Today I’m going to share with you five things that you might not know about selling on Amazon that other people may be a bit reluctant to tell you.
When I collaborate with a new client, I believe in complete transparency throughout the process. This means I’ll highlight all the compelling reasons for them to consider selling on Amazon and the potential benefits they can reap from it. Undoubtedly, Amazon remains an excellent platform for many businesses, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. As with everything there are some less favourable aspects, and this is what I will be sharing with you today/.
Listen in to hear me share:
- Amazon isn’t right for everyone and every product (01:03)
- Why you won’t be on page one straight away (02:57)
- It can take a lot longer than you might think to get set up (06:36)
- Seller Central is really hard to navigate (09:13)
- Amazon Seller Support isn’t very good (11:14)
- How I may be able to help you (14:26)
HOW I CAN SUPPORT YOU ON AMAZON:
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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, a 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. I'm going to talk to you about five things that you might not know about selling on Amazon that often people are a bit reluctant to tell you. Let's get started. So when I work with a new client, I like to be super honest about the process. So that includes telling them all of the good reasons to, they might want to be on Amazon and all of the good things they can hopefully expect from selling on there. Because as you know, I do think that Amazon is still a great platform for lots of businesses, but not all. And we'll talk about that later. However, what a lot of people don't talk about and what I like to be really honest about is some of the not so good parts. And so today I thought I would share those with you as well. So the first thing I want to talk about in terms of why Amazon is not always great, that people won't always tell you, is that it's not right for everyone and every product. So you will see, possibly, people trying to say, okay, you should be on Amazon, everyone should be on Amazon, you know, you're going to get lots of visibility, you're going to get lots of sales. You might have heard me say this as well, and I will say that to the business I think it's right for. I still stand by the fact that I don't think Amazon is right for everyone and I don't think it's right for every product. So, to give you some examples, it might not always be the right marketplace for handmade products. Sometimes it can be, I have handmade clients who I think do really well on Amazon, but not everyone does and it certainly depends on what you're making as well and what type of product. I think that's a really big distinction. It might also not be the best place for a product with Lots of competition, particularly if your product, um, doesn't have anything that makes it stand out from that competition. So just as a really basic example, if you were going to sell a baby sleeping bag, I've just been onto Amazon and looked up baby sleeping bags. I've got pages and pages and pages and pages and pages of results. So if you wanted to sell your baby sleeping bag on Amazon, I'm not saying that you shouldn't sell it on Amazon, but I'm saying that if you were to work with me, I would give you some advice on how you might best position yours to make it really stand out from the hundreds and thousands on there already. So that's the first thing I wanted to say. It's not right for everybody and every product. Um, and don't let anyone tell you that it is. I do have a service, which is called, should I sell my products on Amazon? It says exactly what it is on the tin, where I can actually look into this for you. So you can tell me about your product and I can do some research and come back with an honest assessment about whether Amazon might be a good marketplace for you or not. So if you want any more information about that, it will be linked in the show notes for this episode. The second thing people might not tell you about selling on Amazon is you won't be on page one right away. This surprises people, but when you think about it, and I don't mean to be harsh here because I'm not harsh, I promise. Why would you be? Um, so when you're adding a product on Amazon, especially if they're products similar to yours already, those products are going to have a sales history and they're going to have reviews. And Amazon likes that. I did an episode recently about the Amazon algorithm and I touched on that then. I'll link to that episode in the show notes in case you missed that one. But his sales history and reviews are really, really important to Amazon. Because remember for every product sold they get some money. So it's in their interest to place the product that they think a customer most likely will buy at the top of the search results. So that would be on page one. Because if they've already proven that people have bought them and people have left reviews because they like them, it gives Amazon a good indication. Okay, if I put this product on, if I, as if Amazon's a person, if we put this product on page one, hopefully, you know, we've got some evidence to suggest people might buy it and we'll get paid. And that's kind of how it works. The exception there is paid ads. So you can pay for Amazon sponsor campaign. So pay for click ads and they can also get you onto the front page. And we'll talk about that a bit more later on. One exception here, and I should point this out because there's always exceptions, is if your product is really unique. So for example, I have some clients who sell really unique products, and if you search a search term that's relevant to their product, they do end up on page one. However, because there is a little caveat here, they don't actually get that much volume. So for the search terms they end up on page 1 for. It's great that they're there, by the way. I think it's fantastic. They're always, you know, right at the top of the results and they're not paying to be there and that's fantastic. However, they are not highly searched for search terms. Although it does show one thing, which is their listing is well optimized because they're coming up. So that's obviously really, really good. I've talked in previous episodes about some of the things you can do to make sure you do end up near the top of page one. Because as I say, it's not going to happen unless you put some work in. And because I do have previous episodes on this, I'm not going to go into it in loads of detail. But I guess the first thing to say is to make sure that your listing is really well optimized. So you have all of the terms that a customer might be searching for, both in the front of your listing. So the front end means the bit that people can see, so the title, the bullet points, the product description, you want all of your key keywords to be in there. And then of course you have backend keywords, and these are great for ones that maybe don't fit in your listing text because maybe they jar a little bit or seem out of place. However, they are things that people would be searching for, or perhaps they're, they're things that are relevant to your product. They won't quite work in the listing. Put them in the back end because keywords on Amazon are really important. And then you need to be doing something to get those first sales. So I manage mentioned Amazon sponsored products. I actually think that Amazon advertising can be a really good option. However, downside is, of course, advertising costs money and you may not want to invest money in Amazon ads, which I totally get. So other things you could do that cost less money, perhaps a little bit more in time. But, you know, they shouldn't. I hope they're not going to cost you in terms of a monetary cost, are things like trying to drive traffic to your Amazon listing from other ways. So for example, using your email list, using your social media and using your networks, your contacts, your friends, your families, basically getting the words out to everyone. You can, your product is available to buy on Amazon. And hopefully generating some sales as well. The third thing that people might not tell you about selling on Amazon is it can take a lot longer than you'd think to get set up. And I've realized from experience as well that I offer an Amazon launch package where I help new sellers get set up on Amazon. And it is, on average, taking me a lot longer than it used to, to do exactly the same thing a couple of years ago. And I'm not sure entirely why that is, um, because you'd think that with, you know, the experience I've had and amount of years I've been working on Amazon, I would be able to do it quicker, but I can assure you it's not to me, it is Amazon. It's getting a lot harder to get the account set up in the first place. So that's the bit before I even would get involved. So in terms of getting the account set up, getting yourself verified, getting your business verified, getting all the information over that Amazon want, that can take a couple of weeks. It didn't used to. Getting your brand registered, if you decide to do that, can take a lot longer than it used to. And lots of issues can and do crop up during setup. I should add here, this doesn't happen all of the time. I've done plenty of launch packages this year and everything's gone smoothly, and we've had no issues at all, but I've also worked on accounts where we have had little glitches, whether it's getting the product set up in the first place, or whether it's getting products sent in for FBA, things can and do happen on Amazon. Um, so my best advice here is that if it's platform you're interested in is to one know, you know, that this is the case that it's not quite as simple setting up on eBay, for example, and then just building in some extra time to allow for that. Um, so if you think, you know, I want to be on Amazon in the next month, um, well, actually, if you think you want to be on Amazon the next month, you probably should have started by now, if I'm honest, but let's say you want to be on Amazon in you know, you've got a set date in mind. I'm very aware that I don't know when you're going to be listening to this. So let's say that, you know, you've decided you want to be on Amazon for Easter. Let's say picking an arbitrary date. I would suggest thinking a couple of months in advance about getting started. You can never get started soon, too soon. Yes, you are paying an account fee, which you will be paying even if you have no listings. But, you know, you can always get around this by setting up a free account just to get the account in place and then upgrading once you're confident that you have everything set up correctly. That's definitely an option. Um, but I actually think that paying the account fee for a couple more months to give yourself more time to get your listing set up really well, to get your FBA shipments all sent in, is actually money well spent. The fourth thing about selling on Amazon that people might not tell you is that Seller Central, which is the system that you use as a seller to manage your business and your products and everything about your Amazon account is really hard to navigate. It's really outdated and it is not user friendly and absolutely everybody is surprised by this. So some of the clients that I work with are pretty, sort of, into Seller Central from the beginning and then I have others who set up the account and then hand over to me to, you know, get their listings set up and sync, you know, all the settings and everything else that's involved. And when it comes to the handover part, where I give them their account back, they're often really, really surprised by just how hard it is to do anything in there. Um, it's, yeah, it's definitely not intuitive. Um, I don't know how long, you know, it's been like that for, actually, I can say, I think I first started selling on Amazon about eight years ago, and it hasn't changed much since then. Um, there's been a few tweaks, but essentially it's the same thing. And, um, I guess. Sometimes I think because I'm using it every day and I'm really familiar with it, I almost get used to it and all the eccentricities. It's only when I have to talk someone through something that I think, oh yeah, this is actually a bit strange. So there's no real solution to this. I just want to say, I, I'm telling you because I want to be honest with you. So you know what to expect. There's no fancy backend system. It's a bit outdated and it, it's not very intuitive and takes a little bit to work around. So my best advice here would be familiarize yourself with it. So if you are on Amazon already and you know, you feel like you're not up to speed on Seller Central, you can just go through all of the pages and just have a look around and see what's there. You could also book in an hour with me and I can do it with you. Um, or there's, you know, also, do this if there's a task you want to do or something you need and you're just not sure how to do it. And really what I would say here is be gentle with yourself because if you can't figure something out I promise it is them and not you. And the fifth thing I want to tell you about Amazon that no one else will tell you, um, unless it's other sellers that you've met somewhere because you know people do talk about this quite often, is the fact that Amazon seller support is not very good. I'm trying to think of the politest way of saying that. So I'm, I'm, I'm ending with not very good, but, um, it's actually worse and not very good. This also comes as a massive shock to people because if you've brought on Amazon as a customer and I'm sure you have and something goes wrong, so your parcel doesn't arrive or they send you the wrong thing. It doesn't happen that often, but if it does or anything at all, generally it gets sorted out in your favour. And that's really been my experience on Amazon. Is that they seem to favour the customer and the customer support for people buying on Amazon is great. The support for people selling on Amazon, despite them being customers too, is not brilliant because remember you are paying Amazon for the privilege of having an account and everything else, you know, using the platform, you're paying for that. So you should be seen as a customer, but you're not. Um, the seller support is bad and it is actually getting worse. And I like to mention it for a few things. One again, so you're just aware because not everyone will tell you this. And I would rather be honest. Um, two, so that if you have a bad experience and you think, why can't I get this sorted? I can't understand the emails they're sending me. Am I not wording this correctly? Why does nobody seem to know what I'm saying, or any of these things, again, it's not you, it's them. Um, this happens a lot. Um, also if you're working with me or anyone else on your Amazon, do know that, you know, anyone else will be doing their very, very best to fix any issues you're having, but often seller support can put a real spanner in the works, either by taking a long time to get back or just not being very helpful or whatever it is. And yeah, I just think it's useful for you to know it. So if this is happening to you, so if you are having any issues on Amazon or you do in the future, I have launched a podcast episode on this before. I think it was about 18 months ago. And again, I will link that in the show notes. That episode is all about how to deal with Amazon seller support and has all of my best tips and advice on how to get your case resolved as quickly and hopefully painlessly as possible. So this was another pretty short episode, um, possibly not one for the faint hearted. Um, and I realized that I've told you quite a lot of negative things about selling on Amazon today. Um, but as you know, I do think Amazon is worth it for some people. Um, I just, as I said, right at the beginning of this episode, like to be really honest and upfront with people when I'm having calls with new clients or potential new clients. This is the kind of thing I will tell them because I like to be honest about what to expect, what, you know, what things ahead might look like, and as I say, I, I really appreciate you listening to this podcast and I wanted to share the same thing with you too, because it shouldn't be, it shouldn't be a secret. Um, and I see lots of things out there about how great Amazon is and all the opportunities. And yes, but there's this other side to it too. And I will say that I don't want this to put you off. Um, and if you're struggling with anything that I've mentioned, you know, I don't want you to give up either. There's always help out there. You can reach out, to me, for help at any time, it's Vicki at, Vicki Weinberg dot com. And my overall advice would be, if you believe that Amazon is a great place for your business and your product, please don't get put off and please don't give up. Just go into it with an open mind, knowing that, you know, there may be some issues and it may take longer than you wanted it to. But it will be worth it in the end. I really hope this episode has helped you. As always, please feel free to get back to me with any feedback, comments, questions, Vicki at VickiWeinberg. com and also please remember to rate and review the podcast so that other people can find it and I hope you've enjoyed the episode and I will speak to you again in a few weeks. 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, vickiweinberg. 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.