We spoke with three Amazon experts to discover what they feel are creative ways to succeed in the marketplace, even if it means thinking outside the box. Ready to get started?
1. Add an “Available on Amazon” button
Let’s face it, Amazon has taken over ecommerce. In 2019, it was reported that 45% of all US online sales are attributed to the online marketplace itself — and this can be hard for smaller sellers to accept.
While online sellers should put efforts into their own personal websites and other marketplaces they are on, it’s worth focusing efforts on Amazon in every way possible. In other words, make their Amazon site as visible as possible because that’s where the money is going to.
Andrew Maffettone, director of marketing at Seller’s Choice, explains how:
“We’ve started encouraging sellers to add an ‘Available on Amazon’ button to all of their product pages on their own websites that links to the listing. Yes, chances are your margins are lower on Amazon but if your customer is going to leave and go to Amazon anyway, why not send them straight to your listing and keep your competitors out of the way?”
2. Continuously optimize product pages
It goes without saying that we’re all victims of falling for marketing ads on the internet. In fact, over the next five years, social media advertising budgets are set to double, meaning that these ads will likely become unavoidable.
That’s great news for online sellers. Amazon expert Philip Masiello from Hounddog Media draws on his experience. As we have found that the cost of first purchase acquisition for many of our brands is lower on Amazon, we tend to use several tactics to drive sales to Amazon:
- Social media ads: the cost-per-click on several social channels is far lower than online search. We have done limited-time deep discount ads on social that have worked very well. If you target the correct audience, these will get a lot of sales in a short period of time.
- Coupon codes on deal sites like Slick Deals can be very effective for generating sales.
- Getting influencers to talk about your product or offer deals to their followers. This works well for beauty, food and fashion. These tactics are great for growing brand awareness for your online store and will also help sales in the long term. Influencer marketing is something that has visibly worked for Amazon itself. Look at Audible.com and how Amazon used influencers from different demographics to draw everyone in. YouTuber Grace Helbig was part of this group:
She has over 3 million subscribers and regularly talks about signing up to Audible, providing a discount link at the end of her blog. This is the sort of exposure that every online store needs.
In addition to this, Philip explains how the ongoing nurturing of your product pages will be the biggest thing to overcome your competitors:
“The best way to get profitable sales over the long term is to have optimized pages for your products, work them constantly and build your ranking. We are never afraid of going head to head with a national brand, but we can draft off of their success and by using optimization and Amazon A9 SEO techniques, we can beat them most of the time. Never fear your biggest competitor, work on a sustainable SEO strategy that will help you to build the audience you need to generate sales.”
3. Balance consistency with creativity
We recently hosted a webinar with Cynthia Stine, president of eGrowth Partners, where we discussed how to avoid Amazon suspension at all costs—especially when your store is your main source of income.
In terms of increasing sales, she reiterates that “Amazon rewards consistency more than creativity,” adding a note of caution to sellers: Unfortunately, some of the ‘hot’ marketing trends are not compliant with Terms of Service and sellers are getting suspended.
Look for these potential red flags and dig deeper before moving ahead if your tactic:
- Manipulates Amazon’s algorithm in some way to increase sales or time in the Buy Box
- Increases product reviews–Amazon has zero-tolerance for anything they consider biased
- Relies on exchanging favors, gifts or services with other sellers or buyers
- Is non-compliant in any way–requiring multiple accounts, paid bloggers, repeated keyword searches, buyer phone numbers, etc.
- Leverages Amazon’s affiliate program
- Targets your competitors
- Uses product inserts or warranty cards
Here, Cynthia makes the point that it isn’t always about the creative promotion to increase sales on Amazon. Considering that Amazon has an extremely stringent suspension process, you can also focus on making sure you consistently comply with their rules to keep on top of your Amazon game. Therefore, Amazon sellers should look to get their marketing plans and materials audited by experts if they have any doubts.
The bottom line
For many online sellers, their central livelihood comes from their Amazon store. It’s important to be scrappy and use all the resources you can. Make sure that your store is visible in every way possible to improve your brand awareness. In addition, keep up with the latest advertising strategies and put out your hot deals to your target audience.
These are the types of things that will not only draw one-time customers back in but also encourage customer acquisition. Finally, proceed with caution. Think creative when it comes to promotion but be sure to stay within Amazon guidelines or you will be suspended.
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