Selling your products on Amazon and other online marketplaces offers immense potential, but it can be a daunting prospect, even for experienced brands. To give your brand the best shot at a successful launch, you need to start with a strong foundation, both in product design and marketing. That involves researching target markets, assessing competitor products, creating keyword-rich listing copy, producing Amazon-compliant photography, preparing Amazon search marketing campaigns, and coordinating influencer marketing and social media marketing to generate early traction.
Well before you get there, you need to create a game plan, a strategy that will make each decision purposeful rather than spasmodic. We’ve helped launch thousands of profitable brands and products on Amazon, and we’ve learned a thing or two about best practices.
Whenever we consider a first to market launch, we apply a four-step framework.
Step 1: Definitions
From the beginning, you need to know who your audience is, what your goals are, and at least some specific steps for how you’ll get there. By establishing definitions at the start, you’ll create clear direction for preparatory and maintenance work.
- Define your target audience. What are their needs, and how will you fulfill those needs? What platforms do they frequent? What ideals can you appeal to?
- Create realistic and incremental growth plans. Lofty goals are admirable, but a ladder with a rung only at the top is useless. You need incremental, tangible goals that will take you step by step to the finish line.
Step 2: Analysis
Once your goals and action items are defined, assess your current product iteration. You should have gone through product design a number of times before this stage but revisiting it once more will ensure you’re still on track. If you find that you’re not there yet, you still have time to pivot before you invest more time and money in a weak venture.
- Evaluate your brand or product with a SWOT analysis. Are you well positioned, or do you need to address issues before you launch?
- While marketing will attract customers, it’s product design that determines if those shoppers are one-time buyers or return customers. Even if your price is better, a poorly designed product will lose to a slightly more expensive, better designed product. Before you invest your time and money in entering ecommerce marketplaces, confirm that your product is up to par.
- If you’re entering an already competitive niche, reviewing competitor products’ reviews is a great way to get insights into product do’s and don’ts.
Step 3: Construction
Now comes the moment of truth. It’s time to build your listing. You’ll notice this is the longest section in this article, but if you’ve been thorough in your previous steps, this stage should be relatively painless.
- People buy what looks good. Invest in professional photography and consider videos if your product is complex or you’re appealing to a niche audience. Amazon requires at least one image for your listing, but we recommend a mixture of studio and lifestyle images for a total of 5-7 photos. If you need creative assets, etailz’s in-house Creative & Digital Services team can provide everything you need. Check out some of their work here.
- Amazon Gallery Image Requirements:
Image size: 500px – 10,000px
Format: JPG, TIFF, or GIF
Max File Size: 10mb
- Amazon Hero (First Gallery) Image Requirements
Shows product only (out of packaging)
100% pure white background
Product must fill at least 85% of image area
Must be in focus, not blurry
- Amazon Gallery Image Requirements:
- Invest time and resources in search engine optimization. Listing optimization matters for a couple reasons:
- Titles, bullet points, and product descriptions are indexed by Amazon’s search algorithm. Seeding these sections and the backend with keywords is one of the few ways you can proactively improve your organic SERP placement.
- If you want to index for shoppers’ searches, you need to use the terms they’re already using. Don’t describe your product from your perspective; describe it from shoppers’ perspective.
- Shoppers who bother to skim or read the copy are doing so because they want more information. That means you shouldn’t just vomit insensible strings of keywords to improve discoverability. Your bullet points and product description must be keyword rich, intelligible, and compelling.
- Amazon Listing Character/Bytes Limits
Title: 250 bytes
Bullet points: 1,000 bytes total for all 5
Product description: 2,000 bytes
Step 4: Refinement
Once your product is live, it’s time to collect data so you can refine and expand your efforts.
- Promote your products off-marketplace with influencer marketing and social media campaigns. Partnering with influencers and running paid Facebook and Instagram ads are effective ways to drive off-site traffic to marketplace listings, increasing your total traffic, improving visibility, and driving conversions.
- By directing targeted audiences from social platforms to your listings directly, you bypass marketplace search engines and competitors’ SERP ads.
- Paid marketplace ads like Amazon Sponsored Products will be less effective while you have extremely high ranks, so use SEO and content marketing to drive down your rank. Once your category rank has improved enough, Cost-per-Click (CPC) ads can be a powerful force for amplifying visibility and sales.
- Increasing listing traffic and sales with content marketing boosts your organic product rank, which improves the performance of your CPC ads on marketplaces.
- Conduct regular evaluation and refinement of your marketing and product. Review ad performance, conversion rates, product rank, and customer reviews.
- As mentioned earlier, customer reviews can provide great insight into what you’re doing well and what you could improve upon. Some complaints stem from misunderstandings, which you can correct by updating imagery and copy. Other complaints may be with the product – How can you improve its design to address those issues?
In our decade of ecommerce experience, we’ve seen this framework lead to profitable and sustainable growth for our partners and their products. As the saying goes, half the battle is preparation. These four steps will position your company for a strong start and steady growth when you take your brand or products to sell on Amazon, Walmart, and beyond for the first time.