Whether you’re a seasoned Amazon professional seller, or just starting an eBay business, it can be a challenge to sort out where to spend your time and energy next. Fortunately, the seller landscape has never been better for those looking grow their business while reducing their workload. The good news is, with a massive market share and customer service focused policy changes at eBay and Amazon in the past few years, succeeding at online selling is becoming more and more about just doing your job well.
We’ve gathered up some great tips for Amazon and eBay sellers alike, that will not only help you grow your business but build your brand and your customer service reputation. Even better, they’re going to make your work day smoother, your email inbox happier, and satisfy your buyers. So, without any further adieu. Here are 17 tips for selling on eBay and Amazon. We’ve grouped them by the three most impactful areas to grow your online business.
Improving The Customer Experience
Amazon and eBay are always moving closer to tying customer service insights to your search ranking. Your feedback and response time play a huge factor in winning the Buy Box and appearing high in best match. Nothing will do more to raise your search profiles and grow your seller feedback and reputation than providing a better customer experience. Here are some great tips for doing so.
1. Lightning Response
Buyers more than anything want to know they are being heard. Online sellers are competing against a local purchase which represents security and face to face communication. The number one thing you can do to make your life easier, and your customer love your business is to communicate quickly. Start with prioritizing response time on incoming messages. Amazon has long tracked this as a key indicator of your seller performance anyways. You will serve your customer better and greatly benefit your seller reputation. Nothing keeps a customer happier than hearing back within an hour or two rather than a full day. Even if you don’t have the answer just let them know you are working on it.
2. Fast Handling and Shipping Service
Of course, the very next step to great service is getting those items in transit as fast as possible and to use a fast shipping service. If you work with small items and self-fulfill there’s no better option than USPS Priority and Priority flat rate boxes. Not only do they have stellar shipment times, but the costs cannot be beaten. Fast shipment is the highest metric that will guarantee positive feedback in your selling channels.
3. Even Faster Handling By Drop Off Time
Be sure to know your drop off times as well as last load out for your area. Early on we realized that with our pickup time, our items were not actually departing the city until the following day. With a small organizational change you can get all your shipments out the day they are handed off and arriving one day sooner. Typically the delivery agent (UPS or USPS) is happy to help make this change if you just let them know what you need.
4. Scripted Responses
As you grow your Amazon and eBay businesses and you find yourself writing the same responses to similar questions. Get an outlined google doc going. Organize your responses with headlines so they are easy to copy/paste and then adjust them to your customer’s specifics. There’s no sense in writing the same things over and over and this will help to better develop a professional tone for your brand and your business.
5. Always Keep it Professional And Positive
It’s a given that in any business there will be conflict. Unfortunately, with the anonymity of the internet, buyers often feel when there is a problem they need to start with an angry first contact. Know that it’s not you or your product. You customer is just fearful of not being heard. You are the calm in the storm. Always be professional in your response and work towards a solution. Steel your will to never allow a customer to drag you into a personal dispute. You’ll be happier and the conflict will resolve faster. Again, pre-written responses make it much easier to maintain a positive tone.
6. Give Your Customer Options
Buyers just want to feel like they are in control. You can give them that by offering options. The easiest way to calm a situation is to offer the customer a choice. By doing so they feel like they have the power, and you can move faster to resolve any disappointment. Something like,
“I’m happy to help with a return or we can offer you a 10% courtesy discount on your item. Just let us know how you would like to proceed”
You’ll be amazed at how much this can help.
Focusing On Your Product Base And It’s Reach
Buyers are looking more and more for product support from sellers of all sizes. Learning more about your products is a great way to invest in your business. The more you know the better you’ll be able to sell and support your listings. Here are a few ideas to get to know your products better.
7. Test A Product Niche At A Low Cost
As you find new product niches to sell in, there are several techniques you can use to investigate your new market for a lower cost. For instance, throwing all in on a Private Label experiment can be risky. Lower cost solutions allow you to test out not only how well the product sells, but the customer types that buy it. An easy way to do this is through liquidation buys, retail arbitrage, or drop shipping. Instead of going all in, look for a low-cost way to get in the door and test the waters. This may help avoid some costly long tail inventory mistakes.
8. Price To The Strongest Market
As you start selling a new product, or repricing your old inventory, don’t forget to comp the price on all your channels. As sellers, it’s easy to get in the mindset of a fixed price point. The reality is eBay and Amazon both are fairly captive audiences. Think of them as individual stock markets, and the item you’re selling can often fluctuate wildly on both. By making time to review competitive price points on all your marketplaces you can push your profits up on existing inventory.
9. Learn More About Your Products
Product knowledge is value. Every time you are asked a question, about your product take a minute to research it. With every conversation about your product, you are learning more about it and that translates into your ability to sell and service it better. The long-term result of this is you become specialized and can charge more for your product, experience, and knowledge.
10. Research Before You Sell
We all want to make great sourcing decisions. Nothing will empower you more than doing you homework. With a wide array of research tools and the marketplaces themselves, learn how to better evaluate an inventory buy. We’ve got a great article here for getting at the most relevant data for new product sourcing.
11. Your Product Is Also The Box
It can be easy to focus only on the item you are delivering, but appearances can be everything. The item delivered to you customer doorstep includes everything from the box and packaging to any package inserts or receipts. Take some time to review not only the safety of your packaging but the presentation it provides. A well-presented item leaves a great first impression on the buyer and will support their enjoyment of their new purchase. It often only takes minutes to get your shipping employee up to speed on making things look great!
Make Good eBay and Amazon SEO Choices
After upping your product and customer service game, there are several easy choices you can make to have a huge impact on getting your items ranking higher. Here are a few of our favorites to win the top spot on eBay and Amazon.
12. Free Shipping
Amazon and eBay Search love free shipping, there’s no way around it. But there is a reason, 9 out of 10 buyers say it’s their first consideration when buying online. Quick handling and free shipping are easiest search bumps to get. While you may feel it’s an added cost, at the end of the day you just build it into your price. As a bonus is makes keeping tabs on your pricing between markets easier.
13. UPC’s. Know Thy Item.
All marketplaces are moving towards better data. By focusing on product identifiers like UPC, eBay and Amazon allow customers to more quickly find the item they are looking for. eBay is making a big push this year to better catalog their seller’s inventory. Incorporating UPC, ASIN and other common identifiers into your listings now will reward your items with better search relevancy and a higher ranking.
14. Shoot For eBay Top Rated Plus
I know that in the old days the Top Rated Status on eBay was a constantly moving target. Thanks to the Fall 2015 update, eBay has made it much easier to achieve and maintain. DSR’s, Return Rates and Feedback have mostly been removed from the equation. With a focus now on handling and tracking upload times, as well as not allowing any disputes to go unresolved. They’ve developed a really good program for sellers and the search boost and discounts can’t be ignored.
15. Refresh Stale Listings.
Both the Amazon Buy Box and eBay search reward fresh items significantly. More importantly (and less known) is the effects of refreshing your listings doesn’t just help that one listing but gives a boost to all of your listings. If you haven’t posted new inventory in while, pull a few of your items and relist them as new.
16. Offer A 30 Day Return Policy
Let’s just be frank here. With Amazon’s A-to -Z program and eBay’s not as described cases if your buyer wants to return an item they are going to, regardless of your policy. Why not get out in front of it. A 30-day return policy will boost your search ranking allowing you to price up a bit, and your irate customer emails are going to fall away making your life that much easier. The truth is you’re likely not going to receive any more returns than you would’ve already and everyone just feels a little saner. Just do it, your customer’s peace of mind will thank you.
17. Promotions and Markdowns
eBay this year has really been pushing a couple of options to sellers to pay their way to the top. While we have some mixed reviews about the markdown manager, Promoted listings can be used to great effect for as little as a 1% fee. Working that into your price is pretty straightforward, and the results can be huge. Amazon Sponsored Products, has also really shined this year. Particularly on high volume inventory. Both are really worth looking into to increase both your brand and items visibility.
Refreshing your customer service methods, your inventory handling, and taking a look at your SEO tactics can all help put your business on track for a great year. Hopefully, there are a few tips here that will turn into some great transactions and help you grow a leaner, happier business. All the best in your business this year. Now go make some great sales!
James Beach is the Founder of Kicksync.com, a service that makes crossposting inventory between eBay and Amazon easy. Try a free trial today and see how easy it can be. Whether you are a small business working with single quantities or needing an enterprise level solution, KickSync is built for you.