Welcome to 2017!
If Amazon marketplace changes in 2016 are any indication, we have a fascinating ride ahead of us this year. Yet similar to what we saw a year ago, we face an ever-tightening marketplace of new rules and tougher competition. It’s a perfect time to focus squarely on where you can improve, and how.
My friend Bernie Thompson went from running his business from his garage to one of the top sellers on Amazon. For the first year and a half, Bernie ran his Amazon business as a one man show.
How did he turn his business into the well-oiled machine that it is today? He paid constant attention to the most efficient methods of listing products, an Amazon-styled customer service approach, and he honed an obsessive focus on how to maximize potential while playing by the rules.
How do you compete while nailing Amazon’s profile of a perfect seller?
If you receive a bad feedback citing item quality shortcomings, think like an internal Amazonian who may review your account. Don’t ask yourself how you can refund a buyer or offer them a free product in exchange for removing it and call it a day.
Instead, think about your other buyers who didn’t leave feedback. Could they have complained to Customer Service in a less visible way?
One or two bad comments that you see could mean many sitting in your account annotations. Whether or not they were automated “soft hits”. Or the result of a manual investigation on “inauthentic” or otherwise different items.
If you discover complaints concerning packaging quality or damage in transit, then quickly explore ways to fix it for the future. When you try to get your head around reasons for bad buyer reports, useful kernels of information present themselves.
Was the item described accurately with pertinent details in your listing content? Perhaps you would benefit from an internal review of all images, bullet content, and title phrases to make sure all Amazon buyers will know what they’re getting.
Are you pushing buyers to boost your sales and help you fight off other sellers with wonderful reviews and feedback BEFORE you’ve considered what you did to make their experience a good one? Make sure you’re offering help, product clarification, or any needed information to buyers first, prior to requesting that they do something for you.
Amazon buyers are notoriously fickle and accustomed to being pampered, and protected, by Amazon. They sometimes dislike repeat messages reminding them that they need to do take time out to help. The odds increase that you’ll generate a complaint to Amazon if you haven’t shown much interest in their receipt and positive use of the item.
Never simply assume they’ll like it and only ask them to contribute. Show adequate interest with proper messaging that indicates you care about more than sales rank.
Amazon is not just about ensuring the best buyer experience by sending a second product, or offering a refund to make buyers happy after the fact. Account investigators take action to prompt you to review returns comments, bad buyer feedback, claims comments and even direct messaging from buyers for a reason.
Amazon needs to know that as a seller, you’re proactively searching for ways to improve your methods. The more you do to eliminate problem orders and to prevent complaints, the less time Amazon teams have to spend looking you over for complaint causes.
Pay more attention to feedback now than you ever have before.
You may say, “I’m always looking at my feedback. It’s 98% positive. Not much to improve upon there.” Ok, fair enough.
But do you reply to messages from buyers quickly, even on weekends?
Are you monitoring problem order requests for help a bit less than your competition?
A quick reply to a buyer to resolve an order snafu today could mean no bad feedback tomorrow.
Think of Amazon as a completely connected ecosystem where any action on one part of your account can reduce the likelihood of problems elsewhere. Be ahead of the curve, and think around that corner before you get there.
A buyer complaint that never makes it into Amazon’s hands means one less chore for you, too. On top of that, you’ll get valuable intel on product problems. Get a jump on either removing them from FBA to inspect them better, or get crucial insights that you could put to work in future messaging to Product Quality teams, if or when they lean on you about an item complaint.
You’ll see quickly how acting fast to head off a buyer problem at the pass will save you time later once you’re not coping with Amazon’s mind-numbing generic messaging. No seller wants to get stuck in one of their brutal email loops asking for the all-ambiguous “more information.”
This is the “be on your toes, always stay on your toes” marketplace from now to eternity. Making the most of turning negative feedback into positive future results now will pay dividends in the future when you’re only selling consistently successful, well-reviewed items, backed by glowing feedback, of course.
So, focusing on the strength of the products you sell and the service you provide will in its own way bring customers back to buy from you again. You shouldn’t have to look for new angles or untested “hip” methods of procuring wonderful public comments about you.