If you already sell on Amazon, then you will know about Amazon Seller Central, and if you are a new Amazon merchant then one of your top priorities should be learning about how important it is for your future business.
Amazon Seller Central is available to both individuals and professional merchants, and it can be used in a variety of ways. Essentially it allows you to sell your products on the Amazon website, the second largest e-commerce platform in the world.
When you make a sale you are informed directly by Amazon, which also processes the payments, and deposits the funds minus its fees in your account. If you opt for the Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) option, Amazon will also pack and despatch the order. They will also handle returns and customer service. Naturally the more they do for your business, the higher the charges will be. The fees can be expensive.
They depend on a range of factors but can range from 14 up to 40 percent of the final selling price and make up to 15 percent of Amazon’s revenues.
Essentially every aspect of selling can be managed via Amazon Seller Central. This includes managing your seller account, keeping your inventory up to date, adding information on your products, managing orders and payments, and so forth.
If you are a new Amazon seller, check out our handy 10 Tricks Top Amazon Sellers Are Using To Get Ahead to get ideas on how to increase your revenues.
Naturally your primary aim is to maximise your sales and profits, and although Amazon provides you with a huge potential market, the competition can be daunting.
Over a third of all sales made on the Amazon website are from third party merchants, of which Amazon claims there are over two million. Worldwide these merchants sell over a billion items a year, and specialise in the most profitable items.
So how can your business prosper in the face of such competition? Be prepared for some hard work, but if you approach it in the right way your chances for success will multiply.
Although there is no magic wand that can guarantee instant success, here are 10 steps that you can take to optimise your Amazon Seller Central and boost both your sales volume and profits.
1. Optimise your products for search
There are various ways in which potential customers can locate your items, for instance they can browse through the various product categories, but by far the majority of visitors use the Amazon Search function. This allows them to search for products site wide or within specific product categories.
To maximise the chances of them finding your products, you should ensure that you optimise your product details for search. The next few steps will guide you through this process. This part is crucial to your success on Amazon Seller Central.
2. Understand the Amazon Search Algorithm
The first step to optimising your products for search is to understand how the Amazon Search Algorithm works. Did you know that far more people search for specific products on Amazon rather than on Google?
Thus, understanding how to rank well will be crucial to the success of your Amazon Seller Central.
That means that it is even more important to rank highly on Amazon than it is to rank on Google. Amazon uses the A9 search algorithm which itself is being optimised continuously. For an extensive look at Amazon’s search algorithm, check out these handy guides by Statupbros and Moz.
Essentially Amazon matches the search terms with relevant results from its huge product database and then orders them in terms of relevance to the customer or, in other words, the products the customer is most likely to buy.
The three key factors used by the algorithm can be summarised as:
- Conversion rate – this takes account of all the features that Amazon considers relevant for the customer. These include price (compared with other sellers); customer reviews; and average customer rating.
- Relevance – essentially the degree of match between the search terms and product titles and descriptions.
- Customer retention and satisfaction – in other words how good your business is at retaining customers so they return and purchase from you again. Your seller feedback and return rates are crucial here.
The next steps concern how we apply this understanding.
3. Optimise your Conversion Rate
There are several ways in which you can optimise your conversion rate through Amazon Seller Central:
- Sales Rank – the more you sell, the higher your sales rank will become. This is a perfect example of positive feedback as the higher your sales rank the more sales you will make. The way to optimise it is to ensure that you do everything right.
- Customer reviews – this is crucial. Good average star ratings (4 to 5) are vital for top rankings.
- Image quality – ensure that your product images meet the Amazon criteria and they are suitable for hover to zoom. Amazon has a useful guide on this here.
- Price – it goes without saying that customers prefer competitive pricing, so offer it to them.
- Browsing behaviour – Amazon monitors bounce rate and time on page for every product it displays. Use all the tricks in the book to keep your visitors interested.
4. Optimise your Relevance
To score high on relevance, ensure that your Amazon Seller Central is optimised in terms of:
- Title – aim for around 80 characters and cram in as many keywords as you can, but don’t go so far over the top that you annoy customers. It is essential to include the brand and product number.
- Features – make sure that you list all relevant product features in bullet points using all the keywords your customers might use, but keep them human friendly and readable.
- Product description – cover every aspect of your product and include several product images. Make it enticing and engaging.
- Specifications – list all the product specifications as provided by the manufacturer.
- Category – make sure that you select the most relevant categories and sub-categories. Check out their requirements on their help page.
- Search terms – you have the opportunity to associate specific search terms with your product. You are allowed up to 250 characters, so make the best use of them. Marketingwords has some very interesting info on this.
5. Optimise Customer Retention and Satisfaction
To score well here you must ensure that your Amazon Seller Central helps you to provide outstanding levels of customer satisfaction. The criteria you must address are:
- Seller feedback – at all costs avoid negative feedback as you will be penalised heavily for it. If any of your customers have problems, ensure that you address them to their complete satisfaction; even difficult customers. Good feedback is the only way you will ever make the Amazon Buy Box.
- Fast shipping – nowadays this is essential so offer it. Most customers want their order yesterday, so at least make sure that they can have it tomorrow.
- Keep you products in stock – proper inventory control is vital. A product listing that states ‘out of stock’ goes down like a lead balloon. To avoid this issue, consider using Dropshipping.
- Perfect orders and defect rates – Amazon monitors both of these, so make sure that for former is high and the latter minimal.
You can also check out three common complaints on Amazon and how to handle them.
6. Get in the Amazon Buy Box
It is impossible to overstate how important the Amazon Buy Box can be for your business, and you should always aim should be to get your products listed there. In fact around 82 percent of all sales take place via the buy Box.
Similar criteria are used as already mentioned in assessing which items appear there, though the seller who appears highest is usually the one with the lowest price assuming all else is equal.
7. Comparative Pricing
Where possible, provide your customers with comparative pricing. Everyone likes a bargain, so if you can genuinely state a previous price and a sales price, do so, similarly if you are selling below recommended retail prices, show this.
But be careful; there are strict criteria and ensure that you don’t mislead your customers otherwise you risk a stiff warning or worse from Amazon.
8. Integrate your Website with your Amazon Seller Central
You can increase your sales by integrating your own website with your Amazon Seller Central. Your visitors can purchase items from your Amazon inventory using Amazon checkout buttons or through an integrated shopping cart which uses Amazon’s order processing to complete the purchase.
There are great advantages to be enjoyed by selling from your own online store and through Amazon, so make the best of them. This guide from techjourney can help you complete the process.
9. Monitor your Performance
Keep a careful track on how you are doing and measure everything than can be measured. Use all the reporting tools in Seller Central and ensure that you keep a handle on your performance and the performance of your competitors.
There are many services out there providing that service. The Selling Family have a great list of tools worth checking out.
10. Continual Improvement on Amazon Seller Central
Finally, consider that what is optimal today won’t necessarily be optimal tomorrow. It is important to keep improving your Amazon Seller Central business otherwise it is inevitable that you will rapidly fall behind the competition. Complacency is your worst enemy; once you start falling down the ranks it becomes difficult to get back to where you were.
Finished optimising your Amazon Seller Central and ready to take your business to the next level? Get your Amazon loan today!