Many assume that selling on Amazon is a fast path to ecommerce success. It’s not. ‘Cause if it was, 98% of businesses wouldn’t fail—only 2% of sellers are able to build a business around what they make selling through Amazon.
Failure, in some form, is inevitable when selling online. But one thing’s for sure: your customer experience plays a key role in the bit of success you do generate.
There's no denying that the opportunities for growth are endless—but it’s not overnight. It’s a cutthroat channel, and few sellers get it right. Those that do, listen to their customers and abide by Amazon’s strict rules. For example, “certain products, brands, categories, and sub-categories require approval before listing products for sale. The approval process may include document requests, performance checks, and other qualifications.” Next, your content needs to support the new A10 algorithm and Amazon’s posting guidelines.
Once you’ve got that under control, you need to meet customer expectations.
With 9.7 million sellers worldwide (of which 1.9 million are actively selling), the competition in this marketplace is rife. You’re up against thousands of similar products, and since they’re all listed together under one umbrella, it’s even easier for customers to drop off yours and move on. But what pushes customers away?
There are plenty of turnoffs that you can’t afford to ignore, and some include:
Bad, poor, or suspicious reviews
Product reviews are important. In fact, they are so important that Google’s latest Core Update has prioritized them as a new ranking factor. Whether they’re good, bad, or non-existent (in some cases), reviews speak volumes. They help shoppers make decisions about a product or a brand they’re unfamiliar with.
As consumers, we take cues from electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM). It’s said that 56% of consumers read at least four reviews before buying a product, as they trust what others say. Now, on Amazon, you can use reviews to your advantage; use it as a marketing tool. Reviews provide real-life feedback to help improve your customer experience and drive sales. Without them, it’s a turnoff. Customers will likely exit the listing as they’re unable to make a responsible decision.
Request reviews from your buyers, and let your customers provide their honest thoughts. Monitor them, as they hold a direct link to your online reputation. Don’t delete negative ones; keep a healthy balance of good and bad reviews to be transparent with your customers and show them how people feel about your products, and how you’re applying their feedback going forward.
During this process, note that fake reviews can do more harm than having none at all. Do not get your marketing team (or pay people) to create reviews. Consumers can suss out what is real or not, and if they can’t, Amazon adds a Verified Purchase label to reviews where the reviewer has purchased the product. Perfectly scripted or five-star reviews are fishy, and Amazon will flag these in a vetting process if they become suspicious of your reviews.
Expensive or slow shipping
Consumers are used to free shipping. The minute a customer is faced with an additional fee that costs more than the item they’re buying (or what they hadn’t factored into their budget), they’ll abandon their cart. This can be solved by adding the shipping cost to the total price, charging a flat rate that customers can expect, or offering free delivery if shipping cannot be compromised.
Then, there’s the frustration of slow shipping. If a customer is told that they’ll receive their parcel on a certain date, and they don’t, it’s a real disappointment. Fast shipping is a small price to pay when it costs you “five to 25 times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one”. About “69% of buyers are less likely to shop in your store again if their purchase is not delivered within two days of the promised delivery date.” Why? Because you’re unreliable. It’s your responsibility to deal with your customers in a favorable manner when you’re not meeting their expectations.
Not being fulfilled by Amazon
Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) reassures customers that the shopping process is seamless. From purchase to billing and delivery, Amazon itself controls the vetting process and communication between each touchpoint so that merchants don’t have to manage it themselves. As you can imagine, consumers prefer this approach as it is more authenticated. They might be buying new (or used) items from unknown sellers, and the last thing they need is a mishap with their order. With FBA, you provide a consistent, non-disruptive customer experience. At the same time, you can get rewarded for it. So, bite the bullet on potential drawbacks and look at the bigger picture.
Limited, low-resolution images
More than 75% of online shoppers rely on product photos when deciding on a potential purchase, and two in every five people shop visually, meaning that images are their main deciding factor. In saying this, it’s highly important that you clearly showcase each product individually and on a human model.
Many a time, consumers will overlook product specifications, and purchase based on an image, only to find it’s far smaller or bigger than expected. This leaves a bad taste in their mouth when it’s something that can be avoided.
While there are strict image requirements for products, it is a prime opportunity to present your products in a positive way, from every angle, and zone in on the most important features. If customers have access to a gallery of product images, you’ll never overpromise and underdeliver. Encourage your customers to leave reviews with user-generated images too. This gives customers real-life insight into how a product looks, functions, or fits into others’ lives.
Missing product information
It’s all fun and games until your adult t-shirt arrives and it’s small enough to fit a toddler. We can’t stress this enough: provide your customers with rich, detailed product information. Customers aren’t able to physically see, feel, touch, or smell a product online, and that’s why your product content should do the talking. Stick to Amazon’s guidelines, but be as descriptive as possible. Product listing optimization for search and discovery will help you rank higher, sell more, and meet customers’ expectations. (Read our checklist for winning on Amazon.)
Amazon’s A10 Algorithm will prioritize product listings with information such as sales volume, availability, price, reviews, ratings, and Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA). Be sure to make mention of the key features and benefits, materials, specifications, frequently asked questions, and more! The more information a customer can get their hands on, the easier it will be to make a purchase.
As you can see, there is plenty of information (and thought) that goes into each product listing. It’s not a willy-nilly copy and paste procedure. You will want to keep track of each listing’s information to see what works in your favor and what doesn’t. Manage all this information in one place, Product Information Management (PIM) software, and analyze your product performance in real-time. By using an affordable PIM for Amazon content, you can easily optimize listings, tweak descriptions, add new images (and much much more!), and send it straight from PIM to Amazon. This is a stress-free approach to managing content and keeping your brand consistent.
Out of stock or inventory issues
There’s no denying that an ‘out of stock’ product is a selling product. Great—but when will you be restocking? If a customer is interested in purchasing a product, they’ll be back to see if and when a product returns. Keep your customers updated and serve them accurate content. The reverse of this is stating the availability of a product when it’s actually out of stock. Either way, the lack of transparency causes frustration, and customers will seek an alternative product elsewhere.
Customers take inventory very seriously (as they should!), and they’re quick to point out inaccuracies. For example, buying a ‘new’ product and receiving a “used” one in damaged packaging. On Amazon, there is a range of condition guidelines, but the most common ones are new and used products. Whichever you label your product, make it clear in the condition notes so that customers are aware of what they’re receiving. The packaging of the product is an extension of its condition, so address everything to provide a great customer experience.
Complicated return or warranty policy
52% of consumers have abandoned an online purchase out of fear of a difficult return process, and this number rises to 67% for millennials. While consumers are quick to choose free shipping and delivery over anything, they’re also skeptical about complex, paid return policies. If you want to stand out among your Amazon competitors, remove barriers that drive people away. Give your customers peace of mind to easily return a product, and make your warranty policy clear.
Apart from these turnoffs, there are tons are little issues that irk customers when shopping online. Ideally, it all comes down to poor product information (or the lack thereof). When you provide customers with high-quality data, you give them the confidence to buy without hesitation. Give your customers the best possible experience using a product management tool! With a central source of truth, you’ll be able to improve and your data for Amazon in minutes!
Try Plytix PIM for free and see what we mean!