In October 2021, Amazon held the largest EC event, “Amazon EC Summit,” in Tokyo to recognize 22 “high quality” sellers and distributors from 6 categories as providing a better shopping experience through Amazon.co.jp’s marketplace.
Any Seller will tell you, selling on Amazon successfully is a challenge in any category. From competition that’s constantly raising the bar and reinventing products to inventory issues caused by an ever-changing global landscape. Amazon continually raises the bar, pushing sellers to provide a better shopping experience. However, in 2020 and 2021, with the introduction of COVID, selling on Amazon took on a whole new level of complexities. COVID not only caused issues for sellers and their supply chains. It also caused problems for Amazon at fulfillment centers that challenged everyone to keep inventory in place and get shipments to customers on time. In addition to these challenges, consumers stuck at home for months faced new challenges setting up home offices and adjusting to life in quarantine. These adjustments pushed sales on Amazon to new heights in many areas.
Amazon continues to recognize and award sellers who provide the best possible shopping experience to their customers. At Prime Guidance, we understand Amazon is constantly changing and innovating. To keep our clients on top in these markets, we continuously look at events like these to see where Amazon recognizes excellence.
This year, Amazon awarded sellers/distributors who excelled in several areas of the logistic chain, from branding to overseas sales, to name a few.
“We are delighted to introduce 22 distributors offering a better shopping experience to our customers through the Amazon.co.jp Seller Award 2021. High quality to distributors. To sell products effectively, Amazon provides various logistics operations, branding, overseas sales, etc. Amazon will continue to offer to small and medium-sized businesses and other distributors. We will endeavor to provide highly convenient services that can be utilized.” – Kazuho Rouk, Amazon JP Business Headquarters
Casualbox (Marsh Co., LTD.) specializes in trendy, practical, high-quality hats and headbands hand-made in Osaka, Japan. Satoshi Numa started 20 years ago, creating hats with a new cultural mix between East and Western design. With success, he realized the only way to get his designs to the world was to go online.
“I am surprised and very honored to receive such an award. Our company, which sells casual headwear such as hair bands and beanies, has focused on overseas business for several years. Cultures are different between Japan and the global market. For this reason, it was a trial-and-error process every day for sales, but I am glad that it bears fruit in this way. We will continue to deliver excellent products to customers around the world who enjoy shopping at Amazon.” – Satoshi Numa
Prime Guidance was excited to see Casualbox, a long-time client, receive the Overseas Sales Award. Any Amazon seller will tell you, selling in multiple markets is challenging. But selling in the US, Canada, Mexico, all of Europe, Australia, and Japan and receiving an award from Amazon for these efforts is quite an achievement. Casualbox has been expanding into new markets aggressively for the last 2-3 years with great success.
“Jeroen Verschoor and Katherine Oyakawa at Casualbox are truly exceptional at what they do. They work efficiently and know how to focus efforts to have the most impact on the Amazon Marketplaces.” – Wes Beckwith, Sr. Consultant at Prime Guidance
If you are a current seller on Amazon or looking to expand into the Amazon marketplace, Prime Guidance can also empower your company to succeed. Prime Guidance Advisors help sellers navigate the challenges of e-commerce on multiple marketplaces, including selecting the right strategy, optimizing content for faster growth, improving operations to meet your marketplace requirements, and leveraging technologies to improve visibility and profitability.
For more information about Amazon’s EC Summit, visit Amazon Newsroom (http://amazon-press.jp) and About Amazon (http://www.aboutamazon.jp). For more information on this release: https://prtimes.jp/main/html/rd/p/000001368.000004612.html
Some may argue that advertising is king and that ultimately the right pay per click (PPC) strategy is the most critical aspect to a product’s success on Amazon but in truth CONVERSION is king! Without conversion, you aren’t making money. However, in reality, it’s the content that leads to conversion. Yes, you can say that without PPC advertising the consumer will never see your product. However, let’s say you have the best PPC strategy money can buy yet the consumer’s first impression of your product’s detail page is poor… will you convert?
In the early days of Amazon, it was often shoot from the hip when coming up with content. Usually, companies had fancy names for their products that often didn’t tell the consumer what the product did, nor why they should buy it. The consumer had to know exactly what they were looking for to find it, whereas in a brick and mortar store you could walk to the specific department and easily find the item. The product name wasn’t important when it comes to finding it in the store. Flash forward to the time when organic searches were (and still are) very critical… that’s when keyword stuffing began. For a battery pack you saw product titles like this:
External Battery Pack For iPhone, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, Zenith, RCA, to Charge Grandma’s, Grandpa’s, Kids, Children’s, Aunt’s Uncle’s, Father’s Mother’s Phone, Very Small, Very Very Tiny Battery Pack
The whole idea was to try and capture every word a consumer might use to find the item but also adding somewhat irrelevant words that might bring an unsuspecting person to the page as well. Amazon soon learned that many consumers were experiencing poor search results and landing on products that had nothing to do with their search, which in turn, led to bad customer experience. When you read the first Amazon Leadership Principle – Customer Obsession, you understand that Amazon’s first loyalty is to their customer which means providing the ultimate experience on the site and delivering accurate search results. Many sellers believe that the search algorithm works best when many different words are placed in your product title, bullet points, or product description to bring consumers to your page. However, if there is no conversion, then your organic rank goes down. This, in turn, puts you further back when the next person searches for your product. They want the customer to find exactly what they are looking for, so you need to choose the words on your Detail Page carefully!
Consumers look at two things on the Detail Page:
- Bullet Points
- Product Description/Enhanced Brand Content
- Rating aka Reviews (to be discussed in a future blog post)
When it comes to images, your first spot or “Main Image” is truly just an image. At minimum should adhere to Amazon’s requirements but should be as high a resolution as possible, especially if there are fine details that you want the consumer to see. The next few images should really be called an “Infographic” and you must decide what is most important for the consumer to see and understand. Let’s use a 5-inch screw with 3-inch threads as an example. The infographic would show the screw with lines at the top and bottom of the screw indicating 5” and then a second set of lines from the bottom of the screw to the top of the threads indicating 3”.
This quickly shows the consumer everything they need to know about the dimensions of the screw and whether it will work for their intended use. It’s direct and straight to the point which is perfect for this type of item. But what if you are selling a credit card-sized external laptop battery pack that will charge the laptop at least 100 times? Wouldn’t an image with a laptop, a credit card, the battery charger, and a very large 100X have more impact than lines showing 2” x 3” lines? It gives a size perspective to the consumer, which is a very powerful statement!
Lifestyle images are great too if they are relevant first to the actual product and then secondly to the brand. Having a lifestyle image of a fishing lure with heat-seeking technology will intrigue a consumer and they will want to read more. Imagine what an image that conveys the lure tracking down a fish on its own would do for your conversion. You can even combine a lifestyle and infographic image if you don’t overload it with too much written information. It’s also important to ensure text is large enough to be easily readable on mobile phones without requiring shoppers to zoom in.
In the olden days, bullet points were typically simple feature benefit statements. However, consumers demand more and we have very limited space to give them what they want. We as merchants don’t need to tell them that their life will be easier with this widget or they will look like a million bucks wearing that thing-a-ma-jig. The key is knowing what is important for each product’s consumer and speaking to them.
- 21 GIGAWATT DIGITAL VACUUM MOTOR: The super-strong motor sucks up every spec of dust and every bowling ball from you living room floor, giving you the confidence of a perfectly clean carpet.
- HEAT SEAKING SENSORS: Embedded sensors and a micro-motor guide the fishing lure right to the fish, guaranteeing a catch on every cast.
These bullet points give the feature and then explains how the feature provides the benefit.
The buyer of a high-end laptop computer probably doesn’t need to know the benefit of a 42-terabyte hard-drive or having 256-gigabytes of RAM. In an example like this, the bullet points should contain a lot more of the features and less on the benefits. Many times a consumer buying an item like this is using the features in the search which means the bullet points and even the title (discussed below) should lean more towards the features.
Other products may require more of a focus on the benefits, with less of an emphasis on the features. Again, it depends on what is important for your customer’s purchasing decision.
Although Amazon doesn’t tell us how their organic search algorithm works, the currently accepted hierarchy is that it begins with the Product Title and then moves to the bullet points. Product titles have character limitations that are different by category and it is still important to only use relevant words that are not repetitive and will eventually index making it easier for customers to find. Using the word, “Children in Children’s Sock” is important, but don’t use “Children’s Kids Socks”. The phrase “Kid’s Socks” can go into a bullet point where it will look more natural than “Children’s Kids Sock”. Giving key features in as very few words as possible is perfect and here is a good example.
BRAND NAME 26800 Portable Charger, 26800mAh External Battery with Dual Input Port and Double-Speed Recharging, 3 USB Ports for iPhone, iPad, Samsung Galaxy, Android and Other Smart Devices
The last thing to remember is that you can only make a first impression one time and bad grammar due to keyword stuffing is a bad first impression. I have very high standards when shopping online and assume that if the grammar is bad on the detail page then the product or product instructions must be equally as poor. Most of the time I am abandoning that page… How many others are doing the same?
Contact Prime Guidance for a free analysis of your business and learn how we can help!
Author | Robert Baron, Senior Consultant
On Google, organic search rankings are based on content, user engagement, inbound linking, technical SEO, etc., not paid search. On Amazon and other marketplaces there is a direct correlation between paid search advertising and organic search results—known as the Flywheel Effect.
How Important Are Marketplaces?
- Marketplaces continue to increase share of U.S. sales at double-digit rates, and are where most consumers start their product research
- Though Amazon owns 50% of U.S. e-Commerce sales, Walmart.com sales are growing more rapidly than Amazon’s, and reaches 100 million consumers
The first mistake brands often make is not conducting financial planning before launching on a marketplace. You need to determine a realistic annual sales budget, need financial planning to make sure you can be profitable, and don’t need to be selling on a marketplace to do financial planning.
Marketplace Launches and the Flywheel Effect
Due to the importance of the Flywheel Effect, it’s often best to start with one marketplace and get optimized. Another school of thought is to use a feed provider, test marketplaces at the same time, identify the opportunities and then prioritize. For example, Wal-Mart is large, growing faster than Amazon in many categories, and is less competitive.
A “Catch 22,” to get good organic rank on Amazon you need to have sales, however, to have sales you need good organic rank. Enter the Flywheel Effect. You need to budget enough money to generate almost all of your sales with paid advertising for the first few months.
Multi-channel Marketplace Sales
There are similarities across marketplaces. There are also differences. Following are only a few examples. Working with a feed provider can make it more efficient to manage.
- On eBay, sellers have been able to take advantage of cost per sale advertising, where the seller doesn’t pay unless a sale is made
- Walmart.com has had more limited CPC advertising targeting and bidding but is rapidly evolving their platform
- Amazon’s FBA fulfillment is unique, though both Amazon and Walmart.com have expedited shipping options, which influence organic rank and sales conversion
We hope you’re better informed about the marketplace Flywheel Effect, and what it could mean to your brand.
Contact Prime Guidance for a free analysis of your business and learn how we can help!
Author | Paul Becker, Senior Consultant
Maybe… but NOT right now.
With all of the concern surrounding price gouging (unethically inflated pricing), you want to make sure to keep your account healthy and stay off the radar.
Take a holistic approach to your account. Often, we see Sellers focusing on one particular strategy or going where the low hanging fruit is. You might think that the market will support price increases, but generally speaking, you’re better off to avoid this temptation and distraction right now. Think about your account health above everything else. Making extra dollars in the short term isn’t worth risking your account.
Dynamic and algorithmic repricing have been notable buzzwords for a long while in the repricing and pricing policy world. During “normal” times, it can make sense to reprice multiple ways using a variety of strategies. Different products and categories often have very specific approaches you’d want to take into account. Right now, however, is not the time to experiment. You want to avoid running afoul of Amazon Marketplace’s Fair Pricing Policy found here: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/G5TUVJKZHUVMN77V
You should definitely refamiliarize yourself with this policy. You might want to look up Amazon’s policy related to Pricing and Multi-Pack Abuse if you sell bundles or multi-packs. In a nutshell, you want to ensure the items in a group are not priced higher per unit than they would be if purchased separately.
Here’s What You Can Do If You Want To Raise Your Prices:
If you are selling your own products, you’ll already have the price history over time. If you are selling other brands, you might want to refer to price tracking charts such as Keepa, CamelCamelCamel, Helium10 and others which will reveal current and historical pricing trends. Software tools like Jungle Scout, Viral-Launch, Helium10 and others are valuable for on-going monitoring.
As for repricers, there are many to choose from. Some popular repricers are Informed.co, Feedvisor, SellerSnap and BQOOL. The key to keep in mind, is that especially for any medical supplies, items for use in emergencies, items with trigger keywords (ie. mask, sanitizer, etc.) you want constraints in place to ensure your prices don’t increase too much or too quickly.
Regular monitoring of your pricing and evaluation of your pricing strategies is really important right now. If you need any help, the Prime Guidance team is happy to review what you are doing and provide support or advice.
Update By Amazon on Price Gouging
“As you know, Amazon’s Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy protects our customers from unfair, excessive, and misleading prices. Our price gouging prevention systems attempt to account for variations in local laws while also providing customers a consistent experience across our stores. We also take increases in the cost of goods, freight, and labor into consideration, and that’s particularly true in light of COVID-19. We have and will continue to adjust our price gouging thresholds to reflect these dynamics.
If you believe you are offering a fair price for a product that has been suppressed by our price gouging prevention systems, please go to Manage Inventory and re-activate your listings by clicking on Edit and then click the button Save and Finish.
If your listing remains inactive after following the steps above, you may need to update your price by going to the Fix Price Alerts page, or you can appeal our decision through the Account Health Dashboard.”