Want to Know How Much Your FBA Business is Worth? Start Here

Chances are, you probably sell on Amazon because you recognize the huge potential ROI there.

But have you ever stopped to think about your next step after your FBA business? Many FBA owners have never considered selling their business—or even know the option is on the table!

We wanted to share why selling your FBA business could help you build an even better business and be the best thing for your entrepreneurial journey. Let’s explore the reasons FBA owners sell their businesses.

The Truth about Selling Your FBA Business

Selling an FBA business boils down mainly to personal or business-related reasons. 

In terms of personal reasons, we’ve seen sellers exit because of an event or goal that meant they no longer had time to manage the business. Some of these reasons include a death in the family or wanting to spend more time with their kids.

Business-related reasons tend to revolve around raising capital for another project or losing motivation to stay with the business. 

Whatever their reason for selling, some FBA sellers have received two to four years of net profit in cash in one payment. That’s the biggest windfall many entrepreneurs have ever received in one go.

But don’t start counting your chickens before they hatch: first, let’s dive into understanding how FBA businesses are valued.

FBA Business Valuation

Online business brokers and individuals working in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) usually value businesses by a multiple of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). EBITDA represents a business’s annual profit, and it is multiplied in the range of two and four times.

The valuation formula we use is:

Valuation = 12-Month Average Monthly Net Profit x Multiple

There’s not much difference between the two formulas. We stick to the average monthly net profit because it gives a more granular view of an FBA business’s performance than an annual profit figure. 

While average monthly net profit is easy to calculate, determining the multiple is a bit more complicated as it takes into account the business’s age, traffic sources, branding, product line, and pricing window.

Age of FBA Business

A profitable older brand tends to be valued more highly than a younger one because it has survivability.

Unexpected market demands and changes place stress on FBA businesses, which can seriously affect cash flow and average order values.

A business’s ability to scale and grow through these challenges shows buyers that it’s resilient. While you can’t directly influence your business’s age, the takeaway here is that age works in a seller’s FBA business’s valuation, which is why a long-term Amazon selling strategy pays off more than a short-term plan.

Diversity of Traffic Sources

One of the greatest advantages of selling on Amazon is being able to leverage their brand, which customers love and trust.

However, selling on a single marketplace can lower a business’s multiple because if that source of traffic is shut down, there’s a higher risk that the business will be negatively impacted.

Amazon is well known for delisting products and shutting down stores for minor infractions. While you can prepare to ensure you fulfill Amazon’s requirements, increasing the number of traffic sources through multichannel selling is a good way to minimize your business’s risk and increase its multiple.

Branding

Branding has a smaller influence on the multiple than the other factors listed here since it’s hard to quantify how strong a brand is .

That said, the number of customer ratings and reviews, as well as how high the ratings are, play a part in determining the multiple. If people mention the FBA brand on social media, the context is also taken into consideration. Are customers raving about a store’s products and recommending them to their friends? Or are their experiences mixed, with varied reactions toward the customer service or the product’s functionality?

A strong brand is an attractive asset to a buyer, but it has less weight than the other factors that affect a multiple.

Product Line

There isn’t a perfect number of products that will help you gain the highest possible valuation. A couple of key things to keep in mind are the amount of work it takes to manage your product range and the diversity of the revenue generated by the products.

Let’s compare two FBA businesses in the home niche, both selling kitchen products. Business A has only one product, while business B has 50, and both generate $100,000 in revenue from sales each month.

Business A’s single product has the same risk as a single traffic source: if the product is delisted, the business’s cash flow is completely cut off. 

While it might look like business B won’t suffer from this issue, there are a couple of issues with its product range. For instance, if a single product generates over 50% of the business’s revenue, this is also cause for concern from a revenue-by-product basis. Managing all those listings could also consume most of your productive hours, time that could be spent growing the business in other ways.

We’ve seen the ideal range of products to diversify sales and be manageable without being overwhelming is between three and eight products. 

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Some buyers with large capital reserves won’t mind paying for a single-product FBA business because the potential ROI of a future flip may outweigh the risk. These types of buyers will probably make strategic acquisitions and have a team of optimization ninjas to increase the value of their assets.

Buyers who can afford to buy only a few FBA businesses will be much more cautious about a business with a product range that’s too large or small. They are likely to be solopreneurs who manage operations on their own, so the stakes would be much higher if the business didn’t work out as hoped.

Pricing windows 

Another thing to keep in mind is for how long you’ll calculate the average monthly net profit.

12 months is the golden standard because it provides a good view of the business’s traffic and revenue earnings and takes fluctuations in buyer demand, aka seasonality, into account.

If you started your FBA business less than 12 months ago, we’d recommend waiting before considering a sale. While you could shorten the pricing window to three or six months to reflect the profits, buyers will look at the business holistically and see that only a short window of data is available to help them decide whether to buy your business.

Again, there are exceptions to this rule. Some buyers with more capital means or a higher risk tolerance might make an offer for newer FBA brands.

Shorter pricing windows narrow the buyer pool, making it harder to find the right buyer who’ll offer you a reasonable deal. You might receive only a single offer and find yourself settling for a much lower offer than you wanted to ensure you close the deal.

Who Would Buy Your Site?

Now that you have a basic understanding of FBA businesses are valued, you might be wondering who would be interested in buying one. 

There’s a wide range of buyers with different levels of available capital and time, but all buyers recognize the power of selling on Amazon, and they want a piece of the ecommerce pie.

FBA businesses offer a lower barrier to entry for ecommerce entrepreneurship than full-blown ecommerce, which requires owners to manage many different moving parts. Instead of building a business from scratch, a buyer can acquire an existing FBA brand that’s generating steady profit.

To increase your chances of receiving a great offer and landing a successful deal, let’s discuss how to widen the buyer pool.

5 Ways to Optimize Your FBA Business

Buyers are much more likely to put down an offer after doing their due diligence if they think a business is a deal they just can’t pass up. So how can you make your business an asset that buyers will compete for?

By making it as hands-off as possible.

This is not to say that a less optimized business will attract zero buyers, but an FBA business that requires minimal work from the owner to maintain will be more attractive.

There are already some great tips for selling on Amazon, so we’ll focus on a few other ways you can improve your FBA business.

1. Use a Third-Party Logistics (3PL) Service Provider

Many sellers ship their inventory directly to FBA fulfillment centers, so storage and fulfillment are managed in one place. While it might be easier to allow a manufacturer to ship their products to FBA warehouses, it could be costlier than using a 3PL service provider.

Spend some time shopping for reputable 3PL solutions to see if there’s a more cost-effective route.

Another thing to consider is if you should use a 3PL as an additional storage facility. If stock doesn’t sell within six months, Amazon will charge long-term storage fees.

Depending on your products’ average turnover time, it might be better to hold stock in a warehouse and send batches of inventory to FBA centers according to your inventory forecasting.

While additional expenses sound like they should bring down your business’s valuation, removing essential services will in turn add extra burden and responsibility for the owner to manage and make the business a less attractive option.

A common mistake we see FBA sellers make is to cancel their 3PL solutions services, which brings down overall costs but adds 10–20 hours of work each week. The initial valuation price may increase but at the expense of making your business more hands-on.

2. Nurture Great Supplier Relationships

If you have exclusivity with your suppliers, ensuring that agreement will be carried over to the next owner makes purchasing your FBA business a more attractive prospect.

Establishing a strong relationship with suppliers saves the buyer the time and energy required to find reliable manufacturers, giving them one less thing to worry about, so they can focus on expanding the business in other ways.

Diversifying the number of suppliers the business owner can call on also works in a seller’s favor. The ability to order from multiple suppliers helps avoid dreaded out-of-stock situations for your top-selling products, especially during peak seasons.

We’re not advocating for drop surfing, where you’re encouraging suppliers to compete for your business by undercutting each other to offer the lowest price. Developing good relationships with more than one supplier opens up other manufacturing channels in case your usual supplier has production issues.

3. Optimize Product Listings

Creating a great product is only half the battle. Getting it in front of the right eyes is the other half.

Increase the chances that your products will appear to your target audience by optimizing the listings for SEO.

Search engine optimization will involve keyword research and the placement of target keywords in your copy’s title and body. Just don’t stuff the keywords in; Amazon’s search algorithm will deprioritize your listings if it detects too many keywords.

As an FBA seller, you can leverage Amazon A+ Content (formerly known as Enhanced Brand Content) to enrich your ASIN descriptions. A+ Content doesn’t get indexed by Amazon’s search engine but can increase conversion rates, leading to more sales.

4. Automation

Hiring virtual assistants or outsourcing time-consuming tasks frees you up to focus on your growth strategy. 

A great way to improve your own efficiency and automate more of your processes is by creating standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Well-documented SOPs will help a buyer keep the business running as it currently does, so it doesn’t drop performance after changing hands. SOPs are especially helpful to solopreneurs, streamlining the transition period by providing a resource they can refer to at any time.

If the new owner decides to outsource, they can use SOPs to train freelancers to operate the business as you did.

5. Build a Monetized Email List

Many FBA owners overlook using an email list as part of their marketing strategy, but to understand the power of email marketing, the real value lies in the audience it builds.

Gathering subscribers looks great, but the number remains a vanity metric if the list isn’t used properly. When you consistently deliver value to an audience through curated content, the email list becomes a valuable asset in itself because you don’t rely on search engine algorithms for your content to be found and you can address your audience any time.

However, if you are considering selling your FBA business and haven’t started an email list, I’d recommend that you use your time and resources to bolster your business’s strengths instead. 

Email lists take a lot of time, energy, and patience to get right.

You’re nurturing an audience from scratch, so you’ll need to experiment with the type of content you send out and to get all the elements aligned for the highest conversion rate.

The Myth of Timing the Sale

Deciding when to sell can be hard. Some sellers think they can time the sale like a stock based on market conditions and whether the forecast is bullish or bearish.

In reality, it’s extremely difficult to succeed with this approach. We’d recommend selling your FBA business when it’s at its strongest and performing optimally on the capital means available.

A buyer may be willing to pay a premium price for an FBA business generating steady sales that has products with Amazon’s Choice or Best Seller status in their subcategories. 

A business’s value is how much a buyer is willing to pay for it, which is why it matters where you list your business for sale if you want to succeed in landing a deal.

Best Places to Sell Your Business

There are really only two options: selling privately or using a broker.

A third option is to use a DIY marketplace, but we’d strongly recommend against using this type of service. DIY marketplaces charge a commission comparable to that of brokers, and you have to do a lot of the work to source deals and market your business yourself.

If you’re selling for the first time, a broker is the optimal route (even though we might sound biased for saying so).

If you go for a private deal, you risk running into two of the worst kinds of buyers: the savvy kind, who know how to negotiate a low price, and tire-kickers, the sort who make inquiries and non-serious offers, wasting your time. There’s also the need to attract many qualified buyers, which can be tough if you don’t have a wide network of suitable connections.

Then you have to worry about marketing your business and making it as attractive as possible without overselling.

There’s a mixed bag of brokers available. A reputable broker will have processes in place to attract buyers who can prove their buying intent with verified liquidity. When shopping for a broker, do your due diligence to see if they have such a system, as it helps both sellers and buyers.

You can register for free on a broker’s marketplace to talk about selling your FBA business and how they’ll help you handle the administrative side of things so you can focus on managing the different offers that come your way.

What’s Next? Preparing for Life After an Exit

We hope that by this point you’re aware of the amazing potential that selling your FBA business holds.

One of those possibilities is to buy another FBA business and keep your momentum going. After all, no one said you had to hang up your FBA hat and call it a day! The skills and experience you’ve developed could be used to scale a series of smaller businesses, so they reach their potential. 

In time, you could flip them for a profit, creating a money-making engine that provides five figures of capital for each deal you make.

In time, you’ll have built up an ecommerce empire.

This is just one of the routes you could go down. Of course, you can reinvest the capital in any way you want.

Whether you pursue a passion project or put the money from the sale in your kids’ college fund, the possibilities start with the knowledge that your FBA business is a highly lucrative asset to the right buyer.

This insightful guide was brought to you from Empire Flippers. Do YOU want to contribute to the Viral Launch blog with your expertise? Simply complete our brief guest blog post form and we’ll contact you if it it seems like a great fit!

How To Self-Publish Through Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing

There are plenty of ways to make money on Amazon, with Kindle Direct Publishing standing out as an opportunity for those with a passion for writing. Fresh off the release of his debut book, Dylan Hughes shares a four-step guide based on his recent experience with Kindle Direct Publishing.

Going back to my third grade days, writing and coloring in blank hardback books, I have always loved writing. When I was even younger than that, I would take my kids books and write down their contents onto blank sheets of paper (someone should have taught Young Dylan about copyright infringement). 

When I was about 14, I finally took my talents to the internet, blogging about sports. Once I started, I fell in love and have been at it ever since.  

I have known for a long time that I want to become a professional writer. I knew I wanted to go to college for journalism and I did that, graduating last year with a Sports Journalism degree from IUPUI. While I was a little lost career-wise after graduating, the end-goal remained clear: I wanted to write professionally.

After months of struggling to find even an entry-level writing job, I threw in the towel and took matters into my own hands. First, I began my Substack newsletter, Heavy Pockets, where I write words weekly on what is interesting to me in the business world—as well as personal development stuff here and there. I also publish at least weekly on Medium.com on the same topics.

I have enjoyed doing that for the past five months. In late November, however, I didn’t feel like I was doing enough. So I made a snap decision: I was going to publish a book.

I have dabbled with the idea of writing a book for years now, but it was always something I looked forward to doing in the distant future. I had no idea what to write about, the process to go through to get it published, or how long it’d take. It felt like I was best suited to stick with blogging about dumb sports stuff online.

On that November night, though, I wasn’t willing to just toss the idea out. It felt right. Before thinking about anything else, I just started writing.

Step 1: Write the Darn Thing

Whether in writing or elsewhere in life, a lot of people get held back by the minutiae. Writing a book sounds hard. Editing it, making a cover, and finding a place to publish it is just too much to stomach, especially considering that stuff comes after actually writing all of those words.

So don’t worry about that other stuff! Write the book and worry about that stuff later.

You don’t have to write the entire book before researching how to publish it. But at least get the ball rolling and build some momentum. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you can write 1,000, 2,000, or 5,000 words. A handful of sessions like that and you’re either done with your book (if it was short like mine) or making great progress to getting to that finish line.

Step 2: Edit and Prepare

In the self-publishing world, this may be one of the more difficult steps. In my case, I was lucky enough to have a friend—who happened to edit our college newspaper—and my mom—an English major—edit my book. Alongside myself, a  perfectionist when it comes to my writing.

If you are not as confident in your editing skills and/or don’t have the supporting cast to help you out, there are surely editors available for hire on places like UpWork and Fiverr. If you aren’t looking to spend money, though, having a handful of friends read a chapter or two each and giving light feedback is better than nothing.

Once you feel confident in your words, it’s time to move over to Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Step 3: Prepare the Manuscript

Amazon makes the remaining steps fairly easy. Which is great, since you just spent all that time working on the hard part: writing the book.

Head over to the KDP website, click “Your account” in the top right-hand corner of the screen (after creating an account, of course), and navigate to the “Bookshelf” menu located towards the top of the screen.

You will then see the “Create a New Title” section, which lays out your remaining steps in publishing your book—whether it be an eBook or paperback (it will later give you the option to do both).

After choosing your desired form of book, you will then start filling out the necessary information for the book, such as the title, subtitle, description, keywords, and categories, among other things.

Once that step is complete, you will be asked to upload your manuscript and cover. 

For the manuscript, I would recommend using Kindle Create (download here). This makes it easy to format your book to properly satisfy Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing standards and make it look as good as possible. You can also make edits to your writing through this tool if necessary.

For the cover, some people like to use Canva (which has a free version but more options through its subscription). I personally just used Kindle Cover Creator, which gives you some basic and decent-looking options. They also give you some options that they created on their own (I chose this option after doing a bad job making my own cover). It may not help your book stand out, but it that doesn’t concern you, it is a very easy option.

After that, set your price and you’re ready to roll!

Step 4: Start Sharing!

Once everything is complete and submitted, Amazon will review your submission and publish within 72 hours (or get back to you if there is something wrong). My submission took less than 12 hours to go live.

After it goes live, congrats! You’re finally done and you can now share your awesome work with your friends, family, and followers.

Want more helpful Amazon news, updates, and tips and tricks sent directly to your inbox? Drop your email below!


Now that you’re done writing your book, take a look at mine: From One Young Soul to Another.

2020 was hard for most people, and it wasn’t any different for me. While I didn’t lose my job or a loved one to the virus, I still faced many challenges that hurt my brain and heart for the majority of the year. After I felt mostly recovered, I took the lessons I learned from those challenges and turned it into a book, hoping to help young people struggling with similar issues. I feel that anyone struggling with relationships, employment, identity, or self-confidence could take something positive away, no matter the age.

And if not you, maybe a loved one would benefit.

Want to write a featured guest post for our blog? Submit a brief application to get the process started!

10 Ways You Can Make Money on Amazon

Whether you’re searching for a side hustle or a full-time gig, here’s how to make money on Amazon.

As Amazon has grown, so has the opportunity for everyday folks like me and you to make money through the e-commerce mega-power.

Much of Amazon’s immense success comes from its ability to create and host marketplaces and charging for its platform and services. While millions and millions of people will pay Amazon for products this year, you can instead use Amazon to make money.

No matter your background, resources, or time commitment, Amazon has a money-making proposition for you. To prove that, check out this list for 10 ways how you can make money on Amazon.

1. Start Your Own Private Label Business

Through the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program, selling on Amazon remains a tremendous opportunity for those looking for high-upside, sustainable income. You’ve probably purchased plenty of products on Amazon, but did you know you might be buying from an independent seller not much different than yourself? Independent third-party sellers sell over half of the products sold on Amazon.

Private label refers to sellers who manufacture a product to be sold under a retailer’s brand. Third-party sellers are independent sellers who own a product to be sold. Thanks to the seller-friendly Amazon FBA program, starting your own online business has never been easier.

Enrolling in FBA gives you access to Amazon’s seemingly endless warehouse storage space, two-day Amazon Prime shipping service, and customer service team. These features eliminate the most challenging barriers of starting an online business while simultaneously placing your product on a platform with hundreds of millions of built-in customers.

The process for kickstarting an Amazon business is more simple than you’d think!
  • Find a product to source and sell with help from a product research tool like Product Discovery. With access to sales data for product markets and customizable filters, you can efficiently perform data-driven research and dig deep to find a winning product.
  • Once you’ve broken down the numbers and decided upon a product that is right for you, find a manufacturer. Sites like Alibaba specialize in manufacturing products for independent sellers.
  • Sign up for FBA and ship your product to Amazon’s warehouse. Just complete your listing, and you’re ready to start generating sales. Your listing automatically is equipped with the Amazon Prime badge!

While selling on Amazon requires ongoing work in various business aspects, the startup is affordable and straightforward. With literally billions of dollars going to Amazon sellers, the prospect of selling on Amazon provides limitless potential for ongoing success.

2. Resell Goods Through Retail Arbitrage

Want to make money on Amazon without the cost or commitment of FBA? Retail arbitrage might be for you!

Retail arbitrage is the practice of buying an item from one marketplace and reselling it on another at a higher price. Recently, buying sports cards and collectibles at garage sales to resell online at a marked up price increased in popularity.

Because this often includes finding products on other websites (like eBay) or physically purchase products in stores, this option may not make sense for everyone. This makes scalability difficult but allows many to dip their toes into the water without diving in headfirst.

However, if you find a product you can reliably flip for a profit, it’s not much different than finding cash! Retail arbitrage is especially appealing for those who find joy in the hustle and grind.

3. Find A Wholesale Distributor and Sell Products from an Established Brand

Wouldn’t it be nice to skip building your own brand and sell products from name brands? If this sounds intriguing to you, wholesaling might be your route to success!

In a way, wholesale mixes of #1 and #2 on this list.

Wholesaling on Amazon typically involves buying products in bulk from an established company to resell for a profit. The process of finding an excellent wholesale product would be identical to private label until it’s time to purchase.

Once you’ve found a perfect product, you would go directly to the brand instead of sourcing from a manufacturer and slapping your logo on it. Instead, you’d purchase the inventory and ship it to Amazon’s warehouses under the brand name.

For example, Nike stopped shipping directly to Amazon in 2019, yet people still search for Nike gear. Hypothetically, you could research Nike’s wholesale policy and apply to become a wholesaler. If approved, you could sell a globally recognized brand that people are already looking to buy.

Of course, this is dependent upon their approval, your ability to gain the necessary certificates and documentation, and the negotiated prices that impact your profitability.

4. Start Dropshipping on Amazon

Similar to retail arbitrage, dropshipping features even less seller responsibility, although it often requires even more research and lower profit margins.

Dropshipping is an order fulfillment method in which the seller does not keep product in stock. Instead, the seller receives an order and passes it to a third-party supplier who ships and completes the order.

The appeal of dropshipping is apparent, you never touch or store the product, saving you a ton in manufacturing and inventory fees! However, the downside is equally prominent. Most of the money received will end up in the hands of the manufacturer, making it difficult to turn a profit.

For many dropshippers, it requires a high volume of sales for it to be worth the time and effort. Although it requires less

While there are plenty of pros and cons, dropshipping can be a winning method to making money on Amazon, or a way to give selling on Amazon without the long-term responsibility and fees of FBA.

5. Author Your Amazon Success Story with Kindle Direct Publishing

Amazon famously began as an online bookstore. Since then, it’s continued to look for ways to revolutionize bookstores.

Kindle Direct Publishing generates recurring income for authors.

In late 2007, Amazon launched the initial Kindle. While most of the emphasis centered around the way we read, Amazon also looked to revolutionize book publishing with the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform. KDP allows authors to publish their books directly to the Kindle Store independently.

Passionate writers no longer need to rely upon lengthy, expensive publishing companies for their words to reach the masses.

If you’re willing to give Amazon exclusivity to your e-book, you can earn even more money through KDP Select. Utilizing KDP Select makes your e-book “free” for anyone with Kindle Unlimited. Authors get paid per page read, which can be incredibly rewarding and makes it possible to earn money in perpetuity for your writing skills.

Now that I mention it, maybe this article would look better in an e-book…

6. Show Off Your Design Skills with Merch by Amazon

Merch by Amazon extends a golden opportunity to those with a passion for graphic design. And the best part? Selling on Merch by Amazon features zero upfront fees, making it completely risk-free!

To be a Merch designer, you must first submit an application stating your information and goals. Then, upload your artwork and click submit. Amazon takes care of the rest, placing your art on merchandise like shirts, phone cases, tote bags, and throw pillows. As orders come in for your artwork, you earn royalties for each item purchased with your design.

For designers selling goods, the issue of ordering the optimal amount of a product often presents problems. Make too many of an item, and your profits take a significant cut from excess inventory. Make too little and miss out on potential sales.

Merch by Amazon alleviates creators of any inventory concerns or other selling responsibilities, allowing designers to do what they do best.

7. Flex Your Marketing Muscle With Amazon Associates

Ask any seller on Amazon; visibility is the name of the game. With millions of product listings in the marketplace, sellers need to position their products for maximum visibility.

Enter Amazon Associates – an affiliate marketing program created to help influencers of all backgrounds monetize their audience.

Have you ever read something on the internet with a message like this?

Via GQ

Affiliate commissions are rapidly surging in popularity, from social media influencers to major publications to popular Facebook groups or other internet forums. And for a good reason.

Affiliate marketing commissions create continuous, recurring revenue. A written article, social media post, or video that drives continuously drives traffic can create a constant stream of passive income.

8. Monetize Your Large Following within the Amazon Influencer Platform

An extension of the Amazon Associates program, the Amazon Influencer Platform fits the specific needs of influencers.

How an Amazon Influencer storefront looks to viewers

To be accepted into the influencer program, Amazon requires a larger following than the Affiliates. Unfortunately, Amazon doesn’t state the magic number of followers for acceptance into the program.

But if you have a sizable following up to the program’s standards, it can be incredibly rewarding with little work!

However, being an Influencer gives you access not just to purchasable links but to an entire storefront. Add your storefront to your bio or high-visibility sections of your social media profile of choice and gain commissions as followers purchase from your curated list of favorites.

Just keep generating click-worthy content, build your following, and watch as your commissions pile up!

9. Be A Part of Amazon’s Revolutionary Fulfillment Process

In 2005, Amazon debuted Amazon Prime, its membership program boasting free two-day shipping, among other perks. As of January 2020, more than 150 million people are Prime members.

Fulfilling orders so quickly requires a massive team of workers.

To fulfill the massive amount of orders, Amazon needs plenty of laborers in its warehouses and delivery network.

Amazon employs more than a million people, many of whom work in logistics at one of the company’s many warehouses. In the wake of COVID-19, Amazon added over 150,000 employees to handle the booming workload.

In late 2018, Amazon announced it raised the minimum wage for U.S. employees to $15 an hour, more than double the country’s minimum wage. For full-time workers, that comes out to $31,200 before taxes!

Unlike most retail businesses that open and close daily, Amazon is open 24/7, allowing for flexible scheduling for warehouse workers and delivery drivers. Whether looking for full-time or part-time work during the day or night, there’s a shift for you at Amazon.

While most of the other jobs are a little more unconventional, being a part of Amazon’s logistics team provides a safe, traditional way to earn money for your time.

10. Craft A Worldwide Business with Amazon Handmade

Amazon Handmade allows artisans to scale their business internationally. Amazon boasts creators from over 80 countries through Amazon Handmade.

In eight categories (Jewelry, Home Décor, Kitchen & Dining, Beauty & Grooming, Handbags & Totes, Stationery & Party Supplies, Clothing & Accessories, and Toys & Games), craftspersons can easily take their local business global.

Amazon Handmade presents another option for artisans, in addition to platforms such as Facebook Marketplace, Shopify stores, and Etsy shops. By adding Amazon Handmade to the mix, handcrafted items reach a larger audience than ever before. For business owners selling do-it-yourself crafts, maintaining a presence on these platforms can pay off exponentially.

Conclusion

As the leader in e-commerce, Amazon presents plenty of excellent ways for people of all walks of life to make money. Of course, there are more than 10 ways to make money Amazon, and likely, even more will spawn as Amazon continues its explosive growth.

Thanks to Amazon’s massive, far-reaching marketplace, anyone can get involved and find a way to make money on Amazon.

At Viral Launch, we’re constantly amazed at the diverse backgrounds and stories behind those utilizing Amazon in the pursuit of financial freedom. For instance, we’ve witnessed college students pay for school via dropshipping and grandparents starting an online business with hopes to pass it down for generations.

No matter who you are, Amazon offers a way for you to make money online!

Have any questions or experience making money on Amazon! Feel free to leave a comment and join the conversation!

5 Tips To Improve Your Amazon Ranking

Whether you’re just starting or a longtime seller, every seller should be taking advantage of these tips on how to improve your Amazon ranking.

On Tuesday, Amazon kicked off their Amazon Accelerate virtual conference for current and prospective sellers looking to boost their Amazon ranking.

After one particular session, guests participated in a live Q&A with Conner Sigman, an Account Representative at Amazon. As they took questions from the digital audience, one question dominated in popularity:

“How do I get on the first page [of search results]?”

It’s a question that’s raged on since 1999 when third-party sellers were allowed to sell on Amazon’s platform. But rarely do we get answers straight from the source on how to maximize rank. Sigman answered with five helpful tips sellers should be doing to increase their opportunity to land on the coveted page one.

At Viral Launch, we strive to provide helpful solutions for Amazon sellers. Since our inception, we’ve studied what steps sellers can take to improve organic rank. 

Below, we’ll share five recommendations on how to rank higher on Amazon and how our software suite of tools can help you accomplish these tasks.

Step 1: Choose Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)

“Using FBA immediately will give you the Prime badge and give you options for a couple of different advertising opportunities,” Sigman explained.

FBA comes with not-so-fun fees, but the cost is well worth the benefits of being a part of Amazon’s legendary fulfillment program.

Utilizing FBA guarantees the customer receives the complete Amazon treatment they are accustomed to experiencing. Free two-day shipping, valuable Prime badges, and Amazon-led customer service ensure a sturdy foundation for your product. Customers want to know that they’ll receive items quickly and be taken care of appropriately if any help is necessary.

Amazon takes care of all of that for you, simultaneously making your product more likely to be purchased while also taking cumbersome aspects of e-commerce off your plate. Choosing the FBA route will also help you out with #4 on this list!

Step 2: Optimize your product detail page

Consider your personal buying habits. Customers are drawn to main product images that pop off the page and sales-inducing copy that stands out.

“Product detail page is another really good opportunity to show how important your product is and how it differentiates from the rest,” Sigman said about product listings.

A crucial part of the formula to elevate your rank is increasing sales velocity. Above all, your product detail page must have captivating product images to make a positive first impression and SEO-friendly, sales-inducing copy.

Viral Launch offers a few helpful tools to help your listing stand out for this step.

Listing Analyzer performs a SWOT analysis on key aspects of your listing, including photos and copy, to make sure it’s optimal. Listing Analyzer informs you of what facets of your listing are thriving and what has room for improvement.

Keyword Research and Listing Builder are a powerful duo that provides everything you need for an optimized listing for your listing’s written content. 

Keyword Research provides valuable data in the form of an exhaustive keyword list and search volume estimates to inform you of your most potent traffic drivers.

Listing Builder allows sellers to experiment with their listing’s copy and strategically place keywords in areas with the most indexing weight.

To be eligible to rank for a specific keyword or phrase, it must be included somewhere in your listing. The title and bullet points possess the most indexing weight, so you’ll want to prioritize your more prized keywords accordingly.

Consider #1 and #2 to be the base level foundation for a successful, high-ranking listing. While these two alone do not guarantee a high ranking, it’s nearly impossible for a third-party seller to climb their way to the top without them in place.

Once you master these tips, the rest becomes much easier to execute tactfully.

Step 3: Drive traffic through advertising and promotions

You’ve set your listing to convert, but how will people find your listing?

The two popular avenues to boosting discoverability for your Amazon listing are advertising or running promotions that drive external traffic.

To boost ranking through either of these options, your product listing would need to receive credit for purchase as if it came via a keyword either through advertising or search. When driving external traffic to your product listing to improve rank, make sure you use a two-step URL that includes the targeted keyword to achieve the intended results.

Two-step URLs require the customer to arrive at a search results page where your product is featured exclusively to complete the purchase.

Running a Launch, or a discounted promotional giveaway to a buyer group with substantial size can be an excellent way to drive exposure and sales to your listing without relying on customers to stumble upon your product listing organically.

The ManyChat Approach

Another great option to boost external traffic to climb the Amazon ranks is ManyChat. ManyChat requires a bit of technical skill, but the results make it a no-brainer to learn. As we detailed in a prior post focusing on driving external traffic, we sum up the ManyChat process as such:

“To recap the basic steps for a ManyChat campaign:

Create ads and posts to provide an offer to your audience and direct them to messenger for engagement with ManyChat.

Develop a ManyChat script, first implementing some sort of simple engagement step.

If someone engages with the chat, provide them with the coupon code, steps to claim the code, and a link to purchase using a targeted URL.”

Advertising your product is a great way to get your product in front of potential customers. Amazon offers Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising that allows you to choose exact keywords or opposing product pages to advertise on to capture some sales.

“The first thing I would say is to start a pay-per-click campaign; even if you want to budget $5 a day, it will help a lot.”

Kinetic and Keyword Manager are two tools within the Viral Launch fleet of seller tools that help you run, monitor, and automate your PPC campaigns.

Keyword Manager showcases your high-priority keywords and notifies you of its organic and sponsored rank for each keyword. You can even sign up for rank change notifications to stay up-to-date on how ads or promotions impact your ranking in real-time.

Kinetic is our all-encompassing PPC automation tool that simplifies creating and optimizing your PPC campaigns from start to finish.

Step 4: Earn reviews

You searched for a product. Attractive product images caught your eye. The compelling copy explains why you need this and answers any questions you might have. But before you Add to Cart, you want to see what customers have to say about this product.

Sigman highlighted Amazon’s stance on customer reviews, “The product detail page and customer reviews are also something we really cherish here at Amazon.”

By placing average review rating and review count directly below the product title, customers can quickly see past consumer feedback. Bad reviews or no reviews at all risk losing consumer trust, and that can spell doom for your product.

Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program helps sellers garner their first five reviews to compete with more mature products. We strongly recommend paying the program’s fee to get your listing off the ground, but the program ends after your fifth review.

After the fifth review, there are very few options with Amazon’s terms of service for sellers to generate reviews. You’ll find competitor tools and Facebook groups to help boost reviews. But, Amazon can and will erase those reviews and provide a warning or ban to sellers who utilize black-hat methods.

Enter Viral Launch’s Request Automation tool. 

Within the Market Intelligence Chrome extension, sellers can send review requests in bulk. It’s a time-saving hack that is entirely within Amazon’s Terms of Service!

Step 5: Be Price-Competitive

It’s no secret that Amazon can be a dog-eat-dog marketplace, and that’s a hallmark of its success. A competitive marketplace means sellers have to box out competitors, resulting in a lower price for customers. Sellers need to remain price-competitive to keep a steady flow of sales coming in. 

As previously mentioned, sales velocity is critical towards boosting and maintaining your Amazon ranking. If your product isn’t price-competitive with others in your market, picking up optimal sales velocity is an uphill battle.

With Viral Launch’s Market Intelligence and Listing Analyzer tools, you can quickly inspect and examine your competition. As displayed in the image for #2 on this list, Listing Analyzer will show you the average market price.

Market Intelligence takes a more granular approach to keeping tabs on rival sellers. Search a keyword to find your product, and you’ll see a full list of significant metrics of each top-selling competitor.

Clicking on any of the data points in orange and you’ll also be able to see this data historically. As a result, you catch sight of when your competition raised or lowered their price and how it impacted sales.

One Last Note On Sales Velocity

The importance of sales velocity can’t be understated regarding boosting or maintaining rank. Sales rank is updated hourly on Amazon, so the Amazon ranking algorithm continuously checks for sales trends.

To rank with the top-sellers in your market, you need to sell like them. Market research tools like Market Intelligence provide all you need to know about how competition performs on page one. Depending on the market, it may only take a day or two of high sales velocity to see results.

Utilizing PPC or a Launch are two tried-and-true strategies for boosting visibility.

At Viral Launch, we possess a tool for each step of your Amazon journey to help you achieve out-of-this-world results. Start your free trial today!

How To Prepare for the Amazon Policy Crackdown on Product Titles

The title of a product on Amazon carries a lot of weight when it comes to organic rank and click-through rates, and if your listing isn’t in step with the official style requirements, the upcoming Amazon policy enforcement should motivate you to make some changes.

Amazon recently announced that on July 22 it will be “suppressing ASINs from Amazon Search that violate Amazon’s title guidelines.” According to the announcement, the reason behind this new enforcement is that titles that don’t comply with Amazon’s guidelines “result in a poor customer experience.”

As shown in the news release above, the announcement mentions some specific requirements:

  • No promotional language can be used, such as “free shipping” or “100% quality guaranteed.”
  • Other examples would be “Best Seller” or “Hot Item.”
  • No non-readable characters can be used, such as HTML code.
  • The length of a title can’t exceed 200 characters. Titles must include “product identifying information,” which describes what the product is, such as a garlic press or first aid kit. 

Although not mentioned in the announcement, the Amazon Style Guide also contains a number of further requirements, such as prohibiting the use of all caps or special characters (such as ! or $.) 

No one wants their business disrupted, so it’s important to understand the effect of what this new level of Amazon policy enforcement may have on your brand, and then take some practical steps to ensure you can maintain your visibility and sales.

What This Means for Amazon Sellers

The most important element of a product listing is its title, and having it optimized for organic search is a vital part of gaining visibility under any conditions. 

The “suppression from search” for those who violate the title guidelines is open to interpretation,  but the announcement indicates that this suppression would actually be a removal from search entirely. 

Amazon mentions that if a product title is penalized, “[o]nce the issue is fixed, we will remove the search suppression and the ASIN will appear back on Amazon search.”

From this statement, the penalization wouldn’t be a matter of your product taking a drop in organic ranking and be languishing many pages deep in a search. It would be an outright elimination from organic search, and the effect on your product’s visibility and sales would bring your business to a halt.

Considering the amount of products that exist in Amazon’s marketplace, how quickly they will be able to roll out this tighter enforcement is uncertain. It likely won’t happen immediately, yet ensuring your title is compliant with the style guide so that your product remains searchable should be your current top priority. 

Getting Your Listing Ready for Compliance 

To avoid losing visibility, ranking, and sales, we’ve provided a list of crucial steps for becoming compliant with the title guidelines.

In case you aren’t clear on the guidelines or need access to them, we’ve created a downloadable spreadsheet, Amazon Style Guides by Category. It breaks down what the title counts have previously been for each category and provides links to the style guides for each category. The announcement states title character counts cannot exceed 200 characters, so it remains to be seen if certain categories will continue to be limited to 50 characters. 

Another requirement in some categories is that businesses must include their brand name in their product titles. Although this helps promote your brand, it essentially restricts the character limit even more, forcing business to balance visibility, precision, and helpful information.

How To Stay Compliant

Before the deadline arrives, follow these five tasks help you stay compliant and avoid any issues:

1. Access your style guide from our spreadsheet and track down the category-specific limitations for your title. Find the exact character count and if you’re exempt from having to include your brand name. Keep in mind that Amazon updates style guides regularly, so be sure to stay up-to-date.

2. Write a new title, staying within the new limit for your category and including your brand name, if required. Our tool Listing Builder can help you quickly devise a new one and move any previous info from your title into your bullet points.

3. Set up organic rank notifications for a particular keyword in Keyword Manager. Go to the Notification Settings, and under Rank Change Notifications, choose to receive messages based on whether the rank increases or drops, or only if it drops. You can then specify how high or low you want the rank positions to be and in this instance you should set wide parameters for the notifications. The tool will then message you if your organic rank changes after the new policy goes into effect. (You can also receive notifications on your Sponsored Rank, as shown in the GIF below.)

4. Set up buy box and Best Seller Rank notifications in Competitor Intelligence for your ASINs. If any changes occur, we send an alert to keep you informed. Using CI, you can track keywords a competitor is targeting and indexed for, and see the keywords’ organic rank. You can then choose to receive change alerts for the keywords’ ranking. This can occur on an hourly basis, as shown below.

5. If notified that your ASIN is affected, implement your new title and bullets to your product listing. After you make this update, Amazon will re-index your listing. As a result, you’ll temporarily see a drop in your organic ranking. But based on your sales history, reviews, and traffic, you’ll see your rank resume its position.

Stay Compliant, Stay Successful

The recent announcement regarding titles has received a variety of different reactions. And many sellers may be asking why it took Amazon so long to enforce its own policy. No matter how you feel, ensuring your title meets Amazon’s policy requirements safeguards your listing. Since visibility remains crucial, avoiding penalization and a loss in visibility helps maintain your sales opportunities. 

For any help getting in step with Amazon’s product title guidelines, contact us at service@viral-launch.com. Our team ensures your product listing complies with Amazon’s style guide and remains optimized to increase your visibility, conversions, and business growth.

Major Discovery in Amazon Sponsored Ads & How To Use It To Boost Efficiency

On January 1st Amazon released three new features in sponsored products, Dynamic Bidding, Bid Adjustments, and Placements. Among a variety of benefits, these new features led the Viral Launch R&D team to a major discovery. This discovery has resulted in the development of a new PPC bidding/optimization strategy that is driving incredible results for sellers implementing the strategy properly. It’s important to note that this is one of many strategies we use and you can employ, and it really depends on the product and the market as to which one works best.

This post will walk you through the details of this new PPC tactic we’re calling Placement Optimization strategy and how you can begin using Placement Optimization in your PPC campaigns and begin seeing results immediately!

What Are Bid Adjustments & Placements

Performance by Placement

Once in Seller Central, you can click into a campaign and view a new tab titled “Placements.”  This new Placements tab provides insights into your campaign’s performance based on where the ad was displayed at the time. Amazon breaks it down into three placement groups: top of search (first page), rest of search, and product pages (defined below).

Top of Search – The top of search (first page) refers to the sponsored products ads at the top row on the first page of search results.

Rest of Search – Rest of search refers to sponsored products ads shown in the middle or at the bottom of search results, and all sponsored products ads in the second page of search results and beyond.

Product Detail Pages – Product pages refers to sponsored products placements on the product details page, and certain other placements off search results like the add-to-cart page. These ads show in the Sponsored Products Related To section on a listing’s detail page. Ads can show here through keyword targeting campaigns or by setting up product targeting campaigns.

Bid Adjustments by Placement

Bid Adjustments put the control in your hands to allow Amazon to spend above and beyond your set CPC for a specific placement. Amazon allows a number between 0 and 900% as a modifier to your set bid. Amazon does not allow you to set a specific bid amount for each placement, only this bid adjustment.

“For example, if you have set your CPC to $2.00 and Dynamic Bidding – Down Only selected, but set the Bid Adjustment to 50% for “Top of Search”, Amazon will bid up to $3.00 allowing for more positioning in the top sponsored ad results.


We’ll discuss below how to really take advantage of this feature to maximize your ad’s top of search placements.  

Our Mind Blowing Discovery

After looking through the placements report for a number of campaigns we are managing, we noticed some interesting tendencies around how frequently our keyword targeting campaigns (auto campaign, broad/phrase match campaigns, etc.) were showing on product pages. So we aggregated over $1MM in ad spend worth of campaigns to look at what was happening at a wide scale.

Here are the mind blowing stats:

On average ~84% of our newer keyword targeting campaigns are delivering on product pages!

We knew that ASIN targeting campaigns typically have a low click-through rate (CTR%), but this explained why some search terms had incredibly poor CTR%; they were delivering mostly on product pages! Meanwhile, while the clicks were more expensive, conversion rate (Conv.%) was ~60% higher for top of search traffic. It makes sense that a prospective customer is more likely to click into a product at the top of the search results for a given keyword than on a sponsored product showing on a competing product.

What was so mind blowing is that, this whole time advertisers have been turning on / turning off keywords based on their performance (CTR, Conversion, ACOS, etc.) assuming that keywords are / are not relevant based on the aggregated performance. In reality, those keywords we thought our products were not very relevant for, may have performed well for top search, but just happened to be a worse offer on the product pages Amazon decided to show us on.

For example, let’s say you are selling fish oil pills at a higher than average price point with only a handful of reviews. You run campaigns for the keywords “fish oil pills” and “omega 3 pills”. Prior to the insights Amazon’s new Placements feature provided, if the campaign targeting “omega 3 pills” resulted in low CTR, low conversion rate, and a high ACOS, you would assume that customers do not find your product very relevant for “omega 3” related keywords. In reality, there is a chance that Amazon was simply showing your new product with low reviews and a high price, on competitor pages where the competing products had more reviews and a lower price point. It’s very possible that your product was performing well for the “omega 3” keyword, but it was not performing well on the specific competitor listings Amazon chose to show you on.

Put differently, this should challenge everything you know about how relevant your product is for various keywords! There may be plenty of keywords you had passed off as poor performing and less relevant you may find actually perform well in search alone.

Fortunately, you have the opportunity to look at Placement reports for historical campaigns to begin answering some of the questions.

How To Use This Placement Optimization To Boost Efficiency

Within just over a week of releasing this new Placement Optimization strategy, we’ve received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback and case studies on improvements to campaign efficiency and/or overall sales improvements. We want to make sure you have the knowledge to be able to apply it yourself!

The case study below highlights how removing inefficient traffic from product pages allows the traffic to flow through our most profitable placement. By allocating 100% of the budget to top of search, we saw a significant increase in sales and a significant decrease in ACoS!

1/1/19 – 1/7/19

1/21/19 – 1/27/19

In this section we will walk through:

  1. How to Isolate Traffic with Bid Adjustments
  2. How to apply the strategy for maximizing efficiency/sales

How to Isolate Traffic with Bid Adjustments

The R&D team at VL has come up with a quick and simple solution to segment ad traffic across ad campaigns to optimize efficiency across delivery placements.

To set up a campaign that will only deliver for Top of Search ad placements, set a low base bid for the keywords targeted i.e. $0.30.  A high percentage bid modifier can then be applied to Top of Search bid adjustment (ex. 800%). This will keep the bid amount low enough to not deliver in auctions for other placements, while also modifying the bid amount to deliver in the top ad placements only. Example: $0.30 bid with 800% modifier will deliver only at Top of Search placements at $2.40 bid.

WARNING: You should not force all campaigns to target only top of search. You need to follow the data for your own product and make sure it fits within your broader PPC strategy, which we discuss below. Test and analyze the results of each placement before making any decisions!

How to apply the strategy for maximizing efficiency/sales

Step One: Analyze existing campaigns. Consider historic performance, campaign type, match type and campaign objectives. Further, with the release of campaign bidding strategies, Amazon has made it extremely easy to spend more than you intended. It is our recommendation that you do this test initially with Dynamic Bidding – Down Only as your selected bidding strategy. Having an Up & Down bidding strategy selected could result in Amazon spending an additional 100% of your bid on top of your placement multiplier! This could lead to major overspending if left unchecked.

Other situations and scenarios to consider:

  • Since Placements are set for the entire campaign, if you have a lot of keywords in a single campaign, it’s difficult to know which keywords are actually delivering at top of search.
  • Auto campaigns are difficult to control, so a top of search tactic might change the words it’s delivering for and make the historic data you’re basing the decision off of useless for Placement decisions.
  • Lastly, if your campaign is performing well in all ad placements, there is a risk that changing it will disrupt that performance so you might want to instead just increase spend on that campaign.
  • If you are starting a new campaign, it is recommended that you gather data around each placement before setting any bid multipliers. Discover whether or not your product converts well for all placements and then adjust accordingly. To get some initial profitable sales, listen to our Product Targeting podcast where we discuss what can be one of Amazon’s most efficient traffic sources!

Step Two: If a campaign is spending above your target ACOS in one placement (ex. top of search or product pages) while spending below your target ACOS in another placement, then this is an indicator that you should begin isolating traffic away from the inefficient placement. In some instances, top of search is the unprofitable placement, while in other instances, product pages are the unprofitable placement.

If all placements are performing below ACOS, that’s great. You may have an opportunity to scale up your budget and increase your sales!

Step Three: If you have crunched the numbers and decided to focus traffic toward top of search, look at the bid you’ve been delivering at top of search for. Set a bid and bid adjustment to focus on that traffic. For example, the top of search (first page) clicks below have been delivering at an average CPC of $0.95. If you want to isolate traffic, you can do the math. You could set your bid to $1.00 for top of search by setting a bid of $0.13 ($1/800%). By not having a premium on product page placements, your campaign should divert traffic from inefficient product pages and push more impressions and clicks through top of search where you’re more likely to get sales!

If you’ve spent a lot of time and/or money doing Amazon’s PPC, you know there are a few levels between what you try to do and what Amazon delivers; and Placements is no exception. After you change the placements, you need to monitor results very closely to make sure it’s performing at the efficiency and effectiveness you want.

Practices to Avoid While Testing

We recommend everyone go test these new bidding strategies and placement adjustments based on the goals and objectives of their campaigns. When testing these new strategies, there are a few things that you should be sure to avoid…

  • Applying a large bid multiplier to top of search on campaigns that perform well for product page placements. If your campaign is running within desired ACoS and driving a significant amount of sales, it is not advised to interrupt the efficient flow of ad traffic.
  • Testing new bidding strategies such as Dynamic Bidding – Up & Down on a new campaign. Without a significant amount of ad history and data, Amazon will struggle in determining whether or not your ad is likely to convert. Test the impact of this new feature on an existing campaign to fully understand the impact it may have on your Amazon advertising methods.
  • Creating two campaigns with the same keyword set, bids, etc… and testing them against one another using different bidding strategies. Since both campaigns have the same keyword set, they would be competing against one another for the same auctions. Testing in this manner will likely lead to results that do not accurately represent how the campaign is likely to perform in an unbiased testing environment.
  • Recreating an existing campaign with a new bidding Up & Down bidding strategy. By copying the original campaign and creating a new one, you are essentially setting up a brand new ad that Amazon has never seen before. This campaign would have no ad history making it difficult for Amazon to predict the likelihood of a conversion in any given auction.

Conclusion

Adjusting bids by Placement can be a really powerful strategy to change how your campaign delivers. Now that you know what to look for, and how to make the change, you’re ready to go out and dig into your own campaigns. You need to follow the data for your campaigns and make sure that you are making the right decision for your product and campaign. Check your campaign metrics regularly and Follow The Data!

The Future of Amazon 2019: 22 Sellers and Thought Leaders Share Their Predictions

For brands and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon, 2018 was a whirlwind of change with increases in competition, old success tactics becoming obsolete, new Amazon programs, and so much more. If history is any indicator, then we can expect even more of these changes in the new year. But what sorts of changes should we expect? How will these changes impact your Amazon business? And what steps should you be taking to prepare for these changes to best get ahead of the competition?

Here at Viral Launch, through helping drive more than $7 billion dollars in Amazon sales, we’re equipped with a vast amount of insight and data. This experience working with thousands of brands (from small private label sellers, to $100m+ 3rd party sellers and world renowned Fortune 100 brands) has enabled us to predict some of the biggest things to come in 2019. And we want to share them with you so that you can prepare for what’s ahead this year.

Not only that, but we teamed up with more than twenty 7, 8, and 9 figure sellers and Amazon thought leaders to get their unique perspectives on what to expect and how to prepare for success in the coming year. So, here are 11 predictions for Amazon in 2019 to inform your business decision making, formulated by Viral Launch and informed by top industry experts.

Click Here to Read the Experts’ Predictions

1. Major Brands Get Smart About Amazon Organic Ranking & Sales

We are predicting there will be more major brands that get smart about Amazon success tactics, putting even more pressure on Amazon sellers!

The reason third-party sellers (the small private label sellers) have had the opportunity to become ecommerce giants (we have a couple private label customers and personal friends that surpassed $100m on Amazon in 2018) is because when Amazon changed the ecommerce game, they changed the necessary tactics that drive success.

In a lot of ways, the primary tactics used in traditional retail – such as paying for shelf space, good in-person packaging, and branding – gave way to lower prices, organic keyword ranking, and pay per click/direct response advertising.

Amazon third-party sellers have been able to drive massive success because their only chance of driving sales among such established players was to become students of the new paradigms of retail success tactics. These sellers have worked diligently to understand the key drivers of Amazon organic keyword ranking and conversions, which has led to significantly greater visibility than their household name competitors.

Major brands continue to use deprecated success techniques, leaving the door wide open for third party sellers to reap the benefits of their Amazon expertise. Major brands typically only pay attention to Amazon PPC as their most impactful lever of driving sales. However, in general, only 15-40% of a product’s sales potential comes from Amazon advertising, while the remaining 60-85% can be found in the organic search results. It’s within this uncontested 60-85% space that third-party sellers have thrived and grown.

We are seeing more of these larger brands realize that there is far more potential beyond just Amazon advertising sales. They are beginning to hire successful Amazon sellers and/or software providers as consultants in order to help them become experts, much like successful third-party sellers. This is causing them to shift their focus from the 15-40% of sales potential to 100% of sales potential.

2. Amazon PPC Becomes Less Profitable But More Important

We are predicting that advertising on Amazon will see an increase in efficiency, significant increases in cost, and a significant increase in importance to success for brands on Amazon.

As Amazon increases their dominance in ecommerce and retail, brands are forced to move more of their budget to Amazon advertising. Significantly increased demand, combined with inefficient spend of untrained brands, will absolutely result in increased CPCs (cost-per-clicks). We’ve been observing this trend for quite some time in many markets, but we expect it to increase in velocity and ubiquity. It’s hard to go more than a week without seeing a new post in the media about Amazon’s advertising platform. With that said, we do think that while costs will increase, efficiency will improve.

Viral Launch still sees significant inefficiencies in general Amazon advertising campaign management, largely due to the limitations of Amazon’s in-house advertising tools and programs as well as a lack of sophisticated ad management and automation alternatives. However, we expect new tools/improved sophistication and functionality in Amazon advertising tools and programs will allow for an improvement in advertising spend efficiency. We also expect Amazon to continue improving their ad targeting technology with new programs and tools which will help brands improve overall spend efficiency.

Additionally, we believe that advertising on Amazon is and will continue to be increasingly more important to being competitive on Amazon. With more ad placements per page, we expect advertising to continue increasing the share of an individual product’s sales potential versus organic sales potential. Advertising can also be an important tool in affecting organic sales. Brands that have been using purely organic traffic to build their business will be forced to become experts at Amazon advertising in order to remain ahead of the competition.

3. The Reign of Building Brands Off Amazon

We are predicting that more Amazon sellers will focus on building brands off of Amazon as the effort/reward ratio continues to improve relative to the ratio of focusing solely on Amazon.

Up until 2018, Viral Launch has been a major advocate for focusing on Amazon and delaying true brand building until you crossed the $10m mark on Amazon. While we had obviously seen a few brands build success using a multi-channel strategy (selling outside of just Amazon), it was extremely rare. Much more frequently, sellers hit 7 and 8 figures ($10,000,000+)  while focused almost exclusivelyon selling on Amazon. Opportunity cost is a powerful metric for optimal decision making, and for the vast majority of sellers, the opportunity cost was too high when focusing off of Amazon. The reason was because selling on Amazon still presented a lot of low hanging fruit and provided revenue growth rates you could hardly ever reach anywhere else.

As selling on Amazon has become increasingly competitive, we feel that the scales of opportunity cost are shifting to point to true brand building as the greater opportunity. Now don’t get me wrong, there are more people spending more money than ever on Amazon. The opportunity is greater than ever, but the cost and effort of seizing the opportunity is also greater than ever (in most markets).


4. Successful Brands Will Continue to Grow Significantly

We are predicting successful sellers/brands will see unparalleled sales volume on Amazon!

While it’s true that selling on Amazon has become more difficult than ever, there are more people spending more money on Amazon than ever before. This trend will continue into 2019, meaning those brands that are able to achieve/maintain top organic ranking positions, as well as perform well in advertising, will see sales volumes at unparalleled levels. The stakes are higher than ever! It truly is an exciting time to be selling successfully on Amazon.

5. Fewer New Entrepreneurs Begin Selling On Amazon

We are predicting fewer new Amazon seller accounts will be created in 2019.

According to Marketplace Pulse there were 1,200,000 Amazon seller accounts created in 2018 (a good portion never saw a sale). We are expecting new account creation to slow down quite a bit.

There are three primary reasons we expect this to happen.

  • Reason 1) Increased Barrier to Entry: the cost and complexity of driving success on Amazon has increased. While we still believe there is a massive amount of opportunity on Amazon still (see Amazon Product Research in 2019), the opportunity generally requires larger budgets and more complex strategy.
  • Reason 2) Market Fatigue: There are only so many aspiring entrepreneurs and mom and pop shops that are interested in selling on Amazon. We are predicting that the interest peaked in these two demographics in 2018.
  • Reason 3) While we are not economists or fortune tellers, the possibility of a global/US based financial downturn is looming. In the event of a financial downturn, we expect people to have less “free cash” available to start an Amazon FBA business.

6. Major Changes in Reviews and Rankings

In 2019, we think Amazon will continue to improve the security/integrity around many systems/processes including their coveted reviews.

While we have been expecting Amazon to make a major systemic change to their review system, we are guessing (and hoping) that 2019 is the year we see this change come to fruition. In 2018 we have seen some review changes, specifically around review locks, in which receiving too many reviews will trigger Amazon to put a lock on new review activity.

We expect many unforeseen changes to take place, however our greatest hope/prediction is for Amazon to change the review system to a LinkedIn-style review cap presented on search results. By this, we mean that on search results pages, we expect Amazon to begin showing review quantities over 1,000 reviews as 1,000+ (or some similar number). You can check out our Amazon review podcast covering why we think this is necessary to protecting the quality of products purchased and the integrity of Amazon’s review platform for more on that topic.  

In short, sellers are incentivized to achieve the highest review quantity relative to their competitors. A higher review quantity indicates greater popularity to potential buyers. If a product has been selling for 10 years on Amazon, it has a distinct advantage over new, and potentially better, products that have not had as long to generate reviews. Let’s say Product A has been on Amazon for 5 years, has a 4.4 star rating, and 6,000 reviews. While Product B has been on Amazon for 6 months, has a 4.8 star rating with 1,000 reviews and a price point $1.00 cheaper than Product A. While most may think Product B is a better product at a better value, there is very little hope of Product B gaining the sales necessary to acquire the reviews to outperform Product A. Product A could allow the quality of their product to decrease because they have such a large review quantity built up that it will be very difficult for others to catch up. It creates a stale market favoring age over quality and value. Limiting to 1,000 reviews shown in the decision process would allow customers to know that a statistically significant number of other customers have purchased/reviewed the product so that review rating must be legitimate.

While we do not have many specific predictions we feel comfortable sharing, we do expect there to be rather significant shake ups in the key drivers of Amazon’s organic keyword ranking algorithm. As in the past, having access to significant amounts of data around key ranking factors/metrics while constantly testing will be the key to staying ahead of any algorithmic changes. Fortunately, Viral Launch has been able to stay abreast of any changes thanks to our wealth of data and brilliant R&D team.

7. Facebook Begins It’s Path of Becoming The Second Largest Ecommerce Site

We are predicting Facebook begins making big moves in ecommerce by subsidizing sales through their platform for merchants to sell direct through their platform.

For the last couple of years, we’ve consistently considered Facebook to be the entity with the greatest potential to challenge Amazon in the world of retail. We’ve lost quite a bit of hope in Walmart and Google over the years. If you think through the core building blocks to a successful ecommerce platform, attention, data, trust, and web/mobile capabilities/technology are top of the list. With more than a purported 2 billion monthly active users, unparalleled data around it’s users, and significant web and mobile technology, Facebook is more than well equipped to help brands sell their goods directly through their platform at a massive scale.

I’m not talking about Facebook’s peer-to-peer marketplace. I’m expecting a full fledged Amazon competitor, and we’re beginning to see the early stages. In some instances, Facebook is reimbursing merchants $5 for each product sold to cover the cost of shipping with no additional marketplace fees, making Facebook a cheaper place to move product already. We’re expecting Facebook to start making some big moves in the e-commerce world in 2019.

8. International Markets are the New Gold Rush

We are predicting a substantial movement of third-party Amazon.com sellers in offering their products and brands on Amazon’s international marketplaces in 2019.   

Selling on Amazon.com (the US marketplace) still poses massive opportunity if played right, but there is no denying that it is certainly more difficult to grasp that opportunity than ever. We expect the real mad rush for low hanging-fruit sales (Amazon “gold”)  will come in Amazon’s international marketplaces. Viral Launch has been a strong advocate of sellers expanding internationally for the last two years, which is why we invested in hiring domestic listing optimization specialists in each country containing a major Amazon marketplace, as well as expanding our tools to work internationally. We have seen success after success with minimal effort and marketing budget in Amazon’s international markets over the last couple of years (check out this incredible story of two 21 year olds achieving 8 figures on Amazon in 2 years, while selling internationally).

As creating and expanding a profitable and high-growth Amazon business becomes more difficult to achieve on Amazon.com, we think 2019 will finally be the year that third-party sellers look to international markets in droves!  Selling internationally certainly has some drawbacks, but in general, Amazon advertising is significantly cheaper, driving organic keyword ranking is significantly easier, and growing top line revenue are all much less competitive relative to Amazon.com. Experienced Amazon.com sellers are able to use their learned success tactics and easily apply them to their brands in International markets.

9. Seller Fulfilled Prime Comes Into Vogue

We are not denying the importance of 1-hour and same day delivery, but we predict we will see a significant amount of sellers over the $1m mark moving to a hybrid fulfillment model.

Over the last 6-9 months, we’ve started to observe a trend in larger/more experienced Amazon third-party sellers moving to the Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) model using a combination of their own warehouses and 3rd Party Logistics providers (3PLs). The most compelling reason to move from fulfilling through Amazon’s FBA program to a self-regulated SFP model is cost savings.

We are not seeing only sellers with large items such as furniture moving to SFP, but sellers with products of all weights and dimensions. A customer of ours, selling more than $40m/year on Amazon, claims moving to the Seller Fulfilled Prime model has been his single best investment yet!

The second most common reason sellers are taking up SFP is to support fulfillment for other ecommerce channels that may not allow using Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment program. Having a dedicated 3PL network allows sellers cheaper fulfillment and greater channel flexibility.

10. More Amazon-Owned Brands

We are predicting there will be a significant increase in the number of Amazon owned (not “sold by Amazon”) in 2019.

We have seen a significant push from Amazon in their own private label brands, and we expect to see this trend continue into 2019. Amazon now has over 80 of their own private label brands, and those brands are receiving better placement than ever (Amazon’s “Our Brands” section now shows above organic results for many search terms).

Amazon kicked off a new program near the end of 2018 called their Accelerator Program, which essentially stands as a partnership between third-parties and Amazon to establish new Amazon-owned brands using existing product performance data. This presents the potential for the number of Amazon owned brands to sky rocket! It will be very interesting to see how this progresses in the new year.

The largest threat to Amazon’s private label brands is likely the government presiding over the country in which each marketplace operates. For example, India has banned Amazon from selling any of its own products on Amazon.in.

11. Less Ads Showing on Page 1 of Search Results

We are predicting Amazon reduces the Amount of clutter in Amazon search results which distracts shoppers from the organic search results.

This is not a common opinion, and we’ll admit that there is a decent amount of logic/data pointing to an extremely high probability that this prediction does not come true, however, when we really try to get in the mind of Amazon and Jeff Bezos, this feels right! I (Casey Gauss) want to walk you through my logic on this one.

As I think through what has made Jeff and Amazon so successful, it’s been their relentless focus on the customer experience (think lower prices, faster shipping, return policy, etc.).

In my opinion, in 2018, the actual shopping experience for customers suffered at the expense of Amazon’s advertising revenue and the promotion of their owned products. There are two contributing factors to what I believe is a lower quality shopping experience.

(One key point to understanding my thoughts below is the difference between “organic results” and “sponsored results”. “Organic results” are the items presented to a customer after typing in a given search term that are showing in the results out of merit. Organic results have been selected by Amazon’s A9 ranking algorithm based on performance factors such as conversion rate, number of units sold, etc. “Sponsored results” are items showing with a “sponsored” denotation, and are showing in the results because merchants have paid for the placement. Theoretically, organic results are the best selling products for a given keyword which is why they are showing in the results. The products most likely to best satisfy the customer’s request. While Sponsored results are artificially placed based on how much the merchant is willing to spend.)

1) Overwhelming Information in Results: In general, our data shows that anywhere between 60-85% of a product’s sales potential come from placement in the organic search results. This means the majority of customers’ shopping experience consists of inputting search terms in the search bar (e.g. “fish oil supplement”), sifting through the results, and purchasing a product. In 2018, we saw an increase in the amount of information being shown on the results page which can be confusing, overwhelming, and a barrier to purchasing the products showing organically (the most likely to satisfy the customer’s request based on real buyer behavior).

The shopping experience is overwhelmed with information and creates a barrier to the shopper arriving at the best performing products based on real data from hundreds to millions of real customers. I feel this direct and indirect inhibition to the best customer experience does not align with Amazon’s mission and what has allowed them to be so successful to date.

2) More Sales Through Amazon Ads: There are more advertising placements on Amazon than ever before. Paid media sales are increasing their market share versus organic sales. When customers are purchasing artificially placed products (products presented through ads versus showing based on performance), the probability of the sponsored product being as high quality as an organically ranked product is low. By more sales being driven through advertising, Amazon is selling less of the proven and theoretically higher quality “organic results” to customers for the sake of driving more advertising revenue. More ad sales = more pay to play, versus quality & value to play.

Now, I don’t think that Amazon has nefarious intentions with advertising. They haven’t set out to create a lower quality shopping experience so they can make a few billion dollars more per year. My assumption (with almost no inside Amazon insight) is that this is a classic case of competition priorities between departments (i.e. the Amazon advertising business units are focused on maximizing their top line, without much focus on the overall customer experience).

Either way, I’m predicting that someone in Amazon, perhaps Mr. Bezos himself, will realize that there has been a slight deviation from the company’s overall focus, and will begin to peel back some of the excessive ad placement.

12. Amazon Significantly Outpaces Other Retailers in an Economic Downturn

We are predicting Amazon significantly outpaces competitors if/when there is a downturn in the US economy.

While we are not economists or fortune tellers, there seems a high probability that there will be an economic downturn of some degree at some point in the near future. If the next economic downturn occurs within 2019, we are predicting Amazon will outperform other retailers significantly. With unbeatable low prices, convenience for working families, and an incredibly large catalog of low priced necessities, we expect Amazon to be the go to store when budgets and time are tight.

Amazon Expert Predictions

Liran Hirschkorn
7 Figure Seller
Seller Coach at Amazing Freedom

  1. Amazon merges Seller Central and Vendor Central into a new system called Vendor One, which gives third party sellers more brand control.
  2. Brands direct more ad traffic to Amazon instead of their own websites, increasing PPC costs.
  3. Amazon shares more data and analytics with sellers.
  4. Amazon private label continues to grow, so sellers source in product niches.

Kevin King
7 Figure Seller
Speaker and Amazon Teacher at AMZMarketer.com and FreedomTicket.com

  1. Sellers need to approach Amazon like a real small business, not a get-rich-quick scheme.
  2. Amazon becomes a pay-to-play advertising platform.
  3. Amazon expands their private label brands.
  4. Amazon merges Seller Central and Vendor Central into one system called Vendor One.
  5. Third Party Sellers undergo an approval process through Vendor One, which means sellers must better conform to guidelines.

Danny McMillan
7 Figure Seller
Host of SellerSessions and Founder of PPC Management Tool Databrill.com

  1. Amazon provides a series of tools to battle black hat tactics and thereby attract new sellers.
  2. Other marketplaces continue to fail to compete with Amazon.
  3. Dayparting, geotargeting, and click-fraud technology for PPC is developed to protect third party sellers.

Ed Rosenberg
7 Figure Amazon Seller
Owner of Asgtg.com, Host of ASGTG Event, and Amazon Compliance Specialist

  1. Amazon makes it difficult to open phantom accounts through voice-match recognition or identifying documentation.
  2. eBay emerges as the most potent competitor for Amazon through a series of mergers and acquisitions.
  3. 3P, private label sellers, find more success in the marketplace than Amazon private label brands.

Adi Singh
8 Figure Amazon Seller

  1. Amazon is a lot more involved with initiatives outside the marketplace (influencers, social media, stores).
  2. International markets play a large role in growth for sellers.
  3. Less buying and selling of Amazon businesses.

Dima Kubrak
7 Figure Amazon Seller

  1. Amazon cracks down on hackers and black hat sellers.
  2. Sellers use outside resources to drive traffic to Amazon.
  3. Amazon focuses on pushing exclusive products by giving sellers more control over their listings.

Cherie Yvette
Amazon PPC Manager for 8 Figure Brands
The Urban Cowgirl, Wild West Media

  1. Sellers face fierce competition on category keywords.
  2. Amazon offers more placements for advertising.
  3. Sellers put more resources into remarketing.

Jamie Davidson
Partners with $100m Amazon Sellers
AMZ Insiders

  1. Video becomes more important for product listings.
  2. Amazon places increased emphasis on quality private label brands.
  3. Chatbots become more important for Amazon businesses.

Ryan Moran
Former 8 Figure Seller and Multiple 7 & 8 Figure Exits
Capitalism.com Host

  1. New private label products trend toward micro-brands.
  2. Specific audiences become more important on the marketplace.
  3. Big brands adjust for online marketplaces.

Kevin David
7 Figure Seller
Teaches 10,000’s of Students on Youtube

  1. Accurate data becomes more important for sellers.
  2. Sellers get more creative with keyword research.
  3. Marketing expansion to sources outside of Amazon.

Anthony Bui-Tran
8 Figure Seller
Seller Tradecraft

  1. Amazon makes changes to Brand Registry and PPC to give private label sellers more control over their brands.
  2. New Amazon accounts become harder to open, which means selling Amazon accounts becomes popular on the black market.
  3. Sellers get better access to honest, accurate review generation incentives.

Tom Wang
7 Figure Seller
Trains Hundreds of Amazon Sellers at EcomHub.com

  1. The marketplaces becomes more competitive with an influx of new sellers.
  2. Sellers learn how to drive traffic off of Amazon.
  3. Black hat tactics become less effective.

John Lawson
World Renowned eCommerce Expert
Host at Watchingamazon.com

  1. The China connection is broken, encouraging online sellers to source from other countries.
  2. An economic downturn creates problems for sellers sourcing less expensive products that are frequently bought on impulse.
  3. Amazon continues to dominate market share.

Leo Sgovio
7 Figure Seller & Speaker
Director of Innovation at Viral Launch

  1. Amazon releases their own suite of tools for advertisers.
  2. Influencer marketing becomes a bigger part of the Amazon seller journey.
  3. Amazon attribution and increased external traffic paves the way for a new referral fee structure.

Dr. Ben
7 Figure Seller
Host of Amazon Mastermind thehivemind.co

  1. Amazon rids the marketplace of black hat and inattentive sellers.
  2. New California sales tax issues force Amazon to collect and remit sales tax on all sales going forward.
  3. Google makes a push into ecommerce using Google Express.

Brock Johnson
7 Figure Amazon Sellers
Training hundreds of Amazon sellers at BrockJohnson.com

  1. Amazon platform reaches a point of saturation in the B2C market, so they start to shift their focus toward sellers.
  2. Sellers become more customer-focused, using tools and strategies to create a good buying experience.
  3. Amazon B2B sector continues to grow, creating huge opportunity on Amazon.

Franky Farina
8 Figure Seller on Amazon
Million Dollar Sellers Group  – 9 Figures in Total Sales

  1. Sellers lose access to customer information, as Amazon will keep that data to themselves.
  2. Amazon continues to remove incentives for stocking inventory at their warehouses, encouraging sellers to turn to other 3PL companies.
  3. Tariffs, Amazon private label expansion, and continued reliance on Amazon advertising platforms continue to shrink seller margins.   

Kevin Pasco & Jeremy Sherk
8 Figure Amazon Sellers
Nested Naturals

  1. New private label brands continue to join the Amazon marketplace.
  2. Amazon continues to place restrictions around review generation to maintain marketplace integrity.
  3. Sellers need to have an audience to launch a new product.   

Nick Young
8 Figure Seller
Seller Tradecraft

  1. Amazon establishes long-term dominance on the platform by incentivizing brands to sell new products on the marketplace.
  2. Amazon makes a big push toward social media.
  3. More brands ship direct to Amazon, spelling the beginning of the end for wholesale.

Fernando Cruz
8 Figure Seller
Seller Tradecraft

  1. Sponsored product ads and AMS become significantly more expensive.
  2. Sellers move toward email lists, ManyChat, and social to market their products.
  3. Growing subset of brands that move away from Amazon as a part of their online strategy.   

Brandon Young
7 Figure Seller
Teaching Amazon at Seller Systems

  1. Amazon changes the way they are indexing and ranking products, which means sellers have to be smart about their sourcing decisions.

Conclusion

As you’ve probably noticed, there was plenty of overlap between Viral Launch’s predictions and those of the included industry experts and thought leaders. I’m not sure if it is fair to say that this indicates the prediction is more likely to come true, but it does indicate that there is likely more data pointing to that assumption.

An underlying commonality throughout these predictions was increased competition, focusing on building traffic off of Amazon, and adapting your Amazon success strategies. There is certainly the opportunity to look at this with a negative outlook on the future, but please do not forget that Amazon is continuing to grow it’s ecommerce footprint significantly.

As the opportunity for incredible degrees of success continue to grow, so does the difficulty of achieving that opportunity. Instead of playing the victim to increased competition and “unfair” changes, the truly successful adapt with the times, play the long game, and focus on solutions.

I want to encourage you to focus on the solutions. How will you diversify your Amazon business? What strategies will you use to guarantee you and your team are staying ahead of the lastest success tactics? How can you drive sales, reviews, and keyword ranking in this new landscape?

While there are many components that comprise a winning strategy for the future, Viral Launch is focused on giving you the data, automation, and thought leadership around topics like driving sales, keyword ranking, and product selection. Now, it’s up to you to use these to stay ahead of the curve and continue growing exponentially on the world’s largest marketplace!

The Importance of Ad Position in Your Amazon Sponsored Ads

What items are at the top of your Amazon to-do list? When it comes to maintaining your sales, you should be dedicating a significant amount of time to tracking and improving your Amazon Sponsored Ad campaign performance. Identifying potential issues and fixing them before your campaigns start to perform poorly can save lots of time and headache in the long-run.

Let’s dive into the most important metrics to monitor in your Sponsored Ads, and how you can add smart automation to increase your success rate on Amazon.

A Common Amazon Sponsored Ads Mistake

Constantly optimizing your ad campaigns is so important because Amazon’s algorithms are designed to reward products that perform well, and even a single day with low sales volume will negatively impact your sales velocity. As a result, both your organic rank and paid rank will suffer.  

As you’re managing Sponsored Ads campaigns, it is very important that you pay attention to every single ranking movement, ensuring that you know when your ad is performing well. Getting this right will not only result in a well-performing campaign, but it will also help your promoted listing gain organic positions. (If your goal is to push organic rankings via sponsored ads, make sure that your listing is optimized for your targeted keywords before starting the campaign.)

Many advertisers fail with Sponsored Ads because they don’t know how the platform works. They’ll throw marketing dollars into this advertising channel without any sort of plan in place. One of the causes of this behaviour is that Sponsored Ads is one of the hottest topics in the Amazon space and every Amazon “guru” out there is trying to monetize this trend by selling information that is often not backed by data. The result is hundreds of new sellers starting to advertise on Amazon only because they’ve been told to do so, and they’re afraid of missing out if they don’t join the trend. Classic FOMO.

Guess what? This behaviour will get you in big trouble.

The Ad Strategy that Can Change Everything

Amazon’s Sponsored Ads engine is run by a sophisticated algorithm. Understanding its mechanism is not easy, even if you have some previous experience running campaigns on Google Ads (formerly Google AdWords). There are so many moving parts that it takes just one of them performing poorly to jeopardize your whole campaign.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that building campaigns in Amazon’s Sponsored Ads is just the same as in Google Ads. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While Google Ads is designed to drive traffic from different channels and optimize based on the trackable goals that you specify (eg. lead, purchase, view of a key page, etc.), Amazon’s Sponsored Ads optimization algorithm is designed to favour ads that make Amazon more money.

This, of course, changes everything.

One of the things that I’ve learned over years of managing campaigns on Google Ads is that your campaign performance will only be as good as you are at managing it. For instance, the mistake that most people make with Sponsored Ads is to focus solely on ACoS which is not the best KPI (Key Performance Indicator).

For a campaign to be profitable, you need to first know your breakeven point. This is determined by your listing’s conversion rate, cost-per-click and, of course, the maximum cost that you are willing to pay to acquire a customer (Max CPA). Once you have these metrics, you need to calculate your maximum cost-per-click that you can afford to pay to be profitable.

You can use the following formula to calculate your maximum cost-per-click:

The table below will help you to calculate what your Max CPC should be based on the metrics mentioned above:

  • Sale Price = The price at which your product sells or is sold at after its price has been reduced.
  • CoGS = Cost of Good sold including Amazon fees and various manufacturing costs.
  • Max CPA = (Sale Price – CoGS = CPA) The maximum cost you can afford to pay to acquire a customer and break even.
  • Listing CR = Your current listing’s conversion rate (you can find this number in your Seller Central’s business reports)
  • Max CPC = The maximum cost you can afford to pay for a click and still make money.

This formula will change everything, as you will learn that, often, the keywords you’re currently targeting are not the best-performing. Consequently, you will be more profitable if you focus on those that you can afford to buy clicks for (based on your max CPC).

Once you have this step figured out, the next big metric to monitor is your ad position.

If you are familiar with Google Ads, you probably know that one of the most popular bidding strategies is the “bid to position.” In fact,Search Engine Land even wrote a script to automate this. Of course, having your ad show in position one is the goal for most advertisers, as this will not only increase the ad visibility but get you the highest CTR (ad copy plays a big role here)  which means more traffic. This rule is significantly more important with Amazon Sponsored Ads given that nearly 70% of Amazon.com shoppers place orders using a mobile device.

Keep in mind that higher position means, often, higher CPC so you have to focus on conversion rate optimization first (if you listing’s conversion rate is low) and ensure that you can afford to pay a higher CPC that allows you to compete for position #1.

Now that you know how important your ad position is, it is imperative that you build and structure your campaigns in a way that allows you to achieve this result while minimizing your ad spend.

Keep Track of Your Ad Position

After testing this theory with outstanding results for the past nine months, we decided to build a tool that allows Amazon advertisers to monitor their ad position and receive notifications alerting you when your ad is losing positions. Keyword Manager shows exactly where your product is ranking so that you can precisely measure the results of your efforts. You can even view historical data to see where your ads are at now compared to where they’ve been in the past.

Alongside your Sponsored Ad rank, Keyword Manager shows helpful metrics such as Amazon’s Choice Badge notifications, Amazon’s relevancy score, search volumes, suggested CPC bids, organic rank position, whether or not you’re indexed, and more. No other tool shows you these many keyword insights.

Try Keyword Manager out for yourself. Whether you’re implementing a new Sponsored Ads strategy with profitability in mind, or you’re monitoring your indexation and keyword rank, Keyword Manager equips you with the metrics you need to position your listing for success.

Track Your Ad Position

Amazon Terms of Service: A Quick Recap

When you signed up to be an Amazon Seller, you agreed to a long list of seller policies and terms of use. Over time, the Amazon Terms of Service can become a distant memory and as Q4 ramps up, you may be looking for tactics to push your sales. In the flurry of the holiday season, it is easy to make a rash decision that might fall on the wrong side of the rules, risking future sales or your entire Amazon business.

 

 

Luckily, we are here to give you a quick refresher on the important policies and regulations to help keep your account safe. We have compiled an overview of Amazon Terms of Service, including code of conduct, selling policies and prohibited actions to jog your memory and help you avoid any questionable tactics.

Let’s get started!

Seller Code of Conduct

Amazon strives to provide a safe and trustworthy online marketplace for millions of customers across the globe. They require sellers to adhere by a strict code of conduct to ensure shoppers trust their purchases and continue to return to the site. This code of conduct also protects you as a seller in that it keeps your competitors from using unfair tactics to outsell you and other rule-following sellers.

If Amazon discovers that you have violated their Code of Conduct, they typically take quick action. This can include suspending your seller privileges and/or removing you from the entire Amazon Marketplace.

Amazon Selling Policies

In order to protect consumers, Amazon has rules and requirements on what types of products can be sold on their site. Be sure you are not planning to sell any questionable items on the marketplace. Amazon does not allow you to list products that:

Prohibited Seller Actions

Amazon prohibits certain actions by sellers in order to protect both sellers themselves and shoppers. The site does its best to keep the playing field level for all sellers, so any action that gives you an unfair advantage over your competitors is not permitted. Chances are if you are worried whether a tactic you are considering using may be against the rules, it probably is. Here is a quick recap of some prohibited actions:

1. Diverting traffic from Amazon

Sellers are not permitted to use any sort of language or web links that push traffic away from the Amazon website. This includes any advertisements, special offers or calls to action that encourage shoppers to leave the site.

2. Unauthorized business names

All business names must accurately identify the seller, must not mislead shoppers and must be a name that the seller is permitted to use (i.e. it cannot be a brand or trademarked name that you do not have appropriate permission to use). Business names cannot contain an email suffix (i.e. .com, .biz, .net, etc.).

3. Inappropriate email communications

Sellers are not allowed to send any unsolicited emails to customers other than those needed for order fulfillment or customer service. Marketing emails to customers are not permitted.

4. Improper use of customer phone numbers

Customer phone numbers are provided to sellers who fulfill their own orders so they are able to comply with carrier label requirements. These phone numbers must be handled in accordance with Amazon’s customer personal information policy, which can be found in the Seller Agreement.

5. Multiple seller accounts

Sellers are not permitted to operate and maintain multiple seller accounts. If you have a legitimate business need for multiple accounts, you can apply for an exception by visiting the Contact Us section of your seller account. Click on Selling on Amazon, then select Your Account, then Other Account Issues. You must provide an explanation of your need for multiple accounts in your submission.

6. Misuse of the Amazon seller service

Sellers that upload excessive amounts of data repeatedly or use the service in an excessive or unreasonable way may face restricted or blocked access to product feeds or any other function they are misusing. Amazon decides what constitutes this misuse at their own discretion.

7. Misuse of ratings, feedbacks or reviews

Sellers are strictly prohibited from engaging in any action that may manipulate ratings, feedback, or reviews. This includes offering incentives to customers for their reviews or ratings, posting feedback to your own account, etc. You are allowed to ask for reviews in a neutral manner, but you are not allowed to ask for positive reviews. Sellers must also comply with Amazon’s Community Guidelines when dealing with customer reviews.

8. Misuse of sales rank

Sellers are prohibited from engaging in actions that manipulate sales rank. This includes soliciting or knowingly accepting fake orders, placing orders for your own products or providing compensation to shoppers for buying your products. Sellers are also not allowed to make claims about their sales rank in their product information.

9. Misuse of search and browse

Any attempt to manipulate the Search and Browse experience of shoppers is prohibited. This includes artificially stimulating customer traffic through internet bots, etc., providing misleading catalog information about your product, or adding product identifiers to hidden keyword attributes. Follow Amazon’s guide to properly optimize listings in order to write your listing in compliance with Amazon’s rules.

10. Misuse of product customization

Those products that are listed as being customizable must be able to deliver on this claim. Any attempt to manipulate custom functionality in a manner which bypasses existing Amazon policies or misrepresents customized products is prohibited.

Know the Rules, Follow the Rules

Amazon does not take violations of their terms of service lightly. At best, you may get flagged and temporarily suspended. At worst, you could be banned completely by the online retailer, stopping your cash flow and dashing all hopes of future sales.

Though it may be tempting at times to try questionable tactics to boost sales, it is not worth the risk. You may see some of your competitors breaking the rules to get ahead, and while they may not get caught immediately, Amazon almost always catches up to sellers who are abusing their terms of service.

We at Viral Launch are here to provide TOS compliant solutions to help your listing pick up speed and generate sales. From professional photography to optimized listings, we have a team of experts ready to get to work for you. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help you!

How To Sell Books on Amazon

A Beginners Guide (Part 1)

We’ve all been there. You look around and notice you have somehow collected enough books to open a mini library. There’s old textbooks you’ll never use, books that were given to you as gifts, and the stack of books you keep saying “one day” to.

No? Just us? That’s fine.

The point is, sometimes you find yourself with a stash of books, and you don’t know what to do with them. You could donate them, but sometimes those books cost a small fortune. And you don’t want to lose out on all that cash you spent on that geology textbook you didn’t even use (Sorry, college professors). So, what do you do with them?

 

Solution: Sell Used Books on Amazon

 

If you’re looking to get into the Amazon selling game, selling your new or used books is a great place to start. There’s no risk of spending a small fortune sourcing a product that may or may not sell and no need to worry about manufacturing or importing costs.

And if you’re already in the Amazon selling game, adding books to your inventory is a no-brainer if you’re looking to make a few extra bucks here and there.

 

How to Sell Used Books on Amazon – Getting Started

First things first, you’ll need a stash of books to sell, and you’ll need an Amazon seller account to access your dashboard, Seller Central. Amazon offers two types for you to choose from: Individual Seller or Professional Seller

 

Individual Seller: $0.99 per sale closing fee, NO monthly subscription

Professional Seller: $39.99 monthly subscription fee, NO per sale closing fee

 

If you’re unsure which option is right for you, consider how many books you are wanting to sell per month. Amazon allows a maximum of 40 items per month on an Individual seller account. If you are planning on selling more than 40 books, or you are planning on selling books in addition to other products totaling more than 40, you will want to opt for a Professional seller account.

 

Listing Information – What You Need to Know

Once your Seller Account is all set up and ready to go, gather the appropriate information about your books. This allows you to have all your information readily available when it comes time to actually list them on Amazon.

Whether you just make sure you know where the information is located in each book or you write it down so it’s all in one place, here is the information to gather:

  • Title
  • Author(s)
  • ISBN
  • Publisher information
  • Book condition

 

What’s an ISBN and where can I find it?

ISBN is an International Standard Book Number. They always consist of 13 digits and are assigned to each edition and variation of a book. It can be found on the book’s barcode.

How do I know what the book condition is?

When selling pre-owned books on Amazon, you are required to list the book’s condition. This is applicable to hardcover and paperback books.

Your books can be one of six types of conditions:

  • New
  • Used – Like New
  • Used – Very Good
  • Used – Good
  • Used – Acceptable
  • Used – Unacceptable

Books categorized as Unacceptable are not sold on Amazon. This includes books that are sale of advance reading copies, including uncorrected proofs, of in-print or not-yet-published books.

 

Listing Books to Sell on Amazon

Once you have all the information, you’re ready to list your books for sale. When it comes to actually listing books, Amazon is by far the easiest platform to use. Creating a listing for your book can take as little as one minute.

When starting a listing, there are three different options for you to choose from:

  • “Sell Your Stuff” and enter the Title or ISBN number
  • Search for the book as if you were wanting to buy it and click “Start Selling”
  • List a New Title if no results come up for the ISBN you’re wanting to sell

 

Sell My Stuff

Go into your Seller Central and find the “Sell Your Stuff” tab. Type in the title or the ISBN number and search. Make sure your category is set to “Books.”

Click “Start Selling” and begin your listing.

Start Selling

Go to the Amazon homepage and use the search bar to find the book you are looking to sell. Once you find it, go to the listing detail page.

Click “Sell on Amazon” on the right side of the screen to begin your listing.

New Title

On the rare occasion the above two options don’t work, Amazon will provide you with the option to create a brand new listing.

This will happen when you search for an ISBN and no results come up, meaning there is no existing listing for that book. Amazon will then direct you to begin a new listing.

For a new listing, you will need to provide the following:

  • Title
  • Author
  • ISBN
  • Publisher information

 

Setting the Price – What’s the best price to sell my books for on Amazon?

When listing your book, Amazon shows you how many other offers for the same book are being sold and what price range the books are selling within.

This is super convenient and helpful, as it will allow you to determine your price point. If you’re a new seller listing a single copy of a book, you should list it as the lowest price in the price range. This will boost the chances of a quick sale.

For some books, it might make more sense to list in the higher price range. This could be for current edition textbooks, first edition novels, or special edition books.

 

Shipping and Costs

Once you input all the required information and click “Save,” your listing will go live on Amazon and will be ready for potential buyers to search for.

You will need to decide on your shipping method: FBM vs FBA.

 

FBM – Fulfilled by Merchant

If you’re only selling a handful of books, this might be the option for you. Because you already have the books, you just keep them in your house until someone buys them. No additional storage fees! Once a book is sold, you are responsible for boxing it up, labeling, and shipping it out. Shipping costs can be calculated into your initial price point.

FBA – Fulfilled by Amazon
If you’re selling more than 40 books, multiple copies of a book, or you don’t want to have to worry about shipping, FBA is a great option. For extra fees, you ship your inventory to an Amazon Fulfillment Center and they take care of the rest when an order is placed.

 

Make sure you fully research the pros and cons of FBA and FBM before deciding. Deciding on a fulfillment method is important as additional steps and fees may apply.

 

The Pay Out

Getting paid is arguably the best part about selling on Amazon. If you already set up your seller account and have everything approved, you probably remember Amazon requesting your bank information.

Amazon will directly deposit payments into your account every two weeks. Each deposit can take up to 5 business days and Amazon will send you a notification when the payment is sent.

 

Other Ways to Sell Books

If you’re looking to sell books that aren’t pre-owned or used, there are definitely options. Amazon offers 5 book selling portals for you to sell from if you wish. These portals are for selling e-books, audio books, and even self-published books. But that’s a blog for another day!

 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to become an Amazon Seller, subscribe to the Viral Launch blog, YouTube channel, and our podcast: Follow the Data: Your Journey to Amazon FBA Success.

 

While Amazon is now the second largest ecommerce platform in terms of sales, it actually got its humble beginning as an online bookstore in 1994. It all began inside of Jeff Bezos’ rented garage in Bellevue, Washington!

Jeff Bezos chose books due to the high demand of literature worldwide and their low price point. This still stands true today so selling used books on Amazon is a smart move to make some extra pocket change and relieve your overcrowded bookshelves.