Category Archives: Uncovered

Crazy Customers and Bad Buyers: 10 Ways They Infuriate Sellers on Amazon and eBay

Wild threats, manic changes of mind, outright lies and childish acts of spite. It’s just another day at the office for online sellers.

If you ask a marketplace seller what infuriates them, a few things might come up. For example, trying to contact Amazon’s internal teams, anti-competitive behavior from their rivals, or making sure they comply with the ever-changing rules. But none of these can touch the level of annoyance, frustration and anger caused by bad buyers.

The majority of buyers are genuine. They order from you, pay promptly, and receive their goods with no fuss. But when bad buyers come along, they leave a trail of stress in their wake. Whether they’ve threatened you with negative feedback, made a false “item not as described” claim or cancelled their order after you’ve shipped it, the end results are usually the same – time, money and stock going to waste.

We’ve seen a lot of stories in the forum and blog from exasperated sellers, and distilled them here into the top 10 ways that bad buyers infuriate online sellers.

Thank you to Web Retailer members for your frank and insightful blog comments and forum posts.

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My Top Five Tactics for Rapid Product Testing on the Amazon Marketplace

Product selection isn’t about hitting the bullseye first time. It’s about experimentation, data and trying again. Danny McMillan explains his approach.

This post is by Danny McMillan. Danny is an international public speaker, private label seller and host of Seller Sessions the weekly advanced marketing show for Amazon sellers. Danny has been a guest speaker at The Smart China Sourcing Summit in Hong Kong, The European Private Label Summit, The Private Label World Summit and Private Label Days to name a few.

Imagine the situation: you’ve decided to sell a new private label product on Amazon. You find a supplier, agree the details, and place an order with them. You receive the units, create a great listing on Amazon, get some Sponsored Product Ads running… and then the problems start.

Your product just isn’t selling. Maybe your average cost per click is three times what you expected. Maybe your product turns out to be inferior to your competitor’s version. Or maybe there is simply no market for it and the units won’t move whatever you do.

These kind of problems are common, but can often be avoided. If you test the product and the market before committing to a big order, you can discover and fix a lot of problems, and change your approach before taking on stock. This is an organic method, based on testing a number of different factors in your chosen product category. Your results may differ if you are planning on a large scale launch with hundreds of giveaways.

There is a misconception that product testing is costly and time consuming. That doesn’t have to be the case, as you will see in this post. I’ll show you some of my favorite product testing hacks, which will help you generate rich and accurate market data, create better products more quickly, and carry out sample tests to save you a lot of money further down the line.

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The Best Free Amazon Keyword and Product Research Tools

Alex Knight walks us through the best FREE research software Amazon sellers can use to help their sourcing and marketing efforts

Earlier this year, I did some research on the best free eBay selling tools to help me sell a rather gnarly collection of gnomes. This process made me realize just how useful free tools can be for online sellers and I was keen to provide our readers with an Amazon equivalent. So, I donned my deerstalker hat and began tracking down some useful free tools for Amazon sellers.

I focused my search on tools specifically made for sellers. This excludes software like CamelCamelCamel and Keepa. While they are undoubtedly useful pricing tracking tools, they are essentially shopper-focused. Instead, I’ve included tools that provide Amazon marketplace research data, whether that’s in the form of keywords people are searching for, sales estimates or pricing advice.

All the tools included in this article are free to use. By this, I don’t mean that they offer a free trial for a few days, and then make you spend your hard-earned bucks. These tools all have “free forever” versions where you can access the same features, day after day, without ever being asked to pay.

For each tool I’ve identified what it does, how it works and why you might want to use it. There is also a walkthrough video so you can see each tool in action.

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The Truth About Backend Keyword Search Indexing on Amazon

Is there really a hard limit on Amazon listing “backend” search terms? Anthony Lee has the definitive answer on limits and a lot more.

This post is by Anthony Lee, COO of SixLeaf (formerly ZonBlast), the first and largest product launch and ranking service for Amazon sellers.

If you sell on Amazon, particularly if you sell your own brands, you’ve undoubtedly been affected by the most recent change in the indexing of your listings’ search terms (commonly referred to as “hidden” or “backend” keywords).

Backend keywords are set in Seller Central, and don’t show visibly to buyers. In theory, they should lead to your product appearing in search results, just like the other words in your listing, such as those in the title and description (much more on that later).

However, there has been recent debate about how these terms are included in Amazon’s search index. How many are actually used when deciding whether your product is relevant to a customer’s search?

Anecdotes are rampant across forums and seller groups, telling tales of woe about decreasing listing views.The general consensus is that the number of search term characters that are indexed has decreased dramatically.

But there has been no official update from Amazon, or statements to explain how sellers should now optimize their keywords. Instead, there’s just a lot of the same ambiguous and inaccurate advice. To make matters worse, in typical Seller Central fashion, Amazon’s own support staff are giving out old information, or apparently just making it up as they go.

For this post, we’ve researched how Amazon really indexes backend keywords. I’ll put the record straight on a number of points, so you can make the best use of search keywords in your own listings.

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Amazon Account Suspensions from an Insider’s Point of View

Chris McCabe interviews former Amazon seller account manager Jesur Habek, giving us a rare look into the tensions between Amazon teams

This post is by Chris McCabe, a former Amazonian and founder of ecommerceChris.com.

If you asked Amazon sellers what they fear the most, it would be having their account suspended. This is a rational fear, as suspensions are common and can come completely without warning – like a bolt from the blue.

We usually hear about suspensions from the seller’s point of view, but that only gives us a small part of the picture, based on the notoriously thin detail provided by Amazon. What do suspensions look like to an Amazon insider, with access to the teams who are actually responsible?

I worked for years on Amazon performance and policy enforcement teams, and this past month I spoke at length with fellow former Amazonian Jesur Habek. Jesur is a former Strategic Account Manager (SAM) in the consumables category at Amazon. The job of a Strategic Account Manager is to support sellers and help them grow their sales. Their interests are completely aligned to the sellers they work with, so they often need to take the position of an internal advocate for sellers’ interests at Amazon, and speak on their behalf to other teams.

Jesur told me about the the major pain points in his interactions with Seller Performance and Product Quality, and offered some advice to sellers on submitting their Plan of Action (POA) – the central document required when sellers appeal to Amazon for reinstatement.

I began the interview by asking Jesur about his experience defending sellers who have been wrongly suspended.

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