As with any small business, the ultimate goals for Amazon sellers include growing and expanding your business. But with millions of products on the platform, it can be challenging to stand out from the competition and bring in customers to your online shop. However, there are several strategies you can implement to enhance your Amazon business and take it to the next level.
In this guide, we’ll explore eight proven ways to grow and expand your Amazon business. From engaging and connecting with customers to creating visually appealing listings and hiring the right partners and consultants, there are actionable tips that can make a significant impact on your business. Whether you’re just starting or looking to take your Amazon business to the next level, this post will help you get your ducks in a row to push forward and scale your successes.
We’ve all heard the phrase “the customer is always right” and while there’s some serious nuance missing, the core rings true. Customer reviews and engagement are incredibly valuable tools to understand what your customers like about your products, and what they’re still looking for. Feedback on your products and customer service can be used to make data-driven choices on how to best meet your customers’ needs in the future.
At a minimum, you should be responding to customers quickly and efficiently to help resolve issues with as little delay as possible. This includes providing refunds, returns, and exchanges in a wide variety of circumstances. Providing solid customer service helps customers to feel the value that they’re getting not only through their purchase but by deciding to make it with your business.
In addition to responding when your customers reach out to you, you should also be following up with them after they make a purchase. Although Amazon has strict guidelines regarding interactions with customers, you still have two options for requesting reviews: the “Request a Review” button found in Seller Central or Buyer-Seller Messaging email requests. Both channels have pros and cons, but regardless of which you choose, you should be at least making contact with buyers.
The “Request a Review” button can be found in the top right corner of the details page for each order. Pressing the button triggers an email to the buyer, sent directly from Amazon, asking them to leave a review or feedback. This email cannot be customized in any way, but it includes your store’s name, the product’s title, a product image, and two sets of stars to rate the product and the seller. There is also no way to track the open or conversion rates of this email, because it is all directly through Amazon, and buyers cannot reply to the email for help if they face technical difficulties.
Although this method does not allow direct contact between the buyer and seller, it is a simple and functional way to request reviews. It also guarantees that you remain 100% compliant with all of Amazon’s policies regarding review and feedback solicitation. You can determine what day and time to send the request anywhere between 5 and 30 days after the item has been delivered. In general, this button is convenient and easy to use, as well as risk-free for those worried about violating Amazon’s policies.
Requesting a review via Buyer-Seller Messaging, on the other hand, is done through direct messaging on your Amazon Seller account. If you choose to use this channel, be aware that it is your responsibility to write a message that complies with all of Amazon’s Communication Guidelines and if you fail to do so you risk facing restrictions to your Buyer-Seller messaging. You also face the risk of sending multiple or duplicate emails by mistake and possibly annoying your buyer.
However, Buyer-Seller Messaging requests are highly customizable and can include your seller logo and other important branding aspects. It can also be written in a more personal style that allows your customers to connect with the brand more easily. Buyer-Seller Messaging requests are especially useful for products that require product instructions or other content to complete the order. If something was to go wrong with your product or feedback requests, customers can reach out to you directly for support through this channel. If you’ve already established a strong brand identity that connects with customers or sell products that could benefit from a little assistance, Buyer-Seller Messaging requests will open a channel for the necessary conversations while still bringing in the feedback you want.
Regardless of how you engage, making sure that your customers feel valued by and connected to your business to ensure brand loyalty. Customers that have personal, high-quality experiences shopping are far more likely to return and make more purchases, as well as spread the knowledge of their satisfaction.
When shopping online, product images can make or break sales. By making sure that your product images are high quality, you guarantee that customers are getting the best view of products before they purchase them. Even the most high-quality items might come across as cheap or substandard when photos are blurry or pixelated. Also make sure to pay attention to the colors of your product in photographs, especially if your items are in a category where that matters like apparel or furniture.
Customers not only want to see the product that they’re considering purchasing to determine quality but to also gain a better understanding of functional components. When taking photographs of your products make sure to get photographs of anything that might be relevant to the customer, including pockets, drawers, buttons, and more. The more information you can convey through your photographs, the more informed choice a customer can make, and the more likely that they will be satisfied with their purchase.
High-quality images for your Amazon business don’t have to be expensive. Many sellers use DIY photographs that they’ve taken of their products and are immensely successful. Learn more about how to take your own product photos here.
Visibility of your Amazon store is critical to increasing your sales, as it is directly linked to your ability to reach new customers. Increasing your store’s visibility can be done in a variety of ways on and off of Amazon, as well as requiring only as much monetary investment as you are willing and able to give.
If you’re interested in pushing your products to the top results for a search, it might be worth investing in your marketing efforts. One great way to do this is through Amazon Sponsored Products, which operate on the pay-per-click (PPC) model and help push your ads to rank higher in search results and draw more customers to your store. A big advantage of this is that your products can avoid the costly and lengthy process it typically takes for an item to gain reviews and traction. Amazon Sponsored Products also appear in search results or other product pages, meaning that they’re placed in front of shoppers that are already prepped to make a purchase.
To use Amazon Sponsored products you first need to define a set of targeted keywords and products. By doing this, you’re making sure that your ad finds the right audience of customers who will consider your product relevant. Setting keywords also helps your ad to show up in results for search terms that are similar or vaguely related to your product, hopefully expanding your customer base to new shoppers.
There are two options for you to use in targeting your campaign: automatic and manual.
Automatic Targeting : If you choose to use automatic targeting, this gives Amazon control over the keywords and products that your campaign will target. Amazon chooses these by matching your ads with similar keywords and products. Although Amazon controls the keywords and products that your campaign targets, you can determine how closely matched your ads must be to targets.
Manual Targeting: With manual targeting, you have more direct control over keywords and products that your ad will target. This is a great option if you know the words that your customers are using to search with, or want to specifically target competitor brands or products.
As we mentioned, Amazon Sponsored Products operate on the PPC model but in order to determine placement on the search results page, Amazon uses a bidding process for sellers. Your bid represents how much you are willing to pay per click or per sale. Be careful to bid high enough that your ad appears above all your competitors, but not too high that you get stuck paying too much per click or sale.
There are several strategies to bidding for Amazon Sponsored Product ad placement, all of which require careful calculation and analysis.
Dynamic Bids (Down Only): With this bidding strategy Amazon will reduce your bid by up to 100% if a click is less likely to convert into a sale.
Dynamic Bids (Up and Down): By bidding with up and down dynamic bids, your bid can be reduced by up to 100% or raised up to 100% depending on the likelihood of the click converting into a sale.
Fixed Bids: Fixed bids are similar to your traditional bidding methods and cannot be adjusted by Amazon based on conversion.
By purchasing ads for your products on Amazon, you’ll push your products higher up in the search results and likely draw more customers to your store. Another way to increase your visibility is by investing in advertisements off of Amazon, like on social media channels or with the help of influencers. Influencers can be particularly useful in drawing customers to your store if they align with your brand because they are trusted as a source of authority and good taste.
In the Amazon eco-system, there’s a consultant for just about everything you could possibly think you need help with. When assessing a consultative approach to helping grow your business, it’s important to have a focus area. Do you need support in SEO? Advertising? Or are you looking to grow your business to the point of an exit? Understanding where a consultant can specifically help you will ensure you aren’t spending unnecessary time and dollars.
On the other hand, it never hurts to have a mentor in your business, and they can be a huge resource in guiding you toward successful growth. Having a mentor that has been through the ecommerce or Amazon journey helps to give you insider knowledge from someone who has grown a successful business before and knows the steps that it takes to make it work. These advisors won’t be free, but they will help you understand what your choices are and how to best make decisions.
Consultants and advisors have a wealth of knowledge that comes only from experience and as a result, can help you get a much better grasp on the big-picture factors.
Did you know Amazon is one of the largest search engines? And just like Google, Amazon has an algorithm, called A9, that it is constantly using to assess what makes a product fit the right search terms. A9 displays results based on the keywords or key terms entered into the search engine and shows results based on the customer’s past purchases, shopping preferences, and several other factors. We can’t know for sure exactly how A9 operates because it’s kept secret by Amazon, however, we can tell you that if you are able to push your product to a top result it will significantly help increase your sales.
Several known factors that influence A9’s search rankings are price, stock supply, text relevance, and sales velocity. Products that have a large price difference to competitors, items that are constantly running “out of stock,” and items whose listings aren’t fully optimized are likely to show up further down on the results. On the other hand, the more products that you sell, the more likely you are to climb the result rankings and become successful.
After a buyer searches for something on Amazon, the products will display on the results page in one of two ways: a list view or a gallery view. It’s important to get your product as high up on these results pages as possible because many products ranking after the first page will never be seen by potential buyers. Some buyers never even look past the first three listings, making it critical that your product is seen as quickly as possible.
Sponsored products can be seen on different pages of the search results, scattered in various locations. Normally sponsored products are seen on the top part of a product page, but they can also be combined and included amongst organic results. Sponsored product listings have to be optimized for Amazon SEO, too, in order to be listed on the first page of results, as mentioned above.
On the left side of the website, you can see “filter fields,” which break down into various filters such as product category, seller rating, shipment method, brand, color, etc. Amazon’s algorithm is so smart that it can distinguish between black or brown products, provided that the color is mentioned in the product listing copy. If the color isn’t listed in the product copy, the product cannot qualify to be displayed in the subset of the filter query. This is what makes optimizing your listing key to success: if you don’t optimize your product’s title and description, it likely won’t appear as often for customers and you’ll miss out on sales. These characteristics need to be specified as precisely as possible while categorizing your items in Seller Central.
Many SEO tactics may seem obvious at first, but it’s vital to make sure that you’re using the right wording with your products to drive traffic and attention.
With marketplaces like Amazon becoming saturated, it’s no longer enough to simply provide high-quality products— it’s important that you provide high-quality customer service as well that keeps customers returning time and time again. By providing value to your customer both through products and services you create loyal customers that not only continue to make purchases from your Amazon store but also have the potential to generate free advertising through word of mouth. For this reason, it’s important to keep customer value at the top of your mind when running your Amazon store.
Reliability and consistency are two of the most important factors in driving value for customers. They want your product to be there when they need it, and if it’s out of stock they’re going to move on and find the next option. Ensure that you’re ready for sales by planning and forecasting your budgets correctly to support your inventory needs. Running out of stock not only causes you a loss in sales, but also in traction for Amazon SEO purposes, and lower rankings on the search results page.
You also need to assess the timelines for all shipments. Having a very clear understanding of these timelines will help guarantee that the products are already present in the FBA fulfillment center, warehouse, or whatever location you execute and ship orders from when customers order them. This way a customer’s order can be executed quickly and with no delays. Time is money, and the ability to receive their orders quickly provides immense value to your customers.
It might sound cheesy, but in ecommerce, you often have to spend money to make money. Make sure that you’re spending money in the right places by budgeting strategically for your Amazon store. Ensuring that your business is prepared in advance starts with opening a business bank account and LLC to prepare for seeking funding. By separating your business and personal accounts you’re able to build credit for your business, rather than your business transactions being tied up in your personal finances. Having these ready for your business will also help you to avoid excess fees or missed refunds when tax season comes around.
Once you’ve made sure your personal and business finances are untangled, you can start to focus on prioritizing a healthy cash flow for your business. Cash flow is essential to keeping your business operating at a happy and healthy level, which means that if you want to grow your business it’s absolutely critical. Not only do you need money moving throughout your business at all times, but you also need to understand how and where that money is moving. Start thinking about how you can optimize your accounts receivable and accounts payable processes to improve your cash management.
Due to Amazon’s payout schedule and timelines sellers are required to wait before they can access their earnings, it is often worthwhile for sellers to look into funding options or partners. (Remember how we said having a business bank account and LLC can be useful? This is one of those reasons.) The right funding partner for your business will understand seasonality and the ever-changing nature of sales on Amazon. A good partner can also help you forecast what your cash flow will look like, allowing you to make data-driven decisions about when is the right time to purchase inventory or launch a new product.
In the last few years, Amazon businesses have changed dramatically– the platform is constantly evolving to meet the demands of both customers and sellers, on top of continuously growing. Almost anyone can open a store on Amazon today, meaning that the market has become increasingly competitive. What worked yesterday won’t necessarily bring you to the next level today.
To stay competitive, make sure that you’re constantly re-evaluating how you approach your marketing, operations, and customer service. Stay in touch with customers through social media and monitor online conversations about your brand and products to gain insight into your customers. Additionally, keeping up to date with new tools that are available to you, such as Chat GPT, and using them to your advantage can help to keep your business relevant and polished.
In this day and age, it’s important to develop a brand that customers can connect with, even as an Amazon seller. On top of that, maintaining a good grasp of cash flow is equally as important to your business’s health and continued growth. Growing an Amazon store can be overwhelming, but there’s a wide variety of tools, partners, and services to help you along the way.
Viably can help you discover valuable financial insights for your Amazon store and utilize them to grow your business through working capital and happier funding. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you grow your Amazon store!