Finding sustainable success when selling on Amazon can feel like getting a bullseye in darts: you’re not sure how to do it, and it’s frustrating to see how easy others make it look. The internet’s chief exports are cat videos and unhelpful advice, and Amazon seller tips are no different.
“Just make a great product!” they say, as if that’s the end of the story.
“Just get tons of good reviews!” they say, as if it’s just that easy.
This isn’t going to be like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. There’s no one-step solution for how to increase sales on Amazon. It’s not an action, but a mindset. It’s actually two mindsets. You have to play nice with Amazon as a platform as well as their shoppers as an audience. Successful Amazon selling requires thinking like a machine, but selling like a human. I’m a sci-fi nerd, so I like to think of this mix of man and machine as a Seller Cyborg.
That’s right. Robocop. The Six Million Dollar Man. Darth Vader. Inspector Gadget. Pick your favorite cyborg from pop culture and that’s who you get to be. In everything you do on Amazon, use mechanical accuracy and emotional appeal. Engage both your left brain and right brain equally. By applying these two different aspects to the following three areas, you can greatly improve your Amazon sales.
Every aspect of your customer service should be efficient. Run it like a well-oiled machine. Studies have shown that customers are willing to spend a little more for better customer service. If you are able to provide that, your value will increase.
There are a couple of ways to go about this. Respond to all customer complaints as quickly as possible. That means within 24 hours at the very least. Find ways to provide free shipping. Make sure your returns, refunds, and credits are processed quickly and painlessly. Running your customer service with a mindset for perfection, precision, and professionalism will create trust between you and your customers.
With that being said, it’s also important you keep the customer service process human. When you respond to customer feedback, speed shouldn’t be the only thing you’re concerned about. We all want to be valued. A good Seller Cyborg never makes their customers feel like numbers. Make sure the customer knows you understand their issue, are apologetic for any mistakes on your part, and regret inconveniencing them. Use personal pronouns and speak to the customer like they’re a person, not a problem you need to manage. Doing this will raise your feedback ratings and empower you to sell more in the future.
Amazon’s rules for photos are pretty strict, and for good reason. Experts in product photography believe new sellers often try to do too much and get too cute in their product photographs. Customers aren’t scrolling through your photos to see your amazing sense of composition, visual narrative, and rule of thirds. They only care about being assured that the product is going to satisfy their needs.
Keep your photos on a white background with minimal propping. Any illustrations or sketches you include should be strictly helpful. That’s why I love the product photo below. It provides a plain, to-the-point photo of the product along with an illustration that helps to inform the customer further on their purchase.
But customer needs aren’t all numbers and measurements. That’s where the human aspect comes in. Customers want to know that a product is not only going to satisfy them on a functional level, but on an emotional level as well. They want to know that a product will fit in with their lifestyle. Yes, your main photo should be as bare bones as possible, but your secondary photos can and should display a lot more warmth and lifestyle.
If you sell clothes, use models who are lively, fun, and fit well in the clothes. If you sell kitchenware, fill those mixing bowls with bright vegetables. The baby jumpsuit below is a great example. The background is still mostly white, and the product is still plainly displayed. But with the baby’s stylish haircut and the green grass in the background, the product has an emotional appeal to young, hip parents, likely the target market of this ironic onesie. This photo is definitely from a Cyborg Seller.
Nothing will frustrate your customers more than ordering an item and then finding it isn’t what they were promised in the listing, or receiving a notification that it is out of stock. Not only are you going to have to deal with a return or refund, but Amazon will suspend you for overselling. You can’t afford to miss days or weeks playing email tag with Amazon trying to get your seller privileges back.
Make sure your inventory and listings are accurate on Amazon and reflect your current quantity. That means if you make a sale on another marketplace or on your point-of-sale system in a brick and mortar, you’ve got to update your inventory. Get a software solution that can do this automatically if you can.
In your listing, focus on facts about the item. Don’t add emotional appeals or superlatives.
But that’s not all there is to managing your listing like a Seller Cyborg. Your listings need to also appeal to people’s sensibilities. I’ve heard this idea called “The Parent Test.” Think about how your parents would search for the item online. That’s how you should list it on Amazon. It should be as intuitive and as helpful as possible.
You can’t make a sale if a customer can’t find your item. The purpose of the listing is not to make the sale, but to find the buyer. That’s the human side of the listing game.
Like all worthwhile aims in life, getting the perfect Amazon store is about trial and error. These Amazon seller tips will help you think in two different modes, dominate Amazon, and become the Seller Cyborg who brings in huge sales.
Dion Beary writes about ecommerce for ecomdash, a software company that automates inventory management for small businesses selling online. His passions are Twitter, casseroles, and 00's rap.