Top 3 FAQs Amazon Sellers Are Asking
By Tina Marie Bueno | April 6th, 2016
Since I started writing these blog posts, both the iLoveToReview Account Managers and I receive FAQs from Amazon merchants seeking insights to enhance their performance. Naturally, all questions lead to the same goal: How can I increase my sales volume? FAQs are the inspiration behind most of my articles. We get them from both newbies and Sellers who have been using the Amazon platform for a while. EVERY Seller is on a continuous learning curve, open to reminders, new ideas and sharing experiences. Amazon keeps everyone on their toes with continuous process and policy updates to stay on top of their own explosive growing pains. Even within as little as one year, the template for setting up, launching products, managing inventory, shipping and reporting is not exactly the same as a year ago.
While there is a continuous flow of FAQs, I have selected the top three we most commonly hear.
FAQ #1: Does Amazon Accept Super URLs?
For merchants unfamiliar with super URLs; think of it as a shortened or tiny URL made with designated keyword(s) that directs the user to a specific Amazon product page.
Usually Sellers publish that link on social media and in any digital marketing. So far that doesn’t sound like a big deal. However, the intent of these super URLs is to influence Amazon’s search algorithm to make it look like the user actually used the search bar to land on that page.
In the case that the person clicking actually buys the product, then that sale gets counted as a result of the keyword contained in the super URL. Amazon sees this as a direct manipulation of their algorithm in order to place the product higher in search results. The key word in that last sentence being “manipulation”.
If Amazon construes that activity as manipulative (and they do) then it falls into the following Prohibited Seller Activities and Actions which exist to keep this selling platform safe for buyers and fair for sellers.
Amazon’s Policy ~ Misuse of Search and Browser:
When customers use Amazon’s search engine and browse structure, they expect to find relevant and accurate results. To protect the customer experience, all product-related information, including keywords and search terms, must comply with the guidelines provided under Optimize Listings for Search and Browse. Any attempt to manipulate the search and browse experience is prohibited.
Super URL Takeaway
It is best to use the Amazon generated URL for your product page in all digital marketing, coupons/promotions, and social media. While the rules do not specifically point out super URLs; why take any chances of suspension? It simply is not worth the headache, countless hours to become active again, nor the money lost in the process.
FAQ #2: How Can I Win the Buy Box?
Of course every Seller wants the buy box. It is considered prime real estate and according to Amazon, over 78% of all sales are made through it.
The articles related to this topic could fill volumes. There is not one set of hard and fast rules that Amazon and Sellers would both agree upon. That said, all agree Amazon’s algorithm is a tightly held secret. Even their employees have a generic way of describing it. Amazon’s Seller University says that by doing the following, increases the probability of winning the buy box:
a. Price competitively.
b. Keep stock in inventory.
c. Offer multiple shipping options.
d. Offer great customer service.
Of course, if it were that easy; a lot more Sellers would have buy box bragging rights. Adding to Amazon’s list, successful Sellers also include:
- Building reviews. A study conducted by PowerReviews showed that more than 86% of consumers say reviews are an essential resource when making purchasing decisions. From our personal and customer experience: more reviews lead to more sales. Reviews and ratings are fed into the buy box algorithm.
- Creating bundles. Put together items that fit together naturally to create bundles or kits. Try to make them unique bundles and whenever possible, private label the items. Fewer, if any, competitors show up.
- Selling unique items. Similar to bundling, if you can add a new product to the Amazon catalog, meaning no one else is selling that same item; then that makes you the only seller…that can mean one step closer to winning the buy box.
While implementing all of the above still cannot guarantee a buy box win; every effort could result in a giant leap forward.
A Case of No Guarantees
Then there is the case with Amazon Seller Suely, inventor of the VenusBrow (eyebrow makeup). She holds
the patent on her product, so she private labeled production, registered her brand, plus created a couple of unique bundles. While there are many competitors in that category; no one else can sell VenusBrow since it is exclusively her registered trademark and she does not wholesale to others.
It would be easy to imagine the yellow brick road leading right up to the buy box, right? Well, it didn’t. Too few sales and reviews for the algorithm to calculate.
The blue arrow shows “See All Buying Options” instead of “Add to Cart” as the buy box shows. Ironically,
clicking on other buying options leads to a list of one: VenusBrow. The purple arrow shows a strategic coupon ad placement (probably Amazon’s beauty products). No other VenusBrow sellers, of which there are none.
When typing “eyebrow makeup” into the Amazon search bar, the Sellers with buy boxes show up on page one. VenusBrow is nowhere to be found on the first four pages.
Buy Box Takeaway
It’s game on for merchants with competitors. Follow Amazon’s suggestions and test recommendations by other successful Sellers to build sales. If a merchant is a Lone Ranger; then increasing Reviews boosts all components calculated in Amazon’s buy box algorithm which improves page ranking as well. Every Seller is different and what works for one may not be ideal for another. Remember, winning the buy box doesn’t mean you will be reigning it forever. Stay alert, flexible and adjust constantly.
FAQ #3: Should I Fill My Titles and Descriptions Only With Keywords?
No. Writing titles and descriptions that look like gibberish guarantees super short page visits. Subliminally, that doesn’t instill a safe purchase feeling and diminishes trust rapidly. This is why making sure that all title and description words are spelled correctly and written clearly.
a. Amazon has very clear title and description protocols. Stick to that.
b. Search terms can also include words that could be misspelled or written multiple ways. For example, switch plates and switchplates. Handbags and hand bags. Back packs and backpacks. Ice cream and icecream. (Don’t get stuck on which is correct, but focus on how people might write them.)
c. Include different, relevant ways people might call an item. For example, using switch plates again. They are also known as light switch coverings, wall plates, decora covers, dimmer switch cover, single toggle plate, etcetera.
Titles & Descriptions Takeaway
Think like a buyer; not a Seller in this case. Use sentences that consumers can relate to. What words would someone write when searching for your products? Not sure? Ask friends, family, or strangers. Forget stuffing Use their real words; not just yours.
In case I didn’t answer a lingering queries, Amazon also has a page filled with FAQs from both newcomers and experienced sellers. Also, if you would like to ask more questions or share your Amazon experience, send an email to me Tina@iLoveToReview.com. We are happy to hear from you!
Please note that while Suely is not an iLoveToReview client, she graciously agreed to sharing her story to be used as an example.
Tina Marie Bueno is a global citizen with an MBA in Int’l Business plus over 20 years of content marketing experience both in the U.S. and overseas. As iLoveToReview’s Marketing Director, she strives to deliver relevant content to serve Amazon businesses of all sizes.