that can both increase your e-commerce business on Amazon, as well as make your life much easier.
For those living under a rock, Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer. It is interesting to know that over 45% of all items sold on Amazon come from third-party sellers, even though most believe they are buying actual Amazon products. Amazon’s rules and regulations, standard practices, and technicalities can be quite challenging to understand. However, there are many ways to help one make the most of their time while listing products on Amazon.
Choosing How to Sell
You can register to Sell as an Individual or to Sell as a Professional, and both have their differences.
As an individual seller, Amazon will charge you 15% commission plus 99¢ per sale, and no monthly subscription is needed. You may use spreadsheets, feeds, and other tools to load inventory and sell in 20+ open categories, although, you will not have access to order reports, order-related feeds, top placement on product detail pages, and customized shipping rates.
To become a professional seller, one must pay a $39.95 monthly subscription; however, you are not charged the extra 99¢ per sale (only the 15% commission). As a professional seller, you can earn top placement on product detail pages, sell in over 20 open categories (and apply to sell in 10+ more), and are allowed to create listings for products that are not currently on Amazon. Additionally, you can take advantage of promotions, are eligible for placement in the Buy Box, and can create product bundles.
Which is Right for You?
As it only takes selling about 40 items a month to break even on the professional seller fee, the decision on which to choose is relatively simple (if you plan on selling 40+ items a month).
FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) is when you store your products in Amazon’s fulfillment center. By doing this, Amazon will pack and ship your products, as well as provide customer service (refunds, communications, returns). The fees for FBA are higher, although merchandise often sells much faster and the cost of the shipping materials can offset most of the increased fees. Furthermore, the time saved from not having to package and ship your products can be spent in a better way, developing new products, researching new trends, or advertising.
Similar to other e-commerce platforms, Amazon has numerous rules and regulations. Although from my experience, Amazon’s rules and regulations are quite stable, unlike eBay’s constantly changing procedures. For further clarification, Amazon provides many helpful methods to assist your adaptation to their platform. If you can access your Amazon Seller Central account, this link should be your new best friend.
While not surprising, your interactions with customers matter a great deal with Amazon. Ensure that you always answer customer questions within 24-hours or a demerit against your account will be made; to help prevent this from happening, set up your account so that customer questions are forwarded to your customer service department whether they are at their computer or on their smartphone.
Receiving negative feedback (or even neutral), can and will happen; however, there are ways to potentially fix these issues when they occur. For example, sending an email apologizing for whatever happened and even offering a small Amazon gift card is an excellent step in the right direction. In an apologetic email, clearly stating how an error was made and how it will be prevented in the future can increase the likelihood of that individual removing the negative feedback or at least becoming a returning customer.
Learning the Language
More often than not, merchants who sell on Amazon talk about how foreign some of the acronyms are. Both learning and using these acronyms, as well as the overall language used on Amazon is crucial in developing a robust online business. For a sample of some of these abbreviations, the following are just a few of the most commonly used:
ACOS: Average Cost of Sales
ASP: Average Selling Price
ATOP: At Time of Posting
CCC: camelcamelcamel.com. Quite the odd name, but still a great tool; this is a website that tracks the price and sales rank history of Amazon products.
DS: Drop Shipping
FC: Fulfillment Center
FS: Financial Statements
ISBN: International Standard Book Number
MF: Merchant Fulfilled
The Buy Box is the box on the product detail page where customers take the first steps of the purchase process by adding items to their shopping carts. As one product can have numerous sellers, competing for being included in the Buy Box is a highly coveted position. To clarify, say a customer wants to purchase a product; out of the 20 sellers for that product, only 4 are shown on the product page.
So, how do you win the Buy Box? First, you should make sure you are eligible. Your product must have the same ASIN as the listing, have a lower price than other competitors (even 1¢ lower will do the trick), and you need to take part in FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon).
An essential task for anyone listing products on Amazon needs to be proper SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Along with seller ratings and prices, Amazon looks closely at the keywords used in product titles while ranking listings. With the 500-character limit, ensure that you include as many essential keywords as you can, such as description, brand, product line, color, material size, and quantity. There are several tools one can utilize to advance your use of keywords, such as the Amazon Keyword Tool and Google’s Keyword Planner Tool.
I could probably go on forever listing additional tips, tricks, and hacks for listing products on Amazon, however, the best way to learn Amazon is to just immerse yourself in it. I hope this information helps you increase your e-commerce business’s productivity, profit, and overall effectiveness.
Amazon. (2019). Amazon Services Business Solutions Agreement. Retrieved from https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/help.html?itemID=1791&language=en-US&ref=mpbc_1161302_cont_1791.