What eCommerce Firms Can Learn from Amazon Brands

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Recently I wrote about the advantages eCommerce business owners could have if they launched a private label business on Amazon. Today I’m going to look at the reverse. What eCommerce retailers can learn from Amazon and its sellers, and how some of these things could be implemented into a shopping website.

I’ve examined thousands of Amazon product listings, consulted with scores of sellers and identified trends that top Amazon sellers use to get results.

First up, if you’re an eCommerce retailer you’ll often have much more flexibility over your website and product pages than Amazon sellers. They must work to a fixed template and do what Amazon’s say!

This doesn’t mean Amazon brands are slack. Some are excellent marketers. And the limits Amazon imposes can have an upside. It can make sellers laser-focussed on their listing and this concentration can help them succeed. If you have 5000 units of a product to sell…it’ll usually get you focussed!

1. Master the Product Title

Getting good at writing product titles is important on Amazon. They believe shorter is better and it’s what generates the most revenue per visitor.

The current limit is set to around 200 characters in many categories. Sellers must get primary keywords and sales copy inside that 200-character limit.

They must also factor in shorter limits that exist for mobile displays. These are truncated at various lengths.

Amazon likes things to be short because it sells.

The shortest titles in ads cut at 35 characters, another at 76 characters. Other variations are around the 100-character mark.

Working to so many character limits is not always easy. To save time, I use an excel sheet which I share with clients to quickly visualize what text will show at the common limits Amazon uses.

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These short titles force Amazon sellers to focus and zoom in on the main keywords and selling points. It can help get you thinking very specifically about your product niche and the micro niche.

What an eCommerce Business can take from this:

Is your business laser-focussed on your eCommerce product pages? Which few words (if you could only pick a handful) would help attract the most people to your product pages and drive the most revenue? This is something Amazon is obsessed about – you should be too.

2. Describe Your Product Quickly With Bullets

After the title, Amazon’s layout displays 5 bullet points. Private label brands can use this space to tell people about the key product features and benefits.

It’s somewhere to quickly engage customers, share the brand style, highlight features and mention any guarantees.

The key product features area on Amazon can look like below.

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Yet again, Amazon promotes short concise copy.

The section is broken up into 5 short fields as bullet points. This makes Amazon sellers focus on the features and benefits so that customers can quickly understand the value proposition of the product.

What an eCommerce Business can take from this:

A text area of 5 lines x 150 characters (for each field) has proven to make Amazon the most money above the fold on a product page.

It makes Amazon sellers focus on the top level features and benefits so customers can quickly digest the key selling points of a product. Amazon sellers must avoid filler and embrace brevity. Could this approach also work for your eCommerce website?

3. Produce Powerful Product Images

Images are a powerful element in eCommerce and for selling on Amazon. An Amazon seller may have to compete with scores of other listings. Successful sellers will tend to do everything they can to make their hero image as good as possible. This is so it can achieve two important things.

  1. Stand out in the listings and be clickable.
  2. Make the product look awesome to help sell the product.

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Once someone is on the product listing ‘Supporting Images’ come into play. These need to persuade and convert the customer to buy.

Amazon enforces standards for images. Their decisions are based on some of the most comprehensive ongoing split testing in eCommerce.

Here are some of the standards they have in place.

  • Use high resolution images that you can zoom in on. Amazon start to display the initial product page images fairly small at around 365 px. However, they want uploaded images to be 2000px wide or more. This is so users can zoom in.
  • Cropping square. The image area Amazon provides is square. They don’t buy into landscape or portrait dimensions that we so often see with TV or modern photography. Amazon know they’re selling products, not pretty landscapes.
  • Use supporting images. A single image is rarely enough to convert well in most niches, even if you’re selling fairly mundane items. Amazon allow sellers to add multiple images and will show 7 images as thumbnails on the product page right off the bat. The user can then zoom into high resolution versions.
  • Show a variety of shots. These might include the product in use, in situ, a diagram style graphic or someone holding it.

 What an eCommerce Business can take from this:

How does your shopping website match up to Amazon’ standards? Are you uploading high resolution, zoom-able images, cropping square and offering a range of well shot supporting images. Amazon encourage brands to work to this system for a reason. It generates the most revenue.

4. Brilliant Bonuses and Add-ons

Healthy competition on Amazon means that brand sellers have to up their game. Some smart sellers are now going the extra mile to boost conversion by using free bonuses and add-ons.

It’s something any web retailer could do, but even on Amazon only a minority of private label sellers implement it. Usually these are the sellers that do well.

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Perhaps it’s a free coaster or spoon if you sold a mug.  A free recipe book if you sold a health product. Or maybe a free workout eBook if someone bought a fitness product.

The free add-on or bonus is promoted in the listing, so a customer can see they are getting something extra with this particular option.

 What an eCommerce Business can take from this:

Could you boost conversion for your products by offering any add-ons or bonuses like Amazon sellers? Could you make your listings stand out and look more appealing to people who arrive at the pages from search engines or Pay Per Click Ads this way? A small initial outlay for an add-on or free bonus item could pay itself back many times over, down the line.

5. Getting Obsessed with Pricing

The benefit of high volume traffic on Amazon is that you can test pricing.

It’s true you’ll find many examples of high volume sales for low-priced items, but there are exceptions. Some private label sellers are able to command premium prices and build a brand on Amazon in spite of low cost competition.

Pricing can be unpredictable. For example, increasing price might only result in a minimal change in demand in some niches. On the flip side. Halving price might only result in a marginal boost in sales. Often there will be a tipping point where you will see the most dramatic reaction between the price and demand.

This might make you think about price a little differently. Especially if you’re interested in building a business that is not all about being the cheapest.

Finding the best price for a product is key on Amazon and for eCommerce websites. There are tools available such as camelcamelcamel that publicly track product price changes on Amazon. With tools like this, it’s possible to analyse competitors’ pricing.

In the example below you can see where a seller has increased and decreased their price for a product over time.

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It’s also possible to get historical data that shows an Amazon sellers’ Sales Rank. This data is an indicator of the peaks and troughs of sales across a period of time. Combined with the historical pricing data it’s possible to evaluate the effects of a competitors pricing changes on their sales.

What an eCommerce Business can take from this:

Are you regularly testing your pricing? And do you have faith you can build a premium brand so it’s not just about price? Some sellers on Amazon can achieve this, even if they compete with scores of competitors.

eCommerce websites have some advantages too. It’s usually easy to implement split testing software and you can run tests privately. Also your pricing and sales history will not be publicly available in the same way Amazon sellers’ are!

6. Learn to Launch Products

Smart Amazon sellers know they need to do product launches if they want to dominate their niche.

This can mean holding back 10% of the inventory to use for giveaways and promotions. Perhaps even more if it’s a competitive niche.

Giving away product may seem a little alien to a web retailer, but serious Amazon sellers know that it can pay dividends down the line.

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The aim of giveaways and promotions for private label products is to drive an initial buzz of sales through Amazon and generate lots of reviews.

Good reviews will act as social proof that people should buy (as it’s a good product) and the number of units being processed through Amazon sends a signal a product has a buzz about it. This can help boost its sales rank.

Some sellers might even reach out with their giveaways to 3rd party blogs or online magazines. The aim is very similar to what eCommerce retailers might do for link building. They are looking for positive PR, social proof, external reviews and a link back to their Amazon product page.

Many won’t stop there. They’ll launch a product using Facebook pages, run competitions, upload product demo videos to YouTube or run promotions on Instagram.

 What an eCommerce Business can take from this:

Successful Amazon sellers are implementing a wide array of marketing techniques to launch products. They do this to build up positive PR, reviews and to help start driving sales.

Could your eCommerce business do more with giveaways or competitions? Could it get more customer reviews? Perhaps your business could draw inspiration from Amazon sellers, when promoting new line of products.

7. Knowing Customer Data is Powerful

Amazon brands don’t own the customers’ data, Amazon do. Put bluntly the customers are Amazon’s. Even emailing customers direct from a business email account is not allowed. An Amazon seller must use the internal email system inside seller central. Here the email address gets masked.

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Many sellers still want to get in touch with those customers if they can.

They may use creative product inserts to get customers to register. Add warrantee URLs to packaging, and some may even call up customers one by one to connect.

Others even buy software services that can match an email with address information. Some of this is in the darker-grey area of what is OK when it comes to Amazon’s Terms of Service – but it goes on.

My point is that sellers will take many creative steps to connect with their customers because they know how valuable that data is.

They can be like detectives when it comes to uncovering customer data, because being able to email a customer with a newsletter or offer, is like gold dust to an Amazon seller.

 What an eCommerce Business can take from this:

Most web retailers already have a customer list. They can easily connect with customers via email. But how often are most doing it, and are they committed to being excellent with their email marketing?

Are there other ways you could add value to encourage customers to connect with you? Perhaps using creative inserts or offering extended guaranties like Amazon sellers might work for your online business.

 Summary

I believe web retailers have advantages if they launch private label brands on Amazon due to their skills and experience with their own shopping website.

I also believe eCommerce companies could benefit from implementing some of the standards Amazon enforces, as well as taking influence from the disciplines Amazon sellers develop. There are many benefits a web retailer could get inspiration from by looking at Amazon and the way brand sellers operate. After all, there are few companies in the world who know more about driving revenue from visitors than Amazon.

Amz Pro is a boutique agency that works with serious private label amazon sellers and eCommerce companies looking to launch onto Amazon. We work with people from around the world who sell on Amazon in the US, UK and Europe. If you’d like to expand your Amazon business, or launch your eCommerce business onto Amazon, then get in touch with Amz Pro today!