Astutely managing product pricing, advertising and technical difficulties can go a long way toward succeeding as a seller on Amazon and other marketplaces, experts said during the B2B workshop at IRCE @ RetailX last week.

Dynamically repricing products—even by a penny up or down—can make the difference between winning or lose a sale on Amazon Business, experts said last week at the IRCE @ RetailX conference in Chicago.

But it’s a process filled with nuance, Jeff McRitchie, vice president and co-founder of online office products distributor MyBinding.com, said during a presentation titled “Marketplaces: Amazon Business or Amazon.com—or Other? McRitchie co-presented with Joe Caldwell, ecommerce manager at industrial and business products distributor SIM Supply.

It can take only “a penny to win or lose a sale,” McRitchie said. But figuring when to raise or lower a price, even by just a penny, requires a seller to be on top of several criteria, he added. “You need to understand your margins,” and how they’re affected by Amazon’s 15% sales commission, shipping and other costs, he said.

Winning the B2B ‘Buy box’

Caldwell said SIM Supply started using a repricing tool years ago after his company’s owner wanted to know why they weren’t always winning the “Buy box,” or the buy-page box featuring the preferred seller on Amazon that most buyers click to make a purchase.

With about 350,000 of its 929,000 products listed on Amazon, SIM uses its repricing tool to dynamically change prices based on various criteria, such as prices offered by competitors. Though in many cases that results in setting a lower price, it can also result in setting a higher price for any particular product, Caldwell said. “If we’re the only seller, we can go higher to our ceiling price,” he said.

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Caldwell noted that SIM Supply, which works with marketplace services provider ChannelAdvisor Corp., is able to manage its product content so that it can post it once to both Amazon Business and the regular marketplace on Amazon.com. (Amazon Business, at Amazon.com/business, operates on the Amazon.com platform, but offers more B2B-specific features like tiered pricing for business buyers.)

Other tips McRitchie and Caldwell provided included:

  • Advertising by sellers on Amazon, and running B2B-specific campaigns, is becoming an important competitive tool that all sellers should consider;
  • Providing expedited shipping, including one-day shipping, can go a long way to improving a seller’s overall rating on Amazon, helping to it win the Buy box;
  • When a seller commits errors, such as mistakenly posting extremely low prices on its products, it’s best to quickly notify Amazon of the mistake and of the fix in the works. “If there’s a problem, get ahead of it and tell Amazon immediately,” McRitchie said. It may still result in a temporarily lowered seller rating from Amazon, but it would be less likely that Amazon would suspend the seller’s account, he added.

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