The biggest player in Ecommerce—by far—is Amazon. It was true in 2020, and will almost certainly be true in 2021, when considering 63% of online shoppers head there first when looking for a new product. Making a presence on the platform a smart choice for businesses around the world.
However, with over 2 million active sellers competing for customers on the platform, making sure the Amazon marketplace works for you, requires understanding how to use it effectively. Selling on Amazon is a business in and of itself, with its own trends, best practices, and strategies for success. As Amazon evolves over time, sellers need to stay on top of those trends and change along with it.
If you want to grow your business on Amazon in 2021, taking time to reflect on the main trends and takeaways of 2020 is a good way to start the year off strong.
3 Top Takeaways for Amazon Sellers
When working on your Amazon strategy for the year, three important lessons from the past year should factor into your plan.
1. Do not settle for one type of account.
In the early days of the pandemic, Amazon chose to limit which products they were allowing into their fulfilment centers, in order to prioritize essential items. Just like that, many vendors lost their main income stream. While the change was temporary, a few weeks without a sale can seriously hurt your bottom line. The experience was a painful lesson in the importance of diversifying.
While having a vendor account on Amazon offers its share of benefits, if it is the only type of account you have, it leaves you dependent on the whims of Amazon. For those few weeks, businesses that also had an account with Seller Central were still able to stock and fulfil orders on their own. Expanding your business to include a seller account as well as a vendor account will mean taking on more responsibilities and changing up your overall Amazon strategy. However, it will give you back more control over how you sell and fulfil your products.
If you have not considered setting up a seller account on Amazon before now, make 2021 the year you take the plunge. Taking a hybrid approach to Amazon, where you function as both a seller and vendor, gives you more power over your relationship with the platform and more opportunities for sales.
2. Make use of branded features.
Vendors on Amazon have long felt the challenge of building a brand on the platform as people who find your products, are viewing them within an Amazon-branded interface. Breaking through that to create a brand identity of your own isn’t easy.
While Amazon can put limits on how businesses present their brands and products, they have begun adding features that give more opportunities to create and promote brand identity on the site.
Amazon sellers are smart to take advantage of all the branded features they can. That now includes:
- Amazon Stores – The Amazon Stores feature allows you to create a branded, multi-page destination on the platform that’s all about your brand and products. It’s a free, powerful feature that gives you a lot of control over the images and messaging you put forward for your brand.
- Store ads – Once you’ve created an Amazon Store, you can make it go further with branded ads—both on Amazon and off—that drive traffic directly to it.
- Sponsored Brands – Sponsored Brands are CPC (cost-per-click) ads within the Amazon platform that include your brand logo, a headline of your choice, and the chance to feature multiple products. They’re a smart way to increase awareness of your business on the site.
- A+ content – On your product pages, A+ content gives you space to include more valuable detail that answers customer questions, as well as rich images that illustrate product benefits. Both can help increase conversions.
- Brand videos – Videos are a valuable option for drawing attention as people scroll and providing customers with information in a more engaging way. You can embed videos about your brand and products within your Amazon Store, and use Amazon Sponsored Brands videos to reach more users.
All of these are smart features to add to your strategy now, keeping in mind to stay on top of any new features, as they get released. Amazon is continually introducing new tactics to help sellers on the platform gain more traction. You will benefit from being an early adopter each time they launch something new.
3. Adapt to Brexit.
As if the disruptions of COVID-19 weren’t enough, UK sellers also face new legislative changes coming into effect in 2021 due to Brexit. Selling to customers in the EU now comes with more complications.
For one thing, Amazon will no longer provide fulfilment through FBA from its UK warehouses to EU buyers. Any UK sellers that want to continue serving EU customers will need to take care of fulfilment themselves, and will likely want to begin splitting their stock between fulfilment locations in the UK and other European countries.
In addition, you need to be registered to pay taxes in the EU as well as the UK and may need to reconsider your product pricing to account for the differences. You will also want to get familiar with the customs declarations required for shipping products to the EU. Getting the paperwork right each time will reduce the likelihood of shipments getting held up at the border.
If you are still reeling from the changes and struggling to figure out how to move forward, the government’s Brexit checker tool can provide some personalised recommendations for your business, and their website can help you stay up to date as new rules and information come into effect. Adapting to Brexit will involve a bit of a learning curve, but for most sellers, maintaining a customer base throughout Europe will be worth the hassle.
Prepare for a Strong 2021
Amazon sellers face the new year with a mix of good and bad. Handling new challenges and evolving in the face of change comes with the territory of running a business. While 2020 brought a bigger share of challenges than usual, some of the trends of the year have pushed smart businesses to evolve in ways that will make you stronger for years to come.