While simple in theory, the art of selling on Amazon is not so straightforward. Many guides claim to have the perfect sales approach, and although their strategy may be effective for some, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach when it comes to selling. This is because of the high number of variables that apply to each and every brand, from the product itself to the pool of potential buyers for that product and every minute differing factor in-between.
As such, it’s imperative that business leaders build an understanding of their brand, how long it has been around, whether it’s a recent newcomer to the online space after operating offline, whether the product itself is new, its price point, and more. To assist in forging this understanding, I’ve outlined the three groups brands on Amazon typically fit into. The first is Group A, which includes brands that have had a presence on Amazon for a year or more. Group B is made up of brands that have operated in the offline space for a number of years, and are now looking to build an eCommerce presence, and Group C, which includes brands that want to launch new products with Amazon as the primary distribution channel.
Once you have worked out which group your brand belongs to, you can tailor your selling strategy accordingly. Below are a number of tailored tips for each group, as well as essential advice applicable to all groups. Read on to learn more.
Group A: Existing Brands on Amazon
A number of established sellers on Amazon have found they don’t perform as well as their competitors, and there’s an infinite number of reasons as to why this might be the case. The one topping the list for many existing brands on Amazon is in the interface they are using to make sales.
Amazon has two interfaces for brands: Vendor Central and Seller Central. Many companies only registered for one or the other, and this is a mistake because each interface has different strengths. As such, brands should adopt a hybridized approach and make it a goal to register for each interface.
Through doing this, brands can increase profitability by:
• Ensuring that all items are available and buyable, not just the top-selling items
• Gaining a better understanding of the profitability of each platform, and capitalizing on which platform is more effective
• Preventing the loss of capital on shortage claims and chargebacks
• Avoiding pricing constraints through the ability to control retail pricing
Group B: Previously Offline Brands Entering the Online Space
Many brands start out offline and build a following before moving online to take advantage of a wider potential consumer base, but capitalizing on this momentum isn’t quite as simple as listing the product. There are a number of easy steps brands can take to accelerate sales when building from a minimal presence. The first is to ensure your brand is claimed on Amazon through Brand Registry. Once this is completed, it’s important to track down any potential distributors of your product or resellers to capitalize on the work they have already done through adding offers relevant to their existing listings.
An equally important aspect of selling on Amazon is keeping across reviews and ratings. Every time a poor review is submitted, Amazon will drop your position in the search results. Because of this, it’s imperative to be agile in addressing customer complaints and poor reviews, as Amazon won’t adjust your position until positive reviews start flowing in again.
Group C: Upstart Brands Looking to Use Amazon as a Primary Distribution Channel
Over the last decade, selling on Amazon has been recognized as a viable way to launch and grow a business. Because of this, many people have attempted to start brands and sell products via Amazon with very little experience. For those sellers, or those looking to launch their own brand on Amazon, there are a number of key things to consider before jumping aboard. The first is to understand the market you’re looking to enter and research the products that are popular right now, the categories which have sustained demand, and the competition for each. The aim here is to work out which products will sell, which have the least competition, and which will have the best margins. After this, it’s as simple as sourcing and listing the product.
The most viable brands are those that start small and grow sustainably. After listing, focus on any insights around sales and react accordingly. Once your product has hit critical mass in terms of reviews and ratings, energy and capital can be redirected to marketing and promotions to increase your customer base. This strategy is one that can be repeated for each new product, and has the potential to ensure all product launches are successful.
Amazon Seller Essentials
There are a number of essential actions every seller, regardless of where they land within their grouping, should take to maximize their chance of long-term success. The most obvious is branding and marketing. After all, we’re living in the Instagram era where consumers are increasingly attracted to aesthetically pleasing layouts and engaging visual brand narratives. As such, creating beautiful, detailed page images, A+ pages, and brand pages has the potential to improve conversions and create more cross-selling opportunities.
Although establishing a brand and maximizing sales can be a challenge for anyone selling on Amazon, it’s not impossible. By forging a complete understanding of your brand, understanding your customers, adopting a hybridized approach, establishing clear and aesthetically pleasing product collateral, and keeping on top of customer reviews and ratings, any Amazon seller can maximize their long-term profits and overall success.
The author, Arjun Narayan, is CEO at SalesDuo.