Amazon has exploded into the largest ecommerce platform and a major sales and marketing channel for a range of businesses. One recent statistic: Amazon revenue on Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving increased 74.5 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to CPC Strategy. And Amazon reports that almost half of all products sold on the site come from Marketplace Sellers.
Amazon offers businesses a cost-effective way to reach an enormous audience. Almost any business can create an Amazon account to sell its wares through the site. If they opt for Fulfillment by Amazon, Amazon warehouses stock their products, ship, and handle all customer service and returns. However, just tacking a digital shingle on the site is unlikely to move much merchandise. Competition is tough. Price is often the only differentiating factor. Experts urge businesses to only promote products with sufficient margin and to account for inventory, order fulfillment and overhead expenses in establishing pricing.
Unless you have a unique product you created yourself, someone else will likely be selling the same product(s) as you on Amazon. Price competition can be fierce. As with any channel, businesses need top-notch marketing skills and a sound marketing strategy to rise above the competition, win attention and persuade customers to click on the purchase button. Amazon marketing recommendations can consume a book, but these are some of the most important factors, according to leading marketers.
The Title. The title is one of the most important elements of an Amazon product detail page. A good title succinctly and accurately describes the product and its benefits within Amazon’s 150-250-character limit.
Keywords in the title help the product rank, but don’t stuff the title so full of keywords that it doesn’t make sense. Consider tools such Merchant Words, Google Keyword Planner and Simple Keyword Inspector to find relevant keywords and to estimate search volume, says Kevin Rizer at Big Commerce. You can also begin typing in a keyword in Amazon’s search bar, and look at the results that populate below as ‘recommended’ search terms. Others also suggest Amazon’s Keyword Tool to optimize listing titles.
Key parts of title include:
- The brand name,
- Name of the product,
- Any distinguishing features such as color, size or use.
Images. Images, perhaps more than anything else, can cause a shopper to either click on your listing or to keep scrolling.
Include images from all angles possible, but don’t use inferior images just to fill all allowed spaces. Amazon requires the main image to be against a plain, white background, but allows for other image types on secondary images.
The platform requires that images be a minimum of 1,000 by 1,000 pixels to take advantage of its zoom feature, which allows buyers to scroll over an image to enlarge it. “This is a popular feature with Amazon buyers, so take advantage of it,” Rizer says.
Bullet points. Bullet points also offer a key opportunity to seal the deal. Amazon permits five spaces for bullet points, but that does not mean you are limited to five words or even five sentences.
To maximize the use of bullets, use a short paragraph of two to four sentences and focus on the features and benefits of your product, Rizer suggests. Address any common questions or objections that might cause someone not to buy. Remember to update these often.
One recommended formula: In the first three bullet points, drive home your product’s most important features. In the fourth and fifth bullet points, answer common questions or respond to common objections. Update bullet points, and maybe even the title, to respond to complaints and review comments.
Product descriptions. To write Amazon product descriptions that convert customers, Pilar Newman at A Better Lemonade Stand recommends:
- Discuss the features and benefits: Present product features alongside their relevant consumer benefits.
- Solve a problem: Reference the problem you are solving with your product
- Make it relatable: Frame a picture in the consumer’s mind of how this product can be relevant to them.
- End with a strong call to action. Invite the customer to buy.
Take advantage of the basic HTML that Amazon allows in product descriptions to create bold, italics, quotes and other simple formatting to avoid long blocks of text, Rizer suggests. HTML formatting can highlight certain words or phrases and make the description easier to read.
Getting to the first purchase. New products are generally buried in the search results. Quickly winning the first few orders gives the product a valuable boost in rankings and gain organic visibility, Newman says. If you’ve previously sold the product elsewhere and have a customer list available, use the list for the Amazon product launch. Emailing your customer list a specially discounted Amazon coupon code can help generate initial sales.
Promote the products on your blog, website, other websites and social media. “You aren’t allowed to market people away from Amazon, but you can absolutely market outside to bring customers to your Amazon store,” says Jami Deloe at Ecomdash.
Feedback and reviews. Customer reviews and positive feedback are extremely important. Nearly 90% of buyers say that they trust online reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Yet only about 10% of Amazon buyers leave feedback after making a purchase. Strive to court organic reviews from customers who pay full price; Amazon now prohibits giving discounts in exchange for reviews. A tool like Feedback Five or Feedback Genius can help solicit feedback, manage reviews and increase feedback volume.
Know the rules and regulations. Make sure to understand and follow the platform’s many rules and regulations. “It’s important to the success of your business that you comply with them, because if they are broken, you run the risk of being suspended or having your account completely shut down,” Deloe advises. By following the rules and regulations you are on the right track to being able to increase amazon sales.
Consider advertising. Advertising on Amazon can greatly increase visibility and sales. “Paid advertising continues to grow in prevalence, importance, and complexity for brands on Amazon,’ states the 2019 Amazon Ads Guide from Search Engine Watch. “One only has to look at the evolution of Amazon’s search results pages to see how paid placements have assumed the dominant positions in front of shoppers.”
The Sponsored Products option displays products below search results or on the product detail pages. Advertisers have greater control over targeting customers, according to the guide. With product targeting, it’s easier to reach shoppers as they browse detail pages and filter search results.
Bottom Line: Amazon offers businesses a viable path for launching products and reaching customers. However, competitors may crowd the field, and customer attention can be fleeting. Success requires the right writing and marketing skills as well as business acumen. Pricing, too, is crucial on Amazon.
William J. Comcowich founded and served as CEO of CyberAlert LLC, the predecessor of Glean.info. He is currently serving as Interim CEO and member of the Board of Directors. Glean.info provides customized media monitoring, media measurement and analytics solutions across all types of traditional and social media.