7 Amazon Mistakes You Didn’t Know (& Might Be Making!) Series – Part II

May 28, 2013

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

In the spirit of helping you make your Amazon processes spick and span,
this three part blog series from Rachel Miller, US Manager of Customer Success at
ChannelAdvisor, reveals the 7 Amazon Mistakes You Didn’t Know
(& Might Be Making!)
. To catch up on Part I, click here.

Today
we unveil two additional stumps sellers often trip over.

Mistake #3: Keeping a
Tight Fist Around Product Listing Data

Online retail is a
cutthroat business. And with the barriers to entry at all-time lows with
access to distributors, product catalogueueues, drop-ship networks and virtual
warehousing, businesses are taking to the Internet at jaw-dropping
rates, often times kicking-off sales through a marketplace. For many, the allure
of selling to Amazon’s massive audience is indisputable, but it comes at a
price: fierce competition.

Shared listing pages on Amazon are an accentuation of the contesting we see on the grand scale
of e-commerce. These pages are product listing pages shared by all sellers of a
specific product. The content for the listing is generated by an automated
selection of the best of all individual data components submitted by sellers
(past and present) of a product. So, for example, if you were to share a
listing for a brand name hat, Amazon’s algorithms for product page generation may select
your well-formed title and robust description, and another seller’s product
photo and attribute values. As a result, the best copy and content is compiled
for the product page.

Handshake

For Amazon, this is a
brilliant move that serves the customer best. Sellers, however, often feel threatened
and become tight-fisted and proprietary with their data, recognizing that other sellers with low-quality listings could get a free lunch to more sales by
benefitting from other merchants high quality and costly data though these pages. It’s unfair, at best. A select handful of sellers do the
hard work while others reap the reward.

Merchants
frustrated at this process often withhold data from Amazon, send malnourished
titles and descriptions for their products and keep the “good stuff” for their website
or other marketplaces, or withhold attribute values. Or – worse – they abstain
from creating quality data to begin with. These reactions are all understandable.

However, I’d like to
challenge that line of thinking.  Hang with me here!

Why it Hurts: Yes, you are competing
on the product page with other sellers.  Yes, those sellers can
reap the rewards of your investments.

But what about your customers?

How did they find your
product page to begin with?  What made them decide your product was the
one they were looking for? I search “sandals” on Amazon and see 110K+ results.  I’m certainly
going to refine my results to continue shopping.  If you were a sandal
seller, would your product data help me find your product?  Will you be
using the keywords I add to my search?  Are you using attributes that I’ll
engage to refine my results?  Will you give me the information I need to
sell me on your product and its value?

What if you, and ALL
your competitors, decide not to? Do you see how the strategy to withhold data could backfire?

The Fix: Business by business, a judgment call will need to be
made.  Ask yourself
what’s essential.  You’re in a common listing regardless, so competition is inevitable.  Set out
to win the sale from your competition, but my
suggestion is to also set out to win the customer within search and win
purchase decision for the product.
 Give customers what they need to
find your product.  Give them what they need to commit to the purchase of
your product. Duking it out with other sellers is just the next part of your
success equation.

Mistake #4: Setting “Lead
Time to Ship” & Forgetting About It

Lead time to ship is
the time it takes a seller to receive an order, process and pack it, and get it
to the shipping carrier.

The Issue, and Why It Hurts:

We see two counter-productive
scenarios related to lead time to ship.

  1. Stating a lead time to ship
    that is more than actual: The default is two days. When asked if they ship
    quicker than two days, many sellers respond ‘yes, with the exception of
    select items.’ In this scenario, we encourage sellers to send one day lead times for items that qualify for such.
    Indicating and following through with these accelerated shipping
    timeframes could give an edge to your products when a buyer is comparing
    with other sellers. Remember, competition is fierce, so even minor details
    like this can make a difference.
  2. Stating a lead time to ship
    that is lower than actual: On the flip side, don’t oversell yourself. Some
    sellers will send a default value of two days (or one day) lead time and
    when asked if they are always able
    to deliver on the indicated lead time, they’ll say that they aren’t. Wrong
    values can lead to a reoccurrence of Late Shipments, which both affect
    customer experience and negatively impact seller standing.

The Fix: The
bottom line is a basic rule of business: set expectations. Accuracy trumps low value when
it comes to lead time to ship. Know your lead times, and send accurate values
for every product.

We’re
through with four mistakes of the seven
in this Amazon Mistakes blog series, so stay tuned for Part
III next week. In the meantime, catch up on Part I.


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Want to learn the rest of the 7 Amazon mistakes, and bonus tips?

Download your copy of the FREE eBook, 10 Amazon Mistakes You’re Probably Making today.

 

Follow @ChannelAdvisor on Twitter for multichannel selling tips and tricks, and all things retail e-commerce.

Blog post by Rachel Miller, ChannelAdvisor US Manager of
Customer Success