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So you’ve researched the perfect product, worked tirelessly on your listing, and sent your stock to Amazon for fulfillment, you might even have had a few weeks of successful sales. Now all you need to do is sit back and wait for the sales to come in, right?
If it were that easy we’d all be Amazon millionaires. Unfortunately, for most Amazon businesses there comes a time in the lifecycle where sales plummet and knowing how to react when that happens and come out safely on the other side of that drop is one of the major keys to longevity on Amazon.
Before we can talk about recovering from a drop in sales, we need to first understand why it happens at all. The obvious answer here is “it depends” because of course it does, every listing and marketplace on Amazon is different and minor changes can have a major effect on your products.
The most prominent reason for sales drops is when your organic rankings drop because the vast majority of sales come from organic rankings. The key to understanding ranking drops is knowing how Amazon’s Algorithm works, and that’s no easy feat.
At its core, the Algorithm wants to show the most relevant and successful products to potential customers at any given time. More importantly, it is always evolving, what it recommends today could be totally different from what it recommends tomorrow and that could be based on any of a number of different factors, but for the sake of simplicity, we can break it into three main factors.
Excluding any major changes to the Algorithm, we can attribute ranking drops to one of these three factors.
Amazon organic rankings are incredibly competitive, if a competitor improves their product in some way, they could rocket up the rankings and by extension, you will naturally drop. There’s not much you can do to change what your competitors do, but what you CAN do is monitor your competitors and know when their changes are coming.
We’ve written an article about Competitor Analysis that can talk you through the entire process, and will help you know what to look out for.
An important point when looking at Competitor Activity is to keep an eye on their organic rankings and look for trends.
The customer is king on Amazon, and how a customer interacts with your listing has a huge impact on your rankings.
Everything from your conversion rates and reviews to the amount of time a customer spends looking at your product is taken into consideration when looking at Customer Activity. Amazon uses all of these metrics to judge your efficacy as a seller, and that translates into the organic rankings in a very direct way.
Ensuring your listing is well optimized for conversion and maximum customer retention is the best way to gain control over Customer Activity, but just like Competitor Activity, this is mostly out of your hands.
Finally, something we can control completely. Internal Activity is any change you make to your product listings. Every aspect of your listing affects your rankings, from the title and description to images and prices. Changing any of these factors can have a very fundamental impact on your rankings, either positive or negative.
When looking at your Internal Activity it is vital to make sure all changes are well optimized, or you risk plummeting your ranking even further.
So now you have an understanding of why your sales may have dropped you need to start taking steps to fix it. As you’ve seen, a lot of factors are out of your control, so let’s talk about what you can directly impact.
I can’t overstate the importance of optimizing your listings, it’s something we’ve talked about before and it’s by far the most important thing for any Amazon seller.
You need to make sure your listings are optimized for Amazon SEO using your desired keywords, and also optimized for your customer’s experience. Stuffing a listing full of keywords does nothing for a customer reading your listing, and having an easy to read listing with no keywords leaves you floundering with no direction in the vast torrent that is Amazon’s Search Engine. Strike a balance between these two optimizations and you’ll be on to a winner.
When you’re optimizing your listings because of a sales drop, take a look at individual elements to see what needs to be changed. The most important factors include:
Of all of these, if you’ve already been successful before your sales drop, it’s likely not the case that the technical features of your listing are badly optimized. Instead, you’ll want to focus on Price, it could be that a competitor has entered your niche with a better product at a lower price, and that is having an impact on your performance.
Repricing is common on Amazon, and some listings could change their price multiple times per day if the market demands it, you can do this manually if you only have a few products, but using a repricing tool is definitely recommended at higher levels.
I mentioned before that Customer Activity is mostly out of your hands, and while that’s true there is one aspect you can directly impact, and that’s your reviews. Reviews make up a major component of Amazon’s ranking because well-rated products will inevitably sell better than their badly rated equivalents. As a customer, most people’s instincts are to trust reviews over marketing spiels, in fact in a 2017 study, 93% of consumers said that online reviews impacted their purchase decisions.
Unlike other aspects of Customer Activity such as Conversion Rates and Engagement Time, which you can only affect indirectly through optimization, you can actively solicit reviews from customers using the Request a Review feature, submitting your product to Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program, or even including product inserts that request reviews.
You can also help mitigate negative reviews by responding to customers promptly and trying to resolve issues as efficiently as possible.
Without knowing how your products are currently ranking it’s impossible to know if your efforts are working. Keeping on top of your organic ranking data and other important metrics is the best way to know when your improvements are working, or if you need to adjust your approach.
On top of tracking your own rankings, you should also be paying attention to competitors. If you notice a significant competitor starting to drop through the rankings, that could be your opportunity to capitalize, and the opposite also applies, when a competitor starts to rise, you should potentially brace for some difficulty in the coming days.
There are times when you’ve done everything right, but still, customers have opted for another product for no obvious reason. In these situations, the drop in sales can compound and lead to lower rankings which leads to lower sales, and so on. In those cases an artificial sales boost could be exactly what you need to get your product back into the rankings. Submitting your product to Affiliate Marketing Sites, taking advantage of PPC Advertising, or even trying Social Media Marketing can generate enough sales to bring your product back into contention.
When possible you always want to focus on Amazon SEO as in the long-term it’s the most profitable method of marketing, but other marketing channels are always an option when you’re in a sales slump.
Of course there are hundreds of other approaches you could take when your listing isn't selling, but using these tips as a foundation and remembering to be patient will let you weather most storms and come out profitable on the other end.
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