Selling on Amazon: 5 Tips For Beginners
The first, and arguably most important thing you need to realize before trying to sell your products on Amazon, is that Amazon support is not your friend. In light of being an enormous company with large teams of outsourced support staff, getting the help and information you need is a marathon, not a sprint.
Do not get discouraged if it seems as though a support specialist can not help you. On many occasions, we’ve had to talk to multiple support staff members in order to find someone who could help us effectively. From what we have seen in our own experience, once you begin to establish your products and brand on the platform, and gain some traction on your products, they may be more willing to provide assistance.
1. Gather Documented Proof of Certifications and Product Details
When it comes to the product listing, title and description, proof matters. It is important to make sure that you have documentation of your product and business certifications, invoices, user manuals, and/or web pages that specify product information and details. Amazon will request these materials in order to verify the authenticity of the listing and its details.
Our company has received mixed messages from Amazon support about this. At one point, we ran into an issue with ISO certifications. Our team was told that the products could not be sold unless we could prove the manufacturer was ISO certified. However, after our service ticket was transferred to another support staff member, our listings were approved without providing the ISO certification. Upon further investigation of this issue, we found that ISO certifications are required for Health and Beauty products, whereas other products do not require it.
Regardless of what you are selling, it’s important to remember to be as prepared as possible and to make sure you collect everything (trademarks, copyrights, ISO certifications, user manuals, invoices, etc.). The more documentation you can provide, the easier it will be for Amazon to guide you and make adjustments to your listings.
2. Spend Time on Keywords
SEO on Amazon is just as important as it is on Google in terms of organic traffic to your product listing. For that reason, keywords are vital if you want your products to be discoverable. The product title and description are two of the most important aspects of choosing the right keywords.
One of Amazon’s customer service representatives advised us to include as many relevant keywords as possible in the title. We went back and forth with Amazon, waiting for them to approve the title with as many relevant keywords as we could fit. They told us the titles were not getting approved because some of the keywords did not match the product details and description. It took months for us to work through these issues and finally approve the lengthy title.
On the backend of your Amazon product listing, there are form fields for sellers to enter keywords for their product. It is important to note that you can add multiple keywords in these fields. For example, in the ‘Intended Use’ single field, we can add ‘home’, ‘security’ and ‘outdoor’ in the same field. This allows you to increase the amount of total keywords associated with your product. There is a limit of 250 characters for each category and it’s up to you whether you write all the 250 characters keywords in a single field of each category or divide them into 5 fields of each category which means that you will be adding 50 characters in each field.
Amazon Seller Central – Keyword Fields
Pro Tips: Avoid repetition, unnecessary words, fillers, and brand names. Use hyphens to include different spelling variations. Don’t include product names or ASINs. Separate keywords usings spaces instead of commas to save characters. No need for any type of punctuation marks.
3. Apply For Brand Registry
Applying for Brand Registry legitimizes your brand on Amazon, allowing you to control listings for branded products as well as allowing access to additional tools (A+ Content) and better support staff. Registering your brand will give you control of your product ASINs across the platform. This means that you have control over the information for the product, even if it is listed by a third-party seller.
Although it is free to apply for Brand Registry, Amazon requires that your company has a registered trademark to be accepted. The cost of this trademark could be up to $400 and the process of acquiring this is separate from Amazon entirely. To learn more about the trademark registration process, visit www.uspto.gov.
Getting connected with Amazon support staff who are specialists in the specific issue your brand is facing as an amazon seller, may be harder than you think. Apart from protecting your brand’s intellectual property, Brand Registry allows access to a dedicated internal team who can assist with support issues as well as access to additional marketing tools within Amazon such as A+ content. In general, the legitimized presence and additional content will make your listing more attractive to users and better suited for SEO.
Amazon picks and chooses where to spend their time, so having a registered brand may bump your support ticket to a higher priority in their eyes. If they think that your product will perform better on their platform, they may give you more attention and assistance.
4. Get Started with Auto Advertising Campaigns
Advertising Campaigns through Amazon are an extremely useful tool for getting users to find and click on your products. There are multiple types of ads including Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, Lock Screen Ads, and Sponsored Display advertisements. Sellers pay per click, so regardless of whether or not someone actually buys your product, you will pay a certain amount every time someone clicks on your product from the sponsored products sections. For simplicity, we will only cover Sponsored Product Advertisements, and specifically the difference between Automatic and Manual Sponsored Product Ads.
Auto Advertising automatically analyzes and targets keywords and competitor products with Amazon’s algorithm to determine where your product will perform best. It will identify keywords from your product title, description and other sections of the product listing to target. Therefore, the more text you have on your product listing, the easier it will be for Amazon to target optimal keywords and similar products with the Auto Targeting campaign. Although there is little control over what your money is targeting, it can be a useful tool in automatically determining which keywords and competitor products give the highest click rates for your products.
One control you do have over Auto campaigns is the ability to ‘negatively target’ auto targeted keywords that do not apply to your product. Sometimes, the auto campaign will target words or phrases that are similar to, but do not accurately represent, your product. For example, if your auto campaign on a light fixture was targeting the phrases ‘power cord light’ AND ‘solar power light,’ but your product is not solar powered, then those who click on your product while looking for solar lights will not be interested in purchasing. Since they clicked, you will be charged, but the likelihood of them actually making a purchase is extremely low. Make sure to find all of the keywords in auto targeting that do not apply to your product and add these keywords to negative targeting within the campaign.
After running an automatic campaign for a few weeks, you should have a much better idea of where your products perform best. Amazon will collect the data from your campaigns so you can see which words and products resulted in the most engagement. Now, using this data, you can run Manual Advertising campaigns to shift the spending to the keywords and products that perform the best.
Pro Tip: When manually targeting products, make sure to focus on competitor product listings that are inferior to yours in terms of quality. This will increase the likelihood of someone choosing your product as an alternative. If your ad campaigns target products with higher ratings or higher quality content than your product, it is less likely that Amazon users will choose your product as an alternative.
5. Try the Early Reviewer Program
Amazon has a paid program for merchants to encourage customers to leave honest product reviews and ratings. Amazon will randomly select customers who have purchased the product and offer them a $1 – $3 Amazon gift card in exchange for a review. This does not mean that you can buy good reviews on Amazon. Customers are encouraged to leave their HONEST opinion, be it 1 or 5 stars. However, if you are selling a quality product, getting good reviews and high ratings on the listing can greatly increase the success of your product.
If customers leave you good reviews, it will increase the general user confidence in your product, making it more likely that future users will have more trust in the quality. In our experience, customers have left generous reviews, which in turn have helped increase the popularity of our listings.
We should make it clear as we wrap up this article – the points above are merely 5 small tips of the iceberg that is Amazon. There are many other ways to improve Amazon listings, including A+ Content, Video Content, other forms of advertising, etc. Also, keep in mind that what works for some products may not work for others. Make sure to take the uniqueness of your product and your competitors into account.
We hope you’ve found value in some of the early lessons our company learned from Amazon. If you have questions about selling your products, we may be able to help you out! Contact us if you are interested in getting your product listed.
By Adam Higelin
Adam Higelin is a University of California, Berkeley graduate with a BA degree in Integrative Biology. He is a passionate writer with a love for the environment, botany and music. A special focus on research based, scientific writing has allowed Adam to pursue his dream of educating and inspiring people to better themselves and the lives of others.