Top 3 mistakes killing your Amazon store
SEPTEMBER 08, 2022 | USE CASES
Running an Amazon store can feel like being all things to all men – you need to be everywhere at once, doing everything at once. Sometimes, the sales seem almost to be making themselves; other times, it can seem like your products just aren’t getting the love they deserve. If that’s you at the moment, the good news is that you can turn sluggish sales into soaring revenue.
This week, we’re looking at some of the most common mistakes that could impact your Amazon store. Here are some of the key areas you could improve, from Amazon fulfilment to prices.
1. Assuming your audience’s aims
It’s very easy to start out an Amazon store based on assumptions about who you audience is, how they behave and what they’re looking for, particularly if it’s a product you yourself are involved in and therefore extrapolate your own behavior from there.
We’ll give an example of a cycling apparel store we recently heard from at Affiliate World Barcelona. They were based in Turkey and sold to customers largely in the United States, so they didn’t have personal contact with that audience base. Their brand had been founded by cycling enthusiasts, and they had dreamed of providing the best technical gear at relatively affordable prices.
However, confronted with relatively uninspiring sales, they were persuaded to carry out audience research, and they began to gather zero-party data through conversational pop-ups and product questionnaires on their websites.
They soon found out that their audience was quite different to what they had expected. They were cycling enthusiasts, for sure, but they came to that Amazon store looking for ‘the coolest’ in apparel: they wanted style, jazzy colors that they couldn’t get elsewhere and that they could mix and match themselves.
This basic knowledge from their audience helped them to make an enormous change in their strategy that saw their revenue grow exponentially. They repositioned their e-commerce storefront from one where 'the best cycling apparel' meant being at the top of their technical game to one where it meant the funkiest designs and most unique bibs. They used this new positioning to build their community, tapping into the buyers' enthusiasm to encourage them to share on social media, interact with each other and eventually become loyal brand advocates.
It's a simple example, but it shows well how important it is not to make assumptions for your audience -- even if it's a sector you know well, don't assume others will behave as you would!
2. Falling down on Amazon fulfilment
As we’ve touched on before in our blog about growing your Amazon store’s ranking, Amazon fulfilment is a crucial and easy-to-overlook part of growing your store.
Fulfilment refers to storing, packing and shipping orders, as well as organizing and receiving returns. This is hugely important in building a store: fast and reliable deliveries are a representation of your brand and one of the driving factors behind getting positive reviews. However, the story doesn’t end there, as Amazon also includes fulfilment factors in how it determines your sales rank – precisely because it’s so important. It’s also a driver of customer loyalty, particularly if you can out-do the competition on delivery and return options.
So, the problem arises when that process isn’t smooth or has delays and gaps. Often, many businesses just starting out choose to run their Amazon fulfilment as an in-house option, where they store the items themselves, package them and send them out under their own steam. This works with a small volume of sales, but it can quickly lead to your team becoming overwhelmed, deliveries falling behind, timescales growing and customer satisfaction dropping.
Often the insistence on sticking to self-fulfillment can be worries about taking on the costs of another form of Amazon fulfillment, but the short-term investment can reap strong rewards.
The other options available to you include using third-party logistics (which you’ll often see referred to as 3PL), or fulfilled by Amazon (FBA).
3PL simply means that you outsource your Amazon fulfilment to another company who will handle the shipping cycle and usually also the storage of your inventory – ideal when you outgrow your own space, and if you find that it’s negatively impacting the speed with which you process orders from your Amazon store.
Switching to 3PL can be very advantageous for your business in reducing wait times, increasing speed of delivery and providing a smooth and, ideally, trackable service from the customer’s order to arrival on their doorstep. It is particularly popular among businesses selling on multiple platforms from a unified inventory, as the fulfilment company can handle orders from outside Amazon, too.
If, however, you’re selling solely on an Amazon store, you’ll often find one of the most popular options is FBA. This is a system whereby Amazon itself will hold your items in one of its fulfilment centers and deal with the full lifecycle, from delivery via the company’s own logistics network to handling customer service queries.
It also allows you to offer Amazon Prime on qualifying products – giving you a competitive advantage with next-day shipping (and, according to some expert opinions, playing a role in Amazon’s sale ranking algorithm).
Amazon’s own research shows how attractive in-house Amazon fulfilment with FBA can be: in the UK, sellers report an average uplift of 35% in sales when switching to the service.
As above, if you’re selling on multiple platforms, it could prove logistically more complex as you’ll have to dedicate certain parts of your inventory specifically to Amazon, but for many Amazon-centric sellers, it can be an important boost to a struggling store.
3. Poorly planning your Amazon prices
Setting your product’s Amazon prices can seem like a stab in the dark at first. It’s often tempting for businesses to spend some time at the beginning researching the market, finding out what their competitors are offering and what demand there is, and then to settle on a price and leave it as it is.
That may have been enough before – but it’s 2022 and we have much more powerful pricing models available to us! A static Amazon price is not going to win if your e-commerce store is having difficulties.
Think about it: your pricing was probably based on finding the sweet spot between different customer segments, different periods of demand throughout the year, and so on. What if you could cater better for all these elements?
For many, one of the crucial tactics around their Amazon prices is to what’s known as repricing.
A repricing strategy means that you change your pricing to match particular situations or contexts, such as a flux in demand, or a competitor lowering – or raising – their prices.
Just like with Amazon fulfilment, there are some small businesses out there who will manually change their Amazon prices as needed. This is doable with a small product inventory, but it becomes incredibly time-consuming and error-prone if you’re looking to scale big.
In this case, a lot of businesses will use a third-party Amazon repricing tool (and there are hundreds out there!). They use automation to take the manual monitoring and changing out of the equation, meaning your products’ pricing can fluctuate upwards if a sale seems likely, downwards if a competitor is climbing sales rank, and so on. Many will also let you apply filters and exclusions so that you can target particular competitors or actions.
This way, you can help to keep your Amazon pricing dynamic and proactive and help pull your store out of the doldrums.
Growing your Amazon store further
These are just three tips to help you grow your store further – but there’s plenty more that can help drive those sales, including running multiple accounts. If you can turbo-charge your revenue from one store, imagine how much more is possible from multiple stores. It’s a reality for thousands of sellers around the world: find out how they do it in our article on growing your business through multiple accounts.