Guest post by Chris from Excelsior Integrated
So, you’ve decided to start selling on Amazon in 2020? Congrats! These are exciting times for you. However, while we know that you’re probably keen to make a proper start, preparation is key. As the old saying goes, if you fail to prepare, you are preparing to fail. Not cool.
And here’s the thing: While lots of people sell millions of products on Amazon, just as many sell hardly any. Frustration sets in, costs spiral and they’re left with products that no one wants.
So join us as we take a look at the five most important tips that will help you prepare to sell on Amazon.
1. Excel at Customer Service
Amazon prioritizes customer service. So do your customers. In fact, many customers now say customer service matters more to them than product and price.
As such, it’s mega important that you don’t skip this bit or decide that you’ll handle it later. It needs to be sorted before you make a start.
In some ways, customer service affects your sales and ranking (search page visibility). The more positive reviews you have, for example, the more likely it is that you’ll make more sales. And when you make more sales, your products will rank higher.
Customer service can be as simple as responding in a timely manner to feedback and reviews – even negative ones. In fact, responding to negative reviews is often more important than reacting to positive ones. It’s key that you don’t argue with the customer but instead show empathy and understanding.
But customer service should extend to things like your return policies (very important to customers) and your shipping speed. Fast shipping is basic, good customer service. If you fail on this front, customers won’t give you a good review, and they won’t come back for more.
In short, you should make efforts to get your seller feedback management right.
2. Nail The Packaging and Branding
Amazon product packaging is often an afterthought for third-party sellers. Why? Well, we’re not 100% sure because product packaging is actually really important.
See, if you don’t get this aspect of your business right, your orders – once shipped – might not make it to the customer who paid for it. How come? Customs.
As we know, Amazon is open to the world. Pretty much anyone can order from anyone. This means that you may end up selling a chunk of your stock to Japan, Bolivia, Germany … who knows?
The problem is that each country has product packaging requirements. If you fail to meet them (perhaps you forgot to put the right sticker on your items), customs may seize all your products.
Branding meanwhile is crucial for connecting with customers. If they become familiar with your brand, they’re more likely to remember you and more likely to come back again and again.
3. Be Competitive With Your Prices
Pricing is always a tough one. You don’t want to go too high in case you price people out of your products, but neither do you want to go too low in case you play yourself.
You need to be competitive.
If the items you’re selling aren’t unique and exclusive to your store, make sure to use an Amazon repricer like our RepricerExpress to keep your prices competitive 24/7.
4. Inspect Your Goods
Lastly, when you source your products from various suppliers, it’s fundamental that you don’t end up with lots of poor quality stock.
After all, if a customer receives an item that’s way below their expectations, they’ll probably return it and leave you negative feedback. Check out this guide for dealing with negative feedback on Amazon.
The thing with suppliers is that you won’t get the chance to meet them. But because you’ll be handing over lots of cash, you’ve got every right to check the goods before processing payment.
5. Determine your Fulfilment Strategy
When selling online, it’s essential that you get your products to the customer as quickly as possible. With Amazon, this is vital and if you fail to meet the expected standards, there can be penalties associated with poor operational metrics.
Amazon tracks several fulfilment metrics: Percentage of orders hitting the expected shipping date, percentage of orders hitting expected delivery date, percentage of orders that received a first carrier scan on time, percentage of orders shipped with correct shipping method, the return/refund rate and more.
Exceeding the target on all of these metrics consistently will eventually qualify you for Guaranteed Delivery and lower your lead time to less than 24 hours. This, in turn, will boost your sales, because Amazon will elevate your product listings and be more likely to award them the Amazon Buy Box.
Missing the target, on the other hand, leads to penalties and product demotion. Having a strong logistics operation will directly impact sales. To determine your fulfilment and warehousing strategy, you should consider your ultimate sales and business plan. Depending on who and where you’re selling to, it might make sense to work with Fulfillment by Amazon (generally best if you’re only selling on Amazon), a third-party logistics (3PL) fulfilment provider, or open your own warehouses.
A 3PL fulfillment provider takes care of fulfilling your orders for you. They also stock your goods in their warehouse for you and help to optimize your supply chain while managing your inventory. They offer a pay-per-usage model, immediate scalability, and time to focus on other aspects of your business.
Often, if you plan to only sell on Amazon, then Amazon’s fulfilment services are going to be your best choice because of both price and quality. Using FBA, you automatically qualify for Prime. However, there can be reasons why working with a 3PL is beneficial, especially if your Amazon strategy is more nuanced, or you have other sales channels besides Amazon.
Selling on Amazon is a great way to make a bit of money on the side, but it can also turn into a full-time vocation if you do the right things. Use the tips in this article to properly prepare before you begin selling on Amazon. Once everything is in place, it’s time to make that all-important and exciting start!
Related: 13 Top Tips for Selling on Amazon