You have to provide great customer service, and use Amazon’s feedback tool to encourage customers to post reviews.

Amazon provides opportunities for vendors to sell, whether you’re offering branded products or selling for someone else. Getting started can definitely be daunting, though.

I started selling on Amazon in 2008 with a skin care brand that I co-founded.  It took me a while to make progress, but I found that there are all kinds of strategies and little tricks you can use to be competitive and increase your appeal to Amazon shoppers.

Most of them are looking for quality products at the best price, so extras like free shipping can help. There’s a lot more you can do. Here are some of the things I’ve tried that could work for you, too.

  1. Discount Coupons

One of the best tools I have found to get sales moving quickly is discount coupons.  Offering a discount coupon on your new items, rather than spending money on other forms of advertising, does a few things for you.   First, it gets your product sales velocity moving quickly.  Second, it incentivizes customers to try your product by getting it into their hands.

Philip Masiello, Hound Dog Digital

Philip Masiello, CEO, Hound Dog Digital

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My preference is to use a platform like Snagshout by Seller Labs.  This platform has a built-in affiliate tool to push your product out to a lot of potential customers both on and off the marketplace.

  1. Reviews

Positive reviews can really help to boost product popularity and sales—many buyers use star ratings and reviews to pick products and sellers.  Buyers have come to rely on other consumers to help them choose from a vast array of similar products. But you have to get reviews the right way so as not to violate Amazon’s terms and conditions.

Amazon is a customer-centric company.  So providing great customer service, great products and great prices is the first step. But you need to communicate with the consumers who have purchased your product.  Use a system like Feedback Genius to send out auto-responders at specific intervals.  This is good customer service and will lead to a review about 62% of the time.

You have 100 character spaces in Key Product Feature fields. Use them all.
  1. Competitive pricing

There is a lot of competition to sell the same goods, so unless you have your own unique brand, you have to find ways to make your products stand out. Undercutting pricing with discounts can make your products the most attractive, especially when put in direct competition in the Buy Box. Re-pricing software can track pricing and ensure you always have the lowest price by a small margin, say one cent.

  1. Utilize site advertising

Amazon sponsored products ads are pretty basic PPC [pay per click], but the strategy is a little different from your Google PPC (AdWords) because you’re only catering to Amazon customers. You can use some free credit to start, after which you’ll bid for what you’re willing to pay per click-through. Can it get pricy? Yes, but only if there’s a lot of competition for searches, which makes picking the right keywords crucial, as always. Sponsored products ads could be a good way to gain some customers early on.

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  1. Optimize Titles

There are two things to understand here. You should utilize Amazon best practices where titles are concerned, such as structuring your title to deliver information in the following order: Brand, Product, MPN [Manufacturer Part Number], and Attributes (material, color, size, quantity, etc.).  Depending on the category you are selling in, Amazon lets you know how many characters you can use in the title. Know your best keywords and use all the characters.

  1. Fill all data fields

The more information you provide, the better chance you have to increase visibility, reach customers, and encourage sales. Do not leave data fields empty! The Key Product Feature fields are the second most important area.  You have 100 character spaces.  Use them all.

  1. Use quality images

When people shop in-store they have the ability to see, touch, and generally examine products up close. How can you recreate this experience virtually? With high-quality images, multiple angles, and zoom functionality. Amazon allows between 8 and 10 images per item.  Use a minimum of 6.

  1. Enhance product discoverability

It’s important to use all the tools at your disposal, and one that you may have phoned in is the hidden search keywords Amazon uses to categorize your products. Getting creative here (adding alternate spellings or unique descriptors) can help to enhance product discoverability.

  1. Engage in outside marketing

True, Amazon has strict policies about luring their customers to your own site, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring in new customers with outside marketing that draws them to your products on Amazon. When you have a new product offering and a coupon, social media sites like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest work very well for attracting customers.

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  1. Consider spin-offs

If a product exceeds your wildest expectations on Amazon, bank on the popularity by offering spin-offs. Since you don’t have to sell them through Amazon, this is a great way to drive traffic back to your own website and convert Amazon customers to your customers.

With over 52% of all product searches occurring on Amazon, e-commerce brands need to get comfortable with using Amazon as another sales channel for their products.  Not using Amazon risks allowing another competitor an entry to your customers.

Philip Masiello is the founder of digital marketing agency Hound Dog Digital and former founder and CEO of 800Razors.com.

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