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The Complete Guide to Increasing Sales on Amazon to Scale Your Business


September 2, 2020


July 3, 2023

Right Side Up’s Head of Amazon, Matt Altman, led a webinar as part of our Summer Webinar Series to share tips and tricks for increasing sales on Amazon to grow your ecommerce business. Our key takeaways are below.

Why Sell on Amazon? 

The short answer: you’ll be easier to find, conversion rates are high, and it only takes about a week for small- to medium-catalog sellers to be up and running on the platform.

47% of searches for products start on Amazon, and they’re very high intent. Amazon converts at a rate of about 10–25%, whereas D2C conversion rates are typically in the 2.5–3.5% range.

Furthermore, if your product is shelf-stable, Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program is likely cheaper than any other third-party logistics (3PL) provider. Even if you’re the smallest of sellers, you can send your inventory to Amazon; they’ll serve as your 3PL, providing 1- and 2-day shipping throughout the US via Multi-Channel Fulfillment. Plus, your conversion rate will likely increase thanks to the Prime badge.

And finally, if you aren’t selling your product on Amazon, it’s only a matter of time until someone else does. They could buy from you directly and list your product themselves, creating a slew of brand, listing, and content issues.

Amazon Listing Optimization and Keyword Research

What keywords should I target? 

It’s not always best to go after the search terms that get the highest number of searches per month in your category. For example, “keto snacks” sees about 250K direct searches per month, but is highly competitive and only produces about 10K unit sales per month. A longtail keyword like “peanut butter keto bars,” however, is less competitive and produces about 12K unit sales per month with only 20K searches—meaning it’s a higher converting keyword, and you’ll have a better chance of ranking and increasing your Amazon sales.

How to conduct keyword research

Conducting thorough keyword research is the starting point for every Amazon listing, and your keywords must be best-in-class to provide the base for growth. Here’s how we typically approach this process: 

  1. Find keywords. Using tools like Helium 10’s Cerebro tool, Amazon’s Brand Analytics platform, and Search Query Report, you can find the best search terms for your products, see what your competitors are ranking for, and start to understand where you line up in the keyword rankings.
  2. Note: If you sign up for Helium 10 with code rightsideup10, you'll save 10% on the lifetime of the account. Disclosure: Right Side Up receives a referral bonus, but we wouldn’t recommend the tool if we didn’t love it and use it for our clients.
  3. Discover gaps. There are two main ways to find easy-to-conquer gaps using Helium 10: longtail keywords and under-indexed competitors. For example, say only one of your 10 competitors is ranking for “keto snacks for diabetics." This would be a great opportunity to pursue. Plus, going after longtail keywords like this and “low carb keto snacks” can help you rank for broader terms, like “keto snacks.”
  4. Note: You can also see where competitors are running sponsored products, how many of them have active ads, and what they’re bidding against. This info can help inform your Amazon ad strategy. More on this below.
  5. Compare reviews. Look at competitors’ product reviews to find out what customers deem most relevant about their products, as well as what issues they’re having. These findings can help inform your own keyword strategy, written content, and image stack.

Optimizing your Amazon listing’s written content

When it comes to ranking, different areas within an Amazon listing are weighted differently. This means it’s crucial to ensure your top keywords are placed in the most heavily weighted spots to achieve high organic rankings.

  • Title: This is the most heavily weighted section; about 40-50% of your search relevancy comes from your title. It’s an Amazon best practice to use longer titles. Your title should include your top 3-4 keyword phrases while still reading naturally. It’s important to note that keywords are weighted based on where they appear; the first word in the title carries more weight than the last word.
  • Bullets: Your bulleted list is also heavily weighted; around 20% of your search relevancy comes from this section. Incorporate long-tail keyword phrases in your bullets, focus on feature benefit copy, and target a length of 200-250 characters per bullet.
  • Backend Details: Backend details are often overlooked and under-optimized. To get the most from this section, we recommend using flat files (which can be downloaded here on Seller Central). Flat files allow for 4x the space and detail compared to Amazon’s web form. These details are not customer-facing; they let Amazon know what your product is about and who they should be showing it to. This is a great place to incorporate keywords that aren't in your title or bullets, but are still relevant to your product. This information also impacts whether or not your product shows up in search when a user is using filters (e.g. grams of protein, organic vs. non-organic, etc.). Using backend details correctly can lead to a 10-15% bump in search appearance. Note: Amazon has a new tool that helps you find and tackle these issues.
  • Description: This section holds very little weight and will not be shown in most listings with A+ content. This is a great place to talk about your company and product in your brand’s voice, with less focus on keywords and SEO.
Amazon Listing Backend Details

Optimizing your Amazon listing’s image stack

Your image stack doesn’t factor into organic rankings, but it does impact your conversion rate. This means it’s crucial to get it right when your goal is to grow your Amazon sales. Here are a few tips:

  • Make sure your product is highly viewable and zoomable (greater than 2500x2500 pixels)
  • Include text call-outs for the unit count on the first image where relevant
  • Show how the product will arrive (in a box, in a jug, in a cardboard flat, etc.)
  • Call out your features and benefits (e.g. grams of protein, paleo, gluten-free, etc.); the majority of purchases are happening on tablet and mobile, and these users often don’t read through bullets and descriptions
  • If it’s a food product, include a picture of your nutrition facts label
  • If your product has multiple ingredients in its flavor profile, place your product in the context of those ingredients; for example, if it’s strawberry lemonade, show your beverage amongst strawberries and lemons
  • Include lifestyle imagery with the product in use; this is an opportunity to speak to your target demographic and tell your brand story
  • Include a video; time on page is an important ranking factor on Amazon

Read next: How to Successfully Launch a Product on Amazon

Amazon Review Generation Programs

Getting started with product review generation

Having great product reviews plays a pivotal role in driving purchases. There are a few ways you can kick start your Amazon product review generation:

  • Utilize your D2C email list
  • Tap into your friends and family
  • Leverage other communities (Facebook groups, etc.)

If you want to ensure a high participation rate, you can offer a manufacturer’s rebate as a promotion type.

Review program maintenance

The average natural (unprompted) review rate is less than 1%. Here are three ways to increase this rate.

  1. Utilize Amazon’s “Request A Review” button on all Seller Central orders. Manually clicking these on each order can be tedious work. We recommend this great Chrome extension to fully automate the process and allow you to request thousands per minute. This can get your review rate up to around 4%.
  2. Pull customer data out of your Seller Central account (more on this below), and run Facebook ads targeting them. We often use a tool like ManyChat to automate these workflows to ask for reviews at scale. This technique can help increase your review rate to about 20%. We don’t recommend getting higher than 20%; Amazon can shut you down if you get too many reviews within a short time.
  3. Use product inserts to drive Amazon customers to a landing page. Once they’re on your landing page, you can ask them to rate their experience (1-5 stars) and collect their emails. A 4- to 5-star rating should drive them to Amazon to leave a review; anything lower should send them to your customer service team for resolution. This is a great way to keep your ratings high and increase the likelihood of customers switching over to purchase from your D2C site. (Note: It’s against Amazon’s Terms of Service to offer free products in exchange for reviews.)

Amazon Advertising

Amazon ad formats worth consideration

First off, we don’t recommend running Amazon ads until you have at least 10-15 reviews for the product. Once you’ve secured these initial reviews, here are the Amazon ad types we suggest in order to boost your sales:

Sponsored Product Ads: These are the general search ads that appear at the top of every search on Amazon. They take up about 25-35% of the search results pages now; there are tons of placements and plenty of opportunities to drive new-to-your-brand clicks. These ads are high converting because people are often searching for a specific product, and if you show up at the top and have great reviews, you’re likely to win that sale. The top spot is often quite expensive per click, but the second and third spots are much cheaper and will still drive conversions and allow you to compete with legacy brands.

Amazon Product Display Ads
Product Display Ads

Product Display Ads: These are the most underutilized ads across all the accounts we audit. You’ll find them on Amazon right below the buy box and bullet points. They’re highly targeted, they’re the last ad people see before purchasing a product, they piggyback on traffic of top-ranking products, and they’re a great way to play brand defense. You can use coupons to increase click-through and conversion rates.

Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored Brand Ads: These are highly targeted ads, and benefits include cheaper clicks, the chance to engage in-aisle shoppers, and increased brand awareness. As of recently, they also allow you to target by product—meaning you can have more display ads living on a competitor’s product page at a low cost per click. These are great for increasing “Frequently Bought Together” pre-bundles. Usually if you can get into one of these bundles with a high performing product, you’ll see a 3-5% increase in overall sales. As with Product Display Ads, you’ll also want to target your own products, too, to protect your listing from competitors. Note: This is a great place to start if you have a large catalog and not enough ad spend to spend against all of your products.

Video in Search: This is currently one of the best ad types to run on Amazon, as they’re highly engaging and appear close to the top of the search results page. These are great for conquesting competitors and taking on expensive keywords in search, as bids are still relatively cheap; as of July 2020, the price per click tends to be between $0.70 and $1.10. The click-through rates we’ve been seeing have been about 2-3x higher than sponsored product ads.

Amazon DSP Ad
Amazon DSP Ad

DSP: This is a top-of-funnel ad placement that is served on and off of Amazon. We recommend most brands stay away from these unless they’re selling $10-15M/year, they’ve maxed out their search potential on Amazon, and/or can’t spend any more on sponsored products. There’s a $35K/month minimum if you’re going through Amazon managed services, and it takes 3-4 months to ramp up unless you’re doing a pure retargeting campaign. That said, these can be great for driving repeat purchases.

Killer product targeting ads

One surefire way to maximize product targeting ads is through Amazon Brand Analytics. This data is underutilized by most sellers, but will allow you to quickly maximize the amount of traffic received for any product. Here’s how we typically approach targeting:

  1. Search for your top keyword on Amazon. Extract the top 3-4 Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) from the organic results and put them into Helium 10. Grab the keywords from Helium 10 and then...
  2. Search by each ASIN on Amazon Brand Analytics. See total Search Frequency—the rating between 1 and 3M of how often a KW is searched—and it will show you the top three clicked ASINs as well as their conversion rates. You can then change the reporting range from weekly to monthly to quarterly to see more results to better understand what keywords they’re ranking for and what’s driving sales for them at the end of the day. You can then download the reports for each item.
  3. Review and create your ad campaigns. You’ll now have a file of all of the top clicked ASINs for each keyword. You’ll want to remove duplicates and weed out unrelated terms. Next, set up sponsored brands, products, and product display ads to maximize traffic to your listings. And finally, we suggest re-pulling this data monthly as top search results change frequently. Most clients see about a 20x ROAS when running ads like these.

How should I think about investing in D2C vs. Amazon when it comes to ad spend?

We typically advise not to take any ad spend you already have for D2C away from it. No matter what, you’re going to see leakage from your D2C site to Amazon—meaning you don’t need to spend much to push to Amazon, unless you’re just getting started on the platform and want a little bit of a boost. We recommend putting about 10% of gross sales back into Amazon through some form of marketing—at least 5-6% for ads, and the rest can be used for clickable coupons, lightning deals, and other tactics that will help you grow your velocity very quickly and introduce new people to your brand.

Other Tips and Tricks for Increasing Sales on Amazon

Using Amazon customer data

If you’re a 3P seller, you can collect your customer data from the FBA fulfillment report and use it to remarket on any channel and backtrack Facebook conversions to any ad. Here are some examples of how to use your customer data:

  • Sell your customers complimentary products.
  • Encourage Subscribe & Save. It’s challenging to take an Amazon customer off the channel for repeat purchases, but using customer data, it’s now possible to run ads directly to Amazon, offering additional discounts on Subscribe & Save to get customers to return and buy again.
  • Utilize lookalike audiences to increase your organic rankings on Amazon. Run direct-to-Amazon ads using lookalike audience targeting on Facebook. All it takes is 10-15 conversions a day from a Facebook ad over the course of two weeks, and you should see your organic rankings on Amazon increase by 25-30%.
  • Understand true leakage to Amazon. If you’re running Facebook ads to your D2C site and feel like the conversions aren’t lining up, you can use Amazon customer data to uncover the true leakage to Amazon—which on average is about 15-25%. This will help you get a true CPA for the campaigns you’re running.
  • Increase your review rate. Using Facebook ads, you can target past purchasers to increase the number of reviews on any product. 

Amazon's "honeymoon reset" period

Amazon offers a “honeymoon period” for every new item sellers list. This is a way for them to signify to newer brands that they care, and that they want new products on their platform. It basically allows you to compete with existing brands that have thousands of reviews and sell thousands of units a day; it gives you the chance to rank where they rank for the first 30-60 days of your product’s life.

Since all rankings are driven by sales velocity, to get to the top, you need to beat, or come close to, the velocity per day of the top competitor for that keyword. During the honeymoon period, Amazon gives you 5-6x the sales velocity to help you take on bigger competitors—in other words, if you sell 10 units, it would be like selling 60 units. It can quickly compound, allowing your brand to be seen and helping you take on big keywords and competitors from the start. 

After those 30-60 days, if your organic sales haven’t reached that level, you will start to drop pretty significantly in organic rankings. At this point, you may want to process a reset to re-activate the honeymoon period. With an additional 30-60 days, hopefully you can achieve the velocity needed to maintain those organic rankings.

If you're looking for additional guidance, "How to use Amazon and Advertising to Build a D2C Startup" was originally published on TechCrunch, and includes more info on finding product-market fit, Facebook ads, and D2C tech stack recommendations.

If you'd like to check out our upcoming webinars, we've recently announced our Fall Webinar Series.

Interested in partnering with Right Side Up for help increasing your Amazon sales and scale your ecommerce business? Send a note to hello@rightsideup.co and we’ll be in touch!

Matt Altman leads the ecommerce marketplace division at Right Side Up, which helps both emerging and mature brands maximize sales through 3rd party marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart.com, Boxed, Thrive and others. His team focuses on end-to-end optimization, from innovation to fulfillment to content optimization to advertising and analytics. As an eCommerce entrepreneur with over $35m in sales himself, he brings an “owner mentality” to every client engagement in a way that separates Right Side Up from traditional agencies.

Katie Kearsey is a marketer, storyteller, and people person with more than a decade of experience building consumer and B2B brands with data-driven programs rooted in content, SEO, social, lifecycle, events, community, and more. She's worked with early stage startups and global brands, and enjoys building relationships with colleagues, clients, and partners alike. She has dual citizenship (US/EU) and currently calls Chicago home.

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