For your brand to be successful on Amazon is like playing T-ball.
T-ball gives you an unfair advantage in the game by holding the ball in place for you.
But you still have to walk up to the plate, swing the bat, and hit the ball to be successful.
The same goes for small-to-medium-sized brands selling on Amazon. Let me explain…
Amazon is a turn-key place to sell your products online:
- they already have millions of customers to discover your products
- they will handle shipping and returns for you
- they will handle customer service for you
- they provide you with advertising and promotional tools to enhance discoverability
It gives you an unfair advantage by giving you all of these things teed up, ready for a T-ball-crushing home run.
But, as I said. You still have to swing the bat.
Amazon’s Consumer Satisfying Machine
Amazon has an enormous customer base that continues to grow. This makes it an excellent place for brands and manufacturers to sell their products.
Over the past 20+ years, Amazon has amassed billions of customers and continues to grow at an alarming rate.
It has a wealth of knowledge about shoppers and their buying behavior. They’ve also developed an easy-to-use platform that makes it simple for buyers to find what they’re looking for.
In 2015, Amazon accounted for 53% of all online sales growth in the US.
In 2021, Amazon accounted for an estimated 83% of all online sales growth in the US.
What does this mean for small to medium-sized brands who don’t think they need to be on Amazon?
Simply put, if you’re not selling on Amazon, and you don’t offer a buying experience better than Amazon, you’re falling behind.
Just “Being on Amazon” is not enough
Amazon gained traction from buying products from manufacturers and brands to sell on their platform–just like any other retail store. But they scaled when they launched FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon), allowing sellers to utilize their vast fulfillment services to sell products on Amazon.com.
When this happened, it made it easier for brands that didn’t have their own website or marketing teams to sell online.
But easier doesn’t mean easy.
You have to be proactive when selling on Amazon. “Passive” selling will get you nowhere. You need to invest in growing your brand and creating a presence on Amazon, and off Amazon for that matter.
This means actively participating in conversations with buyers, offering helpful product information, and responding to customer inquiries promptly.
This means utilizing their advertising and promotional tools to their fullest potential and creating a unique Amazon storefront that showcases your products in the best light.
Above all, it means creating quality content that will entice buyers to purchase your products. This can be done by optimizing your product listing so that it appears as one of the top search results for potential buyers. You can do this by using the right keywords and providing accurate product descriptions and images.
Only by doing all of these things can you ensure success as a small-to-medium-sized brand on Amazon.
Complete 17 step list for launching and scaling on Amazon
Step 1: Do your research
Before you launch on Amazon, it’s important to do your research and determine whether or not selling on the platform is the right move for your business. Take some time to look at Amazon’s fees and commission rates, as well as the competition you’re likely to face. It doesn’t matter how many sales you make on Amazon if none of them are profitable.
Step 2: Set up your seller account
To start selling on Amazon, you’ll need to set up a seller account. This process is relatively simple, and Amazon provides clear instructions on how to do it. Be sure to have your business information and bank account information handy, as you’ll need to provide this when setting up your account.
Step 3: Create a product listing
Once your account is set up, it’s time to create a product listing. This is where you’ll provide information about your product, such as its title, description, price, and images. be sure to make your product listing as descriptive as possible, and to list any features or benefits that set your product apart from the competition.
Step 4: Determine your shipping strategy
Before you can start selling on Amazon, you’ll need to determine your shipping strategy. Amazon offers two options: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Merchant Fulfilled Network (MFN). With FBA, Amazon will handle the shipping and handling for your products, while with MFN you’ll need to handle this yourself.
Step 5: Choose your product category
To sell on Amazon, you’ll need to choose a product category. Amazon has a wide range of categories to choose from, so you’re sure to find one that fits your product. But make sure you research them all as some have various regulations and some are way more competitive to sell in than others.
Step 6: Set your prices
One of the most important aspects of selling on Amazon is setting the right prices. There are two pricing options when selling on Amazon: fixed price and dynamic pricing. With a fixed price, you’ll set a price that your product will always sell for, while with a dynamic price you’ll set a minimum and maximum price that your product can sell for.
Step 7: Build your first shipment
Once you’ve created your product listing and determined your shipping strategy, it’s time to build your first shipment. This just means that you are telling Amazon what and how many products you are sending them. This process is relatively simple, and Amazon provides clear instructions on how to do it, as well as any limitations that you have (i.e storage space).
Step 8: Ship your products
Once your products are in stock, it’s time to ship them to Amazon. This process can be done either through a shipping carrier such as UPS or FedEx, or through Amazon’s fulfillment services. Again, Amazon gives you a step-by-step process for this.
Step 9: Manage your inventory
Amazon requires that you maintain a certain level of inventory at all times, so it’s important to manage your stock carefully. Be sure to order more products when your levels are low, and to sell products that you no longer need.
Full disclosure, this, along with other inventory and logistics tasks, needs a full-time person if you expect to sell a lot on Amazon. And in many cases using software to notify you of sell-through rates and inventory levels will help make sure you don’t go out of stock
Step 10: Invest in Amazon advertising
To generate traffic to your product listing, you’ll need to invest in Amazon advertising. Amazon offers a variety of different advertising options, so be sure to choose the one that best fits your needs.
Amazon Advertising is a bit easier than many other platforms as the basic advertising opportunities don’t require much creative, but it still requires daily attention.
Step 11: Use keywords in your product listing
For potential customers to find your product, you’ll need to use keywords in your product listing. This is very similar to SEO for Google. For your listings to show up in the ranks, Amazon needs to be able to crawl your titles, bullets, and descriptions for keywords.
Step 12: Create a strong brand identity
To be successful on Amazon, you’ll need to create a strong brand identity. This includes developing a unique brand story, creating a strong logo and branding elements, and building a social media presence. Some of this can be done on Amazon using A+ content and videos, but most of this has to be done off the platform using common brand marketing strategies like social media, email marketing, and customer nurturing.
Step 13: Use Amazon reviews to your advantage
Amazon reviews can be a powerful tool for promoting your product. Be sure to encourage customers to write reviews for your product, and offer incentives for doing so.
Be careful getting fancy with this one. If Amazon finds out you are asking people to leave reviews in exchange for gifts or discounts, they will ban you.
Step 14: Respond to customer questions and complaints
When selling on Amazon, you’ll likely encounter customer questions and complaints. Be sure to respond to them as quickly and as politely as possible.
Every. Single. One.
Step 15: Monitor your Amazon performance
It’s important to monitor your Amazon performance, so you can identify any areas that need improvement. Amazon offers a variety of tools to help you do this, or you can look into software like ShopKeeper.
Step 16: Reduce chargebacks and fees
Chargebacks and fees can be a serious problem for Amazon sellers. These are, basically, charges that Amazon forwards to you for things like damaged products, late shipments, or inaccurate products. The list of charges and fees is exhausting, so be sure to take steps to reduce the likelihood of chargebacks happening.
Step 17: Stay up to date with Amazon policies
It’s important to stay up to date with Amazon policies, so you can ensure that you’re following them correctly. Amazon updates its policies regularly. And as I said above, they will likely bill you if you don’t follow them. So be sure to check for updates regularly.
Selling on Amazon can be a great way to grow your business, but it’s important to remember that you still need to grow your brand off of the platform. Amazon is a great place to sell your products, but it’s not the only place. Be sure to focus on developing a strong brand identity and using Amazon reviews to your advantage. And most importantly, be sure to monitor your Amazon performance so you can identify any areas that need improvement.