TAS 309 (Hot Seat) Sales and Keyword Ranking Has Dropped…What Do I DO?

When you’ve got an established product on Amazon and your sales and search ranking suddenly go down, what happened? On this hot seat episode, Scott and Chris are chatting about a hot seat product where both those rankings have dropped 20% since last year. That’s a significant loss of revenue and the seller wants to fix the problem! You can’t blame him – and Scott and Chris have some great insights into why it’s happening and how the problem could be addressed. It’s all on this episode.

If Amazon asks you to be THEIR vendor, should you jump at the chance?

The hot seat participant in today’s episode of the podcast has an established wholesale brand that he’s been selling on Amazon and fulfilling himself (through his company). Amazon has seen his success and has approached him about being a vendor for them – meaning he’d sell directly to Amazon and they would purchase at a wholesale rate. There are all kinds of pluses to doing that, but there are also some cons you want to be aware of. The guys go over the pros and cons in depth on this episode.

When your private label sales drop by 20% – what’s the problem and how do you fix it?

Anytime a product that has been successfully selling drops in sales by 20%, you should be concerned. That’s what happened to this episode’s “hot seat” participant and he’s asking Scott and Chris to help him figure out what changed. You’ll hear the guys talk about all kinds of possibilities and pinpoint one thing in particular that is the most likely culprit. It’s a great episode that addresses a number of things so be sure you make the time to listen.

Is being eligible for Amazon Prime an important part of getting sales?

There’s no question that private label sellers who connect with the Amazon Prime feature by fulfilling through Amazon are at a HUGE advantage. Not only does it appear more professional, but anyone who has Amazon Prime can order your products and receive them with free shipping and free returns if they have issues with the product. That means there is a lot more motivation for them to choose your product over another. Find out how this seller is making the decision about getting listed with FBA, on this episode.

How do you test keywords to see what is best for your products?

If you are trying to optimize your product listing for the best keywords (and you should) then you’ll want to systematically test all the possible keywords for your product to ensure that you’re using the actual keywords and phrases buyers are using to find products like yours. How do you do that? You have to use the Amazon PPC (pay per click) promotions to drill down into what buyers are actually using to find your products. That’s the only way, and it does cost some money, but if you do it right it will yield great results. How do you do it right? Scott and Chris cover that on this episode.

OUTLINE OF THIS EPISODE OF THE AMAZING SELLER

  • [0:03] Scott’s introduction to this episode of the podcast!
  • [3:42] The situation that’s on the hot seat today!
  • [5:20] Pros and Cons of Amazon approaching you to be THEIR vendor.
  • [10:50] Sales have dropped 20% and search rank has dropped. Not sure what happened.
  • [13:20] The advantage of fulfilling via Amazon Prime – and how it impacts rankings.
  • [17:51] How can keywords be improved on this product – and can we use sponsored ads to help?
  • [28:30] The power of having a seasoned seller account – and getting it via seller feedback.
  • [34:36] Final summary of action points for this seller.

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TRANSCRIPT TAS 309

TAS 309: (Hot Seat) Sales and Keyword Ranking Has Dropped…What Do I DO?

[INTRODUCTION]

[00:00:03] Scott: Well hey, hey what’s up everyone! Welcome back to another episode of The Amazing Seller Podcast. This is episode number 309 and today I'm excited because we are going to be talking about another business that someone asked us to look at. It's a hot seat session…

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…we're going to call this. I got my good friend Chris Shaffer. What’s going on Chris? How you doing man?

[00:00:23] Chris: Not too much man. How are you doing?

[00:00:25] Scott: I'm doing well. I'm doing well. It's our first hot seat since we being back from the holidays and stuff. It’s fun. We've been busy doing our own things, putting out some fires in our own businesses. That's what you said before we got on here. You're like, “Yeah just been putting out some fires. That's what I've been doing.”

[00:00:43] Chris: Just putting out fires. You got to firefight a little bit. Otherwise what's the fun?

[00:00:47] Scott: Yeah and for anyone that's wondering for the fires, well, meaning like answering emails and people needing some things or customers or whatever or maybe someone that you're working with it's just something you have to deal with. That's why you don’t really open your emails up until you got that one or two things done in the beginning of the day. That's at least my rule because if not I'll be deep diving into some emails and some communications and then we get off track and we don't want to do that. So firefighting.

[00:01:15] Chris: Nothing actually was on fire.

[00:01:18] Scott: Nothing was actually on fire but it feels like fires to a lot of people like, “Oh my gosh, what's going to happen? This thing is going to blow up or this isn't working.” Which is what we're going to talk about today a little bit. We’re going to be I guess not putting out a fire but helping to possibly put out a fire and I wouldn't call it a fire. It's just something that I think with all our businesses, there's going to be ups, there's going to be downs, there's going to be changes. It was funny. I was interviewing a racing guest and he said to me like, every six months he's adapting to the changes or to the ups and the downs because you're always having these things change and it's just business.

Especially if you're just selling on one platform you're really trying to pay attention or closer attention to that because that's your life blood. That's your one channel and that's why we talked about we don't that to be our only channel. We want to build things around that which we're not going to go into that right now. You guys heard us talk about that quite a bit but we do want to pay attention to this stuff and Gary actually emailed me and said, “Hey, I've got this issue. I've been selling for a little while and I'd love your input on that.” I see that there was a lot of different things that we could talk about and that's why I wanted to turn this into a hot seat because I think that people will get value out of us brainstorming back and forth of what we think is happening.

Again, we're guessing here in a sense but we're also looking at other things in the past that might have made these certain things happen plus give some advice to maybe get things moving or just analyze it and give a third party look at it. Chris, with all that being said I should probably mention the show notes. If anyone wants to grab the transcripts or the show notes to this episode it will be 309 so again theamazingseller.com/309. Usually after we get done with these people always email me and say, “Scott that was awesome, I love the hot seats.” So if you have something that you think would make a great hot seat you're more than welcome to submit it.

[00:03:21] Scott: You can send it to me Scott@theamazingseller.com. I cannot promise that I will do it for everyone because we can't. There's just not enough hours in the day but definitely send them in and if I can help you I will and if at least I can maybe guide you with some resources or something that will help your situation. So Chris, with that mouthful that I just said, can you may be read a little bit of the question that came through from Gary.

[00:03:46] Chris: Absolutely. Gary let us know, he said, “I have a niche business and website. We sell on our own website. We have a local warehouse store here,” where he is. “We sell on Amazon and eBay. We started a three months ago and sold very little. We also wholesale to the smaller retailers all over the world. I was actually approached by Amazon three years ago to sell on their marketplace as they saw my products as an under addressed niche on their site. As you know, they want to control the entire world,” which is not too far from the truth. “We've grown consistently from the last three years and we’re averaging about 25 to 30 orders per day on Amazon and about 2 products per order.

Not exactly gang busters,” although I would argue Gary that that's pretty darn good for a lot of people. “After hearing you, I think I now realize that we're below our full potential. All of our orders are shipped from our office abroad. Amazon contacted me about a year ago about selling FBA. They insisted that this is the best way to succeed. We check each product individually in our warehouse before shipping anything for Amazon, which we don't do for our other orders for things like eBay as to my obsession with keeping our stellar record with Amazon,” so props on that. “Due to this I was reluctant to move from the fulfill by merchant marketplace to FBA. After setting out for about a half and a year now, we're sending our first box of ten of our best sellers to FBA,” and as of our recording of this they are actually in stock based on what you and I can see.

[00:05:16] Scott: Okay, let's just stop there for one second because some people may not understand what Amazon is doing in what they proposed. Maybe you can break that down a little bit and we can talk about like the pros and the cons to that and dig in a little bit there because some people be like, “Oh my gosh, Amazon wants to sell my stuff exclusively. That'd be awesome.” Let's talk a little bit about that. What's your thoughts on that?

[00:05:40] Chris: There is two things that sounds like Amazon has approached Gary about in the past. One is becoming a vendor to Amazon. So wholesaling to Amazon which is both good and bad and we have some friends like our buddy Nick Gamble who was approached to do this. In his case it actually is going to make sense because he can sell it to them for a pretty darn good price. A lot of cases it doesn't make sense because you're going to lose a lot of profit. It depends and I know you love when I say that but it does depend on the opportunity. For somebody like Gary it might not be a total loss because he does already does have wholesale relationships so he knows his numbers there.

But if you're selling 20 to 30 day on Amazon and you think you can tweak it it's still worth going after yourself to keep that extra margin. If it's not sucking up tons of your day and tons of your capital, then it's worth doing yourself in my opinion. For me it would always be worth at least trying yourself first. If you have existing products that you could wholesale to Amazon, I would still at least try selling it yourself. First to see what you can get out of it and then you know what you're losing. Does that make sense?

[00:06:54] Scott: Yeah, it makes total sense because again it's a volume deal. If you can get more volume because Amazon's controlling it and pushing the product for you and all you have to do is just supply them with the product then that's a great deal. But in same breath, if you want to play around with price or if you want to increase your margins, you're not going to really be able to do that because you're not going to be able to say, “Hey Amazon. You know what, by the way I want to start charging you an extra dollar or two per unit. Just because I want to make more money.”

[00:07:23] Chris: They’ll go find it somewhere else.

[00:07:24] Scott: Yeah, exactly. So that's what you have to I guess come to terms with. Then as far as like what I'm seeing here is that Gary has already been selling this wholesale to other places so again like you said he knows what his margins are, what he's comfortable with wholesale, with the wholesale, it can then sell it for. Again you're selling it to someone else to then again make a profit on it and Amazon is all about even small margins they are okay with because they are going to do tons and tons of volume.

I personal would just be careful with that but if the numbers make sense then go for it but you also have to understand that they are going to have the control now and you're just going to have to be like, “Okay, I'm going to sell two for this price and that's what it's going to be and you're not going to be able to negotiate that.” I don't know 100% if you can negotiate that after 12 months or if there's a certain time frame that you can do that. I've never done it so I don't know. I would think that you could but again like you said Chris, at that point in time they could just go, “We’ll just go make it over somewhere else and we'll just bypass you.”

[00:08:24] Chris: Right. We now know exactly how much this product sells. We'll make it ourselves. Which is one of the concerns that a lot of people have with Amazon. Amazon doesn't generally do but they could. That's always a possibility. So long story short, wholesale is a completely different business model. Somebody like Gary is already doing it so it might not be a terrible opportunity for him if you were to re-approach Amazon about it. But you also are selling 25 to 30 a day at retail which means you're making twice as much. As long as you can still get the same volume of products in to me it's worth selling it yourself because that's probably about what Amazon is going to sell doing the same level of stuff that you're doing. It's easier for you to scale that it is for Amazon because Amazon isn't focused on your particular listing if they are the vendor for your product.

[00:09:14] Scott: That's exactly what I was going to say. They are not sitting up at night thinking to themselves how they can sell your product more. They are just going to put it into their ecosystem and let it do its thing and that's fine but in the same breath it's not their baby. It's not their thing. Especially if you want control of all that stuff I just say it’s got to make sense. It really has to make sense and it sounds like because you are so niche, to me it's like you have carved out this nice little niche that you can be the specialty and it sounds like you can be the leader in this market place so I like that.

I like that a lot especially if we're talking about list building like we talked about the past and there's a lot of cool things that you can probably do to get awareness of your products and there's definitely, to me there's definitely a mission statement in a sense behind your brand, which again we're not going to go into that but I do see that. I see that as being someone that wants this type of thing, just to throw it out there, organic. Like if you were an organic foods person like you're going to want to go after the person that is standing behind the organic food trend. That's at least my perspective on that Chris.

[00:10:34] Chris: I think that's great and just seeing a little bit of what Gary is selling I think there’s absolutely a fantastic market for this stuff and for list building specifically around this. That's an interesting approach. Gary had a couple of questions that he asked Scott so let's dive into question one here. He says, “Now for the first question, our sales have dropped sharply since about two months ago. We're averaging about 20% month over month gains,” which is really good, “Our sales dropped 20% below last year in late October and have stayed there.” Not only did he not get his gain but it went below where he was selling at that point last year.

“We've maintained high seller ratings just not sure what happened. I now see random searches for our best keywords that we no longer have six products on the first page.” Which by the way six products on the first page is killer if you have that luxury, “including many first and second row positions, we have two and they only lower row.” So he went from six to two which means he dropped four products off the first page which to me is part of probably the main reason that sales dropped so much. “Every item that ranks ahead of us is being fulfilled via Amazon and is Prime eligible. Would this be the reason that we've dropped so sharply?

Was there a change in Amazon's policies?” If you guys didn't catch it when I was reading through the big chunk earlier, Gary is manufacture fulfilling all of these products. He's fulfilling them from Abroad actually. It takes couple of days, people are paying for the shipping in addition what they are paying for the product. He wants to know, should he be using FBA? And after he formulated this question he did let us know that they are sending in some of their best sellers so that they are taking advantage of FBA. There wasn't necessarily a change in Amazon's policy. They maybe just be factoring in higher. Generally when you see a ranking drop like this, it's because the other people are just selling more.

[00:12:35] Chris: Now being Prime eligible obviously is a big portion of that because to me I tend to see a 15 to 20% bump for our Prime eligible product versus FPM products. That just tends to be the way it works. The reason for that is people like me as a buyer I filter for Prime eligible products. I don't buy FBM products.

[00:12:57] Scott: A lot of people, a lot of people do. My wife's cousin, I was just talking to her the other day, just about Amazon about buying and stuff and I always like to listen to people’s buying patterns and what they do and she's like, “I only search for Prime. That's all I search for.” That's going to become even more so if you aren’t Prime eligible, you're not even showing up in the search.

[00:13:19] Chris: Right. There's a little box along the left hand side that says, “Show me prime eligible products,” basically. I don't know basically what it says. I think it just says, yeah it says Prime.

[00:13:28] Scott: Just says Prime with the Prime logo under there. I might even just say under that, free shipping and then another one could be something else that's filtered by that search. But yeah, it's usually prime and if there's no one that's Prime, it's not going to be there so you can't even search by that but it's generally Prime and then it will have free shipping. I don’t know if you wanted to find someone that built the shipping into their price but then isn't Prime. It's funny, Chris before we jump in, I was actually on with our good friend Dom the other night, we were doing a little retail arb stuff.

For those of you that don't know we are playing around with that business model a little bit. My daughter actually is playing around with it. She was here over the holidays and she's in transition with the move that she's going to be doing here in the next few months. Her fiancé is in the navy and stuff and her business is client based so she was like, “I’m just trying to find something part time.” I’m like, “You should do retail arb.” I go, “It wasn't for me because I still haven’t the time but for you it's a great opportunity.”

Anyway, long story short is we were going through this as far as finding sellers that were selling a product that's fulfilled by merchant and not fulfilled by Amazon or Prime. So because of that that gave you an advantage so you would look for that in your criteria. The same thing here. Whether you're retail arb or you're selling your own private label product, if you're Prime, that's going to give you an advantage because people will search by that. Even though there might be 20 people selling the same thing, if you are the one that has Prime and you have decent reviews obviously, then you are going to get the sale. It’s that simple. Just wanted to throw that little caveat out there.

[00:15:06] Chris: Yeah, so Gary basically wants to know everybody before him sells Prime, is this the reason we may have dropped so sharply. I would say it's definitely a part of the reason because the reason you're dropping in ranking and for those of you guys that don't know the primary ranking factor on Amazon seems to be sales. If someone else is selling more than you, they are going to move up and as a result, we can't both be number one so someone has to move down and that's going to be you if you’re not selling as many. It's related specifically to each search term. If there's somebody selling more than you are on each individual search term, you're going to move down, they are going to move up. Prime is definitely a contributing factor to that so Gary I think you're headed in the right direction there, by making your top sellers Prime eligible.

The other thing that I would take a look at is I would take a look and it's just going back to basics. We all think, and I saw actually in the PLC yesterday as well, somebody said, “I know my title isn’t the problem, I know the keywords aren't the problem.” The answer is you don't until you test it. We think we know a lot until we test it. That's the reason that I’m a fan of the test everything approach. We may think we have the ultimate listing but until we split test it we don't know. Even the variation of say the title, the one the last split testing that got us more sales, that's not necessarily the best title for us. There may be another keyword or another phrase that ends up getting us more sales.

We might drop for a garlic press but if we rank higher for stainless steel garlic press we may end up getting more sales even though it's a longer form search term. Until we test it we don't know. The same thing applies to the back end keywords and your search terms in the back end there. I would say, just looking at your titles there may be a better variation of those keywords and of those titles that you can use to get to the broader market.

[00:17:08] Chris: Now, Gary has a niche product inside of a very, very big market but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t also appeal to some of the people in the bigger market. They are not only looking for the other variations of this product. They may be interested in Gary's product even if they are not Gary's ideal customer. If we can get it in front of them they are going to buy it. Now, obviously, we still want to market to our ideal customer but you're going to pick up some additional sales from those people who go, “Oh, that's cool.” If you can find some of those broader keywords they may actually be more beneficial to you.

[00:17:46] Scott: Right but again going back to you won't know until you try.

[00:17:49] Chris: You won't know until you try is the answer there.

[00:17:52] Scott: Yeah. Question two is what you were just talking about. Why don't you go through that really quickly because it is related to keywords but I think it makes sense even using the example that he gave us. I think we can read that particular example. Chris if you want to do that and then we can dig into that because it's more about sponsored ads and just keywords in general in the listing.

[00:18:12] Chris: “Secondly, I want to improve our keywords. We’re currently using many of them including targeting some of our demographics rather than our products.” A demographic example might be something like a Christian or a Republican, for example. “Should we just focus on Keywords directly on the specific product with many long tail variations and not the more general terms like the product term itself,” so garlic press. “We have been running some sponsored ads and we’ll now be doing a lot more of them after hearing your podcast.

But most of the conversions we're getting are for our brand name and not for the actual product description as one may guess. Any thoughts here?” First Gary, I would say take a look at the search terms report and not at the keyword report. Just double check that you're not making an assumption there on what the keyword is. The search term is I guess would be the correct term there Scott on what the actual customer search term is. Because just looking at the brand name it may be the trigger for what someone is searching for. Does that make sense Scott?

[00:19:18] Scott: Yeah, it totally does and maybe we can just dig a little bit into that and anyone listening right now might be starting to get a little confused about the pay-per-click and how that works.

[00:19:26] Chris: It's always worth a recap because it's something that even I catch myself doing sometimes. When you run a PPC campaign, a lot of people just look in the backend dashboard and all that you see in the backend dashboard is the keyword so Amazon has keywords and they have search terms. Search terms are what customers actually type in when your ad shows up and keywords are the words or phrases that trigger your ad to show up. So if you have garlic press as a keyword, people can type in bench press and in broad match you might still show up for that but garlic press shouldn't get credit for that sale. Bench press should.

Amazon doesn't show you that in the back end. You have to download the search terms report and look at the search terms’ column. What I do is I download that search terms' report and I just delete the keyword column because I don't care what triggered it. I just care what showed up. So just double check that Gary, you may already be doing that. I just always like to throw out there as a disclaimer because looking at your brand name and then your product titles, either one of those could be the case so make sure you're not making the assumption based on the brand name. If those are brand driven searches, that's fantastic. That's really cool. Just keep in mind that it may not be if you're looking at the keywords instead of the search terms.

In addition to that I would say Gary lump that up and I would also take a look at the ones, he said most of the conversions are coming from the brand name. Take a look at the conversions that aren’t the brand name and see what is triggering those and see if you can start to incorporate some of those words into your back end search terms and into some of your other types of PPC campaigns like your phrase or your exact match. If you guys are a little confused about what we're talking about there, I believe it's theamazingseller.com/119 is the episode you're going to want to look at for that. We talk about all of the different match types and some of the more advanced PPC stuff in there as well.

[00:21:19] Scott: Yeah, just digging a little bit deeper into that though just for people and for Gary listening, once you start to run the campaign and I'm assuming it was in a broad match. So in the broad match it's like you said, that's just the trigger word, that's not necessarily the one that they search for although it could be. But most of the time it's not. It's an extension of that or it's got an ad on in the front or the back. But then what you can do is you can strip them out and put them into another campaign and then you can either run them broad again or you can then just go into a phrase match and that's going to be a little bit more specific but the other thing that you might want to do is to take the keywords that are getting impressions, that are getting clicks and obviously that are getting sales and then incorporate them in your listing somewhere.

Whether that's in the front end or the back end so this way here you can start to organically show up for them as well. Now you are going to get both ways that you're going to be able to show up for these keywords. Then that can give you more traffic because it sounds like people that are in your market if they see what you have they love it. So I think it's just like you said Chris, being a little bit more specific with who you're targeting but then broadening that net out.

Now again, going back to if you're doing like Christians or Republicans or something like that that's fine and all but if you just throw a random ad up in front of those people they might not be interested in what you have. It's just because that's so broad. You'd want to narrow that down and know that people that are in your niche so then you'd try to find one other word or one other item that could allow you to then drill into that specific part of your niche. Does that make sense Chris?

[00:22:57] Chris: Right. Rather than targeting maybe Christians it would be Baptists or Catholics. And rather than targeting Republicans it might be conservatives or tea party republicans. It's just broadening or narrowing I guess would be the word that I'm looking for there. Narrowing that niche down just a little bit so that it calls out to them but broadening out the basis, well I understand where you are going. Gary, long story short yes I would be scaling those sponsored ads as much as you can and he did some screen shorts and it looks like he does need to do some keyword trimming.

Some of those campaigns it looks like they are performing really well and some of those are performing not so well at kind of 140%, 150% average cost of sale. It looks like there are some keywords in there, some search terms Gary that are performing really well for you. Take a look at those. The ones that aren't, I would probably take out. They may still be worth putting into the back end of your listing because you're clearly making sales on those and that's why I think a lot of people get confused because Scott we get the question all the time like, “Where do I get these keywords or these search terms to fill out the search terms or how do I test different search terms? How do I pick the search terms that I want?”

The answer is you use your sponsored ads to inform that decision because the only way you can use actual information. Even if it's costing you… Even if a search term is giving you 150% ACOS that doesn't mean you don't want to rank for that. In fact you may really want to rank for that and the reason that it’s costing you so much to make a sale there is because it's a $5 per click word or phrase. To me that's definitely something. If everybody else is willing to pay $5 to run an ad on that, then I definitely want to rank for that organically so I'm going to put that into my back end search terms. I might even put that in my title just to see what happens.

[00:24:41] Scott: Yeah, again it doesn't hurt and if it makes sense that that's who you're calling out then put it in there. Obviously if it's something that's random that you don't want in your title then you'd put that either on bullet or put it in your back end. Again you want to put it somewhere it's going to be able to be found by Amazon. Again they are scraping your listing and that's telling them what your listing is about. Then if you start getting searches and then sales through those keywords that's going to help you rank for those keywords. It all works hand to hand. It sounds like there's definitely room for improvement. There definitely sounds like there's room for improvement.

If you're already doing this and you're willing to spend a little bit of time on just this part of it, on just the pay-per-click and the sponsored ads stuff, that should improve your sales through pay-per-click but then also should help you rank for other keywords. Now, as far as the first question going back to how come my rankings have slipped, well it could be less sales because maybe you have competition now, maybe they are getting more sales or it could be because they are fulfilling it by Amazon and you're fulfilling it by merchant so now all of a sudden Amazon is going to show that filter result because that's what they are searching for and then you're not there and you’re not found as easily as before. So by you sending in maybe ten of your best items because I get this question a lot, “I've got 100 SKUs. What do I do? Do I send them all in?

What if they all don’t sell?” Pick your top ten, top five whatever and start from there and then start to go through that process and then pick another one and add it and then slowly ramp that up. I think definitely doing what we talked about in question one as far as looking and seeing how many are fulfilled by Amazon that you're allowing them to fulfill that's going to also allow you to be more visible when they start to filter down. I say “they”, the people that are searching when they start to filter down their search results so that will help you. That's question one and two answered. Let's move on to question three Chris.

[00:26:35] Chris: Question three is about follow up emails. Which is something we've been getting asked a lot about recently. He says, “With Salesbacker do you always request in your initial emails that the customers leave a review? Then if you get a bad one can you get it kicked off for having a product review in it?” I guess what he's asking there is do you always ask for seller feedback and then ask for a review and the answer is yes. I do that. Scott I believe you do that as well for the most part.

The main reason you do that guys is one, seller feedback is huge. At least in my opinion Scott I think you feel the same way, I know Dom feels the same way because he's noticed a major boost since he started asking for feedback because Amazon just perceives you as an authority then. It's like getting a link to your website. Google sees it as an authority. Amazon doesn't really have a way of gauging you as an individual other than seller feedback. So they know that if you get lots of good seller feedback that you're probably going to be reliable so that they can rely on you on the back end.

They are probably willing to rank you a little bit better and in my playing around with it I've noticed that, maybe purely anecdotal but to me it's purely worth it. Plus, the other thing with that, the thing that a lot of people miss out on even if that doesn't exist, seller feedback does play a role in things like velocity reviews and how soon Amazon will suspend your account if someone marks it not as ‘product  not as advertised.’ If they do a return and they pick the wrong return option. A lot of new sellers make the mistake of not asking for that seller feedback and then if one person marks the product as ‘not as advertised’ when they pick it as a return because they don't want to pay for return shipping then their product listing gets suspended because you're the only seller on it. If you will have a reliable seller history, Amazon's less likely to do that.

[00:28:24] Scott: I want to dig into that just a little bit because I think people gloss over the seller feedback. I think that that's important for your overall account. Very important and I know Dom does too who's a very seasoned seller and I just know personally, just even common sense wise tells me that if you're launching a product, a new product and you are brand new and I'm launching one and I've got a seasoned account that has 500 feedback and I've got a 4.9 star rating and all that, I if I launch the same exact product, we probably do the same optimization I believe that I will rank quicker than you. That's just my thoughts.

[00:29:09] Chris: At least a start.

[00:29:11] Scott: At least a start. Again guys, remember if we start there, if we have a good product it's going to start selling and then we can stay there but the other thing that I would say is, and it's funny we were just talking about this the other night, myself and Dom about the retail arb stuff because he was like we're talking about who wins the buy box. Well, in some circumstances if you have a brand new account and you're just starting to retail arb and you have a certain toy that you're going to sell and you've got a seasoned retail arber that has the same toy even though you might have a lower price, that new seller the one that's been selling and the one that's proven to sell in that category and has had a good rating will get the buy box quicker than you.

It's just, again they want to make sure that the customer is getting the best seller and by you having a good seller rating is going to allow you to do that. So there's something with having a seasoned account. I think that even if you had a seasoned account and you are only selling a small volume, you could probably turn around. Chris I'm just throwing this out there. You could probably sell that account because it's seasoned, because it’s got authority and it's got a track record with 1,000 feedback. It's like buying a domain name that's ten years old even though it was sitting there dormant for ten years. Again, going down a little bit of a rabbit hole there but just to let people know that people they look over the feedback and the importance of it.

I think it's really important. What we do is still will send out the first email, make sure that everything is cool, we don't even ask for anything in that email and then the second email would be like,  “Hey, do us a favor. Head over to Amazon and let them know how we did for you. We would love to hear thoughts.” Or something like that, click here and then they go over to your feedback and then this way here again I want to totally put this out  here Chris, do not say, “If you think we did a great job and you're going to give us a five star review head over here, or feedback head over here.” Don't do that.

[00:31:10] Scott: They don't want that. We don't want you to do that. Just say, “Hey, give me your honest feedback. That's what we want. We want to make sure that we're doing good by you.” Just don't do that. Some people have asked me about that. They are like, “Scott I get inserts in products that I've purchased and they say, ‘If you're going to leave us a five star go here. If you're going to leave us anything less than five star, email me.” Don't do that. But yeah, if they leave a product review on the feedback, it's still works that way.

Now, I don't know that that will always work like that but right now they do not want reviews of a product on the seller feedback. If you by chance you happen to get a negative review on a product in a feedback you can submit that still and then they'll remove that because they don't want that as a product review. Product reviews are for the product in the review area not for your seller feedback. Seller feedback is how did you do as a seller?

[00:32:00] Chris: Right and to me the leaving negative product review there is an added bonus. The real reason that I'm asking for seller feedback is I want my account to get that credit. Then if I can also get a product review out of that, everybody gets fixated on the reviews when Amazon made that change a couple of months ago where you couldn't give away product in exchange for reviews anymore. Everybody said, “How do I get more reviews? The sky is falling.” To me review are always an additional benefit.

The main benefit of doing that is you get that seller feedback and then you can reach back out to that customer and say, “Hey, I’m glad you enjoyed that. Would you mind leaving me a review?” It gives you a little bit of a gate and it's just an added bonus that you also get that review. Now, if you want to ramp that up and there's some people, I think Jamie and Allen I believe have both done this. Guys yell at me if you haven't, but when they are first selling a new product they just ask for the review and they are okay with getting a couple of negatives.

[00:32:57] Scott: And Chris Guthrie says the same thing. He's got a campaign built into Salesbacker that allows you to go after the review then the feedback and then vice versa.

[00:33:07] Chris: It shows that's up to you guys and I don't like doing that because I'd rather have that additional check step in there. That's just me. If I was launching a massively competitive product I may change my tune on that because I feel like I need more reviews to be competitive.

[00:33:28] Scott: I think you have to look at your product, your market, how competitive it is and you may. It's like you said Chris. If I was going into competitive space I may do that. I may still do that in the future if I'm like okay, I want to get more reviews I'm going to have a lightning deal come up or something so during that lightning deal time I'm going to have 150 new sales. I'm going to go ahead and try to turn that into a review through that process now because I'm going to just switch it. I'm going to make it where I'm going to ask for the review first before the feedback or vice versa. You can play around with and again in Salesbacker you can totally just with the click of a button you can change all that. It’s just literally super easy. You guys know that I'm a big supporter of Salesbacker, I have been for a while.

Chris Guthrie is a great guy. It's a great tool. If you guys want more information on that you can always head over to the resources page theamazingseller.com/resources and check that out. I believe he's even still got a 60 day trial with no credit card which is crazy. All right, Chris let's wrap this up. We've been yacking here for over 30 minutes and I know that we like to keep these to about 30 minutes. So let's wrap this up. What's your final thoughts for Gary?

[00:34:36] Chris: Long story short Gary, it sounds like you are on the right track but that you may just need to do some tweaking. It tends to happen that things will change in our markets especially if we are not very active about doing things like split testing. So my suggestion would be take a look at that search terms report first. See what's working for you in the sponsored ads, that pay-per-click and then start to apply some of those lessons. The other thing as always and Scott this is something you and I mentioned but didn't really talk about, just from a conversion perspective you may want to look at the photos in your listing.

They are fairly generic looking. It doesn't really sell the product to me so you may be able to get a conversion rate boost that way as well. Take a look at the keywords, the search terms that you are converting for and make sure that you are applying those both in your title, you back end search terms and make sure you're taking advantage of all those in your sponsored ads. Make sure you're taking full advantage of Amazon FBA for any product that you know will move through here and you have enough data at this point I believe to know what you're moving and what you're not. So definitely take advantage of that and I think you'll start to see your sales tick back up.

[00:35:47] Scott: I love it. It's really cool to see that Gary is at the point now where it's really about tweaking. He's got products, that's not a problem. He already knows his market. That's already done. He's already proven that the market buys even on Amazon and off of Amazon. So there's a lot of different things you can do here. We've outlined them. You probably want to go back and listen to this again or download the transcripts or the show notes but there's always stuff that you can do but you really, you're through that initial stage of like what am I going to launch? What market? That's already established and you've already proven that it sells on Amazon.

Now we just have to tweak that. Maybe like Chris said, pump your conversions. Even though you might be getting 100 visitors a day, if you can take that from a 10% conversion to a 15% conversion, that's five extra sales a day which is crazy. Just look at all of these little things and these little tweaks and if you do that you are going to start to see more growth. Then from there just continually add in those other SKUs that you're starting to slowly do FBA versus FBM. But Chris, this has been fun. I didn’t really know where this was going to go when we first opened up Gary's email and as always we dug through it a little bit. We trudged through the dirt and the mud and we got through it. I think that this is going to be pretty valuable. I want to thank you again Chris.

Let's go ahead and remind people the show notes will be found at theamazingseller.com/309. Again that's theamazingseller.com/309. I will remind you if you guys are brand new and you're listening to this and you're like okay guys, this stuff is just a little bit more advanced. I just want to get more started, Chris and I do workshops where we actually get on, we do actually two different workshops. One of them is especially for people just getting started. The five phases to launching your product and then we also do product research one as well and we are starting to run one now where we're actually going through he process of building external lists so you can launch products easier whether you have an established business or not.

[00:37:49] Scott: If you want to learn more about our workshops coming up head over to theamazingseller.com/workshop and you'll see the most up to date one there that we're going to be doing. You can register, would love to hang out with you. We do those live and we answer any questions you have there as well. Chris, I just want to thank you once again. This has been awesome buddy.

[00:38:07] Chris: Absolutely. Any time my friend.

[00:38:09] Scott: I know. This is always fun and let's close this thing down together. Since I started it together, let's end it together. Let's if we can do this. Are you ready? Are you sweating a little bit now? Are you a little bit nervous? Are you a little nervous to hit that take action note?

[00:38:20] Chris: I'm not nervous and that’s probably an issue. I should be nervous.

[00:38:24] Scott: All right. Well, let's do it. Guys, I'm going to remind you that I'm here for you, I believe in you and I'm rooting for you but you have, you have to… Come on say it with me, say it loud, say it proud, Chris on the count of three, one, two, three, “Take action.” Have an awesome, amazing day guys and I’ll see you right back here on the next episode.

[END]

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1 comment
  • Hi Scott,

    I owe you so much for all your help to date ? You’re such a kind hearted guy sharing all this info with us. Keep it up my friend, awesome!

    I’ve got everything ready for a product launch on Amazon.co.uk with plans to expand to Amazon.de once I have traction in the UK marketplace. The one piece of the plan I have missing is a UK version of Tomoson or Jumpsend to promote to bloggers. Do you know of any?

    Looking forward to your webinar tonight (it’ll be a late one in Scotland but totally worth it!)

    Best wishes
    Jack

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