Amazon in 2019 is a competitive monster. With a ton of sellers in every category, selling on Amazon is not as easy as it used to be.
Yet, more money is being spent on Amazon than ever before. Sales on Amazon’s US marketplace clocked more than $175 billion in 2018, over 35% growth on the previous year.
Doubters say Amazon is dead, but the 1.2 million sellers who joined Amazon in 2018 suggests otherwise. It’s just not the easy sell it once was. You need to be smarter about how you sell.
Read on for five keys to selling more on Amazon, in 2019’s competitive landscape.
The name of the game in 2019 is optimization. To have any hope of outranking and outselling your competitors you need to set up and run everything in your listing perfect.
If you’re not optimized, in your Amazon copy, SEO, images, or PPC ads, you’re leaving money on the table.
The number one thing you should do to get more sales on Amazon is making your products more visible in Amazon search results.
More than half of all product searches online come on Amazon. Furthermore, almost 90% of product views come as a result of Amazon’s search engine.
You can believe that if someone wants to buy something online, they’re going to look on Amazon first. And to make sales from these searches, you need to be one of the top results.
If your listing is several pages deep in the search rankings, no one is going to see it. Amazon released data that shows 70% of customers never click past the first page of the search results. 35% of shoppers click on the first result, and 64% of clicks go to the first three options.
If you want to hide something, put it on the 10th page of Amazon’s search results.
For your product listings to show up high on Amazon’s search results, you first need to understand the ranking algorithm.
Amazon’s search function, known as the “A9” algorithm, determines which listing shows up at #1, and which get buried.
It takes two factors into account:
When someone makes a search, Amazon wants products showing up that have a history of selling well. So your sales performance, and having a history of selling a lot (and converting views to sales) is a huge factor.
The other factor is how relevant you are to what the customer is searching for.
So how do you optimize for this? Keywords, keywords, keywords.
Your listing needs to show relevance to customers’ search terms, and you do that by including these terms in your listing.
In order of importance, place your keywords in:
To find the best keywords to target, use a tool like Sellics or MerchantWords to find keywords with a lot of searches.
Just make sure the keywords you target relate to what you’re selling. You can optimize your keywords for a term with a huge search volume, but if no one buys your product from these searches, your performance will be poor.
The lowest hanging fruit when it comes to advertising on Amazon is PPC ads (or Amazon Sponsored Product ads). Your target customers are probably already on Amazon. All you need is a way of getting them to your product, not your competitors’.
But more people are running PPC ads nowadays, and things are getting more competitive. That’s why your campaigns have to be optimized.
If you’re handling your ad campaigns manually, make sure you consistently check in to see which keywords give you the most sales for the lowest cost. As well as identifying which terms don’t result in sales, and excluding those terms.
Today, you can also target specific ASINs with sponsored product ads. It’s important to explore this option too, which may result in an uptick in your sales and a drop in your competitors’.
All in all, you should always be testing and tweaking your campaigns, to maximize your results and minimize costs. You may also want to consider using an Amazon PPC management service or software tool.
While you’re busy optimizing, don’t lose sight of one important thing. You need to optimize for customers too.
It might be great that the Amazon algorithm loves your listing, and puts it atop the rankings for all your keywords. But real people need to make the decision to click and buy your product.
If your listing is a jumbled mess of keywords, or your images are not clear, no one is going to buy. Simple as that.
Additionally, Amazon in 2019 is more and more about the customer experience. Amazon wants people to enjoy shopping on their site. That’s why they’re going hard after fake or manipulated reviews and anything that causes the public to lose trust in Amazon.
If customers often give negative feedback about you, or you have trouble fulfilling your customers’ expectations, you can expect to get in trouble with Amazon.
Not to mention, it won’t do any favors to the perception customers have of your brand.
Putting customer satisfaction as a priority gives people a good feeling when buying your products, leading to more reviews, BETTER reviews, and more sales in the long run. Don’t discount the impact of customer service.
Unless you find a completely untapped niche, you can expect to launch against competitors with an established history of sales.
So why should someone buy your product and not another?
You’ve got to give customers a point of difference.
A great way to do this is by reading product reviews. Reviews are a fantastic source of information. They are literally a customer telling you what they did and didn’t like about a product.
Before you launch a product, read the reviews of other products in the category. If you find a common complaint, you’ve got a great differentiator for your product.
Likewise, price and quality can be a point of difference. By finding more reliable, cheaper suppliers, you offer higher quality, cheaper products.
A quality sourcing agent can make a huge difference for your bottom line, and allow you to offer your products at a price the competition can’t afford to match.
On-Amazon traffic is super important, don’t get me wrong.
But if you want to get a leg up on other sellers, you should work on capturing off-Amazon traffic too.
There are several reasons external traffic can be a goldmine.
Firstly, you’re getting a chance to put your products right in front of your target customers. No sponsored product ads for other Amazon products, and no waiting for a customer to search and find you.
You take your product to the customer. Opening up a much wider base of potential customers.
Amazon loves when you send them customers. A lot of sellers observe that listings getting a lot of external traffic rank higher on Amazon.
Finally, since you’re not restricted by Amazon, external traffic allows you to build out your brand in ways you could never do on Amazon alone. Building a brand is one of the best ways you can set up your Amazon store for long-term success, amid today’s increased competition.
However, driving your own traffic can be a money-sink if you don’t know how to do it effectively. There are a few things to take care of to ensure you get the most out of external traffic campaigns.
Not all traffic sources are made equal.
There are many places you can go to advertise your products, and you need to make sure you find the one that’s most profitable for you.
That means finding your ideal customer, and finding where they spend their time online.
These days, Facebook ads are the first stop for most people. Almost everyone is on Facebook, or Instagram, which Facebook ads also cover. They also offer really sophisticated targeting tools, to help you put your ads in front of the right people.
Influencer marketing is another great way to get quality traffic to your store. By partnering with an influencer with an established following, you give your products more credibility and are able to advertise in a way that feels more organic.
Other traffic sources include Google ads, blogs, content marketing, email marketing, Pinterest and other social media ads.
Best practice is to choose one source at first and observe your results. In time you can test more sources and find what works best for you.
There’s one big mistake people make when driving external traffic.
They send people from their ads straight to Amazon.
What’s wrong with this, you say? Don’t you want to get people to buy as quickly as possible?
Of course, you want sales. But the reality is, your external traffic probably isn’t going to convert as much as shoppers on Amazon.
The average conversion rate online is around 3%. But on Amazon, it goes up to 13%. And for Amazon Prime members, it’s 74%!
Simply put, people on Facebook, Google, or your blog aren’t necessarily looking to buy right now. People on Amazon are.
This means, no matter how well your targeting, sending people straight to Amazon is going to hurt your conversion rate. Which in turn hurts your rankings, and your organic Amazon sales.
The best thing to do is to use a landing page. A landing page tool like LandingCube lets you make pages, tailor-made for Amazon, regardless of technical know-how.
Whenever you send external traffic to Amazon, send them to a landing page outside of Amazon first.
People who aren’t interested leave the page, with no damage to your conversion rate. Those who are, go on to your listing and buy.
Plus, you can use the landing page to collect emails or Facebook Messenger subscribers, which can drastically cut the cost of your future ad campaigns.
The final step to driving traffic well is to test. And test.
And test again.
It’s likely you’ll run a couple of ad campaigns that don’t work. Maybe your targeting was off. Maybe you didn’t have a good enough offer. The influencer you worked with may have done a poor job.
The most sure-fire way to craft excellent traffic campaigns is through a lot of trial and error. You find out what works, and what doesn’t. Along the way, you find a couple of winning techniques, that convert better than anything else you tried.
It’s important to approach advertising with an experimental mindset. That’s how you’ll start running campaigns that get sales at a much lower cost than any of your competitors.
Another reason external traffic is so effective is that it allows you to do something that’s impossible on Amazon.
Building an audience.
Know that when someone buys from you on Amazon, they’re not really your customer.
They’re Amazon’s customer.
Amazon protects its customers fiercely. They don’t want you selling directly to them, cutting out Amazon and their fees.
If you try contacting your customers without Amazon’s permission, you’re going to be in big trouble, and likely to get your account suspended or banned.
But there’s a way around this! By driving external traffic, you get the chance to own your customers.
Collecting contact info and retargeting data before the customer gets to Amazon allows you to market to your customers again, 100% legally.
This is the other big reason you should use a landing page. If you send a customer straight to Amazon, you lose the chance to capture their info.
While on a landing page, you can offer incentives, such as a discount promo code or a free piece of content, to get them to sign up to your list.
You can also gather data on people who viewed your page but didn’t click through to Amazon, to keep them interested until they eventually buy.
There are a few ways you can build an audience for your store.
One of the reasons Facebook’s targeting is so good is because of the Facebook pixel.
The pixel is a small piece of code that tracks actions people take when they’re on your site. You
can see who views your page, clicks on a button, performs a lead action, or buys something. Then you can send them ads accordingly.
The pixel truly allows you to supercharge your ad targeting.
You can’t add a pixel on an Amazon listing. You can, however, on a landing page. This helps you to start growing a base of info on your customers. Then over time, you can start building and expanding audiences and running cheaper and cheaper ads.
An email list is one of the most valuable things for a business to hold (particularly an online business). And again, you can’t collect emails if you’re selling only on Amazon.
Emails allow you to market much cheaper than working with cold audiences. Having a list of people interested in your products or brand is a much better starting point than guessing in the dark.
There are a few ways you can use email lists.
You can run email marketing campaigns, which are traditionally low-cost, high-return. Email marketing has shown to return $44 for every $1 spent. That’s a huge improvement over increasingly expensive social ads.
Emails can be used to build very effective Facebook audiences. Upload your list as a custom audience to target the people on your list, or create a lookalike audience from your list, to grow your audience with similar users.
Finally, emails also help you get more reviews. Internal Amazon messages are getting less and less effective for getting reviews. But having a customer’s real email gives you a more personal way of reaching out and harvesting reviews.
Messenger is the new email.
Everyone is on Facebook. And everyone uses Facebook Messenger. That’s why it’s starting to eclipse email as the go-to form of communication for marketers.
Messenger has better open rates, better engagement rates, and in general is easier to get subscribers.
It’s also a fantastic low-friction way to ask for reviews.
One option for building a Messenger list is the landing page approach. Send traffic to a landing page, and offer a promo code that is delivered in Facebook Messenger.
Or you can run Facebook ads that send customers straight to a Messenger conversation, adding them to your Messenger list.
All this talk of Messenger bots too complicated? LandingCube can do this for you too, with Messenger landing pages and direct Click-to-Messenger ad bots.
Amazon selling is no walk in the park. But it keeps growing, which means there’s more money for high-performing sellers.
Take these keys into action, and start taking your share of the pie.
Optimize on Amazon, to maximize your organic sales.
Focus on being business customers love.
Find a point of difference in your products.
Drive your own traffic.
…and build an audience you can market to again and again.
Doing so will help you stay stop struggling and start succeeding on Amazon.