Many FBA sellers think a customer comes on Amazon, puts a search query in the text box, and buys the top product, click, just like that.
No one ever gets married that way! They have a first date. A second date. Take a holiday together or meet each others’ families. And then, way down the line, they get married.
So most customers who are making a significant purchase are going to do some research first. They might hang out on forums for their interest and ask questions to scope out what they need. They might look around sellers’ web sites (which is one reason you need one). They might read magazines and newsletters.
In most marketplaces you’d have direct contact with the customer when you make the sale. On Amazon, you don’t. So you don’t get customer data. You don’t have a chance to talk to customers and find out what they like, what they don’t like, what they wish they could get.
However, if you move into the prepurchase stage, you can communicate directly with your potential customer base.
First of all, you need to find out where people do their research. For instance if I wanted to buy a flute, I’d probably go to one of the flute player or woodwind forums, maybe for folk music to Chiff and Fipple, and there are flute groups on Facebook that I’d probably check out. Quora is a place that a lot of people ask questions, too. A customer might ask a vague question about what brands are supposed to be good, what is an appropriate purchase for a beginner, or a really specific question about what accessories are included.
So this isn’t a place where you are selling; it’s a place that you’re giving advice. That advice, if it’s trustworthy, establishes you as a straight dealer and as an expert. And of course, at the end, you just mention your brand.
Look for particular subcategories. For instance, you could break down flutes into charanga flutes for Cuban music, orchestral flutes, Indian bansuri, historically accurate replicas, and folk flutes. Then look for topics that come up again and again; how to get started, how to look after your flute, good flute practice books, and so on. Then all you need to do is to write articles or posts to address these issues.
You don’t need to be the expert – you just need to find what content people are interested in, and curate it for them.
If you start an email newsletter, you have a really wonderful way to create a relationship with customers. Email marketing is permission based, so anyone who signs up is saying that they want and value your content. Keep addressing the same issues, and cover some news in the sector – maybe a couple of good flute CDs that just came out or a competition.
This creates a real relationship where your customers don’t see you as someone who just wants to sell a flute, but someone who knows about their leisure interest and gives them good advice. When they go on to Amazon, it could be straight to your product page through a link in the newsletter!
Remember to link buyers in when they get the product. A business card in the package is the very least you can do, but if you include QR codes you increase the likelihood that people will look you up. You’re then building a community that can sustain good levels of repeat sales. Maybe someone only needs a single flute – but they’ll definitely need almond oil, a swab, and other supplies for keeping their flute in tip top condition.