Amazon is the world’s largest online marketplace, and its vast customer base and reputation makes it a great place to sell your products. However, as a small business owner, it can often be challenging selling on Amazon in Canada. There’s a tremendous amount of competition on the platform, making it difficult to break through the noise.
Also, most of the advice out there is for people trying to use Amazon solely as an income stream. These are Amazon users who buy wholesale products for resale or are focused on drop shipping. But what if you already have your own business, or just want to sell your own products?
If you fall in that category, this post is for you. We’re going to give you the most important tips for getting started selling on Amazon Canada as a small business, and then go into how to really make your Amazon store shine with the First Law of Amazon.
Choose Your Niche
The first thing to do when selling on Amazon is to make sure you have a niche. With all the products out there, you want yours to ideally be a unique one. If you’re operating your own small business, you probably already have a niche picked out. If on the other hand, you’re selling a product that has a lot of competition—like headphones—you’re going to have to look hard to find your e-commerce real estate.
Look at your products and see what makes them unique. Is there something you provide, or can provide, to your customers that most competitors can not? Make sure that’s obvious when you create your product listings.
Pick a Selling Plan
When you sign up for Amazon, you have to choose between the two selling plans: individual or professional. At the moment, the individual plan is going to cost you CDN $1.49/item while the professional account is going to run you CDN $29.99/month. There are also additional fees for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) as well as high volume fees and other exceptions.
Which plan you choose is going to depend on how many items you plan to sell. If you’re just dipping your foot in the water of e-commerce (less than 20 items/month), the individual account is your best bet. If you plan on higher sales volumes (if you have a well-established business for instance) the professional account is the one for you.
Put yourself in the shoes of someone shopping for your product. You’re going to want to know what it looks like, and you want to make sure it looks good! Before you put together your first listing, we’d recommend making sure you have some great photographs of your products. Amazon recommends at least 1000 by 1000 pixels, as this enables users to use the zoom function.
Choosing good pictures makes you look professional and makes it more likely potential customers will buy your product.
Optimize for Product Search
No one is going to buy your products if they can’t find them. That’s why optimizing for product search (the Amazon equivalent of SEO) is vital. That means writing good titles for your products, making sure there’s a helpful description, and adding helpful search terms to the product backend.
Customers will often drill down into specifics for an item. They might look at Men’s shoes > dress shoes > a specific brand > a specific style, and finally size and colour. You want to make sure you show up for all the keywords that your product fits. That way your customer base can find you amid all the other sellers.
When you’re doing this, however, avoid keyword stuffing. Don’t add popular terms to your products if they don’t apply to them. Amazon will detect this and penalize your products. Customers will notice pretty quickly too.
Looking for Amazon Alternatives?
The First Law of Amazon: Make Your Customers Happy
Amazon became the dominant online market place by doing one thing really well: making their customers happy. They’ve built their marketplace so that, if you’re a seller, you need to make your customers happy if you want to succeed.
Now that’s what you have to do in any business, but it’s extra important on Amazon. Essentially selling on Amazon is a feedback loop. If you make your customers happy, Amazon shows your products to more people. Which gets you more sales and more happy customers, so Amazon shows your products to even more people… Well you get the point.
Amazon is looking at three things when determining how you show up in product searches:
- Relevancy (Is it what they searched for?)
- Conversion rate (How often people buy your product after viewing it)
- Customer satisfaction and retention (Did they leave you a good review?)
You achieve relevancy by optimizing for Amazon product search. Conversion and satisfaction require more work. Let’s look at some ways to fulfill the First Law.
Customers come to Amazon because they can get great deals that they can’t get by going to competitors or to brick and mortar stores. Providing products for cheaper than your competitors will help you rank better in search. Amazon has a tool to help you match your prices to the lowest in the category you’re selling in. If there is a lot of competition in your area, you might want to think about what type of price matching strategy you want to go with.
This is particularly important if you want to win the buy box. The buy box is the box on the right of the product which has the buy button in it. Sometimes it will show other options for the same product, so making yours the default is important. However, this is only relevant if you’re selling products that are similar to other ones (for instance different editions of the same title of book).
You want good reviews as this encourages people to buy your products. Social proof is one of the most powerful ways to show people that you’re a trustworthy seller, and your products are worth buying.
Obviously the first way to get good reviews is to sell a high quality product. The second best way is to just ask! If you have satisfied customers, often they’re quite happy to write about their great experience.
In addition to this, you need to provide excellent customer service. That means being on top of customer feedback. Answer any emails you get promptly and be professional when communicating. If customers feel that you care about their needs and their happiness, they’re more likely to leave a good review or remove a bad one.
Free and Fast Shipping
One of the reasons people love using Amazon is the cheap and fast shipping. It saves customers money and gets them what they want faster. For this reason, we’d recommend signing up for Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) if that works for your business model.
Signing up for this service adds the “Fulfillment by Amazon” badge to your listings and enables shipping with Amazon Prime for certain products. This makes your products more enticing to customers as it assures prompt delivery, and your products may qualify for free shipping.
If FBA isn’t for you, make sure you keep your shipping costs low. There are several options other than Canada Post for you to look into. Services like Chit Chats can drastically reduce your costs when shipping to the United States.
As a Canadian business, you may be wondering how to get your products to Amazon Fulfillment Centers in the United States. If you’re a Chit Chats customer—and your shipment is under $800—we also ship to Amazon Fulfillment centers!
Selling on Amazon in Canada can be a bit of a learning curve, especially with all the competition. However, if you focus on keeping your customer happy and our other basic tips, you should be able to succeed! Have any tips of your own for selling with Amazon in Canada? Let us know.
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