So how do I sell more profitably on Amazon?
You may or may not be aware of Amazon's attempts to introduce procedures to aid your selling experience... Basically they send out a weekly email regarding your matrix, which shows results of you seller performance concerning issues such as feedback.
Amazon urge you to look at Amazon Selling Coach, a seller tool which looks at your seller profile and listings and gives you suggestions tailored towards improving your business.
For example, if you have a number of listings missing product images, Amazon Selling Coach may provide you with a report which shows you how to find those particular listings when you are ready to add images.
I do use this tool from time to time, but usually only as an aid to finding new products - but it is usually geared towards selling of new products. I use it to determine what items sell better than others in my inventory and then use that information to select new products.
Unfortunately, when you sell used goods that you buy ad hoc its impossible to know just what products (books) you will find on a regular basis. I for one would love to repeat-buy my most successful selling books such as this one I sold yesterday:
Lancelot Andrews: Selected Sermons and Lectures ISBN- 0198187742
Order number xxx-780xxx-2939xxx £129.99
SKU: 1st/05/011-17, Amazon put on the system 20th May 011-sold 26th May 011
It sold extremely quickly despite its sales ranking which is on the low side. Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,305,976
This copy was purchased from a house clearance shop (junk shop) where they had a room full of shelves stacked high with books, which they were selling at 6 for a £1!
In actual fact this particular shop did not advertise its books and I would have left the shop without even knowing about the treasure trove. Luckily, Clive happened to ask the assistant if they had any books and she laughed and pointed us to the back room.
This book order demonstrates that it is perfectly possible to find high value books in the most innocuous of places. Now ok, the chances of finding another copy of this title is remote, but all the same it's a very nice return on the 18p it cost me!
How to improve sales and sell more on Amazon
Going back to Amazon's Selling Coach. This week I received two unrelated but significant emails, which I thought would make great discussion points.
"Our studies have shown that adding a good quality image to a detail page increased page views by more than 60% and orders by 25% [...]
There is a feature in Amazon Selling Coach that can help you enhance your listings and improve your sales. It is a report that includes those listings that may benefit from the addition of an image, a fuller description, or by adding brand. The report also includes a "Fix this" link that allows you to quickly and easily add the missing information to your listings [...]"
Adding an image or other info to books already in Amazon's catalogue was not possible until recently.
Now, however, if you are a promerchant seller and you would like to add product information or an image to your listing, simply go to your open listings and click on 'action.'
This will produce a drop down box of actions. One choice is to add or to edit product details, and it's in this section you can add a photograph or update a product description if you wish.
My second interesting email is as follows and follows on from my ezine last week concerning Amazon's Long-Term Storage programme:
"Dear FBA Seller
[...]In a recent survey most sellers responded that they don't expect to store merchandise in FBA for longer than one year, and indeed most FBA inventory sells through much quicker than that. However, inventory that is overstocked in our fulfilment centres limits our ability to provide you with space for fast-selling products customers want. Through the Long-Term Storage programme, we will provide you with the information and tools to enable you to improve your return on your inventory investment and focus your business on products that customers desire most.
The Long-Term Storage programme will take effect on August 15th, 2011. On that date, and every six months thereafter, FBA will assess an upfront annual Long-Term Storage Fee* of £1,765 per cubic metre (£50 per cubic foot) on any inventory that has been in Amazon fulfilment centres for 365 days or more. In case you decide to keep units that are 365 days or older in inventory, this translates to £1.32 for an average-sized (20x15x2.5cm) book or £4.94 for an average-sized (28x20x5cm) toy. To provide additional flexibility to maintain your unique selection, one Unit of each applicable product ASIN will be exempted from annual Long-Term Storage Fees. Please note FBA accounts for inventory on a FIFO (first-in-first-out) basis [...]
We would like to support you to optimise your inventory with the following promotion. If before June 30th, 2011 you choose to request a removal of inventory that will be more than 365 days old by August 15th, no removal fees will be charged [...]
The new Inventory Health Report will help you identify Units that will be included in the Long-Term Storage programme if not removed prior to August 15th. The report includes age breakdowns of 270+ days and 365+ days. Additionally, we will be launching functionality in Seller Central which will automatically identify any of your Units that will have been in our fulfilment centres for 365 days or more and will enable you to directly create a request to remove or dispose of them if you so choose.
So, what impact does this new programme have on you? Well the way I read it is if you send predominately single SKU'ed items then there is little impact. I know I will be researching how many duplicate copies I have stored at amazons centres for 12 months and will take advantage of the offer to remove duplicate listings whilst free of charge.
All in all I do not expect there to be very many - buying used individual products does not really lend its self to having many duplicate copies on the same SKU.
If you feel this issue will affect you adversely, do read Amazon's Frequently Asked Questions from your selling account.
And remember, this issue only affects FBA sellers not merchant sellers!