It is easy to place the blame on Amazon not displaying your products when your average sales slow down. Or maybe we might feel the blame should be aimed at buyers no longer using Amazon to purchase their goods.
Usually, if sales are affected, it is due to a plethora of reasons, including seasonal demand. However, it is a hard fact that competition is ferocious on Amazon. Many sellers are competing with exactly the same products as you in a demanding market. Therefore prices are kept competitive.
It is ridiculous that many sellers seem to want to race all competitors to the lowest prices making it difficult, if not impossible to make a decent profit.
I am often horrified when I note books for sale for less than I know it will cost to post. Of course, in many cases, large sellers do have an advantage in having negotiated lower postage costs due to the volume of sales they make. But still, the most they can be making is only pennies per book – most of us other sellers cannot hope to compete with them.
There is little reason for low pricing. I have proved time and time again buyers are often content to pay higher prices for books they want. Sometimes this might mean using various online selling platforms, but it is true just the same.
Many prices are driven low due to software that controls pricing for many large sellers who do not have the time to adjust prices manually.
Sellers will put a minimum price for an item and the software will just keep reducing prices by a penny or two below the price a competitor has set their price for until it reaches their price limit. Usually, it seems, all the way to the bottom, which on Amazon is £2.81.
If you are trying to make an income by buying a product for X and selling for Y and pocketing the difference, there is no doubt that Amazon sellers’ pricing does make it difficult for you to do this. And competition gets fiercer every day.
When you are selling a product in plentiful supply, your book has to be on top of the selling page to compete and to ensure your products are purchased. Many buyers just do not scroll down the page far enough to compare prices or conditions.
It is frustrating when your book is described in better condition and your feedback rating is superior to other sellers, only for buyers to ignore the quality and go for the low price on top of the page.
Personally, I would like to see Amazon display books not by lowest price, but on the feedback rating of the seller!
That way if you behave better than other sellers and this is reflected in your feedback rating, you could ask a premium price compared to competitors with a lower feedback rating as your book will not be in listed in price order.
For this to have any meaning Amazon would have to amend their feedback system, which is frankly not fit for purpose in my opinion.
But that’s a discussion for another eletter!
To put a finer point on it, the only way to consistently make an income on Amazon is to ensure you refresh prices on a regular basis.
Also, add new stock! It is a sad fact that sales stagnate because the books you have are no longer in demand. Frustrating, but that is a fact.
However, do remember the object of the exercise when you are a seller is to make a profit on every sale!
Make sure you ensure you know that the sale price of an item covers all your costs and there is a difference that leaves something for you.
This means that when you go to your inventory you know that if you reduce a price to match a competitor you are still going to be in pocket when a sale occurs.
This article first appeared on Book Seller Profits. Read more and comment here