Every day, millions of customers worldwide use Amazon to buy everything imaginable. Yet Amazon does not encourage personalized online stores when compared to other eCommerce platforms… So how do you set yourself apart from the masses?
Choose your niche
Find a category you are interested in selling in and start checking out the market prices of related items on Amazon. “Jewelry” is a broad term, “rings” a little more specific, “gemstone rings” further narrows the field… and so on. Gaps in the market let you sell more by carving a niche without having to compete with name brands which usually sell on Amazon as well.
Know your market
At this point, you need to start thinking about your brand. What’s the persona of your ideal customer? Model your ideal customer on people you know who fit the profile of your target market. Be as detailed as possible – some questions to consider are:
- her age
- where he lives
- whether she’s working
- his disposable income
- what she values… the list goes on
Putting yourself in the customer’s mind will help you maximize your sales profit on Amazon.
First impressions matter
Given that Amazon functions as a closed system that doesn’t encourage links to personal websites, the best way to beat the competition is to look better than them.
Good first impressions = higher sales. Suppliers have stock photos, and it's tempting to use them – but don’t! These stock photos tend to be of lower resolution, making for fuzzy photos. Pay a photographer if you need to for high-resolution images. According to Amazon, “zoom has proven to enhance sales.” (Amazon Ebay Seller Notes, ebook)
Amazon gives you a title (100 characters) and five search terms (50 characters each) to describe your product. So maximize these characters! Think about what your buyer persona would search for, and put the keywords in the title. Amazon recommends ensuring that the title includes:
- Brand and description
- Product line
- Material or key ingredient
After all, when you’re searching for a product on an eCommerce marketplace, typing in a list of attributes and hitting “enter” is the fastest way to find what you want. So, for the 5 search terms options available, try to include as many related words to describe your your product as possible to help you generate the maximum number of leads.
Also, Amazon has five bullet points on product features, which are aggregated from the most relevant and comprehensive information on a certain product sold on Amazon. Instinctively, most people don’t want to benefit their business rivals by writing good product information… but if no one does it, everyone loses. Customers don’t know or care about Amazon’s policies; they won’t buy a product which they know nothing about.
By keeping product features general, Amazon is becoming a one-stop destination for online shoppers. In fact, research has proven that Amazon is the preferred starting point for product search, with 55% of shoppers choosing Amazon because of the large volume of helpful customer reviews!
Customer reviews offer you the opportunity to distinguish yourself from your competitors, so when it comes to getting customers to leave a review, get started with providing them with a great shopping experience by offering them accurate, precise, and timely information. Once they've received your product, it's time to send them a personalized follow-up email thanking them for their purchase (along with a request for a review).
Amazon is preferred by shoppers for their fast and reliable shipping, and as an Amazon Marketplace Seller, you are bound to the same expectations. Amazon offers the “Fulfillment By Amazon” option for Marketplace Sellers, where you can ship your inventory to Amazon, who then handles all the packing and shipping details for you from the moment an order is placed. The biggest advantage of Amazon FBA is the shipping guarantees: Amazon takes care of your products from the time they reach Amazon’s warehouses to the point they’re delivered to the customer’s doorstep.
But as an independent seller, cost is definitely a primary concern, and to help you decide whether the FBA costs are worth it, Amazon has provided a Fulfillment by Amazon Revenue Calculator.
If you’d prefer to ship orders from your own holdings, be careful of expensive shipping charges – these will send prospective customers hitting the back button to search for cheaper options.
Always, always remember to keep your promises. It’s great to deliver early, but a late delivery will result in an unhappy customer. Happy customers do come back for more!
Above all else…
Respect your customers. They are searching for an answer that best fits them – be it a prom dress or gifts for a baby shower. Diffuse any tension and tackle any questions with as much kindness as you can muster.
After all, as the saying goes, a little kindness goes a long way.