It certainly is hard to carve a way through all the giant sellers already selling on Amazon, but a rigid, concrete Amazon marketing strategy is the key.
In the search for sellers who have excelled using some really practical and powerful Amazon selling strategies, the Orderhive marketing team came across Andrew Tjernlund, the guy who started it all by simply selling watches that monitor the heart-rate on Amazon - both Seller Central and Vendor Central.
Andrew is now also a star consultant a retailer can hire to understand what products can be sold best, through Amazon via AMZ Help.
Andrew’s biggest highlighter on Amazon,
People never go on Amazon to shop, they go there to BUY!
It's obvious that whenever people plan to buy from Amazon, they simply search it, and automatically the seller having the Buy Box gets the deal. No wonder Buy Box makes for about 80% of sales in Amazon. Quite apparently, customers do not waste much time checking out all the sellers with the same product.
So let's see what Andrew says about Amazon selling strategies:
How Andrew began his journey - his growth timeline.
I have been selling online since I was 19 (about 14 years ago) and it was via Amazon for most of the time. Me, my team, sell both via Seller Central and Vendor Central with lifetime sales on these platforms approaching $100MM. We sell as wholesalers across a variety of different product categories, but currently, are the largest Vendor to Amazon in the Industrial/Electrical category (after Andrew started to manufacture and directly source Industrial, Medical, Grocery, Appliances, Beauty, Technology, and Sporting products to Amazon). We mostly sell these products via Seller Central using Amazon FBA selling (for now).
Time & Cost-Effective strategies to start with...
#1 Start with a few products...
No one is expecting a long list of products from you on Amazon! The fact is, when you are a starter, your customers don't even know you and what you sell. Your products, rather your few “specialized” products will gift you the recognition.
How can I make sure that his/her brand or product is even a part of the Amazon customer consideration set? If this is the question hindering you to start selling, then keep in mind that there are sellers already on Amazon eating up your probable customer base. Highlighting the figures - more than 200MM active customers and over $100B of sales annually.
So, it’s better to start selling ‘something’ before it’s too late!
#2 The fidget spinner example
Did the inventor of the fidget spinner, Catherine Hettinger, ever made any money out of what was the trendiest in the market? Unfortunately, no! But these youngsters made $350,000 in 6 months helping fidget spinners go viral. What was the key? The product or the idea? You know it!
The lads, Allan Maman and Cooper Weiss were the ones who bombarded not only Amazon but all the possible marketplaces with fidget spinners. Allan came across this spinner on Etsy when he was searching for something that could help him with his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It was just the idea that made Maman produce the spinners via 3D-printers in his school with friend Cooper.
Not only did these two boys made fidget spinner so trendy, but other sellers also gained interest in it. Fidget spinners of all kinds were carried across retailing giants like Wal-Mart, Target, and at one time topped Amazon's best sellers list.
#3 Give your brand ‘the Amazon’ touch
Bought Right is Half Sold. It all starts with the buying process. Since competition is a click away, it is the PRICE that almost always is the determining factor that allows one to compete on Amazon using a wholesale model. We figure out how to make the buying process better and then keep adding more products. Honestly, we rely on the famous or existing brands to drive the customer interest and with our lowest and competitive price, the actual sales flow right to us.
Make your products to be ‘sold exclusively on Amazon’. This will provide you a better customer engagement on Amazon and also not harm the product's brand value or cost.
#4 Never try anything in selling on your own that you don’t know.
Being a seller, you need to identify the areas where you are not strong. Either set up a team totally dedicated to that particular process or outsource it. Expedited shipping, maintaining customer experience, etc. can be in the list of these tasks. Outsourcing these tasks will not only help you focus more on building the Amazon selling strategies but also help you get quality results from different professionals.
How exactly, and in what ways can you sell on Amazon?
Amazon is a website for shopping, in the same way as cheesecake is a cake.
You need to understand what you are selling, and what can be the soundest way that Amazon is providing to bring the best out of your business. You are wasting 95% of the power market if you are planning to stick to the basic selling on Amazon.
You can list your products with different types of listing methods that Amazon provides...
#1 Fulfillment by Merchant
Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM) is nothing but the normal listing that every seller does.
Here, all you are doing is listing your products on Amazon, paying for advertisements (if done), and taking care of everything - from receiving an order, picking & packing, shipping, customer support, managing returns, etc.
Now, how important do you really think is ‘content’ while listing the product on Amazon? Very! Being an FBM seller, Amazon product information is the key to your product getting sold - can either make it or break it for you.
While listing the product, make sure that you are avoiding all the things that Amazon doesn't allow.
The titles of your product listing should ideally be less than or equal to 100 characters. Try to always start with the brand name and never forget to include numerals. Using HTML codes, featuring ALL CAPS, and including symbols (&!@*$) is a sin!
Most importantly, make sure that your entire order fulfillment process is smooth and the shipping never gets delayed.
Be like Andrew, this is what he said when asked about how he managed to get better customer reviews,
The best customer service experience is no experience. We have a good quantity of stock and the lowest competitive price. That’s usually enough. On the other hand, timely deliveries can fetch you good customer reviews on Amazon, and that helps!
#2 Fulfillment by Amazon
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is a much more enhanced version of Amazon listing. Keep in mind, 'seller' is the highest grade that you can grab on Amazon, but being an Amazon FBA seller, you can send your inventory to Amazon's fulfillment centers. Amazon then takes care of everything - receiving the order, picking & packing, shipping, return management, customer support.
This is what Andrew said on being asked why he chose to become an Amazon FBA seller -
Amazon FBA selling has allowed us to focus on what we do best—offer new selection. By offloading as much of the actual selling and fulfillment process as possible, it provides us more bandwidth. While we are using Amazon FBA selling model as of now, we’ll plan on moving to Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) later. The reality is that with a catalog of over 300,000, it is very difficult to hit the high thresholds needed to maintain the SFP designation. We are reducing our catalog to allow us to soon be able to hit those metrics.
The best example of how Amazon itself promotes the product that is listed with a PRIME tag.
Let's assume that is a product listed by two different sellers. The first is an Amazon FBA seller who has listed the product at Rs. 12,995, not to forget the PRIME tag. The other seller is selling the same product at the same rate, no more, no less. Still, Amazon and its algorithm will pick PRIME product for the Buy Box.
Even if the competitive seller is selling at a lower rate, Amazon’s algorithm will still pick the Prime seller as default seller. So you know that Amazon will promote PRIME that it itself invented, thus try not to compete. It’s not Amazon that is dependent on you, rather otherwise.
Someone well said,
If your opponent is really hard to compete with, join forces with them!
#3 Vendor Express / Vendor Central
What is Vendor Central and Vendor Express? This means that you are no more selling on Amazon but to Amazon! You can register on Vendor Express, but for Vendor Central, Amazon invites you based on your selling record, product inventory or on request.
Andrew has stated some myths,
- Amazon will "steal" your product - Amazon buys your products. It’s up to Amazon whether to distribute it to other sellers or sell it directly to the customers. It’s nowhere stealing your products.
- Selling to Amazon lowers your margin - How can this even be a question? If you are a seller who has planned to not become a seller on Amazon but sell off your products to them through Vendor Central, it is nowhere reducing your margin. This is where you are adding a cherry on the top to your Amazon selling strategies.
- Amazon is a difficult partner - Really? Is it that hard to register on Amazon and start selling?
- Santa fills up your stocking every Christmas Eve - Oh yes, certainly!
don’t blame Amazon for it...
Inventory Management System involved in your Amazon selling strategies?
We become glorified inventory managers once we set up a new supplier. Since we rely on the brand or Amazon to actually drive customer interest, our ability to grow and compete on price is primarily driven by how well we can manage the inventory. I would say that inventory management software isn’t even really an investment—it is the foundation of all successful Amazon selling strategies and growing businesses.
If you have less inventory, you can’t grow; if you have too much of inventory, you can’t grow. Thence, a ‘Just in Time’ inventory management system is always required - wherein you know what’s (orders) already in and what’s being done (orders processing) or what has been done (shipped) With demand being so dynamic, only having the right amount is not enough - but having it only for when is the time is all that matters.
To wrap it up...
There is one Golden Rule of Amazon - Always put your 'customer' first...
Whatever your Amazon selling strategies are, encapsulate all the above-mentioned tricks into it, but never forget that it's your customer that is going to keep you running. Forecast their demands, and BINGO, you'll certainly nail it!