11 Secrets to Amazon SuccessHow Online Retailers Can Get Ahead on the Amazon Marketplace

If you’re an online retailer, you’re already familiar with the selling power of Amazon.

With more than 310 million active user accounts and 44% of all online retail sales in the US going through Amazon, this e-commerce giant’s influential position continues to expand.

But for brands and retailers that want to succeed on Amazon, simply listing your products on the site is not nearly enough. In addition to being proactive and up-to-date with Amazon’s ever-evolving trends and requirements, you must also take steps to ensure your products and brand stay one step ahead of competitors’.

In this eBook, we’ll share some of the most important strategies that online retailers and manufacturing brands should employ to succeed on Amazon.

Prefer the PDF version of this eBook? Download the 11 Secrets to Amazon success here.

Secret 1: Optimize Your Search Terms and Listings

Before consumers can buy your products, they have to find them in the Amazon search results. Deliberate, detailed and accurate product data can help ensure that happens.

When writing your product listings, put yourself in the minds of consumers. What are they looking for, and how are they going to search for it? Several best practices can help in identifying the ideal mix of keyword combinations:

  • Research. Start by doing a search for a similar product to see what listings come up high in the rankings, and to find words you may not be using already.
  • Stick to Amazon’s 60-character limit for product titles. Use only highly relevant, accurate keywords that help describe your brand, product name, key features, colors, sizes and quantity.
  • Don’t focus on repeating title keywords in your description. Amazon already factors those into search results.
  • Only use terms that describe your specific product. Amazon doesn’t permit third-party brands or trademarks as search terms.
  • Use hidden keywords, where appropriate. The optional hidden key field is an opportunity to use synonyms, acronyms, abbreviations and other alternatives that consumers may be using to find your products.

Amazon Search

More than half (56%) of online shoppers start their product searches on Amazon. It’s the primary method used by consumers to locate items, so the more you match your listings to their search preferences, the greater your chances of success.

Secret 2: Participate in Prime

There’s no doubt about it: Amazon Prime members are big spenders. More than 100 million consumers purchase nearly double what non-members do as they navigate Prime privileges like free two-day shipping, photo storage and streaming video and music.

Through Prime, Amazon has created a consumer relationship where it pays to buy more: In an effort to get greater value from the $119 annual fee, members find themselves browsing and buying more often. A recent report on Amazon user behavior found that 85% of Prime members visit the marketplace at least once a week, compared with just 56% of non-Prime members. Nearly a third go to the site daily.

They buy more often, too: While 13% of non-Prime members make Amazon purchases on a weekly basis, that number more than triples with Prime members. People who opt into the program are also much more likely to browse deals and daily discounts. And then there’s the annual Prime Day, which continues to shatter sales records every July by offering deals exclusively to members.

When you find yourself among an abundance of competitors on Amazon, offering the opportunity to order your item via Prime could be the deciding factor in winning the sale.

So, how do you get in on the Prime action? Enter success secret #3…

Secret: 3 Choose the Right Fulfillment Option

Two options offer access to the golden shelves of Amazon Prime: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP). While both allow you to sell on Amazon Prime, each includes a unique set of features.

Fulfillment by Amazon, as the name suggests, means your orders are completely fulfilled by Amazon. You send a portion of your inventory to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, where it’s stored until a customer decides to buy it. Amazon then picks, packs and ships the items directly to consumers for you. FBA also manages customer support and returns, and keeps your inventory secure and insured against possible losses or damages.

With Seller Fulfilled Prime, fulfillment is in your hands. Customers will purchase through Amazon Prime as usual, but your company ships the items directly with no intervention from Amazon. You use the Amazon Prime brand name and shipping rules, but it’s up to you to pick, pack and ship to Prime members. Keep in mind that you’re also responsible for returns, which are automatically authorized by Amazon. FBA and SFP offer different advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to vet the two options carefully against your business needs and goals.

Strive for the Buy Box

You probably know how important the Buy Box is on Amazon. And with only one Buy Box available per item, you’ll find yourself competing with a number of other retailers all trying to win it. The Buy Box is located on a product’s page — where a consumer starts the purchase process — and is highly visible. To win the Buy Box, you must meet Amazon’s criteria in a number of areas. Although Amazon closely protects the exact formula for calculating the Buy Box, it takes into consideration:

  • A competitive price
  • A positive customer feedback metric
  • Fast and efficient delivery
  • Volume of inventory
  • Low refund and return rates

Though it generally takes some time for a new seller to build up a sales history that will win them the Buy Box, focusing on these aspects is good for business regardless of the marketplace. They’ll not only help to increase your sales but will also contribute to your customers’ overall satisfaction.

Amazon Buy Box

Secret 5: Maximize Advertising Opportunities

If you really want to boost your visibility and increase sales, Amazon advertising is a must. But this is one marketplace where a simple manual campaign isn’t likely to cut it. Successful sellers know to look beyond the basics of keyword selection to create a truly strong strategy — one that’s virtually guaranteed to get your products in front of the right people at the right times. Successful sellers tend to take advantage of multiple ad types, including:

Sponsored Products, which can be used to promote individual listings. Keyword-driven Sponsored Products appear alongside organic search results, and are ideal when the goal is to get high-quality clicks from consumers who are actively seeking out the products you sell.

Sponsored Brands, which can be a great way to reach consumers who are browsing but don’t yet know what they want to buy. These banner ads appear on top of search results pages to make people more aware of different choices as they peruse categories and listings.

Amazon Coupons lets you create compelling promotions in the form of special offers for purchase-ready shoppers. This self-service tool can be used to provide percentage-based or set dollar amount discounts, and can even be targeted to select customer segments.

Having a mix of Amazon ads will help ensure your products are seen by different consumers at various stages — whether they’re simply browsing or are ready to “buy now.” Relying on a dedicated specialist or agency partner can help ensure you’ll know precisely when a promotion is performing well and warrants additional bids, or when it’s time to reallocate your budget to new keywords.

Secret 6: Go Global

Around the world, people are turning to Amazon to meet all kinds of shopping needs. With marketplaces in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, Japan, China and more — and with worldwide retail e-commerce sales projected to top $4.5 trillion by 2021 — selling internationally could significantly increase your consumer base and sales.

To start, there’s Amazon Global Selling. The program opens up your Amazon product listings to international consumers who are already shopping on Amazon and is a great way to “test the waters” of cross-border trade. You’ll get great insight into which regions provide the most demand and can see which countries are predominantly buying your products — then use that knowledge to determine if expanding to a marketplace there will be cost effective. And since you’re selling through Amazon, you won’t need to translate or localize your listings for other regions.

Signing up for the Amazon FBA Export program is also a great idea if you’re considering selling internationally. This program allows your products to be purchased from Amazon by international consumers for fulfillment through Amazon’s many centers around the world. It works just like FBA does for domestic orders and can save you valuable time as well as the hassle of shipping abroad.

Secret 7: Keep Your Prices Competitive

When listing a product on Amazon, you’ll often be competing against hundreds of other sellers offering the same item. One of the best ways to stand out from the crowd and stay ahead of the competition is to continually offer competitive prices.

However, you still need to retain a sufficient rate of return — and use safeguards to ensure you don’t inadvertently breach policies elsewhere by failing to lower your product prices across sales channels.

One way to manage the effectiveness of your repricing is through ChannelAdvisor Algorithmic Repricer. This tool is designed to help sellers win the Amazon Buy Box at the highest possible prices. It works by monitoring your Buy Box status and evaluating the quality of your competition to arrive at your optimal price, and automatically makes adjustments to keep pricing competitive while maximizing revenue. Best of all, built-in price management technology aligns pricing across other marketplaces and webstores.

For more tips you can use to create a structured pricing strategy on Amazon, check out our free eBook: Pricing for Marketplaces: The Definitive Guide.

Secret 8: Improve Your Customer Metrics

A positive customer satisfaction rating is essential for not only retaining existing customers, but also securing new ones. Why? Because most consumers look at reviews before making a purchase, and 85% of them trust those online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

For this reason, it’s not just what your customers are saying, but how you respond to their reviews that matters. This is because sometimes, if a customer had a bad experience with, say, shipping, their review may be more about that specific experience than about the product itself. Working to resolve those issues can go a long way in gaining loyalty and trust.

Amazon provides a wealth of information on how your brand is doing with respect to customer satisfaction. It’s important to watch a number of performance metrics, including:

  • Order Defect Rate (ODR), which measures the percentage of orders that receive negative feedback.
  • Return Dissatisfaction Rate (RDR), which measures customer satisfaction with how returns are processed.
  • Late Shipment Rate, which measures the percentage of seller-fulfilled orders confirmed after the expected ship date.

Remember, your reputation on Amazon is extremely important. Customers listen to other customers, and that affects your bottom line. Keep a close eye on your metrics and ensure that you’re dealing with requests quickly and efficiently.

Secret 9: Add A+ Content

Once available on a tiered (and often expensive) pricing system, adding Amazon A+ content is now free and unlimited for vendors. If you sell first party through Amazon Vendor Central, this is one feature you don’t want to overlook.

A+ Content allows you to add more detailed item descriptions, larger images, more comprehensive comparison charts, interactive displays and more. It’s a great way to showcase your brand and better convey the value of your products as customers make buying decisions. According to Amazon, adding A+ Content has been shown to boost sales as much as 10%.

Adding A+ Content to your listings can go a long way in providing a better buyer experience, increasing customer engagement and boosting sales. Some best practices can help ensure your A+ Content captures consumers’ attention:

Make text skimmable. Use compelling subheads to address important product features, and short paragraphs that make it easy for shoppers to understand at a glance what they’ll gain from buying.

Combine text and images. When describing a key feature or selling point, accompany that text with a relevant image. It’s much easier to make a buying decision when consumers can both see and read about your products.

Turn to reviews. Do your customers regularly rave about a particular feature? Is there something specific that leads them to repeat purchases? Highlight those in your A+ content!

Keep content product-focused. Amazon A+ content is not the place to make subjective claims that your product is “the best” or “most popular.” And while it’s a good practice to research reviews for content ideas, quoting third parties is not allowed.

Secret 10: Create Your Own Branded Store

First-party vendors have A+ Content. For third-party and first-party sellers alike, there are Amazon Stores.

Amazon Stores is a free merchandising and advertising option that allows you to customize a storefront to showcase your brand’s product and story. This simple self-service tool offers many advantages, including the ability to:

  • Own a unique Amazon web address
  • Create multiple pages to showcase your product catalog
  • Start with pre-made mobile and desktop layouts
  • Receive traffic from Amazon search and detail pages

It’s a great way to drive shopper engagement with a curated destination for customers to not only shop your products, but also learn more about your brand. When a shopper visits the product detail page for an item, they’ll see a brand-specific link that takes them to your landing page. Amazon Store URLs often show up in search results as well.

You can further promote your custom Amazon Store in Sponsored Brands, advertise it on social media and use built-in reporting tools to learn what appeals to your store’s visitors.

Amazon Store

Secret 11: Lean on the Amazon Marketplace Appstore

Looking for a way to streamline management of your inventory on Amazon? In need of a new pricing tool? Want to view key Amazon metrics alongside other sales channels in one centralized dashboard?

You’ll find all of this and more in the Amazon Marketplace Appstore.

Amazon has developed a new app store. But this time, it’s for sellers — not shoppers. The tools provided in the Marketplace Appstore will help sellers optimize their end-to-end selling capabilities through increased automation, deeper reporting, smarter repricing and more.

What’s Next?

As a driving force behind the global e-commerce landscape at large, Amazon sets the stage for successful online selling. But the days of simply listing on this marketplace giant are long gone. Staying up-to-date on the latest trends, requirements and best practices will remain crucial as you continue to learn which marketing, selling and fulfillment techniques work best for your customers on Amazon.

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