How to get your first product sales on Amazon

You’ve sourced your product, set up your Amazon Seller Central account, created a listing, had product photographs taken, your stock’s arrived and your listing’s live.  The question is, how to get your first product sales on Amazon.

Some people feel that the above steps are enough and don’t realise that they’re only halfway through the process, when their listing goes live.

If that’s you, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!

The first thing you need to understand is why this is the case.

How the Amazon algorithm works

Whatever product you search for on Amazon, chances are you’re going to get pages (and pages) of results.

To get onto page one, you need at least one of the following:

  • Sales history and veloctity – the more you sell, the higher you rank.
  • High conversions. (i.e. a high proportion of people who look at your product go on to buy it.)
  • To pay for Amazon Sponsored Products (Pay Per Click marketing).

Think about it like this:

Are you launching a product that already exists?

If you’re launching a product that already exists – let’s take a bamboo dish rack for example – there will already be competing products  For this example, there are 281, on the day that I search.

Even if yours has something to differentiate it from the competition (and I really hope it has!) customers won’t know about that unless they can find it.

And if it’s a brand new listing, chances are (without implementing some or all of the strategies I suggest) they won’t, as other sellers will already have sales, reviews and possibly be paying for PPC too.

Are you launching a unique product?

If you’ve created something completely original, you may have the problem that unless you’ve used relevant keywords (i.e. people will search for something related to your product and see your listing) people may not know it even exists, to know to search for it.

The whims of Amazon…

There are, of course, some alternative theories out there. One of them being that however popular your listing is, how relevant it is to the customer’s search, or how well it converts is completely irrelevant and there’s no rhyme or reason to any of it.

Amazon are very mysterious about their algorithms – perhaps for good reason – and we could speculate about this all day.

Nevertheless, I do still think we should all, do whatever we can, to get those products we worked so hard to create and source, to sell well and generate us some profit!

What about reviews?

Reviews definitely help to give social proof – and many customers need this before making a decision.  We’ll talk later about how to generate reviews – fast.

Before you do anything at all, check your listing is optimised

I’m going to share some ideas and tactics on how to boost your listing’s visibility and sales – but, before you do any of that, I want you to check that your listing is the best it can possibly be.

Optimised Amazon listing free checklist Chipmunk Coach

Now your listing’s in good shape, let’s talk about how to get both sales and reviews.

Getting your first sales on Amazon

Amazon Sponsored Products

In case you haven’t come across it already, this is Amazon’s own PPC (pay per click) marketing platform.

When I’m launching a new product, this is one of the first things I do. Hopefully, combined with some of the other strategies, you won’t need to do this indefinitely – but it can really help to get your products shown on page 1 of the search results (assuming you’ve done your research and are targeting the correct keywords) and on listings for other, similar, products.

At first you may feel like you’re spending more than you’re making.  This is ok. Over time you can narrow down which search terms actually convert, drop those that don’t and continually tweak until your campaigns are profitable

Useful links:

Amazon Sponsored Products (getting started)

Optimising your Amazon Sponsored Products campaigns

Run promotions

You can set up promotions in Amazon to give either a monetary or % amount off a product.  This can be a great way to get those initial sales.

There are a few ways and places you can promote these:

  • Using a site specifically for Amazon discounts, such as Jumpsend
  • Deals websites, such as Groupon
  • Social media
  • Emailing your list (if you have one)

I you don’t have an email list, or social accounts for your business or brand, I still suggest posting any discount codes you create on your personal social media page(s) and emailing friends and family. You never know, someone may want to buy it or know someone else who does.

Remember, asking someone to buy a product (or giving them a product) for the purpose of a positive review is against Amazon’s Terms of Service,  However, there’s nothing wrong with friends and family buying your product, out of their own choice, and also choosing to give it an honest review.

Even if you don’t want to offer discounts, I still suggest doing all of the above and just sharing that you have a product for sale, to drive traffic to your listing.

Useful links:

Setting up promotions in Amazon Seller Central

Paid traffic

You can of course pay for advertising to your listing too. You can do this on social media, or Google adwords.  Beware – this can get expensive, even if you get your targeting spot on.

Useful links:

Why I started (and quit) using Google Adwords

Run a competition

I used King Sumo to run a competition which both grew my email list, and spread the word about my product.  People gain entries by sharing your competition and carrying out other tasks such as following you on social media.

You can give a free product to the winner and offer all entrants a discount, just for taking part.

Useful links:

Running competitions, and building followers, with King Sumo

Set up Amazon FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon)

This means that you pay Amazon to store and ship your stock on your behalf.  There are plenty of benefits – such as not having to worry about those things yourself.  It’s also believed (yet not confirmed) that Amazon favours products that they fulfil.

There are benefits to this for you too – such as not needing to store and despatch your own stock.  However, if you do intend to do this, look into the costs carefully first, and check it won’t affect your margins.

Useful links:

Amazon FBA

Getting your first Amazon reviews

All the data I can find suggests that around 10% of customers will leave you a review.

Yet, we all know, when we’re the ones buying products, we tend to favour the ones with positive reviews (and as many of them as possible).

Firstly, I want to say your chances of getting reviews increases if you ask for them.  (As obvious as it may sound, many sellers simply don’t ask.)

There are two main ways you can do that:

With the product

If you’re sending the product yourself or, if you at least have control of how the item is packaged (i.e. it’s in a box or bag already), you can place an insert in with the product asking customers to help you out by leaving a review.

Don’t try and incentivise them in any way (that’s against the rules), just as them to share their honest opinion.

If you’re clever, you could even create a QR code people can scan to take them straight to the review page.  If not, I’m sure they can find it easily enough if they’d like to.

And while you can’t incentivise them for a review – there’s nothing wrong with incentivising another purchase. For example, offering a code to use on their next order (either included on the insert, or that can be accessed by signing up to your newsletter), either on Amazon or your own website.

Tiny Chipmunk product inserts

After the purchase

There’s nothing wrong with emailing customers, after purchase, to check eveything’s ok, if they’re happy with your product and whether have any questions, etc.  And, while doing this, you can also ask them to share their experience of your product. (I also like to send them something useful – additional information to help enhance their use of the product.)

Again, please follow the rules above – you don’t want to get into trouble.

There are two ways you can do this:

Manually

If you go into your orders in Seller Central, you have the option to contact the customer.  If you decide to do this, I would suggest setting up a spreadsheet to keep track of who you emailed and when. I would also suggest saving your email(s) in a Google doc (or similar) as templates that you can copy and paste in each time.  When you’re just starting out, if orders haven’t ramped up yet, it should be manageable to do this for yourself.

Automated solutions

If you don’t have the time and energy to do it manually, there are tools that will automate this for you and send an email (or sequence of emails) to your customers once they’ve placed their order. I use Jumpsend.  This is the only one I’ve used (and therefore the only one I can comment on!) and you can see my full review of it below.

Useful links:

Using Jumpsend to automate customer emails

To summarise

So, a combination of working to drive traffic to your listing (which hopefully convert to sales), plus getting reviews for social proof, should help you get those all-important first sales. From then on, you’ll find you move slowly up the ranking organically and you can either slow down / reduce, or entirely stop any paid traffic you’re doing.

I personally also like to carry on with product inserts and feedback emails.  I think it’s a nice touch, for relatively little cost.

Do you have any other tried and tested ways to get those first Amazon sales?  Comment below if so!