This was an episode that I really wanted to record as I know that right now things are a little bit tough. Lots of businesses are seeing less sales, both on Amazon and elsewhere. So I wanted to share some really practical ideas of things you can do to improve your sales, cut down your costs, or both.
Now, these tips are mainly going to be Amazon specific, but some will work in other places. So even if you’re not selling on Amazon, there might still be some ideas in here that you will find useful.
Listen in to hear me share:
- Why you shouldn’t quit (01:06)
- Ways to save money when you are selling on Amazon (02:41)
- How to optimise your ads performance (04:30)
- Review your inventory (07:50)
- Review your shipping prices (09:00)
- Review your product price, does it still make sense (11:28)
- How you can increase your sales (13:35)
- Review your product listings (13:49)
- How to get more reviews (18:12)
- Share your Amazon listings with others (20:32)
- Ways to boost your sales by spending a little bit of money (21:07)
- Start a sponsored product campaign (21:15)
- Set up discounts or promotions (22:32)
- Is Amazon the right marketplace for you and your products? (24:05)
- How I may be able to help you (25:12)
HOW I CAN SUPPORT YOU ON AMAZON:
Welcome to the Bring Your Product Idea to Life podcast. This is the podcast for you if you're getting started selling products, or if you'd like to create your own product to sell. I'm Vicki Weinberg, product creation coach and Amazon expert. Every week I share friendly, practical advice as well as inspirational stories from small businesses. Let's get started.Vicki Weinberg:
Hi, and welcome to this week's episode. This was an episode that I really wanted to record as I know that right now, um, things are perhaps a little bit tough. I know lots of businesses are seeing less sales on Amazon and everywhere else, and I wanted to record this probably fairly short episode to give you some really practical ideas of things you can do to improve your sales, cut down your costs, or both. Now, these tips are mainly going to be Amazon specific, but some will work in other places. So if you're not selling, selling on Amazon yet, please don't dismiss this episode. There might still be some things in here that you would find useful wherever you are selling your product. So I have heard recently that some people are quitting selling on Amazon. Um, and I think that is a real shame because you've probably either spent time or money or perhaps both getting set up properly. If you've done that, please don't leave. Um, before you do that, try doing these few things I'm going to outline today, see if you can see some improvements. Remember that assuming you have a professional selling account that's 30 pound per month, including v a t, that actually isn't too much. Um, or if you've got the free account, then obviously that's free. Um, so you're not spending a great deal and I do think it might be worth just one more month to see if you can turn things around a little bit. If you haven't spent time or money getting set up properly, so let's say you, um, you've got your products, you've got your accounts set up, you've got your products listed, but actually you're not sure whether you have done it correctly. Um, you're not sure if there's more you can do listen on as well, because I'm convinced there will be some things you can do in order to see an improvement. And I should also say that you can always put your account in the holiday mode when you're doing all these things, um, if you need to as well, if you're worried about having your account active while you are working away on it too. I have plenty of podcasts that cover how to get set up on Amazon. Well, um, and this is sort of, well going through how to do it, but also lots of advice on how to do it really, really well and get your first sales. So, do go to the show notes for this. I also have a freebie that you can get from my website, um, about how to get off to a great start on Amazon. And this is all free and all linked in the show notes. So now I'm going to run through some ideas for you. And the first few ideas I want to talk about are ways that you can save money. As you'll know, there are costs involved in selling on Amazon. Um, and these can obviously vary depending exactly what you are doing. So if you can reduce your cost, that will obviously help massively. So let's start there. So the first thing I'm going to suggest you do is review any sponsor products, ads that you have running. And right away I want you to stop any that aren't performing um, well. Got a bit of a caveat there. I guess it depends how badly they're performing. So I think you either want to stop them, you want to decrease your budgets. Definitely. Um, and if you are, if there are campaigns that are not performing where you want them to be, as well as decreasing your budgets, I would also suggest doing a bit of optimization. Um, actually even optimize the ones that are doing well. Because that will still save you money. And I'll talk in a moment exactly what I mean by that. But let's start off with, um, I mentioned, you know, stopping your ads and then I stopped myself and said, oh, well maybe you don't want to stop them. Let's talk about why I'm, I wasn't so clear on that. Um, something I get asked quite a lot is what the ROAS and ACOS should be on Amazon ads. People say, Vicki, where should I aim at? What, you know, do I need to be like 30%. This. This is ACOs, um, or 25% or 20%. And I always say this really depends on you and your business. E every single one of my clients has a different threshold. They have a different number that they say, yep, this is good. And that obviously depends on their own margins. You need to know what works for you. You need to know what you're working, what you're aiming for. Um, you know, you need to know at what point you're losing money, at what point you're making money. And if you're not seeing the return you want on a specific ad, you need to stop it. If your ads are performing okay, as I've mentioned, I think it could be worth decreasing the daily budget so you're spending a little bit less while you're working on optimizing them to get them to perform a bit better for you. So when I talk about optimizing, there are two really, really simple things you can do. So the first thing is have a look at anything you're targeting. So I'm assuming by the way that you are running manual sponsor products campaigns. Um, if you don't know the difference, manual ones where you choose what you're targeting. So maybe you are targeting ads to other ASINs, other people's products that are similar to yours and you are paying money to be advertising on their listings. Maybe your targeting keywords. So somebody's going to type a keyword into the search bar and you want to pop up at the top of page one for that keyword. So you are paying to be there. So that's what I talk about when I talk about targets and if you set up a manual campaign, you tell Amazon what they are. An automatic campaign is where Amazon, based on the content of your product listing, decides what's relevant. So they will show your listing on what they believe to be relevant, relevant, committed products, and for relevant search results. So the first thing I'm going to say is, if you are running, any automatic ads and they aren't performing, just stop them right away because they're costing you money. In fact, even if they are performing well, I still suggest running your advertising reports and look on a target level, so an ASIN and keyword level, what is costing you money but not generating sales or is returning, you know, a poor return on investment and just add those as negative keywords right away. So that's what I want you to give your automatic ads. Um, but I'm hoping that you're running manual ads because you can keep such a closer eye on them and you can, you know, you can adjust things so much easier. So the few things I want you to stop is if you see a, some kind of target that has spend against it and no sales, and what that level of spend is, again, will be up to you, but let's say for argument's sake, you've spent 25 pound this month on a certain keyword and you've had no sales. Stop it. In my, in my opinion anyways, in my opinion, I would stop it. Um, or maybe you've got some keywords that have had sales, but the ACOs or ROAS is well outside of that threshold that you set for yourself. Again, stop those. Um, that's two really simple things that you can be doing. And I suggest doing right away. And also reviewing really, really often, once or twice a week, go in, have a look what's performing what isn't. Also have a look at your search terms and see is there anything that you should be adding in. So anything that's generating new sales, but perhaps you're not targeting directly because your campaign's set up as a broader phrase match. Add those in as an exact match. Um, and hopefully that will help you too. This actually is my next tip is actually a bit counterintuitive because it won't necessarily save you money. In fact, it probably won't save you money. But let's say that you've gone to do this exercise and you're going, well, Vicki, my campaigns are performing really well, like they're doing amazingly. If that's the case, why not try increasing your budget? So, as I say, it's not going to save you money, but by increasing your budget, it might be that you also see an increase in sales. You might not. And if you don't, that's fine. You can obviously, um, put that spend back down again. But if your campaign's performing well, I do believe it's worth a try. Um, especially if you're getting those emails, the ones that you might get that tell you that your campaign's out of budget every day. If you're getting those and you're making sales and you're getting a good return and, and you can afford to, of course, is the final caveat and perhaps put a little bit more money behind them. So the next thing you can do to save money, and I promise this one actually will save you money, is review your inventory. So if you are using FBA such Fulfilled by Amazon, um, have a look at how long you have your products have been held by Amazon and what your storage fees are like. Are you paying like, you know, do you have hundreds of units in stock? Are you paying loads of money for that? Should you get some stock returned to you? There are, there is a cost for doing that. So it might be that isn't feasible. It might be that it's actually cheaper for you to run a promotion or to set up some ads to try and sell that product through a bit quicker. If you've been using FBA and it's costing you way too much, let's say you did what I did with my first order and sending in hundreds of units and they're just not selling quite fast enough. Is there another option? Could you get your stock returned to you and fulfill orders yourself? Um, is there another way of fulfilling them? Have a think about what your options are and cost everything out because it might be, particularly if, depending on the size of your products, um, that actually you're paying a lot of money to have it sat in Amazon warehouse and you really need to do something to get it moving, to reduce or stop those long-term storage fees. If you are fulfilling orders yourself, make sure your shipping price makes sense. Again, this may not directly save you money, but hopefully it will impact your sales. Um, I bring this up because I worked with someone this week and their shipping costs made absolutely no sense to me. Um, and if they didn't make sense to me, I really feel like they wouldn't make sense to the customer either. Um, because I'm going to give you my best advice here for. Setting your own shipping costs. If you are fulfilling orders yourself, if you can offer free shipping, offer free shipping, that's great. Then it's kind of comparable of prime, apart from possibly your order won't arrive at quite the same speed. But customers who buy on Amazon are quite used to not paying for shipping. Well, you are because you've, you know, it's paid, um, as part of your prime account, so it feels like you're not paying for shipping and customers get used to that. So if you cannot charge for shipping, I always suggest doing that. You've probably heard me say that before. If you have to slightly increase your product price to factor that in, you can do that. If it makes sense. I'll talk a bit more about product price in a moment. If you can't do that, I would suggest sticking with a flat price, a flat shipping price for all your products. Perhaps you want to charge a bit more for expedited shipping, if that's something that you offer. If you're thinking, actually this isn't possible, because some of my products are really small and only cost a couple of pounds to post, but some of my product products are a lot larger, then why not? Um, set up tiers based on weight. So you could do that. So you could say, okay, for orders up to this weight, I'm going to charge this much and over for this amount it'll be that much, or set up different shipping templates for different types of products. So I suggested this to the client I was working with this week that some of her products are very small, and I said you could have one shipping template that works for those products. And then you can have a different template with different pricing for your bigger, more expensive products. Um, and I think that makes sense because it honestly could come down to the fact that someone isn't buying from you because they go, well, why, you know, I'm paying this for the product. I don't want to pay that on top for shipping. Sounds like a really small thing, but think about it because we are customers too, aren't we? We, we all, I'm assuming, shop online. Um, I've definitely not shopped on websites before because, um, either something's going to take too long to get to me or because I don't want to pay what they want to charge for shipping. Especially if, as is often the case on Amazon, you can buy a similar product from somebody else and either shipping is faster or it's cheaper. So do think about that. While I'm talking about price, and I did say I would talk more about this, think about the price of your product. Does it still make sense? Um, can you increase it slightly? As I say, this isn't about saving you money, I guess it's about making you more money, but it's worth thinking about. So I was speaking to a client recently who has been selling their products on Amazon for eight years, and in eight years, their product price has not changed. Now, I'm not saying it necessarily should change. But because the products has been on Amazon for a long time and it does well, makes a, you know, decent amount of sales every single month. They weren't really looking at the market. So they weren't looking at their competitors and what they were doing, because they were really confident. They've got great product, it's got great reviews, it's sales work, they've got great listings. So they weren't looking at any of this. Um, And I asked a fairly innocent question to do a price, and then we went to, had to looked at it together and realized that their product was so much cheaper than other comparable products. Um, and that's, by the way, that could be fine. And that client could say, do you know what? I'm happy with my product price. But I did suggest to them, actually, you could raise your, um, price by a couple of pounds. Still be the cheapest by the way, but that just gives you a little bit more per sale. And I'm not suggesting increasing your product price just to make you money. Um, you've probably heard me talk about price before. I feel like the price has to make sense. Customers aren't going to pay more just to like line your pockets if that's the right saying. But if the price makes sense in the marketplace and you've got a great product and you've got great reviews and you've got sales history, why not? And remember, if you put your price up just a little bit and it does impact on your sales negatively, you can put it down again. And you know, you know how it is on Amazon. You make the change in 10, 15 minutes. It's, it's live. So it's not something you're sticking with forever. So I do think about that too. As I say, that's only if it makes sense, but I do think from time to time it is worth, particularly if you're only selling on Amazon, this is your only marketplace, or perhaps just Amazon and your website. It, I think it can be worth actually looking and saying, okay, does my price still make sense? Particularly if you've been selling for a long time. So now I want to talk about a few ideas I have that will help you increase your sales and will cost you nothing but time, because I'm aware that some of the ideas I've spoken about, for example, ads are going to cost you a little bit of money. These should only cost you time. So the first thing I'm going to suggest you do is review your product listings. Now, if you have a lot of product listings, and some of my clients do, you might have some listings that aren't active right now. You might have some listings that are actually suppressed by Amazon and you don't even know about it either because they haven't informed you, which happens a lot of the time, or because they haven't, you've missed an email and often, these are really, really simple fixes. So this week I have worked on an Amazon account audit for a client, which is something that I offer. And when I went through this client's listings, I actually found 24 listings that weren't active. My client wasn't aware, weren't active because of really small things. So for example, size, information missing, non-compliant image, image missing, and all of these things can be fixed. Um, I think in an app we could actually fix all of these issues and, um, suddenly the client has 24 more products that a customer can buy. So that's just one really small example. Of course, if you've got a small inventory, this might not apply to you, but I do work with sellers who have hundreds of products listed, so, this is definitely something that's worth looking at. So let's assume that your listings are all active. I think that's the first thing to check. Next thing to think about is are your listings fully optimized? So do you have great text? Have you carried out keyword research? Are the keywords concluded in your text? Do you have great images? Do you have a plus content set up? I've spoken about all of these things in depth in other episodes, which I'll link to in the show notes. So I'm just going to give you a brief summary here because I know you don't need to hear me say the same thing over and over again. Plus, I promise you this would be a fairly short episode. Bottom line is everything needs to be well optimized when you are creating your listings. You need to be using all the text fields. So in most categories you have a top where, all categories, you have a title in most. You also have five bullet points, and then you have some description. Use all of these. Also use the backend, um, search terms fields as well. Make sure all your keywords are in there. And of course, carry out keyword research to do that. Ensure, you know, ensure you know what people are searching for and that those phrases are in your listing. And of course in your campaigns as well. If you're running any, have great images. Um, if your images are a bit dated, maybe you put your listing up a couple of years ago and at that time you had, you know, photos, you were like, okay, these are okay. They'll do for now. Um, maybe this is a time to update them, get some new images taken. Even if your images are are, are good, it still might be worth swapping them around you know. If you feel like, okay, I've had this main image for a long time. Have you got another great image you could use? Um, is it time to get some infographics or other kind of graphics created to enhance your listings? Speaking of enhancing your listings, I mentioned a plus content. Um, if you don't know what this is, this is basically enhanced content on your listings. It means that when you scroll down and look at your product listing, you might see more text and graphics and images and comparison charts and all kinds of information about the product and the brand. As long as you have, um, a UK pending or existing trademark, you can apply for what's called Amazon Brand Registry and get the a plus content. It's a fairly quick and simple process. Much easier than getting set up on Amazon in the first place. And by having this, you can also have a store and access to a few other features as well. As I say, it's free. And if you have a trademark, I definitely think it's worth doing. And this could be something another way that you could enhance your listing. So perhaps you can you add a little bit more content, perhaps that in a video would make a real difference to your conversions. Um, as I say, all of this is free to do as if you haven't, it's definitely worth thinking about. I would also think about, have you listed all of your best selling products? Because let's face it, we are all really busy. And it might be that you've listed most of your products, but you haven't got around to creating all of your listings. You know, because we, like I say, you're busy, um, or maybe you just weren't sure if things would work out. So you only listed a selection of products initially, but I think now is actually the time to do it. Um. Make sure you do it well, as I've already been speaking about. But if you have some, some products that you know, sell really well elsewhere, and of course you believe that they're a good fit for Amazon, why not just get them listed? Um, because if they're not on there, you can't sell them. It's the bottom line. I also would suggest working on getting reviews. Um, although I always hate saying this because I know how tricky it is. Getting reviews is really, really hard for absolutely everyone, and all you really can do is ask because you can't incentivize people to leave you reviews. That's against Amazon's policies. You can send emails via Amazon via Seller Central to anyone who hasn't opted out of receiving these. So you can send like automated emails asking people for reviews. In my opinion, I don't know how well these work. I think a lot of people have opted out of them. I mean, I know that I have, um, and we all get so many emails. I don't know if that's the right way, but you could put a polite request in with your product packaging just saying, if you enjoy this product, please consider leaving a review. Um, can't hurt to ask right. That's what I figure anyway. Or maybe you could use Amazon Vine. So Amazon Vine is a programme. If you haven't heard of it, where Amazon reviewers who have been selected by Amazon are offered your product at a reduced price, um, on the understanding that they will write a review. So there is a cost for Vine. Um, so this actually isn't free. I said these are gonna be free, but this one is in, but it could be worth looking into if you are struggling to get reviews other ways, and you think, do you know what, if my product just had some reviews, I feel like they'd convert a little bit better. Um, other things you can do is work on telling people that your listings actually exist. So did you get set up on Amazon and then just not tell anyone? Um, you might have heard me say this before. It's really, really hard to get started on Amazon, so I guess this is different to, if you've been on there for a while, you know, if you've been on there for a couple of years and you are seeing less sales, I guess this won't be as relevant. Although actually you could still remind people that your products are available there, particularly if they're available on Prime, for example. Um, nothing wrong with letting people know, but if you haven't actually been on Amazon for long and you're not seeing much traction, first thing I would do is check, you know that your listings are as good as they possibly can be so that your listings are really well optimized. I mentioned this briefly above, and as I said, I've got episodes specifically about this that you can go and listen to as well, that go for exactly what you need to do to have a great product listing. So once you've done that, I would suggest doing everything you can to share your listings. So for example, you can share them on your social media, your website, your email, by the way, personal social media as well. You don't need to share this on your business social media. You can text or email or do it however you want to contact friends and family, ask them to share it out. Unfortunately, especially when you just first get started on Amazon, it's really hard to get found. Um, and you do need to put a little bit of work in. So if you haven't been on there long and you're not seeing the sales that you would expect. Um, first check you've got great listings, and then get out there and spread the word because I promise that'll help. So the final ideas I want to share with you do involve spending a little bit of money. So only do these if you can afford to. So the first one is, if you're not doing any sponsored products campaigns, perhaps you want to start one. You honestly do not need to spend a lot of money on these. You can just do a couple of pounds a day and see how you go. If you're going to, I would suggest you target your best selling products. So the ones that sell well anyway, um, your best converting products perhaps, or you could do a sponsored brands ads and highlight a few, or maybe you can do an ad to drive people to your store. So it really depends on what it is that you're trying to increase sales of. Um, another tip is if you have a product that has lots of variations, I would suggest either using the cheapest option in your ad, so the one you drive the ad to, or your best selling variant, or the best converting variant in the actual ad. Something I see people do, um, they have a product say in lots of different colours, is often they'll set up an ad and they will target every single colour that they offer. But actually if you, if you have a black and a blue and a red and a white and you hardly ever sell the black, but you know, the blue sells really well, just target that one. Um, because otherwise you are spending money on listings that may not convert. So that's just a little money saving tip. If you're going to be spending money on ads. You could also set up discounts or promotions. You can do lightning deals, prime exclusive deals, discounts, vouchers. Again, I have podcast episodes and blogs posted about all of these, but something to consider. So maybe you're going to do a sale price of 10% off for a week, or maybe you're going to do a voucher where people can get 20% off a certain amount of time. Multi buy deals are really good as well, especially if your products are on the lower end. So, you might do a three for two, for example, or you can also set up offers where if you buy one product, you pay full price. But if you buy three, you get 10% off or whatever it is. Just have a little play around here because people like a deal. And I do feel that especially if you are actively working to improve your sales on Amazon, it's worth trying a few things because you don't know what's it'll be, that'll work for you. And I don't know what it'll be that'll work for you. Um, because I can tell you that what works my clients isn't the same for everyone. Um, some people you know, set up sales and do really well. Other people set up multi offers and they do really well. Um, lots of my clients, in fact, all of my clients are doing really well with their ads at the moment. Um, so it really does depend and I wish I had one thing I could say that'll work for everyone. But do spend some time and try a lot of this? Um, and certainly don't give up until you feel like, actually I've done everything. Only give up then don't, especially as I say, if you've either been on this some time and you've got traction or if you're fairly new, um, definitely give it your all. Although final thing I'll say, and I hate to leave on this note, is that if things really aren't working and you do try all of my ideas and you still get no traction, particularly if you're new to Amazon. This is different, I guess if you've been on there for years and you've historically done well and now you're seeing a decline, but if you're fairly new and you know, you just can't get any sales and you're trying all of these things, one question I want you to honestly ask yourself is whether it's the right marketplace for you and your products. Um, I never like to say this by the way, and at least once a week I have, you know, I have someone come that wants to work with me and I have to really politely say, you know, I don't think I can help you because, you know, they sell something that I know is not a great fit for Amazon. Um, I ever noticed, by the way, from experience or I notice because I do some research and I just feel like, oh, actually, um, I obviously want people to do well, and I don't want to take on people who, um, you know, are prepared to put money behind it, but their product perhaps isn't the right fit or perhaps there's tons of competition because ultimately I want all of you to do really, really well. Um, so yeah, that was, that'd be my final point, that if you just work really hard and you just cannot see why you are not making sales. First of all, you can reach out to me. I offer a, a power hour where we can review everything together and you can talk me through what's going on and I can give you some sort of solutions and ideas that are tailored to you in your business. So that's one thing we can do. Um, but if not, I would definitely consider, you know, is your Amazon the right place for me, or is there another marketplace that'll work better? Um, I said at the outset of this episode, you know, don't just quit. Don't just stop right away. Um, but you know, I feel like if you've done everything you can and you realize that actually I, this isn't the best place for your products to be that isn't quitting, that's completely different. Um, what I just don't want you to do is to stop without, you know, giving it a good go. Because as I've said so many times, you'll be, oh, sick to death of me saying this. It is hard. Amazon is not an easy place to sell. It doesn't mean it's not worth it. You know, I work. As you know, I work with so many sellers. I work with sellers who do amazingly on Amazon, but, um, I don't think I can think of anyone who does amazingly on Amazon, who hasn't put the work in to get there. Um, and I think that's really, really important. So I'm going to leave with that. If you need any help, you know where to find me, vicki weinberg.com. Um, please don't get stuck on this. Please don't panic. Um, I'm always here to help. So thank you for listening right to the end of this episode, and I'll be back with another interview next week. Thank you so much for listening right to the end of this episode. Do remember that you can get the full back catalogue and lots of free resources on my website, vicki weinberg.com. Please do remember to rate and review this episode if you've enjoyed it and also share it with a friend who you think might find it useful. Thank you again and see you next week.