Amazon Updates: Brand New Seller Communication Guidelines

Amazon announced imminent updates to its Buyer-Seller communication guidelines. Are you prepared for the change?

Sellers talked, Amazon listened.

After receiving feedback from sellers and developers about aspects of the Amazon Communication Guidelines being confusing, Amazon has attempted to simplify and clarify their updated policy.

The updated guidelines go into effect on November 3, 2020, so sellers have a few weeks until these changes go in place. Sellers would be wise to familiarize themselves with these changes ASAP, as not to be left behind during this hectic Q4.

Any sellers who violate these Communication Guidelines risk limitations being placed on Permitted Messages or even a suspension of their selling privileges. It’s important to remember these guidelines exist to maintain the mutually beneficial relationship between sellers and buyers on Amazon.

What’s Allowed?

Perhaps the most significant, actionable update, sellers maintain the option to directly ask customers for a review or feedback.

“You may send proactive Permitted Messages for the following reasons: resolving an issue with order fulfillment, requesting additional information required to complete the order, asking a return-related question, sending an invoice, requesting product review and/or seller feedback, scheduling the delivery of a heavy or bulky item, scheduling a Home Services appointment, verifying a custom design, or any other reason where the contact is required for the buyer to receive their purchase.”

In terms of timeframe, sellers can only send messages to a customer within 30 days after the order was placed. You are also allowed 1 message per order placed. After 30 days or your first message, contacting them is a no-go unless they are to place another order with you.

You retain the option to include instructions or warranty information, but no more messages that simply say “thank you” without an approved attachment.

Sellers can breathe a sigh of relief, as sellers can still utilize third-party applications to help simplify the review generation provided those third-party applications utilize Amazon’s “Request A Review” button. Viral Launch’s Review Automation tool, included inside of Market Intelligence, automates this process to make it simple and effective for sellers to maximize their review boosting efforts.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that Amazon still handles much of the communication with sellers to set a standard across the marketplace and streamline the buyer and seller experience. Amazon requests that sellers promptly confirm shipment of all orders, which is primarily completed in the Manage Orders feature. Once you’ve confirmed shipment, Amazon fires off a confirmation email to the buyer.

What’s NOT Allowed?

While most of the updated policy remains the same in practicality, it’s well worth reviewing as a refresher to make sure you’re abiding by Amazon guidelines.

One of the eye-catching notes also included in the policy is that “spelling errors or grammar issues” may not be included in messaging.

As always, it might be worth running your messages by a second person or through an app such as Grammarly to make sure you’re figuratively crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s when it comes to spelling and grammar.

If you sell internationally, Google Translate is a free app that may come in handy. This is especially notable for those who sell outside of their residence and may not be fluent in the customer’s language. Sellers must respond to buyers in the customer’s Language of Preference.

The updated guidelines dictate that no tracking pixels or images, links to opt-out of messaging, or external links (unless they are secure working links) are allowed for formatting purposes. Additionally, approved message and graphic sizes are specified in the guidelines, so ensure your layout is within Amazon’s recommendations.

For any questions on specifics to your communication methods, it’s best to contact Seller Central Support before the changes go into effect to avoid any complications.

Verify your messaging templates are in line with the updated Communication Guidelines by November 3 to optimize your selling experience! Be sure to drop your email below to stay informed about the latest Amazon updates and news.

The Complete History of Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day has only existed for a few years, but has made a tremendous impact since its inception.

Amazon Prime Day 2020 is finally here! Shoppers and sellers rejoice!

After being postponed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Day has arrived for its first-ever Q4 date. Typically held in July to fill the summer shopping season’s void, Prime Day will instead serve as an unofficial kickoff to a holiday season unlike any other.

Since the first-ever Prime Day in 2015, the amount of Prime Subscribers has more than tripled. An increase in subscribers means an increase in Prime Day participants, which leads to even more sales that can benefit more sellers!

An instant success, Prime Day has grown exponentially since its inception.

In just a few years, Amazon has turned a special event to celebrate a landmark anniversary into one of the most preeminent shopping days in the world.

To celebrate its arrival, it’s worth looking at how the eCommerce mega-event has evolved since its inception.

Prime Day 2015

The first-ever Amazon Prime Day touted more deals than Black Friday.

The first-ever Prime Day took place on July 15, 2015, to commemorate 20 years since Amazon.com went live and 10 years of Prime. Lasting 24 hours, the first-ever Prime Day features participation from 9 countries, including the U.S., UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and Austria.

Sales outpaced the previous Black Friday, which was the biggest Black Friday to date. Customers purchased hundreds of thousands of Amazon devices, furthering their reach with items such as the Echo, Kindle, and Fire TV Stick. For many, this sales event introduced Amazon Alexa, a voice-activated virtual assistant AI, into households worldwide.

Amazon sellers who utilized Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) experienced an unprecedented amount of sales, as unit sales grew nearly 300% worldwide.

Prime Day 2016

After an astonishingly successful debut, the hype over the sales spectacle only grew for its sequel. The original 9 countries participated yet again and added Belgium to its reach.

Despite some users reporting checkout issues, likely a result of the massive influx of consumer traffic and consumers checking out at such a rampant rate, Prime Day 2016 was a success of epic proportions. 

Over the course of the record-setting sales day…

  • over 2 million toys were purchased
  • more than 1 million pairs of shoes were bought
  • 200,000+ headphones were sold on the platform

After selling 24,000 Instant Pot pressure cookers in 2015, that number ballooned to 215,000 in the same 24-hour span. Prime subscribers purchased an average of one Alexa-exclusive deal per second.

Prime Day 2017

How do you follow up on the sensation of the first two Prime Days? You expand it from 24 hours to 30 hours, while also running one-day sales specials across Amazon categories in the five days before Prime Day officially began on July 11th. 

Did the extended length put a damper on the excitement? Of course not! 

More new Prime members joined on Prime Day 2017 than any single day in Amazon history to this point. Perhaps more than anything, this statistic highlights the mutually beneficial brilliance of Prime Day, as it rewards its customers while simultaneously promoting the Prime service.

Partially thanks to the record-setting sales event, the Prime subscriber base grew to the 100 million milestone in 2017.

In 2017, the number of countries participating in the Prime Day grew, with Mexico and China joining the fun. Orders on the Amazon app more than doubled the 2016’s mobile orders, marking a turning point in how customers shop.

Prime Day 2018

After Prime Day 2017 proved the sales event didn’t need to be confined to just one day, it was expanded to 36 hours and was the most extensive global shopping day and a half in Amazon history.

Small and medium-sized Amazon businesses exceed $1.5 billion in sales. After acquiring Whole Foods in the previous year, Amazon included the grocery store with Prime deals for the first time ever.

Continuing to innovate, Prime Day 2018 saw the debut of Prime Day Launches for new product launches and Unboxing Prime Day events in select cities. Unboxing Prime Day saw local celebrations in certain cities, with special entertainment. The Unboxing event in New York saw a live concert headlined by Ariana Grande. 

However, expanding to grocery stores and holding concerts by pop superstars didn’t come at the expense of Prime Day’s signature lightning deals and mega markdowns.

Customers purchased more than five million items in each of the following categories: Toys, Beauty, PCs and Computer Accessories, Apparel and Kitchen products. Prime members purchased over 300,000 Instant Pot 7-in-1 pressure cookers in the 36 hours.

Prime Day 2019

Amazon Music got in on the Prime Day celebration with a concert from music superstar Taylor Swift.

For the first time ever, Prime Day became a full two-day event, lasting 48 hours on July 15th and 16th. The list of participating countries doubled from the original 9, with 18 unique countries included.

Sales exceeded the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Over 175 million items were purchased and Amazon devices such as the Echo Dot, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Stick 4K saw top-selling deals.

The 48-hour event was even headlined by 10-time Grammy award winning superstar Taylor Swift.

An estimated $7.16 billion worth of goods were sold on Prime Day 2019.

The massive amount of goods sold shows just how far Amazon has come in only a few years, with sales and Prime subscribers expanding so rapidly.

Prime Day 2020

Better late than never, Amazon Prime Day kicks off today in place of the regular mid-July date due to complications resulting from the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. 

More than ever, Amazon has emphasized the commitment to helping small businesses as they continue to recover from the unforeseen consequences of COVID-19. Amazon has offered $10 credit to use on Prime Day when members spend at least $10 on items sold by select small businesses within the platform. 

Prime Day 2020 is poised to be yet another enormous worldwide sales event. The mid-October start date will undoubtedly be interesting to see how it stacks up with the usual July deals. Industry experts forecast Prime Day 2020 to crush the competition yet again.

Prime Day taking place so close to Black Friday will undoubtedly steal some of the thunder from Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and has the potential to change what we know of the holiday shopping season.

As traditional retailers face struggles presented by COVID-19, ecommerce is poised to dominate this holiday season. With an extended shopping void due to the delayed Prime Day, the appetite for deals could be at an all-time high.

Where does it go from here? There’s no telling!

As Amazon continues to expand its reach, there truly is no limit to how expansive Prime Day can be! Who would’ve thought that a Taylor Swift concert would headline Prime Day? Or that Prime Day would be in grocery stores, as it is with Amazon-owned Whole Foods?

The possibilities are endless, and the Prime subscriber base continues to expand in the U.S. and around the world. 

For more on Amazon Prime Day 2020 and all that’s happening on the Amazon marketplace, be sure to subscribe by dropping your email below!

Amazon Prime Day 2020 Scheduled Date Leaked

According to reports, Amazon Prime Day 2020 has a start date at long last. The biggest day in eCommerce is slated to last 48 hours, starting on October 13th.

The long-awaited signature shopping holiday from Amazon typically occurs in July but experienced a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its complications. Instead, Prime Day 2020 will kick off an absolutely loaded Q4 in mid-October.

Amazon Prime Day 2019 was the largest shopping event in Amazon history. Lasting 48 hours, Amazon offered over 1 million deals leading to over 175 million items sold, more than the previous Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

With just a few weeks to prepare, sellers should take all possible precautions to handle an influx of sales, such as ensuring inventory is adequately stocked and replenishing the warehouse as sales. Sellers who are not on Page One for desired search results pages have a little bit of time to increase their organic rank through promotions, PPC advertising, or other methods to boost visibility and take advantage of the inevitable increase in traffic.

The mid-October start date beats other retailers to the punch on the upcoming holiday season. In an ordinary year, Black Friday is known for being the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. However, Prime Day will steal some of Black Friday’s thunder as customers flock to the Amazon marketplace looking to take advantage of the massive markdowns and limited-time Lightning Deals.

While traditional retail suffers from COVID-related restrictions and customers opting to stay inside for their shopping, 2020’s Q4 has all the makings of a hectic holiday season that will present unique challenges and provide tremendous opportunities for sellers.

Sellers who are able to successfully navigate through the potential roadblocks in these unprecedented times will reap the immense benefits. As this holiday season becomes more imminent, it’s as critical as ever to have the data in your hands.

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and YouTube to stay up-to-date as we march toward Amazon Prime Day 2020 and a holiday season like no other. We’ll be sure to keep you posted with the latest Amazon news, along with tips and insights to make Q4 is your best sales season yet!

WeChat Banned: 6 Alternative Messaging Apps for Amazon Sellers

On Friday morning, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced plans to ban downloads to TikTok and WeChat effective Sunday, September 20th.

Users who have already downloaded the apps will retain access for the time-being, but will be unable to download updated versions of the app in the future under current restrictions.

“The only real change as of Sunday night will be [TikTok users] won’t have access to improved apps, updated apps, upgraded apps or maintenance,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Friday morning on Fox Business.

For Amazon sellers, the restrictions to the apps may present a roadblock — and not because it complicates their ability to upload their version of the latest TikTok dance craze.

Many Amazon sellers who use manufacturers abroad in countries such as China rely upon WeChat for communication with their suppliers. Any disruptions in communication could be crucial for Amazon sellers, especially as a loaded Q4 awaits.

While those with WeChat already installed will maintain the ability to use the messaging, social media, and social media, US servers carrying data will no longer work. This means messages will be sent through servers overseas, which will likely take much longer and complicate communication.

Affected sellers would be wise to establish another means of communication to exchange messages with manufacturers as soon as possible. There are quite a few WeChat alternatives to choose from: 

WhatsApp: Perhaps the mobile chatting platform most similar to WeChat, WhatsApp allows quick and easy messaging without pesky SMS charges. WhatsApp is a stripped down version of WeChat that focuses more on chat and less on being a social media and search engine.

Slack: As more and more companies opt to go the remote route in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Slack has become an integral part of businesses in 2020. Slack is commonly at the top of the list for collaborative productivity tools as it contains seemingly endless integrations to fit the needs of professionals.

Line: The Japanese-based messaging app is free and gives users the ability to communicate via chat, voice, or video. 

Telegram: With an emphasis on end-to-end encryption to keep your messages between you and the intended recipient, Telegram can be used via app or desktop. Telegram is expected to announce end-to-end encrypted group videos before the end of 2020, and its popularity could see an uptick soon as a result.

Weibo: Usually referred to as the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, Weibo has over 500 million active users and gives you the option to post publicly or send private messages.

Facebook Messenger: Chances are, you already have a Facebook and utilized the handy Facebook Messenger app with family, friends, or coworkers. Facebook’s messaging app is free to use with a Facebook account and is American-owned, so there’s less risk from potential U.S. governmental interference.

With an unprecedented Q4 ahead, avoiding potential communication hazards will be increasingly critical to your company’s ultimate success.

As with much of the recent news regarding the availability of TikTok and WeChat, the situation remains fluid and is something Amazon sellers should be keeping tabs on.

5 Tips on How 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 virtual Amazon Accelerate virtual conference for current and prospective sellers looking to boost their Amazon ranking.

After a session titled “Getting Started: The Seller Journey,” guests could participate 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 has 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 horse’s mouth on how to maximize rank. Sigman answered the question with five helpful tips that 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 seller tools can help you accomplish these tasks.

Step 1: Choose Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA)

“Using FBA immediately will give you the Prime badge and also 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 full Amazon treatment that they are accustomed to experiencing. Free two-day shipping, the valuable Prime badges, and Amazon-led customer service ensure a sturdy foundation for your product. Customers want to know that they’ll receive their 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. For this, your product detail page must have captivating product images to make a positive first impression and sales-inducing copy that is SEO-friendly.

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

Listing Analyzer performs a SWOT analysis on key aspects of your listing, including your photos and copy to break down each characteristic of your listing to make sure it’s up to par. With MWS authorization, 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 have these two tips mastered, the remaining tips become 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 in hopes of improving rank, you’ll want to make sure you use a two-step URL that includes the targeted keyword you’d like to improve your ranking for.

Two-step URLs require the customer to arrive at a search results page where your product is front-and-center and click through to purchase the product. 

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.

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 for the link)”

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 advertising 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

Let’s take another step back and think about our own buying habits. You’re looking for a product and the pictures caught your eye, the compelling copy explains why you need this. 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 a product’s average review rating and review count directly below the product title, customers can quickly see how past customers feel about a particular product. 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 fee to join the program to help get your listing off the ground, but the program ends once you earn 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 even a ban to sellers who utilize these methods to amass reviews.

Enter Viral Launch’s Request Automation tool. 

Within the Market Intelligence Chrome extension, sellers can grant MWS access that allows the tool to send review requests in bulk to your customers. 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, including price, 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. With this, you can see when your competition has raised or lowered their price and how it’s impacted their sales.

One Last Note On Sales Velocity

The importance of sales velocity cannot be understated when looking to boost or maintain your ranking. Sales rank is updated hourly on Amazon, so the Amazon ranking algorithm is continuously checking for sales trends.

To rank with the top-sellers in your market, you need to sell like them. A market research tool like Market Intelligence provides all the answers you need to know how the page one competition is performing. Depending on the market, it may only take a day or two of high sales velocity to see a significant increase in Amazon ranking.

Utilizing PPC or driving external traffic and sales to your listing through a keyword via a Launch are two recommended strategies for boosting your product exposure and increasing the probability of a sale through the keyword of choice.

At Viral Launch, we have a tool for each step of the way to help you improve your Amazon ranking and help you achieve out-of-this-world results!

Introducing Amazon Accelerate: A Free Virtual Conference for Sellers Sept. 1–3

Attention all Amazon sellers and those interested in starting their own online business! 

Amazon is hosting Amazon Accelerate, a free-to-attend virtual summit taking place from September 1–3. Amazon boasts the conference as the “biggest-ever U.S. event dedicated to seller success.”

Sellers can expect to discover insights, strategies, and techniques from experts to help their small business thrive. 

The biggest name in e-commerce has set two unique agendas; one for current sellers, another for those just starting or interested in selling on Amazon. More than 60 sessions hosted by Amazon pros covering all aspects of the platform are currently scheduled throughout the three-day event.

Packed with helpful resources, conversations with successful sellers, and educational walkthroughs covering nearly all aspects of selling on Amazon, this summit is a MUST-ATTEND for anyone serious about getting started on Amazon or taking their existing online business to the next level.

“Amazon is deeply invested in empowering small businesses, and this is an important time for us to come together and learn from each other as we navigate new economic realities,” said Jeff Wilke, CEO worldwide consumer at Amazon.

Third-party sellers make up 50% of all sales on Amazon, and it appears the company realizes the health of its small businesses is a catalyst for their success.

 “It’s our good fortune at Amazon to partner with a large, vibrant community of sellers,” Wilke said. “Accelerate will help small businesses find new ways to grow and expand while also creating new connections.”

Wilke is one of four featured Amazon Accelerate speakers and will kick off the event with a fireside chat. Fellow speakers include Dharmesh Mehta, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide customer trust and partner support, Devesh Mishra, VP of Worldwide Supply Chain, and Amazon fashion group leader Christine Beauchamp.

Sellers can expect content centered around what’s new and the latest in online selling tools, programs, and services. Timely information about how to adapt and prepare for a successful holiday season is anticipated to be provided, along with a Build Your Business Toolkit.

Don’t miss out on the Amazon Accelerate summit! Sign up and confirm your virtual seat here to be a part of the seller spectacle. You can create your schedule ahead of time with their Agenda Builder once signed up.

If you’re unable to join the action live, don’t fret! All keynotes and breakout sessions will be available on-demand for registered attendees the day after they air through September 30th. At that point, the materials will be migrated to Seller University.

For additional resources on how to get your Amazon business off the ground or take your existing one to the stratosphere, subscribe to our YouTube channel, where we have content for every step of your Amazon journey!

We’ll be covering the event, so come back next week as we’ll be summarizing and breaking down all the big happenings from the seller summit!

How To Use Keyword Research to Optimize Your Amazon Product Listing

You’ve performed product research and found the perfect product to sell. You found the right manufacturer. You’ve created your Seller Central account and are ready to start your FBA career.

Now what?

It’s time to get down to business on your Amazon marketing strategy! That begins with making sure your product listing is set up for maximum visibility and able to convert shoppers to buyers.

We consider your product images and copy to be the foundation of a successful Amazon marketing plan. Every aspect of your selling experience will benefit from high-quality images and sales-inducing copy optimized for search.

Although many don’t think of Amazon as a search engine, that’s precisely what it is.

Amazon is responsible for roughly half of all e-commerce sales, and nearly 90% of Amazon’s product views come from searches.

Is your listing optimized to take advantage of this humongous audience?

Those who do not optimize their listing to reach all the customers for their product are not only leaving sales on the table; they’re encouraging customers to buy from competitors, resulting in ranking changes that further minimize your visibility.Whether you’re creating a new listing or looking to enhance your existing listing, Viral Launch’s Keyword Research and Listing Builder tools are all you need to maximize visibility, increase exposure, and most importantly — boost sales.

STEP 1: Find your seed keyword

First, we’ll need to determine our seed keyword. In the Amazon world, this would be the most relevant keyword that has the highest search volume. In other words, the most popular term that customers are using to find your product on Amazon.

Think about the product you want to sell. If you were a customer, what would I search for my product to show up as a result?

For some products, this is as simple as it sounds. But for others, it can be trickier than you’d think.

Consider soft drinks. Is it soda, pop, or are you like me and use “Coke” as a catch-all for every fizzy beverage? This likely depends on where you’re from or where you currently live.

From this example, you can see how colloquial language can change depending on where you’re at and how the same product may have a few different primary keywords associated with it.

Finding the right seed keyword is just one of the many reasons why Viral Launch’s Keyword Research tool is a must-have when it comes time to writing your listing. Filled with years of search volume data, Keyword Research makes the process of finding a seed keyword and knowing what your primary keywords will be a simple one.

For the remainder of our SEO-boosting exercise, Keyword Research will play a huge role in not only what keywords we use, but how we place them. The proprietary keyword metrics such as Priority Score, Relevancy Score, and Opportunity Score provide valuable insights for us to draw from and prioritize our keywords.

Dig around with keyword research before deciding upon your seed keyword. You may be surprised at what keywords fetch the most searches for your product.

Step 2: Find Relevant High-Volume Keywords

Filter out keywords that aren’t relevant or accurate to your product. Use the filters to customize your keyword list and remove competitor brand names and any keywords that do not apply to your product.

After you’ve found the right seed keyword, you’ll have a comprehensive list of related keywords along with helpful data points such as Viral Launch’s exclusive Priority Score and Relevancy Score. We recommend sorting by search volume estimates, as these are going to be where much of the traffic via search.

Sort this list by search volume estimates to get an idea of what keywords or phrases people are using to find your product. Since search volume estimates are an incredibly powerful indicator of consumer demand on Amazon, we can quickly see which keywords are being used to find your product and the depth of the market.

Ensuring that your product is indexed for the majority or all of your keywords are the first step in making sure your listing shows up for customers. Being indexed also means that as sales trickle in through search, you’ll see your organic rank rise as a result. Without indexing for these keywords, achieving sustainable sales is an uphill battle to say the least.

As you filter through your list, you’ll find keywords that don’t apply to your product, such as competitor brand names. Unless you’re selling one of these brand names, it’s best to filter these keywords out and remove them from your keyword list until they’re all gone. 

We recommend using the “Keyword Excludes” filter to take irrelevant or inapplicable keywords for maximum efficiency. Due to the robust nature of Amazon, it’s impossible for a machine to automatically pull a keyword list ONLY related to your product. But the “Keyword Excludes” filter allows you to take out keywords and phrases that do not apply to your product so you have a keyword list made exclusively for your product.

In the image listed for this step, you’ll see I’m filtering out “La Croix” since that is a competing brand. Further down the list, this brand name is mentioned multiple times. Filtering it out just once will get rid of all mentions of “La Croix” with that exact spelling.

For the same reasons we remove results with competitor names, you’ll want to eliminate other results that aren’t relevant to your product, such as size, color, dosage, or product specifications that don’t apply to your product.

Once you’ve finished filtering, it’s time to put these keywords into action by adding them into your listing’s copy. You can either do this yourself OR you can use a tool like Viral Launch’s Listing Builder to make the process much more streamlined, simple, and quicker.

STEP 3: Piece It All Together

The beauty of Listing Builder is that it allows for experimentation with your listing’s copy and enables real-time feedback for you to see how each tweak affects your listing.

Creating a listing can feel a lot like putting a puzzle together, and Listing Builder empowers you to move the pieces around to see what works.

You’ll see your filtered-down list of keywords on the left side, sortable by search volume estimate, priority score, and opportunity score. On the right, you’ll see the fields for an Amazon listing that you can use without affecting your actual listing.

As you type each keyword in, you’ll notice that each keyword will be crossed off your list. This feature assists you to be as space-efficient as possible with your listing. Amazon doesn’t place extra weight on keywords for repeated use, so once you’ve used it once, there’s no need to add it again for indexing purposes.

  • Know your (character) limits

Your product listing has a character limit for your title and bullet points, typically between 50 and 200 characters for each. Your limit depends on what category Amazon recognizes your product as, and this can play an enormous impact on how you execute your strategy.

If you include your brand name in your title to align with Amazon’s style guide, 50 characters become even less.Product listings with 50 character titles will have to be more “meat and potatoes” while more extended character limits allow more room for sales-inducing, descriptive language.

Across all listings (except for listings with Enhanced Brand Content capabilities), you will have up to 2000 characters to use at your discretion.

HOOK CUSTOMERS IN WITH YOUR TITLE

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and your title is the first impression on the shopper. A thoughtfully crafted title and a professional quality main product image are a recipe for you to get customers to choose your product over the other search results.

Amazon Style Guidelines recommend starting your title with your brand name, and we always recommend meeting their style guidelines to ensure you don’t get your listing suppressed.

Staying within their guidelines can be a pain and stand in the way of the keyword or phrase you’re just dying to fit within your limits. But we must remember this is only part of doing business since not following the guidelines can defeat the purpose of optimizing the copy in the first place.

  • DON’T BE A BOT

A common mistake that sellers make is keyword stuffing, including as many keywords as possible without regard for readability or sense. Not only is keyword stuffing against Amazon style guidelines, it’s not shopper-friendly.

Nobody wants to read your keyword list, so don’t make it your product listing! All too often, sellers use various keyword stuffing methods and see great optimization scores, but wonder why their product isn’t flying off shelves.

Writing a keyword-optimized listing is both an art and a science. It requires the science of search data and combines it with the art of integrating these keywords into your listing in sales-inducing language.

Ideally, your listing is indexed for each and every keyword on your list. Depending on your character limits and how many keywords are relevant for your product, this might not be possible, so it’s important to be strategic with which keywords get left on the cutting room floor.

Our end goal is to increase rank, which occurs when you achieve sales through searches for keywords that you’re indexing for. Don’t get too caught up writing to the algorithm to the point that you forget about the reader you’re trying to convert to a customer!

MAKE SURE YOUR BULLET POINTS HAVE BITE

Once your title has been expertly crafted, the bullet points should be next up on your order of operations. This is where customers get to know your product. What’s unique about it? What sets it apart from the competition?

The bullet points are an excellent place to showcase your product, boast about its selling points, and add essential keyword phrases that couldn’t be squeezed into the product title. Most listings will include five bullets, so think about 5–7 selling points of your product, prioritize them, and place them in a way that makes the most sense.

Sticking with our fictional soda example, let’s highlight a few of the selling points to start it off.

  • TASTE THE TROPICS: Quench your thirst with a can of our refreshingly sweet, all-natural orange soda

Within 100 characters, we caught the shopper’s attention with a catchy slogan, informed the customer that it comes in a can, and highlighted two major selling points for our fictional orange soda: it’s refreshing and completely natural.

We’re answering customer questions while addressing a few primary benefits of this particular soda. We’ve used a few crucial keywords as well, all without appearing to stuff them unnaturally.

CLOSE THE DEAL WITH A KILLER PRODUCT DESCRIPTION

The customer found your product and liked what they saw with your title and header image. They saw your bullet points, and they haven’t left looking for competitor products. You’ve got this customer on the hook.

Now close the deal.

Psychologically, the customer is looking for a final reason to buy or not buy your product. Answer any potential questions they may have. Show and tell the customer why your product is superior to others on the market.

Your product description likely has a 2000 character limit and offers minimal indexing weight. But do not make the mistake of ignoring this section because it won’t increase your visibility.

The longer character limit and lack of indexing weight make this area ideal for placing emphasis on your product’s selling points and answering any potential questions.

Take on the mentality of a customer. What’s in this product? How is it made? What sets it apart from Competitor X? How does this product make my life better?

How you answer those questions could very well be the difference between a customer adding to cart or starting their search over again.

DON’T SKIP THE BACK-END SEARCH TERMS

Sellers frequently make the mistake of leaving their back-end search term areas blank! Just because customers can’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t have value.

The back-end search term fields are a terrific way to grab what we call “low-hanging fruit” in the form of relevant search terms containing common misspellings or search queries made in foreign languages. It’s also a great place to toss those lower relevance keywords that you weren’t able to squeeze into the title or bullet points.

The back-end search term field is a lifesaver for including keywords that wouldn’t make sense to include in a product listing such as common misspellings, Spanish phrases, and others.

Leaving this area blank willingly misses out on thousands of searches each month and the sales that come with appearing with these results.

You’ll likely see optional areas to fill out, such as Intended Use, Target Audience, Other Attributes, and Subject Matter as back-end fields. While we have found no significant correlation between these fields, Amazon has been known to tweak its algorithm from time to time.

Despite the lack of tangible benefits, we still recommend filling these fields to stay ahead of the competition in the event of these fields coming into play in the future.

  • Know your (character) limits

Your product listing has a character limit for your title and bullet points, typically between 50 and 200 characters for each. Your limit depends on what category Amazon recognizes your product as, and this can have a tremendous impact on how you utilize your characters.

If you include your brand name in your title to align with Amazon’s style guide, 50 characters become even less. Product listings with 50 character titles will have to be more “meat and potatoes” while more extended character limits allow more room for sales-inducing, descriptive language.

Across all listings (except for ones with Enhanced Brand Content capabilities), you will have up to 2000 characters to use at your discretion.

An expertly crafted product listing that is keyword-optimized to land you on the coveted Page One for search results. That comes after sales trickle through via the keywords you’re indexing for. It is then that you’ll see your rank improve so you can start receiving

Making sure your product listing is keyword-optimized and SEO-friendly is something rookie and experienced sellers alike should be doing. Trends change, so it’s worth monitoring your keyword performance and optimization score every few months to stay on top of your game and give your product detail page an edge over the competition.

With Keyword Research and Listing Builder, it’s never been easier for sellers to create their keyword-optimized product listing. If you have any questions about what’s allowed or not allowed within Amazon, their product page style guide comes in handy. Additionally, our customer support team is always willing to help provide clarity. Sign up today and select a plan that includes our listing optimization software bundle to maximize your listing today!

E-Commerce Is Thriving In 2020 — And Only Growing Stronger

For those considering leaping into e-commerce by starting their own Amazon business, recent trends and forecasts for the industry indicate the e-commerce gold rush is far from over.

Online retail has continued to roar in 2020, with Business Insider reporting that e-commerce sales for consumer packaged goods grew 83% during the April to early July period compared to 2019. 

Industry projections suggest the shift in consumer spending is more of a flash point than a temporary flash-in-the-pan.

With so many encouraging signs and a promising trajectory, it’s no wonder starting your own online business continually ranks among the top ways for aspiring entrepreneurs to start their empire and design their own path to financial freedom.

Don’t get left sitting on the sidelines! Get on the field and create your Viral Launch account today to start conducting unrivaled market research to find WINNING products.

The outlook for e-commerce is already bullish, but don’t be surprised if 2020 outpaces projections as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing pandemic has wreaked havoc on many industries, and traditional retail has been one of the sectors hit the hardest.

Retailers and department stores reliant on brick-and-mortar retail such as Neiman Marcus and JCPenney have filed for bankruptcy, while many others in the sector also find themselves on the ropes. For in-person retail, it’s just the latest blow for an industry running out of margin for error.

Does this mean people have stopped spending? Not at all. The pandemic hasn’t shifted if people will spend their money, but how they will spend it. Instead of heading out to stores and malls, consumers are staying inside and buying online.

How do we know this to be true? Look no further than Amazon, the leader in e-commerce who recently released their Q2 2020 earnings report

Amazon is responsible for 50 percent of all e-commerce trade, so their earnings are an incredibly powerful indicator on the overall health and direction of e-commerce.

On July 30th, Amazon reported $88.9 billion in revenue, up from $63.4 billion in Q2 2019. The e-commerce behemoth is only growing more powerful as e-commerce continues to pick up momentum making FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) selling an extremely profitable business opportunity with the right resources and strategy.

As retailers who have relied upon traditional retail flock to Amazon, e-commerce will only strengthen their advantages and continue to take a larger piece of the retail pie. But will the arrival of major first-party sellers take a chunk away from third-party sellers?

So far, the answer has been an overwhelming no, as sales from 3P sellers continue to grow year-after-year.

Graph via MarketplacePulse.com

“Third-party sales again grew faster this quarter than Amazon’s first-party sales,” confirmed Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Amazon’s first-party sales were up 49%.

“Our 3P sellers, who are largely comprised of small and medium-sized businesses, also stepped up to help make more selection available for customers. And as a result, these small and medium-sized businesses have seen significant growth in their sales. Our third-party seller services revenue grew faster than online stores revenue in Q2, with strong growth in both fulfillment by Amazon and merchant fulfilled or MFN seller sales. Third-party units continue to represent more than half of overall unit volume, helped by improved quarter-over-quarter growth in active sellers.”  — Brian Olsavsky, CFO of Amazon

The demand from customers on Amazon has never been higher, with over 150 million Amazon Prime subscribers built into the customer base. For years, the biggest barrier for an e-commerce breakthrough was product availability and customer convenience. 

Amazon has grown to an international powerhouse thanks to its platform designed to make the process of buying and selling online easy for those on both sides. On the seller side, Amazon has opened the doors for aspiring entrepreneurs by leveling the playing field with massive warehouses for storage and their state-of-the-art two-day Prime shipping logistical program.

These assets are enormous advantages that have simplified or entirely erased areas of concern for those with entrepreneurial ambitions, allowing them to spend their time and energy on finding the right product and maximizing their opportunities for success in the marketplace.

While the light to jump into the e-commerce game is as green as ever, it won’t stay green forever.

Every day, hour, and minute of experience you have on Amazon is valuable for growing your brand and maximizing your profits, and others will surely be entering the marketplace as the industry continues to grow.

Fortune favors the bold and the informed

At Viral Launch, we understand starting your online business can be an exciting, but intimidating leap. That’s why we at Viral Launch have made it our goal to provide everything you need to have the data and strategy to succeed. If you haven’t already, sign up for a Viral Launch account today and gain access to your free trial to see all the powerful insights you can glean from our vast amount of Amazon data. With Viral Launch’s Product Discovery and Market Intelligence tools, you can scout the market to find winning products that align with your resources and goals.

Follow our step-by-step guide to Amazon product research to help you find the perfect product for you! Be sure to join our Facebook community of sellers from all walks of experience and don’t be shy to join in the conversation.

There’s likely to be no better time than right now to get your online business off the ground and be your own boss! Amazon’s seller-friendly platform, Viral Launch’s powerful data and invaluable insights, and an emerging market are the perfect storm for your entrepreneurial success!

Amazon Officially Delays Prime Day 2020

As speculated, Amazon has shelved its signature summertime shopping holiday for a later date than usual this year. 

The annual e-commerce mega-event typically kicks off in mid-July, and the postponement was assumed as COVID-19 created complications. Amazon did not provide a replacement date for Prime Day, only giving away that “This year we’ll be holding Prime Day later than usual.” via an Amazon spokesperson. Despite an officially announced date, it’s been reported that Prime Day will occur sometime in September of this year.

Prime Day started in 2015 with heavily discounted products available exclusively to Amazon Prime subscribers to celebrate Amazon’s 20th birthday. Since the inception of Prime Day, it has rivaled Black Friday and Cyber Monday for the calendar’s most massive commerce days. In 2019, Prime Day was extended to 48 hours, with 18 participating countries. Over 175 million items were purchased, surpassing sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2018 combined.

Prime Day sales per year, from Statista

With this immense influx of sales from the over 150 million Amazon Prime subscribers, Prime Day has been an incredible opportunity for sellers to extend their reach and boost their sales. Like the holiday season, it requires unique planning for sellers as they gear up to optimize their chance to make the most of the sales spectacular.

All sellers should circle the eventual date of Prime Day as soon as that is announced, so keep an eye out for updates. In the meantime, we recommend penciling in September for the expected Prime Day 2020.

Prime Day always presents a humongous opportunity for sellers to take advantage of the sales promotion and deep discounts.

For sellers, Prime Day prep begins well before the event kicks off, as making sure you’re well-positioned with marketing and inventory to get peak value as a result of the additional exposure from the sales extravaganza.

Be sure to stay posted to our blog, as we’ll be sure to keep you updated on the latest happenings surrounding Prime Day and other aspects of selling on Amazon to keep you informed!

Product and market research is absolutely critical to ensuring you’ve got the edge on your competition all of the time, but the importance of that edge amplifies during times of increased sales.

Make sure you’re the most informed seller in your market by utilizing tools like Market Intelligence and Competitor Intelligence to have the upper hand and dominate your market!

Amazon News and Updates: Business Name and Address To Be Publicly Displayed

Recently, Amazon announced that business name and address will be displayed on the public-facing seller profile page beginning September 1, 2020.

Amazon states the change has been made to “help customers learn more about the businesses of a seller and the products that they are selling. We are making this change to ensure there is a consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shopping decisions.”

The change is the latest in a series of moves to increase accountability and deter the sales of counterfeit or unsafe goods on their platform.

For third-party sellers, this is significant as many don’t operate from a traditional office location. Seller Central requires an address when registering for an account, and it’s common for third-party sellers to post their home address.

All sellers, but especially third-party sellers, should take a few minutes to make sure their account is set up to their liking for this impending change.

While this change is new for the US Amazon marketplace, it’s consistent with practices for international markets such as Europe, Japan, and Mexico.


This screenshot, taken from a Seller Profile page on Amazon.co.uk, is an example of what to expect for American sellers beginning September 1st.

The address will be available to be seen by any shoppers, but customers would have to do a bit of digging to find it. Your business name and address will only be displayed on your Seller Profile page, which for most sellers generates sparse traffic.

To find this page, a customer would have to click on the seller name in the Buy Box or under the Additional Sellers if an item has more than one seller available.


At the point of purchase, customers can view Seller Profiles by selecting their name in the Buy Box, or by selecting a seller’s name after viewing other sellers for that listing.

If you sell from home but don’t want your home address listed, you may be interested in registering for a PO Box or setting up an alternative such as a UPS Mailbox to maintain personal privacy.

Seller Central added in the advance notice that customers remain advised to use Buyer-Seller Messaging to communicate electronically, so an influx of mail to your business address is extremely unlikely. Still, it would only make sense that sellers may be interested in establishing a line of demarcation from public and private information such as a home address to avoid any potential complications.

To ensure your information is up to date and what you want publicly displayed, Amazon recommends taking the following steps:

1. Login to your Amazon seller account.

2. In the Settings menu at the top right corner of Seller Central, click Account Info to view the Seller Account Information page.

3. In the Business Information section, click the links for the information that you want to view.

4. To change your business name, click Display Name and to change the address, click Business Address. Enter the new information or edit the current information.

5. Once completed, click Submit to save.

Be sure to stay posted on the latest Amazon updates by monitoring the Announcements section of Seller Central and checking our blog for those updates and how they affect you!