I bought my wardrobe on Facebook
Marketplace. I bought my camera and my laptop on Amazon.
Why? The wardrobe was second hand, and I
could go take a look at it first, and it was only five miles’ drive away. And I
know how to look at a bit of furniture and work out if it’s good quality or
falling to bits. And it was a bit of an impulse buy.
But when I wanted to buy electronics, I
wanted a guarantee, and a seller with a good track record, and I went to search
for exactly the right product at the right price.
Most people are very visual in the way
they learn things. That’s why we have Powerpoint – if you want to see which of
your products makes the most money it’s much easier to assess the slices of a
pie chart than to just read text and figures, for instance.
And this is a very visual age. The
internet might have started as a text-only resource but it’s now led by
pictures – just look at the success of Pinterest and Instagram.
So using infographics to sell your
product is a no-brainer. All the more so now that Amazon has made all your
product images viewable from the search page.
Searches for eco-friendly and sustainable products are increasing
rapidly – more than doubling in a year. According to UK based organization
Business In The Community, searches for “how to live a sustainable
lifestyle” rose 4550 percent in the first couple of months of Covid
Amazon is also doing its bit, aiming to reduce carbon emissions with
its Climate Pledge. It rewards sustainable products sold on the site with a
Climate Pledge badge, and it’s well worth having, as some customers will
actively search for Climate Pledge badged products. You may qualify if you hit targets for energy
efficiency, compact design, carbon neutral products, animal welfare (eg
cosmetics that haven’t been tested on animals), or responsibly manufactured
Pricing is not easy, whatever some people
say. It’s one of the most important decisions you will make in your FBA
business, but it’s also a really difficult one.
It’s particularly difficult because you
have to strike a balance. Most goods are what economists call price elastic, so
that if you reduce the price, you will sell more units, and if you put the
price up, you will sell fewer units. Customers want to pay as little as they
A big problem if you sell on Amazon is
that it’s so easy for customers to see competing products. It’s like selling
cans of beans in a supermarket – customers can see all the beans on the shelf.
What stops them buying the other ones, and keeps them loyal to yours?
If you build an Amazon storefront,
though, you can promote your brand and your products within your own mini-site.
It’s a way to grab your customers, and it’s also a way to keep them away from
the competition! But that’s only going to work if you know how to engage your
customers fully; otherwise, they’ll go elsewhere.
If your product listing pages are looking a bit tired, there could be a number of reasons why. Maybe they’re the first pages you put together, and you were still learning your way. Maybe new features have been introduced since you created them, which you can now add. Or maybe fashions have just changed.
The first thing to do is to pin down exactly why those pages feel dated. Is it the photos, the format, the lack of variety or spacing in the text? Comparing directly with a product page that you feel is right up to date and makes a good example to follow will make it easier to pinpoint the issues.
It could be as simple as the photos. Your photos may be poor resolution, and not well lit. There are few really bad photos on Amazon, compared to eBay, but there’s adequate, and there’s good – and you want your photos to be good. If your current photos are good, then all you need to do is take new photos; if not, consider finding a professional photographer who can help.
Or you may have good product photos, but no supporting lifestyle photos of the product being used, or no infographics setting out the features and benefits of the product, or no close-ups. Remember that though the main product photo is tightly defined by Amazon, you can use the rest of the gallery to give some depth to your product. Make full use of that freedom.
If your business has reached a good level of sales, but it’s not growing, then unless you’re happy with what you’ve achieved and want to stay there – for instance, you have enough income to support your lifestyle and you really don’t want to work much harder – you’ll want to do something to get it back on the growth track.
The first and most obvious way to put some oomph into your sales is to launch more products – but not just any products. Leveraging your existing strengths is a sensible way to move forwards.
The internet is full of great resources,
and when you’re trying to find hot new trends, that’s the first place you
should look. Even if you’ve got a great idea for a new product, it’s worth
looking at searches for the product (eg natural swimming pool) or for the
issues that it deals with (water shortage, ecoliving, sustainability).
One great source of ideas is Pinterest
Predicts, a yearly grab-bag of on-trend ideas based on what’s been ‘pinned’
this year (https://business.pinterest.com/en-gb/pinterest-predicts/). What
grabbed me in the latest one?
You may well have got started in FBA by
looking for a product type, finding a Chinese supplier who could make it at the
right price, and having it shipped to Amazon. Whether it was chopsticks, tee
shirts, school stationery or LED lamps, the only thing that was really
different from the competition was the label – and the price.
It’s still a business model that works if
you get the right product niches. But to make a long term brand, rather than
just sticking a portfolio of different products together, you need to do a bit
First of all, you need a target customer
and you need to know their pain points, or their precise wants. Here are a few
Sometimes it seems your business is doing well, but it’s not really performing quite the way you want it too. Sales are coming through,but not really growing, or you feel you could be doing a bit better but you’re not sure how to get there.
So if you want to improve your FBA sales, we’ve done some looking around for ways to turbocharge your sales and get your business on to a whole new level.
Voice search is one of the fastest growing
categories of search – whether people are using their mobiles, or whether
they’re using smart speakers. 20% of all mobile searches, now, are voice
search, and that figure is going up all the time.
But voice search has a few differences from
the regular internet search. For instance, people are more likely to ask a
question (“Alexa, where can I get root beer flavor ice cream?”) than
to just type in a keyword or set of keywords (“root beer ice cream”).
That means you may want to use longer tail
keywords. For instance, voice queries are more likely to be about “how to
optimize my website” than “SEO”. A lot of the questions that
people will be asking begin with the following words;
your listing has been live for a while, you see that you didn’t do as good a
job as you thought you did. That can be particularly the case with photos.
First time round, you got photos that met Amazon’s requirements, and you
thought you’d done okay.
But we live and
learn. And it’s distinctly possible that you can improve your photos. In fact,
they may even be letting your listing down – getting better photos could really
improve your conversion rate.
First of all,
look at your customer feedback. Do you have reviews saying things like
“Looks better than it does in the photos,” or “I was pleasantly
surprised by its looks”? That’s a sure sign that you want to take a new
set of photos that does a better job of showing your product in a good light
Selling relatively low-priced products on Amazon is a great way to
get started. But if you want to grow, if you keep selling low-priced products,
you are going to have to shift huge volumes. And your profitability will
probably stay roughly the same.
On the other hand, if you raise the average price you’re selling at
for instance by introducing one new higher-priced product, you can increase
your profits on a lower volume. Your fees per product will not rise nearly as
much as your price, and you’ll have less prepping and shipping to worry about.
First of all, you need to know your ASP – average selling price.
It’s there on Seller Central, you don’t have to work it out. It depends on both
the price of each product and the mix of products you sell.
If, say, you produce a red tee-shirt, and a blue one, you have two choices of how to list on Amazon. You could list each as a separate product. Or you could list them as a single product, ‘tee shirt’, which comes in two variations, red and blue.
You could give your customer even more choice if you also add size variations, such as S, M, L, all the way to XXL. This is a variation relationship listing; some people call it a ‘parent-child’ listing.
It’s pretty simple to do. You first need a Parent ASIN. The Parent ASIN isn’t a sellable item – it’s just a catalog entry. Then you need a Child ASIN for each of the variations. And the Child ASINs fit within a variation theme, such as size, color, flavor, pattern. Amazon even offers you a Variation Wizard to make the process easy.
Selling kids’ products on Amazon can be a
real money maker. But you need to get it right, otherwise you can come a
cropper. You might even have to destroy your inventory if it doesn’t pass
We’ll look at the regulations in a minute,
but first let’s look at your marketing. Unlike other products, with children’s
products you’re not selling to the end user, you’re selling to an adult –
usually a parent or close relative. So your marketing needs to reflect that.
The idea that 80 percent of your results come from just 20 percent of your work is quite amazing. If you get things right, you could end up doing a fifth of the work you are today, and making the same profit!
Of course, to get things right, you need to identify which is the 20 percent of your work that’s producing the results.
Let’s look at your products first. Which are the 20 percent that makes real money? Which are the also-rans? All the data is there on FBA Seller Central.
You might not want to stop offering the other products. For instance, if you sell boots, but you also have bootlaces that match, it may be quite important to your customers that you retain that product line. But you might not want to do any separate marketing for the bootlaces, for instance, or a lot of separate content for the product listings – your aim will be to reuse the videos and text that you use for the boot product pages, as much as possible.
While Amazon is a great sales
channel all the time, like any retail business it does better in the holiday
season, and some dates can make a huge difference to your sales performance.
Running through the year, you’ll notice there are some major events that can
affect your sales. (For those outside the US, Thanksgiving and Independence Day
won’t apply, while local celebrations like July 14th in France or St Nicholas’
Day in the Netherlands will.)
February has the Super Bowl
(13th) and Valentine’s Day (14th), and is Black History Month. But the biggest
event is Chinese New Year which falls at the start of February this year.
Suppliers may be closed for a week before and after this holiday so be sure to
check with them and order well in advance!
March is normally Spring
Break, though with the pandemic, that might not happen – but there’s also
International Women’s Day on the 8th and St Patrick’s on the 17th.
You will probably want to sit
down with your Seller Central web page open to do your audit. Some of the
questions might need you to do a little research. But don’t just look at the
numbers – keep yourself focused on the questions in the list.
First, how well did your
products sell? Were there some that surpassed your expectations? Why do you
think they did so well? How can you use that going forwards? For instance, if
you’ve spotted a great niche for yoga products for men (a lot of yoga stuff is
female orientated), then can you launch more products in that line? Are some
It’s also a good idea to look
at the shape of your product portfolio. If you have one top product that
accounts for most of your sales, and a bunch of also-rans, that’s not very
healthy. Think about how to get your other products performing properly too.
TikTok is particularly good for selling
to younger buyers, but it’s beginning to get more traction across the generations.
What we love about it is that unlike other video platforms, TikTok stimulates
interaction with users, for instance with TikTok ‘duels’ and challenges –
leveraging your initial investment in video for greater impact.
The best approach to TikTok is to create
a vlog, not just a single product video. Think of something fascinating, in a
common format, that can be addressed in 15 or 30 seconds and promotes your
product. For instance:
Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program is
a huge opportunity for vendors. First of all, it provides a regular income
instead of a one-off sale. That makes your business more predictable.
Secondly, it can build customer loyalty.
If a customer has to come to Amazon to look for, say, toilet paper, they might
buy yours again – or they might just buy whatever pops up on top of the search
results. But if they’ve subscribed for a monthly delivery, then they’re not
going to have to think about whether they’re getting low, and they’re not going
to have to search to find what they want – your product will arrive
That means your advertising spend can be
entirely targeted on finding new customers – you don’t have to win back the
customers you already have.