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.”
Author | Scott Margolius, Senior Consultant
In 1954, Robert Frost was asked the question, “What is the most important thing you learned in life?” he was 80 years old. He had lived through the Spanish American War, WWI, the Spanish Influenza, the Great Depression, and WWII, and his answer was, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.”
It Goes On.
So with that in mind, how should we be reacting to the Covid-19 in 2020?
First, a little about the author: my name is Sprigley Allan, and for the last 10+ years, I have been helping companies around the world to maximize their exposure and sales online. I am 32 years old and I am currently considered one of the higher risk individuals due to chronic respiratory problems. So this is very real for me. This article is not a marketing gimmick or a push for extra visibility. This article is an honest effort to help fellow entrepreneurs. I can speak for everyone at Prime Guidance when I say that we care, we want to help, and we will be here throughout this challenge.
I am going to be focusing on how to get through the next couple weeks/months from both, a business and a personal perspective. So let’s start with the obvious…. WHAT IS GOING ON WITH AMAZON?
Fulfillment by Amazon and the Coronavirus (FBA vs. FBM)
One of our team members at Prime Guidance is named Matt Kubancik. Matt has extensive experience in e-commerce as a seller and as a co-founder of SkuVault is a certified logistical guru. I asked him about his opinion of the evolving FBA situation with Amazon,
Sprigley: “Hey, Matt, what are your thoughts on the whole FBA situation?”
Matt: “In my experience, you can be a lot more profitable selling on
Amazon, when using FBM. This situation has brought to light the importance of fulfillment in our e-commerce businesses. Many sellers have become completely reliant on Amazon as both a marketplace and as their fulfillment solution.”
Sprigley: “I know that I am guilty of this 🤦. I have been using Amazon to fulfill my Shopify store orders as well. Now that I know it is important to have multiple fulfillment solutions, what would your advice be?”
Matt: “I would recommend looking into a few different companies to set up a more robust order fulfillment solution. Some examples are Deliverr, ShipStation, and SkuVault. Many sellers don’t realize that there is a 1%-5% shrink rate when using Amazon to fulfill orders. This comes from Amazon losing inventory, damaging inventory, mishandling returns, etc…”
Sprigley: “Absolutely, we have been helping clients re-coup those mistakes for years. What about the shipping companies themselves? I am thinking they must be trying to encourage companies to fulfill directly.”
Matt: “All the major players like FedEx, DHL, and UPS offer different programs for small businesses. FedEx has its TechAwards program where they will send you a gift card for you to use to buy label printers, shipping supplies, and it can even be used for software such as SkuVault or ShipStation.”
Current status, as of March 30th, is that all the companies Matt specifically mentioned are still running at full capacity. Setting up a 3PL and the order management system to go with it is not a quick and easy task. Please feel free to reach out to us if you are working on this process and have questions.
Let us all remember why we signed up for FBA in the first place. Amazon tells us that the average product sees a ~50% increase in sales when they transition from FBM to FBA. With that being said, we are not advocating giving up on FBA, but instead having multiple options available for fulfillment moving forward.
Amazon Rankings and Product Launches During CoronaVirus
By far, the most common question I am getting from clients and other sellers is, “How does this situation affect my product rankings and product launches?”. So let’s split this question into two main parts.
- Amazon Ranking – Simple answer is that there is no simple answer. As most of the people reading this article know, ranking a product on Amazon is a demanding and challenging process. Once you achieve your ranking, you want to keep it! One of the most significant impacts on your rank is the consistent availability of your product. Don’t stock out! Take a look at your advertising campaigns and promotional calendar and make sure you are not pushing more sales when you may stock out on that product. If you do stock out, close the listing so that when you are back in stock, you have a better chance of regaining the Amazon BSR (Amazon Best Seller Rank) from before.
Product Launches – This is
somewhat of a passion for me. I have launched more than a thousand products on
Amazon over the last few years. When the Corona Virus started to become a real
issue, many sellers decided to postpone their product launches. Initially, I
thought that made sense as well. However, I had a friend who desperately needed
to launch a product; he had already bought the inventory and had the launch
process underway. Over the next few days (March 16 – 18) he had the most
successful launch I have been a part of in months. We discovered substantial
discounts on top of funnel traffic from both Facebook and Instagram. Not to
mention that as more and more people are being obligated to stay home, we are
seeing record amounts of time being spent online. Average daily in-home data
usage is up across the board. Here is a quote from comscore “Comparing the
same Sunday/Monday/Tuesday in March year-over-year, we can see that mobile
phone data usage grew by more than 50 percent! Gaming consoles (+48%), smart
speakers (+44%), streaming boxes/sticks (+38%) and connected TVs (+37%) all saw
significant upticks in data usage.” All of this translates to a product
launch gold rush. It is arguably one of the best times to launch a product in
recent history. There is a lot more to discuss on this topic, and we continue
to release more information in the coming weeks.
Amazon & Walmart Advertising During CoronaVirus
This topic has been… interesting. I have been advertising online since 2002 and have never seen that kind of rapid movement that we see now. Below I have listed out some basic pointers:
- Do not overreact – The advertising algorithms were not designed with moments like this in mind. For me, it seems like Prime Day and Q4 rolled into one with no warning. Many sellers are panicking and making sweeping changes to their campaigns, which they will most likely regret as things normalize. My advice to clients has been to keep a close eye on the campaigns and to make sure they are not overspending. However, they also need to make sure that they are not running out of budget. Since some of your competitors have decided to shut off their ads, your CPC’s might be going down, and some of the most valuable keywords that were previously out of your budget may be worth trying again.
- Defend Your Brand – If you decide to pull back on some advertising, keep your eye on your branded campaigns. Especially if you are stocking out on popular items or if your competitors are aggressive. Now is not a time to give up branded SERPS to competitors.
- Amazon Advertising Changes – Before CoronaVirus, Amazon advertisers were already reeling from all the updates to Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands. There was the launch of Sponsored Brand Videos, Sponsored Display, changes to Advertising. Amazon and much much more. If you are looking for a useful resource on the recent changes, here is the link to Amazon’s advertising FAQ’s, https://amzn.to/3awXM4d.
These are a few useful pointers, but if you would like to dive deeper into your advertising efforts on both Walmart and Amazon, please contact us directly.
What Should My Team Be Working On?
This is a question I am getting multiple times a day. As business owners, we all feel responsible for taking care of our team members. I was recently on a call with Ezra Firestone from SmartMarketer.com, and he gave a phenomenal response to this question. He said that his team is working on improving the sites UX and polishing some of their more precise email flows.
He is taking this time to knock out some to-do’s that did not reach the top of the priority list before. Mostly, he is finding ways to keep his team busy during an otherwise scary time. Mark Cuban was just on CNBC, saying that how companies respond to coronavirus will define their ‘brand for decades’. I believe this is true both for our consumers and our team members. One of the tasks most of my clients are working on now is filing the top of the funnel. As we all know, that can be a very time-consuming process. As of now, most Americans are sitting on extra time, so let’s find ways of using it productively instead of just waiting for normalcy to return.
Finding The Positive
Ok, enough of the doom and gloom. What are some of the positive things we can be focusing on right now?
- People are hanging Christmas Lights & Flags to share solidarity and good cheer all over America.
- Corporate Goodness
- Burger King is offering 2 free kid meals with orders over their App through April 6th.
- Disney donated all their extra food to local charities when they closed down their parks.
- Adobe is offering Creative Cloud FREE for 60 days!
- Video Conferencing
- For many of us, we have been using video conferencing for years. While we are in isolation, keep in mind that this can be used for fun too. I have friends who are holding poker games with their teams over Zoom!
- Free At-Home Workouts
- Peloton – They have extended the Free Trial on their app to 90 days.
- Corepower – They are providing weekly collections of classes for Free.
- Check Your Library – Many public libraries have access to premium at-home workouts that are free for library cardholders. For example, my library has free access to Aaptiv, which has over 2,500 recorded exercises available.
We are committed to being there for our clients, friends, family, and industry. These are unsettling times, but they will pass. Here are some last ways to help those in need that we borrowed from Groovelife:
- Check on your neighbors by downloading the app Next Door and see if you can meet any needs for those unable to leave their houses.
- Donate to your local charities and organizations to help send aid to those who have need.
- Buy from your locally owned businesses. Whether it’s takeout, merch, or gift cards, this will support them and also their employees!
- Check-in on your friends and family. Stay positive and spread encouragement to those who need it!
Contact Prime Guidance for a free analysis of your business and learn how we can help!
Author | Sprigley Allen, Senior Consultant