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Amazon Trends in 2021: Expert Forecast
When talking to prospective clients and members of our Amazon listing support Facebook group, one question we often get is, "Why isn’t my product selling?"
Often, the individual says they have done everything to optimize their listing and are running ads, but nothing is working.
This article takes you through the seven steps to diagnose why your Amazon listing isn't selling and how to increase your conversions.
- Is there demand?
- Are you indexed?
- Are your images optimized?
- Is your copy optimized?
- Do you have reviews?
- Do you have a traffic or conversion problem?
- Are your ads optimized?
1. Is there demand?
Amazon customers find products primarily through search. This means if your product isn't easily found via search, you can have difficulty increasing your product’s sales velocity.
Demand is identified in two ways:
- Are there comparable products already selling well on Amazon?
- Is there search volume for keyword phrases relevant to my product?
Are there comparable products already selling well on Amazon?
If there are comparable products to your product, you can use their existing sales volume to identify the demand for your product as well.
For this data to be useful, your product needs to have the same keyword profile and potential customer base. You can use sales estimator tools to identify approximately how many sales your competition is making per month.
The other important thing to consider when using a sales estimator is that your product may not get the same volume as a competitor has for each keyword phrase. Unless you drive external traffic, there's a set number of searches for that product.
This means if your competitor is getting a thousand sales a month, it might not be possible for you to also get a thousand sales per month. Generally, unless you have an established brand in the same category, you're going to get a smaller percentage of those total sales.
The level of affinity around your brand, the number of reviews you have, how your listing is crafted, and how much you're spending on ads will determine the percentage you gain for your product.
When using these tools, it is important to remember that these numbers are an estimate. They take the sales rank of a product and use that to guess at the product’s sales velocity. Often these estimates can be off by significant numbers, especially for lower-volume products.
Is there a search volume for keyword phrases relevant to my product?
If you don’t have access to a sales estimator tool or there isn’t a comparable product already on Amazon, you can also look at the search volume for your most relevant keywords.
To do this, list the most relevant phrases a customer might type into Amazon that would be an appropriate keyword phrase match for your product. Then, use an Amazon specific search volume estimator to identify how many people are searching that keyword phrase on Amazon. You can also use a tool like Semrush to identify keywords being used on Google and Bing.
These keyword phrases need to be highly relevant to your product so that when a customer types them into the search bar, your product comes up as an alternative or a solution for their needs.
If you don’t find search volume for your product’s keyword phrases, or if you can’t identify keyword phrases that potential customers would use to find your product on Amazon, there is a chance that there is not enough demand for your product on the platform right now.
Additionally, look at the keywords that produce results for your closest high-ranking competitors for a product similar to yours. If there isn’t demand on the Amazon marketplace, you have two options: Look for an alternative sales distribution channel or run external ads for your product.
If there is a demand for your product, proceed to step 2.
2. Are you indexed?
The individual words used in your listing’s title, bullets, and other structured data allow you to be indexed for words in Amazon search.
Each keyword phrase you are indexed for is another door that customers can open to find your product. Being indexed for a keyword phrase means that there will be a result somewhere in the search results if a customer types that keyword phrase into the search bar.
Ideally you’ll want to be on page one of highly relevant search queries; however, the first step is being indexed for that keyword phrase.
Getting your product indexed for the maximum number of highly relevant keywords is vital for your success on Amazon. If you are not coming up in search on Amazon, the likelihood of consistent sales is small, even with the help of advertising.
When we're trying to index organically on Amazon, we're looking at individual phrases. For example, if you're trying to index for white chocolate fudge, you would index for white chocolate, white fudge, and chocolate fudge. The order is not important since we're looking at indexing for the individual keywords during this process.
How to find out how many terms you are indexed for
To identify if you are indexed for certain keywords, you can use any of the reverse ASIN tools available on the market. Simply enter your ASIN and look at how many keywords you're indexing for.
Then I would recommend that you also enter your closest competitors’ ASINs into the sales estimator to see how many keywords they are indexed for. If your competitor is significantly outselling you and they are indexed for a significantly larger number of keywords, this could be the primary reason your listing isn’t selling as well as expected.
We can also look at how the indexing relates to ranking. Look at how many keywords your competitors are listing on page one or within the top 10 or top 25 listing positions on the search engine results page (SERP).
If there is a significant gap between you and your competitor regarding the number of words that are indexed and ranked on the first page, this could be why you are not getting the sales you anticipated.
When looking at these indexing features, it's common practice to use your competitors as a benchmark for how many words you need for indexing and ranking.
If you have identified this as the reason your listing isn’t selling:
- Start Fresh with New Keyword Research: Look at all keyword phrases that you think are relevant for your product; add those you are already indexed for and those your competitors are indexed for. Then use a frequency counter to prioritize the words that will provide the maximum number of potential keyword phrases. Remember, you do not need to repeat individual keywords to index.
- Rewrite Your Listing: Using this list of prioritized keywords, recraft your listing title, bullets, and structured data using more of these keywords in a customer-friendly way. Avoid the temptation to keyword stuff a large number of keywords into your content! You can add those extra words into your listing’s back-end search terms.
- Check Your Work: After your listing changes have been updated for at least 24 hours, go back and see if the total number of words your listing is indexed for has increased.
Next, continue on to step 3 to optimize your listings.
3. Are your images optimized?
Images are essential for all e-commerce, but they are vital on Amazon because of how the platform displays products on the SERP in both mobile and desktop interfaces. If your images are not converting, you will struggle to rank for your most important keyword phrases.
Your images are the sales team for your listing. Many customers choose products based on your images and their ability to highlight the product’s key features and benefits.
It’s important to remember that your primary image will also be used for many of the ad types available on Amazon. This means you should not only know how your primary image displays on your product detail page, but also on mobile and as a thumbnail.
Be sure to compare your product’s thumbnail to competitors. The proportion and angle of your product in the image shouldn’t make your product look small or hard to identify.
When crafting your Amazon listing, use all available image slots whenever possible. Including infographics and lifestyle photos as well as additional product use cases and viewpoints can also help with your overall conversion.
Don't limit yourself to photos of the front, back, and packaging; customers also need photos that show scale, use types, and functionality.
When it comes to images, size does matter. Make sure your images are appropriately sized and proportioned. Images that are too small can appear pixelated and will also disable the zoom feature for desktop. Amazon recommends that your images be at least 1,000 pixels on the shortest side so they can be zoomable.
If your images don’t check all the boxes mentioned here, this could be why your listing isn’t performing well. Compare your images to high-converting listings, identify if or where you are falling short, and check out this article on 11 Tips for Optimizing Your Images on Amazon for a detailed guide to better images and higher conversions.
We use Sellerly’s split testing tool to make sure our images are converting at optimal rates.
4. Is your copy optimized?
In addition to your images, the listing text is just as important to conversion for your listing. There is always a delicate balance you need to maintain when crafting content for your product detail page.
You’ll want to include as many relevant keywords as possible in your title and bullets to help with indexing for your listing. However, you have to temper that by crafting compelling content that will convert buyers who come to your listing.
If you don’t pay attention to both objectives, your listing will struggle and overall ad costs will increase.
Often, people only focus on the text in the listing’s title and bullets. However, you’ll also want to think about the additional structure data, such as your back-end search terms, to help you index for the maximum number of words. This also allows you to index for alternate uses that may not be appropriate to highlight on your product detail page.
One mistake we see sellers make is focusing only on indexing for a specific number of words, and then they keyword stuff their title and bullets. This makes your copy hard to read, and it can turn off customers. While it is important to index for as many words as possible, if you don't convert the traffic that you're driving to your listing, none of that will matter.
To rank well for a particular keyword phrase, you also need to convert for that keyword phrase. This means writing content with the customer in mind first, while trying to maximize the number of keywords to be included in each component of your listing.
Additional keywords that are important for your marketing plan or those that don’t fit in a customer-friendly way in your title and bullets can be added into the back-end keywords and additional structured data fields. This allows you to maximize your total number of keywords while keeping your product detail page as customer-friendly as possible.
Remember, a critical part of editing content for your listing is to do proper keyword research. This includes not only finding the maximum number of keywords but also the keyword phrases relevant to your product.
For organic ranking, look at individual keywords, not phrases, to index for many keyword phrases. Once you have a list of all potential keyword phrases that customers might use, use a frequency counter like Write Words to identify which individual words have the maximum number of keyword phrases attached to them. Then, prioritize those keywords in your listing’s title and bullets.
Sellerly has a listing quality tool that helps to ensure that you are following Amazon’s guidelines for your listings.
5. Do you have reviews?
Reviews have always been an important facet of the Amazon ecosystem. Recently, Amazon has aggressively been monitoring reviews and trying to balance the need for sellers to gather these quickly while ensuring that reviews are authentic and provide good feedback for the customer.
Reviews still play a key role in conversions on Amazon. They not only show in the SERP, but also in many ad types. This means you will still need product reviews on Amazon since they can increase confidence and encourage customers to make a purchase.
Amazon recommends that you have at least 25 reviews to be retail ready. However, if your product is more niche, you might only need five to ten reviews. The more commoditized or competitive your category is, the more product reviews you will need to sell successfully on Amazon.
There are four primary methods to gather product reviews:
- Early Reviewer Program: This program is open to all sellers. For products with fewer than five reviews, you can participate for a cost of $60.00. Your account will be charged upon receipt of your first review.
- Vine: This program is free for Brand Registered enrolled brands. Amazon coordinates the giveaway of your products to Vine reviewers in exchange for an honest review. Vine reviews are notoriously detailed and honest.
- Request a Review Button: Amazon now has a button you can use to request a seller and product rating in Seller Central.
- Third-Party Tools: Some tools allow you to message customers to request reviews. It is imperative to carefully read the community standards before using any of these tools.
Reviews will also post organically as you get more sales. You should expect about 1–3% of your total buyers to leave a product review. If you get one or two negative reviews, you don’t need to worry about this. One or two negative product reviews can help to show authenticity in the reviews. Simply make sure you have prevented that negative experience happening again. However, excessive negative reviews can significantly lower your conversion rates.
6. Do you have a traffic or conversion problem?
All the steps in this article have worked toward increasing your listing’s ability to convert on Amazon. Amazon provides a report called the Detail Sales and Traffic Report by Child Item. In this report, you can find your product’s Unit Session Percentage, which is your conversion percentage. You can also see how many page views and sessions your listing is receiving over a set date range.
Review this data to identify whether you have a traffic or a conversion issue. If your listing is receiving significant traffic and is not converting, then you’ll want to look at your listing to see if something is stopping customers from buying your product.
Sometimes the issue with conversion is not related to your listing; instead, there may be another listing appearing in the ads or related products highlighting a similar but less expensive option—or a higher-quality option.
If this isn’t the case, re-examine your listing for potential conversion issues.
If you determine that your listing is converting your existing traffic well, there may not be enough traffic to generate the sales you need. If this is the case, look into using ads to generate additional sales and to help you to better rank organically for your most important keyword phrases.
As you ramp up your campaign, make sure to monitor the ranking of your most critical keywords. To beat out your competition organically for these specific keywords, you will need to generate conversions. This means you might have to run ads, even if they are not profitable, to jumpstart the conversion for your listing.
You can double check your work over time by comparing a reverse ASIN search of your product and your competitors’ product and tracking the number of keywords each of you has in the top 10 positions.
7. Are your ads optimized?
The way your ads are structured and their effectiveness will influence your ranking for particular keywords. Especially in extremely competitive niches, the structure and strategy behind your ads will determine whether your product will remain profitably competitive.
This means you may need a combination of performance-based campaigns, ranking campaigns, and, perhaps, some awareness campaigns.
Advertising on Amazon provides a halo effect, meaning that when you run ads you will often see an increase in organic sales as well. Many brands can run ads at a higher volume for a short period. Once you get consistent conversion for your most important keywords, you could scale back your ad spend.
If you have identified that your listing is optimized and converting your existing traffic, it would be beneficial to start running ads on Amazon and sometimes external to your Amazon listing. The best place to learn how to effectively run ads is through the Amazon Learning Console, a free program created and maintained by Amazon.
We hope that walking you through some common reasons why a listing might not sell on Amazon will help to increase your listing's performance and conversions. If you have additional questions, we're always happy to help, so don't hesitate to reach out to us with your inquiries.