What, only three? Yes, that’s right. And these three all need each other. Think of an average three-legged stool. Take one leg away, and the stool falls down. Each leg needs to be strong. And each leg needs to be able to rely on the other two being strong.
Let’s ease this thought into an Amazon context with a couple of examples before we look more closely at all three.
As an Amazon seller, you can have the best customer service when compared to the competition, but it’s a waste of time if you have a poor product to start with.
You can have a great and popular product, but if you don’t stick to the Amazon guidelines, rules and regulations, and take advantage of some of the key functionality this amazing platform has, you compromise your offering and risk losing your Amazon seller status.
3 Main Things To Get Right To Stay Competitive on Amazon
Yes, you’ve guessed them – and you need to have a diligent and determined approach to all three. Have super-high standards, with all of them in sync and complementing each other, and you’ve truly optimised your Amazon seller offering. Make sure you’ve got everything to do with these three right:
- Your Product
- Your Customer
Obvious? To a degree, but we’re really talking about your attitude here. You need to get in the right mindset and refresh your respect for your product, your existing and potential customers, and Amazon.
But first, a quick word about tools and software
There are some amazing, wonderful and clever tools and apps out there that you can use to enhance your Amazon offering, increase your propensity to sell, gain a competitive edge and then stay competitive on Amazon. Examples include Helium10, Jungle Scout, DataDive, SoStocked & Repricer– to name just a few, and, as you’ll know, there are hundreds more. But you’ve got to be in a good place with your product, customers and Amazon as a foundation on which to build these and other additional toolkits and apps.
Let’s take a closer look at the product, the customer and Amazon and identify some key boxes you need to tick under these three to gain an edge over the competition. As an Amazon seller, you should be aware of some of these. Take this opportunity to consider what you haven’t done or need to revisit. Of course, this is not, and can’t be, a complete list! Instead, see it more as a selection of key thoughts and pointers.
Is it as good as it could be?
Are you selling a good, high-quality product? High quality can mean lots of things these days.
- From being reliable and strong to delicate and finely engineered or designed.
- From being highly functional and efficient to classy and beautiful.
- From being aesthetically pleasing to simply doing what it says it’ll do.
And so on.
Have a think about what you could do to improve your product to help you stay competitive on Amazon. To improve it in such a way that it turns the competition into also-rans.
Have a think about the presentation. Is your packaging ‘nice’, is it doing its packaging job well, and is it something that is going to thrill the buyer with anticipation before they open it?
Are there any zeitgeisty boxes you can tick? Think sustainability, maybe some kind of natural angle or biometric. Of course, you want to help save the planet too, but it’s the buyer you want to make feel they’re doing their bit – that they’ve made the right choice in the purchase of your awesome product.
When you have checked through all these and taken any appropriate changes to get your product ahead of the competition, add something special. Think about something that could surprise and delight.
Maybe bundle your wonderfully packaged product with something. Or can you add something for free, maybe a free guide, a personal, hand-written note or a reminder flyer extolling the benefits that they can use to tell their friends all about their purchasing prowess?
When you’re thinking about all these, always have at the back of your mind that you don’t just want to be competing on price.
Optimise your Amazon listing content
Before you even think again of search engine optimisation, to stay competitive on Amazon, think about optimising your actual content. Spend time and effort on your Amazon listing. Of course, you need to give accurate and helpful details about your product, but also take the time to present it in terms of benefits to the customer. If you start illustrating the benefits rather than just the features of your product, your content will come alive and be more compelling to the customer.
Your tone of voice and style should be conversational and not clunky. You can still do this even if your product involves a serious subject. You can still have gravitas and sound human. Corporate speak and jargon will make you sound like an automaton – boring and unconvincing.
Beneath your bullets in your description area, don’t be afraid to give lots of detail about your product. People love detail. Just make sure it’s easy to read and that it’s useful.
If you’re not sure your copy is working hard enough to sell your product and you’re struggling to get it right, consider hiring a professional copywriter to write your listing’s title, bullets and description (and A+ content, if you’re brand-registered with Amazon).
Use high-quality images, video and infographics
Don’t cut corners with these. Good visuals are a great way of quickly drawing someone in to look at your product in more detail. Consider hiring a professional to take some great shots and videos to show your product in the best light. Customers like videos showing a product being used, and it also gives them a sense of the size and handling of your product.
Selling under your own brand can have significant advantages for you on Amazon and other platforms, like social media.
Branding can boost customer awareness of your products and nurture loyalty among existing customers. Branding can help you stand out from the crowd of competitors.
When you’ve got it, put your branding on everything (but don’t overdo it).
You can register your brand on Amazon and benefit from various tools and additional content opportunities.
Market Elsewhere, too
When you’ve optimised your content on Amazon, don’t forget all those other marketing channels you can use to promote your Amazon product listing. From web advertising and email campaigns to publication advertising and social media. You should be able to sell more and, at the same time, increase your number of reviews and stay competitive on Amazon.
Tip: Be careful with your different marketing ecosystems and keep them separate, so they don’t battle each other over your sales!
Search engine optimisation of your Amazon listing
You’ll know about this and hopefully will have done it. Be careful not to overdo it, though, otherwise, the search algorithms and gremlins will start to work against you, and, in addition, your copy will start sounding forced and tiresome – not ideal if you’re trying to sell something.
Tip: Make sure you also get in the swing of using the negative keywords tool on Amazon and keep adjusting your negative keywords over time. This can stop you from spending money on keywords that are costing you but aren’t bringing in revenue. This will help you improve your return on investment (ROI).
When trying to stay competitive on Amazon, try to avoid launching into product promotions, getting publicity on third-party sites and spending money on advertising until you’ve made sure your content is high quality and ready to be viewed by all those potential buyers. When all are ready, and you do launch your marketing activities, you’ll give the competition a good run for their money.
Check your stock and shipping is shipshape
While not as glamorous as compelling copy, images and video, your stock levels and shipping set-up have to be adequately prepared for your sales. It’s a shame to sell your product and then be let down by stock problems with shipping that can affect your Order Defect Rate. For the former, take time to identify a healthy minimum stock level to cope with spikes in sales. For the latter, see if you can have some sort of contingency in place should you encounter problems with shipping. Remember, if you don’t oversell and you’re able to fulfil your orders fast, Amazon will favour you as a seller.
Try and build an external customer email list over time
Tick this along from the get-go. There are lots of ways you can gradually build up a customer base, including email campaigns, activities on social media and newsletter sign-ups on your website. You’ll end up with a customer base you can email, plugging your product on Amazon.
This is someone you want to make happy!
You’ll note that we’re often using the word ‘customer’ here rather than ‘buyer’. This is to include all the people who find and view your product, or interact with you in some way, before they might actually become buyers.
The customer should be at the forefront of your mind at all times. Learn to see your product – and customer service – from the customer’s point of view to help you stay competitive on Amazon.
Your lifeblood is reviews and feedback on Amazon
A customer’s propensity to buy spikes when they read good reviews about a product. And the more good reviews you can get, the merrier! There are all sorts of methods you can use to encourage reviews. Consider promos, discounts or giveaways. Or giving an additional ‘something’ away with your product (like a spoon to go with your bowl product or a recipe book with your soup maker product).
Tip: Amazon has rules and guidelines around reviews and feedback. Make sure you’re up to speed with the ins and outs and what you can and cannot do.
As a rule of thumb: if it’s okay to reply or comment on reviews, then do so.
How to communicate with customers
The customer is always right, right? Actually, that’s irrelevant because whether they’re right or wrong, you should speak to all your customers with courtesy and respect. Be helpful. Be positive. Don’t be negative or self-justifying. If a customer complains, see them right and thank them for it.
Learn and be inspired
Look closely at your reviews and feedback on Amazon. It’s amazing how inspiring customer comments can be, whether they are positive or negative. If you dig deep enough, you’ll find hints and clues on ways you can improve your product and its surrounding customer service. For example: “I love my deluxe and shiny new egg tray, but I wish it had six holes rather than five as eggs tend to come in cartons of six.” That’s a blatant message, but look out for the subtler ones too. And adjust your product or offering accordingly to stay competitive on Amazon.
Social Media Channels
If you haven’t already, embrace social media and start conversations with new customers. Good engaging content about your product and the lifestyle around it can feed customers to your Amazon listing. The resulting sales will spawn more reviews, and more reviews are what you seek. Lots of good reviews help you stay competitive on Amazon.
Amazon is your enabler – and friend
Once you’ve got your product and your relationship with customers right, take some time out and think about your relationship with Amazon. Have you got the right attitude about this company? Yes, we all know that Amazon is a great selling opportunity, but do you perceive Amazon as a bunch of rules and regulations you have to follow to avoid being penalised? If so, change tack.
Refresh your sense of Amazon and embrace it for what it is: a finely tuned, very clever, multi-talented and sophisticated enabler of your sales. It’s an incredible platform with a collection of tools and services that can bring out the best in your high-quality product, help you keep your customers happy and, with the wind in the right direction, make you lots of money.
There’s so much to Amazon. The chances are you’re just skimming the surface. From now on aspire to know absolutely everything about this extraordinary platform. Explore new tools and ways of selling. Look again at the opportunities it can give you as a seller. After all, Amazon wants you to sell and sell well. It wants your mutual customers to be happy and satisfied and keep coming back.
Look again at all that Amazon has to offer and find out what you might have missed that you can take advantage of in your quest to drive sales, generate reviews and get ahead of the competition.
Where to start to ensure you stay competitive on Amazon
Why not go back to basics and start by picking up things you might have overlooked in those heady seller start-up days?
Start at the very beginning of your online selling journey at Seller University. Fix or tidy up those small insignificant changes that can potentially make a big impact on becoming a big player in your online niche.
Staying competitive on Amazon also involves optimizing your product’s prices at competitive rates. An Amazon repricer can help give you that winning edge to win the Buy Box and boost your sales. Repricer.com is designed to help both small and established brands to win the Amazon Buy Box and maximise profits on all their selling platforms. Book a demo to learn more or start your free 14-day trial today (no credit card needed).