Updates March 2022
If you’re reading this, you’ve made the decision to sell on Amazon or another online marketplace. Great – hello and welcome!
Selling on Amazon needs to be as carefully considered and executed as any other sales channel would be. Too often we run into brands with unrealistic expectations. They believe that Amazon, or other large marketplaces, are simple software integrations with instantaneous selling activity to follow.
While the ubiquity of the cloud and technology solutions available to sellers provides us a never-before seen level of capability – there’s still the challenge of utilizing it all effectively while employing a sound strategy. Therefore, a careful and considered approach is critical.
We are huge fans of online marketplaces and have built a business to help brands and businesses leverage them! This includes helping them think through all facets of their business as they position themselves for online marketplace selling. Both operationally and strategically.
About This Blog Post
This post outlines a few of the larger issues to contemplate when moving on to the online marketplace. Amazon in particular. Let’s start with the following issues:
- LIST– how do you get your products to the marketplace and manage selling your products there?
- OPTIMIZE – are your listings built and positioned to sell?
- ADVERTISE – How are you promoting your brand on the marketplace?
Selling on Amazon – Listing
Listing your products on Amazon encompasses several challenges.
Where are your product listings currently?
How are you getting them to Amazon?
Do you employ an ecommerce cart/platform to run your business?
Or do you maintain product listings offline in an inventory file?
Are you loading them in to Seller Central via an inventory file template (using Loader) which you manage and update manually? Or are you using a third party solution for any part of this?
Before we tackle the quality or completeness of your product listings let’s touch on integrations – a solution or system that has positioned your business for effectively selling into multiple channels.
Let’s begin with Amazon as a marketplace destination while keeping an eye toward selling into ALL relevant marketplaces. Being on a platform that positions your business for integration with marketplaces is crucial to get to those marketplaces effectively. Does your eCommerce platform have a robust API that allows for its own OR a third party solution to help get your product listings to your desired marketplace? It’s imperative to be on a platform that supports use of its own or third party technologies via robust APIs. All platforms are NOT created equal.
Do you have a listing solution that allows for dynamic updating of your product catalogue, product listing copy, and content? Is it tied to your online store or some other management system?
Listing often prompts a business to take a hard look at its inventory tracking, fulfillment format, and order processing.
Selling on Amazon – Optimization
This is the process of asking, “Are your product listings even READY for Amazon?”
If your product listing were ‘ported’ from your Shopify to Amazon right now – how would it do in search rankings? Does it describe your product and represent it in an “optimized” fashion? How are your product images, product descriptions, and titles and bullets? Do you even have all of those components?
You will have to in order to sell on Amazon.
What’s “optimized” you say? Optimization is thrown around a lot as a term so let’s unpack it a little.
Optimized product listings are (crucial) the starting point for maximizing both organic search ranking results AND paid search results.
Optimized listings attract more traffic, both organic and on sponsored listing and ad spend is more efficient with higher conversion, at lower cost.
Creating these product listings takes time and knowledge to execute effectively.
Have you constructed a title that includes all relevant information for both search and description of the product? Does it use all of the real estate allowed (character count)?
How does it read vs how does it rank? Does your product description contain all the relevant information to convey value to your customer? Is it long enough? Does it contain content (keywords) that are relevant to your promotional advertising campaigns?
We cannot stress enough the importance of imagery. Imagery sells. Shoppers are browsing quickly on mobile devices. The importance of high quality images that display the product in ways the customer will want for evaluation, are…CRUCIAL.
Search relevance = ranking = sales. From product title to description – are you creating listings within your ecommerce platform that are positioning your product listing for promotion and advertising – for ranking!!
Circling back a bit to listing – it’s all tied together…
How are you managing your product information – listings, inventory, etc? Manage your product listings in a location which you can then think about integrating to your sales destination of choice. This destination could be marketplaces, comparison shopping engines, or social. Before you can launch, you must be prepared. A central location for management of product information provides consistency. Easier said than done…we know…
Optimizing data for online selling can serve all channels/destinations.
Selling on Amazon – Advertising
To sell on Amazon, you must employ an advertising plan. Legacy channels such as social and paid search have dominated the digital advertising landscape and mindshare of brand owners. Online marketplaces are rapidly increasing in importance and relevance. Brands have to fight for eyeballs here and it’s a competitive and constantly shifting landscape.
Even for those brands that have already landed on Amazon and addressed some of the issues we have covered – advertising is often an area where businesses need help.
Increase sales, decrease Amazon Cost of Sales (ACoS).
As many would already profess to know, it isn’t as simple as spend to get sales. Effective campaign management comprised of targeting, adjustment, and reduction of inefficient spend, is vital to launch and success.
Despite marketplace advertising’s importance, it is still a crude tool with significantly less targeting capability than its social or broader paid search outlet cousins. There are some tried and true rules that can help you to manage these campaigns, but a lot of execution is down to test and iterate. There are some exciting technologies bringing FAR more capability to this arena and brand managers MUST understand the capability at their disposal to compete effectively.
Each of these 3 larger issues we have discussed play off of one another and combine to drive success and sales. Advertising effectiveness can often be the dipstick or symptom for the merchant or brand’s positioning on the rest of the issues we have covered. For example poor listing quality, absent optimization, provides for a poor place from which to begin advertising as your advertising dollars are even less effective – or said differently – results are MORE expensive or unachievable.
Make sure you are thinking through these issues and have a strategy for executing so you can succeed on marketplaces like Amazon.
Channeled is a full-service agency that works with companies that are established Amazon sellers or want to launch on Amazon and help them manage and scale.
Our team of marketplace experts drives the strategy, handles execution, provides performance reporting, and deals with all other day-to-day tasks so you have more time to run your business.
Talk to us. Let’s launch. Let’s grow.
Check out this other blog post all about Amazon Advertising.