Amazon Pro Merchant Consulting

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Amazon Pro Merchant Consulting

Amazon retail store manager

Amazon Pro-Merchant Consulting

Mariano Marketing has extensive experience in managing Amazon Pro-Merchant store accounts for consumer products, but we do not manage book seller accounts.

Amazon has been aggressive in adding new sellers and it has become increasingly competitive within the Amazon marketplace. They have also increasingly consolidated products listings into shared product pages, pitting sellers against each other within a single product page. This has led to the practice of private labeling as a means to own your own product pages. As a result, the deck is initially stacked against the new seller, as the ability to finance private label inventory and accumulated sales history and feedback are key factors to get noticed. You must have patience and make a long term commitment before you can determine your potential in Amazon.

Formula for Success

From our experience, we have observed the need for the following to be truly successful in Amazon:
  • A unique product offering or one with a differentiation that is beneficial
  • Sufficient inventory always on hand
  • Ability to buy large enough quantities to get the best wholesale price
  • Low operating costs allowing for tight margins
  • Very liberal return policy
  • Competitive shipping costs, or the ability to profitably use FBA
  • Ability to ship products the same day ordered or the next
  • Highly focused and responsive customer service (not necessary using FBA, but you will need to respond to Amazon requests for inventory)
  • Willingness and ability to appease disgruntled customers at (almost) any cost (not necessary using FBA, but you may also see a higher return rate)
  • Dedication to stay on the Amazon program in terms of years
Special Note: There are no (legit) shortcuts to getting good listings or sales in Amazon. A high degree of patience is required.

Necessary Abilities
  • Unfortunately, when all sellers of the exact same product are forced to share the same product page (the Buy Box), the seller with the lowest overall cost (price plus shipping) usually gets preferential treatment. This means you need the ability to sell at a slim margin. Even with your own private label, you may find competition from many others selling the same product with a different private label
  • In addition to pricing, you need to maintain a very high customer satisfaction rating. Even if you are the lowest cost seller, a poor reputation will lose the sale and Buy Box position. Using FBA largely avoids a bad seller rating, though
  • In terms of reputation, you pretty much live and die by shipping satisfaction. You need to ship orders quickly and get them delivered within the estimated delivery time, preferably before. It's the #1 thing customers leave positive or negative seller feedback on. However, for some sellers or products, it may be worthwhile to investigate using the Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) program, where Amazon takes all responsibility for shipping and returns
  • While you can easily add products to Amazon simply by matching them to existing identical products, you need to upload product and categorization information for unique products, such as private labels. It benefits you to add as much information as possible for all your products, whether it is required information or not. This means you should spend the time necessary to add all your products' back end information, other than by simply matching or uploading only the minimum required data
  • The Amazon system picks one or two sellers to provide product descriptions and photos when your product shares a product page for the same product. It is often the seller with the best overall rank, but sometimes not. If you private label, you do not share a page (unless an unscrupulous seller jumps on your page claiming to be selling your products), so you need to provide all text and graphics. At any rate, it is in your best interest to provide highly accurate and easy to understand information. Merchandising is critical and you should be prepared to provide high quality and multiple product photos (Amazon includes a zoom feature, so your the image needs to be large enough). The better the merchandising, the better the sales potential
  • The most successful sellers are monitoring their best selling products daily and responding to every competitive move. You must stay on top of the competitive environment
  • We have found that often the best way to gain ground in Amazon is by having one or two "winners" in your product offering. These are products that initially account for the majority of your sales. Sometimes it's hard to determine what those might be and why, but if you have a winner, the trick is to build from there with other products in the same category
  • We have also found that sales tend to move to and stay at a higher level after a seasonal sales period. For most, this is the Christmas season, or Prime Day. If your products are seasonal, it is important to make the strongest showing possible during that time. However, Amazon heavily favors only the products they sell directly or on the FBA program, and even then there may be paid promotions you'll be "tempted" to participate in
Special Notes:
Over the course of time, we have received calls relating to these 2 Amazon topics we can offer this advice on:
  • Being found via an Amazon search -  Bear in mind, the Amazon system uses only multiple fields to match your product to search results: Product title, Product description, Manufacturer name and the available search term fields found through Seller Central or product upload files (in Seller Central's Help section, search for "browse and search" for more details). Even if you added your product to an existing product page, we recommend you add your own text and maximize the available opportunities. Amazon also offer product advertising, BUT, it may cost far more than you'll ever make, so tread lighly with ads
  • Being thrown out of Amazon - Amazon enforces it's rules. If they discover, or a competing seller notifies them of, a significant violation of the rules, like if you claim to be selling a particular brand of product but you ship a different brand, Amazon sends you one warning letter requiring you to explain to them what you are going to do to correct the situation. If they accept it, which they usually do, they allow you to keep selling. However, if there is another rule infraction, or too many warnings over time, you are shut off and they allow you no recourse. You do not get a second chance and you are not allowed to plead your case. Make sure you know, and follow, the rules!
The Amazon Opportunity

Amazon is a unique environment. As we often say, There's e-commerce and then there's Amazon. If you can successfully tap into the power of Amazon, it can become one of your biggest sales channels. But, while Amazon has made great strides in building it's system, there are still many inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies remaining. Only after years of experience can you fully understand how the system---and organization---operates and use it to your advantage.

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