Ep. 015 Keyword Podcast: Common Mistakes Sellers Make

January 30, 2017
Ep. 015 Common Mistakes

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Amazon Insider, Eric Heller:

Eric's company, Marketplace Ignition: 


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Show Notes: Common Mistakes Sellers Make

The Amazon marketplace is complicated. There’s a steep learning curve when figuring out how to sell on Amazon. The good news is there’s a lot that can go right. Bad news is there’s a lot that you end up learning from doing things wrong.

In this episode we’re talking about a couple of the most common mistakes one of our Amazon Insiders sees and how you can either overcome them or avoid them altogether.

This is Eric Heller, he worked at Amazon for seven years.

“The fastest growing companies on the platform, they are working for continuous and tiny advantages to turn that into large scale cumulative advantages,” Eric says, “Amazon is a cumulative platform.”

It was Eric’s job at Amazon to help some of the first merchants grow on the Amazon marketplace.

“I grew the fastest growing merchant on the Marketplace platform when we were just starting out,” Eric says.

Eric says he helped JNR Electronics grow by more than $50 million in one year. They were the fastest growing and largest merchant at the time.

“We did that with a close partnership with them and really the foundation behind what we did there was really the nexus for me wanting to start Marketplace Ignition,” Eric says.

Eric now runs Marketplace Ignition and that’s where he continues to build up companies on the Amazon Marketplace. They work with more than 300 brands. Many of those brands are ones you’d likely recognize.

Eric says that there’s several common mistakes he sees sellers making on the Amazon Marketplace. These mistakes are avoidable.

First off, the biggest mistake is not putting enough focus on your operations. The focus here should be on the logistics of getting your products to you customers. Are you going to ship products yourself? If so you need to have everything running smoothly because Amazon will quickly suspend you if you fail to meet their high standards.

When it comes to operations, these are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself:

How quickly can you ship it?

How quickly can you upload the tracking number?

How long will it take your product to get to your customers?

“If you can’t ship product on time to customers or within x number of days, if you really can’t take an order and within 24 hours turn it around and have a tracking number uploaded into Amazon, you really need to focus on that first or you shouldn’t have any product that isn’t Fulfilled by Amazon,” Eric says.

Amazon measures your ability to fulfill orders on time and does not tolerate merchants who fail to meet those standards.  

Now there are some products that can’t be shipped as quickly and that’s ok. Items that are being sent by drop ship or heavy items that need to be sent by freight parcel can be and are still sold on Amazon but you have to make sure you do know how long shipping will take. You need to tell Amazon that information.

“It isn’t that you have to be able to ship that heavy desk within a day and a half but if you do take longer you have to be accurate about the information you give Amazon about what it takes to ship it,” Eric says.

The other option for shipping your products is sending them to an Amazon Fulfillment Center and have Amazon complete your orders. Now there is an extra cost to that. It’s $40 a month to be registered and every time one of your products is sent by FBA, there’s additional costs. Each item that’s shipped incurs Fulfillment by Amazon fees based on the dimensions and weight of the product. But you don’t have to worry about storage or the shipment of your product. Not to mention, using Amazon Fulfillment makes your products eligible for Prime shipping and Eric says that is worth cost because it will increase sales.

“Amazon is an incredible marketplace. There are tens of millions of prime customers (and) putting product into Fulfillment by Amazon is like an accelerant, like pouring lighter fluid on a fire,” Eric says.

Quick side note here, long term storage fees do hit in a couple weeks on February 15. Make sure to check that you don’t have any items that are older than 180 days or else you will get hit with long term storage fees. Long term storage fees hit again in August.

So you can still run into operational problems by using FBA, especially when it comes to managing inventory and you have to take into account the fees. FBA does take away the majority of your fulfillment questions.

Now, the next most common mistake that Eric sees is sellers putting too much focus on their own company page.

“The most important thing on Amazon is not to have a beautiful company detail page about how great your company is,” Eric says, “The number one thing is to have a beautiful page about how great your product is.”

We’ve actually had several of our Amazon Insiders tell us that sellers are not spending enough time on their product pages. There are three key areas that you should be focusing on the most with your products, your title, your images and your bullet points.

“Your product, your offer, all that stuff should be well represented,” Eric says, “Amazon is all about shopping the product not shopping the seller.”

You need to spend a lot of time researching the right keywords and really fine tune your title and bullet points so you can give your customers the right information.

“The way the Amazon detail page is structured, if your bullets aren’t really great no one will ever scroll down to see your fantastic content,” Eric says.

Finally in this episode, we have a little bonus section for you, simply because Eric gives us a lot of good stuff and we think you’d like to hear more from him. So here it is: spend time researching competitive products so you don’t make the same mistakes that your competition did.

“Read the competitive product that’s already there and look at the negative reviews and questions for that and make sure that you don’t start out with a product that has the same challenges explaining to customers how to use it and certainly try not to come out of the gate with a product that has the same problem as leaders in that category,” Eric says.

You have tons of data about your products and your competitor’s products available at any moment. You need to be taking advantage of that.

“Amazon is a user generated content thought of information and it’s really incumbent upon people trying to win in the category to leverage the data that is so rich and out there and to use that to make sure you’re creating and delivering the right product and describing the product ahead of time so that you can really get it set up correctly and ensure that people will convert once they see it,” Eric says.

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