Amazon Seller Do’s & Don’ts

I love it when big things come out of small ideas. Back in the 90’s, I was attending college in Abilene, Texas and worked a part-time job at a scuba shop called the Underwater Connection that also certified new divers at a lake in Del Rio, Texas. I thought the scuba store might be able to grab some attention if we promoted a trash cleanup at the lake, so I wrote a letter to Glad and told them about what we were doing and they sent a huge box of free garbage bags. The local news ended up doing a story on our underwater lake cleanup and the large amount of trash bags our divers filled from the bottom of the lake. It was a small idea that turned into quite a bit of attention for the shop and an annual cleanup event that generated publicity each year. 

In preparation for my guest appearance on the Lunch With Norm podcast about “The In’s and Out’s of eCommerce and Amazon,” I queried top Amazon Sellers from the eCommerce Fuel group and our world-class Amazon team at OMG Commerce about their top do’s and don’t for Amazon sellers.  My simple question resulted in a rich haul of Amazon selling and marketing advice.  If you’ll dive deep into these tips and techniques, you’ll enjoy a long and prosperous future as an Amazon Seller. Enjoy!

Amazon Do’s

  1. Do organize your advertising - Create and name campaigns around how you see your company (Parent ASINs, Child ASINs, Product Lines, etc.).
  2. Do redefine your top goals (Grow market share, achieve rank 1, improve ACoS efficiency, reduce spending, etc.) for Amazon advertising at least once per quarter. 
  3. Do evaluate the KPIs when you’ve achieved your goals. What ACoS, Spend, Sales, Impressions, and CTR were successful for each of your goals/products?
  4. Do let Amazon do some of the heavy lifting for you. Use Suggested ASINs, Suggested Categories, and Suggested Bids to find converting keywords and ASINs via your reports.
  5. Do test as many betas as you can. Test and test again. Amazon, like all platforms, puts out tools that might not be great at the start, but usually develop into something that works very efficiently. 

Have you tried Amazon Posts? It’s a beta.  Contact OMG or your Amazon representative for access. If you have been using Posts, did you know that Amazon has been rolling out updated features for Posts?

  1. DO pay attention to Amazon newsletters and invites, as well as the Amazon dashboard itself. Amazon has a habit of implementing new changes under the radar or with minimal notice. In just August 2020, if you weren’t paying attention, you may have missed your IPI score falling into the red overnight when the threshold changed to 500 from 400. Things like this can have a major impact on your day-to-day operations so it’s important to keep an eye out for these big changes.
  2. DO test all targeting options available to you (Amazon adds new ones frequently), and test them with every single product in your line up. Keep testing over time. Sponsored Product targeting campaigns targeting Amazon’s suggested ASINs have not always performed very well. They either end up spending inefficiently, or they get little to no impressions at all. This may lead to the conclusion that Amazon’s suggestions are bad ideas. Amazon recently brought the product targeting feature to Display ads within Seller Central, which includes the option to target Amazon’s suggested list of ASINs. Targeting this suggested ASIN list has FAR AND AWAY surpassed the total sales and efficiency of all other forms of Display ad targeting for the majority of our clients.
  3. DO use  Sponsored Brand Video What results can you expect? Here is 3 months of data across 10 different clients in various categories at OMG Commerce.
  • Video ACoS is 22% lower than overall account ACoS
  • SB Video on average is 3.22% of total ad spend
  • Avg CTR Lifestyle Videos: 1.49%
  • Avg CTR Template Videos: 0.83%
  • Video CTR is 62% higher than account CTR

This is a great resource if you’re planning on starting Sponsored Brand Video.

Amazon Don'ts 

  1. DON'T list low ASP (average sales price) assortments as that will erode your overall net profit margin. 
  2. DON'T assume this is an overnight success. Success on Amazon takes time... sometimes lots of it.
  3. DON'T try to operate on Amazon the same as you do on your website. Orders, Customer Service, stock accuracy… it all needs to be far tighter as Amazon will penalize you if not up to their standards.
  4. DON'T break policy rules - this is never worth the long-term risk for the short-term payout. Further, don’t argue with Amazon on a policy point. It wastes time! They won’t change their policy for your situation.
  5. DON'T take “No” for an answer (outside of policy rules!). Ultimately, success on Amazon can boil down to your persistence when it comes to correcting an issue that is impacting sales. When it comes to Amazon Seller Support, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. So if a case is marked closed without a satisfactory resolution, don’t be afraid to reopen it. With support currently experiencing high call volumes, it’s important now, more than ever, to be assertive when it comes to your account and listing health.
  6. DON'T ignore your competitors. Keep an eye on what they are doing and what keywords they are showing for.
  7. DON'T be immediately reactive when it comes to listing and ad optimization. Amazon is notorious for delayed reporting and Amazon’s algorithm that determines organic search ranking and ad placement is sensitive. As much as we all want to monitor up to the minute stats as business owners, one of the most damaging things you can do on Amazon is obsessing over inaccurate data and making wide-sweeping listing or ad changes based on this. As a rule of thumb, when making any major strategic marketing decisions in regards to Amazon, review at least 14 days of data excluding the past 72 hours.
  8. DON'T coast. Don’t assume if you’ve been a beneficiary of high sales increases in the 2020 COVID era that high sales will last forever. Ecommerce has grown tremendously in the past several months, and Amazon is slaying it. Strong sales will likely remain, but there are a myriad of variables as we go into the rest of 2020 and into 2021 that means we might see fluctuations (the election, COVID in winter, amazon shipping capabilities, etc.). The main point is don’t coast because sales are high now, they are for almost everyone online. Continue to stay focused on the fundamentals.

Interested in learning more about Amazon, or OMG’s Amazon services? Download our Amazon DSP Roadmap, Amazon Sponsored Brand Video Guide, and request a strategy session to explore opportunities for your brand and products.

* Thanks to the in-house Amazon team at OMG Commerce and my friends in the eCommerce Fuel forum for their permissioned contributions to this resource!

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