With over 90 million Amazon Prime customers and climbing, Amazon looks like a sure bet for a sweet piece of ecommerce pie to many third party online sellers. But, while that can be true, it takes more than just luck and opening a selling account. It demands hard work, patience, a serious learning curve involving their many policies and procedures, and time. Many Amazon get-rich-quick gurus spin a different story. But in our over 15 years of Amazon selling experience, we’ve learned that there isn’t much ‘quick’ about Amazon. Except for how fast they will revoke your selling privileges if you don’t play the game to their standards. Fear not! We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 habits most successful Amazon sellers rely on to net big gains and minimize losses.
Reviews, understands, and complies with ALL Amazon policies, rules, and procedures
And boy there are a lot of them. You can start down the rabbit hole here. And don’t stop til you get enough. Read the rules carefully and make sure you understand the full implications of each before you list a single product for sale on Amazon. They suspend countless sellers and listings each day for policy violations, customer complaints, incorrect listing information, etc. The best way to keep yourself safe from an Amazon account or listing suspension is to understand and follow their rules. Completely and at all times.
Does extensive product research BEFORE sourcing and listing items
Use a scouting tool, like Profit Bandit, or a research tool, like SellerEngine Plus, to see current information about that item’s listing on Amazon, who else is selling it, what the potential profit would be, sales rank, and any listing restrictions before you purchase and list items for sale. Determining their viability on the marketplace you want to sell them on is imperative to ensuring quick sales at good profits. Too many sellers buy, buy, buy and list, only to rarely sell items or even potentially to sell items at a loss. Clearly, this isn’t a sustainable business model. Find good products that you know are unicorns. The Amazon catalog is vast, find your niche. But be flexible if/when that product becomes inundated with other sellers or starts to lose sales and profits. When that happens, find another group (herd?) of unicorns.
Streamlines the process
Once you get a handle on all the pieces of a successful Amazon selling business, find opportunities to outsource and streamline your processes. Whether that’s hiring a VA (virtual assistant) or using a software tool, like Sellery, to automatically manage your inventory and prices. Time is money, so saving some of yours can be invaluable to growing and expanding your business.
Doesn’t put all their eggs in one shopping cart
Offer a diverse range of products on your storefront. Sell via both FBA and Merchant Fulfillment. And, cast a wide net. Don’t rely on just one marketplace. If your account is suspended on one, you can stay afloat with sales from other marketplaces while you correct course and revive your suspended account or listing.
Optimizes their listings
Here are some quick tips for optimizing your listings for Amazon (which, keep in mind, is different from Google in a few fundamental ways):
- Capture your buyer’s attention with your product title. You have 500 characters to do so- so the longer and more descriptive, the better. Check out this product title formula: Brand + Model Number + Model Name + Product Type, Color
- Use 5-6 clear and clean photos (on par with Amazon’s standards, of course).
- Use bullet points and an item description- be concise but descriptive and detailed. This will help you with keyword matching.
- Use the sponsored product feature – Amazon’s answer to AdWords.
- Fill out relevant categories.
- List an aisn in your product field (shout out to this SEJ article).
- Avoid duplicate content.
- Do a quick search of similar items to see how your competition has described the product. And then do the same on Google.
- Take advantage of enhanced brand content- you can now add videos for products. As of September, this program is in Beta for FBA and registered brands that have been around for some time.
Amazon provides some helpful tips here and, in November, we’ll be publishing a blog post with more in depth details on how to best optimize your Amazon listings. Check back then for more information.
Sells Private Label items
Selling Private Label (own brand) products on Amazon has been on the rise in the last couple of years and is still gaining steam. Amazon has recently entered into the race with their own private label brand, AmazonBasics. Selling in categories from sports equipment to electronics to pet supplies and everything in between. The biggest benefit to Private Label items is that you eliminate competition from your listing. The downfall is that a bunch of other sellers have the same idea, for the same types of products. So where there previously was one listing for a particular item, now there might be many, many listings for the same item, just branded differently. This is where mastering #5 comes in handy. You’ll get the sales if your item comes up toward the top of keyword search results.
Sells via FBA or offers Seller Prime or free shipping for Merchant Fulfilled listings
Free shipping is where it’s at. More and more buyers are opting for Prime products or Seller Fulfilled Prime products because paying for shipping is so 2015. We recently updated some details about Seller Fulfilled Prime here. If you want to see success, your best bet is to incorporate your shipping costs into the price of your listing. Everyone likes to feel like they’re getting a bargain. And free shipping screams “what a deal, what a bargain”. Make sure you test the viability of your products for both FBA and Merchant Fulfillment and list/fulfill accordingly.
Learns from their mistakes
This one is pretty self explanatory. No one is exempt from making mistakes along the way. The important part is that you can learn from them and adapt for better performance moving forward. Don’t beat yourself up! As they say, a problem is merely an opportunity in disguise. For most of us, one success is held up by hundreds more failures/lessons. As long as you don’t keep repeating the same mistakes, chances are you are learning and adapting as needed.
Sets goals and tracks progress
This can probably apply to success in any area. Setting (realistic!) goals and tracking your progress and milestones is a key ingredient to getting things done quickly, efficiently, correctly, and well. Start small and increment up as you become more comfortable with selling on Amazon. Maybe you want to sell your first $5k initially. But a later goal could be to expand to Amazon UK and make $10k in sales within your first month there. Not only will this keep you on course, but it provides opportunities for mini celebrations along the way. And we could all use some cake. 😉
Engages in networking & professional/personal development opportunities like conferences & trade shows
Here are our top conference picks for 2017. We’ll follow up before the end of the year with a list for 2018. Getting yourself out there to meet and network with new people (and experts in your field of interest) is a great way to learn from other’s mistakes and missteps before you encounter them on your own. Come up with a set of interview questions you can keep in your back pocket for such encounters. And take good notes during those conversations. Attend conferences with tracks that you know will contain information valuable to you and your business. Become a master learner. Even if you are a seasoned Amazon seller, you can always learn something new from someone else.
And hey, if you attend any of the conferences we do in 2018, please make sure you stop by our booth and say hello. We always love to connect with our readers and customers.
So that’s it, in a nutshell, the habits it takes to be a successful Amazon seller. Questions? Thoughts? Let me know in the comments!
Kate is an avid reader/writer, world traveler, dog lover, lead singer in a band, and Amazon extraordinaire. She loves long walks in pretty much any setting and helping Amazon sellers grow and succeed.