Selling your products on Amazon is a great way to expand your online presence and increase sales, but only if you know how to properly optimize your product listings.
The problem is that many online merchants are afraid to scrap what they know about product listing optimization and learn how to play by Amazon’s rules. Although there is a bit of a learning curve, optimizing product listings on Amazon isn’t as difficult as some make it seem.
Being successful on Amazon is simply a matter of following guidelines and knowing some of the best optimization strategies to increase your product’s visibility. With these seven tips, you can increase your conversions and begin driving up your revenue immediately:
Tip #1: Optimize for Amazon SEO
SEO for Amazon is different from optimizing for other platforms and search engines. While there is plenty of mystery surrounding Google’s search engine, digital marketers still manage to receive announcements on big updates to their algorithm.
The same can’t be said for Amazon. Much of what we know about their search engine (also known as A9) has largely come from trial and error on the part of other Amazon sellers, in addition to the occasional Amazon representative chiming in on their seller forum.
To remove some of the mystery of A9, there is one thing that sellers need to know—Amazon is a buyer’s platform. As such, their goal is to show consumers products that they want to buy.
This means that if you want to nail your Amazon SEO, you should keep conversions in mind as you optimize your product listings. The following areas should be paid attention to if you want to turn casual shoppers into buyers:
You will need to approach keywords for Amazon differently than you do for Google. Remember that those who search on Amazon are ready to purchase in that moment, which can impact which keywords they use to search. Because of this, it’s recommended that you use a keyword research tool designed specifically for Amazon to build your keyword list.
Another difference is that Amazon doesn’t require sellers to repeat their keywords to boost page relevancy, so don’t waste precious space by stuffing your product listing with the same keyword. Check out their search optimization tips so that you don’t make any avoidable keyword mistakes.
If you read Amazon’s search optimization tips, then you know that using duplicate keywords in the title is a no-no, and that detailed (but not overly long) titles are preferred. How you format your product title and what keywords you include will vary by category.
For example, laptop and desktops should have the following in their titles: Brand + Model Number + PC Type + (Processor speed + MB of RAM + Hard Drive Size+ Optical Drive), as seen below:
Compare this to bedding and sheets, which require the following: Brand + Line/Pattern + Thread Count + Material + Size + Product Type, Color.
To optimize your product titles for the correct category, check out Amazon’s Help and Customer Service page. This will ensure that you craft a great product listing title that shows up in Amazon searches.
Product Descriptions and Bullet Points
Your product’s image and product title convinces the customer to click on your product listing, but now you need to sell them the product. Product descriptions and bullet points are the perfect opportunities to inspire action.
A great product description needs to answer your customer’s questions and provide them with more details about your product. You should stick to keywords in your product descriptions, but remember to avoid duplication.
Likewise, bullet points offer an additional chance to use keywords and sell your product. In the example below, Hasbro uses keywords such as “100% Toy” and “Made using safe materials” to make their product more desirable to consumers.
Your product images have an enormous impact on your conversions and must be of high quality. Not only will it drive more sales, but Amazon requires it.
Your primary image—called the MAIN image—needs to be at least 1,000 pixels, have a white background, and fill 85 percent or more of the image.
To optimize your images and drive conversions, it’s essential that you go beyond Amazon’s basic requirements. Images are a way to market your product, and you should take advantage of secondary images by incorporating lifestyle shots. Images that capture your product in use can be extremely effective.
Tip #2: Make Products Available for Amazon Prime
Amazon brought in $6.4 billion in revenue from “retail subscription services” in 2016, with an estimated 90 percent from Prime subscriptions. If one thing is clear, it’s that customers love fast and free shipping.
What is even more clear is that products which aren’t eligible for Amazon Prime are at risk for being filtered out of product search results by Prime members. It makes sense. Why choose a product that ships slowly and with an added cost when you could buy a product with free and fast shipping?
To boost your product’s visibility and sell more products, you need to make it eligible for Amazon Prime. If you can’t ship from a warehouse, you can make your items Fulfilled By Amazon (FBA), which means that you ship your products to Amazon’s warehouses, and they will take care of shipping, handling, and returns.
If you own your warehouse, there is good news. Amazon introduced Seller Fulfilled Prime in late 2015, which allows merchants to ship directly from their warehouses and cut the cost of FBA fees. You can find out more about the program on Amazon’s YouTube Channel.
Tip #3: Consider Offering Discounts
There is a good reason why Amazon beats out Google as a starting point for product search. Consumers are looking for an amazing deal, and they can often find one on Amazon.
This doesn’t mean that you need to set prices that will barely make you a profit. In fact, studies have shown that consumers tend to avoid the cheapest options and prefer middle-priced products, instead.
A sneaky way to optimize your product lists for conversions is to offer your products at a discounted rate.
Not only will your products show up when consumers filter products by discounts, but your discounts make consumers feel like they are getting a good deal. This leads to more conversions, which, in turn, leads to higher rankings on Amazon.
Tip #4: Improve Shipping and Inventory Management
If you’re an eCommerce merchant, you already know how important it is to have items in stock and to ship them out to customers quickly. To get a shot at earning the coveted Amazon’s Choice badge, there is simply no way around it. You need to make your products eligible for Amazon Prime.
However, if you are using Amazon’s FBA program, managing your shipping and inventory can be somewhat tricky. Your products usually end up at multiple Amazon warehouses so that customers can receive your products as quickly as possible. The problem occurs when you don’t have enough stock to spread throughout these warehouses.
When stock is too low to be placed at multiple Amazon distribution centers, shipping speed can drop. This can hurt your rankings and won’t make your customers happy, either.
The good news is that there are solutions. Plenty of automated marketing platforms can be integrated with Amazon to help you manage your inventory and get updates in real-time. You will thank yourself for this when the holiday season arrives!
Tip #5: Manage Product Reviews
Another reason why so many consumers begin their product search on Amazon is because they can read helpful product reviews before they make a purchase. These reviews are a form of social proof and can have a huge impact on your search rank and conversions.
Getting a bad review isn’t the end of the world, but you should have a strategy in place to manage your product reviews. This includes getting positive reviews and dealing with negative reviews.
Managing Negative Amazon Reviews
Before learning how to manage negative reviews, it should be noted that having a few negative reviews isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As long as the majority of your reviews are positive, these negative reviews can help convince customers that your product reviews are authentic.
But, let’s say that you need to handle a negative review. What should you do?
When an Amazon customer leaves you an unfavorable review, there is no way that the seller can remove the review themselves (although you can appeal to Amazon). This leaves you with two ways to manage these poor reviews effectively:
- Ask the customer to remove the review: The first and best way is to try to make things right with the customer. This should be done without the expectation of them removing or amending the review. Rather, it should be done because it is the right thing to do. After you have addressed the problem and made things right, then you can ask them to amend/remove the initial review.
- Publicly respond to the review: The second method is to publicly comment on the customer’s negative review to demonstrate to other potential customers that you tried to make things right.
As an example, see how the seller managed this negative review of their LED garden lights. The seller did well with their message by apologizing to the consumer and asking them to contact them through Amazon’s platform. However, the seller could have been much quicker with their response.
Even with the late reply, this type of message does help assure potential customers that they can get their money back if they are not satisfied with the product.
Obtaining Positive Amazon Reviews
In addition to handling negative reviews, it’s also a good idea to have a strategy in place for gaining positive reviews. There are many methods that sellers can use to increase the number of positive reviews.
For example, you can send a follow-up email after a few weeks to ask how they are enjoying the product and if they would consider leaving a review.
Another method is to ask customers to leave a review in exchange for a discount or free product. Just be aware of Amazon’s Terms of Service if you decide to ask for an unbiased review.
Tip #6: Don’t Forget the Backend
It’s important that you optimize both the front and the backend of your product listings if you want to rank higher on Amazon. Although customers can’t see your backend, optimizing information in Seller Central can help you rank higher in Amazon and allows you to make better use of any available space.
Amazon increased the character limit for backend search terms in late 2015, which means that sellers can now add more keywords to help their listings rank organically. Once confined to 50 characters per form field, sellers now have up to 1,000 characters and can enter more key search terms as a result.
It should be noted, that although you have more space, that doesn’t mean you should toss in some random keywords to try to rank higher. Amazon is still focused on conversions and will notice if consumers aren’t finding your product listing relevant to their searches.
Instead, you should consider entering in long-tail keywords which can be tricky to include in the front end of your product listing. If you’re having trouble thinking up long-tail keywords, consider taking a look at the Customer Questions & Answers on your product listings to see which terms your customers are using. They can sometimes reveal valuable search terms for you to add to your backend.
Tip #7: Consider Using Sponsored Products Ads
If you want to increase your visibility quickly, you can always try Amazon’s Sponsored Products. This pay-per-click advertising program is similar to Google AdWords, except that only listings that are winning the Buy Box are eligible.
If you are winning the Buy Box, Sponsored Product (SP) ads are worth considering. With these paid advertisements, sellers can beat out their competitors, give new products a boost in visibility, and revitalize stagnant sales. And now is the ideal time to get in on the action.
According to a 2016 BloomReach study, 55 percent of shoppers start their search on Amazon. With SP ads, your products can be the first that consumers see when they conduct a search, allowing you to maximize your sales in a short amount of time.
If you need any more reason to get started with Amazon’s Sponsored Products ads, consider this—SP ads drove more than $1.5 billion in sales in 2015. Clearly, there is money to be made on Amazon’s paid advertising program, and those who are eligible should take advantage this opportunity.
To drive sales and conversions on Amazon, it’s essential that you optimize every aspect of your product listings. Even a slight increase in your conversion rate can make a significant impact on your bottom line.
Amazon can provide small- and medium-sized businesses with the ability to reach a wider audience than they could previously access, but only if they make their product listings appeal to consumers. By following the optimization tips above, you stand a better chance at being successful on Amazon.