Every single person selling on Amazon has a different end goal, but there is one thing we all have in common. We all need or at least want sales, but when those sales stop or drop drastically we go into a frenzy trying to figure out how to resolve the issue. Before you blow a blood vessel, take a breath and remember this “slow is smooth, smooth is fast.” Overreacting isn’t going to fix your problem.
For the purpose of this article I’m going to assume that you are already a competent Amazon seller. Mainly because I don’t want to give you the same unhelpful advice that you see everywhere else online. I’m talking about things like “your price isn’t competitive” or “you’re not ranking on page one.” If you are competent Amazon seller you more than likely have a good understanding of listing quality, keyword research, search engine optimization, pricing strategies and can probably diagnose problems like this yourself.
While there are literally hundreds of reasons that could have caused your sales to slow down or stop, the best approach is a calm and calculated one. Here are the top three reasons I’ve found that cause sales to drop or stop and what you can do about them.
I know I said that I was going to give different advice than everyone else online, but bear with me for number one. This is something that you need to hear over and over.
- It’s just that time of year – It’s almost impossible to tell you what time of the year may be a slow for you and that’s because it largely depends on the product you are selling. Do me a favor and at least keep it in the back of your mind that you may truly be doing nothing wrong and it might just be a slow few days or month. I know that this is somewhat cheesy, but I’ve witnessed people make this mistake over and over. The worst thing you can do during this time period is to make devastating changes when you aren’t 100% sure that there is an actual problem. You may inadvertently create one.
2. Black hat Competitors – If you aren’t familiar with black hat, these are the guys that don’t care about Amazon’s Terms of Service (TOS) and they will do anything to take you out of the equation and take your sales. Some of the things that you will see from these people are unverified negative reviews showing up on your listing, massive amounts of unverified five star reviews on their listings, some will even hijack your private label listing, which is a bad deal, but an entirely separate post. So the question is what can you do to take back over and get your sales back?
- Unverified negative reviews on your listing – You can call or email Amazon and they will remove these, but only if they are unverified. Calling is faster.
- Unverified positive reviews on a competitor listing – There is nothing you can do. Well, you can report them, but Amazon has really been slacking when it comes to enforcing this. I’ve seen hundreds of listings with between 300 and 500 unverified positive reviews, but they just keep sticking around and Amazon doesn’t even seem to mind. Makes you wonder if it’ll get to the point that we will have to start violating Amazons TOS just to keep.
- Hijackers – Order their product, take pictures and show Amazon that they are selling a counterfeit product. It takes time and you will lose sales, but stay persistent and you will eventually get your listing back.
3. White hat Competitors – Some people just do good business. Every now and then a white hat competitor will surpass you in the page rankings, causing you to lose sales. They launch strong with an established email list, a great giveaway, an excellent PPC campaign, a good price and/or a unique proposition such as additional colors, features, etc. and they completely overtake you. It can happen fast, especially if you are not consistently monitoring your listings, but what can you do?
- First, don’t panic. A little competition never hurt anyone with the exception of maybe your wallet in this case.
- Second, scrub your entire listing and compare it to the competitors listing. Compare pictures, descriptions, bullet points, and every other detail. What can you improve? Hopefully, you did this in the beginning, but make your listing the absolute best listing you can possibly have. Do this first because in most cases, it doesn’t cost you anything out of pocket to fix issues, just time.
- Third, look at your competitor’s price and where they are showing up in advertisements. You know about how much they paid for their product and about what their PPC Cost is, assuming you have ran PPC on this product before. Ask yourself, is it possible for them to be profiting at this point? If so, you may be in trouble or you need to lower your price. If not, they are probably simply trying to rank and doing a good job of it. However, they are losing money and will have to increase their price soon. At that point you can make up a little ground. This is the point I’ll usually increase my PPC efforts at least within reason to try and take some of the sales back. I don’t want to get left to far behind.
- Lastly, find your competitors unique value proposition. What are they offering that you aren’t? If it’s significant and you want to continue to compete, it may be time to add those additional colors or whatever else it may be if you can afford it, do it as long as it fits into your long term business model and you actually want to get your sales back.
Note: Keep in mind you may also get a competitor thats running a combination of the white and black hat methods.
Like I said earlier, there are hundreds of reasons your sales could slow down or stop, but if you have been in business for a while and you did a great job in the beginning with your listing, advertising and are ranking on or close to page one, then theoretically speaking you should be set up for long term success.
However, way too often we forget about the one thing that is always changing on Amazon, the competition. There will always be people who are looking to overtake you. It’s important to consistently monitor your listings and look for up and coming competitors. Stay ahead of the game for true long term success. Don’t get comfortable.