Take all Amazon sales from Black Friday and Cyber Monday in 2016, combine them, and the numbers still fall short of this year’s Prime Day sales.
And,Prime Day brought more new Prime membership signups than any other single day in the company’s history.
It’s safe to say that June 12th, 2017 was a huge day for the e-commerce giant.
Prime Day Sales
The most popular product sold on Prime Day was Amazon’s Echo Dot, which had a $15 discount to $34.99 during the sale.
But how did other categories perform? What did the sales trends look like across the board?
For Prime Day 2017, Viral Launch set up interactive graphs to compare Prime Day sales to a 30-day baseline average. These graphs showed sales trends for all categories combined, along with many individual categories: Beauty & Personal Care, Health & Household, Office Products, and more.
Our findings confirmed that Prime Day was indeed massive.
We found that our largest tracked member saw a 6,000% increase in sales throughout the 30-hour window! The real winners of Prime Day were those that took the time to tighten up their listings and run promotions to rank well on page one for relevant, high volume search terms. Many sellers saw over a 1,000% increase in sales.
VL Findings: All Categories
We took a baseline average of the same 30-hour window, two weeks earlier, to compare with Prime Day sales. This way, we have a reference for just how awesome Prime Day sales really were. Estimates come from Market Intelligence, our Amazon product research tool.
Viral Launch estimates a ~252% Prime Day sales increase compared to baseline sales across All Categories!
This graph shows how sales trended throughout the entire day, as compared to that baseline.
And here, you can see an hour-by-hour comparison of Prime Day’s percentage of average daily sales.
VL Findings: Individual Categories
We also looked at some individual categories to see which categories were outperforming others. Some of our largest percentage changes included Office Products and Electronics.
Take a look at the Office Products hourly graph, displaying a whopping 647.26% increase!
Other category percentage increases included:
Home & Kitchen: 376%
Kitchen & Dining: 400%
Viral Launch’s Prime Day trends reflect just how much of an impact Prime Day had on overall sales. In April, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated 80 million US Prime members… and Prime Day has since increased that number even further!
As Amazon continues to grow its Prime membership program, having that sought-after Prime badge is becoming more important with each passing day.
Appeal to this enormous pool of buy-ready shoppers coupled with the additional Amazon Prime benefits creates an amazing opportunity for Amazon private label sellers.
And if Prime Day 2017 was any indication of what’s to come for Amazon Prime, I’d say it’s time to leverage this rapidly expanding membership program on the largest e-commerce site in the world.
If you could make thousands of dollars more each month by changing your price, would you?
Consider these questions:
How did you choose which price to set for your Amazon product?
How did you choose which photo to use as your listing’s main image?
If you’re just guessing which price point and which image set is best, you could be missing out on (literally) thousands of dollars.
Up until this point, you’ve had to guess which listing elements are most profitable because third-party software is expensive, and you’re on a budget. You haven’t had a cost-effective way to determine how to best optimize your listing elements… Until now.
Listing Dojo by Viral Launch is free split testing software. Yes, you read that right. Free, no strings attached. Our powerful set-and-forget platform allows you to determine which price point, images, title, and description make your listing the most money!
What is Split Testing?
Split testing compares multiple versions of a listing, through controlled experiments, with the goal of improving a metric, such as clicks or conversions.
Split testing is also known as A/B testing, but Listing Dojo provides more like A/B/C/D/E/F/G testing. In other words, you’re able to test unlimited variations of each listing element! This way, you can be sure you have the most optimized listing possible for your specific market.
What price point will drive the most clicks and sales? What main image will more people click on, and what image set will convert the best? Listing Dojo confidently answers these questions with hard data, taking the guess work out of it.
How to Split Test Your Amazon Listing (for Free)
Sign up for a free Listing Dojo account
Signing up for Listing Dojo is quick, easy, and free. You’ll provide some basic information and authorize your Amazon Marketplace Web Service (MWS) account. This access will allow Listing Dojo to pull your product catalog, make updates to your listing, and pull sales reports. If you’d like to see clicks, sessions, units ordered, and total orders data, Listing Dojo can provide it all through gaining access to business reports in Seller Central.
From there, you can access your accounts, and you’ll see your products right there, ready to go.
Select your test element
Choose which listing element you’d like to test: price, images, title, or description. If you’re not sure where to start, we suggest testing your price first, as it is the simplest to test and can have one of the largest impacts. After price, we recommend split testing images.
Testing content (title and description) can be tricky, as this involves re-indexing and can have a negative impact on sales. This is a viable option if you’re just getting started, but once you find what works for your content, we suggest sticking to it and running a launch to boost relevance for that keyword structure.
Create your campaign
Select the number of days each variable will run. You can choose from 1-31 days. We typically recommend running each variable for 7 days, as this covers every day of the week to eliminate as many outside variables as possible. Then, input your independent variables. We test a single element at one time, meaning we won’t test price and images simultaneously. This allows for cleaner metrics about which item caused the gain or loss.
View campaign metrics
Each time one variable finishes testing, you’ll get a metrics report. This will detail exactly how that variable performed, including the baseline, which is what your listing is set at before running the campaign. Listing Dojo will show the data in two different ways: a side-by-side comparison, and a detailed performance of each tested price.
On the Comparison chart, you’ll see the following Sales metrics for each variable:
Gross Total: the grand total of all transactions
Gross Organic: the grand total of all full-price transactions (excludes promotional sales)
Net Total: gross sales minus fees and promotions
Net Organic: gross full-price sales minus fees and promotions (excludes promotional sales)
The Activity tab shows the average daily activity of different listing prices, including:
Page Views: total visits to your listing.
Sessions: visits to your Amazon listing by a customer within a 24-hour period. *A user may view your offer pages multiple times within a single time period, resulting in a higher number of page views than sessions.
Units Ordered: number of units ordered.
Total Order Items: the total number of orders for the given product.
Finally, in the Conversions tab, you’ll see the average daily conversion rate of the different variables. Conversion rate is the Total Order Items/Sessions.
Note: to view the metrics in the activity and conversion tabs, you’ll need to give us Seller Central access.
Listing Dojo will show a performance chart for each tested element, including the baseline. You will see the order of the tests, the tested variable, the days tested, and comprehensive metrics. The metrics will be the same as those in the comparison charts, but they will be categorized by test element.
An additional metric included in the performance charts is the Change column, which shows the dollar or percent change in each metric from the baseline. These changes will be positive or negative and will give you insight into which test variable performed the best for each metric.
These charts are incredibly valuable for sellers looking to increase clicks and conversions! You’ll know exactly how each test element performed, which will allow you to determine what variable makes your listing the most profitable.
Make more money
Implement your most profitable listing variations from your split testing, and watch the money roll in.
Why You Must Split Test Your Listing
It’s insane value for absolutely free. Viral Launch offers Listing Dojo at no cost. You could be making hundreds to thousands more profit each month… Why not test it out and see – for free?
Train your listing to be more profitable with Listing Dojo. It’s easy setup and easy money. So get to it!
UPDATE: On March 10, 2021, Amazon announced they are no longer offering the Amazon Early Reviewer Program. For more information on the update, please read more here.
Gathering initial reviews on new Amazon products has become more and more difficult.
You know it, I know it, and Amazon knows it. You need sales to get reviews, and you need reviews to get sales … it’s a vicious cycle.
We’re excited to report that Amazon has introduced a new way to rack up those first reviews: the Early Reviewer Program.
What is the Early Reviewer Program
The early reviewer program incentivizes authentic reviews from Amazon shoppers for new products.
According to Amazon, the goal of the program is “to help brand owners acquire early reviews, which helps shoppers make smarter buying decisions and can lead to an increase in page views, search click-throughs, and sales.”
This is a win-win for buyers and shoppers; buyers get a reward for sharing their opinion, and sellers more easily gain traction for a new product.
7 Things You Need to Know
The Early Reviewer Program is only available to U.S. brand registered Amazon sellers. You may be eligible to apply for Brand Registry if you own the trademark to your brand name that appears on your product and packaging.
In order for an ASIN to be eligible for the Early Reviewer Program, it must have fewer than 5 reviews and must be priced above $15.00.
A seller will pay $60 for each SKU enrolled in the program after the first program generated review rolls in. Amazon will continue to solicit reviews for each SKU for 1 year, or until 5 reviews are received through the program (whichever is sooner).
Sellers can choose ASINs to enroll in the Early Reviewer Program, but they cannot influence the content or star rating of reviews in any way. Amazon does not modify or remove reviews from the Early Review Program, so long as they are within the community guidelines.
Amazon randomly selects customers from a list of all customers who have purchased products participating in the program, so long as they have no history of abusive or dishonest reviews and meet Amazon’s criteria. So, not all customers who purchased will receive reward offers.
Reviewers will receive a small reward (a $1-$3 Amazon gift card, for example) after submitting their review that meets thecommunity guidelines. The reward is a token of appreciation for the genuine review, regardless of the star rating.
Early Reviewer Program reviews are denoted with an orange badge that reads “Early Reviewer Rewards.”
Why Amazon Offers the Early Reviewer Program
Reviews can be one of the largest barriers to entry in a given market. Without a competitive number of reviews, it’s difficult to drive sales and compete with top sellers.
Not too long ago, initial reviews were fairly easy to gather for a new Amazon product. Sellers could give away products in exchange for “honest” reviews. Complaints about manipulated reviews rolled in, and Amazon shut it down.
Since then, sellers have been left wondering how to grow their review base to compete with established products. The industry average review rate is estimated to be around 1%. But with an optimized email follow-up sequence, a seller may see around a 5% review rate.
So even with a stellar email strategy, a seller may only see 5 reviews come from 100 sales. For an established product, that sounds pretty tough. But for a brand new product, it sounds almost impossible.
We often get this question: “I just launched my product and am seeing 1-2 sales/day. How in the world am I supposed to reach 5-10 reviews so that others will feel confident purchasing my product?”
Some sellers were asking friends and family to leave reviews, which is against TOS. Amazon has been serving policy violations and suspensions for this tactic, and we highly advise against it!
What can you do?
Typical suggestions within Amazon’s TOS include: run PPC, drive external traffic, run a promotion, and of course send follow-up emails. But for a brand new product, those are expensive and/or slow methods of gathering reviews.
Amazon understands this uphill battle and is giving sellers a little boost. (It’s also working in their favor, as this program will likely draw more people into their Brand Registry Program). The Early Reviewer Program speeds up the process of gaining those initial, essential reviews, AND those reviews will be genuine.
If you have a terrible product, your reviews are going to be terrible. If you have a great product, your reviews will likely follow suit. No extra perks for a positive review. No risk of backlash for a negative review. Buyers will leave their honest opinions for other Amazon shoppers to consider in their purchasing decision, and this is exactly how Amazon wants it to be.
How to Enroll in Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program
Gather 5 initial reviews by enrolling in the program. Here’s how:
1. Enroll Your Brand in Amazon’s Brand Registry
To be eligible for the Early Reviewer Program, you must be brand registered. Once your brand is enrolled inAmazon’s Brand Registry, you can access the Early Reviewer Program portal in Seller Central.
2. Prepare Your CSV Template
For brand registered sellers, the Early Reviewer Program portal can be found in Seller Central under the Advertising tab. To submit products for enrollment, sellers will upload their eligible SKUs through the template shown below, provided by Amazon. Additionally, up to 100 SKUs can be uploaded at once.
Product eligibility requirements include:
Must have fewer than 5 reviews on the listing
SKUs must be parent-level or stand-alone. No variations can be enrolled. Child SKUs are automatically enrolled with the parent.
Offer price of each product must be greater than $15. If the offer price falls below $15, we may cease requesting reviews from customers.
3. Upload Your Products Into the Early Reviewer Program
A seller will then upload the completed template containing eligible SKUs. Each enrolled SKU is $60, charged upon receipt of the first Early Reviewer Program review. Amazon will stop soliciting reviews when 5 reviews are collected through the program, or after one year, whichever happens first.
4. Refresh Submission Status
Finally, a seller can view the status of his or her submission within the portal. The uploaded file, along with the number of accepted products, number of products not accepted, and total uploaded products will show up in the Submission History & Product Enrollment Details section at the bottom of the page.
Does this program mean that getting reviews is now super easy? Unfortunately, no.
But, it does show us that Amazon hasn’t left you all alone in the jungle to fend for yourself. If you’re launching a new product and are struggling with the need sales/need reviews cycle, Amazon is offering a helping hand to break you out of the cycle.
Perhaps now instead of driving 100-150 sales for 5 reviews, you’ll only need to drive 20 or 30. Of course, Amazon is incentivizing those reviews for you, which is an awesome opportunity for new products that need a little push.
As always, just be sure your product, listing, and customer service are outstanding. As a result, it will set you up for a great customer experience and help translate to positive reviews.
If you haven’t already, enroll your brand in Amazon’s Brand Registry. Without a doubt, the Early Reviewer Program is one of the many benefits of being brand registered, and we’ve got a good feeling there are more benefits to come.
*Note: After you register your brand, it may take up to 72 hours before you can access the Early Reviewer Program portal.
Are you brand registered? Are you enrolled in Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program? What do you think of Amazon’s new review program?
We’d love to hear from you! Before you go, leave your comments below!
“Amazon Product Research: Interpreting and Analyzing Market Data” is an excerpt from Viral Launch’s Ultimate Guide to Sourcing Private Label Gold Mines ebook. Download the full ebook at the bottom of this post.
Interpreting and Analyzing Market Data
Sourcing tools provide A LOT of information! Having more data, assuming it is accurate and relevant, is always going to help sellers make better sourcing decisions as they’re researching products on Amazon. However, that is assuming those sellers know how to interpret and leverage that information to inform their decisions. Here we will do our best to highlight all of the available data, what it means, and how it should influence your sourcing behavior.
Doing Amazon product research using Market Intelligence begins when you run a search for the product you have in mind. We highly recommend that you search the product’s most relevant yet basic term. For example, if you are searching for a vitamin c serum, don’t search “Vitamin C,” which is too broad, or “Vitamin C Serum for Women,” which is too specific. Simply search for “Vitamin C Serum.”
Identify what customers are purchasing for this search term
Knowing what is selling for a search term and/or product market is crucial. Imagine you wanted to sell some gloves to cover your hands while grilling, and you had a product like this in mind:
Well, when you search “grill gloves” or “grilling gloves”, you’ll find that more customers are actually looking for a five finger glove made of either silicone or another heat resistant material.
Sourcing the wrong type of widget for the search term you’re researching can have major implications. Sure, you can still sell the widget with different positioning that is more relevant to what is actually selling (in this case you would need to position your “grilling gloves” as oven mitts), but the market landscape for oven mitts may be completely different than for grill gloves.
You may have to sell at a completely different price point in a market that could be far more competitive. We’ve seen instances, much worse than this example, of sellers not knowing what is already selling when trying to enter a market. Most of the time, it ends with a much lower ROI than anticipated.
In conclusion, know the proper positioning of your widget, and sell a product that is very similar to what the market is already purchasing.
When it comes to analyzing a market, you may come across a listing that has abnormally high or low sales and/or reviews. Generally, in your market considerations, we suggest dismissing those listings as outliers. In our experience, these listings are not worth taking into account when performing your analysis as they are not representative of the market or what you should expect for your product. As you can see in the image above, the highlighted row has an astronomically high number of sales relative to those listings around it. Market Intelligence will automatically flag those outliers for you when you display data in the Filtered View.
When it comes to Amazon product research, knowing the product category is crucial for estimating sales. Sales are estimated based on a product’s Best Seller Rank within its respective top-level category (ex. Home & Kitchen). Knowing the product’s category may also help you understand how other sellers are positioning the product. Finally, you’ll want to make sure that you know the requirements for certain categories and products requiring approval. Sourcing a product in a gated category without proper preparation will set you up for a headache down the road.
BSR (Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank)
What is it?
The Amazon Best Sellers Rank is a metric of a product’s sales relative to the rest of the market within a particular category. The top selling beauty product would have a BSR of 1. The second best seller would have a BSR of 2. This is very important for sourcing. Amazon product research tools use this metric to estimate a product’s sales by leveraging a proprietary algorithm that translates BSR to estimated sales. Market Intelligence shows a sparkline of BSR over the last 30 days to help give a quick view of how sales have trended for that product over the last 30 days.
Clicking into the BSR 30 sparkline will present a popup that shows how the Best Seller Rank has trended over the last 3-4 months for the product.
Looking at how BSR has trended for a particular product can help explain certain scenarios. For example, a sudden drop in BSR could indicate a promotional giveaway. In combination with the price trends, you may be able to explain fluctuations in BSR with fluctuations in price.
What is it?
The purpose of this metric is pretty obvious. Monthly revenue is calculated simply by multiplying the monthly sales metric by the current price point. Knowing what other sellers are grossing in the market is important for knowing what the top line revenue potential is for the market.
We strongly suggest not basing your expected sales on what the top 1 or 2 sellers in the market are selling. This suggestion goes back to not basing your expected results on any particular ASIN. We suggest taking an average monthly revenue from a few of the listings you feel confident you could compete with on ranking position, price, reviews, etc.
For example, I would expect to start-off selling around $10k/month in gross revenue based on this screenshot versus the $100k+ the top two sellers are selling at because they have very high review quantities.
Underestimating monthly revenue will do you much better than overestimating when calculating sales projections. It’s great to be optimistic, but this is an area where practicality will serve you well.
Price is an important metric for informing your sourcing decision in two ways: 1) If you have a revenue/profit goal in mind, knowing how much you can charge per unit will help you know how many units you will need to sell each month. 2) Price will allow you to determine your product’s unit margin.
While some markets are more price sensitive than others, price can be a major lever in increasing/decreasing traffic, but can also have a major impact on profitability. We’ve seen so many sellers source “higher quality” products which forces them to charge much more than the average market price. There is certainly a time, place, and strategy for doing this. However, from our observations, this tends to end up being a mistake, and the product struggles to match projected sales volume.
Make sure you can match the average market price with plenty of margin!
What is it?
Unit Margin is the amount of money Amazon will pay out for each product purchased (considering no returns and promotions). The unit margin takes into account Amazon’s marketplace referral fee (Amazon’s fee for selling on their platform), the short term inventory storage fee (charged based on the product’s dimensions), Amazon FBA order handling fee (calculated based on the product’s weight and dimensions). You also have the option to input your landed unit cost to get an accurate representation of associated variable costs. The bottom line “Margin” figure offers a glimpse into what you can expect to be paid out by Amazon per unit. Tip: Changing the landed unit cost for one product will apply the landed unit cost to all products shown in the “Top Sellers View” for your convenience.
Pay close attention to this field. For example, having the potential to drive top line revenue of $100k per month is fantastic, but let’s say the unit margin is close to $0, then that $100k top line figure is worthless as it won’t actually contribute to your bottom line. Another factor to be cognizant of is that the margin across markets can decline over time. If you find a market and product that allows you to have a comfortable margin, you will essentially have insurance for a profitable future.
What Is It?
Estimated monthly sales is an estimation of the number of orders a product has had over the last 30 days. Based on an enormous amount of aggregated market data, both historical and current, we’ve created a custom sales estimation algorithm that is updated and improved nightly. By observing a product’s Amazon Best Sellers Rank within a top level category, we are able to estimate the number of orders a product has seen. Part of our superior accuracy is our Composite Estimate. Looking at historical data, we provide estimated sales volume per day for the last three to four months.
Knowing how other sellers in the market are performing is critical to identifying the sales potential. Sales volume is the largest indicator for success in a market. Products with high sales volume are performing well, those with low sales volume are not performing well. Estimated sales act as an indicator for many scenarios:
Product Type: By being able to observe how each individual ASIN is performing in estimated sales volume, allows you to identify which types of products are performing well. For example, looking at a Fish Oil, observing which pill counts have higher estimated sales will help inform you which pill counts you should consider sourcing and which you should avoid.
Sales Potential: Let’s say the top 10 sellers are driving less than 100 estimated sales per month, is this a market worth getting into? Yeah, maybe if each unit is selling at $100 per unit ($100 * 100 = $10,000), but if you can only charge $20 per unit with a top line revenue of only $2,000 it’s likely not worth getting into.
Inversely, let’s say that the top 20 sellers are averaging over 1,000 sales per month (excluding other factors). That means there is high potential and considering other factors, this could be a great product to get into so long as you can cashflow the inventory.
What Is It?
Review quantity is one of the largest barriers to entry for a market. You must definitely pay attention to the review quantities of top performers. We’ve observed plenty of instances in which sellers enter a market due to high sales potential, but do not take into account the significance of the competition, and struggle to ever hit that sales potential.
Pay close attention to how review quantity impacts sales.
Do all top sellers have a high relative review quantity? If so, this is an indicator that you will need a comparative number of reviews in order to sell at the same volume.
Are there plenty of ASINs with low relative review quantity that are selling at a high volume? If so, you may have the opportunity to sell at a decent volume with a low review quantity. This is generally a great thing, but you want to be careful to know this definitively.
Are there only one or two ASINs that are selling well with a low relative review quantity? A warning to the wise, we would identify those listings as outliers, and would suggest not taking their performance into account. If you want help identifying outliers, we suggest clicking on the “Filtered View” where we attempt to programmatically identify outliers for you.
What Is It?
This metric displays the average review rating for a product.
While it is important to source a high quality product, knowing how other products are performing is an opportunity to know how your product needs to perform in order to stay competitive. For example, finding a product market with a low average review quantity (ex. Market average of 3.5 stars) could be an opportunity to source a higher quality product that customers are going to be satisfied with.
The savvy sellers will be sure to click in and read the reviews of many products in the market to learn what customers do/don’t like about current offerings as well as potential deficits and opportunities to provide a better experience. With that said, be mindful that your product updates/alterations do not cost too much on a per unit basis so as to drastically diminish your unit margins.
Who Owns the Buy Box
What Is It?
Here we denote what fulfillment method is being used, or identify if the product is shipped and sold by Amazon.
At the time of writing this piece, we feel that this metric should not have much of an impact in sourcing decisions. There are benefits to knowing what the competition is doing, for example, if many listings are fulfilling via FBM, are not Prime eligible, and economically it makes sense for you to fulfill via FBA, this may be an opportunity as shoppers and keyword ranking favor Prime eligible listings. There are also some concerns with trying to enter markets that are dominated by products sold by Amazon directly. These ASINs typically perform well and can be a bit more difficult to compete with.
Sales to Reviews Ratio
What Is It?
This is a simple ratio calculation of estimated monthly sales divided by current review quantity. We call this the “ROI Ratio”. We explain the importance of this metric later in extensive detail.
What Is It?
The Net Profit is an estimation of the payout the product produced over the last 30 days based on the calculation of estimated sales multiplied by the unit margin. (ex. $5.50 per unit *100 units sold = $550)
Download the Complete Guide
Did you enjoy learning about Amazon Product Research and how to interpret and analyze market data effectively? To get other golden nuggets on sourcing your next home run, download the Ultimate Guide to Sourcing Private Label Gold Mines.
Product data vs. market data
Interpreting and analyzing market data
The key metric to ROI
Plotting your course for success
Fill out the form below to receive the guide and start sourcing gold mines:
Amazon Product Research: Interpreting and Analyzing Market Data
“The ROI Metric: Identify the Best Products to Sell on Amazon” is an excerpt from Viral Launch’s Ultimate Guide to Sourcing Private Label Gold Mines ebook. Download the full ebook at the bottom of this post.
The Key Metric to ROI: ROI Ratio
Finding the best products to sell on Amazon includes identifying and sourcing high ROI product markets.
Generally, the largest barrier to achieving sales potential in a given market is relative review quantity. We have overwhelming data showing us the relation of organic sales to relative review quantity. For example, let’s say that the majority of listings on page 1 for search “xyz” have over 1,000 reviews, but one listing has only 130 reviews. Relative to the rest of the listings, 130 reviews is quite few.
Based on what we have observed, the product with 130 reviews will struggle to sell at a similar volume compared to it’s competitors with ample social proof at 1,000+ reviews. Review quantity is a major determinant considering all else is approximately equal (price, review rating, etc.). There are certainly exceptions, but this seems to essentially be the rule. This has been observed nearly daily in our experience helping newer products achieve keyword ranking among more mature listings.
While there are certainly ways to supplement a high review quantity to drive a relatively high volume of sales with other forms of social proof (ex. Best Seller badge, Amazon’s Choice badge, superior aesthetics, etc.), reviews are generally the product market’s “economic moat”. Overcoming competitors’ economic moat (reviews), is a function of time multiplied by your review rate. The faster you are able to achieve reviews, the quicker you will be able to overcome that competitive moat. This translates to: as a product achieves a relatively similar review quantity to its competitors, organic sales volume will increase.
For this reason, we identify the market’s comparative review threshold to be the amount of “investment” necessary to reach a market’s sales potential.
ROI Ratio = Monthly Sales Potential ÷ Review Quantity
Example of high ROI Ratio: 1000 units/month / 100 reviews = ROI Ratio of 10!
Example of low/bad ROI Ratio: 1000 units/month / 1000 reviews = ROI Ratio of 1
We generally suggest looking for product markets where the average ratio is somewhere above 2-3, as these are typically some of the best products to sell on Amazon. Conversely, stay away from markets where that ratio is less than 1. The higher the ROI Ratio, the more likely it is a good market to get into (it is still important to analyze the rest of the market metrics).
An Example of Sales to Review Ratio (AKA the ROI Ratio)
Imagine the average top seller in a market was driving 1,000 sales per month with an average review quantity of 45. The sales to review ratio would be (1000 / 45 =) 22! That is incredible. Driving just 45 reviews is a very simple feat (depending on the product as some products naturally are harder to obtain reviews for). So the amount of investment, time and money spent achieving just 45 reviews, is very low considering the sales potential of ~1,000 sales per month. We would consider this a very favorable market to get into – a great product to sell on Amazon.
Conversely, here is an example of a product market where the ROI Ratio (sales/review ratio) is approximately 1 or less. The amount of investment (time and money) needed to obtain a competitive number of reviews (1,000) in order to reach the sales potential (~1,000 units/month) is far too high for our liking. There are obvious exceptions: maybe you have the money to bully your way to the top, perhaps you have a dramatically superior product (very RARELY is this a viable excuse), maybe you are okay with a low sales volume for this product as it’s a natural extension of your brand, among others.
The Psychology of Review Quantity
Here is a brief rundown of our assumptions into the customer psychology of this phenomenon. Review quantity stands as the most evident form of popularity to the consumer among the products shown in the search results (while Amazon provides BSR to provide an indicator of popularity, a simple survey of Amazon buyers will quickly reveal this is not a well known metric nor is it shown in the search results). Which product do you think has sold more units?
As consumers we want a “safe bet” when it comes to making a purchase. We want to be sure that whichever widget we purchase will completely satisfy our needs and will not break within an unreasonable time. Consumers also fall subject to the bandwagon effect in which they buy the item because it is “popular”, which in turn, increases its popularity. “Many others are purchasing/not purchasing this widget for a reason, so I will take the safe bet and follow suit.”
Download the Complete Guide
Did you enjoy discovering the key metric to identifying the best products to sell on Amazon? To get other golden nuggets on sourcing your next home run, download the Ultimate Guide to Sourcing Private Label Gold Mines.
Product data vs. market data
Interpreting and analyzing market data
The key metric to ROI
Plotting your course for success
Fill out the form below to receive the guide and start sourcing gold mines:
The ROI Metric: Identify the Best Products to Sell on Amazon
The Amazon-seller community was sent into a bit of a frenzy yesterday after Amazon sent out a rather puzzling email. The message warned sellers about contacting buyers who have chosen to opt out of receiving unsolicited messages from sellers.
But don’t worry. Contrary to what you may have read in Facebook groups, the world isn’t ending, and email follow-up sequences aren’t dead (for the time being, anyways).
What actually happened?
What we know so far is this: Amazon added an option for buyers to opt out of all Seller Feedback in their Amazon account.
Then, Amazon sent an email to sellers informing them that “unsolicited” messages cannot be delivered to buyers who have chosen to opt out of receiving Seller Communication/Feedback emails.
Let’s take a look at the email from Amazon:
We were unable to deliver the message you sent for order [002-xxxxxxx-1234567] because the buyer has chosen to opt out of receiving unsolicited messages from sellers.
However, even if a buyer has opted out of unsolicited messages, if you need to send them a message critical to completing his or her order, you can do it using Buyer-Seller Messaging:
Go to Manage Orders.
Click the buyer’s name in the list, which will take you to Buyer-Seller Messaging.
Select “Additional Information Required” as your subject, write your message, and click Send
If you tried to respond to a buyer and received a message that the buyer has opted out of unsolicited seller messages, please respond to the buyer on the original message thread (instead of starting a new thread) and make sure that his or her original message is included in your reply.
For your reference, the following messages are considered “critical” to complete the order:
Product customization questions
Issues with a shipping address
The following messages are “not critical” to complete the order:
Requests for seller feedback or customer reviews
Order, shipment, or delivery confirmations
Proactive customer service (for example: product manuals, tips for using the product, FAQs, suggestions if something goes wrong)
Out-of-stock or delay notifications and offers of alternate products (please cancel the order instead)
Please don’t send messages to opted-out buyers for correspondence that isn’t critical to completing the order. Repeated violations of this policy may result in enforcement actions or loss of selling privileges.
Learn more about Buyer-Seller Messaging and what messages are considered critical to completing orders.
Amazon Seller Support”
How does a buyer opt out of Seller Feedback?
Buyers can opt out, or unsubscribe from all Seller Feedback, a couple different ways.
In the Communication Preferences Center in their Amazon settings
In their Amazon account, a buyer can change their email preferences in the Communication Preferences Center. To do this, a buyer will go to Your Account > Message Center > Communication Preferences
From there, a buyer can update their Promotional Email preferences. By default, all boxes are checked, meaning that the buyer will receive emails about all topics listed.
A seller can choose to opt out of a few categories, or they can choose to check the box marked “Do not send me any marketing email for now” to opt out of all promotional emails.
Opting out of all marketing emails does include unsubscribing from all Seller Communications and Feedback, which are two boxes under Promotional Emails.
2. Unsubscribing from a Marketplace Email
Another way Amazon buyers can opt out of Seller Feedback is by clicking the unsubscribe link from a Marketplace email. When a seller sends an email from the Amazon Marketplace (email address: firstname.lastname@example.org) to a buyer seeking feedback, there is an unsubscribe option in the footer.
If a buyer follows the Unsubscribe link, they’re directed to a page on Amazon where they can unsubscribe from Seller Feedback specifically or from all marketing communications.
Can buyers opt out of emails from 3rd party services?
When a buyer opts-out of emails from either the Communication Preferences Center in Amazon or through the Amazon Marketplace, they will, as far as we can tell, no longer receive marketing emails from any seller.
But wait… there’s more!
Thanks to the SPAM CAN Act of 2003, every email must include some form of opt-out. For this reason, Amazon and 3rd party Amazon Email Marketing Platforms include an unsubscribe option in the footer of every email sent.
Many of the major email follow-up tools in the Amazon space send out emails from addresses like this: email@example.com. Because the email isn’t coming directly from firstname.lastname@example.org as mentioned above, the “Unsubscribe” in the footer of the email does not take the buyer to Amazon to opt out of Seller Feedback.
Instead, if a seller sends emails through a 3rd party Amazon email marketing platform, and a buyer unsubscribes from the unsubscribe button in at the bottom of that email, the buyer’s email is only blacklisted from email sends from that specific seller.
Example: your buyer unsubscribes from your email you sent out using a 3rd party platform. You will not be able to send an email to that buyer through that platform, but other sellers with that same buyer’s information, will be able to send to them through any other 3rd party platform. (unless that buyer has already opted-out through the Communication Preferences Center or the Amazon Marketplace. In that case, the seller will receive the email from Amazon stating the buyer has opted-out)
As far as we know, there is currently no way for a 3rd party Amazon email platforms to know if that buyer has opted-out through either the Communication Preferences Center or the Amazon Marketplace.
One source did say there’s no current API that informs sellers and 3rd party marketing platforms of opted out buyers. And, according to that source, continuing to send emails to your buyers is just fine, until the API is finalized. In the near future, it is likely that the API will show which buyers have opted out.
Once this API is in place, sellers will, more than likely, stop receiving the opt out message from Seller Feedback, as 3rd party tools will implement a filter for opted out buyers.
Did a bunch of Amazon buyers opt out all at once?
Our theory is no. Some buyers on Amazon had already opted out of receiving marketing communications from Amazon. From the information we’ve gathered, we’re hypothesizing that when Amazon added the option to opt out of Seller Feedback, it was added to the list of marketing communications.
For buyers who already opted out, they were automatically unsubscribed from Seller Feedback emails.
Should I pause my current email campaigns?
According to our source, you can continue running email follow up campaigns until there is a feature to view which buyers have opted out. However, keep in mind that pushing the envelope here hasn’t yet been tested, so results are unknown. The initial email from Amazon states, “Repeated violations of this policy may result in enforcement actions or loss of selling privileges.”
To feel more confident running your email campaigns, we recommend contacting Seller Support directly (and this may take a few tries as some representatives may not be informed of the situation). Explain that you have received these emails, you use Amazon’s API to get buyer information and send out follow-up emails, and you are aware that the API does not currently give information about whether or not a buyer has opted out of Seller Communications and Feedback. Then, ask for confirmation to continue sending follow-up emails until there is a way to determine if a buyer has opted out or not.
Are email follow ups dead? No way.
Put simply, Amazon is stopping emails from going to people who have unsubscribed from Seller Communications and Feedback in either the Communication Preferences Center or in the Amazon Marketplace. The company has implemented an email that triggers when a seller sends an email to a buyer who has opted out of Seller Feedback.
Since the Amazon review TOS change in late 2016, reviews have become increasingly more difficult to obtain. This has resulted in a massive increase in the number of emails being sent to buyers.
Inboxes full of feedback emails don’t make for happy customers. And we know that Amazon is all about the customer.
Before all of this, shoppers didn’t have an easy one-time unsubscribe. Yesterday, Amazon added that option in the buyer’s best interest. Now, it’s more important than ever to make sure your feedback emails are straight, to the point, and engaging.
Is the world ending? No. Many buyers will not opt out of Seller Feedback and Communications. Once the API provides a way to view a buyer’s opt out status, email follow-up tools will implement a feature to smooth out the bumps.
Gathering reviews is now even more difficult as the pool of potential reviewers gets smaller and smaller. Be on the lookout for new, inventive ways to gather reviews as Viral Launch is working on a number of creative solutions to this issue and is excited to let everyone know more soon.
Please leave questions and comments in the comments section below. We’d love to hear from you!