(This article was originally published on September 15th, 2015. We’ve update it for accuracy and completeness.)
At the beginning of 2019, third-party sellers on Amazon sold 53% of all paid units. While there are over a million sellers on Amazon, only few end up building successful businesses. Amazon is a competitive selling space driven by product visibility and price.
Whether you’re new to Amazon selling or not, you can use our top 10 Amazon selling tips to step up your game.
Top 10 Amazon Selling Tips
Here’s our list of the top 10 Amazon selling tips to help sellers increase their online sales.
1. Optimize Product Details for Search
Amazon sells more than 12 million products. Consumers must search, find and compare all these products before they decide to buy.
Amazon makes this simple by allowing buyers to continually drill down their initial search by different product attributes. Think how a customer can go from Women’s shoes > Loafers and Slip-Ons > Sperry’s > Top Sider > Tan > Size. A customer can also type in very specific product information like “AC Power Cord Cable for VIZIO LCD TV 10 feet”.
Either way, that customer can narrow down to the exact item they’re looking for. The challenge for Amazon sellers then is making sure your products show up at the top of those product searches.
Amazon uses your product information and details to match a customer’s search to your items. Therefore, it’s critical that you provide Amazon accurate product information, and as much of it as you can.
This includes product title, description, product identifiers, search terms, size, color, etc. Don’t skim on this type of information. This is how customers find your products and know they’re buying the right thing.
Managing all your product information can be overwhelming. There’s a lot that goes into organizing and optimizing your product descriptions according to Amazon’s guideline. Many sellers opt to use tools like a Product Information Management (PIM) application to manage all their product data. Tools like these become even more pertinent when selling across multiple marketplaces.
2. Use Competitive Pricing
Many customers shop on Amazon to find the lowest price. Seller must know what prices you’re competing against and how to list products at a competitive price.
If you’re not selling unique items, be prepared to do some research on what items like yours are selling for. Having a lower price can help your items show up at the top of search results.
You can use Amazon’s Match Low Price feature to help you continually match lowest prices on Amazon for your products. The tool allows you to set your own preferences so that you always compete on price.
3. Take Professional Product Images
When buying online, it’s crucial that customers can physically see what they’re going to buy. Sellers should have multiple, fresh photos to showoff the items they’re selling. Grainy photos taken years ago with a cell phone aren’t going to cut it anymore.
Professional photos help build trust with your consumers. They’ll know you’re a professional seller that they can count on to deliver the products they want.
Be sure to check out Amazon’s product image guidelines. These should help specify quality and image size needed. You can also read more about product photography tips to ensure you produce high-quality photos.
4. Try to Own the Buy Box
All sellers strive to own the Amazon Buy Box. Don’t know what that is? It’s the box on a product detail page where customers can begin the purchasing process by adding items to their shopping cart directly. So, those who win the Buy Box often see an increase in sales.
The buy box is critical for sellers that offer the same products sold by multiple sellers. You’re competing with them for the Buy Box.
What makes winning the Buy Box difficult is that Amazon uses a top-secret algorithm to determine whose products are shown in the Buy Box.
While we can’t tell you the exact steps you need to take to win the box, we do know that low price, inventory availability, fulfillment options, seller ratings, and positive customer reviews are all important factors in winning.
Check out Amazon’s (vague) tips on how to increase your chances of winning the buy box – I wasn’t kidding that the algorithm is top-secret.
Bonus Tip: If you create a unique item bundle (like 3 related skincare products), you’re going to win the Buy Box every time.
5. Work to Continually Improve Your Performance
Your Amazon business isn’t going to run yourself. If you’re serious about selling large volumes of your items, you’ll need to monitor your performance regularly. In this way, you can continually improve your efforts.
Pay attention to your sales (both increasing and decreasing), return rate, and seller rating. All of these are important in determining where you have room for improvement.
6. Consider Using Fulfillment by Amazon
Fast, accurate fulfillment is a critical when selling online. If you can’t deliver orders to customers, you’re not going to be in business long. The problem is that fulfillment is also usually a sore point for sellers.
You can fulfill orders yourself, but you may also want to consider using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). FBA is a service offered by Amazon in which they fulfill your orders for you. FBA allows you to provide your customers with the same level of fulfillment service that Amazon is famous for.
However, FBA isn’t for everyone. In some cases, you might find that the fees are too high for its advantages. If you’re not sure, read our article to find out if FBA is worth the cost for your business.
7. Follow Amazon’s Rules
This should be an easy one. Just follow the rules.
You’re not going to get away with cutting corners and trying to “take advantage of Amazon.” It’s also good to keep up to date with policies so that you don’t make any honest mistakes.
When you don’t follow the rules, your account will be penalized or even suspended.
Freshen up on Amazon’s selling policies here.
8. Leverage Product Reviews to Your Advantage
Product reviews can go either way for sellers. Great reviews can attract more buyers. Bad reviews can quickly lead to a decrease in trust and sales. The hardest part about reviews is that they aren’t required, and you can’t control what people say.
But, that’s also the exact reason why customers often turn to reviews before they make a purchase. It’s in your best interest to monitor and seek customers to leave positive reviews of your products.
One of the best ways to increase reviews is to simply ask customers to do so.
I’ve bought many items from Amazon that I then received an email from the seller asking me to leave a review. These types of emails are a great way to start a conversation with your customers to monitor how their buying experience was with you. It also gives you a chance to fix problems, before the nasty review is ever left.
Customer reviews really can make or break your success when selling on Amazon.
Lastly, we can’t take about reviews without mentioning the elephant in the room. Amazon does (and probably always will) have an issue with the volume of fake reviews on their site. As a seller, you’re always going to have fight products (especially electronics) who push their way to the top with hundreds of unverified 5-star reviews.
While you can’t do much about it as a seller, never resort to the tactic yourself. Trust that your customers will be able to spot fake reviews and report faulty products that had 5-stars. Unfortunately, sellers must leave it to Amazon to do a better job of dealing with the fake review economy that continues to intensify. Their trust with customers is also on the line.
9. Make Customer Service a Top Priority
Customer service can go a long way when shopping online. It’s how you interact with customers and shows that there’s a human on the other end of the computer.
Customer service is important for customer retention and turning first-time buyers into lifelong customers. Customers like to shop with sellers that they know will go extra the mile to make sure that their needs are met.
When selling on Amazon, this means responding to customer inquiries, quickly dealing with disputes in a professional matter, and handling returns with ease. In short, always put the customers’ needs first.
For some companies, proper customer service process can mean a lot of extra work. One of the benefits of using FBA is that Amazon handles returns and customer service for you. Take this into account if you’re considering using FBA.
10. Manage Amazon Inventory Proactively
As with selling anything online, you need to proactively manage your inventory. Nothing’s worse than when you sell someone an item online that you don’t physically have the stock for.
If you do this on Amazon, your account most likely will be suspended.
Item availability is also important for winning the Buy Box. Amazon considers how many items you have left, and how quickly you’re selling them.
It’s important to stay on top of your inventory levels to avoid overselling. Read how managing your Amazon inventory can help you maximize your earnings.
Bonus: Integrate Amazon with Your Other Systems
We didn’t think 10 tips were quite enough, so we’ve added a bonus one.
While Amazon may be one of your most important sales channels, it might not be your only one. You could be selling on your own webstore or other marketplaces like eBay.
When this is the case, you should consider integrating your sales channels like Amazon with any of your backend systems like an ERP or Accounting system. Integration allows you to sync data like your inventory, orders, items, customers and shipping/tracking information between Amazon and your other systems. By automating these processes, you eliminate the need for manual data entry which causes delayed data processing time and costly errors.
This is what nChannel does. We provide a cloud-based system integration platform that connects Amazon with other marketplaces or eCommerce platforms like Shopify and your ERP, POS or 3PL systems. Read more on how nChannel integrates Amazon with your other systems and how it improves your operations, and ultimately, your customer experience.
Everything You Need to Know about Amazon Guide
That’s it. Those are top 10 Amazon selling tips. To keep on learning how you can be successful when selling on Amazon, check out our FREE guide that tells you everything you need to know about selling on Amazon.