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Is Your Brand Equipped to Handle Amazon? Here are 3 Things to Consider

Kiel Hauck
Oct 29, 2018 10:45:28 AM

It’s no surprise how Amazon has become one of the largest online retailers in the world. With a seamless out-of-the-box business model, a built-in consumer base, and low barriers to entry, brands across every industry and vertical are clamoring to sell their wares on the e-commerce platform. While this wonderful world of Amazon sales is tempting for brands of all sizes, if your team is looking to start moving products on Amazon, there are a few things to consider.

For instance, there is a significant amount of manual work, time, and resources that are required up front to kick-start an Amazon brand presence, as well as continuously manage and fulfill orders throughout the online sales cycle. Don’t know if your brand is equipped to handle selling on Amazon? This article will explore the three most important parts of the Amazon sales process, with some tips and tricks on how your team can optimize your Amazon success.

Product Marketing

When it comes to attracting consumer attention on Amazon, there is one thing that prevails above all others: the product listing. How your product looks in photos, the keywords used to describe it, and where your product listings show up are the deciding factors between whether or not someone will click ‘Add to Cart’ or not. While it may not seem like much, a ton of work goes into the back-end of product listings to ensure the maximum conversions. There are three main things to take into consideration when building your Amazon product marketing strategy.

First, your product photography can make or break your listings. Even before consumers read your headline, their eyes will be drawn to your images. The most successful Amazon sellers have a team of photographers dedicated specifically to handling product listings, but brands of all sizes can create a professional presence by following a few key guidelines. Amazon itself has a comprehensive list of guidelines available to sellers, but there are a few key best practices to remember: photograph your products in front of a clean white background, show products from a variety of angles (including the top), and make sure you’re conveying the scale and size of products in your images. If you’re selling a product with different sizes or colors, be sure to create variations so that consumers can accurately visualize the differences.

Next, your product listings are also a showcase for your product description and other content, which help give consumers more details around what your products do, what they look like, and why they’re important. From headlines to bullet points to A+ Content, the words used to describe your products can help sway customers who might be weighing whether or not to purchase your product. One important thing to remember with product content is that it must be continuously updated and optimized to ensure your products are appearing in the right searches. Without a dedicated resource constantly optimizing all of the finer points of product content, things might slip through the cracks. Make sure your team is keeping an eye on all these content elements and keeping up with keyword trends.

And finally, there is advertising on Amazon. If you’re just starting out on the platform, running Amazon ads might seem light years above your ability, but it’s actually pretty easy – and common – to run Amazon ads. There are so many different types of marketing campaigns your team can take advantage of, from Sponsored Products to the Amazon Brand Registry to Lighting Deals, that all it really takes is some dedicated time to test out what works best for your products and your team. Just remember that most Amazon ads run off of keywords, which require some substantial research before running.

Inventory Management

Although getting your product listings successfully up and running on the Amazon platform may seem like a lot of heavy lifting, it’s all just setting up the real operational task force of Amazon selling: the logistics and fulfillment of orders. When a brand decides to start selling on Amazon, it joins one of two groups to dictate how its outbound orders will be managed, shipped, and tracked: Fulfillment by Amazon or Merchant Fulfilled. In FBA relationships, Amazon handles all facets of the logistics process, including storage at an Amazon-owned warehouse, automatic Prime eligibility, and all order fulfillment details. On the other hand, brands can handle all of the logistics and shipping details themselves in the Merchant Fulfilled Network. Brands leveraging MFN avoid accruing any fees that Amazon charges FBA partners, including warehouse storage fees and shipping fees.

Whichever fulfillment option your brand chooses will also determine the level of visibility you will have into your inventory tracking and stock management capabilities. FBA inventory reports deep-dive into some pretty complex inventory metrics, such as recommended removals and overall inventory health. If your team is managing your own inventory in-house, it might take some time to build your perfect inventory management strategy, but with the right tools and tracking system in place, you’ll be able to efficiently manage inventory, quickly fulfill orders, and master Amazon logistics guidelines.

Customer Service

After your products are packaged and out the door, it’s time to start thinking about your customer service experience. At first, it may seem as though customer service on Amazon is all the same – it is all sold from the same platform, after all – there are actually plenty of ways customer service can make or break your Amazon success. In some ways, the Amazon platform is also a social network, with consumers sharing ratings, reviews, and details of every seller interaction. Too many negative engagements, and your sales on Amazon will plummet. Your Amazon seller rating directly impacts whether or not your products will win the Buy Box (the most covetable real estate Amazon has to offer) which makes customer service even more important. There a few types of engagements that influence your seller rating on Amazon.

First, there is how your team fields, responds to, and handles customer questions. Amazon, at its core, is still a store, and all customers have questions. If your brand is represented through FBA or another seller on Amazon, you might have little to no control over how your customer’s questions are answered, which can negatively impact your product ratings. If you’re selling yourself on Amazon, or leveraging a single third-party seller relationship, you’ll be able to ensure that every customer question is met with respect, efficiency, and professionalism.

How your team handles returns will also impact your overall seller rating. Amazon recently streamlined its returns policy for all sellers, which has made it harder for sellers to know exactly why customers are returning items, the exact issues with a product (and whether or not its damaged) and how efficient the return process was as a whole. Whether your team is managing returns out of your own warehouse or out of an FBA warehouse, it’s critical to track all of these metrics as well as what happens to your merchandise after it is returned. While maintaining high-levels of customer service is one of the most important parts of selling on Amazon, it can also require the most internal resources and time.  

It’s easy for brands who are thinking about starting to sell on Amazon to view the online platform as a completely different retail and logistics experience, but in reality it operates quite like other retail outlets. With the right marketing strategy, a strong logistics plan, and excellent customer service, your team can excel at Amazon sales. It can be hard to hit the ground running, which is why a trusted partner with a good track record of maintaining seller credibility and maximizing Amazon sales is a great place to start.  After all, the Amazon business model isn’t going anywhere, so it’s worth the time and investment up front to set your brand up for success.

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