3 Common Mistakes Most Amazon Sellers Make (and How to Fix Them)

Do you want to stand out in Amazon Search results? Let’s face it, it’s a tough world with stiff competition in every product niche on Amazon.

Let’s agree, that many Amazon sellers are thinking about the following:

  • Are my listings optimized and pricing strategy built somehow better than competitors’?
  • Does another seller buy from me and then complain to Amazon about item quality or delivery?
  • Is there is something I’m missing or haven’t thought of? 

One great thing about these thoughts is that they’re a controllable cause for anxiety. All it takes is a few habits and a system.

I’m talking about optimization of your Amazon business, which is one of the best ways to grow your business.

Whether you’re a FBM, FBA, private labeler, pro, multi-channel, or 7 figure Amazon seller, optimizing parts of your business will give you an edge.

When should you start optimize your business? When your sales are already performing well and you haven’t recently launched, you should optimize. It means you have strong foundations to build upon, and you’ll continue to get incremental improvements in performance.

But don’t trick yourself into optimizing one small sliver of your business and ignoring the others. Once again: it’s habits and a system. And if it’s not the right time for you to perform these additional efforts into your business, put this article away and come back later when you will be ready to build new habits which will bring your business to new heights.

For those who are ready to invest some efforts into their business to get more sales in return, let’s continue.

In this article I’m going to cover common mistakes most Amazon sellers make, how you can fix them, and how you’ll benefit from it. 2 key steps to a useful business optimization are:

  • Understanding your competition
  • Cleaning up your seller account from potential issues which could lead to suspension

Let’s get started!

#1. Most Amazon sellers barely understand their competition

Amazon is not just a search engine. Amazon is the search engine. 55% of product searches start on Amazon. One out of two people who are searching for a product, go to Amazon before they go anywhere else. And most product searches end there.

So if you’re high in search results for these type of things that people might search for, then you can do well.

3 things I learned:

  1. 7 figure Amazon sellers that are making bank are doing it with poorly optimized listings (see your opportunity door swing open there?)
  2. 70% of Amazon’s 2015 Holiday sales were from mobile devices — BUT many sellers’ listings are not geared for mobile (what about yours?)
  3. Amazon should be treated (by us) as a search engine, not a shopping site (it changes your selling approach dramatically)

Our mission here at Bindwise is to help sellers grow by timely delivering better business information you care about.

We work with more than thousand Amazon sellers on most marketplaces. Our customers have more than hundred thousand competitors all together.

So here’s some insights we gained from monitoring what 100,000+ competitors of our customers do:

Bindwise insights © Year 2015/2016

Just take a look at the graph one more time. It shows the number of product price updates that have been made by 100,000+ sellers (note: to show the real picture we have excluded from the graph price changes made by repricers, which doesn’t depict actual human behaviour).

Impressive, uh…? We can clearly see competition increases closer to the Holiday season. Sellers update their product prices more often hoping to gain more sales during the Holiday season.

This is because pricing your items is perhaps the most significant and challenging aspect of the selling process. You want to set good profit margins, yet you need to satisfy the customer. You want to have a longest Buy Box share, yet you need to be aware of the competition.

Bindwise insights ©

You know why so few sellers trust auto repricers? Yes, they are expensive but not only that.

It’s because repricers are evil. Sellers find auto repricers lead to more undercutting and problems on Amazon.

Repricers are a race to the bottom pricing game in most cases. Of course Amazon is happy with low prices, but that’s not true for the sellers.

Sometimes due to the software bugs, repricers could even destroy the seller’s business by setting all prices as low as $0.01.

Sellers like the information repricers provide, but want the option to change prices manually.

Manual repricing gives you the highest level of control and visibility. One can think it also requires the most amount of work, but it actually doesn’t. You don’t need to update price for every item in your inventory daily through the Amazon Seller Central interface.

So how on earth are you supposed to know when to update a product price?

I’ll give you an example from Bindwise. The biggest thing I find myself beating into the heads of sellers who I chat with is this idea that if you’re optimizing prices, listings, or seller rating at the right time, you’re going to sell a lot. So we built this tool, because it gives you instant information about what’s happening on Amazon; it gives you just the information at the right time which directly influence your sales.

Another competitor on Amazon is Amazon.

The main concern among Amazon sellers is that Amazon will take away your seller privileges and suspend your store. This idea is supported not only by feedback we’re getting from sellers, but also by the huge amount of content and advice about suspension prevention and consultants specializing in helping sellers get their stores reinstated.

Does another seller buy from you and then complain to Amazon about item quality or delivery? Does it happen a lot around certain products? Here at Bindwise we care of different sorts of aspects to do with the sellers’ business so that you can remain organized, focused, and can concentrate on the larger objective of growing your business.

#2. Sellers don’t properly take care of their feedback score

Of the hundreds of our customers I’ve spoken with, they all have a variation of this problem: negative feedback spoils the ratings you need to be at the top. That’s where your seller account optimization comes in — remove negative feedback, hence increase your buy box share time and consequently sales.

Sounds too simple?

Previously, there was this Seller Rating metric, that was an overall score of customer experience related to each seller. It has recently been removed from all Seller Central accounts. It did have a high impact on the Buy Box though, but is no longer relevant.

However, your most recent feedback plays the greatest effect on the Buy Box, thus your sales. We’ve seen how sellers underestimate their feedback score and its influence on your sales.

Although, recently this mental model has changed, at least for marketplace sellers we work with. They brought to their business life a new winning habit of negative feedback removal.

Bindwise insights ©

Sometimes we observe that it’s even faster.

Why it does it pay off for you? Simply, because during such a short time when you have negative feedback Amazon can’t “punish” you.

During a short time period while you have negative feedback, Amazon can’t lower your products in the search results.

Remember Amazon is the search engine, which actually means it’s a huge piece of software. It runs its “punishment” software in batches every N minutes. Meaning, the ideal option is to remove negative feedback fast, so Amazon cannot start ranking your products lower in its search results.

Treat negative feedback as a buyer’s attempt to talk with you.

Prior to a purchase from you, probably one asked a specific question about your product. The buyer started a conversation. You both wrote a couple of emails. Then one bought from you.

Treat negative feedback from the buyer in the same way. It’s an attempt to talk with you. Don’t think about it as something firm. Indeed, you can change it relatively easy. Just be immediate.

So how do you achieve effective negative feedback removal?

One key aspect to successfully manage negative feedback removal is timely action from you.

Just like waiting in line at a cashier might drive you crazy, your buyers feel the same while waiting for your response to negative feedback. It might pass 1, 3, 7, 30 days when you notice and react on feedback, if at all.

So a quick response just after a buyer wrote you negative feedback, and while the buyer is in front of a computer, proved to be the most effective time.

Because reacting so quickly makes you look professional and makes your feel buyers that you care about them.

Catch your buyer just after one wrote you an unfavorable rating, and you will be fascinated how easily your negative feedback might be removed.

Here are 2 more place where sellers overlook their feedback score.

Bindwise insights ©

We scan thousands of negative feedback of our sellers monthly.

We’ve noticed a useful fact:

Most negative feedback is written as a product review, which is inappropriate way of writing feedback according to Amazon TOS. Meaning, Amazon will definitely remove it.

Also, FBA sellers have rights to remove feedback for an order fulfilled by Amazon.

What about you? How often do you remove these?

#3. Sellers lose impressive amounts of sales with suppressed listings

I can’t think of a single way to spend a couple of minutes daily (no more) for sellers that has more impact than to re-enable your suppressed listings. Honestly.

It’s the “Job-to-be-Done“!

Bindwise insights ©

Again: Amazon is the search engine. The impact of a suppressed listing is that it will no longer show up on the search results in Amazon and your sales on that listing will be dropped to zero.

If you’re selling without 10, 20, … listings each day (because they are suppressed by Amazon), you run the risk not to use your full selling potential.

Usually “defects” why your listings get suppressed are simple and can be fixed relatively easy. For example, your title might sound too promotional. Or an image has non-white background.

The reason why Amazon takes away your listings from search results is because it cares about customers and sales. Amazon wants to protect the buying experience and ensure listings that don’t meet its quality expectations are not shown to buyers.

To fix your suppressed listings:

  1. In the Seller Central, click the Inventory tab and select Manage Inventory.
  2. Select Suppressed in the top navigation pane. If you have suppressed listings, you will see “Suppressed” in the top navigation pane. If you do not have any suppressed listings, you will not see this option.
  3. Select a viewing option, such as All Suppressed Listings, or only a specific type of suppressed listing, such as Image Missing.
  4. Select a listing and click the Edit button, and then select Edit (top option) or Manage images.
  5. On the Amazon Product Summary page, select a tab with an alert indicator. Suppressed listings are indicated by a red exclamation point. You may also see Quality alerts, which are indicated by a yellow triangle.
  6. After you have resolved all alerts for a listing, click Save and finish.

Don’t bookmark this post, just do it

Never stop learning.

Always try to be a step ahead of your competitors. Try to literally consume every article related to selling online and take notes. Because of this, you’ll have extreme confidence in yourself and know that all you have to do is complete each critical step and implement the tips and tricks we’re showing you in our articles to dominate your competition right out of the gate.

Remember: system and habits are keys for constantly growing your online sales.