Amazon Sends Major Reminder Regarding GTINs

On Thursday, Amazon Seller Central shared a reminder regarding GTINs that could result in products becoming invalid.

In a recent Seller Central update, Amazon reminded sellers that unique GTINs (Global Trade Item Number) are a requirement for its marketplace in most categories. Amazon warned that listed products without an acceptable GTIN would be removed if corrective actions aren’t taken in time.

As the update states, “GTINs are considered invalid if they are not GS1-vended or not recognized by the brand owner.”

The reminder arrives as Amazon continues to ensure its marketplace is up-to-code and worthy of consumer trust. Above all, GS1 provides standards for industries to allow products, services, and information to move efficiently and securely to benefit of businesses and consumers.

What You Can Do

Sellers can check to see if their products are in danger of being considered invalid due to the GTIN policy by visiting the Fix Your Product tool in Seller Central.

Affected listings will be displayed in the At Risk listings section.

[RELATED: UPC Codes for Amazon: Everything You Need To Know]

If you don’t have any at-risk listings, no further actions are needed.

To fix any affected ASINs, you can submit a letter of authorization or a licensing agreement that meets the following criteria:

  • Includes the name and address of the brand’s rights owner
  • Legible: it is not too blurry and not too light or dark
  • Displays the manufacturer name and contact information
  • Includes the seller’s legal business name or the seller name that corresponds to your Account information page in Seller Central
  • Includes the seller’s physical address
  • Must be in English
  • Includes a GS1 certificate
    Note: We recommend that you obtain your GTINs directly from GS1 (and not from other third parties selling GTIN licenses) to ensure that the appropriate information is reflected in the GS1 database. For more information on licensing EANs or UPCs from GS1, refer to the GS1 website.

Also, it should be noted this is not a change of policy, but a reminder of the rules and guidelines. For the official statement from Amazon, please refer to the Seller Central statement.

Lastly, be sure to check your status within Seller Central immediately to avoid any future complications.

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Can You Use Trademarked Terms In Your Amazon Product Listing?

“How do I get my product in front of more customers?”

That’s the million-dollar question every Amazon seller should be asking themselves.

As we’ve outlined before, optimizing your product listing remains a foundational building block for maximizing your visibility. And part of optimizing your listing’s copy means utilizing as many keywords as possible that customers use to find products like yours.

You may find competing brand names in your keyword list during the optimization process. Depending on your product, this may be more prevalent than you’d guess.

Sometimes, a brand name becomes synonymous with the product, and the brand name becomes a generic term for its market. Think about Kleenex, Velcro, Bubble Wrap, Jacuzzi, Chapstick, Popsicle, and the list goes on and on.

While rare, brand names can rack up significant searches and even become the dominant way customers find products. Data via Keyword Research.

But what do you do when a competitor’s brand name is found in the search terms? Can you include their name somewhere in your listing to index and potentially rank for a recognized competing brand to steal their sales?

These are great questions, and to arrive at these questions means you’ve done your homework on Amazon SEO. One seller in our Facebook group for Amazon sellers asked it this week.

So we’re here to shed some light on this intelligent question and clear the air regarding branded keywords.

Can you use trademarked terms as keywords in your listing?

In most instances, the answer is a hard no.

Per Amazon’s Intellectual Property Policy for Sellers, Typically, a seller can use someone else’s trademark in the following circumstances:

  • When selling authentic goods, a seller may use a trademarked name to list them. For example, a seller who lists an authentic “Pinzon” product is not necessarily infringing on the Pinzon trademark owner because the seller is using the trademark to identify an authentic product.
  • When using a trademarked word in its ordinary dictionary meaning.
  • When making truthful statements that a product is compatible with a trademarked product. For example, if you offer a cable that is compatible with the Kindle e-reader, you can use the brand name “Kindle” to indicate that compatibility in the text of your detail page. You cannot use a logo to indicate compatibility, only the brand name. Any statement you make about compatibility must be true. If you want to indicate the compatibility of your product with a product of a different brand in the product title, please build your product title as follows, taking also account of the Amazon Brand Name Policy. If you do not apply this format to your product title, your listing may be removed as potentially trademark infringing.

As Amazon continues to fight against counterfeit products on its marketplace, it has tightened up on the usage of trademarked terms in listings not belonging to the trademark holder.

Violation of these rules opens sellers to warnings, suspension, or a ban from the Amazon marketplace. On the bright side, you can use these same rules to protect your brand from others if you’re enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry Program.

What about in the backend search terms?

Still, the answer remains no.

While one might think the backend search terms are the optimal place to index for trademarked terms without confusing a customer as to who the seller is, that is not the case. Amazon finds listings that violate this rule and violators likely face punishment as a result.

In fact, Amazon’s recommended strategy for backend search terms is not to use any brand names.

Can I do anything to gain visibilty on trademarked keywords?

Although you can’t use trademarked brands as keywords, there’s a way to potentially earn visibility for a name brand that customers are searching for: PPC advertising.

Keyword targeting allows sellers to appear for search terms that they bid on. Below, you can see how a competitor can sweep in to be prominently displayed in search results for a search for a trademarked product.

An example of how you can gain exposure through a Sponsored Brands ad with a trademarked search term.

However, there are many pros and cons to consider depending on your product, market, and the brand you’d target.

For example, Nike is one of the largest, most recognized brands on the planet and has built strong brand loyalty. So it may be reasonable to believe a customer searching for “Nike shoes” may be looking for a specific Nike product or that they’re dead-set on buying shoes with the famous Swoosh.

It’s also likely this brand had to outbid Nike vendors and major brands like Adidas, Reebok, and so on. Most likely, these ads probably aren’t cheap!

The sneaker market is incredibly competitive and full of industry whales like the brands mentioned above. With the degree of difficulty to consistently rank organically for high-volume search terms, PPC presents the opportunity to compete and even have a positioning advantage over name brands.

Additionally, this particular brand does have one huge selling point over Nike that sellers should consider: price. Certainly, many will breeze right past the ad and scroll down through Nike’s extensive catalog. But others just looking for a comfortable shoe might balk at paying prices up to 4 times that of the brand running the sponsored ad.

Ultimately, these measures will vary from product to product and should be heavily considered if you’re looking into experimenting with this keyword-targeting method.

In Conclusion

For the most part, Amazon sellers are limited with options to poach customers from competitors through trademarked terms. However, options exist to gain visibility from searches your rivals generate through their brand.

Do you have any experience with Amazon trademarked terms? Feel free to let us know about your experience in the comments!

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Say Hello To the New Viral Launch Dashboard

At Viral Launch, we’re continually looking for ways to improve our product to help Amazon sellers start and run successful businesses. As the latest result of our commitment to providing Amazon sellers with the resources to efficiently run their businesses, we’re proud to unveil our latest update: the Viral Launch seller dashboard!

Now, sellers can easily access vital performance metrics for their business within their Viral Launch account. As a result, sellers can conveniently monitor their catalog performance just a click away from the innovative seller tools that power your business.

In addition to analytics, the dashboard displays Amazon and Viral Launch announcements to keep you up-to-date on the latest industry happenings, recent activity on your account, and the ability to create a user profile.

Created from your feedback, we’ve designed the dashboard to serve the unique needs of Amazon sellers. With the revamped dashboard, the comprehensive Viral Launch software suite is a one-stop-shop for Amazon sellers to create, monitor, and scale their online business!

To demonstrate, let’s take a look at the new, insightful features:

Analytics

Furthermore, the renovated dashboard makes sure you never miss a thing regarding your Amazon business. Upon logging in, you’ll subsequently be able to track Units Sold, Revenue, and Reviews across your product catalog.

Whether you want a quick overview of these metrics for your entire catalog or zero in on a specific storefront, our upgraded dashboard has you covered!

In order to see storefront analytics, you must provide Amazon MWS authorization within your Viral Launch account.

Announcements

Staying up to date with the latest Amazon news, seller tips and tricks, and resources have never been easier! Directly under your analytics display, you’ll see the latest from our blog, YouTube channel, and suggested educational resources based on your account activity.

We firmly believe that on Amazon, owning the mental advantage is one of the most critical edges you can over your competition. And this doesn’t just extend to product research.

Especially over the past year, Amazon is constantly evolving. With frequent Amazon updates, seller tips and tricks, and outside-the-box strategies, sellers can gain the ever-important mental edge to thrive amongst the competition.

Simply by checking the Announcements tab, you’ll never miss a beat on what’s happening on Amazon from the seller perspective.

Also, subscribe to our weekly email list to receive the latest Amazon updates in your inbox!

Recent Activity

Lastly, keeping track of your recent actions has never been easier! Whenever you make a search, track a competitor, tweak a PPC campaign, or pin a product idea, it’ll be neatly organized within the Recent Activity portion of the dashboard.

Further, no longer do you need to jot down interesting ideas on a notepad or trust your memory. It’s all right there on the home page for you to see.

What are you waiting for? The update is live! Log into your account to check out the brand new Viral Launch dashboard today! All things considered, let us know how you like the upgraded seller dashboard.

Have an idea that would improve your Viral Launch experience? Leave a comment and we’ll keep it in mind as we continue to improve our tools to fit your needs.

7 Amazon Seller Tools To Boost Your Business

“A carpenter is only as good as their tools.” – unknown origin.

While we won’t claim to know much about carpentry, we can confidently say this quote is just as applicable regarding selling on Amazon.

With the long list of responsibilities that come with running an Amazon business and diverse skillset fulfill those obligations, it’s simply unrealistic to expect to do it all without some help.

Fortunately, there’s no shortage of Amazon seller tools to help you save time, stress less, and skyrocket sales.

But not all tools are created equally. To help you efficiently run your business, here are a few of the best Amazon seller tools to optimize your process!

Glorify

Consider Glorify to be your one-stop-shop for product images. With its backgroundremoving tool, a massive collection of stock images and models, and templates created for Amazon, Shopify, Instagram, and many other e-commerce platforms in mind, Glorify is the perfect tool for anyone who needs product photography.

Just as Canva makes graphic design a breeze for novices, Glorify simplifies product photography for e-commerce entrepreneurs. Designed to fit the needs and wants of online brands, Glorify is a time-saving, sales-converting necessity.

It’s no wonder 51,000+ entrepreneurs utilize Glorify for their design needs. With their tools, you can handle all of your product photography needs other than taking the actual pictures. Speaking of which…

Dripped Image Product Photography

When creating your Amazon listing, the value of product photography cannot be understated. In the old days of Amazon? Sure, you could skimp on high-quality product images and still pick up sales. But in 2021? High-resolution, professional images are a necessity for any seller looking for long-lasting success.

But not just any photographer will do. You’ll want a photographer with experience in e-commerce who knows the value of eye-catching product photography that shows how a product might be used and te

That brings us to Dripped Image.

Photographer/owner Jason Weller has plenty of product photography experience under his belt, in addition to years capturing sports, concerts, and events from around the world with his camera. The result? Professional-quality photos that highlight the best of your product and lifestyles that wouldn’t feel out of place in a prestige magazine.

Alibaba

Although simple, it’s vital to remember one of the foundational elements of a successful product is the product itself. You can do everything right to identify a winning product idea, create a product listing with captivating images and search engine optimized copy, and perform advanced advertising strategies. But if you have a crummy product, you’ll likely be inundated with negative reviews and experience dwindling sales.

Thus, it’s critical that you find a manufacturer or supplier that you can trust to deliver a quality product and work with to make improvements.

Ironically, Alibaba appears much like Amazon, but for Amazon sellers.

Alibaba became one of the world’s largest companies, largely on the strength of its B2B e-commerce platform. Buyers choose from hundreds of importers and exporters worldwide to find their ideal product.

The sheer size of Alibaba’s marketplace makes it convenient for Amazon sellers looking for a perfect supplier.

[RELATED: 11 Tips to Source Best Selling Products on Amazon]

The Amazon Seller App

Selling on Amazon is an incredible opportunity for those with the entrepreneurial spirit and attitude, and has paved the way for countless people to make their dreams come true and find financial freedom.

So it only makes sense that the go-getter ethos of entrepreneurs can lead to intense competition in the pursuit of perfection. As a result, that commitment and determination can lead to constant tinkering and monitoring of your store’s performance. And unlike traditional retail stores, your store is open 24/7/365.

Thus, you’ll want to keep an eye on the many aspects of running a business when away from the computer screen.

The Amazon seller app lets you take many aspects of managing your Amazon business from Seller Central with you everywhere you go.

Use the Amazon Seller app to track sales, fulfill orders, find products to sell, respond to customer questions, capture and edit professional-quality product photos, and create listings—all from your phone.

Amazon

Thankfully, the Amazon seller app lets you manage your business so you can live your best life!

Viral Launch

With the wide variety of responsibilities on an Amazon seller’s plate, a true one-stop-shop just isn’t realistic. However, Viral Launch has you covered when it comes to reliably accurate product and market research.

Viral Launch’s data-packed Market Intelligence tool

Whether you’re starting on Amazon and looking for your first product or managing a sizable catalog of ASINs, Viral Launch’s comprehensive software suite can help you make intelligent decisions backed by a treasure trove of Amazon data.

For those looking for a profitable product to sell, the Product Discovery tool reverse engineers results based on filters you apply based on your goals and resources. Our most popular tool, Market Intelligence, provides continuously updated sales data that sellers can peruse to be a master of their market.

Once you’ve found your product idea, utilize Keyword Research to find a complete keyword list to maximize SEO and experiment with your listing in Listing Builder. Track your rivals with Competitor Intelligence to know their every move so you can counter strategically. Automate and optimize PPC campaigns in Kinetic and monitor your rank performance by keyword with Listing Analyzer.

With thoughtfully integrated tools, Viral Launch truly is a one-stop-shop for Amazon product research. With pricing packages catered to your needs based on where you are in your Amazon journey, you don’t need to spend an arm and a leg to gain that numerical advantage.

Simply put, Viral Launch’s Amazon seller tools offer almost everything a seller could ask for. In business, there’s no greater advantage than the statistical advantage.

Listing Dojo

Split Testing tests potential changes and provides data for you to optimize multiple aspects of your listing.

One of the most anxiety-inducing facets of running a business is understanding the possibility that you’re not maximizing your potential.

Is my hero image costing me sales? Would a price decrease significantly boost sales and increase profitability? Would tweaking the product title lead to more traffic?

These are just a few of the countless questions you may have about your Amazon product listings. Implementing significant changes to your listing can be nerve-wracking due to the unknown outcome. Luckily, you can find the answers with actual results by split testing in smaller doses with Listing Dojo.

With Listing Dojo, you can let the data make the decisions. Listing Dojo allows you to run tests on your listing’s title, price, images, or description. As you run the split testing, you’ll be able to see how these changes are impacting your bottom line. Once the tests have run for an appropriate amount of time (recommended: 7 day minimum), you’ll have informative reports comparing and contrasting each’s performance. You may be surprised at how one minor tweak can impact your bottom line.

Moreover, Listing Dojo is entirely free, making it a no-brainer for maximizing profitability.

The Empire Flippers Valuation Tool

The topic of selling your Amazon business is one we’ve tackled recently, and the business valuation tool from Empire Flippers is the best starting point you’ll find. You can fill out their brief form at no cost, and they’ll run the numbers for your company evaluation.

Within minutes, you can discover your business’s estimated valuation to consider if selling is right for you.

Once you’ve received your valuation, you receive a breakdown that operates as a SWOT analysis for your valuation. , the tool provides automatic feedback to help you understand your valuation at a categoric level. Consequently, you can keep that feedback in mind as you advance your business.

An innovator in the e-commerce business transaction industry, Empire Flippers is as trustworthy as they come. Whether considering selling your business or not, every seller should take a few minutes to understand their business a little better from a buyer’s perspective. And if selling sounds right for you, you can certainly entrust the Empire Flippers team to guide you through the process.

In conclusion, these Amazon seller tools are among the many that can make life easier. What Amazon seller tools have been a tremendous asset for you? Let us know in the comments!

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The Amazon Product Documents Program Explained

Amazon’s latest seller program aims to cut down on returns, increase customer satisfaction, and improve the buyer and seller experience.

Recently, Amazon unveiled its Product Documents Program, a helpful resource for sellers to upload electronic documents for potential customers to view.

Safety information, user guides and manuals, fact sheets, and instructions for use are just a few of the vital documents that eligible sellers can upload to improve their customer experience.

Previously, sellers needed to include these documents as inserts with their purchase, making them only available to customers who had already made a purchase. Now, this information can visible to customers as they shop.

Amazon describes the program below.

These are customer-facing documents that will be shown on your product detail pages. They are intended to provide pre-purchase information and post-purchase support content to customers. Adding product documents to your product detail pages can result in higher conversion rates, lower customer support costs, increased sales, and fewer returns when used effectively.

Amazon’s About Product Documents

Of course, with any new program, there are questions. Below, we’ll answer a few of the initial questions to help you get familiar with the new program.

Why does this program exist? Who does it benefit?

Customers and all eligible sellers who utilize the program benefit by increasing the quality of seller-to-buyer communication.

Before purchasing, customers can see important information about the product they’re purchasing. For instance, a customer may purchase a product that is more difficult to assemble than they anticipated, contains materials they don’t approve of, or be sized differently than anticipated. Typically, these transactions end with some combination of an unsatisfied customer, a return, or a poor review.

Amazon Product Documents allow sellers to be more transparent with customers regarding crucial product information. As a result, a more informed customer is more likely to be a satisfied customer. Additionally, a seller that is more transparent about product information is more likely to make a sale, avoid a negative review, and generate brand loyalty.

All in all, the program is mutually beneficial for the seller and the buyer.

Who Can Participate?

Registered brand owners in the Amazon Brand Registry program.

The Product Documents Program is the latest perk of being brand registered. While purely speculation, we’d imagine this is unlikely to become available for non-brand registered sellers any time soon.

[RELEVANT: A Guide to Amazon Brand Registry]

How much does it cost to join?

That’s right! There is no fee to join the Amazon Product Documents Program.

What types of documents can be uploaded?

At the moment, this is a complete list of the types of documents and formats allowed as a part of the Amazon Product Documents Program:

  • Safety Information (PDF)
  • Certificate of Analysis (PDF)
  • Certificate of Compliance (PDF)
  • User Guide (PDF)
  • User Manual (PDF)
  • Specification Sheet (PDF)
  • Comparison Chart (PDF)
  • Product Documentation (PDF)
  • 2D CAD (PDF, DWG, DXF)
  • 3D CAD (PDF, EDRW, EPRT, IGS, SLDPRT, STP)
  • Application Guide (PDF)
  • Brochure (PDF)
  • Compatibility Guide (PDF)
  • Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) (PDF)
  • EUA Amendment(s) (PDF)
  • FAQ (PDF)
  • Instructions for Use (IFU) (PDF)
  • Fact Sheet (Patient) (PDF)
  • Fact Sheet (Provider) (PDF)
  • Safety Information (PDF)
  • Size Guide (PDF)
  • Troubleshooting Guide (PDF)

How do I get started?

Amazon provides the following instructions for uploading documents from start-to-finish!

To upload documents for your product in Seller Central:

  1. Go to Inventory > Manage Product Documents.
  2. Click Upload New Documents.
  3. Choose a name for the document you are uploading. This is only for your reference. Customers will not see this name.
  4. Select a document type from the list of allowed document types.
  5. Choose the language or languages that are present in the document you are uploading.
  6. Choose a file to upload. Files must be:
    • Less than 10MB
    • PDF format except for CAD drawings
    • CAD drawings may be in PDF, dwg, dxf, igs, eprt, edrw, sidprt, or stp format
  7. Search by ASIN or product name and follow the on-screen prompts to associate one or more ASINs with the document you are uploading. At least one ASIN must be applied to the document for it to be uploaded.

Once submitted, your content may take seven business days to be reviewed for adherence to below mentioned Amazon guidelines for product documents. It may take longer during peak times. Documents that do not adhere to these guidelines will be rejected.

Once approved, it can take up to seven business days to publish on the detail page of the ASINs to which it applies. If the document status is “Not approved,” view the rejection reasons by clicking Edit for a specific document and make the changes.”

Conclusion

Above all, the Amazon Product Documents Program appears to be a great option to improve customer experience. For eligible sellers with applicable documents, we highly recommend joining this program as soon as possible!

As always, any opportunity to stand out from the competition on Amazon is an edge worth exploring. Uploading product documents with important information may boost consumer confidence and increase the likelihood of turning a click into a conversion.

Even more likely, these document uploads are likely to be an incredibly helpful resource for customers that will decrease the probability of a return and/or negative review. Recently, Amazon has taken much of the onus of customer satisfaction out of the seller’s hands. While this creates less work for sellers, it also takes away control for sellers.

Furthermore, by uploading your own documents and making them easily accessible to potential sellers, you have the chance to gain control back. As a result, you can turn would-be 1-star reviews into 5-star reviews by giving the customer everything they need for a happy transaction.

15 eCommerce Trends Every Online Seller Should Know in 2021

When Amazon made its first sale (for a book) online in 1995, we didn’t see the direction eCommerce was heading. 

Ecommerce sales in the US are ever-growing. According to eMarketer, it’s expected to hit $6.5 trillion by 2025. 

Whether you’re selling digital or physical products online, you need to always keep an eye on the trends. 

This will enable you to get more traction, drive more traffic to your website, increase sales, and better position your brand to win.

So what are the latest eCommerce trends?

The truth be told, eCommerce reached an all-time demand in 2020, given the effects of COVID-19. This acceleration is expected to continue as we move into 2021 and beyond.

That said, here are 15 eCommerce trends every seller should know in 2021:

1. Mobile Shopping is Expanding

Your customers want to shop conveniently via their mobile phones. Hence, it’s important to improve their shopping experiences. More so, since it’s estimated that over 73% of eCommerce sales will occur on mobile devices by the end of this year.

These figures should inspire you to embrace new mobile technologies and customer service tools to help maximize your sales.

Today, consumers trust brands to deliver quality products and services. Ecommerce brands such as Home Depot3Wishesand Zappos deliver the best products and offer fair refund policies.

Consumers feel more comfortable today when they shop online via their mobile devices than ever. Millennials and Gen Z, in particular, use computers, mobile devices, and the internet a lot. 

So you can understand why mobile shopping is growing.

2. Young Consumers Are Transforming The Online Business Space 

According to this study, 2 out of 3 young consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 are spending money to purchase items online now than they did before the pandemic hit. 

They increased their online spending by 57%.

In contrast with the older generation: consumers between the ages of 55 and above, whose online spending increased by 41%. 

That said, it’s important to pay attention to this younger generation of shoppers. These shoppers are not as naive or indecisive as you might think. They make most of their shopping decisions without asking their parents, friends, or spouses for permission.

They can get all the information they need from online resources or learn from online learning and tutoring platforms such as Udemy, Skillshare, etc. 

Therefore, you need to start optimizing your eCommerce store and products for them if you want to increase your sales potential.

So where can you find the younger consumers? You need to consider social media networks. 

Gear your efforts towards social media marketing — since more than 50% of young consumers who purchase items from independent brands get recommendations via social media.

3. Conduct Robust Customer Experiment 

This eCommerce trend is a wake-up call. If you’ve not been following your customers closely, it’s time to start paying attention to their needs and wants.

Conducting rapid customer research helps you to identify key opportunities for serving your audience better. 

Steve Borges, the co-founder of Big Light, believes the most effective way for retailers to keep pace with the ever-changing customer needs, preferences, and behaviors involves engaging in rapid customer research to drive innovation.

In Borges’ words, “Retailers are operating in an environment where change is the only constant.”

Essentially, driving innovation that will impact customer experience is going to be more relevant this year and beyond than ever. 

Brands need to laser-focus on the customer needs, which means listening to customers and taking feedback to help design their concepts better.

Whether you’re operating your eCommerce business through a remote working team or you meet in-person, it’s important to start listening to your customers. They’re the reason why you’re a brand in the first place, so give them attention.

4. Connect Using Social Commerce

Your customers are on social media, so you need to be there as well. 

Effective social selling can reward your team building efforts if you encourage every team member to spread the word via their social profiles.

Successful eCommerce stores are active across different platforms and channels, and reach customers where they’re relaxed and spending more time. 

Customers are taking bold steps due to the pandemic, in ways they shop on the internet. “Merchants need to get creative with how they engage with customers today,” says Alli Burg, Shopify strategic partnerships manager.

Burg predicts that social commerce will grow in 2021 and beyond. Her predictions are based on several factors, especially the big announcement that Shopify made in 2020 to develop deeper integrations with Facebook, Google, and more recently TikTok.

Facebook Shops, for example, allows brands and individuals to design a customized online storefront — to aid customers who are looking to buy products via Facebook and Instagram apps. 

Interestingly, the checkout is powered by Shopify. This is a new development in the eCommerce space, and hopefully, you’ll take advantage of it. Here’s a good example:

5. AI and AR Will Improve Online Shopping Experience

How much do you spend online? Are you leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) to improve your sales online?

According to Juniper Research, online sellers are expected to spend $7.3 billion on AI by 2022. At the end of the day, AR technologies will be used by 120,000 stores to enrich customers’ buying experiences.

AI will be beneficial to consumers, in particular. Because it can offer personalized guidance and recommendations while they’re online. Thus, giving the customers the same experience they usually get in-store.

Artificial Intelligence can use the shoppers’ past purchase history to recommend products they’re most interested in and more likely to purchase. For example, web hosting providers such as Bluehost, DreamHost, and even WPX Hosting track visitors on their websites and use their browsing data to retarget them.

On the other hand, Augmented Reality (AR) will enable customers to inspect products before they checkout successfully. The customer can see and feel the product they intend to buy — purchase completing their purchase. 

As you implement AI and AR in your online sales strategy, you’ll increase your conversions dramatically and decrease the return rate. 

More so, with advancement in customer service tools such as predictive dialer, phone calls can also be used to convince customers to complete their purchase while they’re still on the website.

6. The Emergence of New Payment Options 

As an online seller, you need to embrace new payment gateways. Currently, most eCommerce brands accept wallets — such as Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay, and Samsung), in addition to the typical debits and credit cards.

In 2020, we’ve seen a surge in Bitcoin payments. This trend is going to get stronger this year and beyond. 

It offers tremendous benefits for online sellers, such as low or zero transaction fees and no reverse transactions.

Smart online stores are already capitalizing on this new payment gateway. For example, Overstock partnered with Coinbase to accept Bitcoin as a payment method from its customers.

This year, be prepared to see many online stores integrating cryptocurrency payment options at scale. 

This trend will also provide extra layers and guide online shoppers on how to stay safe online, while using this new payment option.

7. Dynamic Pricing Will Gain More Attention 

Did you know that dynamic pricing offers a viable way to attract new customers and stay competitive? “It’s a tailored pricing strategy based on individuals’ willingness to pay,” says Matter Economics.

The right pricing model can significantly increase the demand for a particular product. If you don’t price your product correctly, you’ll discourage sales and push your customers away.

The right price is mainly the ideal price your customers are willing to pay based on what your product is worth. You also need to consider what price will offer you the maximum possible profit.

Source data

As consumer needs continue to change, it’s valuable to use dynamic pricing software — such as Prisync or Omnia Retail to determine the best price for your products. 

Most of these tools provide a ton of resources and real-time insights into your market, competitors’ prices, demand, and the perceived value of your product to help define a benchmark pricing that will make everyone happy.

8. Consumers Are Embracing Environmental Topics 

Truly, green consumerism is gaining traction. Brands need to recognize this movement and key in. 50% of digital consumers say that environmental concepts drive what items they spend their money on, and where to buy them.

Creating sustainable practices can help an eCommerce brand to stay afloat and relevant in the consumers’ minds.

When developing an online sales strategy, make sure it’s environmentally-friendly. 

For instance, if you sell products on Amazon FBA (Fulfilment By Amazon), then imbibe the practice of sourcing products from fair-trade vendors, manufacturers, and organizations. 

This is a great way to create a greener eCommerce space.

9. Consumers Will Buy More From Independent Businesses 

The truth is that consumers’ shopping habits have changed.

In a study conducted by Shopify, 57% of consumers are willing to purchase from new brands. They want to take that first step to establish a connection. Isn’t that amazing?

From all indications, online shoppers are switching to independent and small businesses that were affected by the pandemic. Even medical companies that deal with empty capsules and other related products are recording consistent sales already.

They want to support them. 37% of consumers prefer to shop with independent businesses to support them, than they did during the pre-COVID-19 era.

Most independent brands offer quality customer support. That’s why consumers are making this shift. There’s also a growing interest in unique products and hand-crafted items. 

For example, over 2.2 million Etsy sellers saw an increase in daily sales during the pandemic, especially as some of them pivoted towards homemade face masks.

10. Personalization is the Future

Personalized online experiences drive sales. That’s exactly what 50% of shoppers want to see when they visit any online store.

If you want to create the best customer experience, you can’t afford to treat your audience like everyone else. They deserve to be recognized and appreciated.

Online shoppers will likely switch to another store if they get poor product recommendations. Remember that recommendations are driven by the consumer’s purchase history or browsing behavior.

You need to take personalization more seriously. 

From the eCommerce emails you send out to your customers to the online campaigns and information you share with a consumer group to your interactive infographic and video content (use a video maker like Promo.com to speed up the process), make them relevant and personalized to your customers.

11. Visual Commerce is Dominating  

The human brain processes visual information 60,000X faster than text. That’s why the future of eCommerce is visual marketing.

Selling products online comes with a ton of challenges. With online sales, there’s no physical interaction with the consumer. That’s why it’s tough — unless you use visual commerce to engage your buyers.

Visual commerce is the next generation of typical static visuals. Companies that sell mattresses, now utilizes interactive elements in their creatives to engage with buyers a lot better. 

Good sleep is critical, hence, online sellers in this industry should get creative with visual commerce, especially when running ads. 

Savvy online sellers no longer use static product photos, they usually incorporate other types of visual elements — such as interactive content, consumer-generated media, engaging videos, and augmented reality.

If you’re looking to boost your online sales, it’s high time you tap into this visual commerce trend. Here’s why: 

75% of online users in the US search for visual content before purchasing a product online. So you have the chance to make more sales from your marketing efforts if you tap into visual commerce.

12. Creative Advertising Strategies Will Grow

There’s a growing trend in the use of 3D and CGI in advertising. It all started in 2020, particularly in the beauty industry. 

Fran Boyd, art director at Shopify Plus agency Underwaterpistol, believes this trend will continue in the new year.

Needless to say, these creative means of advertising products and services online prove to be more cost-effective than traditional advertising strategies.

When you capitalize on CGI animations, you create an avenue to be able to edit and improve the final result in multiple ways.

Now that COVID-19 restrictions are causing teams and crews to work remotely, CGI projects have become the go-to option for modern-day advertising. They’re also smoother to organize.

Another great example of creative advertising in eCommerce is how Ciaté London used an outside-the-box strategy to promote their new makeup range. 

As you can, the promotion was simple. The team projected a large smiley face onto the Houses of Parliament in London and the Brooklyn Bridge in New York.” This happened on World Emoji Day!

It gave people the chance to smile at such a tricky time. Excitedly, consumers loved the approach and the organization saw significant results from this campaign.

13. Online Purchases Will Include B2B Products 

2020 was a record year for disruption. Several companies emerged to help curtail the pandemic with hyper-focused products and services. 

Many businesses evolved in their digital transformation efforts amid global changes. Zoom became one of the best webinar software to host online meetings — since employees couldn’t meet at the office.

Consumers had fewer or no alternative options for buying the products they needed. They turned to online stores to find all of the products they needed.

While food, fashion, gadgets, and other essential items were prominently purchased online, they weren’t the only items people needed. 

Consumers started placing orders for furniture, vehicle parts, and even luxury items used by business executives. . 

These changes in consumer preferences and buying habits may gradually slow down now that people have resumed their normal routine, but the trend will continue to grow.

B2B eCommerce brands are expected to shift their marketing strategies — because customers are not only buying items they need for themselves but what their teams and families need in their home office (for example). 

They can leverage B2B portals and tools such as Hotjar to better understand which sections of their website are being clicked.

As an online seller, make sure your products can be purchased online. There’s no excuse. 

14. Self-Service Platforms Will Gain Greater Popularity 

Self-service platforms have become part of our daily lives. It all started in 2020 when small businesses and solopreneurs tapped into digital opportunities to reach their target audiences. Self-service portals are truly the way to go!

This year, platforms that deploy and allow merchants to sell products online conveniently, without having to write codes or hire expensive developers will thrive

So, how can you take advantage of this eCommerce trend?

You can integrate your online store with platforms that can help you sell your products with all of the essential tools you need. 

Platforms such as Kajabi, Kartra, and Shopify can help you set up product pages, create funnels, and accept payments from international customers. 

You can also use sales enablement tools to power your sales processes when selling to a global audience.

15. Influencers Will Become Brand Partners

Smart eCommerce businesses are leveraging influencers on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and even LinkedIn to promote their products. 

And the influencer marketing industry is huge, it’s valued at $9.7 billion in 2020.

If your brand doesn’t like to create content (which is key to generating brand awareness and driving sales), you can tap into the huge fan base of your favorite influencers and celebrities.

In 2021, many established brands and small businesses will resort to influencers as content creators. They’ll also promote the products on their social accounts.

This form of digital advertising can be easily tracked since the influencer can create high-converting landing pages where interested fans can visit to learn more about the offer. This process will be quick, since they can create responsive landing pages with free landing page builders as quickly as possible.

Ecommerce brands can also take advantage of the new features that most social media platforms provide. The algorithm tends to reward businesses that utilize these new features. 

For example, Instagram Reels often generate more organic reach than regular posts or stories. So whenever a new feature is announced, get on board and experiment.  

Conclusion 

With the evolving trend in eCommerce technology and changes in the consumer shopping habits, you need to stay abreast of these eCommerce trends in 2021. 

Keep in mind that no trend is superior to the other. Regardless of the trend you decide to adopt, make sure your focus is on improving the customers’ shopping experiences when they visit your online store. 

You should only implement new trends when you’re looking to establish stronger relationships with your customers. While it’s important to make profits, it should be your key driver.

Amazon Announces Upcoming Changes to FBA and Referral Fees

Amazon announced an upcoming change to their referral and FBA fees for U.S. sellers that will impact their bottom line.

Attention Amazon sellers, upcoming Amazon fee changes may impact your profitability. Last week, Amazon announced tweaks to the common referral and FBA fees that will go into effect on June 1, 2021.

Before you panic, most referral fees will not change and the changes are modest in most instances.

For the uninitiated, the Amazon referral fee is a fee charged by Amazon every time a product is sold. Consider it the cost of doing business on Amazon, or the cost of being visible to the millions of people Amazon brings to its platform.

Typically between 8% and 15% of the price the customer pays, the referral fee plays a significant part of profitability and needs to be accounted for by every seller.

[How Much Are Amazon Seller Fees?]

In addition to the updated referral fee, Amazon will be updating FBA fees as well. As defined by Amazon, the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) fee is a per-unit fee, based on the dimensions and weight of the item.

Additionally, not all changes negatively impact profitability. Amazon stated, “We will also reduce certain fees, like the returns processing fee, which reflects feedback we have received from sellers and our continued efforts to reduce costs.”

In case you’re affected by the change, you can utilize an FBA Cost Calculator to discover how it impacts profitability.

Lastly, click here to view the official, complete announcement from Amazon. Check out the links below to dig through the changes and find specifics on how you’re impacted.

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Amazon International: Selling in Amazon Japan

In this episode of Follow The Data, John Cant of Rising Sun Commerce joins Cameron for a deep dive on tips and strategy to jump into Amazon Japan.

Amazon Japan is quickly becoming a hotspot for Amazon sellers to diversify online sales.

As international e-commerce sales continue to spike, more sellers are recognizing the massive potential of expanding their online business in additional marketplaces. The Amazon seller community continues to mature, and for many sellers expanding internationally may be a more profitable expenditure than adding another product or increasing marketing spend.

Behind only the United States, Germany, and United Kingdom, Amazon Japan serves as one of the companies largest marketplaces, with net sales almost doubling since 2016.

When it comes to selling on Amazon Japan, nobody knows it better than Rising Sun Commerce. Host Cam Yoder chats with John Cant of Rising Sun Commerce to discuss the pros and cons of expanding your business to Japan, best practices for finding success selling in Japan, and what NOT to do

This episode covers a handful of essential tips to consider when jumping into Amazon Japan (as well as any international marketplace). John, who has years of experience selling in Amazon Japan, shares his biggest tips and strategies for catering products, listings, and experiences for the Japan marketplace.

If you’ve ever considered going international with your Amazon business, or would consider Japan as a possible extension, this is a great starting point.

[You may also be interested in Follow The Data: Growth & Expansion Through Amazon International]

HIGHLIGHTS

Find out John’s story and learn Rising Sun Commerce’s history (0:00)

To kick things off, John explains his e-commerce experience and how Rising Sun Commerce began. With the U.S. Amazon marketplace doing much of the company’s heavy lifting, why pursue Amazon Japan?

One common mistake from sellers is to assume customers act similarly across marketplaces. How does buyer behavior in Japan vary from other countries? (3:22)

Customer behavior changes depending on where you’re selling, so selling isn’t a One Size Fits All approach for expanding internationally. John breaks down what distinctions exist with Japanese customers in comparison to American or European customers.

Where does Japan rank in priority for seller consideration? (5:09)

When considering expanding your brand internationally, selecting the ideal country to start selling in is often the first question. With Amazon continuing to expand internationally, John explains why Amazon Japan is such a promising opportunity.

A top-selling product in the United States doesn’t guarantee similar success abroad. Continuing the conversation on buyer behavior, what categories perform better or worse in Japan? (7:02)

While finding out if Amazon Japan is right for you, market and product research is a necessity. Get an expert’s perspective on what products tend to do well and which ones fizzle out in Japan.

What are the first steps a seller can take to start selling in Japan? (15:14)

You’ve done the research. Selling in Amazon seems like an opportunity worth pursuing. You’re ready to take the next steps. But where do you even start? John lays out the step-by-step gameplan for expanding to Amazon Japan.

These important questions and answers are only a fraction of the valuable insights from a proven expert. Be sure to tune into the entire show to find out if Amazon Japan is right for you!

As always, we greatly appreciate John’s time and expertise. If you have any questions for John, reach out to him directly at: jc@risingsuncommerce.co.uk Or visit his site to jump straight into Amazon Japan strategy.

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Ways to Start, Grow, or Scale Your Amazon Business with $1400

As the largest and latest round of stimulus checks make their way into bank accounts across the USA, we take a look into how you can use it as an investment into your business.

According to the IRS, about 90 million Americans were sent their $1,400 stimulus checks on Wednesday alone, with more to be sent in the coming weeks.

The newfound financial flexibility creates opportunities previously not afforded for those fortunate enough to receive the $1,400 as “extra” money. One popular way to view the stimulus check is as an avenue into investing, but investing isn’t limited to stocks.

Instead of investing in another company, why not invest in your own?

Whether you’re a longtime seller, beginner, or considering leaping into FBA, there are plenty of ways to rejuvenate or jumpstart your Amazon business with $1,400. By investing in your e-commerce business, you could easily turn your stimulus check into a long-term money-making machine.

[YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN: 10 Ways You Can Make Money with Amazon]

We should mention this isn’t necessarily a guide. Every seller’s journey is different. The options we’ll highlight below are merely a few options you may want to consider. With prudent planning, these options present a promising opportunity for you to get a great return on investment from your stimulus check.

Without further ado, let’s dive into it!

Elevate Your Product Research Game

When it comes to selling on Amazon (and in most aspects of life), having the luxury of reliable data to base your decisions on is a tremendous luxury. For Amazon sellers, this is made possible through product research.

Whether you’ve yet to begin your FBA journey or have a catalog full of successful products, product research is crucial for sustained profitability. When you have access to comprehensive market data, it’s almost like having the answers to a test.

While reliable Amazon sales data is crucial at all stages, it’s especially vital for beginners. The research that goes into deciding upon your first product serves as a foundational aspect of your Amazon career. Choosing to source and sell a product without conducting intensive research with data you can trust is a surefire way to make your first product your last product.

So if you’re beginning to look into FBA, test out a few software providers. Most software providers will offer a free trial, giving you time to see if they’re right for you.

How to Find Successful Amazon Products with Viral Launch

Feel free to test trials from different software providers simultaneously to compare and contrast the data. If you notice any inconsistencies, don’t be shy. Ask their customer service team how they arrive at their numbers. With such an important decision that can pay off handsomely, don’t leave any stones unturned.

Aspiring Amazon entrepreneurs aren’t the only ones who can take their product research game up a notch. Often, Amazon sellers don’t utilize all tools within their toolset.

Whether there are underutilized tools in your current software plan or an opportunity to upgrade your plan for additional access, there’s no better time than now to explore unfamiliar tools. Amazon is constantly evolving, so sellers must evolve with it.

Boost Your Business with Captivating Creatives

It’s springtime! You know what that means. Spring cleaning!

For Amazon sellers, the seasonal cleaning isn’t limited to dusting ceiling fans, clearing out the refrigerator, and giving your home a good deep cleaning. It may be worth considering if your listing creatives are due for an upgrade.

Do your listing’s copy and product photography abide by Amazon requirements and follow the style guidelines? Is your competition doing something with their photos that seems to be working? Are you maximizing your visibility by having a keyword-optimized product listing, or are you missing out on indexation for keywords customers are using to products like yours?

These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself when considering updating your creatives.

Even if your product photography is in tip-top shape, additional photos can still provide plenty of benefits for your business. For example, possessing extra product images opens the door for creative advertising.

One way you can spruce up your advertising with enhanced photos is Amazon Posts, a relatively new option to increase brand visibility. Amazon Posts is a social media-like platform within Amazon that allows brand registered sellers to flex their advertising muscle. Appearing on product detail pages selected by Amazon, brands get the ever-important chance to poach customers from competing listings.

How Amazon Posts appears to shoppers.

The best thing about Amazon Posts? It’s totally free. Well, submitting your Posts is free, anyway. You’ll still want professional photos capable of enticing customers to earn a click. Since Amazon Posts is somewhat new, it’s flying under the radar of many sellers, but can be an incredibly efficient weapon for stealing customers from the competition.

Additionally, having extra photos come in handy if you sell outside of Amazon or may consider selling elsewhere at a later time.

Lastly, having extra photos at your disposal provides an even better opportunity to experiment for peak optimization. Once you’ve got premium product photography, don’t forget to split test! With a plethora of split testing sites to choose from, it’s an easy step to maximize your conversions and profitability!

Flex Your Marketing Muscle with PPC

Another great way to invest your stimulus money into your business is by using it to take the next step with Amazon PPC (pay-per-click) advertising.

Although Amazon debuted PPC advertising in 2012, it has grown considerably over the last 2-3 years and shows no sign of slowing down. With Amazon expected to net nearly $13 billion in advertising in the United States marketplace alone, the company has every reason to continue pushing and developing PPC.

Whether this means finally taking that PPC course, creating your first campaign, or trying out an unexplored ad type, doing it with a bonus $1,400 makes it a prime opportunity to experiment with PPC.

For sellers currently selling, it especially makes sense to test out new campaigns now as plenty of customers are flush with their stimulus money and tax season right around the corner.

Want to know more about Amazon PPC? Enroll in our FREE PPC Playbook Course.

After all, you’re not the only one receiving the stimulus. More customers shopping with more money is a recipe for more customer searches. As your product appears more frequently through search and on competitor listings, the sample size for your campaigns grows larger and, thus, more reliable.

Fortunately, the options are flexible for you regarding your PPC campaigns. Set your budgets as low or as high as you feel comfortable with, and barring disaster, let them run until the reporting data begins to stabilize. Once they’ve matured, you’ll have real data on your performance that you can use to optimize to your advantage.

Scale Your Store by Expanding Your Brand

Suppose you feel like you’ve squeezed nearly all the juice you can out of a product. First off, congratulations! It’s every Amazon sellers’ goal to reach and maintain peak performance, but what do you do once you’ve achieved it? For many, it can be a never-ending pursuit of perfection.

However, it may be more beneficial to scale your brand by finding your next home run. Think of your stimulus check as $1,400 off the development of your next product, and this becomes especially beneficial.

Of course, this entirely depends on your goals, resources, and risk appetite. Ideally, the learning curve for launching a new product shortens with each new product. If you’ve built a strong brand on Amazon, the likelihood of your next product being a success increases exponentially.

Instead of squeezing every penny possible out of your current storefront, dig into your sales reporting numbers and do your best to determine the best course of action for your business.

In Conclusion

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to supercharge your Amazon business! Whether jumpstarting your entrepreneurial career or looking to take your existing e-commerce operation up a notch, investing in your business with your stimulus money could provide an excellent, long-lasting return on investment.

No matter what you decide to do with your stimulus money, enjoy it! Without a doubt, extra cash in your pocket is nice. But creating long-lasting, sustainable sources of income is even better.

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Follow The Data: Growth & Expansion Through Amazon International

Ryan Cramer walks through his perspective on where international e-commerce is headed and how sellers can take advantage of the growing seller momentum around the world.

At Viral Launch, we constantly hear from Amazon sellers who want to take their business to the next level. The option to sell internationally on Amazon is a low-risk, high-reward opportunity that’s being underutilized in the seller community.

Why is selling internationally such a promising proposition? Follow the Data host Cam Yoder chats with Ryan Cramer of PingPong Payments to find out!

PingPong helps e-commerce businesses sell worldwide by providing international payment solutions. Since 2015, more than 600,000 e-commerce merchants have entrusted PingPong with their cross-border payments, resulting in more than $10 billion processed for global sellers.

With experience in sales, marketing, and e-commerce, Ryan expertly explains the benefits of going global and how you can take full advantage of growing seller momentum around the world, so you can expand your business as Amazon continues to grow. Don’t miss out on growing with Amazon international!

HIGHLIGHTS

Get familiar with what PingPong does for sellers and Ryan’s extensive background in e-commerce (0:12)

Ryan lets us in on his professional journey to PingPong Payments and how it fits in with his goals. With a background featuring a steady mix of sales and e-commerce, Ryan provides an insightful perspective on where those fields overlap.

Ryan, on how he sees international fitting into the typical Amazon seller’s strategy (10:39)

Quietly, Amazon has been steadily expanding around the world. As e-commerce continues to grow at different speeds globally, it allows yet another way for Amazon sellers to scale their business. Ryan breaks down why it’s worth keeping an eye on international opportunities, and why it should be on the minds of current or prospective sellers.

With Prime shipping, Amazon changed the way we buy online in the U.S. Is changing the way the world buys online up next? (12:57)

The future of selling is closer than it may appear. Amazon is rolling out programs to provide the same revolutionary two-day shipping program in its international marketplaces. For many U.S. sellers, the idea of selling internationally can seem quite foreign. Ryan lets us know about these programs, what they may mean, and why now may be the best time to take your business global.

So you want to sell internationally. What are the prime marketplaces to target? (15:57)

While selling internationally might be easier than you think, there certainly are important decisions to be made before getting started. We discuss the importance of locating emerging markets, understanding cultural differences, local habits, and more aspects to consider before taking your business abroad.

More money is being poured into buying Amazon businesses than ever. What does this mean for the traditional Amazon seller in the near future? (23:14)

With millions upon millions of venture capital money going to companies that buy Amazon businesses, are the days of the traditional Amazon seller numbered? Ryan doesn’t think so in the slightest and believes it’s actually a great opportunity for more traditional sellers.

Lastly, a huge thanks to Ryan for coming on the show and sharing his knowledge with us!

Check out PingPong to save a LOT of money if you sell internationally!

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