Common Amazon Seller mistakes: Avoiding 9 Common Pitfalls in Amazon Sales

In a strategic move for your online business, you decided to venture into selling products on Amazon. Given that nearly 50% of all online transactions in the United States occur on Amazon, it’s a logical step to take to broaden your reach. However, to ensure the venture remains lucrative, it’s crucial to sidestep certain common pitfalls. I gained these insights from years of working closely with numerous sellers. So let’s pre-empt any unpleasant experiences and address these frequent Amazon seller errors to help you navigate clear of them.



Error #1: Underestimating the complexity of selling on Amazon

If you have prior experience in online sales or are managing a flourishing eCommerce business on other platforms, you might easily assume that setting up an Amazon seller account and listing your products will be a walk in the park. Selling on eBay? Straightforward. Facebook? Simples. Shopify? Piece of cake. But Amazon is a whole different ball game, and here’s why.

Several sales categories on Amazon are “gated,” implying that you need to present evidence that you’re authorized to sell within that category. This evidence could be an invoice or proof of purchase from the manufacturer, at the least. If your product is not already listed on Amazon, you would have to put in the effort to “ungate” the new category by applying with your business details.

Therefore, while setting up your Amazon sales need not be an ordeal, it’s unrealistic to expect everything to be in place within a few hours. It could take days just to get your account up and running before you can commence listing.

Error #2: Posting duplicate products on your Amazon store

Here’s a heads up: it’s quite possible that the product you intend to sell is already available on Amazon. Much like eBay, Amazon opens its doors to all sellers to vend virtually anything, with a few exceptions like alcohol, fine art, and cars.

A number of clients I’ve worked with were astounded to discover that their products were already listed on Amazon. It’s therefore vital to do your homework, have your Universal Product Code (UPC) at hand, and ensure you’re not duplicating a listing. If you find someone else selling your product, you’ll essentially be contributing to that listing and vying with other sellers for the “buy box”.

Error #3: Overlooking the intricate connection between UPCs, SKUs and the Amazon Catalog

Before you embark on listing your products on Amazon, it’s essential to comprehend the dynamics between Amazon and UPCs, Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), and product variations like size and color.

Changing a UPC can be a challenging endeavor. I have clients who reused their old UPCs, but Amazon retained the old data in their catalog and refused to alter or update it. Consequently, it’s wise to use your UPCs as product identifiers on Amazon, which will ultimately protect your brand and product in the long haul.

In contrast, SKUs are more flexible and can be changed without deleting the product. If you don’t have a SKU, Amazon will provide one for you. However, this doesn’t offer any protection for you or your products.

Error #4: Neglecting to research keywords, competitors, or categories

A large portion of the Amazon clients I assist have already displayed their products, yet feel they’re not achieving the desired traffic and sales. Often, this boils down to the same reason: Amazon is an intensely competitive marketplace. To prosper, you need to complete the puzzle.

What pieces of the puzzle? Your category, competitors, and targeted keywords, plus a plan to secure the buy box.

To assist, here are a few queries you should consider before you commence selling on Amazon, or if you’re already an Amazon seller and wish to enhance your outcomes:

  1. Who holds top rankings for keywords similar to my product?
  2. What is their review count?
  3. What’s their pricing strategy?
  4. How can I outperform them?
  5. Can I develop a superior listing?
  6. Can I offer better pricing?
  7. Are my competitors using Amazon Prime?

Invest time in understanding how Amazon ranks your keywords based on their position and use keyword tools like Ahrefs or Helium 10 to optimize your listings.

Error #5: Overlooking Amazon Advertising and other seller tools

I always advise my clients to utilize every tool Amazon offers. Get acquainted with and use resources such as:

  1. Amazon Advertising
  2. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA),
  3. Amazon Vine
  4. A+ Content
  5. Amazon Brand Registry
  6. Amazon Brand Analytics
  7. Amazon Stores
  8. Amazon Product and Advertising Videos

The more tools you employ, the better your chances of outperforming competitors and understanding the Amazon marketplace. For instance, one of my clients, after years of Amazon selling, finally opted for FBA and experienced a 50% sales hike in just one month.

Error #6: Lacking a plan for sales growth and customer reviews

Many sellers add their products to Amazon and simply wait for miraculous results. However, without an active approach, growth will be predictably sluggish. Thus, it’s crucial to devise a strategy for boosting sales and traffic.

One of the optimal ways to rank a new product on Amazon is to rapidly acquire your first 10 Amazon reviews. Don’t presume these reviews will automatically appear. You need a proactive approach to secure your first reviews and continually earn more if you aim to surpass your competition on Amazon.

My two primary recommendations for securing customer reviews on Amazon are:

  1. Immediately enroll your products in Amazon Prime.
  2. Include a personal note with every product, expressing gratitude to Amazon’s customers for their purchase. Reassure them you’re available to help with any issues and kindly ask for a review if they enjoy the product. As these notes are increasingly common and virtually the only “touchpoint” you’ll have with an Amazon shopper, ensure you abide by Amazon’s policies: asking for a review is permitted, but offering incentives is not.

Error #7: Underestimating the Competition

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your success won’t attract imitators. Regardless of the uniqueness of your product or the presence of trademarks and patents, other sellers will eventually emerge on Amazon, offering similar products. To safeguard your products and brand on Amazon, it is crucial to take proactive measures from the moment you start selling.

Error #8: Building an Inferior Listing

Building upon the previous mistake, it is essential to optimize your product detail pages to the best of your abilities. Neglecting this aspect is a grave error that many people make. While utilizing tools like Helium 10’s product optimizer can help, it’s worth noting that successful products in every category share certain characteristics. Here’s a quick checklist to consider:

Craft a detailed Product Title: Include relevant keywords, prioritizing the most important ones. Front-load your title with critical keywords, as closer proximity to the beginning is more impactful. Different product categories have varying title length limits, with a maximum of 200 characters for FBA products.

Compelling Bullet Points: Amazon’s search algorithm takes into account the bullets and the title. Ensure that your bullet points incorporate high-performing keywords and effectively highlight the key selling points that customers seek.

Engaging Visuals: Utilize high-quality, zoomable images, along with at least one video. Visual content plays a significant role in driving sales, so showcase your product from multiple angles.

Leverage A+ Content: Although Amazon doesn’t directly consider A+ content for product ranking, it holds immense value from a customer’s perspective. Enhance the content with high-quality images and persuasive copy that effectively promotes your product. Utilize customer reviews and questions to identify compelling selling points.

Competitive Pricing: While price should not be the sole competitive factor, Amazon customers tend to compare prices. Consider maintaining a competitive price point to attract potential buyers.

Garner Reviews: Reviews play a vital role in the buying process. Customers often compare the number of reviews and the percentage of positive ratings. Encourage customers to leave reviews within the boundaries set by Amazon.

Continuously Optimize: As your product gains traction, regularly revisit your keyword research and update the description accordingly, aligning it with the insights you gain.

Error #9: Overlooking the Customer Experience

Providing an unforgettable customer experience is an opportunity within your control as an Amazon seller, yet it is a mistake that many companies make. Packaging your products in plain boxes without giving it much thought is a missed opportunity. Instead, aim to impress customers right from the moment they open the box. Consider including a personalized note from the founder or CEO as a minimum gesture. In highly competitive spaces, you might even want to include a free gift along with a note.

What’s Next?

Amazon can serve as a powerful sales channel for astute sellers, granting access to a vast market. If used correctly, it can be a lucrative opportunity. However, it is crucial to bear in mind that Amazon is highly competitive. As you establish your presence, keep these common mistakes made by Amazon sellers in mind and take the necessary steps to avoid them.