Month: September 2021

How to Create an FBA Shipping Plan on Amazon’s New Shipping Template (2021 Update)

a white board with a delivery truck, cargo ship, and warehouse on it

Amazon has updated their shipping template, so we’re here to give you some new step-by-step instructions to create an FBA shipping plan.

Properly creating a shipping plan is vital to getting your goods into FBA without any delays. These 8 simple steps (with photos) will have you on your way in no time.

Step 1: Select inventory to be shipped

From your dashboard in Seller Central, navigate to Manage FBA Inventory.

Select the checkbox on the left for all the products you will transition to FBA.

Then, head to the Action on [#] selected dropdown above your items.

Click on Send/replenish inventory.

You’ll get a prompt with a list of items you selected to replenish. Double check your list, then click Yes, continue.

Step 2: Input pickup location

Next, you’ll see a section where you can start your shipping plan.

Select Create New Shipping Plan, then choose the address you’d like to ship from.

This address will tell the courier which location to pick up the shipment from, so it could be your business, warehouse, or supplier’s warehouse.

You can select Ship from another address to choose a different location.

During this process, you’ll have to select the packing type. You can send individual products (cases containing different products) or case-packed products (cases containing the same items).

Then, go ahead and click Continue to Send to Amazon.

Step 3: Add your prep and labeling details

In the next screen, you’ll see a column labeled Information/action that requires more information from the seller.

Click on Prep and labeling details needed, and specify additional information needed. In the example below, it asks whether Amazon has to further prep your goods, and who will label units.

Select your prep category and input all needed information for each of your items.

Amazon will tell you if prep is needed on your ASIN.  For example, glass items will require bubble wrap.  Items that are liquids will have to satisfy the “two seal” rule found in Amazon’s prep requirements here.

Note: A unit that falls under multiple categories must be prepped according to all applicable prep types. For example, if you are selling bottles of shampoo and conditioner as a set, both units must meet the prep requirements for liquid products and be labeled with a “Sold as set” sticker so they are not separated.

Step 4: Identify how many units to be shipped

Once that’s done, you choose how many units you’d like to ship per SKU.

Set the number of products by filling in the overall number you’ll be sending in the Units column. Don’t forget to input any expiration dates for perishable products.

Again, you can find Amazon’s prep requirements here.

In the future, you can duplicate this plan and make slight changes to the number of units to save time.

When your shipping plan is ready, proceed to Pack individual units.

Step 5: Send to Amazon

Now you’re ready to begin sending your items into Amazon.

You’ll have to confirm whether all your items will fit into one box, or whether you’ll use multiple. Select the correct option in Packing information and click Confirm.

You’ll then get a prompt to enter your box weight and dimensions. The screen below appears after selecting Everything will fit into one box.

Once you confirm, you’ll see a checkbox indicating your boxes are good to send in.

Then, click Confirm and Continue to select your shipping.

Step 6: Confirm shipping

The next step in sending an item to Amazon is to select your shipping.

In this step, you select your shipping date, mode, and carrier.

Shipping mode refers to:

  • Small Parcel Delivery (SPD) – Items packed in individual boxes.
  • Less Than Truckload (LTL) – Cases or boxes stacked or on pallets.

Here’s what it looks like with a date, mode, and carrier selected.

Step 7: Review and confirm

Make a final review of your shipping charges, and then select Accept charges and confirm shipping to get your carton (or pallet) labels.

Step 8: Print your labels

The next thing you need to do is print out labels for your items, and attach them to the relevant boxes, ready for FBA pickup.

Tip: Save the plans you make, edit them, and reuse them later. The more shipments you manage and prepare, the easier it will be for you to navigate all the steps.

Want help preparing your Amazon FBA inventory to ensure compliance with FBA standards? Use a prep center like MyFBAPrep, with 50+ warehouses internationally to manage your Amazon goods.

Next steps – Optimize your processes by outsourcing

Does all of this sound a bit complicated? Well, it is. You can simplify your life and focus on your primary business by outsourcing all of your warehouse and prep needs by using MyFBAPrep to send all of your shipments into Amazon.

We have over 50 warehouses internationally to choose from…get set up with a consultation today!

How to Write Compelling Product Descriptions on Amazon

an amazon product page with a product description that stands out

Two thousand characters. That’s how much space you have in your Amazon product descriptions to impress your customers.

That might sound like a lot, but it’s easy to max out on characters when your description is one of the only things your customers have to base their purchase decisions on.

Needless to say, having a strong product description is critical on Amazon. Here are several dos and don’ts for bringing your product descriptions up to snuff and increasing your rankings and sales on the marketplace.

DO include essential product details

Unlike your title and bullet points where sentence fragments are expected, your descriptions should feature complete thoughts. Take the opportunity to elaborate on the benefits you’ve already mentioned in your bullet points. Use your character allowance to speak more about your brand’s beginnings, or to address common pain points your buyers experience prior to using your product.

Each of these strategies can help deepen your connection with your visitor and earn their trust. You can also include manufacturer stats or other data to prove the effectiveness of your product. However, stick to statements that are factual, not ones that are vague or difficult to prove.

DON’T just rattle off features

The most effective way to market your product is by describing how it benefits your users in their day-to-day lives. Your customers want to know what they’ll get out of your product, not just what it can do.

For instance, say you’re selling a pair of running shoes. You can prattle on about how it has a foam midsole, unique outsole geometry, and mesh fabric.

Or, you could talk about how your shoes make running easier and more comfortable; with their lightweight, durable construction, customers can run without fear of losing their balance or putting unnecessary pressure on their joints.

The latter is far more impactful in helping customers envision a life with (and without) your shoes, and appeals to their emotions as they evaluate their options.

DO weave in keywords

In terms of ranking, Amazon’s A10 algorithm uses keywords to interpret your product detail pages and match them with the right search queries. That’s why it’s important to include target keywords within your descriptions as you speak to the various advantages of your product.

Not all keywords are created equal, though, so you’ll want to use tools like Jungle Scout to identify search terms that are both relevant and relatively easy to rank on.

Weave in these keywords when it makes sense. Include synonyms and other descriptors that are often combined with your primary keyword in everyday conversation. This will help you cast a wider net and speak the same language as your customers.

DON’T keyword stuff

With the above said, unnatural keyword stuffing is a big no-no. Don’t fixate on injecting your keyword as many times as possible. We can assure you that just because you mention your keyword 30 times in your description doesn’t mean you’ll see 30x more exposure on Amazon.

Rather, concentrate your energy on speaking naturally about your product. Chances are, if you focus on being informative and empathizing with your customers, you’ll intuitively use keywords in your content.

DO touch on emotions

A Harvard professor recently unveiled that 95% of purchasing decisions are subconscious — and the strongest unconscious urge is emotion. For this reason, it’s imperative that you appeal not only to logical reasoning (the reasons why your product is a smart investment) when writing, but also emotions.

What values do your customers rely on when choosing brands to support or products to purchase? Do they care about status or acceptance? Are they striving for particular lifestyles? Draw on these feelings as you describe your product.

DON’T use overly promotional language

In an effort to preserve the customer experience, Amazon prohibits the use of hyperbolic or subjective statements like “best in class” when describing products. This is to reduce the chances of a customer feeling duped after making a purchase.

Likewise, you can’t promote time-sensitive or special offers like “free shipping” to incentivize a sale. Instead, concentrate on writing descriptions that inform.

Don’t simply claim you’re the best at what you do — show how you’re the best. You can do this with your reviews, product photos, or feature highlights.

Note that Amazon users are usually ready to make a purchase, but are looking at your listing to confirm your product meets their criteria and/or conforms to their lifestyles.

DO seize opportunities to upsell

According to Amazon, “If the product has limitations, you can say so and upsell [in your description].” In other words, if your product requires specific batteries or protective cases, as examples, then you can safely mention that.

Alternatively, you can subtly mention your product is compatible with XYZ products or is a part of a larger product line your brand sells.

These are legitimate ways to influence buyers to check out other complementary products that, in turn, increase AOV for both you and Amazon.

DON’T mention competitors

Naming competitors directly in your listing goes against Amazon’s content policies. However, you can still illustrate what’s unique about your brand by mentioning how your product solves a common pain point and excels in various ways.

A+ content can highlight this further by offering dynamic content blocks for showcasing your prowess. Through charts, videos, and FAQs, you can better differentiate your brand from the pack and build trust among your visitors.

Wrapping up — How to write compelling Amazon product descriptions

Your product descriptions are important conversion levers for your brand. The shoppers reading them already have a high purchase intent and are likely ready to buy. Your product descriptions need to convince them why they should choose your business rather than one of your many competitors on Amazon (who they probably have open on other tabs).

Close the deal with these tips for creating compelling product descriptions on Amazon.

How eCommerce Sellers Can Use DTC Brand Partnerships to Boost Reach and Sales

shaking hands

We’ve all witnessed the power of a successful brand partnership. Case in point: Red Bull and GoPro, or Nike and Michael Jordan. All of these brands seem to make sense together, and over the years, both partnerships have proved extraordinarily fruitful.

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a Red Bull or a Michael Jordan to take advantage of brand partnerships. Simply follow the steps below to get started and reap the benefits.

4 Benefits of brand partnerships

First and foremost, you should understand why partnerships are worth pursuing. Here are several proven perks of this popular acquisition channel.

1) Scale your reach

When you collaborate with another brand, you’ll naturally pool your resources and contact lists. This presents an opportunity for you to engage new audiences (with a known interest in a product like yours), as well as tap into your partner’s email or ad network to expand your reach.

2) Lean on another party’s expertise

The right partner can fill knowledge gaps in your content or products. For example, many fashion brands collaborate with high-end designers to rejuvenate their product lines and add a creative spin to their designs. Similarly, a partner can provide a new perspective on topics that interest your online audience and further engage them.

3) Create an irresistible offer

Whether you choose to bundle items or offer discount codes for each other’s products, a co-branded campaign can incentivize consumers to buy products from both eCommerce names. Alternatively, you can create a limited-edition item to be sold at a premium. Either way, you’ll delight consumers by offering the best of both worlds in one unbeatable offer.

4) Boost your brand authority

Another brand’s support is a vote of confidence for your own, and consumers will often view your brand as more trustworthy by association. From an SEO perspective, the backlinks from a high-authority site can boost your credibility with Google so your pages are more likely to rank higher on search result pages.

Different ways to collaborate with other brands

There are plenty of ways complementary brands can work together on an eCommerce partnership. For example, they might do email swaps, guest post exchanges, or joint-webinars.

I suggest starting out a partnership with a test run, like a guest post exchange or newsletter swap. Then, pending the results and how well you collaborate together, moving on to efforts like webinars and adding them to your partner page.

1) Guest post exchanges

Another thing brand partners can do is write guest posts for each others’ blog. This serves multiple purposes; you gain a backlink that provides an SEO boost for your website, and you share your message on another platform to widen your reach.

2) Newsletter feature swaps

In a newsletter swap, you work with partners to feature each other on your newsletters. That could be offering a special promotion or discount, highlighting a new ebook that your partner published, or linking to one of their recent blog posts.

You can choose a key piece of content from your brand and then double its reach this way. For example, if you just published an extensive industry whitepaper, you could ask another brand to add a CTA to download it in their footer.

Or, if you’re having a giveaway or contest, you can ask your brand partner to highlight it in their newsletter and include mechanics.

3) Joint webinars

Having joint webinars means you double the value and benefit of that webinar. You can rely on their expertise to enhance the webinar content, providing more value for attendees, and you amplify your marketing by adding their efforts on top of yours.

Co-marketing an event takes plenty of planning and guidance, so be sure to lay out all the details and requests beforehand, and agree on a marketing schedule.

4) Partner page inclusion

Being added to a partner page is a great way to get in front of another brand’s audience. Unlike a guest post, which can be promoted at first then goes through a quiet period before it starts ranking for SEO, a partner page is an evergreen area to showcase your brand.

Adding a brand to your list of partners helps keep them visible when someone visits your website and checks out your partners, and can even serve as a cheatsheet for your internal marketers when looking for a company to feature for something.

How to get brand partnerships?

1) Find the perfect match

When initiating a partnership, half the battle is finding the right brand to approach. Don’t just focus on how large a company’s following is. Instead, prioritize companies that offer a complementary product and share an audience with you.

For example, Red Bull and GoPro both target adrenaline junkies. HDX Hydration and Clean Bottle, meanwhile, share an audience that’s environmentally conscious.

When your products and audiences align closely, it’s easier to agree on the tone, message, and overall theme of your joint offerings. However, you have to provide value in return. A partnership is a two-way street, and you need to demonstrate the benefits you bring to the table as well.

2) Get to know each other

Once you’ve found a match, it’s easy to get over-excited and rush into working together. But to ensure long-term success, set aside time to get acquainted on a deeper level first.

Bring your teams together and introduce your core members. Check that your teams are compatible, both from a brand perspective (do your goals align?) and a personal one (are your work styles compatible?).

Pitch projects only after you’ve gained confidence in your ability to work well with each other. Like our advice on influencer marketing, get to know the team you’re committing to.

3) Assign roles, deadlines, and expectations

Leave nothing to interpretation when planning an actual campaign together. Be very clear about who takes care of what, where, when, and why, and how each team will review deliverables.

For instance, if you’re collaborating on a social media campaign, establish the exact number of posts you’ll publish. Decide who will own each part of the process, including asset creation, content writing, posting, and ad management.

By being as detailed as possible, you can prevent frustration from misaligned expectations, missed deadlines, and general miscommunication.

4) Track your progress

Whether you’re targeting a certain number of sign-ups, leads, or reshares, you should be able to quantify the value of your co-branded initiatives.

This will help keep your teams on the right path, and serve as an insightful reference point when you re-evaluate your partnerships (or expand any existing ones) later on.

We recommend you keep track of progress on a shared doc, or establish another method for daily communication. No party should be left in the dark when it comes to your progress, both in terms of your shared tasks and the impact they make.

Wrapping up — Use DTC brand partnerships to boost your reach and sales

The beauty of a brand partnership is the chance to work hand-in-hand with another expert in your space. The best partners have mutual respect for one another and can work closely throughout a project, bouncing ideas off each other and entrusting various tasks to one another.

Always keep an eye out for potential brand partners. Seize opportunities when they arise and follow the best practices listed here to set the foundation for a strong, long-term partnership.

How DTC Sellers Can Use Webinars and Events to Boost Their Brand (and Get More Sales)

some people in a webinar on a computer screen

Webinar and virtual events bring a rare advantage to the table. For one, you don’t need a huge budget to pull off a massive (and successful) event. Secondly, there are various types of events you can host to boost your customer acquisition strategy.

For example, BarkBox, a dog toy subscription service, cleverly hosts Open BARK Nights and Dogstrume parties throughout the year. While many of these events are in person, the company could easily convert them to an online format to engage an even larger crowd.

The recipe for a successful online event consists of a clear strategy, an engaged team, and the right platform. Keep reading for specific steps on how to organize your own branded event.

The advantages of virtual events

They won’t drain your wallet

Live events require a large budget to book venues, talent, food, equipment, and other physical resources. Virtual events, on the other hand, need only a computer, a hosting platform, and staff to coordinate.

Anyone can join from anywhere, anytime

Virtual events aren’t limited by physical boundaries. Even if people are located in different time zones or are unable to make it the day of, they can add their name to your contact list to receive recordings or exclusive perks.

They can be repurposed

You can repurpose or reshare most online events long after they end. For instance, you could post recordings on YouTube, share clips on social media, or generate blogs and podcasts using the same material discussed in your event. Each of these opens up new opportunities to draw more ongoing traffic.

You grow your contact list

Many marketers salivate at the influx of leads a well-targeted event can attract. Every registrant has to provide you with their contact information, which you can then use to follow up via emails, ads, or other channels they regularly check.

5 Types of events to host

There are a number of different directions you can go with your event, each of which drive home a unique goal. Here are five types for your consideration.

1) Product demos and launches

There’s a reason why QVC is still going strong today. In fact, some say Amazon has nothing on QVC, which drove upwards of $14.2 billion in revenue last year. Livestream shopping itself is said to ​​grow four-fold to $25 billion in the U.S. within the next two years.

Needless to say, live product demos and launches may be worth some experimentation. The most successful livestreams (when you peek at QVC’s playbook, at least) tend to push special, limited-time promotions, and show products in action so viewers can imagine themselves using them.

2) Online socials

In a world dominated by social media and dating apps, virtual meetups can be especially alluring. By helping people connect, you can nurture a community that shares common interests or values that also align with your brand’s.

You can take this opportunity to spark conversations on topics relevant to your company, or simply show people a good time, which they’ll then associate with your brand. The ultimate goal is to engage people who could convert to customers — and give them a reason to re-engage or recommend your brand to their friends.

3) Live classes and workshops

Classes and workshops are a classic, but effective way to attract an audience. The key is to think of a theme that’s highly relevant to your target customer.

For instance, The Pastry Project hosts online baking classes (which many remote companies love) to entice people to purchase their baking subscription boxes.

Alternatively, if you sell sports apparel, you could host fitness classes. Or, if you sell art supplies, you could hold live workshops with a professional artist. The possibilities are nearly endless, so don’t be afraid to think outside the subscription box.

4) Expert panels

Some of the most compelling events headline a name that people already have a vested interest in. Along those lines, you could sit down with an industry influencer or an expert from a company that piques your customers’ interest.

Format your event as a live chat in which you discuss a relevant topic in a timely manner. Or, have your guests co-host a webinar where they impart their wisdom on a specific subject. Whichever way you go, avoid making your event about selling your product; rather, focus on satiating your customers’ curiosity by asking questions they’ve been itching to have answered.

5) Q&As

Live Q&As are a great way to involve your audience from start to finish. They can center on a company, person, or topic your customers find interesting and address your audience’s questions.

You can collect questions beforehand through social media, although you should also set up a process for fielding questions during your event. Many brands have successfully used contests, too, to boost excitement and keep their audiences enthralled. Similarly, you could enter participants into a raffle for every question they ask, then reveal the winner at the end of your event.

Wrapping up – Close the gap between you and your customers with DTC webinars

It’s not every day that customers find themselves engaging face-to-face with their favorite brands. Webinars and other online events provide a forum for this kind of interactivity, and allow your audience to add a face to your brand. Consider how you can weave events into your marketing strategy and leverage them to forge deeper, long-lasting connections with your consumers.

How to Use Social Media for DTC Success: Influencers, Engagement, and Customer Support

a trophy surrounded by social media icons

For DTC brands, a social media presence is all but a prerequisite for remaining competitive. It’s an excellent channel for customer acquisition, and doubles as a way to listen to your customers and collect their feedback.

Not only is social media teeming with opportunities to engage new audiences, but most customers now expect your brand to be active online.

Many will check your Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn activity to validate their purchasing decisions and to confirm you’re a legitimate brand. Not to mention, if you’re not engaging with your customers on social media, thousands of other brands are.

To help kickstart your social media strategy, here are several campaign ideas and tactics you can employ. Consider which ones align with your marketing goals and can help you get the most out of social media.

5 Ways to use social for DTC success

Social media is such a unique marketing channel because it performs so many different functions.

For one brand, Facebook could be their best customer support channel, where their audience knows to send them a message if they need help. For another brand, their Instagram DMs could be the source of some of their biggest deals. For yet another brand, they might go viral with various contests and smart hashtags.

Let’s look at five different ways you can use social media to elevate your brand, generate more leads, and delight your customers.

1) Influencer marketing

The people who follow you on social media are more likely to trust what you say. That’s what makes influencer marketing so powerful.

Today, it’s estimated businesses make an average of $5.20 for every $1 they invest in influencer marketing.

That said, success depends on partnering with the right influencer. Some brands make the mistake of rushing through the vetting process, which dooms their campaign from the start.

The key here is to get to know influencers and learn what makes them unique to their followers. Ensure influencers have a genuine need for a brand like yours, and have them try out a few products before asking them to endorse anything.

Once they do agree to promote your brand, influencers warrant some creative freedom. They know their audiences best and should be respected as any other professional publisher. When influencers add their personal touch their product recommendations will appear authentic and thus more credible.

2) Collect user-generated content

User-generated content (UGC) refers to content created by people outside of your company. Like word-of-mouth marketing, UGC displays your brand through the lens of an everyday consumer. It can verify the trustworthiness of your brand, as well as showcase the versatility of your products.

Websites that feature UGC have even reported a 20% increase in returning visitors, and a whopping 90% increase in time spent on-site. Using social media to collect UGC can expand your arsenal of images, videos, reviews, and other content to leverage throughout the buyer journey, be it on your site, checkout pages, or promotional emails.

Motivate your customers to post content about your brand by hosting contests, giveaways, and loyalty programs that offer a reward for their participation. Have shoppers vote for their favorite entries to gamify the experience, or leverage a hashtag to boost the virality of your campaign.

If you plan to use UGC for any ads or future marketing campaigns, you need to obtain permission. Don’t assume everything is fair game; study the proper way to repurpose UGC.

3) Distribute your content

Although social media is a great platform for sharing your blogs, videos, and other brand content, it’s severely overcrowded. Tons of brands are vying for your customers’ attention, and all that noise can easily drown you out.

To make your voice heard, test various content formats on each channel. Try repurposing your blog as a tweet storm, or splitting up a 10-minute video into multiple short clips. You may find short videos work best on Twitter, while longer text posts work well on LinkedIn.

In general, avoid taking a spray-and-pray approach. Focus your attention on one or two key channels where your audience concentrates. Learn the ins and outs of the ranking algorithm, keeping in mind that success requires more than just broadcasting the same message across multiple platforms.

You’ll need to tailor your posts to each audience and take time to engage with followers before you can expect them to gain an interest in your content.

4) Advertise to relevant audiences

Along with organic social media, incorporate paid campaigns into your strategy. Ad formats range from text ads to image ads, carousel ads, and video ads.

Social platforms also offer a variety of ways to target your ads. You can target users based on their demographics, behaviors, interests, or a combination of these factors.

Alternatively, you can retarget an existing list of contacts, such as a list of people who’ve visited your site. This is one of the most cost-effective options. However, many channels require a minimum number of contacts to qualify for retargeting ads, which can be difficult for smaller brands to meet.

Regardless, ads are a valuable means to generate initial interest in your brand. They help keep your brand top of mind, fostering desire in buyers and building trust in your brand over time.

5) Support your customers

One-third of Americans have admitted to using social media to complain about a brand or its customer service, according to Microsoft. At the same time, 74% of millennials say their perception of a brand improves when they notice a brand responding to customer inquiries on social media.

This underscores the need for your brand to monitor social media for brand mentions, customers complaints, and product-related questions.

From the customer side: the sooner you get ahead of any complaints, the sooner you can turn a negative experience into a positive one. And from the marketing side: the more you engage with customers on their preferred channels, the more goodwill you’ll build.

Good customer service speaks volumes about your brand, and it’s especially important to put your best foot forward on channels like social media where the whole world is watching.

Wrapping up – Use social media for DTC success

Social media is an undeniably effective marketing tool. Between engaging influencers and leveraging various types of content, there are plenty of opportunities for your brand to connect with potential buyers.

Don’t miss out on this potentially lucrative opportunity. Create your own unique strategy for meeting customers on their favorite channels, and harness the power of being a social brand.

Why Every DTC Store Should Have an SEO Strategy (and How to Do It)

a computer screen with a chart that is moving up and to the right

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the gift that keeps on giving. It’s one of the most coveted acquisition channels, with the power to boost brand visibility and bring thousands more qualified leads to your site — all at a lower price tag than many other marketing channels.

For your DTC store, SEO is paramount. Here’s a crash course on why it’s important and how to get started ASAP.

Why does your DTC brand need SEO?

Ongoing organic traffic – Unlike ads that require you to cough up money to continue generating traffic, SEO always works in the background and continuously brings in visitors long after you publish a post.

Greater brand visibility – Effective SEO translates into higher rankings on Google’s search result pages. This means more Google users will be able to find you when they search for products or services like yours.

Higher quality leads – By targeting the right keywords and phrases, you can engage readers with a clear need for your products. Your content can further nurture leads by demonstrating your industry expertise and winning customer trust.

How to get started with SEO in 5 steps

1) Understand the core principles of an SEO strategy

Before you jump into creating content, you need to understand that SEO isn’t a “set it and forget it” strategy. Search engines like Google constantly update their algorithms to better predict user intent, and to surface the most relevant results for any query.

You’ll have to evaluate your SEO performance regularly and analyze various factors, including:

  • On-page SEO – This involves aspects like your keyword, alt text, meta description, and meta title. Each of these factors are within your control and are crawled by Google to determine the purpose of your page
  • Off-page SEO – This includes (but isn’t limited to) backlinks, social shares, and other signals Google monitors outside of your site. They serve as proof that other sites and people find your content reliable.
  • Technical SEO – This involves page speed, mobile friendliness, and other factors that help search engines access and interpret your page.

You’ll have to make room within your strategy to strengthen each of these factors and maximize your chances of ranking.

2) Define your target audience

SEO strategy starts with a clear understanding of who you want to engage. This serves as the basis for any keywords and blog topics you decide to include.

For instance, say you sell beauty supplies. You could create content for a range of audiences, including teenagers, adults, professional makeup artists, and others. What you talk about and how will vary drastically depending on which segment you choose. The more specific you are when defining your audience, the better.

Once you hone in on your audience, you can more accurately anticipate questions to address in your content and appeal to both the logical and emotional needs of your reader.

3) Audit your site and address any issues

Google appreciates a site with a positive user experience. Between fast load times and good site architecture, Google will check that your site is easy to navigate and doesn’t cause “pogo sticking” behaviors (aka, high bounce rates).

To stand a chance at ranking, your site has to load seamlessly, work well on mobile devices, have no broken links, and check off other vital boxes. After all, you don’t want to go through the effort of creating great content only to be down-ranked because of your site performance.

4) Select your keywords

Back in the day, you could get by using the same keyword over and over again in your content. Nowadays, this tactic is called “keyword stuffing,” and you actually hinder yourself by fixating on one search term.

While keywords are important, you should also include long-tail and related keywords in your blog. Google now uses natural language processing (NLP) to identify semantically related words, and to distinguish high-quality content from shoddy, shallow content. By using natural language, you can clearly demonstrate your expertise in the field.

Pay attention to search intent too. Just because someone searches for “running” doesn’t mean they’re looking to buy a new pair of kicks. He or she could be researching tips on how to train for a marathon, or looking for a song called “Runnin.” Be careful not to make assumptions. Take the time to Google your keyword and see what appears on the first page. Do the top results relate to your brand and/or products?

5) Create content consistently

Creating content is half the battle; keeping it up is another story. It’s easy to lose steam after several months of weekly blogging. So, you’ll want to establish a publishing schedule early on that you can commit to.

Don’t force yourself to churn out 10 blog posts a week. Instead, commit to a realistic writing schedule, or hire a freelancer to help you produce fresh content regularly.

Pro tip: Focus on evergreen content if you’re a smaller team, i.e., write about topics that have a long shelf life (how-tos are a great place to start). You’d also benefit from establishing topic clusters, or several umbrella topics you consistently write about and for which you produce sub-articles you can interlink.

Remember to set aside time to refresh old pieces, as well as actively promote your content to land as many eyes on your content as possible.

Wrapping up: Leverage the power of SEO

Few channels can measure up to the long-lasting, cost-effective value of SEO. Start leveraging it so you can reap the benefits both now and well into the future.

7 Keys of eCommerce Email Marketing

an envelope surrounded by ecommerce icons

Customers have never before had access to more choices when it comes to buying a product. The challenge is to stand out from the crowd so they’ll pick you. One of the easiest ways to do so is through an effective eCommerce email marketing campaign.

Key benefits of email marketing include:

  • Build and nurture customer relationships.
  • Boost sales and expand brand awareness.
  • Increase website traffic.

Not to mention, email is one of the most effective customer acquisition and retention marketing tools: the median ROI for email marketing is 122%. Email marketing is easy to implement and measure, with low to no cost, and lends opportunities for A/B testing and curating segmented lists to test new product ideas.

The question isn’t if you should be marketing via email – it’s how to get started. This blog will lead you through seven key tips to introduce effective email marketing into your business.

7 Keys of eCommerce email marketing

1) Keep your CTA simple

It’s tempting to cover too much. But with recipients spending less than a minute reviewing an email campaign, it’s best to decide on a single focus.

For example, a simple call to action can inspire a customer to buy or learn more. Don’t send them to a landing page where they have to enter their email again, or make the customer navigate your website – keep it as easy and as few steps as possible for them to fulfill the CTA.

2) Consider your audience

Being thoughtful of your recipient is essential for a successful campaign. Who’s reading, and what do you want them to do? Determine this first and plan your CTA around your answers – you’ll save a lot of time.

Segmented lists are a great tool to boost effectiveness. You can sort your customer base by interest, location, age, gender, stage in the buying cycle – the possibilities are endless. A survey conducted by the Direct Marketing Association revealed that segmented and targeted emails generated 58% of all revenue.

For example, welcome emails generate 4x more opens and 5x more clicks than regular marketing campaigns, but first you have to segment your new customers before sending any.

Once you have these lists organized, it’s a breeze to create personalized, relevant content for your customers. Refresh your lists and clear inactive subscribers to avoid being marked as spam and keep your open rates healthy.

3) Make it personal

We all know the annoyance of a cold call or spam email that doesn’t apply to us. To make email marketing effective, a customer needs to feel the email is tailored to them.

After segmentation, personalization boosts the chance your recipient will read your email. Simply adding a customer’s name increases open rates by 26%.

Empower your customers by allowing them to personalize the content that lands in their inbox. You could offer options such as frequency, or send a courtesy email with the choice to opt out of promotions around a holiday that may be emotionally difficult (such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day).

4) Give them something they want

Always provide value when you reach out. If the recipient doesn’t get something from your content, they’ll unsubscribe or stop opening. This is meant to be a mutually beneficial arrangement – your recipient needs something from you (your amazing product!), and you need them to follow through with the CTA.

Don’t be too salesy or misleading, either. This is especially relevant for top-of-funnel customers who need more nurturing while they’re in the research stage. You may put them off by pushing for a sale too soon. This is where those segmented lists are priceless.

Finally, avoid using too many trigger words. Overusing terms like “free,” “sale,” “cash,” or including too many exclamation points (!!!) makes recipients suspicious. It also dilutes the value you would have otherwise provided in a sea of spammy phrases.

5) Make it accessible

As a general rule, plain text with some html elements is best. It’s tempting to create an image to maintain consistency in your formatting, but large images are fraught with issues. Nearly half of emails are opened on mobile devices. To conserve data, some customers disable images on the go – or, if they’re in an area with poor service or Wi-Fi, the image might not load correctly. You risk your recipient deleting the email before they’ve seen your content.

Remember, your recipient is likely to spend less than a minute reading your email. This is where stylistic decisions and good first impressions matter. Consider font choice, effective use of bold/underline/headers, and the overall color scheme (for example, don’t put white text on a light background).

Keep it clean and uncluttered, and control your use of white space to give your recipient the ability to skim.

Finally, ensure you have an unsubscribe link. It’s bad practice not to have this readily available, and you could be in breach of data protection or consumer law if you neglect it.

6) Be memorable

Hooking your customer with a catchy subject is key; you need to entice them to open the email. The best subject lines are 28-50 characters long. (Note: The length of that linked sentence is 48 characters.)

In the body of the email, use voice and tone to your advantage, and make sure it matches your brand. Overly formal language wouldn’t work for an athleisure wear company targeting Gen-Z consumers. Conversely, emojis and trendy abbreviations may not be the best fit for a more mature audience. Either way, appeal to your reader’s emotions. Use humor and a human touch to connect with your recipient and urge them to follow through.

The ideal length of an email varies depending on the study, but most data agree it’s best to keep it under 200 words. Emails between 50 and 200 words had the best response rate at just above 50%.

7) Find the right cadence

“Cadence” refers to the rhythm of your overall email campaign through the strategic planning, timing, content, and order of emails throughout the customer journey.

Send a welcome email and follow-ups to keep your business at the front of the customer’s mind, but avoid making them feel harassed.

Make sure the emails can stand alone and flow together. While you don’t want to repeat the same information (see point 4 about annoying your base), you also don’t want a customer to feel lost if they open email three of five.

Timing is important and depends on where the customer is in their buyer’s journey: while obtrusive daily reminders and promotions seem pushy and irritating, if you only email every three months, you won’t stay at the forefront of your customer’s mind. Again, this comes down to segmentation and preferences. If you allow your customers to set communication preferences, you don’t have to worry about striking the right time as your customers can tell you themselves.

A/B testing, also called split testing, is a strategic way of comparing the effectiveness of different versions of a campaign. For example, the same email campaign could be sent to two segmented groups (lists A and B), and each group receives a separate version to compare efficacy. This could be an alternate subject line, email template, personalization, use of images, or even what day/time the email lands in a customer’s inbox. The lists are then compared to see which version generated the best response.

An email is meant to grab the customer’s attention and lead them to fulfill your CTA. If you want them to read more than 200 words, use your email to link to a blog post or longer marketing offer.

Wrapping up

Email marketing is one of the easiest, most cost-effective ways to measure solutions in your marketing toolkit. Now, it’s up to you to take a good look at your customer base and find the opportunities available to your business. What are you waiting for?

For more tips, subscribe to our newsletter here.

4 eCommerce Roles to Delegate, and 4 to Keep In-House

a store with the names of job departments in clouds above the store

When first starting an eCommerce business, you may be surprised to learn there’s far more involved than just buying and selling stock. You also need to manage the order fulfillment process, finances, marketing, customer service, product development, and more.

As your business grows, you may reach a point where you need to outsource to avoid being overwhelmed. Knowing which tasks and roles to delegate can be difficult. However, delegating work to other people is one of the most effective ways to cut business costs and make your eCommerce company more efficient.

Approaching this problem with a strategic mind will improve the performance of your eCommerce business by appointing the best person (or team) to work in the necessary roles within the company.

We’re here to demystify the delegation question.

Read on to learn the four eCommerce roles you should outsource and the four you should keep in-house.

Four eCommerce roles to delegate

As a business owner, there’s only so much work you can manage before you need to think about delegating. Otherwise, you’ll quickly realize your potential revenue is limited by the number of hours you’re able to put into your business.

The four eCommerce roles we recommend you delegate are:

  1. Marketing asset creation and management
  2. Order preparation and fulfillment
  3. Product listing management
  4. Accounting and filing

We’ll dive into each of these roles to explain how and why outsourcing (at least at first) these eCommerce tasks will benefit your business.

1) Marketing asset creation and management

Running an eCommerce business is as much about marketing as it is about sales.

Your eCommerce marketing activity is a powerful customer retention strategy. You can retain customers and increase customer loyalty through various marketing activities such as email marketing and retargeting ads.

According to research by Barilliance, 45% of customers open cart abandonment emails, and 10.7% of people who open cart abandonment emails will complete their purchase. These numbers highlight the importance of keeping your customers engaged and informed with a well-thought-out marketing strategy.

However, eCommerce marketing can be complex. It may consist of organic social media, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and paid social media, to name just a few. To get the most impact on those channels, you need copywriters, designers, and sometimes even videographers. If you don’t have in-house expertise in these areas, delegation gives you access to specialists in their field.

For these reasons, it’s often best to delegate the marketing activities for your online shop to an eCommerce marketing freelancer or agency. They’ll use their skills and previous experience to drive positive results for your store.

2) Order preparation and fulfillment

As your eCommerce business gains traction and your daily sales begin to grow, you may struggle to manage the order fulfillment process on your own. You can remove bottlenecks in your order process by outsourcing order preparation and fulfillment to a dedicated third-party logistics company.

Outsourcing this task can lower shipping rates, reduce operating costs, and increase your business reach. It will also free up your time to focus on other areas of your eCommerce business such as new product development or business planning for the year ahead.

At MyFBAPrep, we help Amazon sellers manage their FBA prep work easily by handling their logistics through our specialist team. We’ll hold your inventory, prep your orders, update your Amazon inventory, and send your order to the Amazon Fulfillment Center on your behalf. With our support, vendors can reap the benefits of selling on Amazon knowing we’re here to help oversee order logistics.

3) Product listing management

Keeping your products up to date can be time consuming.

From managing your eCommerce listings to reviewing product performance, overseeing CRM integration, and checking product quality and traceability, there are many tasks involved in product information management.

If you’re short on time, you might benefit from delegating listing testing, optimization, and reporting to someone who can dedicate their full attention to these tasks.

This person or group will manage all aspects of your product information to ensure your online lists are updated and optimized for performance, setting you up for omnichannel success. You can also use a suite of tools to take on some of these tasks, like a repricer.

Having a dedicated outsourced team of experts can show you the ropes when it comes to listing optimization, and can manage and report on the various optimization tests they will run.

This helps you effectively manage, optimize, and sync your product information across all of your routes to market. This will make it easier for you to expand your product range, increase conversion rates, and sell on new eCommerce channels.

In the end, you’ll come away with a formula for success for your catalog, and an idea of how to optimize any new SKUs.

4) Accounting and filing

Are you keeping on top of your eCommerce finances?

As your online store grows, you need to adjust how you control your business finances. A clear understanding of your eCommerce finances will allow you to better forecast your revenue, product margins, taxes, department budgets, stock requirements, and your ongoing cash flow.

Unless you’re a large business with your own finance arm, delegating your business finances to an account that specializes in eCommerce could be your best solution.

Traditionally, eCommerce businesses would hire an in-house accounting team or bookkeeper. These days, however, it can be more cost- and time-effective to outsource this workload to an accountancy partner who can adapt, scale, and be flexible to your business needs as the market fluctuates.

Your accountancy partner will help you keep tabs on your financial data across all your sales channels. They can also advise you on things you need to do to improve your finances in the future by having a clear understanding of your current numbers, competitor market, and projected sales.

You can always bring this role back in-house as you grow. Once your finances are large and complex enough to justify a dedicated finance team, you can ask your accountant to turnover what should be pristine records for your own team.

Four eCommerce roles to keep in-house

You shouldn’t outsource all eCommerce roles.

The tasks you choose to manage in-house depend on your business’s unique circumstances. You need to play to your company’s strengths by knowing which roles you can confidently oversee internally and which to hand over to an external team.

From our experience working with a large number of eCommerce businesses, we’ve highlighted the four eCommerce roles that are usually best managed in-house:

  1. Customer service
  2. Sales
  3. Product development
  4. Recruitment and training

We’ll explore each of these roles in greater detail so you can easily understand how keeping these eCommerce roles internally can benefit your business.

1) Customer service

Your in-house team best understands the ins and outs of your eCommerce business. So, they’re also the best people to support your customers with their shopping experience.

Excellent customer service can be the difference between an eCommerce business that succeeds or fails. In fact, 58% of customers say they will sever a brand relationship if customer service expectations fall short.

If you maintain control over your customer service, you can ensure customers receive prompt communication and fast solutions to their problems. It also strengthens your brand as your internal team will handle customer enquiries and complaints in a way that aligns with your company values and strategy.

Additionally, a 2017 report by KPMG found that customers are more likely to trust a business that makes it easy for them to contact someone at the company.

What an outsourced team considers to be “good” customer care may not align with your business values. This could lead to a brand disconnect and, in turn, disgruntled customers, as they don’t get a satisfactory resolution. In-house employees offer a more personal and attentive service that both aligns with your brand values and keeps your customers coming back for more.

2) Sales

As your eCommerce business grows, you may want to appoint a dedicated sales person or team to help you break into new markets or manage wholesale orders.

On a B2B level, your in-house sales team can take the lead on expanding your wholesale opportunities and nurturing relationships with existing wholesalers and suppliers.

Working closely with other departments and employees, an internal sales team will have a solid grasp on current business operations and upcoming product developments. This will allow them to be proactive in their sales pitches, keeping your B2B wholesale customers satisfied.

On a B2C level, an in-house sales team will develop a clear understanding of customer needs and how to solve their pain points. Your  team can operate on an inbound basis, conveniently helping customers complete their online orders. This personalized sales experience will encourage customers to shop with you again.

Your in-house sales team can use data to help your eCommerce business understand your customers, launch perfectly timed promotions, and increase repeat orders.

3) Product development

It’s important to invest in your business constantly and find creative ways to keep your customers engaged. New product development and procurement are vital aspects of retaining customers and connecting with new ones.

If you want to gain a competitive edge over other sellers in your market, you need to invest in new products, whether that’s through development or sourcing.

While you can outsource this task to a product sourcing agent, they won’t understand the key values or needs of your business as well as an in-house team.

Your internal team can research upcoming trends and find new products that are well suited to the customers you want to attract. They can also develop strong relationships with suppliers and manufacturers to help you improve margins for new products.

4) Recruitment and training

A strong eCommerce team is fundamental to maintaining the growth and success of your online store.

Managing talent acquisition, onboarding, and training in-house will ensure new employees are a perfect fit for your company values, practices, and expectations. Your internal human resources team can also assist your employees throughout their career journey within your company, allowing you to oversee the growth and development of each individual. It will also forge strong relationships in your business — something that’s crucial for ensuring business operations run smoothly.

Your in-house recruitment and training team can help develop employee materials such as company policies, procedures, specifications, and best practices. These training materials act as a go-to resource for employees to understand how to respond to certain situations within your business. Having an internal team create and update these resources will keep your training materials aligned with your current business needs and strategies.

Recap: eCommerce delegating vs. in-house

Every eCommerce business has different needs that determine whether to outsource work or keep it in-house.

Which tasks you should or should not delegate depend on the unique structure and needs of your business. With that said, the above suggestions are a great starting point for eCommerce business owners who are trying to decide which roles could benefit from outsourcing and which may best be kept in-house.

The key takeaway is to maintain control over the roles you are strongest at, or that you know will benefit the most if managed by an in-house team. Similarly, you should outsource any roles your business isn’t currently built to manage, or that require an experienced and specialized team that you don’t have.

When choosing which roles to delegate or keep in-house, you should also consider the potential costs and return on investment of each option. Some roles may be more expensive to oversee internally, but doing so could also increase your return on investment compared to delegating the role to an external partner.

Key 2021 Q4 Dates for Amazon Sellers

a calendar that says amazon on it and a to do list with a pencil

Now that it’s nearing Q4, we wanted to share some of the key dates Amazon sellers should look out for, starting this September.

Open up your calendars and read on to make sure you know the important dates to track for your Amazon business.

September 7 – This is the deadline to submit 7 Day Deals, Best Deals, and Lightning Deals to Amazon.

September 15 – This is the last day you can order inventory for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the overall holiday season. With shipping delays and projected supply chain bottlenecks, we recommend you do this even earlier if possible.

October 1-7 – This is Golden Week in China. It’s a holiday observed nationally, so many manufacturers and suppliers in the country will not be open for business during this time. Plan accordingly.

October 21 – This is the inbound shipping cutoff for most vendors, which means your deal inventory must be in transit by now.

October 31 – This is the last day you have to order inventory before Chinese New Year, which will be on February 1, 2022. Plan your supply accordingly.

November 1 – This is the last day you have to get inventory into an Amazon FBA warehouse for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and the holiday season. Tip: Work with us for 1-3 day prep turnaround to get your items into FBA lightning fast!

November 25 – Thanksgiving Day, we all know what that means!

November 26-28 – This is Black Friday, and the Q4 sales rush begins.

November 28-December 6 – This is Hanukkah, plan accordingly if you or your partners plan to take this period off.

November 29 – This is Cyber Monday, so get ready for those electronics sales.

December 20 – We recommend you send all holiday gifts out by this time at the latest.

A big thank you to our friends at Profitable Pineapple and the JungleScout team for sharing some of the key dates to keep an eye out for!

How to Find Your Next Million-Dollar SKUs Internationally and Send Them Directly Into FBA

a "webinar recap" banner with a My FBA Prep logo and a wish logo

[UPDATE: Wish Wholesale has since been absorbed by and is no longer available. However, Wish remains an excellent place to do product research]

Webinar recap — Whether you’re a long-term seller with hundreds of existing SKUs or researching bringing your first product to market, it’s challenging to source new products and bring them to Amazon. Cycles of product research, market validation, and competitor research can take months or even years depending on the product, during which time, competitors will move in and often take over a niche. Amazon’s fast-paced, competitive marketplace means moving quickly and sourcing products as fast as you can.

The Wish Wholesale X MyFBAPrep collaboration allows you to do just that, with a combination of Wish’s software, analytics, and personal assistance to source your next big SKUs, and MyFBAPrep to move those products directly into FBA once your pallets reach our warehouse. In this webinar, Luke Peng, Director of Growth at WishX, Osama Asif, Business Development Manager at Wish Wholesale, and Tom Wicky, Co-Founder of MyFBAPrep, discuss the solutions and opportunities in this collaboration.

Product and market analytics with Wish Wholesale 4:44

Nearly everyone knows Wish, the popular shopping platform and app. In fact, with 500 million+ customers and over 250,000 active shoppers per day, it’s one of the largest marketplaces in the world. Wish not only boasts 100 million+ monthly active users, but is also the single most-downloaded shopping app on the marketplace.

Wish Wholesale is an initiative launched by the company in 2019, designed to help brick-and-mortar stores diversify inventory. Eventually, this expanded into white glove services to online-offline resellers,  wherein Wish Wholesale helps retailers find their new products. In fact, Wish Wholesale combines analytics and tracking with curated data to help you make strategic buying decisions for any physical or eCommerce retail shop. This includes:

  • Wholesale procurement, in which Wish’s data dashboard shows Wish sales near you, products available in your area, and products underserved in your area
  • Competitive pricing, including substantial bulk discounts and cost reductions on most orders
  • No resell limits, meaning you can sell on any Wish competitor you want without pricing restrictions
  • Buyer protection
  • A strong product review system that aggregates wholesale and direct-to-consumer product reviews, giving you the best picture of product quality and customer satisfaction

Eventually, Wish Wholesale began to deliver data-driven insights into wholesale buying so sellers can quickly find and source high-potential products. With more than 55 categories, weekly newsletters showing top-selling products, and curated collections of niche and rapidly rising products, Wish Wholesale significantly simplifies the product research phase. And, with services like Wish Select, products can be white labelled.

Wish Wholesale VIP 10:44

Osama Asif introduces Wish Wholesale VIP, covering the perks of the program. These include free shipping on all orders over $50, which can translate to considerable cost savings while allowing retailers to reduce order volumes. Plus, with personalized sourcing assistance (manual) for your business, VIP means you have experts on the wholesale side to handle product research.

Wish Wholesale VIP is essentially a discount program. You also get 10% cashback on every order. But the personalized product sourcing, personalized product curation, and free shipping will definitely add value for most shoppers.

Shipping directly to FBA with MyFBAPrep 14:49

Wish Wholesale delivers an out-of-the-box solution for product research and validation. However, it doesn’t ship to Amazon without extensive pallet and container breakdown and repackaging. That’s important, because even though Wish ships with UPCs, Amazon requires SKUs and individual packaging. Today, MyFBAPrep has prepped over four million units with a GMS of over $1 billion. Moreover, hundreds of sellers process 500,000+ monthly products through our services.

MyFBAPrep is a combination of an FBA prep service, warehouse network, and 3PL. This means we can handle the full aspect of end-to-end receipt, FBA prep, delivery to FBA, and direct-to-consumer fulfillment.

For example, our FBA prep services include full integration into Seller Central via the SP API. That allows us to create orders and ship directly to FBA. These services include bundling and kitting, individual item prep, breaking down pallets/containers/master cases, FNSKU labeling, and polybag or shrink wrap packaging.

We combine this with order fulfillment, returns processing, and services like storage and inventory replenishment, alongside extras like setting up subscription boxes.

Most importantly, these services are fully omni-channel. We prep and deliver products for FBA, but offer DTC across Shopify, Walmart, and any other platform you sell on. And, with over 50 warehouses and services across the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Germany, and the Netherlands, MyFBAPrep can break orders down in one warehouse, distribute them across our network, and then quickly ship from nearly anywhere to guarantee two-day shipping.

Full insight with Preptopia® 17:36

Preptopia® allows you to aggregate and consolidate shipping and SKU management across 3PL, including our 50+ warehouse network. The software provides a real-time overview of SKU status, location, and values, offering transparency about how products are picked, prepped, and packed/fulfilled. That means:

  • Transparent and real-time item-level prep tracking
  • Unified billing and reports showing opportunities and growth areas
  • Amazon integration
  • Real-time chat with integrated warehouses

MyFBAPrep partners with Amazon Freight to offer unique 24/7 visibility of shipments. You’ll always know when and where your shipment is, and it’s status. Plus, with a 24- to 72-hour turnaround time for shipments, native integration between Amazon Seller Central and Preptopia®, and an extensive suite of services for different items and configurations, Preptopia® simplifies how you prep and ship products.

Q&A 25:45