Amazon sold $178,000,000,000 in product in 2017. 70% of Americans earning more than $150,000 per year who shop online have an Amazon Prime membership, and Amazon shipped five billion items in 2017 to Prime customers. Its market cap is an astounding $865,200,000,000 as of this writing.
Jeff Bezos may be the wealthiest man in the world but he is far from the only person who has built his fortune on Amazon. Myriad entrepreneurs have built multi-million dollar brands. Many of them have sold their businesses for anywhere from $8,000,000 to $16,000,000.
The Pitfalls of Selling on Amazon
Yet selling on Amazon is by no means an easy endeavor.
Amazon sellers can be fiercely competitive. It is common for an Amazon business to launch a successful product, only to see two or three competitors copy them and start negatively impacting sales volume.
Some have even seen their listings hijacked by immoral scammers who have devised tricks to cheat people out of their business (the good news is that there are preemptive measures you can take to stop that from happening in the first place). Some sellers create new brands, source product, and create their listings… only to struggle to get reviews, show up in search results, or otherwise find buyer traffic.
Still other sellers struggle with high ACoS (Advertising Cost of Sales, or the amount of money you spend per product on pay per click ads to sell your inventory). After all, traffic is just one part of the sales equation. You also need your listings to convert visitors into customers.
Selling on Amazon is further complicated by the rising cost of storage in Amazon warehouses, by the sudden removal of customer reviews that Amazon believes are fraudulent, and by frequent changes to the platform that force entrepreneurs to adapt. Speaking of reviews, all it takes is a few too many 1-star and 2-star reviews to sink a product. Sellers are under enormous pressure to satisfy their customers.
Bureaucratic hassles are common at Amazon, where some entrepreneurs see their accounts suddenly suspended and have to scramble to figure out why. Finally, it is a challenge to find experienced, high-quality Amazon talent to grow your business for you. Amazon store management, ppc, SEO, and general marketing are challenging jobs and the best talent is well-compensated.
How to Succeed on Amazon
So, has the Amazon dream become out of reach? No, not at all.
At Reputation Elevation, we have assembled a team of experienced talent and a proven track record helping Amazon businesses grow.
Launching an Amazon business starts with great product research. The ideal product has a lot of pent-up demand but only a small number of successful sellers meeting that demand.
Once your products are ready, it is essential to write effective sales copy to convert visitors into customers. Start by 1) understanding who your prospects are and what they want 2) what selling points are required to compete in the marketplace and 3) what frustration points customers have that nobody else is addressing. If you uncover problems people have that nobody else is solving, then you’ve struck gold.
Photography can make or break a product. Customers expect clear, high-resolution photos from multiple angles. Video is becoming more and more common on product listings and is an effective selling tool.
Next, it’s time to get good reviews. Sellers often give away products in return for reviews but this strategy has become more difficult to use as of late. Amazon’s algorithm has become more and more adept at spotting this, and simply deleting all reviews it considers suspicious. It’s important to obtain reviews in a way that is as natural as possible.
The final step in your listing is Amazon SEO, the art and science of getting your products to the top of Amazon search results. If you can find “long tail keywords” with low competition and include them in your listing, you should get some traction. But more competitive keywords require a multi-pronged strategy, often including Facebook Ads, Google Ads, and Amazon PPC.
Speaking of Amazon PPC, the Amazon PPC platform is a complicated topic in and of itself that requires a lot of experience to navigate successfully. Otherwise you may be handing over a lot of money to Jeff Bezos.
For those sellers who are determined, competitive and have a budget, there is an alternative method of boosting Amazon search rankings. One involves the orchestration of individuals around the US executing specific planned behaviors on your listings to get the algorithm to rank them higher.
We have a track record of ranking products for highly competitive keywords, dramatically increasing sales. See example below.
If you are interested in growing your Amazon business, Reputation Elevation can help. While Amazon services tend to be more expensive than other digital marketing services, our pricing is competitive in the marketplace and we deliver the highest quality. We can help you with Amazon SEO, Amazon PPC, Facebook Ads, Google Ads, branding, product research, getting good reviews (that stay!), and more.
Reece Epstein runs marketing consultancy Reputation Elevation and is the director of marketing at Wealthpoint.