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In today's article, I will address common misunderstandings about the Sale on the Amazon marketplace

1. after optimizing the product listing, my product will appear on the first page

Over the past few months, I have noticed that some Amazon merchants seem to assume that by only optimizing product listings, a placement on the first search results page is guaranteed. Of course, listing optimization based on the most important search terms is by no means sufficient to be displayed on the first search results page for the main keyword.

The standard search results page contains 16 organic rankings. However, as the range of products in almost all product categories exceeds 16, there are several search results pages on which products are displayed.

For the search term "Wristwatches for men", for example, there are more than 70,000 results competing for the top positions.

Amazon misunderstandings

In order to understand why listing optimization alone is not enough, we need to look at Amazon's A9 search algorithm. The search algorithm works in two steps: In the first step, it determines relevant products based on the search query entered. This is done by comparing the search query with the product listing (title, backend keyword, bullet points and product description). If the search query appears in the product listing, then the product is considered relevant for the search query. In the example of the search query "wristwatches for men", there are more than 70,000 products that are considered relevant to the search query. Once the search algorithm has determined which products are relevant, it determines the products with the highest purchase probability in the second step and sorts them accordingly. The purchase probability is determined using a variety of features - for example, existing sales data and performance factors such as shipping costs, product price, ratings, prime shipping and many more.

When a new product goes live, it cannot have any existing sales data (with a unique ASIN) and therefore cannot be displayed in the top organic rankings. Therefore, in addition to optimizing product listings, it is also necessary to generate initial sales in order to send sales and signals to the Amazon algorithm.

2. if my product is not on page 1 for the keyword "x", I will not make any sales

Time and time again, I see Amazon retailers desperately trying to rank on the first organic search results page for a generic search query on Amazon. Instead of focusing on a generic main keyword (e.g. mattress), product differentiation and the different search queries associated with it should be used to be represented among the first organic search result positions for long-tail search queries. As the competition for generic search queries will always be higher than for specific search queries, it will ultimately take longer to achieve a good ranking there.

Specific search queries are also used extensively on Amazon and therefore offer a good opportunity to generate organic visitors and sales. For example, instead of the search term "mattress", you can optimize for the search term "orthopaedic mattress 90×200 h3".

There are 186 results for the search term "mattress orthopaedic 90×200 h3" (see image).

Amazon search results page

For the more general search term "mattress", on the other hand, there are more than 5,000 products competing with each other.

Mattress

For this reason, please don't despair if your product doesn't appear on the first page for generic search terms. Instead, concentrate on specific search queries, because customers already know exactly what they want, which ultimately leads to buyers and sales.

3. top sellers from the range also become top sellers on Amazon

If online retailers sell their products via multiple channels, they also know that the sales volume per product depends on the respective sales channel. Retailers who previously sold exclusively via their own online store and have now added Amazon regularly wonder why the actual top sellers on Amazon do not sell as well as other products in the range. There can be numerous reasons for this, from the intensity of competition to customer search characteristics. For example, when looking after customers, I notice that the volume for personalized products on Google is significantly higher than on Amazon. Just because Amazon is the largest online retailer in Germany does not necessarily mean that people are searching for exactly these products on Amazon. For this reason, a portfolio approach to selling on Amazon is recommended so that retailers do not become too dependent on a few products.

4. people search on Amazon like they do on Google

Another misunderstanding that often occurs when selling on Amazon is the assumption that the same search queries are made on Amazon as on Google, so that no special search queries are made. Amazon keyword research is carried out. However, this is not the case at all: on Amazon, only transaction-oriented search queries are submitted, as the product purchase is imminent. In contrast, three different types of search queries are submitted on Google: 1. Navigation-oriented search queries, 2. Information-oriented search queries and 3. Transaction-oriented search queries. Amazon-specific keyword research is therefore essential in order to sell successfully on the Amazon marketplace.

Example: the most frequent search queries for "Vitamin B" on Amazon vs. Google

Search for Vitamin B on Amazon:

  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin B complex high dose
  • Vitamin b 12 high dose
  • Vitamin b loges
  • etc.

Search queries for Vitamin B on Google:

  • Vitamin B complex
  • Vitamin B foods
  • Vitamin B food
  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • etc.

5. for my own products/brands I always have the Buy Box

A special feature of selling on Amazon is that identical products have to share a product detail page and not each product has a unique detail page as on eBay. The buy box or "add to cart" button is also a special feature of Amazon. New Amazon retailers are often surprised when they start selling why their own products do not have the "Buy Box", but only a reference "On all offers" is displayed. Just because a seller sells a product exclusively does not mean that this seller will receive a Buy Box for this product. In fact, every seller must first convince Amazon that the product and the seller deserve the Buy Box. You can find out which criteria must be met for the Buy Box to appear here. Existing products that are sold over a longer period of time can also lead to a loss of the Buy Box. The Buy Box share per product should therefore be checked regularly.

6. once on the first page, always on the first page

Organic placement on the first page of search results for relevant keywords is immensely important to ensure that your products sell. However, once the first page has been conquered, it often happens that no further optimization measures are carried out because the goal has supposedly been achieved. However, this error in thinking is fatal, as the position must be reasserted on a daily basis. Just because your own product has been on the first page for a long time, it should not be neglected. The following can therefore be said: Reaching the first page is difficult, but staying on the first page in the long term is much more difficult. Therefore, do not rest on your laurels if your product is now on the first page. Advertising campaigns and promotions should not be stopped once you have reached the first page of search results!

7. amazon is so unscrupulous that it copies top-selling products and then sells them itself

It should be no secret that Amazon is currently investing heavily in its own brands (Amazon Basic etc.). In the future, Amazon will continue to use the marketplace data it collects to push new products that are already selling well on the marketplace. However, it always amazes me when retailers or uninvolved persons accuse Amazon of unscrupulousness, as in their eyes it uses the collected data to drive the development of its own products. I like to counter these accusations by asking whether Amazon should do without this data and instead develop products according to its own feelings. Furthermore, this is not an Amazon-specific approach, as retailers have been using the collected sales information to develop and promote their own brands for decades. Every supermarket chain and other retailers already sell private labels that have been developed using sales data. In order to achieve the best possible placement on the supermarket chains' shelves, manufacturers also have to dig deep into their pockets. Amazon's approach is therefore nothing out of the ordinary and is part of everyday retail practice. The only way to establish yourself against private labels in the future is to develop a strong brand with clear differentiation. In principle, anyone can copy product ideas, but even Amazon cannot easily replicate a brand with a clear USP.

8. the listing optimization is completed after the keyword research and the optimization of the text content

Numerous Amazon agencies sell retailers and manufacturers a listing optimization without really taking the time to think about the listing to be optimized. However, general keyword research and the subsequent adaptation of the texts (title etc.) are by no means a comprehensive listing optimization. The optimization of the product listing also includes the design of images, the sales price, the creation of promotions, the generation of reviews and even a selection of different shipping methods and costs. Unfortunately, I often see product listings that are presented as optimized, even though they do not contain any meaningful images. The optimization of product listings for mobile display is also usually completely neglected, even though the majority of visitors have been searching for products via mobile devices for several years. In addition, how the product snippet is displayed in the search results pages should not be neglected. Is all important information included in the title, does the main image match the Amazon style guide and does the product include the Prime logo? I could list endless other points that are also part of listing optimization. However, simply adapting text content based on search queries is no longer enough!

9. when researching products, I only look at the sales of the top sellers

In my opinion, when developing a new Amazon business, too many people only look at the potential turnover per product that is currently being generated on Amazon. However, competition and advertising costs are not taken into account, which in most cases leads to ruin. In most cases, it is impossible (not impossible) to discover a product niche that guarantees high sales without much competition. It is more worthwhile to be in second place in a small niche than only 24th in a niche that promises very high sales, as customers will always go back to established products.

Peter Thiel has also already spoken out in favor of smaller target markets:

"Go after small markets, often markets that are so small that people don't even notice them, they don't think they make sense."

"These very small markets are quite underrated."

"... a minnow in a vast ocean, that's not a good place to be. That means you have tons of competitors and you don't even know who [they] are."

Conclusion:

With this article, I wanted to clarify some misunderstandings about selling on Amazon that I have noticed in my daily work and communication with customers in recent months. Of course, this list is not yet complete, which is why I will continue to add to it regularly in the future.

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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