Month: November 2022
9 eCommerce trends to expect in 2023
If there’s anything you can expect from the Commerce world, its evolution, improvement, and growth. And 2023 is set to continue this pattern.
By 2023, global retail eCommerce sales could reach $6.169 trillion and make up a 22.3% share of total retail sales, up from $3.351 trillion and 13.8% in 2019.
As shoppers and the global market grow more accustomed to the post-pandemic world, there are notable upcoming changes (some of which have already started!) that’ll impact your online store.
To give you a head start, we’ve pulled together a quick sheet of 2023 eCommerce trends and some action points to implement for more leads, sales, and growth.
Don’t let your competitors get the upper hand. Level up your fulfillment to stay on top of your customer’s minds.
Vying for the top spot in 2023? Trend watching is a must. Here’s why…
If you’ve never considered trend watching for your eCommerce business, it can seem like a non-essential task. But looks can be deceiving. Let’s zoom in on some ways trend-watching can make your eCommerce brand the top dog:
Swoop in ahead of your competitors
As the saying goes, “the early bird gets the worm.” Trend watching allows you to get a head start on areas your competitors are yet to dominate the growing trend. By the time they catch up, you could be already established in the SERPs, have a fan base, and a glowing review to match.
Uncover profitable initiatives and products to test
Whether it’s a sub-niche you’ve never considered or a new twist on the way eCommerce goods are marketed, keeping a close eye on trends and then implementing them can lead to bigger paydays. You can unearth new customer groups and items to experiment with to freshen up your offers and marketing campaigns.
Drive customer loyalty
One of the best ways to get more customers and keep them coming back is to give them what they’re looking for. The more products you have that resonate with your target customer will have a positive impact on key metrics like customer lifetime value, retention, and even average order value (AOV) when done correctly (more of this later). So, trends act as a cheat sheet on shoppers’ current wants, needs, and preferences.
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9 Top eCommerce trends to watch in 2023
Now you know how valuable trends can be to your business, it’s time to strategize. Let’s zoom in on some of the most prevalent trends set to hit the eCommerce market in 2023 and some ways you can take advantage of each:
1. Brands wipe their slate clean as sustainability rises
Even back in 2019, sustainability was a priority for 65% of shoppers, and this sentiment is only going to strengthen in 2023.
After wildfires, global warming talks, and rising polluted seas caused fuelled by consumerism and waste, shoppers are taking a long, hard look at how their shopping choices impact the globe.
It’s why Recommerce (the sale of preloved items) has started to gain more ground and could prove to be a popular shopping option in 2023. To maintain consumer confidence going forwards, you’ll need to display support and action toward sustainability projects.
How to make your brand more sustainable in 2023
- Partner with a charitable cause centered around a sustainability topic, e.g., reforestation or pollution, and start an initiative, e.g., donating a portion of profits from a particular collection.
- Work with suppliers who care about waste minimization and ethical business practices.
2. Metaverse, Virtual Reality, and Augmented Reality mesh with the real world
Coming off the back of a $478.78 billion valuation in 2020, experts anticipate the metaverse to be worth $800 billion valuation by 2024. The metaverse is also increasing in popularity every year, with 74% of adults now thinking about joining.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are tenets of the metaverse, and in 2023 we’ll see retailers and e-tailers ramp up and implement them to enhance the shopping experience. This could look like helping shoppers pick goods more accurately by using their data or tools to help them visualize the product in their lives. Follow suit to capture buyers’ attention.
How to explore the Metaverse VR and AR as an eCommerce business in 2023
- Experiment with live ads, interactive shopping, and live events centered around your products fuelled by VR or AR. E.g., live in-person dress fitting using VR.
- Look for opportunities to enhance your website, marketing, and AR and VR. E.g., you could gamify competitions and giveaways with VR and AR.
3. Omnichannel selling takes a more prominent role in the post-pandemic market
Omnichannel eCommerce has exploded in recent years and its shows in the market’s projected growth stats which estimate an $11.01 billion market capitalization by 2023 and $16.9 billion by 2027.
As the world starts to shake off the pandemic shopping habits, shopping in physical stores is set to make a resurgence and join forces with eCommerce for more tailored shopping experiences. For example, shopping models like Buy Online Pickup In-Store (BIPOS) have increased in popularity, and stores allow shoppers to order in-store for home delivery.
To execute this trend, you’ll need to mix eCommerce with in-person shopping experiences.
How to execute a successful omnichannel selling strategy in 2023
- If you have a retail arm, use it to get more sales buying, offering in-store pickup as a delivery option. Alternatively, if you’re an online-only brand, partner with companies that will allow you to use their space for pickup and drop-off hubs or work with a fulfillment provider with these connections.
- Work with omnichannel experts to bring your sales channels and marketing platforms into unison, so shoppers get the same message and experience wherever they start and finish their buying journey.
- Enable mobile and online payment for all orders.
4. Cross-border eCommerce ramps up
Goods from further afield have always sparked shoppers’ interest, providing an exciting, never-ending treasure hunt. In 2023 this trend will reach a new peak.
Making shoppers feel comfortable on your sales and social media platforms, no matter where they’re based will be critical to converting leads and growing your international following. Addressing your fulfillment will also be critical for long-term profitability.
How to nail cross-border eCommerce in 2023
- Localize your website content.
- Get a digital wallet to manage multiple currencies and make paying your suppliers fast and easy.
- Establish relationships with suppliers and manufacturers in countries you get the most overseas sales from.
Top tip: To make this trend sustainable long-term, work with a fulfillment provider that can fulfill goods across multiple sales channels and locations efficiently and affordably. MyFBAPrep can do just that and more.
5. Mobile shopping reaches boiling point
People are glued to their screens more than ever before, with the average person racking up 4.8 hours on their devices daily, one-third of their waking hours!
So it’s no surprise mobile sales, a.k.a. eCommerce sales, topped $359.32 billion in 2021. This figure is set for a meteoric rise and could hit $728.28 billion by 2025.
To maximize this trend, you’ll need to make it easy for shoppers to find and buy the goods they want from the comfort of their mobile phones.
How to win at eCommerce in 2023
- Optimize sales channels for the small screen, e.g., for mobile and tablets
- Invest in a mobile app.
- Make payments on mobile painless e.g., provide a one-click purchase option and multiple options which allow shoppers to store credit card details for future use, e.g., Alipay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay.
- Create a mobile-specific community using mobile-only deals, promos, and events.
6. Brands get personal
Ever since brands and marketers learned about the power of personalization, the focus has been on websites to eCommerce brands and shoppers’ detriment. To give you an idea, 75% of shoppers say brands don’t understand their shopping behaviors.
But the tables are about to turn. In 2023, we’ll see brands step their personalization up a notch by focusing on their entire sales and marketing ecosystem.
To ensure no one is left out, you’ll need to find ways to enrich the shopping experiences of every visitor and help shoppers make informed decisions.
How to do personalization right in 2023:
- Use eCommerce personalization software to study each buyer’s behavior across your entire selling ecosystem. Then provide timely product suggestions, discounts, and promotions (with permission, of course). This includes apps, email, and in-store.
- Experiment with proximity marketing (selling to your audience based on their location, e.g., buyers that are within a 5km radius of your flagship store or a specific town.
7. Brands do a double take on the subscription model
It’s no secret advertising eCommerce brands has become more expensive, and this growing bill is causing eCommerce brands to reassess how they engage with customers once they enter their ecosystem. Enter subscriptions.
Subscriptions have long been a favorite among shoppers, with the average buyer spending $219 per month on them. But in a market with endless options and a pending recession, it’s easy for your subscription to be forgotten or, worse, canceled. In 2023, you need to find ways to make your subscriptions stand out from the rest, whether it’s by pricing, content, or bundling options.
How to develop smash-hit subscriptions in 2023
- Ask your audience what they would like to see in your bundles, study competitors’ bundles, then find ways to outdo them
- Present multiple tiers to capture your customers’ varying budgets and needs
- To keep your subscriptions relevant, weak your offers in line with sales data and customer feedback.
8. Social selling goes mainstream
The evolution of social media continues as more brands turn their loyal following and eye-catching snaps into full-blown social shops. Forecasts predict $30.73 billion in sales in 2023, tallying up to 20% of total retail eCommerce sales. This figure is expected to be $2.6 trillion by 2026.
Its clear shopping on the platforms on social media platforms has now become a viable alternative to buying on websites and marketplaces. To win with social stores, you’ll need to position your content and offers in a way that’s native to the platform and make it easy to purchase, preferably in-app.
How to develop a social commerce strategy for 2023
- Create stores on social stores the social media platforms your target customer uses the most.
- Use scroll-stopping images and videos
- Repurpose user-generated content and influencer content into your social store to increase its trust factor.
- Equip your store with easy payment solutions.
Top tip: If you’re going to sell a trending product that is similar to or can be used with your existing products, create a bundle offer to up the value of your offer, freshen up your products and boost AOV.
9. Customer expectations grow even further
These days, customers know what they want; transparent pricing, quality goods, fast (preferably free) shipping, and efficient customer support, just to name a few.
To keep your buyers happy in 2023, you’ll need to provide a phenomenal customer experience from start to finish for every order.
How to “wow” shoppers in 2023
- Create social shops on the platforms your target spends the most time on. Remove redundancies from your buying process to make it seamless.
- Provide clear information about your delivery times and customer support hours in multiple locations on your website and social media.
- Work with trustworthy, reliable, and experienced fulfillment providers and manufacturers.
Make 2023 A business year to remember
With a plethora of business-altering trends on their way, 2023 is going to be a big year for eCommerce. The best part is you get to decide whether 2023 will be a hit or a miss based on how you interpret the trends, study the market, and execute your trend and data-led strategies.
So don’t miss out. Create memorable products that make your brand irreplaceable. Also, use the trend information and tasks we’ve shared to craft killer strategies across marketing, sales, customer service, and operations. Soon your store will be getting noticed, and sales pouring in.
Got a messy fulfillment process? Learn how MyFBAPrep can get you seamless fulfillment.
Understanding and Reducing Your Amazon FBA Fees (Updated for 2022)
Are you looking to take your eCommerce business to the next level? Whether you are already selling on Amazon or planning to, you have to look at FBA and what it can do for your business. This article will show you what FBA is, how the fees work, and how you can reduce your overall cost of using the service. Read on to get started.
What FBA is and why you should use it
Let’s start with the basics. To begin, FBA is an acronym for Fulfillment by Amazon and represents a service that Amazon offers to let you quickly and efficiently fulfill online orders.
As anyone with an eCommerce business knows, picking and packing customer orders takes significant time, effort, and money. FBA allows you to outsource this work to Amazon. Instead of sending out every single package, you send your inventory in bulk to Amazon warehouses. Then, when a customer makes an order, Amazon picks, packs, and ships the items.
Using FBA gives you, as the seller, several significant benefits:
Access to Prime and Amazon’s logistics network
The first thing FBA allows you to do is offload your fulfillment capabilities to Amazon, a dedicated solution to your business that knows how to do fulfillment right. In addition, FBA lets you take advantage of Amazon’s vast warehouse and delivery network.
Amazon’s fulfillment capabilities are remarkable since the company is as much a master of logistics as it is of eCommerce. By tapping into FBA, you tap into Amazon’s entire logistics infrastructure — a network of hundreds of warehouses located strategically throughout the United States and interconnected by a whole fleet of trailers, rail cars, and planes.
Easy flat-fee structure
Traditional carriers like FedEx or UPS often rely on zone-based pricing. This pricing model means the cost of sending a package can vary widely, depending on the destination. Unfortunately, this structure also makes it challenging for sellers to forecast their fulfillment costs accurately.
FBA takes much guesswork out of the equation by charging a flat fee, regardless of where the item is now and its final delivery point. Whether the product is going from New Jersey to Oklahoma or Florida to Montana, you, as the seller, will pay the same fulfillment cost. This pricing structure makes it much easier to understand and estimate your costs.
Better visibility on Amazon’s website
Using FBA also boosts your ability to sell on Amazon. Sellers who use FBA will rank better in Amazon’s search results than sellers who fulfill the items themselves.
Why does Amazon give sellers who use FBA an advantage? Many customers who shop on Amazon like to take advantage of Amazon Prime’s two-day (or sooner) shipping service. Thus, to cater to those customers, items delivered through Amazon are shown first — while items from sellers who ship from other warehouses are pushed farther down on the results page. If you’re using FBA, the products you sell are more likely to be seen first and, as a result, bought first.
Now that you know the benefits of FBA let’s get into the practical details of how to use it for your business.
Getting your products into Amazon warehouses
To start using FBA, you have to get your inventory to Amazon. Whether your products are currently at your manufacturer, co-packer, 3PL, prep partner, or logistics partner, you need to send them to Amazon’s network of warehouses.
That generally means choosing a delivery service to move your items. Here are the main options you have to pick from:
Small parcel versus LTL/FTL
When deciding how to send your products to Amazon, you need to consider three key factors:
- How much space do your products take up?
- How long are you willing to wait before your items start selling?
- How much do you need to send in?
If your products are light and don’t take up much room, shipping them via small parcel carriers like UPS might be the best option. This method will get your items over to Amazon quickly — and checked in quickly on Amazon’s end too.
However, if your products are heavier or more voluminous, you’ll save on delivery costs by selecting the LTL (less than truckload) or FTL (full truckload) option. With this method, your products must be palletized and loaded onto a trailer that eventually makes its way to an Amazon warehouse. If you have a significant quantity of items, this option will be more cost-efficient than sending them in small parcels. It will, however, also be the slower option, sometimes taking a week or two for delivery and check-in at the destination.
The best scenario is for you to calculate the higher costs of sending by small parcel against the longer timeline required for an LTL or FTL shipment. If you are already selling at scale and are consistently replenishing inventory at Amazon, LTL or FTL is your best long-term option. However, if your inventory levels are getting dangerously low at Amazon, it may be worth paying more to send in a limited quantity via the small parcel service for replenishment and send larger LTL or FTL shipments simultaneously.
Independent carrier vs. Amazon partnered carrier
Whether you opt for small parcel delivery or LTL/FTL, you’ll need to decide if you want to go with an Amazon-partnered carrier or a carrier unaffiliated with Amazon.
Choosing an Amazon-partnered carrier can streamline the process of getting your products to Amazon and often lower the costs. This is because Amazon’s partnered carrier network has existing relationships with the company and offers you negotiated rates that help reduce your costs.
In the case of small parcels, Amazon’s partnered carrier is UPS, which offers competitive, pre-negotiated rates to ship to Amazon warehouses. On the FTL or LTL side, Amazon works with many freight carriers that offer competitive rates. An additional benefit of working with an Amazon-partnered carrier is that you don’t have to worry about setting up delivery appointments because partners have pre-set appointments with Amazon. I recommend sticking with Amazon’s partnered carriers when going the FTL or LTL route because this makes the process much smoother for all involved.
Once your products are in Amazon’s warehouses, it’s time to start selling. So next, we’ll discuss clever tips for keeping your FBA fees as low as possible.
How Amazon determines an item’s FBA fees
Amazon determines the FBA cost of an item based on size and weight. This means the length, height, and width of your product — as well as its weight and dimensional weight. Knowing how to minimize these can keep fees low.
Be strategic about package design
Standardizing your packaging across all channels is the norm if you run a retail business in addition to an eCommerce one. However, optimizing your packaging for eCommerce could save you quite a lot on fulfillment costs. The same product with a different packaging that’s smaller or weighs less could end up putting your item in a less expensive size tier in terms of FBA fees, making a significant difference on your bottom line.
Thus, it pays to check your product’s dimensions and weights against the size tiers listed on Amazon’s website. If Amazon is a significant channel for you, consider these size tiers in every part of your business process, from product design and development to packaging materials.
Consider multipacks and bundles
A strategy is essential when building multipacks and bundles for your products too. Using Amazon’s FBA size guidelines, ensure you put your items together in the most size-efficient way, taking up as little room as possible. Resist the urge to throw your products in a larger box, but instead pack them in a perfectly-sized box or poly bag that takes up less space, reducing your FBA fees.
Auditing your FBA fees
You must conduct a regular audit to keep your FBA fees in check. Luckily, Amazon Seller Central makes this process relatively simple. Here’s how to get started.
Check the Amazon reports
The first step to auditing your FBA fees is downloading your report from Amazon. In Amazon Seller Central, head to the “Reports” section, then select “Fulfillment.” Once you get there, look under the “Payments” section on the left-hand side and click on the “Fee Preview” report.
The Fee Preview report is one that Amazon typically automatically runs for you every day. I recommend downloading the latest one as a CSV file, so you can easily pull it up using Excel or Google Sheets. Once you open the file, you’ll be able to see all the products you sell through Amazon. You’ll also be able to see what Amazon has on record as the weight and measurements of each item.
Now it’s time to audit your products. Verify that Amazon’s record of each product reflects your actual product weight and dimensions. While the measurements don’t have to be exact, they should be close to your records. Once in a while, Amazon mismeasures the length of a product or miscalculates the weight. If this has happened to any of your products, take note of it and go on to the next step.
Ask Amazon to remeasure and reweigh the item
If you determine from the “Fee Preview” report that Amazon’s record of your product’s weight and dimensions is incorrect, take the necessary steps to correct it.
First, navigate to the “Help” tab on Amazon, scroll to the bottom, click “Get Support,” and then “Selling on Amazon.” Once you get to that page, you’ll be able to describe the issue you’re having. Typing in a phrase like “FBA fee” will prompt Amazon to ask if you’re having a problem with FBA product weights and dimensions. Confirm this is indeed your issue.
At this point, type in the ASIN or FNSKU of your item into the search box and hit “Next.” Amazon will then restate the package dimensions and weight and your current fulfillment fees. You’ll then be able to request product remeasurement and reimbursement for incorrect order fees.
Amazon limits the number of times you can request remeasurements due to sellers abusing this service in the past, so ensure your product has been weighed or mismeasured before asking Amazon to remeasure. Once you submit the request, Amazon will have a worker remeasure and reweigh your item on a Cubiscan machine.
If Amazon determines that the previous measurements were incorrect, they will change your FBA fee to reflect the correct weight and dimensions. Sometimes, Amazon will automatically reimburse you for overcharged fees; other times, you’ll need to take an extra step to ask for a reimbursement. The timeline for how quickly such issues get resolved can vary, but I recommend auditing your fees monthly to ensure they are correct.
How to reduce your FBA fees
After you’ve audited your FBA fees, you still have two opportunities to continue reducing them:
Optimize inbound deliveries
Lower your cost of selling by optimizing the products you send to Amazon’s warehouses. Determine how to make your shipments to Amazon as dense as possible while still staying within Amazon’s requirements: 50 pounds max per box on small parcel shipments through UPS ground and 1,500 pounds for an LTL/FTL pallet that’s no more than 72 inches high.
You can also save money by changing your seller settings to let Amazon decide where to send your inventory instead of the location closest to the source. In Seller Central, under “Settings,” go to “Fulfillment” settings, then “Fulfillment by Amazon.” Once there, go under inbound settings and ensure the “Inventory Placement Option” is “Distributed Inventory Placement.” Choosing this option will prevent you from paying added fees per item.
Ensure prep is done perfectly
A second way to reduce FBA fees is by prepping your items correctly before they arrive at Amazon. While Amazon can do prep work, that extra work comes at an additional cost. Have your manufacturer or a dedicated prep center take care of this to save money and time.
Because Amazon has a vast logistics network, they have a standardized prep process for different types of items. Make sure you follow these to a tee. If you prep your items incorrectly, they will not pass the break test or may need to be sent back for adjustments — in which case your inventory will become unfulfillable, requiring you to remove, re-prep, then return the items at Amazon, all at your cost.
Increased fees in 2022
Amazon isn’t immune to inflation and rising fuel costs, which means FBA fees have gone up this year. Here’s the latest on what you can expect:
On April 28, 2022, Amazon implemented a new fuel inflation surcharge of 5% on top of the current FBA fulfillment fee per unit rates. Up to this point, there has not been any news about whether and when Amazon will remove this surcharge.
In August 2022, Amazon announced an additional fee called a “Holiday Surcharge” that will apply to items sold between October 15, 2022, to January 14, 2023. The surcharge varies depending on the size and weight of the product, but on average, it is an increase of about 35 cents on each item sold.
A retailer passing off additional costs to sellers is nothing new, but remember that you, as the seller, absorb these increased costs, so make sure you take them into account when using FBA. Use the revenue calculator on Amazon Seller Central for a complete breakdown of your fees and subsequent margins. If your margins are diminishing, you may need to adjust the cost of your products accordingly.
Ready for FBA
If you’ve been considering FBA for your business, there is much to understand. The sooner you take advantage of FBA’s many benefits, the faster you can remove some of the burden and headaches caused by fulfilling products yourself. With some prep and planning, you can optimize your selling experience on Amazon for better efficiency and profit.
About the Author
Ryan Flynn is the founder and CEO of Charmac, a digital marketing agency that helps retail-focused brands reach more customers on Amazon. Charmac provides content creation and done-for-you account management solutions to help you succeed in the Amazon marketplace. Whether you need a new or refreshed product page or are ready to outsource the day-to-day of Amazon, the experts at Charmac can help. They specialize in creating high-converting content that matches your brand and can strategically manage advertising, reviews, inventory forecasting, and more. To learn more, visit Charmac.com.
The Seller’s Guide to Amazon Keyword Research
This is a guest post from Lena Einschütz. Lena is the Marketing Manager at BidX, which supports Amazon merchants with software solutions that automate and optimize advertising on and off Amazon.
If you’re an online seller looking to boost your visibility on Amazon, then conducting Amazon keyword research is essential.
By finding profitable keywords, you can improve your rankings on Amazon’s search engine results pages (SERPs), drive more traffic to your products, and boost sales.
Let’s get started!
Why Is the Right Set of Keywords So Important for Amazon Sellers?
Three out of four online shoppers never scroll past the first page of search results. So if your products are ranking low on Amazon’s SERPs, you could be missing out on potential sales.
This is why inputting the right set of keywords is crucial to your success on Amazon. The right keywords can improve your rankings on Amazon’s SERPs, increasing your product’s chances of being seen and purchased by potential customers.
Additionally, Amazon is constantly changing its algorithm, which can impact your rankings over time. By doing Amazon keyword research periodically, as well as making adjustments to your listings and PPC campaigns accordingly, you can keep your products visible and drive long-term sales.
How to Find the Right Keywords for Your Amazon Listing
There are several ways you can conduct keyword research to boost your product’s visibility:
1. Get to Know Your Customers’ Shopping Behaviors
Online marketers use the term “buyer persona” to describe a customer’s needs, wants, and shopping habits. When you know your buyer persona well, you can better understand the types of keywords they’re likely to use when searching for products on Amazon.
To get to know your buyer persona, consider these factors:
- Need: What problem are your customers trying to solve?
- Want: Why would they want to purchase your product?
- Location: Where are they searching from?
- Language: What type of language do they use when searching for products?
- Budget: How much are they willing to spend?
Once you have a good understanding of your target audience, you can then brainstorm the types of keywords they might use when searching for your product on Amazon.
2. Find Keyword Combinations Using the Cluster Method
The “cluster method” is a keyword research technique in which you brainstorm relevant keyword stems and then “branch off” of those stems with a list of related keywords.
Here’s how it works:
First, identify a few keyword stems (or “seeds”) that best describe your product in a straightforward way. For this brainstorming exercise, we recommend that you hold off on using an online keyword tool like Google Keyword Planner to generate ideas. Keyword tools may be useful, but they can also limit your creativity.
Instead, think back to your buyer persona and the questions you have answered about your customer’s needs and wants. What words or phrases come to mind when you think about what your product offers? How does it help your customers solve their pain points?
For example, let’s say your product is a coaster that prevents glasses, cups, and mugs from sticking to it whenever your customer takes a drink (as some plastic-coated coasters are guilty of).
In this case, you might come up with a “non-stick coaster” or “non-slip coaster”.
Note: Amazon’s algorithm typically covers related keyword combinations and individual words, so the non-hyphenated “nonstick” and “nonslip” may also be included in the SERPs.
Once you have identified a few potential keyword stems, it’s time to branch off. Some keyword combinations for Amazon sellers might include the product’s material. For example:
- non-stick coaster ceramic
- non-slip coaster silicone
And some may target a particular use case:
- non-stick coaster for wine glass
- non-stick coaster for cold beverages
- non-slip coaster for cold drinks
As you can see, the cluster method can help you generate a long list of relevant keywords. Once you’ve found them, add them to a spreadsheet so you can track your progress as you optimize your Amazon listings later.
3. Use Online Tools to Find Additional Keyword Combinations
Once you have a list of seed keywords, it’s time to dig deeper and find even more keyword combinations that customers might use when searching for your product.
There are a few different ways you can do this:
Amazon’s Auto-Complete Feature:
Typing a word or phrase into Amazon’s search box will trigger a drop-down menu of suggested keywords based on the platform’s search data.
For example, if you’re selling hiking boots, Amazon’s auto-complete feature might suggest the following keywords and phrases when you start typing “hiking boots” into the search box:
– hiking boots men
– hiking boots women
– hiking boots size 10
– hiking boots waterproof
– hiking boots men waterproof lightweight
Do any of the suggested keywords align with your buyer persona and your product itself? If so, consider incorporating them into your product listings or PPC campaigns.
Research Your Competitors
Do a simple Amazon search for your main keyword stem and take note of the products that appear on the first page of the results. These are your direct competitors.
Next, click on each product listing and take a close look at the keyword section. Notice the product’s title, description, and bullet points (if any). What keywords do your competitors include in their product listings? Are there any combinations that you haven’t thought of yet? If so, add them to your spreadsheet for further consideration.
Use Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research tools provide valuable insights about which keywords are being searched for the most on Amazon (and other websites).
Some keyword research tools that Amazon sellers use include:
- Google Keyword Planner
- SEM Rush
- KW Finder
These tools are especially useful in determining which keywords have “high-volume, low-competition” scores. That is, a lot of people are searching for these keywords, but not many sellers are targeting them in their product listings or PPC campaigns. Therefore, using them on your product page may help you rank higher in the SERPs.
What Are the Different Keyword Types That Amazon Sellers Should Be Aware Of?
When conducting Amazon keyword research, it’s important to understand the main keyword types you’ll encounter. This is especially useful if you plan on running paid campaigns, as the keywords you choose to bid on will determine your ad’s success. Paid ads are especially important because they drive traffic to your product and increase the chances of sales.
Example: If you sell sunglasses and advertise a product with the keyword “sunglasses men”, your ad will appear at the top of the SERP (if you have a certain relevance and make an appropriate bid) if “sunglasses men” has been entered into the Amazon search field.
Keywords for paid ads are separated into different match types. Here’s a quick overview of each match type and how they work:
Exact Match: This search query must match your keyword exactly for your product to appear in the SERPs. For example, if you’re targeting the keyword “non-stick coaster,” your ad will only appear when someone types in that exact phrase or its plural form.
Phrase Match: These keywords must be included in the customer’s search query, but they can appear in any order. For example, the phrase match keyword “non-stick coaster” could trigger your ad to appear for a customer search query like “best non-stick coaster” or “non-stick coaster for cold drinks.” It won’t, however, trigger your ad to appear for a customer search query like “no-stick coaster” (misspelling) or “coasters non-stick” (keywords in the wrong order).
Broad Match: These keywords will trigger your ad to appear for customer search queries that contain all keyword terms or close variations, so words can be in any order and additional words can be included. For example, the broad match keyword “non-stick coaster” could trigger your ad to appear for customer search queries like “ceramic non-stick coasters” or “coasters that don’t stick.”
Manual management of keywords is very complicated and time-consuming, as you need to regularly adjust the bids and move the keywords to the respective match type. For this reason, we recommend a PPC management tool like Bidx, which adjusts the bids for your keywords and match types fully automated based on machine learning algorithms.
How Does Amazon SEO Differ From Google SEO?
If you’re familiar with SEO for Google, you might be wondering how Amazon’s search engine differs. After all, both platforms are essentially search engines, so the basics should be the same, right?
For starters, Amazon ranks products based on:
– The relevancy of a product’s title, bullets, and description to the customer’s search query
– Seller authority (historical sales data, reviews, etc.)
– Click-through rate (the number of clicks the product receives from the SERPs)
– Conversion rate (the number of sales the product generates)
By contrast, Google’s search engine ranks websites based on factors like:
– The quality and quantity of a website’s backlinks
– The relevancy of a website’s content to the customer’s search query
– The website’s domain authority (the higher the score, the higher the ranking)
As you can see, there are some key differences between Amazon and Google SEO. However, the same best practice of optimizing your product page for relevant keywords still applies.
How To Optimize Keywords for Product Listings
To optimize your product listings for Amazon SEO:
Use keyword-rich titles:
Make sure your product’s title includes the main keyword you’re targeting.
Use keyword-rich descriptions:
In the “Product Description” section of your listing, you can include a longer description of your product. As with the title, be sure to use keyword-rich phrases and bullet points to further optimize your listing.
Use “backend” keywords:
Backend keywords can help Amazon’s search engine better understand what your product is about. Because they aren’t visible to customers, they’re also called “hidden” keywords or meta tags. These are typically synonyms, abbreviations, and other related terms that you can add to your listing from your Amazon Seller Central dashboard.
Amazon keyword research is an essential part of Amazon SEO. By targeting profitable keywords, you can improve your listing’s visibility in search results and increase your chances of making a sale.
Remember to use keyword-rich titles and descriptions, and don’t forget about backend keywords. With some effort, you can optimize your listing for Amazon’s search engine and especially your PPC Ads to drive more traffic (and sales!) to your product page.
If you want to be successful on Amazon, you should optimize your Amazon PPC Ads for maximum visibility. Since this is really time-consuming and you need a lot of expertise, we recommend a PPC Management tool like BidX. BidX continuously analyzes your keywords and bids and adjusts them accordingly, so you can make the most of your money.
The Importance of eCommerce Inventory Insurance And How to Choose The Right Provider
Ever suffered a stock loss?
If so, you’re not alone. In 2020, 15% of US retailers experienced an inventory shrink of 3% or higher, and only 10% said they saw stock losses between 1% and 1.24%. These figures may not sound like much, but losses can rack up to eye-watering amounts when operating with high sales volume or selling expensive goods.
Not only is this experience painful, but your business will have to foot the hefty bill solo without a lifeline. Worse, the unrealized sales still impact your store’s profits and overall ROI, rubbing more salt into the already gaping wound.
Luckily, for an eCommerce business, that lifeline is inventory insurance.
In this post, we’ll explore what inventory insurance is and what it’s not. We’ll also share some perks of using this type of cover and tips on selecting the best insurer for your business.
Still nursing wounds from stock losses and damage. Learn how MyFBAPrep can keep your inventory safe.
What is inventory insurance?
Inventory insurance is protection you buy to cover physical stock in your business. While buying stock cover is a necessity for all eCommerce businesses, it becomes especially useful in scenarios such as:
- Brands experiencing fast growth
- Cross-border selling
- Selling items that are known to have high defect rates, e.g., electronics
- Retailing goods with a short shelf-life, e.g., consumables.
Costs can vary depending on the service level you choose along with factors like inventory spec, the type of cover you need, and your business’ claim history.
What does inventory insurance usually cover?
You can choose what issues and circumstances to cover by carefully vetting your provider and matching them to your store’s unique requirements. As a base, most insurers offer protection against issues like:
- Late dispatch/arrival
What inventory insurance doesn’t cover
Inventory insurance doesn’t cover assets or areas in your business besides stock. For example, if you want indemnity for operational ceasing, litigation, or employees, you’ll need to seek additional insurance policies.
5 Tempting benefits of inventory insurance
By now, you probably have a few different policies in your eCommerce business and are questioning whether the extra financial commitment to inventory insurance is worth it. In short, it is! Let’s run through a few reasons why purchasing cover for your stock is always a good idea:
1. Security when disaster strikes
Whether it’s flood damage to inventory during peak season or a warehousing blip that leads to large stockpiles expiring, disasters happen. Getting inventory cover will ensure you can get back on track sooner by reducing your risk exposure, so you can rest easy at night.
2. Protect yourself from known issues
It’s easy to worry about the unknown sneaking up on you and neglect the stock-related problems you often encounter, that can derail your progress. For example, if you sell fragile goods or operate in an area where inventory theft is common, you could frequently find yourself with stock-related losses.
Buying inventory insurance can help you stay steps ahead of the common problem you encounter to minimize damage.
3. Get access to essential eCommerce services
For many services and solutions, insurance is a right of passage to do business. So, if you want to work with a fulfillment house, 3PL, or multiple carriers, inventory insurance comes in handy. You’ll have peace of mind knowing if anything happens to your goods while in their care, your insurance will kick in to save the day.
4. Show investors their cash is in safe hands
Nobody likes to lose money, not even investors. Inventory insurance can help reassure your investors their cash won’t go up in flames if you experience stock loss. It’ll also give them more confidence that your business can remain agile and recover in the event of stock losses.
5. Maintain a good buyer experience
Even when things go wrong, inventory insurance will give you the cash flow to fix problems for your buyers. As a result, your buyer experience can escape unscathed, protecting your brand reputation and future sales.
What to look for from your inventory insurance provider
To get the best provider and insurance cover, it’s critical to vet providers carefully. There are many questions you can ask and traits to require to whittle down the list of viable insurance options. Here are a few characteristics to look out for:
- Fair terms, service levels, and rates. Whether you opt for the premium or basic cover, insurance that gives you your money’s worth is essential for solid ROI. Your provider should also offer fair terms and rates, with the option to upgrade or downgrade your plan.
- Flexible policy periods and extensions. eCommerce is constantly changing, and your policy should be too. Opt for a plan that allows you to adjust its setup when needed. For example, switching from yearly to monthly payments is hassle-free.
- Satisfactory claim windows. Ensure your plan offers reasonable terms on when you can begin claiming once signed up and the timeframe for making a claim when catastrophe strikes. This will help avoid stressful rushing to claim during peak seasons.
- Low to no charges to make a claim and hikes following a claim submission. Choose plans with affordable claim charges that won’t punish you financially for making claims by imposing larger premiums. Depending on the big claim, a small hike in the premium price may be feasible.
- Complete reimbursement for eligible claims. Buy insurance that will payout 100% of the cost of the goods when damaged to ensure you aren’t left out of pocket.
- Multi-site coverage. Look for insurance covering multiple locations and territories where your inventory is stored and sold.
Is your store scaling fast? Get the right fulfillment solutions for the journey.
Tips for picking the right inventory insurance plan
Now we know what to look for in an inventory insurer, it’s important to craft a strategy to choose the right service and know when to tweak it for optimal cover.
Let’s dive into the steps to take.
Record which items need insuring
First up on the inventory insurance to-do list is to create a physical asset list and decide which items need coverage. Use this list to set the budget and service level you require. Your stock list should include information such as:
- Product name and a short description
- Price and manufacturing dates
- Current number of units in stock (per SKU)
- The average number of units in stock per month (per SKU)
- Item cost
- Product recommended retail price (RRP)
- Serial numbers
Tip: Take note of important details such as inventory location(s), the time it takes to produce each product, and the Units you sell per month to give insurers. This information will help them advise on the most suitable plan for your business.
No matter how good the deal may look, never take the first offer. Explore different options and seek advice from multiple companies on the type of cover you should procure.
Obtain quotes, compare prices, and use them to get even deal quotes. It may seem like a lot of work upfront, but since your inventory will be an ongoing expense, it’s worth the extra time and effort to secure the best rates and services.
Only work with reliable and experienced providers
Make sure your inventory insurance plan is legitimate, and the issuing company is trustworthy and experienced to avoid issues later down the line. A few things to look for in your inventory insurance provider include:
- A solid track record for dealing with cases justly
- Overall positive reviews and testimonials
- Good payout rate
- Quick response rate
- Excellent communication
Conduct annual reviews
As your business matures, its inventory may change along with its required cover. So keep your stock list updated for easy monitoring and track your claims frequency, reasons, and success rate. Also, make a note to re-evaluate your inventory insurance needs to guarantee it continues to meet your business needs. Some areas to consider when reassessing your inventory insurance are:
- Portfolio size
- Product complexity
- Territories traded in
- Number of claims that year
Have a cash buffer
Sadly, not all claims will be eligible for a payout like “acts of God” unless your policy outright says it’s covered. So, have sufficient emergency cash reserves to protect your business. This amount can vary depending on your product costs. However, aim to have enough cash to meet your minimum required stock units for your top products, manufacturing minimum order quantities, and funds for expedited shipping.
Need a hand managing inventory? Learn how MyFBAPrep can help.
Wrapping up — Strengthen your defenses with inventory insurance
Stock loss poses a real threat to eCommerce sellers’ and retailers’ long-term success. Inventory insurance creates invisible, ironclad walls around your eCommerce business to ensure it thrives come rain or shine.
Understand your business needs, research the best inventory insurance providers in your territory, and evaluate multiple quotes to find the best fit. Keep an eye on your business’s changing needs and adjust your insurance plan accordingly to ensure you don’t get left out of pocket when something goes wrong with your inventory.
Take these steps, and soon, you’ll have inventory insurance that protects investments and helps your store grow through the highs and lows of eCommerce.
Don’t let stock losses dull your store’s shine. MYFBAPrep can help you manage inventory with ease.
7 Essential Growth Tools For eCommerce Sellers
But when you have an ever-growing to-do list and not enough hours in the day to complete them all, scaling can feel like an uphill battle. Don’t fret. That’s where growth-focused tools come to share the load and get you paid.
In this post, we’ll share why investing in a robust tech stack is a good idea when taking your eCommerce brand to the next level. We’ll also share the best business areas to strengthen with tech tools and which solutions are worth your dollars.
Worried about blending in? Learn how MyFBAPrep uses technology to set eCommerce brands apart.
Why it pays to upgrade your tech stack when scaling
Whether it’s the latest social media craze or profit-boosting selling strategy, there are many worthwhile investments you could be making in your eCommerce business. So, you may be questioning whether up-leveling your store’s technology is the best move. We think so! Let’s explore some reasons why:
Gain a competitive advantage
Many brands focus on sales and marketing, but improving your backend processes can pay huge dividends. With top-tier tools in your corner, you can achieve incredible feats. These include removing inefficiencies, slashing costs, increasing brand visibility, and uplevel customer service. Plus, smoother processes and happier customers will improve brand loyalty and advocacy to get your store leaps ahead of its competitors.
Get more done with less input
Running a business doesn’t mean you and your team must wear all the hats. Take advantage of automation to streamline processes and uplevel key areas in your business without increasing your team’s workload. This way you’ll have more time and energy to focus on other important tasks that can’t be entirely automated like sales calls and product development.
See bigger growth and profits
You never want to scale for scaling’s sake. The numbers should make sense. That’s what makes technology so valuable for growing eCommerce brands. You can gain access to actionable insights and the right tools to help you improve key metrics like return on investment, customer lifetime value, and average order value for bigger profits and sales.
7 critical areas to optimize for massive growth
Now you have a clearer idea of why technology is so critical when scaling; the next question becomes which parts of your business you should improve for faster and sustainable growth. Let’s dive into the 7 areas to focus on:
1) Product research
Spotting upcoming product trends and launching new lines are essential for increasing and diversifying your store’s income streams. Investing in a reputable product research tool can help you make more accurate predictions on buying trends to expand your winning product portfolio.
2) Onsite optimization
It’s important to understand how customers behave on your website. From here you can tweak your store’s setup to increase the quality of their shopping experience and make buying irresistible. That’s where Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) comes in.
Using conversion boosting solutions like heatmaps, split testing software, and landing page builders, you can uplevel your store’s CRO to squeeze more cash out of your sales pages, websites, and marketing campaigns.
3) Cart optimization
Optimizing your pre and post-sale cart strategy is an effective way to get more sales through your digital doors. Some helpful tools include upsells and cross-sell software, cart recovery solutions, and live on-site customer support.
Data can reveal hidden gems essential for molding your eCommerce marketing strategy to produce bigger and better results. For example, with eCommerce analytics software, you can zoom in on your store data to reveal things like your:
- Top performing product(s)
- Emerging customer and product trends
- Best content assets
- Most popular marketing channels
5) Product Listing
Listing optimization is another crucial task to add to your list. A dependable product listing solution will help you upload products to different channels and keep your listings fresh for better rankings.
Data from your chosen product lister can help you find the optimal messaging, branding, and imagery combinations that resonate with your target audience. A dependable product listing solution will help you upload products to different channels and keep your listings fresh for better rankings. Look for features like automated listing and dynamic content.
6) Product pricing
eCommerce has more players than ever, making it vital to competitively price to stand out. A product repricing solution will help you overcome pricing blocks that prevent lookers from turning into buyers. Find a tool that can change prices based on market trends and behavior for best results.
7) Supply chain management
From tracking purchase orders and product locations to monitoring stock levels and customer orders, you must know what’s happening in your store. Look for a tool to help you predict demand, monitor inventory levels, spot trends and opportunities, and save cash on shipping, transport, fulfillment, and more.
Pro tip: Work with a reliable fulfillment or prep house to level up your order processing and shipping and get more value from your supply chain management solution.
Don’t let archaic shipping processes hold you back. Give your brand the fulfillment help it deserves with MyFBAPrep.
7 growth-boosting tools for scaling eCommerce brands
Whatever growth stage your business is at, tools are available to help you reach your goals. But be warned, the tech market is huge and you’ll need to set aside time to find the best fit. To give you a head start on your search, here are our top picks by business area:
1) Product research: Helium 10
Product highlights: Keyword finder, product performance monitoring, listing optimizer, fraud alerts
Backed by ground-breaking AI and marketplace data, Helium 10 is one of the most powerful product research tools on the market. With this comprehensive solution, you can get product ideas, verify sales data, track product performance, and find keywords for Amazon and Walmart. Helium 10 also has a brand protection tool to help monitor inventory, track refunds, and spot listing fraud. Pick and mix the tools or opt for the full suite; the choice is yours.
2) Cart optimization: Optinmonster
Product highlights: Personalization, cart recovery, template library, behavior-based automation, A/B testing
With a solid reputation for helping brands drive more leads and boost conversions, it’s no surprise Optinmonster’s Cart Abandonment solution delivers. As a user, you’ll benefit from message personalization technology and behavior-led automation, an extensive template library A/B testing capabilities, and more. So, if abandoned carts are hurting your store’s growth potential Optinmonster is a solution to have on your radar.
3) CRO: Hotjar
Product highlights: Colored-coded heatmaps, live feedback boxes, surveys
From colored-coded customer movement tracking to real-time feedback and surveys, Hotjar opens up a whole new world on your website. Uncover what shoppers need on your website now to informed decisions on what optimizations to make for higher conversions. Plus, you can clip parts of your recorded insights to store and share with your team. This makes for easier and more precise insight distribution.
4) Analytics: Kissmetrics
Product highlights: High-spec analytics, simple-to-understand dashboard, sophisticated tools
Using innovative analytics and simple dashboards, Kissmetrics helps you understand your customer journey, marketing strategy, and product selection’s effectiveness to supercharge growth. Kissmetrics also reveals who your audience consists of and allows you to visualize funnels through detailed reports for easier optimization. If you need better insights that see shoppers as people and not data points, Kissmetrics is the ticket.
5) Product pricing: Repricer
Product highlights: Competitor spying, pre-defined pricing strategies, actionable dashboard insights, Cross-channel repricing
With billions of products adjusted each week and proud members of Amazon marketplace’s Developer Council and Google Partner program, Repricer knows what it takes to price competitively on eCommerce marketplaces. Combining accurate insight analysis with competitor performance tracking, Repricer helps you grab shoppers’ attention, secure more buy box wins and increase profits. Choose from pre-defined strategies and track your results on an action-focused dashboard to uplevel your pricing positions and get ahead.
6) Product listing: Zentail
Product highlights: Bulk listing, automated change management, custom reports, multichannel listing
A bulk listing tool, price management, inventory management, multichannel listing, and business analytics are just a few of the perks you’ll gain access to when you onboard Zentail.
Tap into Zentail’s alerts and timely advice for listing issues and revolutionary change management solutions that alter your data according to new requirements. With Zentail you can not only keep your brand remains within terms of service but scale product lines across channels with ease.
7) Supply chain management: Preptopia
Product highlights: warehouse communication channels, store and inventory analytics, threat and opportunity finder.
Leveraging store performance insights, native integrations, and analytics for opportunity and threat spotting, Preptopia ensures you have clarity on your supply chain 24/7. Communicate with your warehouses, monitor inventory levels, create stock orders, and calculate profits on the Preptopia platform to keep your business on track and customers satisfied. Plus, you can combine this solution with MyFBAPrep’s reliable fulfillment and prep services for a post-purchase experience your customers won’t forget in a hurry.
Looking for a supply chain management solution you can trust? Preptopia is all you need.
Thrive with eCommerce technology
Investing in better eCommerce tools helps generate more sales and create higher customer satisfaction, margins, and efficiency. To ensure your tech stack is built to win, they’ll need to complement your support of your store’s biggest needs, accommodate existing marketing strategies, and put you in a position to make the vision for your store a reality.
So, research tools thoroughly, complete test runs, and continue to upgrade as your eCommerce business matures. Make the right investments now, and you’ll reap the rewards for years to come.
Innovative technology is essential for getting ahead in today’s competitive market. Discover how MyFBAPrep can help you win.
The Ultimate Guide to Preparing and Selling Your Amazon/eCommerce Business For $1,000,000+
This is a guest post from Empire Flippers, removing the friction from buying and selling online businesses and have helped people buy and sell over $400 million worth of online businesses.
When Amazon and DTC sellers come to the end of a year of selling, they tend to ask themselves: “Can I repeat the same level of success next year?”. This question becomes bigger every year as the markets and economy change.
With the huge task of running your business successfully for another entire year, you might also ask yourself: “Do I want to do the same again next year?”
There will eventually come a point in your life when it’s time to move on from your business:
- A personal life change might need your full attention
- You might get tired of slugging away for years and want to take a nice long vacation
- You might not want to reinvest most of your profits and a ton of resources into continued growth
When you get to this point, it’s time to start thinking about selling your business.
Should I Sell My Amazon/eCommerce Business?
With careful planning and a solid exit strategy, you can free yourself from your business, hand it over to a new owner who has the capital and resources needed to take it to the next level and enjoy your capital reward for everything you’ve put into it.
Plus, you’re freeing your business so it can reach its fullest potential!
Your financial goals will probably be the biggest factors that dictate how and when you sell. We’ll cover how your business is valued in this article.
But to give you an idea of the current state of the Amazon and eCommerce mergers and acquisitions market, the average sale multiple—a figure that reflects the value of your business as an investment asset—for Amazon FBA and eCommerce businesses is 40.84X. This figure is multiplied by your monthly net profit to arrive at your business’ valuation, so if your business is earning $25,000 in monthly net profit, it could be worth over $1,000,000.
In this article, we’re going to walk you through the stages of preparing and selling your Amazon or eCommerce business to give you a clear exit plan. You’ll learn how to increase your business’ salability, profitability, operability, and overall strength.
So let’s get into it!
Who Buys Amazon and eCommerce Businesses?
Buyers of $1,000,000+ businesses tend to be acquisition firms called aggregators. They’re funded by venture capital and family offices to acquire, run, and scale online businesses on behalf of investors.
These aggregators are typically looking for established brands with a few niche-dominating SKUs, a simple supply chain structure, good supplier relationships/exclusivity contracts, and a unique brand.
Other buyers of Amazon and eCommerce businesses are operators funded by high-net-worth individuals and institutional investors looking for a passive way to invest in online businesses.
You may have received offers from these types of buyers already, especially aggregators who are highly active in seeking acquisitions.
We’re going to talk about why you should be careful with these private offers in a moment. However, first let’s get into how you can prepare your business for a smooth, timely, and highly-profitable exit.
Getting the Most Amount of Money For Your Business
The process of preparing your business for sale requires you to go under the hood and see how healthy the engine is. You’ll look at operations, logistical efficiencies, profitability, the strength of its brand, and its longevity.
Doing this health check allows you to identify ways to make your business more efficient, profitable, and overall stronger. So even if you don’t want to sell your business any time soon, you should go through this process to optimize your business.
The first step is to prepare your business analytics data.
Step 1: Prepare Analytics Data
If your business is solely built on Amazon, then all of your analytics data will be in your Seller Central account.
If you’re selling on Shopify, Walmart, eBay, or any other eCommerce platform, then your sales data will be viewable on your business accounts. However, it’s beneficial to also install Google Analytics or Clicky onto your website for highly-accurate data.
Potential buyers of your business will want to see its sales data to assess its performance—make sure you have them sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before giving them even just read-only access to your business platforms.
Step 2: Organize Your Finances
Amazon’s dashboard and software like Sellerboard may not tell you how profitable your business actually is as they’re not the most accurate financial tools. The best way to track your business finances is to log them yourself in a profit and loss statement (P&L) or have an accountant track your finances for you.
That said, be careful not to do what most entrepreneurs do and only hand over your figures to a certified public accountant (CPA) once a year; this keeps you blind to the money their business is leaking through the holes of irregular and poor financial management.
Many also don’t realize that a CPA does finances for taxes, not to increase a business’s profitability, so they never see where their business is losing money unnecessarily and where it can earn more.
The best way to manage your business’ finances is through accrual accounting carried out monthly by a bookkeeping firm that specializes in eCommerce.
The key metrics buyers focus on when analyzing your business’ finances are:
- Inventory turnover levels
- PPC spend (ACoS / TACoS)
- COGS margins
With accurate financials, you can calculate the true value of your business; avoiding overvaluing (which will get your business ignored) or undervaluing (which will lead to your business selling for too low).
Step 3: Focus on Your Winning SKUs
Once you’ve got a clear picture of your business’s finances, you’ll see which SKUs are moving the needle and which aren’t. You should consider shelving the ones that aren’t to simplify the income streams for your business—when we vet businesses, we clear out the dead SKUs from your P&L that would reduce your valuation if you sold privately.
Step 4: Remove Supply Chain Redundancies
With a mostly hands-off supply chain, you’re free to focus on business growth.
If you’re self-fulfilling orders, imagine how much time outsourcing that process to a 3PL would save you.
Removing redundancies will make your supply chain easier to oversee. For example, if you’re sending inventory to a 3PL for quality control, but you’re finding that your supplier is consistently delivering high-quality goods, you might want to remove that step in the fulfillment process.
Having backup suppliers for your best-selling products secures your business’ income and makes buyers feel more comfortable about investing. To have the strongest-possible supply chain, you should source at least two different manufacturers for your products, ideally from two different countries.
Delivery time is also a key part of the supply chain, as consumers become increasingly used to fast delivery—three to five business days delivery has become the norm, so you should make sure your chosen fulfillment solutions are able to meet this demand.
A hands-off supply-chain foundation makes your business straightforward to transfer to a new owner.
Step 5: Increase Your Business’ Earning Power to Fuel a Higher Valuation
The fastest and most straightforward way to get your cost of goods sold (COGS) down is to renegotiate rates with your suppliers. If you’re consistently purchasing their products, they’re highly likely to be open to negotiating.
Changing from air shipping to sea freight is another great way to reduce costs.
Margins make a big difference in value. For example, if your business is earning $1,000,000 in revenue per year with 25% profit margins, its sale multiple will be based on the $250,000 annual profit. But if the same business is earning the same revenue with 28% margins, the multiple will be based on the $280,000 annual profit. When you consider multiples are often over 4X annual profits, this is likely to make a $120K+ difference in valuation.
When evaluating your business, COGS is one of the most important valuation metrics buyers consider.
In a private sale situation, a buyer will typically calculate your COGS over the entire lifetime of your business. When we value businesses, we believe it’s more accurate to use your current COGS to calculate your profits as that figure is a more accurate reflection of where your business is at now. This can lead to a higher or lower valuation depending on what your COGS are now compared to the past.
Step 6: Protect Your Business Against Competition. Protect the Buyers’ Investment
A moat around your business makes buyers feel comfortable about investing.
The best way to build that moat is to apply for a trademark and register for the Amazon Brand registry to prevent competitors from copying your product and eating away at your sales.
Step 7: Don’t Disrupt Your Business’ Stability
Buyers want a stable asset. Making any moves leading up to the sale that could upset the steady track record of your business will hurt your selling position.
You can carry out some small quick-wins like listing page tweaks or PPC optimizations, but try to avoid any drastic marketing campaigns or launching products too close to listing for sale just in case your sales don’t increase.
Instead, focus on keeping your products in stock—the last thing you want is to miss out on potential sales. Even if you have to over-order a little bit, that’s ok as long as the buyer purchases your inventory at product landed cost outside of the sale price.
Step 8: Optimize Your Operations to Make it Easy to Acquire Your Business
Buyers want an asset that’s easy to run. When your business operations are so well organized that anybody can easily learn the processes to run it, acquiring your business becomes easy.
The best way to organize your operations is to create standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all of your business operations. Document your supply chain process, too.
It’s best to also do this for the operations that are carried out by employees so the new owner can hand those SOPs over to new employees if needed.
The added benefit of doing this is that it will highlight operational inefficiencies in your business and allow you to improve its efficiency, in turn increasing its profitability.
Step 9: Secure Your Business’ Operations With Contracts
A good relationship with your supplier is a valuable asset, but only if it’s continued on with a new owner of your business.
Let your supplier know you’re selling your business and try and ensure that the current relationship you have will stay in place. The last thing you want is for the buyer to take over and the supplier suddenly shoots up their rates. Also, get an exclusivity agreement if you can—this will increase the value of your business.
Good relationships with your employees are also important.
You don’t have to let employees know you’re selling, but if you can it’ll be good for the buyer to know whether they’ll be continuing with the business after the sale. Contracts are a good asset to keep employees on—the same goes for contractors.
If your employees aren’t continuing with the business—maybe they’re staying with you on another business—be sure to have high-quality SOPs the buyer can hand over to new employees. In addition, train the buyer on your business as much as you can for a smooth transition.
Once you’ve gone through this process of getting your business prepped for a smooth exit, it’s time to initiate the selling process.
The Selling Process
There are two routes you can take to sell your business. Which one you choose depends on your situation.
Sell Privately Or Through a Broker?
If you haven’t yet been reached out to by a business buyer and you’d like to sell privately, you’ll need to market your business to potential buyers.
You can do this on marketplaces like Flippa or online groups, or you can reach out to business buyers and aggregators yourself.
You should reach out to multiple buyers to get an idea of what the market is willing to pay for your business, but beware when sharing business data. Don’t reveal too much without protecting yourself legally.
If you’ve received an offer from a buyer already, before you dive in and sell your property to the first buyer who knocks at your door, plan your exit and see what you can get on the market.
When you prepare and time your sale, you not only set yourself up for a smooth selling process without any unexpected costs, you give yourself the chance to sell when your business is on a growth curve and get the highest possible valuation.
While selling privately can go well if you receive the right offer, there are many issues that can be avoided if you sell through a broker.
Selling Through a Broker
The biggest benefit of selling through a broker is you get access to their expertise, trusted buyer contacts, and selling processes they’ve developed over years of transacting businesses.
If they have experience with eCommerce businesses, they’ll facilitate a smooth sale for you from carrying out a professional valuation to connecting you with the right buyer suited to your business with a proven track record who’s not going to run your business into the ground, and helping to mediate the deal.
Taking advantage of this concierge service is the easiest and most effective way to sell in the majority of cases.
While you’ll pay for the service with most brokers, don’t let this lead you to believe that you’ll make more money selling privately where you won’t pay a broker’s fee.
Beware of the “Off-Market” Fallacy
The off-market fallacy is the belief that you’ll earn more on the sale of your business privately than through a broker since you don’t pay brokerage fees. While this sounds logical, it’s not always true.
Your broker should be upfront with you on how much they think they can get for your business based on their buyer network and the value of your business and whether it’s suited to their buyers—we’ve turned away sellers who’ve received an offer we didn’t think we could beat.
When you sell through a broker, you get access to their buyer network. You can have buyers competing to acquire your business, as opposed to one buyer making an offer with their best interest of getting the lowest price possible for your business in mind.
Brokers work on your behalf to get you a bigger sale since they earn a commission on the sale price. Unless the broker works on buyer commission, in which case you should be careful as they will have opposite intentions.
Not only do you get to put your business to the market and see what you should be getting when you sell through a broker, but you also get their support and experience as they steward you through the sale.
If it’s your first time selling, you should sell through a broker because online business M&A is a subject that requires a lot of knowledge and expertise. Plus, things can get very messy if templated contracts are being thrown around and you’ll end up paying a fortune in lawyer’s fees to rectify the mistakes.
If you’ve received an offer, seek professional advice to make sure you’re being offered the right price.
Calculating Your Business’ True Value
There is a simple formula we use to calculate a business’ value:
Some brokers and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) professionals use your business’ annual profits to calculate its value.
When we value businesses, we take your monthly net profit as an average over the past 12 months to account for any seasonality or increases or declines over the year.
There are exceptions to this rule, for example, if your business has experienced considerable growth over the past 6 months, we may consider using a 6-month multiple as that timeframe is a more accurate reflection of the current state of your business compared to its past 12-month performance.
There are two main methods for calculating net profit:
- Seller discretionary earnings (SDE)
- Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA)
The SDE method is commonly used for businesses earning up to $5,000,000 in annual revenue. The method assumes the business is owner-operated, so it takes into account the business owner taking home a salary.
The EBITDA method is more granular and is used for larger businesses. It uses a lot of the same methodology as the SDE method, but it assumes that the business is not owner-operated since large businesses tend to be run by teams of employees. Therefore, owner salaries are usually classified as expenses, because they’re considered as costs necessary to run the business.
This method of profit calculation shows how the business performs on a pure cash flow basis, taking the current owner out of the equation.
An important element of a P&L is add-backs. These are regular or one-off expenses of products, services, or activities not required to run the business. For example, if you ran a one-off marketing campaign a year ago for one month, then that expense can be classified as an add-back and thus won’t be taken from that month’s profits.
Some other examples of add-backs include:
- Personal travel expenses
- Co-working spaces
By accurately categorizing add-backs, you end up with a P&L that shows the true profitability of your business.
The next element of the valuation formula is the sales multiple.
What Goes Into a Sales Multiple?
A sales multiple is a figure that represents the value of your business and is calculated from a number of trackable and intangible factors.
How your business is growing or declining shows how healthy it is as an investment asset.
Buyers will assess why growth or decline is happening in your business by looking at:
- The number of SKUs you’re selling per month
- The best-seller rank of SKUs
- Organic vs. advertising sales
- Profit margins
Stability and diversity of earnings
A stable earnings history is the gold standard in business as buyers want to see that their new asset is going to earn consistent returns for them.
A good way for your business to earn consistently is to have multiple sources of income and traffic, as your Amazon and PPC accounts are just a ban away from choking your income and traffic sources.
By selling on multiple platforms and driving traffic from multiple sources you support your business since it can still earn and drive traffic even if one source gets taken down.
Diversity of SKUs
Having a range of shoulder products to support your best-selling SKUs is a good way to solidify your earnings in case one of your main products is taken down or you have supply chain issues.
Just remember that having too many SKUs will make your supply chain too complex, which is an off-put for a buyer.
Trademarks and Amazon Brand Registry
An important valuation factor is defensibility.
Trademarks and Amazon Brand Registry defend your brand against the competition. If you’re selling hard-to-qualify products with a high barrier to entry, this will work in your favor when your business is being valued.
Supply Chain Strength
Stockouts are the number one biggest threat to an eCommerce business, so multiple suppliers and exclusivity contracts are key elements of a highly valuable business.
If you have special, exclusive rates with your suppliers that will also boost your business valuation.
The best way to scale your business is to make yourself redundant.
The fewer hours you spend working on your business, the more valuable it becomes as long as it has a strong operational structure with employees, contractors, and software tools helping run the business.
This is an indication of your business’s proven track record and longevity. The older your business is, the more established it is in its niche and the harder it is to be taken down by competitors.
Another defensibility factor—this is the number one indication of your business’ reputation. You know how hard it is to get those thousands of positive reviews and the odds of competition taking your reigns become smaller the more reviews you get.
Strong reviews are also an indication of how loyal your customer base could be. A large audience of repeat customers is worth a lot of value to a business.
Amazon Seller Central Account Health
When assessing the health of your Amazon Seller Central account, a buyer will be considering:
- Account age
- Old account permissions that may affect your account
- Inventory performance
- Customer feedback scores
Well-aged accounts with a good performance history, strong scores, and features that have been grandfathered into the account are the gold standard.
Businesses heavily reliant on organic Amazon or Google ranking or PPC campaigns for traffic are at risk.
When Amazon or Google penalizes your account or updates its policies, you lose sales.
Brands with multiple audiences on various platforms get a higher valuation because if one traffic source gets shut off, it has another one to keep people coming.
Email is the best audience asset you can own because it’s free from algorithms and you have direct access to your audience’s data.
Email lists and social accounts with large followings are some examples of assets that increase your business valuation. Another physical asset that you’re likely wondering about is your inventory.
What About Inventory?
When we sell a business, we leave it open to the buyer whether they want to acquire the inventory or not, so we don’t consider the inventory in its valuation. This is because if the inventory doesn’t sell, then it’ll cost the buyer to keep it—inventory is only valuable once it’s sold.
At Empire Flippers, we don’t take any commission on the cost of inventory. However, it’s important to note that some business brokers do. What happens to inventory should always be a consideration when you’re deciding on which broker to sell with.
Common Deal Structures
Once you have a clear understanding of your business’s profitability, you can command the value that your business is worth, as opposed to going blind into negotiations and being bartered down.
Buyers have good intentions and most won’t lowball you, however, knowing what your business is truly worth based on accurate financials will allow you to set the price you deserve. And while a broker’s goal is to facilitate a fair deal, it’s in their best interest to get you the most amount of money possible for your business (but that’s not the goal for buyers, naturally).
Your business will likely sell with one of the two following deal structures:
- Full-cash buyout
A full-cash buyout is what it says on the tin: a buyer offers you all of the cash for your business in one payment.
An earnout is a deal where the buyer pays a percentage of the sale price upfront and the rest over a period of months or years.
We regularly hear of sellers receiving offers of 50% upfront from buyers off-market, but we get sellers of $1M+ FBAs an average of 83.7% upfront.
Earnouts can offer an opportunity for you to earn over the sale price. We’ll usually negotiate a performance-based element to the deal for sellers. Meaning if their business grows, they earn a bonus percentage of the profits over a set threshold.
There’ll also be a minimum threshold to eliminate the risk of you not earning the sale price in the event that the new owner accidentally (or intentionally) runs the business poorly.
This shouldn’t be a concern with one of our buyers as the majority have a track record of deals with us. But if you’re selling on your own, conduct due diligence on buyers to ensure visions are aligned and check the buyer’s history of achieving performance targets.
Protecting Yourself Legally
Unsurprisingly, you’ll receive and have to produce some contracts when selling your business.
The first one is a letter of intent (LOI). If you’ve already received an offer from a buyer, you’ll know what this looks like.
An LOI is a document indicating a mutual intention from a buyer and a seller of a business for it to be sold.
Usually, the buyer produces the LOI as their intent to buy the business, and the seller reviews and agrees to the terms to indicate their intent to sell the business according to the terms outlined in the LOI.
The purpose of an LOI is to set the expectations of how the buyer will conduct their due diligence—a detailed review of the business’ sensitive data to assess the legitimacy of the business. The terms should protect the seller’s business’ data, but a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) should also be signed to add another layer of protection.
The due diligence process usually takes about 30 days. During this time the buyer will need view-only access to your business’s financial information, analytics, sales data, and business operating accounts to carry out their assessment.
Once they’ve conducted their due diligence, it’s time to meet at the negotiating table.
Talking About Your Business’ Potential Can Kill Negotiations
It’s natural for you to see the potential of your brand. After all, you built it from the ground up.
However, many sellers get deluded by this vision of potential.
The reality is that buyers are looking predominantly at your business numbers and past performance—this is where there can be sticking points in negotiations. The seller is trying to sell the buyer on the future of the business with growth ideas that although well-thought-through, are not a promise of future success.
The buyer is taking on a lot of risks when they acquire your business. They don’t have you to run it, market changes are out of their control, and there are hinge points like your business’s reliance on Amazon that can negatively impact your business at a moment’s notice.
When talking about your business to a buyer, it’s best to share what’s worked and what hasn’t in the past and focus on how it’s performing now. Knowing the history of your business will help the buyer plan its future—let them see its potential on its own.
After the final handshake is made, it’s time to transfer your business to the new owner.
Transferring of Ownership
Migrations of eCommerce accounts on platforms like Shopify, Walmart, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, WordPress, and eBay are fairly straightforward.
Amazon is trickier as there’s more risk of your account being suspended in the process.
When transferring an account, you’ll need to make a number of changes to it. Make sure you understand Amazon’s policies well before making any of these changes. If you’re selling your business privately, check the buyer understands how the Amazon account migration works.
When we transfer accounts on behalf of sellers, we have a process we’ve created over the many years we’ve worked with Amazon that includes simply sending them an email and letting them know the business is being sold.
How Long Will It Take to Sell My Business?
How quickly you’re able to sell your business depends on how prepared it is for sale. If your analytics and financials are unorganized then it’ll take a long time to organize them before listing for sale and presenting your business to buyers.
However, if you follow the steps above, you’ll be able to sell quickly.
The average time it takes to sell an eCommerce business on our marketplace is 21.7 days from the first listing to the final offer accepted. The migration process can then take another few months after that.
The benefit of selling through a broker is once you’ve listed for sale is that you can run your business as usual while they find buyers for you. If you sell privately, you have to actively search for buyers and manage them yourself.
How Do I Get Paid?
If you sell privately, you should have the support of lawyers and work with a 3rd party escrow company that will act as a reliable middleman to facilitate the transfer of funds.
If you sell through a brokerage that offers an escrow service, they’ll collect the funds on your behalf.
As for an earnout deal, it’ll typically start from the moment the business is fully transferred to the buyer unless otherwise stated on the sales agreement.
And that’s it! Now you know how selling your business works and can use this guide to steward you toward a successful sale.
When you take the advice above, you’ll be able to sell your business for more money, faster, and safer than if you jump in without any preparation.
Regardless of whether you want to sell soon, in a year or so, or you’re not planning to sell at all, go through this process as you’ll increase your business’s profitability, and performance, and make it more defensible, securing, and increasing your cash flow.
Now you know how to prepare and sell your Amazon or eCommerce business for over one million dollars, it’s time to take action!
You can start going through the stages outlined above yourself, or if you’d like some expert guidance, you can talk to us on a free, no-obligation exit planning call. After outlining your exit plan, we’ll follow up with you regularly to see how you’re getting on and there’s no obligation to sell with us.
The Ultimate Guide to Twitter For eCommerce
But when it comes to driving eCommerce sales, Twitter is still a relatively untapped opportunity. This is fantastic news if you’re scaling an online store, especially as the eCommerce market becomes more competitive.
So, what’s Twitter for eCommerce all about?
In this post, we’ll explore what using Twitter for online selling looks like and how to use this bustling channel to catapult your eCommerce business to new heights.
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3 unmatched ways Twitter can help you exceed business goals
Every ambitious eCommerce brand has huge goals, whether it’s making your brand a household name or building a mega product portfolio. Chances are you’re one of them and searching for the next idea to give your business a competitive edge. Twitter may be the undercover opportunity you’ve been waiting for. Let’s run through some ways Twitter can help you crush targets:
1. Drive more engagement
Getting more leads is essential for improving your close rate. It all starts with healthy engagement rates on your marketing content to spur shoppers to learn more. As prospects and customers talk about your brand, it extends your business’ reach. As a result, you’ll create a continuous loop of brand discovery and have more people kickstarting their buyer’s journey.
2. Expand to new customer bases
Few things compare to the thrill of finding a new, profitable audience to market to. You can not only skyrocket growth but can also find your next winning product and increase your business’ market share. Also, if you partner with influencers, you can tap into even more sub-niches. For example, if you’re selling direct to consumers, you can look out for more B2B clients working with influencers in the space since 82% of B2B content creators use Twitter.
3. Build a noticeable brand voice
One of the great things about Twitter is that it allows you to have a say on topics like no other social media site. As you share your brand personality, knowledge, and advice, you can become the go-to authority in your niche statement and attract your tribe.
Take Walmart, for example. Scroll through their Twitter profile, and you’ll instantly notice their fun, upbeat branding. Walmart also positions itself as a customer-centric brand by highlighting its customer support in its bio and sharing details on panel discussions about areas like Fashion and baby care.
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How to use Twitter to explode eCommerce growth
To use Twitter for your eCommerce business successfully, it’s vital you have the know-how, resources, and creativity. We’ve got you covered on the knowledge front. Let’s dive into some steps you can take to make Twitter marketing a winner:
Polish your profile
Your profile is your business’ online real estate, and the first thing potential customers will land, so make it count. Implement the following pointers to optimize your profile:
- Profile picture: Use your company logo or photo of your most popular item to make your brand instantly recognizable.
- Bio: Write a killer brand description highlighting your USP, shout out your current product drops, or let customers know about exciting initiatives you have coming.
- Relevant link: Add a link to your bestselling item, about us page, or top-performing landing page. Split test and change your link according to your running promos and ads.
- Community: Invest time in building a following of your target audience. Reach out to people that fit your target customer personas, be active in your comments sections, and follow influential figures to build a network.
- Competitor analysis: Check out who your competitors are following for guidance on who to follow, engage with, and topics to cover.
Research relevant keywords and hashtags
Hashtags will be critical in getting more eyeballs on your Twitter content. Create a list of broad keywords to start your search, and use a hashtag research tool like Hashtagify, Sprout Social, or Agorapulse to find more specific hashtags. Some things you can use to generate hashtag ideas include:
- Trending topics and pop culture
- Words shoppers use to describe your products
- Words customers use when explaining the issues your products solve
Also, if you want to drive a sense of community, support a cause, or create a buzz around a launch, use a branded hashtag. For example, the makeup brand Nars Cosmetics uses a clever play on words to build a community under the hashtag #NARSissist.
Develop engaging content
Your Twitter feed offers the opportunity to stand out and shine. Use it to entertain, educate, and inspire your audience. Make your content the star of the show, by creating a content calendar and scheduling posts to stay consistent and build momentum with the algorithms. Here are some tips to fill your timeline with awe-inspiring content:
- Give out useful tips and tricks, and make bold statements. Most Twitter users appreciate brands that stand for something and don’t sit on the fence.
- Blend fun content with inspiring imagery – take ASOS’s lead, who share memes and jokes alongside crisp snaps of their latest fashion drops.
- Share user-generated content to show off your product’s best features and how they have benefitted your customers.
- Mix in images, videos, and links from other content creators.
- Don’t be afraid to repurpose content from other social channels.
- Work with influencers to drive awareness. Test different storylines, influencer audience sizes, and styles to branch out into new markets and attract different customer types.
Work the Twitter Chat for more conversions
Use Twitter’s direct messaging feature to get to know your audience and build rapport. For example, if you get a new follower, you could thank them by offering a discount code and share you appreciate their support. Keep your communications light, short and relevant to avoid coming across as a spammer, sales-y, or intrusive.
Take advantage of Twitter shopping features
Twitter has a few eCommerce functions you can experiment with to find the best fit for your brand. Check out each one’s features below and select a tool or two to kickstart your selling journey on the Twitter platform:
Shop Spotlight (previously the Shop Module)
Use this dedicated carousel to showcase up to 5 products on your Twitter profile. Shoppers can scroll through the content, and the photos are clickable, allowing you to “spotlight” and drive traffic to specific items.
Build a mobile-optimized storefront for free with up to 50 items and draw prospects towards it with the enticing “View Shop” button that’ll appear on your Twitter Profile. Note, Shoppers will have to pay for items off Twitter on a separate payment portal, but it’s an exciting start to social commerce on Twitter.
Get real and raw with your shopping experience by hosting a live shopping event like the late-night shopping shows of the early nineties. Twitter will house the photos, details, and links to the showcased products under the video to access shoppers easily. Twitter also has engagement-boosting features like a live tweet discussion feed, a “Shop” banner and tab, and a “latest” product tab.
Get shoppers excited about your upcoming product launches with this hype-generating feature. Your images and videos will appear in your audience member’s Twitter feed, and they can set product alerts to get notified when your items are available for sale.
Tip: Don’t forget to optimize your fulfillment process to accommodate sales from your Twitter marketing. If you don’t have the resources to complete this in-house, get help from a reliable 3PL.
Implement Sponsored Tweets
While generating organic leads on Twitter is great for keeping margins high, building a stable flow can take a while. Use sponsored tweets to boost your content’s reach and accelerate lead generation.
Since Twitter will charge you every 1000 impressions, it’s vital you’re strategic in your ad setup. Use sponsored ads to drive awareness and engagement, luring funnel shoppers into a sequence of Twitter like an email marketing campaign. This approach will be a more affordable way to build connections with your target and drive conversions.
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Turn Twitter into a goldmine
As Twitter’s eCommerce initiatives lurk behind the shadows of uber-popular Instagram, Tiktok, and Pinterest shops, it’s easy to overlook this fantastic opportunity. eCommerce businesses that have taken a chance on Twitter have exploded their customer base, strengthened their brands, diversified their marketing streams, and boosted sales. So with some creativity, experimentation, and strategic hashtagging, there’s no telling what 280-character tweets can do for your eCommerce business.
Due to the nature of Twitter, being successful on this social channel as an eCommerce business will take some work. Study your market, learn how your target customers operate on Twitter and test various content styles and topics to build a winning strategy. Soon you’ll have a successful Twitter marketing strategy that keeps shoppers coming through your online doors, card in hand.
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How to Leverage Shopify Collabs to Boost Your Marketing
Thinking about giving influencer marketing a try? The stats are on your side.
Whether you sell clothing or car accessories, influencer marketing effectively gets the word out about your brand, builds consumer trust, and drives sales.
And, if you sell on Shopify, good news!
Shopify is one of the latest brands to tap into the booming creator marketing industry with a new program, Shopify Collabs. Built to help brands like yours win big by working with influencers, this unique offer is causing a stir in the eCommerce and influencer marketing world.
This post will explore the ins and outs of Shopify collabs and how you can get in on the action.
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What is Shopify Collabs and how does it work?
Shopify has launched a free tool to help businesses collaborate with influencers. The aim of the game is to make eCommerce brands and creators more discoverable to each other and drive revenue for participating parties. Here’s a quick breakdown of how Shopify Collabs works:
- The merchants using Shopify install the Shopify Collabs tool.
- Creators sign up for a collabs account, which lets them view and search Shopify’s 1 million+ strong merchant directory.
- Merchants can find and manage influencer collaborations on the platform, including sharing custom affiliate links and discount codes and creating curated shops together.
- The influencer gets a cut when shoppers use their link to make purchases using their custom link or code.
- Creators can also make their links shoppable by using Linkpop, Shopify’s eCommerce tool that turns the link in a bio into an online store and provides a landing page to house important links to share with their audience.
- Shopify store owners enrolled in the Shopify Collabs program can monitor orders, stock levels, and customer orders via their Shopify admin panel. This makes it simple to track a campaign’s effectiveness.
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Why Shopify Collabs is a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs and creators?
Before tools like Shopify Collabs, brands were left to fend for themselves when it came to learning how to collaborate with influencers successfully. This included managing fees, terms, and campaign optimization with multiple creators simultaneously.
The other alternative was to shell out for agency help. However, this choice increased their marketing spending with no guarantee of results. This made it only viable for brands with large advertising budgets.
Now brands big and small have tools like Shopify Collabs to make informed decisions on who to work with to increase their odds of success.
Shopify Collabs could also be a lucrative opportunity for creators hoping to go all in, increase their takings, or strengthen their brand. Just 4% of influencers currently create content full-time.
These factors combined help to enhance the available talent in the creator pool and willing participants in the merchant group, increasing the odds of good matches.
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How influencer marketing can help your brand succeed?
If you’re wondering whether Shopify collab and creator marketing are just more fidget spinner-style fads destined for the trash, think again! When used correctly, they can drive strong results for your brands. Let’s explore some perks you can expect:
Reach more people
Influencer marketing allows you to explore new audiences and territories to find more highly engaged buyers. Also, shoppers have different places they enjoy spending time online. Mixing up the creators you work with can also find other profitable audience segments you would have missed when focusing on alternative marketing channels.
Access user-generated content (UGC)
There’s something about UGC that screams authenticity and gets people buying. Email campaigns with visual UGC report conversion rates 25% higher than those without and UGC boosts web conversions and campaign results by 29%. So, UGC is worth its weight in gold, and with influencer marketing, you get it in droves. From audience members participating in influencer giveaways to heartfelt video testimonials crafted by creators, influencer marketing can help you secure this type of conversion-boosting content.
Improve your marketing ROI
PPC ad costs are on the rise. Google racked in $61.2 billion from ad revenue in Q4 2021, which amounts to a staggering $15 billion rise compared to the previous year’s final quarter results.
With these price hikes, you must look for alternative ways to market your brand and protect your margins and ROI. That’s where influencer marketing comes in. Boasting an ROI 11x that of banner ads, influencer marketing is a cost-effective investment.
Plus, with more AI-backed tools and collaboration-boosting platforms entering the market, influencer marketing is poised to be more profitable than ever.
Uplevel brand awareness
When you’re just starting out or in a competitive niche, it can be challenging to get the word out about your brand. Working with an influencer with a growing following can be just the push your brand needs to be seen, pull your products into the limelight, and take your store global.
Elevate trust and credibility to supercharge sales
Some influencers have fiercely loyal followers who believe in and trust them, especially those with younger audience demographics. 62% of 18-29 year-olds surveyed said they trust influencers more than celebrities, and that figure jumps to 92% for micro-influencers. By working with creators, you can piggyback off their relationships with consumers. In turn, this will increase your perceived trustworthiness and credibility to skyrocket sales.
How to excel at influencer marketing with Shopify Collabs?
Competition for people’s attention online is growing stiffer. So to win at influencer marketing with the Shopify Collabs tool in hand, you’ll need some know-how, cash, and patience. Let’s dive into some steps to get the best results:
Learn how the Shopify Collabs platform works
Before you dive into working with influencers on the Shopify Collabs platform, it’s important to understand what’s in front of you. Take a tour of the Shopify Collabs tool, read its resources, and play around with the features until you have a solid understanding of the lay of the land.
Determine your goals and set a suitable budget
Is it more traffic you’re hoping for? Or perhaps it’s an uptick in qualified leads and sales you’re after. Whatever it is, it’s vital you jot down a clear objective for every campaign.
Next, create a realistic budget to match your plans. For example, if you want to focus on collaborations with micro-influencer, you can have a smaller cash pot for inventory and payment. On the other hand, if you intend to partner with celebs and well-established creators, you’ll need to account for higher reimbursements, legal fees, and admin.
Launch, assess, and adjust campaigns
Like most marketing channels, finding your sweet spot takes a few swings. There are a few things you can do to improve your campaign results. For example
- Enter the influencer marketing game with a winner’s mindset and unstoppable attitude. In other words, be willing to try, fail, and try again.
- Run split tests on top-performing campaigns. You can test areas like territory, target audience, topic, audience sizes, and campaign storyline.
- Monitor your campaign performance, combining your store analytics data with social listening and customer feedback to make appropriate adjustments.
Share, share, and share again
Collaborating with influencers to create awesome content is critical. However, how you distribute it will decide how much you get out of a campaign. Some ways you can distribute your influencer marketing content for maximized utilization include:
- Create a reposting schedule: Discuss posting times with influencers so your uploads don’t clash with them. Post the content to your social channels, pay attention to posting times, and use content formats native to them.
- Get your followers involved: Encourage your audience to share your content (e.g., turn your campaign into a competition in which they share your content)
- Use the content on your product pages: Place your influencer front and center on areas like collections, your homepage, and product photo reels.
- Use the images and videos in your ads: Whether you advertise using email marketing or PPC, find ways to inject influencer content into your campaign. Insert quotes from testimonials and reviews from the influencer(s) and customer for added credibility.
The secret to making Shopify Collabs a money-making machine
Influencer marketing is one of the hottest opportunities for eCommerce brands and creators. But to see success in your influencer campaigns, you’ll need to go in with a documented plan and the desire to make it a reality.
Use Shopify Collabs to streamline your influencer research and negotiations. Work with influencers whose content style and image match your brand and tell exciting stories that resonate with your audience. Before you know it, you’ll have a profitable influencer marketing strategy to aid your store’s expansion.
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Transparency Barcodes: What They Are And How To Use Them To Protect Your Brand
Amazon selling is often touted as one of the biggest opportunities of the century, pulling in 98 million monthly mobile users and $1.29 billion in sales daily.
But not even Amazon is perfect. In 2020 alone, Amazon “seized and destroyed” over 2 million counterfeit items sent to its FBA warehouses.
Despite Amazon’s best efforts, counterfeiting still threatens Amazon sellers and the platform. In a bid to eradicate fake goods on the platform, Amazon launched the Transparency Program. One of its most notable features is the Transparency Barcode.
Like many, you may be wondering what it is and how the barcodes work. And, more importantly, where can you get your hands on some?
These are just a few of the questions we’ll answer in this post. If you want the full scoop on Transparency barcodes, stick around.
What is the Amazon Transparency Program?
The Transparency Program is a product sterilization service launched by Amazon.
What started out as a bid to curb fake goods infiltrating their ecosystem in 2017, has now transformed into a full-scale security initiative.
The Transparency Program now also has platform procedures to stop harmful actions by criminals, like blocking and removing hijackers, and solutions to drive customer engagement and supply chain optimization while keeping goods safe.
Transparency is currently available in India, the UK, the US, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and Australia, but Amazon aims to expand this list in the future.
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What are Transparency Barcodes?
In the Amazon Brand Protection Report, Amazon shared more details on one of its most recent security measures on the platform; Transparency Barcodes.
Transparency Barcodes are 2D QR codes designed to help authenticate a product before shipping to customers.
How do Transparency Barcodes work?
Once enrolled in the Amazon Transparency program, the product protection measures begin. Here are some typical steps you’ll encounter:
- Amazon provides you with T-shaped 2D QR code stickers which go on Transparency enabled products.
- FBA and FBM sellers can take advantage of Transparency barcodes, the difference being that the latter will need to provide a unique Transparency code for each of their Transparency-enabled listings.
- This code will be provided to you by Amazon beforehand, acting as an additional verification to ensure the goods are real.
- Whether you’re an FBM or FBA seller, each barcode you get is unique to the SKU.
- You (or your fulfillment provider or Amazon’s prep service) will attach the barcode to your product packaging.
- For FBA orders, Amazon’s operatives use a purpose-built app to scan an item to check its authenticity before shipping it.
- Amazon scans the barcode to verify the product’s authenticity before fulfillment.
- If the goods register as authentic, Amazon preps them for shipping. If they don’t register as authentic or don’t have a barcode, they are earmarked for further investigation and set aside as a potential counterfeit item.
- Amazon has also empowered shoppers with a mobile app that shoppers can use to scan items to check if the product is the real deal. The app will show a green tick for authentic goods and a red cross for fakes.
How much do Transparency Barcodes cost, and what’s the catch?
Amazon hasn’t given any hard figures on the cost of Transparency barcodes. However, word on Amazon selling streets suggests you could pay $0.01-$0.05 per label.
While there’s no “catch” with Transparency Barcodes, there are some strict rules to follow. For example:
- Use the Transparency barcodes on all the SKUs with active listings on Amazon.
- Print the barcodes at home, with a supplier or manufacturer, in-house, via Amazon prep services, or via your 3PL.
- Sell or give your Transparency barcodes to another brand.
- Get Transparency barcodes from anywhere other than Amazon.
Qualify for Transparency Barcodes: The enrolment requirements
It’s a simple to process to get on to the Transparency Program and gain access to the Transparency Barcodes. Here’s what you need to get the green light:
- Possess a registered trademark.
- Have a valid Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), e.g., EAN, UPC, or ISBN.
- Have the capacity to attach Transparency Barcodes to every product you manufacture, whether it’s sold or not.
You can apply via Amazon online application portal.
3 Solid reasons why using Transparency Barcodes is a must
Like most growing brands, you’ve probably got a lengthy list of projects you’d like to invest in. But there aren’t enough resources to go around, so you must choose wisely. With this, you may question whether investing in Transparency Barcodes is worth it. In short, yes, it is! Here are a few reasons why:
1. Protect your brand reputation
A lot of time, money, and effort goes into establishing a brand and building rankings on Amazon’s SERPs. So, it’s essential you’re proactive in safeguarding your assets which includes your goods, sales, and reputation. Transparency Barcodes are a great starting point and can kickstart your journey to more sophisticated security for your Amazon business.
2. Deter counterfeiters to boost revenue
As the saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.” While there’s no way for you to stop criminals, the rationale behind Transparency Barcodes is if you make it hard for counterfeiters to ambush your goods, they will move on. This approach prevents losing sales to bad actors, increasing your revenue by default.
3. Instill confidence in customers
The sinking feeling you get upon opening a package and realizing you’ve bought knock-off items is unforgettable. It creates a poor customer experience and can make shoppers reluctant to buy from your brand again. By adding an extra layer of protection through Transparency Barcodes, you can reassure buyers that their money and time are safe with you. This is especially important if you sell high-ticket items or goods known for being targets for fake goods.
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How to stay safe when selling on Amazon
One thing is for sure, Amazon’s security initiatives work. So much so that just 0.01% of goods sold on Amazon are flagged by customers as fakes. But while the protections Amazon Transparency barcodes offer are game-changing, keeping your goods safe from counterfeiting takes a concerted effort. With this said, Transparency Barcodes should form part of your security measures on Amazon, not all. Let’s break down some steps you can take:
Set up alerts for problematic actions on the platform
To keep your brand, listings, and products safe, you’ll need to battle counterfeiting 24/7. As a growing brand, it can be unrealistic to monitor your eCommerce ecosystem around the clock. So lean tech tools from brands like Helium 10 or Sellersapp to spot cloned listings, hijacking, and intellectual property infringements.
Also, make it a habit to report suspicious activity via Amazon’s “Report A Violation” tool you get access to with Brand Registry. This approach will help you eliminate issues sooner to limit the damage.
Get trustworthy prep, pack, and fulfillment
Believe it or not, your fulfillment process can make your goods vulnerable to counterfeiting. All it takes is a shady fulfillment company to swap out your authentic goods for cheaper items and send them to your customers. Then rub salt into the wound by selling your proper goods on the black market. But with some due diligence, it doesn’t have to be this way.
To point you in the right direction, here are some traits to look for in your 3PL:
- Be strategic when labeling goods, especially if you have a large product portfolio. For example, they start with products that have been targeted in the past or are in a category that is regularly targeted by criminals.
- Have internal security measures in place to shield the goods they store for you from tampering and theft.
- Have experience in adding security seals to a range of product types.
Top tip: Remember to price the cost of Transparency Barcodes and the labeling service into your products to keep the operation profitable.
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Stay updated on the latest security measures and anti-counterfeiting news
There are always innovative security moves being made in the Amazon and in the anti-counterfeiting worlds, and it’s vital to stay updated on them to inform your strategy.
Read blogs about online selling security, watch webinars, and attend seminars to sharpen your knowledge and refine processes to catch and block current counterfeiting tricks.
Also, if you sell goods that are commonly targeted, invest in expert help to create solutions to protect your goods even further.
The secret to safe selling on Amazon
Amazon’s Transparency program offers a great starting point to uplevel your product authentication and brand security.
When used in tandem with other security-boosting measures, Transparency Barcodes can help you stay steps ahead of the criminals to keep your brand, sales, and customers safe.
But your work doesn’t stop at implementing Transparency Barcodes. As your sales and product portfolio grows, you’ll need to implement the initiative on and off the Amazon platform.
So use tech tools solutions to monitor product, listing, and IP infractions on your behalf. Study security measures for eCommerce businesses and continuously improve your approach.
There will always be more you can do in the fight against counterfeits, so develop an enduring spirit, get started on your security optimizations today, and so you can rest easy as your eCommerce business scales unhindered.
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