WORKING Amazon FBA Sales & Reviews Launch Process for 2017 - Make Money Online How to Launch on Amazon in 2017? Amazon FBA Sales & Reviews Process
Let me address the elephant in the room: Amazon policy.
If you want to leverage the world’s biggest marketplace to make millions of dollars, you need to play by their rules. And some things that you were ONCE allowed to do, you’re not allowed to do anymore.
I’ve lived through it all and am going to explain these things, once and for all in detail. I’ve worked with over 2500 sellers over 3 years exclusively on Amazon FBA private label product launches. I now work at belowcost.club, which gets your product in front of thousands of active Amazon shoppers who buy your product, which in turn increases your position in the marketplace and organic sales long-term. It’s fast, easy, and super affordable and the link’s in the description.
Alright, now, let me tell you the story of the largest marketplace in the world…
Amazon FBA became money-maker of choice for physical product companies and private labellers around 2013.
2013 to 2016 constituted a “Golden Era” of easy ranking. Source directly from Alibaba without much product differentiation, and the mix of low competition and a rudimentary ranking algorithm meant that 50-100 discounted sales got you to page 1 for major keywords overnight. The Amazon shoppers buy up your inventory. You order more product, and just try to keep up with demand while picking out diamond-encrusted jackets for your chihuaha…’s yacht’s season tickets… private island.
Plus, you could reliably convert sales into reviews, which are crucial for clickthroughs and conversion rates. You could even say: “OK, shopper, you can have my baking mat set for a $1, but ONLY if you leave me a review”. You couldn’t ask for a GOOD review (that’s always been against the rules). Just an honest and unbiased review. But still, you could get 2 major benefits: sales for ranking, and reviews for conversion increases and clickthroughs. A count of 50 reviews increases conversions by 4.6%, which is a lot of money over time.
In September 2016, a news story went viral on Reddit about how so many Amazon reviews were “fake”. “Fake”, in public opinion, because sellers were exchanging heavy discounts for reviews, often selecting reviewers with complimentary review histories. While this practice was permitted by Amazon at the time, the mix of bad press and Amazon’s customer-first philosophy resulted in a dramatic change of policy on October 3, 2016, which, for many, marks the end of the Golden Era, and the start of…
Amazon updated their rules to ban incentivized reviews entirely (unless they’re done through their own program), and in the coming weeks retroactively deleted hundreds of thousands of reviews that sellers acquired in that manner. The policy update made it so that you can't exchange a discount for a review. So in other words, you can't approach a shopper and say "IF you promise to leave a review, you can have this discount". That said...
> Discounts are still fine: promotions like belowcost.club, Black Friday sales, Lightning Deals, etc. and they help products get sales velocity and build sales history on Amazon.
> Reviews are still fine: sellers are allowed to ask for a review post-purchase as part of their customer service sequence if they'd like. It's optional, of course, but there's nothing wrong with leave a review of a product that you bought on sale (as long as the two events aren't connected. The discount can't be dependent on the review).
Here we are in 2017, a year after that change. Not much has happened (oh, except in March when Amazon started to let shoppers to opt out of post-purchase customer emails… darn. You may have to pawn that diamond chihuahua jacket), and we can now look into the future with clear eyes and a full heart.
I’ll now give you a launch sequence that, ironically, would have worked back in 2013 and works to this day.
The basic sequence breaks down into 3 steps:
Development, Optimization, and Sales.
A longer but still concise way of saying that is:
Source a good product, ship it to an FBA fulfillment center, optimize your listing with high-relevance/high-traffic keywords and persuasive messaging, and get sales and then reviews for the listing. The sales increase your ranking for the keywords in your listing, and you start getting organic sales. The organic sales perpetuate more organic sales, and there’s your passive income. Now, a dramatic scene where you go to the pawn shop and buy back your diamond chihuahua jacket.
That’s basically all you need to know, right there.
For the rest of our time together, I’ll tell you exactly how to do each of these 3 steps, and maybe throw in a few more jokes.
There’s a tendency to jump to marketing tactics without asking: how good is your product offer?
The product is the foundation on which everything else rests.
A good product and a bad product can look similar at the beginning, but as time goes on, a small difference in quality makes a big difference. It’s like two divergent lines.
So, if you have a bad product (defined as falling short of customer expectations by breaking, being the wrong size, being of lower quality than expected, or otherwise not delivering its promised benefit) then it’s harder to make sales and harder to get reviews (I take it back; getting bad reviews is actually really easy).
[FUNNY BAD REVIEW ROLL]
A bad product renders tactics for getting sales and reviews much less powerful. It’s like trying to run a marathon when you have the flu. It’s like… just get better, come back, and kick some ass later. No big deal.
And the most important thing you can do is source. Luckily, I’ve put together an entire video on the subject. But in a nutshell I’d say to collect more quotes than you think you need to, conduct due diligence on suppliers, and fly in and rigorously test samples.
Now, let’s assume you have a good product and you’ve shipped it to Amazon. If you want a walkthrough on the logistics of shipping products to Amazon warehouses, check this out.
Next, you have product in the warehouse, so your listing is “live”. Now, you need to improve your product listing through optimization. I did a 30 minute deep-dive on this which you can find here or you can get Asteroid Aim to optimize for you, but to summarize: optimization is about having good photos and text.
Let’s see how photos and text come into play.
Let’s look at the customer flow on Amazon, which is basically a search engine for physical products to the tune of 1.1 million requests per second (and that was in 2013).
Customer has a need. It doesn’t matter what need. It’s one of these 8 things (Ca$hvertising list). But let’s say that their feel deep down that their home isn’t a comforting place; it needs more comfort, more warmth, more...
They type the first keyword that comes to mind...
Now, they see a collection of about 20 options. 70% of all the sales are made here, in the next few moments, on page 1. The other 30% are made on subsequent pages.
They decide which one to buy based on the image, price and number of reviews.
Maybe they have 2 options they like. They click into both, and browse the other photos and descriptions.
They buy one, and that seller makes money.
Now, how can we optimize to make sure that’s us and not this fool?
Let’s go back to the beginning of the customer flow.
This time, from the seller’s perspective.
The customer types the first keyword that comes to mind, remember?
For some people it’s “dryer ball”. But for others, it’s “soften laundry”.
Products have multiple keywords that describe them, as well as keywords related to their benefits, like softening laundry.
As a seller, it’s to your benefit to find every single keyword that’s both high-relevance AND high-traffic and add it to your listing.
Put the best ones in your title. Once that’s full, work the others into your bullets, description, and lastly: search terms. You can’t show up for “dryer ball” and “soften laundry” if neither of those things is mentioned in your listing. Your listing content tells Amazon what the product is about.
Back to the customer flow: they type words into that bar and get 20 results.
It’s time to pick.
Have a compelling price slash: “this down from that”. To do this, go to Seller Central and hit “Inventory” > “Manage Inventory” > “Edit” > “Offer” tab > set your Standard Price high, and your Sale Price lower, and set an end date far in the future.
Also, the main photo needs to attract the click. High-resolution, compelling, Amazon-spec-compliant, and clear about what the offer is.
And, your review count matters. More on this in point 3.
Oh, great! They clicked us.
Now, the rest of the photos are good.
The bullet points and description, as well as containing more relevant keyword to help us get found in the first place, are also crafted to persuade. They paint a picture of how much better life will be post-purchase and how bad life is without the product. A heaven to run to, and a hell to run away from. In fact, you promise such a good future state that it justifies a small fee to make this state happen. In fact, the fee is even a little lower than usual.
Their credit card already on file, they go proceed to checkout and *ding* money in your pocket.
Now, there’s one more piece. Notice how I started the customer flow assuming that we appear on page 1?
But there are hundreds of dryer balls jockeying for a spot on page 1. Their listings all have the keyword “dryer ball” in them, so they’re all equal. Optimization is required for ranking; it gets you admitted to the ranking contest, but it doesn’t guarantee ranking. Other listings have the same keywords as you, so who deserves to rank?
To make ranking a certain thing, we need our final point: point 3.
SALES & REVIEWS
2 listings can have the keywords “dryer ball” in them. Why does one appear on page 1 and the other appears on page 6?
The answer is sales.
Amazon needs a way to decide which dryer ball to show.
And Amazon wants to make money. Sales make Amazon money.
So if you have 2 similarly optimized listings, the one with more sales will appear higher in search results. This is an oversimplification, as Amazon’s algorithm takes other factors into account and will continue to change. But, for as long as sales are Amazon’s goal, Amazon will want to show products in order of the sales they make and have made in the last 7, 14, 30 days; historical sales being a good predictor of future sales.
Take a look at the page 1 players.
Next, calculate the daily sales volume that they’re getting.
To rank among them, you need to match or exceed this daily sales volume for a sustained period of time. How long? The longer the better, but at least 7 days.
Services like belowcost.club have a group of shoppers on one side, and your listing on the other, and can get you this kind of daily sales volume.
You can also get sales with a discounted public offering on deal sites, building your own audience on social media in advance, getting featured in the press, buying product placement with influencers, etc. Be prepared to set aside a marketing budget. You need to pay to acquire customers, either with your own time (networking, talking to people) or with money (buying ads). So, put your money to work and get your initial sales.
The best (and only allowable) place to get a review is from a customer who buys from you. Not family. Not friends. Not someone who hasn’t made a purchase. Those reviews will be tracked and removed.
So, get sales and then reviews will follow.
When it comes to getting reviews, it varies a lot based on (1) the shopper's experience with the product and (2) the methods the seller is using.
You can help increase review rate with:
> packaging inserts
> using the Seller Central Messaging system to follow up post-purchase for reviews. Also, automating customer messaging with software that integrates to Seller Central like Feedback Genius or Salesbacker.
If both of these tactics are in place, it maximizes your chances of converting products sold into reviews. Don’t expect everyone to do it. A 5% review rate is great.
At this point, you’re making sales (so your rank is up) and you have your first review. Statistically, it’ll be positive if the product is good. Hence why everything hinges on product development.
Now, you need to bridge the gap between promotional momentum and organic sales momentum with a public price drop and/or Amazon PPC ads.
Sellers do either or both of these: just as soon as the promotional period is over, they decrease their public price to increase the likelihood that organic traffic buys. Also, they get aggressive with Amazon PPC campaigns. You lose money on promotional campaigns. So, similarly, going aggressive will be "ad spend".
This post-promotional stage is about leveraging the increased ranking and CONVERTING it into organic sales to keep the momentum going.
And there you go:
> A good product shipped to Amazon.
> The listing has high-traffic/high-relevance keywords, and it ranks for those keywords by making promotional sales.
> The seller asks promotional sale shoppers for a review.
They get their first review, increasing their clickthroughs in search results and conversion potential.
> From there, they bridge the promotional momentum into sustainable organic sales using a public price drop and Amazon PPC. Consistent, daily sales begin.
> Promote at a discount again if a “top up” is needed.
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