There’s a certain disconnect between optimization and selling on Amazon. Namely, that traditional marketing strategies aren't always applicable.
To sell on Amazon Marketplace means optimizing your listing to include the facts—and nothing but the facts. After all, customer-centricity is at the heart of Amazon’s infrastructure. And in 2022, there’s no longer any room in marketing for hyperbole and false claims.
Think of Amazon as a game; a $144.8 Billion game. While the rules are firmly set in place, an Amazon seller isn't necessarily as restricted as it might seem. Amazon’s protocol ensures transparency. And sellers can use that transparency to their advantage.
Whether you just applied for a new Amazon seller account or need to make the most out of your existing presence, there’s a few rough guidelines to keep in mind.
The Top Do’s and Don'ts for Selling on Amazon
DO: Remember that selling on Amazon means adhering to Amazon seller policies
Especially regarding code of conduct, product and category restrictions and product detail rules. Amazon is a self-policing community, one in which users are likely to flag any restricted listing which escapes the watchful eyes of Amazon bots.
There’s a world of difference between casually selling on Amazon and establishing yourself through a professional seller account. The distinction requires a balance of both protocol and careful optimization; but always keep the former as a guidepost
DON'T: Include promotional or sales information in your product listings
Amazon doesn’t just frown on promotional marketing in your product listing pages. They outright prohibit it.
If you’re running specific promotions or sales, you can always link back to your product pages either through your own brand website or through social media. Promotional materials are considered a direct violation of Amazon seller protocol and can result in suspension of selling privileges.
DO: Review seller guidelines contained in Amazon Seller Central frequently
Amazon policies change constantly; and your product listings should reflect the most recent changes.
While Amazon may frequently send updates to an Amazon seller account regarding changes in their terms of service by email, more often we see sellers disregard them altogether. Those changes may not always seem to make sense, but they're in place to help you sell on Amazon successfully and with integrity,
DON'T: Neglect to update your Amazon seller account settings
It might seem obvious, but it's happened more than once. Sellers fail to notify Amazon of any changes in their bank information, payment methods or changes in address. To make matters worse, they may set up an entirely new account to reflect those changes—unaware that terms of service prohibit merchants to sell on Amazon using duplicate accounts.
You can access your Amazon seller settings by going directly into your Amazon Seller Central account, as well as making any necessary changes to a product category, temporarily deactivate your listing or closing your selling account altogether
DO: Make certain that the product title of your listing includes only pertinent product features such as brand, model number, product type, series and size
There’s a 200 character limit to your product title, so make certain it contains only the most factual information relevant to making a purchase decision.
DON'T: Include reviews, testimonials or coercive language in your Amazon product listing pages
It’s been estimated that 82 percent of consumers read reviews prior to making a purchase. And objective and unbiased reviews are one of the key benefits of Amazon, for both customers and sellers.
It might seem like social proof is a surefire way to successfully sell on Amazon. And it certainly can be. But if you hope to take advantage of the strength of testimonials, customers will do so for you.
Amazon is extremely specific about their product listing guidelines and insist on only factual language which describes product features, specifications and usage. Let your customers evaluate your product in their own reviews, not in your listing.
DO: Use product listing bullet points to your advantage
Amazon allows you a maximum of 220 characters for each bullet point. Be detailed in your description, but succinct. And make absolutely certain your listing is proofread and free from both typos and grammatical errors before publishing.
DON'T: Link back to your own site in your product listing
Your listing may ultimately be seen by millions of customers each day. That's probably more traffic than your own brand website receives.
While you can include a link to your own website in certain instances (such as creating a brand story using A+ content), your product listing should be oriented around the benefits of your product—not your brand.
Amazon is providing you with exposure to the largest customer base in the world. That’s one of the reasons why they’re so stringent on marketing materials. It’s to ensure there’s a level playing field for all Amazon sellers.
DO: Conduct thorough keyword research prior to listing
It might seem time consuming at first, but optimizing keywords help customers discover new products—even when they claim to know exactly what they're looking for. Your keywords are what drives your visibility.
It’s also what brings your product description into sharper clarity. Search results on Amazon operate differently than traditional search results on Google, and failing to understand the difference may ultimately affect your seller rank.
Make certain you spend some time conducting a thorough keyword research analysis strategy before developing a keyword pool. It won’t just streamline your product listing. It will help you gain deeper insight into your customers.
DON'T: Include irrelevant keywords or overuse existing ones
Amazon limits search term attributes to 250 character or less. The key is quality, not quantity.
Thoroughly pare down your keyword pool to include only the most relevant keywords and popular search terms; but keep in mind that both can (and will!) change from month to month.
Constantly review and refine your keyword strategy every other month for best results. At Color More Lines, our keyword strategies are based on experience, consistent review and deep insight into both the retail market as well as consumer touch-points.
Because what holds true for top selling products also holds true for keyword optimization: it should never remain stagnant.
DO: Ensure your product detail page is listing ready
A listing ready product detail page means your product listing is informative enough for the customer to fully understand the product they're purchasing.
At the bare minimum, you'll be using at least four high quality images of your own products, alongside a full product title, description and and price to create product listings that meet Amazon standards. But you should also make certain that your listing fulfills Amazon requirements prior to its launch.
For more information, we've compiled a quick pre launch checklist of commonly overlooked priorities
DO: Ensure your listing is mobile friendly
Over 170 million new customers downloaded the mobile Amazon app in 2020 alone. And if you think that's a small number? Think again.
It's been estimated that 43 percent of all eCommerce business will be conducted via mobile by 2024. And to meet the demand for mobile-centric commerce, you need to ensure your Amazon listings are as mobile friendly as possible, including:
Using the primary keyword and/or search phrase in the first 80 characters of your product title
Making certain your most important product benefits are listed in the first 400 characters of your bullet points
Choosing portrait orientation with a minimum resolution of 1350 x 1580 for your main image.
DO: Use only high quality images on a purely white background for Amazon listings
For best practices, ensure that your hero image is web-optimized (a jpeg file compressed to no more than 400 kb) at a ratio of 16:9 (1600 x 500 pixels for web and 800 x 1200 for mobile.)
DON'T: Use specialty filters for your images
Customers are interested in your product as is, not your own sense of aesthetics. While there’s definitely room to experiment with the images in your listing, try to emphasize the product and its usage—not your own artistry.
DO: take advantage of Amazon's tools and solutions
You can't cheat the marketplace. But whether it's enhanced brand content such as A+, Sponsored Brands listings or free tools and solutions for new sellers, the wealth of information accessible from the Amazon seller app alone can boost your presence on Amazon tremendously.
If you know how to use them. Unfortunately, many brands seem to be convinced that simply having a niche product line and selecting a professional selling plan during the sign up process will be the surefire route to start selling on Amazon successfully
Market and product research are just the beginning of selling on Amazon Marketplace. To truly optimize your Amazon business, you're going to need marketing solutions that enhance your brand image and narrative. And many brands simply won't have the time or expertise to use them effectively.
Color More Lines does. And our strategies can generate both sales and a brand image that's aligned with the needs of Amazon customers. If you need an approach that's based on both experience and innovation, reach out to our team.
DON'T: Underestimate the strength of private label products
Did you know that over 400 of Amazon's own brands are private label products? These aren't just cheap, generic knock-offs, either. Private label products are in every single Amazon product category imaginable, whether they're proprietary or sold by third party sellers.
But private labeling isn't for everyone. If you have an existing relationship with a manufacturer, you may find that the time and effort spent doesn't necessarily justify the cut in your profit margin with private label products. And if you're hoping to compete with larger brands offering the same products with existing name recognition, you may be in for a rude awakening.
But if you're looking to get your feet wet selling on Amazon, private label products can be a quick and sometimes profitable idea with minimal overhead. Just be forewarned that you'll also likely be competing with an established Amazon business who just might know their way around the jungle a little bit better than you.
DON'T: Neglect inventory management and fulfillment
With shipping costs at an all time high, you're likely too concerned with your own profit margin to worry about inventory management—particularly if you just started selling on Amazon.
That can be a fatal mistake. Yes, shipping costs will ultimately eat into your profit margin especially for brand owners hoping to offer Prime shipping. And you may have to adjust your listing prices accordingly to make up for the loss.
But shipping costs are only one of the inventory management dilemmas you're going to face. Monitoring inventory levels to reduce the threat of stock outs and or overstock is likely going to be a recurring problem for you as a brand owner. And if you hope to actually increase sales, you're going to need to provide customer service that will drive loyalty.
Choosing to offer fulfillment and delivery services through Amazon FBA isn't just a question of saving time. It's a question of maximizing time and effort through an Amazon fulfillment center by relying on the best in class customer service Amazon is known for.
Transparency, Amazon and Your Brand
You didn't just decide to start selling on Amazon out of convenience alone. You sell on Amazon to take advantage of the largest digital marketplace on the planet. And one that could very well outpace even physical retail in the coming years.
But so are over6 million other sellers. And not all of them may have their customers’ best interest in mind.
Selling guidelines change constantly. Third party sellers currently represent58 percent of Amazon's eCommerce business, with over2,000 new sellers joining Amazon each day.
Protocol isn’t just for Amazon’s benefit. And it’s not solely in place for your customers, either. It’s there for you as an Amazon business.
Transparency + Trust = Your Winning Formula for Selling on Amazon
Transparency builds trust. There’s a reason why false advertising laws are in place. And while some companies may walk an extremely fine line around it, customers aren’t so easily fooled.
Customers know that the ultimate value of a product is just how it relates to their lives. And they certainly don’t want a company dictating its usage to them. And Amazon’s approach of “just the facts” provides exactly that for both customers and sellers alike.
That's because it's the right product that will generate sales. And the right product demands the right information and the right approach to selling on Amazon, not a heavy-handed sales pitch.
That's because selling on Amazon is about relevance, not hyperbole. Choice, not coercion.
Whether you're new to selling on Amazon or looking for a growth strategy that's been proven effective, our team of experts can help. Find out more at Color More Lines.