Amazon has grown into the largest and, arguably, most important marketplace on the internet. Need a last-minute gift for a birthday party? Get it shipped directly to your doorstep. Want to watch award-winning movies and tune into live TV? Stream it on the app. Need to publish your first book? Get it published at no cost and reap major profits. From the start, Amazon has been focused on providing the best possible value and experience to the end customer. And that strategy has paid off tremendously.
It is no wonder that 3,700 new sellers join Amazon every day; All trying to capture their share of an ever-expanding demographic of buyers. That said, Amazon is not the end-all-be-all. Brands who spend the time and energy getting the fundamentals right should then look for new opportunities on other marketplace channels that could potentially offer more value and accelerate future growth.
- Operates in 50 countries
- 150,000 sellers
- Over 2.5 million products
- Third-party sellers account for 60% of sales
- $53,921 billion annually from its ecommerce platform
- 220 million customers every week
- Operates in 20 Countries
- 150,000 sellers (matched with Amazon)
- $22 billion in ecommerce
- 650 sellers
- Only Launched in 2019
- 165,000 products
In this resource we will discuss some ecommerce tips and tricks on how to sell on Amazon, and a few other marketplaces, by covering:
- How to integrate Amazon into your overall business
- Taking full advantage of Amazon features
- Expanding your Amazon presence
- Selling on Walmart
- Selling on Target
How to Integrate Amazon into Your Overall Business
With so many customers, it is easy to see how sellers can take advantage and connect with a variety of audiences. But the benefits of being the world’s largest ecommerce marketplace don’t stop there. Amazon offers sellers a partnership dynamic that allows access to a multitude of services, many of which can help in day-to-day processes and streamline marketplace management. Use the following tools to help limit strain on procedures and logistics to fully utilize what Amazon has to offer.
Seller Central: Seller Central is much more than just a seller account dashboard. This portal provides access to valuable tools, content, and monitoring systems. Add and edit listings, track inventory, process reverse logistics, and even generate full business performance reports.
Seller University: Amazon’s library of content offers free training for brands and businesses to learn the ins and outs of being an Amazon seller partner. Topics cover everything from just getting started to understanding fulfillment processes and marketing.
Protection: One of the first things needed to get started on Amazon is to complete the brand and product registry. Amazon takes things a step further by using this registration for the higher purpose of offering automated protection. Once submitted, your IP (intellectual property) is supported through future assistance with bad listings, listing issues, and policy violations.
Advertising: Amazon’s functionality in-and-of-itself makes competing for the spotlight simple, you just optimize for the search engine. This ‘search engine’ network means that most of your product marketing is free and allows you to cater to specific buyers without putting thousands into advertising spend. That doesn’t mean that advertising should be completely off the table though. Ads help get in front of new buyers and can serve a multitude of purposes:
- Sponsored Products: Ads meant for individual products. These ads appear in shopping results and on product pages that are relevant to shopping queries.
- Sponsored Brands: These ads work to establish brand awareness and feature custom headlines, videos, and images.
- Sponsored Display: Extend the reach of your brand both on and off Amazon.
- Storefronts: Multi-page, website feel, online stores where buyers can search all your products at onc
FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon): FBA is a service that allows brands to outsource their fulfillment needs directly to Amazon with added benefits like Prime free two-day shipping, customer service and returns management, and multi-channel fulfillment opportunities.
Matching existing listings: Expanding your product line or looking for some guidance on pricing and features? Amazon offers product matching. This tool lets you copy all the details of an existing product, saving you time and setting up your new listing for success.
Get reviews: Ask customers to review your product regularly. To build trust and authority among competitors. These reviews have a massive impact on how and where you show up to buyers. Bad or minimal reviews means lower on the Amazon page and less recommendations.
Utilize social media: Social media platforms, especially the likes of Instagram and TikTok, have entered the ecommerce world and changed how people buy. Most of these platforms have their own type of marketplace or “shop” that brands can take advantage of to get directly in front of their key customers. The impact of these channels doesn’t stop there though. Amazon offers those with an (FBA) seller account to create a social media promo code that you can use to drive purchase-ready traffic to an Amazon landing page, allowing your customers to purchase products in just a few simple clicks.
Taking full advantage of Amazon features
Fulfillment and Shipping Logistics
Your fulfillment and shipping method is one of the most important considerations to make when selling on Amazon. How and when customers get your product, along with the after-purchase interactions make an impact when it comes to brand and buying experience. But are you utilizing the best option for your business?
FBA: Fulfillment by Amazon is the most widely used within the marketplace. Remember, this means that you ship your items to Amazon where they can then pack and ship it themselves. However, this comes with fees and can sometimes be limited due to product and category restrictions.
Self-fulfillment: Self-explanatory, this option allows you to take buying, packing, shipping, and customer service into your own hands. There may be less fees and more freedom, but this option does open the door for issues pertaining to the time and capacity it takes to monitor, ship, and manage orders.
3P (Third-Party Fulfillment Partner): As the name suggests, this method of fulfillment and shipping involves a company outside of the brand or Amazon who is responsible for getting the product from the merchandiser to the customer. Often these partners buy the product and sell it themselves under the guise of the brand and act as a true collaborative partner. However, that is not always the case as there are a few types of 3P sellers.
- Drop Shippers: Sellers list products without keeping inventory. When an order is received, the seller purchases the product from a third-party supplier who then ships it.
- Retail Partners: This pertains to a business collaboration where each business dips into each other's resources. A seller promotes a product that they then buy from a partner and ship to the customer.
- Ecommerce Accelerators: Agencies that help brands seize opportunities and boost revenue growth. The accelerator themselves buys brand inventory directly and then collaborates with the brand to sell that purchased stock.
Much like the Googles and Yahoos of the web, Amazon works through an algorithm that scans content to find the most relevant results based on the searcher’s query. If we use basic SEO (search engine optimization) practices, there are multiple factors considered, not just the title of your product. You will need to optimize things like description, imagery, and pricing to capture the attention of not only potential customers, but also the software itself. Understanding this process and taking advantage of how the algorithm works will automatically put you above competitors.
Keywords: Research and build a list of words or phrases you feel people will look for when searching for something online, specifically your product or category. Think – what would you search for if you were looking for a product like yours? Consider using both specific (ex: short sleeve red polka dot shirt, size large) and generic (ex: polka dot shirt). Below are a few tools that may come in handy when conducting keyword research:
Images: Include images that are of high quality and show off some of the product's key features. Ensure you consider including different angles and uses of the products to properly highlight their use and allow the buyer to better visualize the product. Here are some metrics to keep in mind:
- Every detail page requires at least one product image. Six images and one video are ideal.
- Images should have a white background and fill at least 85% of the image space.
- Use 500 x 500 or 1000 x 1,000 pixels to increase listing quality.
- Take advantage of Amazon’s AR (augmented reality) software.
Titles: Much like articles and other pieces of content, your product’s title should catch the buyer’s attention. This is also one of the primary fields used by the Amazon algorithm to find relevant products connected to a query. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Your product title should match what would be on the physical packaging.
- Titles should be approximately 60 characters in length.
- Be sure to include your brand name in the title.
- Review the Amazon product title requirements.
Prices: The price of products can influence things like conversion rates and sales growth, so you will want to price products competitively while keeping in mind the value proposition. Here are some steps you can take to creating the right pricing strategy:
- Factor in shipping costs.
- Compare prices of comparable products and Buy Box winners.
- Test price points to see how it affects sales and what option works best.
- Utilize Amazon’s Automated Pricing.
Descriptions: Remember, buyers cannot see or feel your product. This means your descriptions need to be as detailed as possible so that buyers can evaluate if your product is worth purchasing or not. Also, much like titles, product descriptions play a heavy role when it comes to optimization. Keep these tips in mind:
- Include brand names.
- Include sizes or weight.
- Include material type.
- Mention relevant details such as colors, packaging, and quantity.
Features: Key features, also called the ‘bulleted list,’ is where you mention everything your product is capable of, including different operating options, adjustability, and more detailed descriptions. Use the following guidelines:
- Include up to five bullet points for each product.
- Keep your bullet points under 1,000 characters in total.
- Reinforce valuable information from the title and description.
- Include features such dimensions, age appropriateness, ideal conditions for the product, skill level, contents, country of origin
Monitoring product and brand performance and adjusting your strategies plays a key role in BSR (best seller rank) and winning the Buy Box (featured offer).
BSR correlates to where you rank within the Amazon search result page. The closer to the top you are, the more likely you will get an increase in both exposure and sales. Search Engine Journal found that 70% of buyers don’t go past the first page of their Amazon results page. This lack of browsing time means if you are not showing up on that first page, you are missing most engagement.
Winning the Amazon Buy Box, or Featured Offer, allows your brand to present the best pricing and shipping options for that product giving your brand the opportunity to win that sale over your competitors. Amazon states they select who gets this advantage by...
“First, we determine which items are eligible to be featured based on criteria that are designed to give customers a great shopping experience. Second, we select compelling offers to feature from among this pool of eligible offers.”
These two metrics are a direct result of additional performance data points you should be tracking, testing, and adjusting. Including:
AHR (account health rating): Determined by the customer experience you’re offering to buyers. Includes any violations and customer reviews.
ODR (order defect rate): The percentage of orders with indicators of poor customer service over 60 days. Maintain an ODR under 1% to continue selling on Amazon.
CR (cancellation rate): all the orders canceled by a seller during a seven-day period. Maintain a CR under 2.5%.
LSR (late shipment rate): The percentage of total orders over a 10-day or 30-day period that are completed after the expected ship date. Maintain an LSR under 4%.
VTR (valid tracking rate): The percentage of the total shipments over 30 days. VTR doesn’t apply to Amazon FBA orders. Maintain a VTR higher than 95%.
OTDR (on-time delivery rate): Percentage of your total tracked shipments delivered by their estimated delivery date. Maintain an OTDR greater than 97%.
Sessions: The number of visitors who come to your Amazon page and engage with the page. Usually this means they click around or search through product details. Visitors usually must stay longer than 10 seconds to count as a session.
UPR (unit session percentage rate): The number of units ordered by customers divided by the total number of sessions.
If you use the platform and sell on the marketplace, then you should do your best to stay updated with Amazon's policies and ensure compliance. Make sure you are aware of these policies and continue to monitor them throughout their selling journey.
Suspected intellectual property violations: Amazon sends you a warning of suspected IP complaints if they consider your listing violating intellectual property rights.
Received intellectual property complaints: A brand owner complained to Amazon about an IP rights infringement with your listing.
Product authenticity customer complaints: The complaint may result from a buyer mistake, inconsistent product packaging that didn’t meet the customer’s expectations, or a product that looks like another brand name, and the customer believes you are selling a fake.
Product condition customer complaints: The customer complained that purchased products are listed as “New” but have signs of wear, are damaged or have defects, are delivered in previously opened product packaging, or have other signs of being used.
Product safety customer complaints: These complaints are often not related to the actual safety of the product but rather the customer reporting a damaged product or alleged used product.
Listing policy violations: Listing policy violations appear if you create duplicate listings, inconsistent variations that don’t comply with Amazon variation policy, and more.
Restricted product policy violations: Amazon has lists of restricted categories and brands, these lists vary per marketplace and change often. These new restrictions can impact current listings.
Customer product reviews policy violations: Amazon suspects you have manipulated reviews, asked buyers to make, change, remove a review, or incentivized them to leave a positive review with refunds and discounts.
Luckily, Amazon has made managing compliance easy through their compliance dashboard on Seller Central. This dashboard works to consolidate safety and regulatory requirements management all in one place.
Amazon Marketplace Expansion
Launching a new marketplace, establishing a presence, and building up inventory is a monumental task. It is no wonder it can be a difficult risk to take. This is where simply expanding within Amazon itself might be a better option for those who are not willing to make the commitment of adding a new marketplace to their arsenal.
Instead of investing in another channel, consider a strategy on how you can expand your current products to better meet the needs of current customers or expand your reach with new audiences. This could be as simple as adding color options, sizing, additional attachments, and more. Or think of the bigger picture – what NEW products can you provide within your categories that would appeal to buyers? Are there untapped categories related to your own that it might be worth dipping into?
Tips for Selling on Walmart
Streamline fulfillment: Much like Amazon, Walmart also offers its own fulfillment option. Sellers can use WFS (Walmart Fulfillment Services) to handle all shipping and handling obligations. This tool also comes with additional benefits including access to their two-day delivery program and receiving a lift in conversions.
Assortment Growth Dashboard: Much like Seller Central, Walmart’s Assortment Growth Dashboard provides relevant information that pertains to the success of your listings. Here you can get personalized recommendations on how to better grow your presence within the marketplace, stay ahead of market trends, and add/adjust to your products and catalog.
Repricer: From our time learning about Amazon, we know that the price of your product plays a crucial role in where a product ranks, what offers are available, and how it sells. Walmart, and other marketplaces, are no different. To combat this, Walmart created a tool, Repricer, to help the success of your catalog. Repricer works by adjusting your prices to meet or beat competitor prices so you can attract more customers and win the Buy Box.
Tips for Selling on Target
Commission rates: Like Amazon, Target does have a few fees when it comes to selling products on their marketplace. Sellers must pay a 5-15% commission rate or referral fee for selling their products. Commission rates are based on the sub-type base referral fees.
Reverse Logistics: Minus the small fee stated in the previous section, Target gives the seller full freedom when it comes to fulfillment. There are no extra costs, but there is no additional add through a fulfillment program either. This responsibility lies completely with the seller. The one thing Target does offer is return handling. Buyers can take products to any one of their 1,958 stores within the United States to return or exchange items.
Exclusivity: Many may see this next insight as quite the benefit – not just anyone can sell on Target. In fact, it is an ‘invite only’ marketplace. Although not ideal, it does mean that competitors are limited. One of the major drawbacks to this, however, is that new businesses usually are not allowed. You must be an established brand and meet a list of criteria.
Many Marketplaces, One Partner
This all sounds quite complicated, and that is because it is. Whether through Amazon or one of the many other marketplace platforms, it is not easy optimizing, creating, managing, tracking, fulfilling.... you get the idea. It is arduous work keeping an online marketplace well stocked and organized on top of all the other day-to-day business needs. But it doesn’t have to be. Utilizing a 3P accelerator like Spreetail takes the mess off of your hands while keeping all the benefits.
What is a 3P Accelerator?
3P, or third-party relationship, is when inventory, storage, shipping, and delivery are all done through a business separate from your own and the marketplace. In most cases, these partners buy a certain amount of stock, house it within their own warehouses, and then fulfill customer orders as they come in. There is no cost to you as these partners pay you directly for the products they keep on hand.
Who is Spreetail?
Spreetail is the category leader in global ecommerce logistics and channel management. Founded in 2006, Spreetail operates 8 fulfillment centers across the world and serves over 500 brands, enabling them to accelerate their ecommerce across global marketplaces.
Outside of this standard 3P relationship, Spreetail takes services a step further by becoming a full, collaborative partner to ensure products sell well. This includes numerous services such as:
- Listings Management
- Customer Support
- Marketplace Expansion
Spreetail truly works to be a one-stop-shop for everything brands need to propel their growth through partnerships with over 12 online marketplaces. You can learn more about what Spreetail has to offer and what areas we specialize in by visiting our FAQ.