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For retailers, Amazon is both the land of opportunity and a constant head-to-head battle with all of their rivals.

So, it should come as no surprise that there are countless resources out there about how to overcome this kind of competition. However, one of the most obvious opportunities rarely receives the attention it deserves: optimizing your presence on Amazon.

While it’s certainly worthwhile to pursue any avenue that gives your company an edge, begin with getting your Amazon Seller Central account in shape. Once it’s optimized with the following four tips, you’ll have a strong foundation from which to launch further strategies.

1. Understand How Amazon’s Algorithm Works

Amazon Seller Central is designed to be as user-friendly as possible for setting up and listing products.

However, there’s a big difference between setting up an account and successfully selling from it. Plenty of people have done the former without ever doing the latter.

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The difference between those who succeed on Amazon and those who don’t generally comes down to understanding Amazon’s algorithm. In short, when you know how Amazon decides which products to show shoppers, it becomes much easier to make sales.

Here are the main points to remember:

  • Amazon “reads” your titles and descriptions. Great photos are helpful and rave reviews make all the difference, but when you’re first starting out, don’t forget about how important your products’ titles and descriptions are. While Seller Central gives you opportunities to help the algorithm better understand what you’re selling, you can’t afford to take your titles and descriptions for granted. Review similar products from competitors to get a good sense of what words they’re using to grab Amazon’s attention or consider investing in an Amazon keyword tool.
  • Earn positive reviews. This one is fairly self-explanatory, but it’s a huge sticking point for many companies when they first begin with Amazon. If you already have an established marketplace, consider siphoning them to Amazon. You can even offer them coupon codes for extra motivation (as long as there’s no requirement that they leave a review). Alternatively, you should check up on customers and ask for reviews while you're at it. As long as your review requests aren't incentivized and you're not explicitly asking for good reviews, this is fair game. Reaching out is always a good idea. From catching issues before customers go public with their concerns, to reminding people that would otherwise forget to leave a review. It's best to show your customers that you care, that might be–and often is–enough to get some more positive reviews under your belt. Good reviews don’t just help close more sales, they tell Amazon that your product is worth more exposure.
  • Work towards improving your conversion rate. A lack of sales isn’t a neutral problem on Amazon. It’s actually a very costly one because the more often customers see your product but don’t buy, the more Amazon “learns” it’s not worth showing it to customers. Positive reviews will always help, but if you’re not seeing sales, you should also doublecheck for opportunities to improve your images and copy. Check to make sure your pricing is competitive, as well. The longer you go without a sale, the harder it will be to make one.

Launching your Seller Central account isn’t enough to earn sales. Take the time to master the three points above, and you’ll quickly earn Amazon’s favor.

2. Keep Tabs on Your Reviews

This is a bit of a no-brainer and something we already touched on above: you want to earn as many good reviews as possible (obviously).

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However, it is absolutely vital that you keep very close tabs on your reviews when you first launch any new products. The reason is that, no matter how diligent you are, mistakes can still happen. For example, you might list the wrong dimensions or use the image of a similar product.

If you don’t catch the mistake before a number of customers suffer from it, you’ll see your reviews tank. Recovering from that kind of drop is nearly impossible. Winning the buy box will be out of the question, too.

Larger companies that struggle with monitoring reviews for their equally large inventories can invest in feedback- and review-monitoring software to make this essential task far easier.

3. Contact Amazon for Help ASAP

The moment you experience an issue with your account, contact Amazon right away.

With millions and millions of sellers all over the world, you’re always going to face a long line. Don’t make it longer by holding off on contacting support, especially if it means the problem may compound.

Reaching out to support is easy, but here’s the number-one tip to remember about asking Amazon for help: connect your problem to a customer problem.

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Amazon cares about their customer experience above all else. So, if you’re having trouble changing a product description, explain that it’s “negatively affecting the customer experience” because their customers are being misled. That will give their support team a much greater incentive to act fast.

4. Pay for Exposure at the Beginning

Ideally, you’ll do such a good job of mastering Amazon’s algorithm that your products will receive lots of free exposure and plenty of sales.

As we touched on earlier, though, if this isn’t currently happening, you need to do something ASAP. Log into your Amazon Seller Central Account and either launch promotions or invest in sponsored ads.

Yes, it means taking on greater overhead, but if you don’t sell any products for months at a time, is that any better?

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This kind of immediate exposure can also show you where problems exist in your listings, so you can make changes before traffic increases and bad reviews start piling up.

Finally, whether it’s through promotions or ads, treat these investments with as much scrutiny as you do your product listings. Unlike listings, you can easily test multiple versions, too. Finding the best-possible one is a huge advantage in the beginning, too, because you can then leverage it again later. Say a year from now a new competitor shows up and starts cutting into your sales. Simply log into Amazon Seller Central and implement whichever ad or promotion you know will help you win more customers and positive reviews to keep them at bay.

Amazon Seller Central Represents a Real Opportunity for More Sales

While there are countless ways you can drive more traffic to your Amazon listings to generate greater sales, don’t forget about the simplest: optimizing your presence on Amazon.

Until your account has reached its potential, no other strategy you attempt will be able to, either. Fortunately, as you just read, all that you should work on is simple and incredibly effective.