The best mistakes are the ones you can avoid making. In the spirit of that, eDesk takes a look at the top 15 biggest mistakes sellers make on Amazon, and what you need to know to sidestep them.
1. Trying to Have Multiple Seller Accounts
One person, one account. If you try to register for more, you’ll be in violation of Amazon’s policies and they’ll be within their rights to suspend or close your account.
2. Registering for a Seller Account That Doesn’t Suit Your Needs
If you register for an individual account but move plenty of items each month, you’ll be paying more than you need to in fees. But if you sign up for a pro account and sell fewer than 40 items a month, you’ll also be paying more than you need to. Another thing to consider: if you need FBA (right now) or not.
3. Having Non-Moving Inventory
This mistake usually affects new sellers, as they need a bit of time to figure out how much stock to carry. And while it’s never good to post an ‘out of stock’ sign on your Amazon store, it’s almost worse to be stuck with too many items you can’t sell — or have to sell at a steep loss. To remedy this, start slow until you’re sure you can safely increase your inventory.
4. Running Out of Inventory
Not only do you lose out on sales when buyers see you’re out of an item, but you also lose their interest in the future because they’ve already moved onto another, more dependable seller. Using inventory management software is a great way to things under control so you consistently stock the right number of products.
5. Messing Up on Fulfillment
Things like being late with shipping, cancelling an order because of unavailability or not handing off shipment tracking numbers to Amazon — all of these are easy-to-avoid mistakes when selling online. Using FBA will take care of this. But if you choose not to use it (yet), then cement good habits by making sure your first dozen orders are fulfilled perfectly.
6. Trying to Go Head-to-Head with Amazon
You’ll never win. You’re not anywhere close to being big enough or powerful enough to compete directly with Amazon Retail, so don’t waste time, energy or money trying to do so. Focus on your own game and tune out what Amazon does because they will win every time, even if they have to sell at a loss a small portion of the time to do so.
7. Applying eBay Rules to Amazon
Although there are a lot of similarities between the two, there are just as many differences. How eBay operates as a search engine and seller platform is fundamentally different from how Amazon does, and you’ll be setting yourself up for disappointment if you think the two are alike. Familiarise yourself with Amazon’s nuances to ensure the best chance of success there.
8. Pricing Shipping Too High
There are times when I don’t mind paying shipping, but I baulk when it gets too high, like 20% of the item’s cost. Figure out what your base selling cost is to make a profit, then try and reduce shipping as much as possible. High shipping costs are one of the top things that turn buyers off a sale.
9. Not Going After Reviews
We get it, reviews are like pulling teeth. Once buyers get their purchase, they forget about everything else — including leaving feedback. But that doesn’t mean you’re off scot-free, as it’s your job to get those reviews. Using proven automated software is the best way of handling this.
10. Keeping Prices Static
I regularly get alerts of price changes for items in my shopping cart, and I always check either Keepa or CamelCamelCamel before purchasing a product. Why? Because the top sellers constantly adjust their prices and I want to be on the good end of it. But for you, the seller, the easiest way of avoiding pricing mistakes is to invest in a solid automated repricer.
11. Including Your Store URL in the Product Listing
Plain and simple, this is an Amazon policy violation. But if you’re smart about how you write your product listings, then you’ll be able to subtly get buyers to visit your site without going against Amazon’s policies.
12. Advertising Products with Sales or Coupons in the Title
No. Just…no. Don’t do this. If Amazon catches wind of it (and they will more often than they won’t), you could risk your account getting suspended or shut down. And it definitely won’t be worth those few extra sales you made at a 20% discount.
13. Having Non-Plain Main Images
When selecting your main product image, go with just the product on a white or neutral background. We’re not saying to avoid colored backgrounds or lifestyle shots, just to save them for the additional images and not the main one.
14. Skipping Sales Tax
Whichever city/country you live in, they don’t care who pays the sales tax as long as they get their cut. If you forget to work in sales tax on your items, then it’ll be coming out of your pocket. So, if you’re forgetful about that kind of thing, use Amazon or a third-party service that’ll collect the sales tax for you.
15. Not Treating Your Customers Right
This is a pretty broad sentence, but it applies to the following, and more:
- Taking too long to get back to customer questions.
- Assuming buyers have read all the necessary details, policies and descriptions.
- Arguing or getting upset with buyers (even if you’re right).
- Misleading buyers about the condition of the product.
- Trying to bribe buyers for positive reviews.
- Not applying your metrics to make a better shopping experience.