Private Label Product: Competition on Amazon

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Selling private label on Amazon has its rewards. But what if you could build a scalable PL sales model with only a couple of software tools and a few tweaks? Learn how to outsmart your competition on Amazon today.
Last week, we started talking about selling private label on Amazon. More specifically, we discussed sourcing for PL sellers. We also briefly talked about ways to defend your brand on Amazon. This week, let’s see what it takes to find and outsmart your competition on Amazon.

The PL Seller’s Competitors

1. Amazon PL Brands and Exclusives

Type “Amazon Brand” into your Amazon.com search box. Or click here to see the dedicated Amazon UK Private Label page. TJI research claims there are 135 such PL brands and 330 Amazon Exclusives or Own Brands. And the number keeps rising suddenly every Q1 and Q3, so right after the sales season.

As it streams shopping data from sales, Amazon can spot “unmet market needs” better than any seller. And what better time to learn about market trends than Prime Day or the winter holidays? And all the while, it’s promoting its existing PL Brands in the Top Rated section of a query result.

Top rated Amazon PL

Example of Top Rated Amazon PL offers

Analyst Keith Anderson of Profitero claims Amazon’s own PL strategy focuses on big market trends like sustainability and eco-friendliness. Being able to tap into these market needs led to last year’s PL sales. They were estimated at $7.5 billion. And analysts believe this figure will more than triple by 2022.

2. Top Search Results

But PL sellers don’t compete with Amazon only. They also face off with Amazon’s recommendations. The most eye-catching products are the ones with badges, such as Best Sellers, Amazon’s Choice, and BOGOF items. And some BOGOF badges are very similar to the ones Amazon uses.

Best Seller, Amazon Choice

Top query result featuring Best Seller, Amazon’s Choice, and BOGOF item

3. Other PL Sellers

Aside from Amazon’s own offers and other top search results, you should keep an eye out for paid ads. Headline Search Ads and Sponsored Products feature not only on the search result page, but also on your product page, and all over a buyer’s home page. Of course, it’s always a good idea to use the tools in our competitive analysis post to pin-point your main competitors too.

How To Stay Competitive on Amazon

Now that you have a pretty good idea of how to find and sort your competition on Amazon, how do you set yourself apart and keep your edge? You can promote your products using social media, paid Amazon ads, and the Amazon Vine Program. But only after you tick these boxes:

1. Optimize Your Listing

To outrank other PL sellers, you also need perfect listings. It all starts with finding good keywords for your SEO strategy and writing high-converting copy. You’ll find plenty of listing optimization tips and best practices on our blog.

You should also have engaging photos. The Amazon Imaging or Product Photography may be of help. If you’d also like to upload a compelling video, first check the Video Shorts page for inspiration.

Before anything goes live, you should carry out some A/B or Split testing first using special software. This enables you to run two tests for similar listings simultaneously and see which changes are the most effective.

2. Price it Right

You need smart tools to keep an eye on your sales and other PL sellers. With Sellery, you can keep tabs on the competition, designate the products you want to compete with, and reprice in tandem.

It’s a customizable “set it and forget it” kind of tool, and the only one that reprices in real-time. It can spot market changes and counteract their effect, so that sales and profits stay up. Simply look up some keywords and let Sellery know what product or PL seller you’d like to compete with.

Sellery competition

Designating and monitoring competitors with Sellery

One thing to keep in mind is that the higher your search rank, the more you sell on Amazon. But your search rank depends on your sales velocity. If you’re new to Amazon, you may need to bid more on PPC campaigns and sell at a loss for a while, just to build up that sales volume.

3. Keep Metrics Up

If you’ve registered your own brand, you’re probably not that bothered about the Buy Box. But the same performance metrics that increase Buy Box percentage for third-party sellers will drive sales for you, raise your IPI, and reduce your storage fees. So, take a few minutes to read up on them.

4. Rehash and Rewind

Amazon likes to mix it up and see what catches on. Take its Happy Belly trail mixes, for example. But two can play at that game. Repromote your product with new variations, product bundles, or with frustration-free packaging.

You may not compete with Amazon or other PL sellers for these new ASINS; at least not at first. But you can still use Amazon’s price as reference. Or check the top selected products page to find new potential competitors.

5. Build a Website

If you don’t already have a website of your own to help sell your product, don’t waste any time building one. Whether you’ve registered your brand on Amazon or not, there’s no reason to sell exclusively on Amazon. Unless you signed up for Own Brands, of course.

As more and more people sign up to Own Brands, Amazon’s brand family grows. So, more PL sellers will go toe-to-toe with Amazon. To outlast your competitors, you need a strategy for scalable sales. But you can’t have it if Amazon is your only sales channel and source of income.

In the meantime, make sure your customer service can cope with a rise in queries as sales pick up, without compromising on quality of service. Luckily, the Voice of the Customer dashboard can help pinpoint buyer issues in a flash.

That’s it for today, but please follow our blog for our next post in the series, where we’ll go into a bit more detail about pricing and advertising for private label on Amazon. Until then, stay tuned for our Prime Day Prep post with last-minute tips to boost your PL sales.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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How to Manage Negative Feedback on Amazon

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Is it just us, or is managing your feedback on Amazon getting harder? Let’s talk about the tools sellers can use to keep their feedback rate in check, and how to remove negative feedback without the risk of a suspension.

To most sellers, having good feedback on Amazon is crucial. It affects sales volume, ODR rate, and Buy Box eligibility. To some extent, it even affects the IPI score. But maintaining a good feedback rate isn’t easy.

Amazon offers a variety of tools and reports to help you understand feedback score and manage your negative feedback. The Feedback Manager is the ‘star’ table customers can view on your seller profile page. And ‘Manage your Rating and Feedback’ in Reports breaks down the ratings so you can sort and filter them.

Then there’s the ‘Customer feedback problems’ section in Account Settings>Orders. It hasn’t been around long, but it’s already affecting the way sellers respond to negative feedback. On the one hand, it streamlines feedback management. On the other, it’s a target for dishonest sellers.

Neg fbk 2

Customer feedback problems

As seen above, this latest feedback tool is like a hub. It enables you to view all your feedback and take action right away. And the options are arranged sensibly. Let’s briefly talk about them, the challenges you might face applying them, and what Amazon expects of you.

Be patient. From the time their order is placed, buyers have 90 days to leave feedback. They then have another 60 days to retract it. So, it can take up to 5 months to resolve the issue, and buyers may need some hand-holding. But it’s time well spent.

Be helpful. Buyers can access feedback links from their order list or from a help page. But the format isn’t consistent across venues. For instance, buyers on Amazon UK can’t follow official instructions like the ones below because they’re inaccurate. If you can, send them the link they need to remove feedback.

Instructions

Feedback removal instructions as seen on Amazon UK on June 11, 2019

Be careful. When first contacting buyers, sellers should apologize, ask for details, and offer to refund all or part of the shipping cost as a sign of goodwill. But outright refund offers or other incentives in exchange for feedback removal are prohibited. Phrase your message accordingly.

Be specific. The seller messaging service lets you specify that you’re writing to a customer about feedback. But buyers are allowed to opt out of non-critical communication with sellers, as seen here. So, messages often go unnoticed. Some sellers choose to blacklist these buyers.

Be honest. Some sellers try to get around this hurdle. They send messages with the word ‘Important’ in the subject line. But when buyers complain, Amazon sends a warning about bothering buyers, or shuts them down immediately. We’ve seen a rise in these suspensions.  

Be diligent. When buyers don’t respond or they don’t want to cooperate, the next step is to post a public reply to their comment. This reply serves as proof that you’ve reached out to customers and you’re still open to suggestions – both signs of goodwill.

Be courteous. There’s no room for finger-pointing here. Phrases like ‘your issue’, ‘despite’, ‘you feel’, etc. indirectly put blame on the buyer. To show that you reached out with the best of intentions, talk about what you’ve done or would have liked to do for the buyer.

Be punctual. Sometimes buyers are unwilling or unable to remove negative feedback. If you don’t hear back from buyers and you’re nearing the 60-day deadline, Amazon may be able to help. But only if the feedback violates the guidelines, and it’s less than 90 days old.

Be convincing. Contacting Amazon should be a last resort. But as long as the buyer received the product, Amazon will hear your case. When you write, prove to Amazon that at least one of these conditions is satisfied in as few words as possible, with quotes and order details:

  • The language used is obscene.
  • The information is personally identifiable.
  • The comment refers to the product, and there’s no mention  of the service.
  • The order was fulfilled by Amazon or using Buy Shipping services.

Be clear. Just like before, with the messages, Amazon doesn’t take kindly to sellers who misrepresent their case. If you try to trick them by opening cases on a different topic from the available menu, Amazon may have no choice but to shut you down. Only contact them if the feedback violates the guidelines.

Tip: Once you select Request Removal, Amazon sends an automated message saying it may or may not remove the feedback. You then have 5 days to reopen the case, once only, if you want to make changes that you think are relevant.

Clearly, managing your feedback on Amazon is becoming harder. With filtered messages, stricter guidelines, and confusing technicalities, getting rid of negative feedback is a monumental effort. But our Account Monitoring team loves a challenge, so don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need another pair of eyes.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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Amazon Prime Day Prep

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Prime Day 2019 is Amazon’s fifth mid-July sales bonanza. This year’s quarter-century anniversary is bound to break all known records. Whether you have a vested interest in Amazon Prime Day or you’re taking notes for next year, here are a few things to focus your efforts on.

Are you ready for the busiest day in Amazon history? No official announcement has been made yet, but Prime Day tends to fall on the second Tuesday in July. Since it’s likely to run for at least 36 hours again, the first sales could launch as early as Monday, July 8, 2019.

What’s special about Prime Day 2019 is that this time sellers have the brand tools to take on vendors. And since SMBs sold over $1 billion worth of products last year, the sky’s the limit this time around; but only with a little Prime Day Prep.

Take a glance at last year’s highlights, and you’ll see that even with worker strikes and technical glitches, Amazon did very well on Prime Day 2018. It had 5 times as many sales than on any other day, with over 100 million products sold on 17 venues.

But since then, Amazon’s made a few changes. For one thing, Amazon China is set to close down on July 18, 2019. So, this Prime Day will be Chinese sellers’ last-ditch effort to improve their bottom line. And some Chinese sellers may try to offload their inventory on neighboring venues, such as Amazon India, Japan, or even Australia.

Also, last year, only vendors and the brand owners who signed up to Amazon Exclusives could upload videos to showcase their products. This time around, sellers use the Enhanced Brand Content feature to upload videos. And anyone can buy display ads and video ads on 8 venues, without even listing their products on Amazon.

Things are changing for buyers too. Amazon’s 100 million+ Prime members and Business Prime members have more perks than ever before. And with Amazon Home & Business Services, they get Amazon contractors to fit the furniture and install the devices they buy on Amazon.

If you don’t start preparing for Prime Day 2019 right now, you’re not really giving it your all. This year, Amazon is giving sellers a more level playing field by pushing small vendors toward Seller Central. But it’s also increasing competition among sellers.

To stay ahead of the game, some Prime Day Prep is in order. We give our readers advice every year, and some of it may seem repetitive. But look closer, and you’ll see that you need to put in more effort with each new year. Here are 15 things you should do in the lead up to Amazon Prime Day 2019:

  • Optimize your listings (for mobile) to maximize views and expand your market.
  • Read product reviews and answer users’ questions, adding new images if needed.
  • Try to improve your feedback score by sending out selective feedback requests.
  • Clean up your inventory, place your removal orders, and free up storage space.
  • Stock up on cheap holiday supplies and stationery to draw traffic to your pages.
  • Mind your IPI score and FBA stock limits for this quarter when you restock.
  • Check sales ranks for popular items, stocking up on accessories, add-ons, and freebies.
  • Register your brand to access Buyer Demographics and stock up accordingly.
  • Review Amazon business reports to set up new pricing strategies.
  • Opt for a real-time repricer like Sellery that maximises your profits in any scenario.
  • Use free tools to analyze your competition or upgrade to full-featured applications.
  • Start testing keywords and set up some dummy campaigns to increase visibility.
  • Familiarize yourself with bids and start budgeting for Prime Day campaigns.
  • Set up social media campaigns and deals on other platforms (SlickDeals, AlltheStuff).
  • Join forces with influencers and Amazon Affiliates, and time your offers and deals to go live when they endorse you.  

With only days to go, you’ve got your work cut out for you. But these 15 Prime Day Prep tips should help. Please follow our blog for more tips on Prime Day 2019, and take a look at the products and services we offer to grow your business on Amazon.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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New Amazon Dashboard: Suspected Intellectual Property Violations

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There’s a new Amazon Dashboard in town, and it’s all about IP violations. If you thought Intellectual Property on Amazon is a minefield, read this and stop walking on eggshells.

Just when you thought Seller Central was all out of surprises, there’s a new kind of Amazon dashboard in Account Health. It’s called ‘‘Suspected Intellectual Property Violations’’. A tongue-twister, isn’t it?  Let’s call it SIPV for short. And let’s see what it’s all about.

From the looks of things, there’s a lot riding on this Amazon dashboard. But the way sellers handle potential IP violations may need to change.

Amazon flags up listings for ‘misuse of trademarked terms’. Phrases like ‘‘X speaker compatible’’ usually trigger it.

It doesn’t matter if you use the brand in titles, descriptions, or even keywords. As long as you refer to a different brand, you’re breaking the rules.

Amazon deactivates these listings and sends an email with examples of fair use phrases (‘‘compatible with’’, ‘‘works with’’, or ‘‘for’’). It also tells you you’re free to correct the listings when you like for reinstatement within 24 hours.

So, as soon as you get that email, you start sifting through your listings to see where you mentioned that brand. And if you found it, you’d edit every affected listing right away.

Say, for instance, they flagged up a Disney toy you listed with the word ‘Hasbro’ in the title. If you have the invoices to back it up, you can replace ‘Hasbro’ with ‘Disney’, even though Disney is a gated brand.

But recent reports show many email notifications go missing. Sometimes a trademark issue crops up in the dashboard with no prior notice, and it can be something you listed months ago.

account_health

Screenshot of Account Health dashboard as of May 13, 2019

So, because Amazon now feeds potential trademark issues straight into the SIPV dashboard and sometimes skips the notification part, you could be caught off-guard.

For private label items, it’s very easy for merchants to act on the problem. If they mistakenly used a brand name in one of their listings, they can easily do a search in their inventory with the same brand name to see where else they made the same mistake (knowing that they exclusively sell their own brand).

The rest of the sellers can carry out the same search, of course. But since the issue occurs at item level, it’s very likely that only one or a couple of listings have the same brand issue, whereas all the rest by the same brand would be correct.

Luckily, the listings featured there can no longer affect your accounts, because they’ve been closed. But here’s why you should keep an eye out anyway:

Suspected Intellectual Property Violations and Received Intellectual Property Complaints are two different things. As such, they feature in two separate tabs. Here’s why:

  • The SIPV tab displays ASINs that Amazon suspects may be violating a brand’s intellectual property. These are inactive listings. They stay that way until you edit them.
SIPV

Screenshot of SIPV dashboard

  • The RIPC tab shows listings reported to Amazon by rights owners. In most cases, Amazon will keep sending performance notifications about them, letting sellers know what to do.
RIPC

Screengrab of RIPC dashboard

So, to keep up with IP issues, you need to check both Amazon dashboards regularly. But that may not be enough. Based on our experience handling sellers’ cases, SIPV isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

It’s only been around for a few weeks. Some sellers have access to it; some don’t. For those who do, it cropped up and then disappeared again several times. Sure; we can put that down to IT glitches. But those weren’t the only teething troubles.

We’ve dealt with quite a few strange situations since SIPV came along. We came across cases featured in this Amazon dashboard where:

  • The listings were fair use to begin with (e.g. title said ‘compatible with’);
  • The ‘trademarked term’ was precisely the brand the seller had in stock;
  • The ASINs were never even listed by the seller and Amazon refused to retract them.

Amazon urged sellers to review the Trademark section on the Intellectual Property Policy help page. And to contact them if necessary. But the advice is generic and it doesn’t address the big issues.

Suppose you mentioned a brand in your listing. You’d like to change the name of the brand, but you find out it’s gated. Without invoices to back you up, you’d start wondering if it’s even worth going through the trouble to list on Amazon.

Let’s also assume Amazon’s flagged up a product. But you have countless others from the same brand in your warehouse. You probably won’t blacklist the whole brand, because this mistake is on an item-by-item basis. But do you bother to look for the mistake and reinstate your listings? Or do you give up on them altogether, since Amazon says they don’t jeopardize your business?

These are just some of the issues sellers might have with this Amazon dashboard. If you’ve come across a strange situation since the Suspected Intellectual Property Violations was launched, we’d love to hear from you. Please share your thoughts and don’t forget to follow our blog for more news and reports on IP violation rules.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed

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Product Title Keyword Strategies for New Products on Amazon

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Product Title Keyword Strategies for New Products on Amazon

Mastering your Product Title Keywords is essential to any seller who would like to launch a new product on Amazon. In our last two posts we’ve tried to build comprehensive guidelines on the type of ads available on Amazon and how to set them up, as well as an intro into Enhanced Brand Content. We’re closing this series on Amazon PPC with an insight into Product Title Keyword Strategies.

You’ve done your product preparation. You’re confident you have a product that’s going to blow the socks off of your target audience on Amazon. But a few questions still remain.

Things like:

  • What product titles will help your listing get discovered?
  • How should you approach research for title keywords?
  • How should you format your product titles to optimize listings for search?

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about getting started with product titles keywords for an Amazon Private Label product launch. If you master product title keyword optimization for your listings, you can help your products get discovered and purchased more often. Let’s stick to the basics, but learn how to do them well.

Let’s start with some basics around product title keywords for products sold on Amazon.

First, determine which keywords are most important in fetching the right customers for your product. It all starts with your product page’s title.

Put your most relevant keywords first

Nielsen data shows that most online customers scan listings from left to right. If you’re selling oven mitts, don’t create a listing for “Durable Heat-Resistant Kitchen Accessory Oven Mitts.” The customer might end up confused about whether you’re selling generic kitchen accessories or simply oven mitts. Start with the most important keywords first, then elaborate from there.

Include features in the title

Customers often search for distinguishing product features, or at the very least, they scan for them. “Oven Mitts” may tell a user what to expect on your product page, but “X-Brand Oven Mitts – Heat-Resistant Silicone, Extra Long” is far more descriptive and includes more feature-related keywords.

According to Wordstream, you should stick to typing in your titles in the following order:

Brand Name>Product>Key features>Size>Color>Quantity.

Using that format, you might expect to create a product title like “X-Brand Oven Mitts – Silicone Lined, Extra Long, Black/Blue, Set of 2.”

Of course, it also helps to know which features to highlight, and how. For more insights on this specific topic, try our Amazon Private Label Solutions to get a sense of where your product fits in the marketplace, or read our post on Amazon product optimization to get the best possible results.

As you work on optimizing your product title keyword strategy, be sure to also familiarize yourself with Amazon’s A9 algorithm. This is the search engine that drives traffic on Amazon.

Toss aside your preconceptions about what makes good SEO and consider Amazon as a unique platform: it’s focused on generating sales. Amazon’s primary interest is in selling efficiency, AKA connecting a customer with the product they’re most likely to buy.

That means your optimization for Amazon’s search queries should focus on two primary factors: relevance and performance.

You’ll optimize for relevance using the best keyword practices mentioned here. Just keep in mind that performance also matters when Amazon decides which product to place highest for a specific keyword.

That means any improvement you make to the product page itself will also have an impact on whether your product shows up in the search for a particular keyword. This includes:

  • Improvements in the product description
  • Uploading video and high-quality images of the product
  • High-quality reviews

There are also a few direct factors that you might not optimize for via text, but will still impact your results with A9:

  • Whether your item is in stock
  • Price; as undercutting other products by too much can adversely affect quality perception

Keep these factors in mind as you build out your product titles and overall keyword strategy.

Now, some best practices around Amazon keyword optimization.

Optimize with the buyer in mind. If you’re selling a fleece blanket, raw keyword stuffing is going to throw off the buyer experience. Remember our example of “X-Brand Oven Mitts – Silicone Lined, Extra Long, Black/Blue, Set of 2”? That’s simple, to the point, and includes a wide range of unique keywords that are still relevant to what a customer might be searching for. If you were to stuff more keywords in, you would only make it more difficult to read, which decreases click-through rate and potentially hurts your product performance.

Incorporate as many unique keywords as you can. Because Amazon treats the entire field as a coherent set of keywords, it doesn’t matter if one keyword is placed next to another or not. For example, a search for “facial makeup” will still yield results such as “Facial Moisturizer and Makeup Kit,” even though the two words aren’t directly next to each other.

Use the product title as well as the brand name. You won’t get penalized for an overly wordy title, so be sure to include as much relevant detail in your title as possible. Someone searching for your brand or your product should be able to find you on Amazon based on your title construction alone.

Write to your target market. If you find yourself stretching for more detail to include in your title, you might include a few choice keywords from your target market as well. “Shorts for Men,” for example, is an example of a unique key phrase that might draw a larger search audience without disrupting the clarity of your title.

Since you’re competing with other products and vying for a higher purchase rate, one of the best ways to optimize the keywords in your titles is to avoid the same mistakes your competition is making, such as:

  • Repeating keywords. If you’re selling a fleece blanket, don’t stuff the title with repeated keywords. “Green Fleece Blanket, Blue Fleece Blanket, Red Fleece Blanket” might sound like it will cast a wide net on Amazon searches, but it will only hurt your title’s clarity and potentially harm your ability to generate a higher CTR.
  • Lacking detail. Strive for a happy medium. Include the elements we listed, such as brand name, product type, size, and specifics about the product. You may even choose to include more detail like what types of products your product can fit.
  • Utilizing irrelevant keywords. Try a few searches yourself to get a sense of which keywords the top-selling items are using. Don’t just focus on the most important keywords; look at the “long-tail” inclusions that might contribute as well.

It may take some adjusting over time, but eventually, you’ll get a sense of how to build a product listing title that will serve your market and satisfy Amazon’s requirements.

If you stick to some basic principles and best practices around keyword optimization for the titles of your listings, you’ll have Amazon product listings that perform well in search and are discovered (and bought) more often.

What are the roadblocks you’ve encountered when you wanted to launch your Amazon private label product? Leave us a comment below or contact us today and our Private Label Solutions experts will get in touch.

Kaleigh More

Kaleigh Moore is a freelance writer specializing in technology and software.

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Amazon Ads: Enhanced Brand Content

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EBC

Does advertising on Amazon sound complicated? There are several ways to boost awareness for your brand or product. Let’s have a look at Enhanced Brand Content and how A+ content can improve your image on Amazon and drive traffic.

Last week, we talked about Amazon ads, focusing primarily on PPC campaigns. While we’re on the topic of boosting sales by advertising on Amazon, let’s take a look at how sellers can make products stand out with EBC

Enhanced Brand Content is an Amazon tool launched in 2017. It can only be accessed by merchants who sign up for Brand Registry, Amazon Launchpad, and Amazon Exclusives (sign-in required).

The EBC tool (a.k.a. A+ content) is basically a way to give your product detail page an edge. This maximizes the number of buyers you can engage with on Amazon. In a nutshell, it lets you add these features to your product page:

  • very detailed product descriptions;
  • creative narrative with rich imagery;
  • videos, charts, and other visuals.

From a merchant’s perspective, it’s there to boost sales. But it’s also meant to lower customer hesitation, reduce return rates, and boost brand loyalty. What’s more, Amazon claims it increases sales by 3% to 10%, on average.

The fact is EBC isn’t just about helping customers make informed decisions. It can influence every step of the buying process. Here’s why and how you can use it to your advantage:

1. Engage with Buyers for Free

Most buyers associate a product with Amazon, even if it’s bought from a third party. That’s partly because Amazon handles most of the customer-facing aspects of order fulfillment. But also because all brand advertising other than Sponsored Brands is against the rules.

So, conventional branding on Amazon is virtually nonexistent. EBC is, for all intents and purposes, the only way to boost brand awareness, image, and loyalty on Amazon for free.

2. Impress Buyers with Video

One of the greatest features of EBC is the video uploader. It can be used to showcase the product’s best features, show how it’s used and what effect it has on users, tell the brand or inventor’s story, and build rapport with the buyer.

Video as part of the EBC package

Video as part of the EBC package

3. Re-engage with Scrollers

Having the best offer on the search results page isn’t everything. Conventional wisdom says your product needs to always be above the fold. So, to maximize the likelihood of a sale, you need to make sure that users click “Add to Cart” as soon as they check the images on your page.

If users start scrolling down and you don’t re-engage with them right away, you’ll probably lose them. That’s precisely what EBC does, showing more images under the “Customers … also bought” section.

Except these “hero images” are larger and clearer, and they come with exciting new stories. So, EBC basically gives you more real estate below the fold. Prime real estate.

Hero image and story displayed with EBC tool

Hero image and story displayed with EBC tool

4. Enhance Product Descriptions

EBC content sometimes includes taglines, quotes, buzzwords, and nuggets of wisdom from the creator or a popular public figure. If you want all your hard work to pay off, you’ll also mention some of these features throughout your product page:

  1. Uniqueness – waterproof, heat-resistant, stain-resistant, eco-friendly.
  2. Functionality – how they solve obvious issues and address buyer concerns and questions.
  3. Ease of use – plug-and-play,  self-folding, easy-tear.
  4. Versatility – universal, two-in-one, multiple (ports).
  5. Indirect cost benefit – hardwearing, reusable, rechargeable.
  6. Age and gender groups – for ages ‘x’ and over, unisex, unrestricted.
  7. Desirability – ADA-friendly, curriculum compliant, ‘X’-range compatible.
  8. Awards and nominations –  FDA approved, Stevie award winner, Origins nominee.
  9. Relatability – designed by child, invented by engineer, produced by beekeeper.

Once users see your hero images and banners, they may decide they need more information. So, they’ll probably scroll back up to the top of the page. This is your last chance to impress your buyer, so spare no effort in producing appealing and impactful bullet points.

Bullet points aren’t part of the EBC tool. But it’s important to make them consistent with your enhanced content. So, summarize your product attributes and reinforce the features described below the fold, in case buyers don’t read the text that came with your hero images.  

The benefits of Brand Registry are many, and EBC is as good as any. If you choose to use it, you can set up your EBC page in minutes, as you can see in the (non-audio) video below. 

But don’t rely on EBC alone to maximize conversions. You still need a good feedback score, a great price, and -ideally – the Buy Box.

To learn more about boosting and maintaining sales levels, please follow our blog. You’ll find countless tips here on how to increase the Buy Box percentage, take advantage of Amazon EBC, invest in campaigns, and improve your performance on Amazon.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed.

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Amazon PPC: Types of Ads

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Amazon PPC

Tempted to try Amazon ads to promote your product? You’d better start budgeting for your Amazon campaigns, then. But what exactly are they? Let’s take a look at all the ways you can make your items stand out with Amazon PPC.

When goto.com came up with Pay-per-click advertising (PPC) in 1997, it launched the world’s most successful online advertising model. And here we are, two decades later, applying this model to reap the benefits of selling on Amazon. But what’s so special about Amazon PPC?

Amazon users are “buyers”, not window shoppers. They come to Amazon to search for specific products. Amazon will display certain items based on their search terms, and these unbiased recommendations are called “organic results”. But there is such a thing as a “paid result” too.

Amazon offers both paid and free advertising solutions. ‘Stores’ is an example of the latter, but it’s only available to registered brand owners. As for paid ads, these are the product of several other Amazon advertising solutions:

  • Sponsored Brands
  • Sponsored Products
  • Display Ads (formerly “headline search ads” and “product display ads”)
  • Video Ads
  • Custom Ads
Organic vs Paid

Paid vs. organic search results on Amazon

It’s important to know the difference between PPC and PPM. PPM or pay-per-impression advertising is where you pay for the impressions you get, not the clicks. Display Ads, Video Ads, and Custom Ads are examples of PPM tools on Amazon, where you’re charged for every 1,000 impressions.

So, in the list above, only the first two are examples of Amazon PPC. Sponsored Brands are only available to merchants who have signed up for Brand Registry, such as vendors, Launchpad and Handmade users, and private label sellers. By contrast, Sponsored Products are ads set up mostly by third-party sellers without a registered brand. That’s because when you have competitors (ie you’re not a private label seller), your ad will only run if you have the Buy Box.

Both types of Sponsored Ads are shown in the screen grab above. Notice the word Advertisement underlined in red on the Sponsored Brands banner. Also notice the word Sponsored in small print on the Sponsored Products ads. Unlike the banner, a Sponsored Products ad mingles with organic results and blends in with listings in the center of the screen. So, it’s great value for money.

After incentivized reviews were banned, paid ads became the best way to market your product on Amazon. But PPM solutions like Display Ads call for a minimum spend of $35,000. By contrast, your Amazon PPC budget can be whatever you can afford.

So, most merchants choose between Sponsored Brands and Products. Also, vendors can no longer promote items that “Can’t Realize a Profit” (‘‘CRaP’’), so there’s bound to be a drop in Sponsored Brands soon. It’s safe to assume Sponsored Products ads will pick up the slack.

But if you’re not entirely sure you should invest in Sponsored Products, here’s a tutorial on Amazon PPC from Urban Cowgirl founder Cherie Yvette. Pay close attention to her pie chart at timestamp 15:20, where she compares sales from various sources and tells you what to bid on:

As we mentioned in our post on Sponsored Products, there are a few basic requirements for anyone who wants to set up an Amazon campaign. And the ad placement tips we offered in this post still apply. You’ll need:

  • profitable products with good click-through rate;
  • a good daily budget for your Amazon ads;
  • good keywords with little competition;
  • the highest bids.

There’s no shortage of tutorials on setting up Amazon campaigns. When you do, you can opt for automatic or manual targeting. The latter option enables you to set your own keywords and bids. Here’s a Sellics tutorial that shows you how to find the best keywords for your product with free tools like Sonar.

This Jungle Scout video explains the link between ACoS and break-even point. It also shows you how to use the Sponsored Products Search term report from an automatic campaign. You can use data gathered by Amazon to check customer search terms and fine-tune your keyword selection.

Now that we’ve discussed paid results, please follow our blog for more about Amazon campaigns. In Part 2 of our Amazon Ads series, we’ll talk about promotions, campaigns, and tools that can enhance and promote your product page on Amazon.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed.

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How to Launch a New Product to Sell on Amazon

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How to Launch a New Product

Amazon can be a minefield for sellers who don’t do their research. Even more so for private label retailers and brand owners. If you developed a product and you’re thinking about listing it on Amazon, here are a few things you should know.

Selling your own product on Amazon is no mean feat. So, if you want to start off on the right foot, you need to adopt a very broad perspective. But before you think about all the aspects involved in this new business plan, you’ll need a few practical pointers.

If you’re not listing a Handmade product, and you can’t sign up to Amazon Launchpad or the Amazon Storefronts platform, then being a third-party seller is your only option. At least until you become eligible for a Vendor account.

How do you go about it? A mindmap is a good place to start. But before you can begin to connect the dots, you need research and practice. Here’s how you can launch your product on Amazon:

Before you go on investing any resources in your Amazon shop, be sure to read Amazon condition guidelines and the updated restricted products list. They can help you see if your product falls in a ‘gated’ category or if you need to take extra care listing, storing, or shipping them.

Note: These official help pages are for sellers operating on the US venue. Pages for other venues are easy to find online.

Before you launch, have a look at the list of Amazon selling fees. If you can find a product from the same category and roughly the same size, you can use the Amazon FBA Revenue Calculator to estimate your margin. Enter your costs, including purchase price, labor, storage, and packaging material. The calculator will show your fulfillment costs with both the merchant fulfilled network (MFN) and fulfillment by Amazon (FBA).

The screenshot below shows a comparison of margins as a table and graph. Note that the storage fee figure quoted for Amazon fulfillment is a monthly fee. Secondly, the Selling on Amazon fee of $39.99/month for Professional sellers or $0.99/item for Individual sellers has not been added. Also, think about shipping costs for individual packages sent to MFN customers. Would they cost more or less than the pallets sent to Amazon fulfillment centers via FBA?

FBA Calculator

FBA Revenue Calculator screenshot

Assuming you’ve already signed up for a seller account, you can start listing right away. As explained in this Amazon Seller University tutorial, there are several ways to list something on Amazon:

  • Uploading a file (Inventory Loader) with listing information for existing products
  • Uploading new listing information in bulk using the File Upload Template
  • Using software tools like SellerEngine Plus
  • Adding a single new product to the catalog with the Add a Product Tool
  • Matching existing products with the Add a Product Tool and the ‘Sell on Amazon’ button

The Add a Product Tool is probably your best option. If so, then Amazon Seller University tutorial below can show you how to add your product to the catalog in a matter of minutes. Before you begin, check out our Private Label listing FAQs and listing optimization tips to avoid suspension issues down the line. Also, be sure to read up on product variations if your product comes in a variety of colorways, textures, finishes, etc.

Once your product is launched and you checked the listing for typos or other errors, start advertising. Sellers who sign up for Sponsored Products, Amazon’s pay-per-click campaigns, sometimes receive free clicks. Also, consider offering quantity discounts with voucher campaigns.

Another option is to invest in the new Amazon Moments program. It involves paying Amazon money to advertise your product to buyers with the promise of an incentive. When buyers fulfill a goal, Amazon gives them credit using the money you put into the program.  

If you have an active registered trademark, then you can also sign up for Brand Registry when you become eligible. If you’re a new seller, it may take some time to build the sales momentum and reputation. But once you sign up, you can personalize and have more control over your listings.

As a brand owner, you’re now able to oversee product authenticity yourself. Under Project Zero, Amazon requires you to use special serial numbers for all the products sold on the venue. The program gives you access to a self-service tool that deletes counterfeit listings.

That’s a wrap for today, but we’d love to hear your comments and questions below. Have you had difficulties listing your own items? Whether you do private label or you sell handmade goods, any insights you can share with our readers on how to launch a new product and sell on Amazon would be greatly appreciated.

Melanie

Melanie takes an active interest in all things Amazon. She keeps an eye on the latest developments and keeps Amazon sellers up to speed.

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