Originally posted on https://www.marketplacevalet.com/single-post/2018/06/27/Is-your-company-hiring-an-amazon-consulting-expert-If-so-you-had-better-know-what-to-look-for
20+ Factors to Consider for an Amazon Consulting Expert
People and companies hire amazon experts in order to maximize the Amazon marketplace channel. The group either feels like they should outsource management to the pro’s or that they don’t have enough time to handle the channel along with all the other priorities.
If you find yourself looking to outsource your Amazon business, or you are putting up a listing to hire an amazon specialist, consider these 20+ factors.
1. Amazon Consulting Expert must know Amazon SEO
The top priority should be to find an Amazon expert who knows Amazon SEO.
Note that Amazon is indeed a search engine, a search engine for products. And Amazon SEO is a distinct flavor of optimization ice cream. Check out this article if you want to learn about Amazon SEO and Amazon Listing Optimization.
While some shoppers still turn to Google (search engines) for their initial product search, Amazon has already become the predominant means of searching for products. 55% of product searches 1st start on Amazon now..
Is it important to you that your website shows up at the top of google for your niche? Exactly. The same holds true of your products on Amazon. You need your product listings to outperform the competition, and a large part of that is linked to Amazon SEO.
That’s why you need an Amazon consulting expert who knows the ranking factor exploits that will give your products an edge in the search results.
Trust me, we have learned a thing or two after generating 12,000,000 orders on marketplaces.
2. An Expert that focuses on acquiring Verified Reviews
Reviews are great for any ecom businesses, especially on Amazon.
What are reviews good for? They help your listing get ranked!
The Amazon A9 algorithm will take product reviews into consideration for search results.
Not just any reviews though, verified reviews. Verified reviews are those that come from actual customers that bought the product through Amazon.
Be wary of any “expert” talking about buying reviews. Amazon wants to protect their sandbox from scammers. Break Amazon policies, and your whole business could be at risk.
***Marketplace Valet has 400000 Reviews as a Seller on Amazon.com, can’t fake that.***
3. Amazon Consulting Expert- Play By The Rules
Again to re-iterate, it’s paramount to remember that incentivized reviews are absolutely against Amazon policies.
Many a seller has been baited down the path of paid for reviews for fast profits only to be left with nothing once their account gets banned. Yes that is right, banned. Amazon strictly prohibits paying customers or services for reviews. Even those facebook groups offering rebates through paypal in exchange for a screenshot of the order… no bueno.
Amazon has even taken some of these folks to court.
Your consultant should really be knowledgeable about Amazon policies. They should know the white hat, grey hat, and black hat methods that sellers are using, and have a defined strategy for how he stays on the straight and narrow.
Amazon continues to add more policies, daily it seems. This is another reason that you will need to be able to lean on an Amazon consulting expert who knows the rules.
4. An Expert with experience navigating Seller Central and Vendor Central
HINT: if your Amazon “expert” can’t explain the difference between 1P or 3P, then you need to find another consultant.
Your Amazon coach needs to be able to take you through the nuances of each way of selling TO and THROUGH Amazon.
Here is a simple description of each:
1P – This means 1st party seller. Amazon is your vendor You are selling your products to Amazon at some wholesale rate. Vendor Central is the main interface. Amazon places PO for you to fulfill
3P – This means third-party seller. Here you are selling your products directly to the consumer using Amazon’s marketplace. Seller Central is your interface. Customers make orders on Amazon.com for you to fulfill
Each path has its own unique benefits and drawbacks. Your expert should know how to analyze the economics of each path, so you can see objectively how to maximize your profit per unit.
Over the years, we have sold our own brands through 1P and 3P, so we can speak from experience.
5. Amazon Consulting Expert that can create Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) to juice Sales
Here is the skinny. Amazon allows any brand with Brand Registry to created product listings that have Enhanced Brand Content (aka A+ content). This allows for advanced text options, images, and even video in your product listings.
EBC gives your listing an additional means of showcasing images, content, keywords, and comparison charts that highlight your brand.
Having an Amazon Service Expert that knows how to create A+ content is a powerful advantage. Listings that include this type of content often fair better than the competition in search results on Amazon.
Not every brand qualifies.
Hopefully they can provide you with a portfolio of some pages they created.
6. An Amazon Expert that knows Sales Copy
Digital Marketing is all about taking an online visitor down a desired path, whether that is clicking your ad, downloading your ebook, subscribing to your blog, or buying your product.
So your Amazon Expert should really have some proven digital marketing chops and strategies. The expert should understand the customer, your target demographic. They need to be able to write compelling copy to influence that particular market of customers for your product.
7. A Consultant Who Knows How to use Amazon SEO Tools
It’s a given at this point that your choice in an Amazon consulting expert will be well versed in Amazon SEO. But are they using valuable SEO tools as well?
Are they familiar with a few of these types of tools
Sellics- on-page ranking tool
Sellozo- one of our favorites for assisting with testing keywords in ad campaigns
JungleScout – a keyword research / competitor analysis
Amztracker – an Amazon product rank-tracking tool
8. Is the Amazon Expert a Sponsored Products Jedi?
Amazon’s version of Google Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising is called Amazon Sponsored Products. It gives sellers the ability to pay for clicks, in an auction style program similar to Google, when a customer does a product search on Amazon. On the results page, you will see these ads show up at the top of the results set.
In our opinion, Amazon’s ad product is one of the most cost effective means of acquiring new customers on the internet. Our clients at Marketplace Valet are regularly seeing anywhere from a 3X-5X Return on Ad Spend.
Plus the benefits extend further than just a low ACOS. Sure the paid acquisition is fantastic, but with a great advertising campaign that shows Amazon solid conversion metrics, the A9 algorithm will also give your product listings a boost in organic search rankings.
Will Land, CEO of Marketplace Valet, was Amazon Sponsored Products first beta user, helping design the program.
9. What about Headline Ads & Product Display Ads?
There are other great ways to advertise on Amazon as well. Headline search ads can give brands that qualify (have Brand Registry), a huge banner ad across the category and search results page. This is great real-estate to help influence the customer, and you are getting the visitors eye balls right away. For some sellers these ads can be managed through Seller Central, and others through Amazon’s Marketing Services (AMS).
Amazon also offers the Product Display Ad. These ads actually show up on a Product Detail Page, under the “Buy Box”. This allows you to target your competitor’s listings; showcasing your product to a customer that you know is in the market for your type of product. This is an easy way to play off your competitors reach and brand awareness.
Make sure that your Amazon Consulting Expert understands the nuances of bidding strategies for these different ad types.
10. Any Graphics/Design Skills? Who will design your Ad Creative?
For some of the other ad types, such as Headline Search or product display ads, creative images will be required. Can your consultant design these for you, or is that going to be another expense?
If they don’t have this skill, make sure that they are upfront about it. You don’t want to waste time and money on a half-assed creative design just because your consultant is “trying” to do their best. You need great digital assets to tell the right story about your product. So consider that you may have to spend some additional dollars on getting it right from a professional.
11. Amazon Consulting Services That Focus On Your Target Market
Who are you perspective customers, and how do you get your product in front of them. This is the digital marketer’s dilemma and the main issue that your consultant will need to address.
The best Amazon experts should even be able to help you address new markets (international) and be able to activate customers on the fringe.
12. The Expert Amazon Consultant- use/not use FBA?
One way to sell on Amazon is with Prime. This is known as the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program. Your consultant should have experience with this fulfillment method and be able to advise you on the cost differences.
For a fee, Amazon will provide all of the fulfillment, packaging, storage, and customer service for your orders on Amazon through this program.
Otherwise you will need to have a solution in place for handling all of these aspects internally.
A great Amazon Expert will advise you on the most profitable path. Sometimes that may mean a hybrid approach.
13. An Amazon Expert Familiar With Repricing Strategies
With a new product or listing, setting the price can almost feel like a guessing game. The first price you go with may not be the “market clearing” price.
It’s easy to miss the correct price target.
Ask the amazon consulting expert some of these types of questions during the interview, see what experience they have with making pricing adjustments after launch and what metrics led to those conclusions.
14. A Consultant Who Knows How to Use Longtail Keywords
When spending money on paid acquisition strategies, especially Amazon Sponsored Products, it is best to have a mix of high traffic keywords/phrases to drive awareness. Additionally, it is also important to take advantage of longer keywords and phrases that have fewer searches because these are often less competitive and more likely to convert.
Example of short keywords: shoe, bathrobe
These are generic terms and likely to have many monthly searches
Examples of longtail keywords:
“Nike Black cross trainer shoe size 7 women”
“Comfy Pink oversized bathrobe Turkish cotton”
You can see how these terms are very specific, someone is searching for something very specific. They are further down the sales funnel and likely to convert if the product detail page has exactly what they are looking for in their search.
Your expert should be aware of tools to find longtail keywords that aren’t as competitive as some shorter keywords. Then, they can help you optimize your listings for those keywords.
15. Amazon Consulting Experts That Help You Engage With Customers
Successful sellers on Amazon are “high touch” with customers. This means being very responsive throughout the buying cycle. From answering questions ahead of the purchase, to post purchase follow up to encourage reviews and feedback.
This can be done with software (automatically) or through Seller Central (manually). The differences can be the human touch and tailoring the message to each customer. Other ways to engage are by working on packaging design, applying for warranties, and hand written thank you notes as inserts just to name a few.
Did your consulting expert mention any of these?
16. An Amazon Consultant that can Get Negative Feedback Removed
No seller is perfect and No product can please everyone. Inevitably your store will get some negative reviews. It is not the end of the world though.
Fortunately negative feedback can be removed. How? Mostly by offering 5 star customer service at all times. Address the negative review in a polite way through Seller Central and offer the customer help. Pleasant customer service is always the best policy for getting reviews changed. And it is pretty much the only method that isn’t against Amazon’s policies.
Customers are allowed to change their reviews, so long as they are not threatened/ paid to do so.
There are other ways to get bad reviews removed, and your expert should be aware of them all.
17. Amazon Consulting- Know what’s in stock
Sending pallets of inventory into Amazon isn’t any good if it is going to sit for months. You will hit long term storage fees, and that will be painful. Likewise, always running out of inventory means you are leaving a ton of money on the table. In addition, Out of Stocks make your listings fall in the search rankings. It is a bad strike against Amazon SEO. The reason is that the Product listing shows up as “Currently Unavailable”. So the page is getting a lot of clicks, and ZERO conversions. The A9 sees that as bad for business, so bye-bye to page 1.
Therefore, your Amazon Consulting Expert needs to be an inventory management wizard.
18. Amazon Consulting- Push Traffic and Pull Traffic
Marketing your product listing isn’t reserved to activity just on Amazon.com. Your consultant needs to be versed in digital marketing efforts that work offsite as well.
The reason is Push vs Pull traffic. Pull traffic is what you can affect with really good Amazon SEO. Your Optimized Product Listings will help you improve your search ranking, and that means your product detail page will PULL more of the traffic that is already available on Amazon and searching for your type of product. What does this mean?
Well let’s say that today there are currently 100000 searches per month for “Comfy Bathrobes” on Amazon.com. That means that your product listing is competing for those 100000 searches that are available. The higher your ranking, the more of those clicks that your listing is getting. But what about all of the searches that exist off of Amazon for “Comfy Bathrobes”?
That figure may be closer to 1,000.000 monthly searches, when considering Google / Bing / Yahoo / etc. Those are valuable customers too. So it will be important to have a way to reach these people searching for your product off of Amazon, and PUSH them to your Amazon product listing.
19. Amazon Expert- MUST OWN THE “BUY-BOX”
Here is how the Buy Box works according to Amazon
First off, the Buy Box is limited to a Professional Seller Account ($39.99 per month) if you are fulfilling orders yourself. Otherwise you can opt for FBA and that will automatically make your listing Buy Box eligible.
Why do you want the Buy Box? It is one less step for the customer to take before saying YES. Without it, the page shows a button that reads “See All Buying Options”. That is like a barrier to entry. It slows down the customer from transacting resulting in lower conversion rates overall.
This is 101 type stuff, your consultant better be on top of the Buy Box. The Buy Box also takes on a whole new meaning whenever there are multiple sellers on the same listing. Then it is about which seller is “winning” the sale. There are a number of strategies for beating out competitors on a crowded Amazon listing, hopefully you have a consultant that can advise you on how to do so.
Marketplace Valet has some Buy Box experience… given that we have WON the Buy Box over 13,000,000 times to date.
20. A Consultant Who Has a Proven Track Record of Improving Sales Rank Over Time
As products sell on Amazon, they earn a “Best Seller Rank”. This ranking system is Amazon’s rather straightforward way of comparing that specific product listing to every other product listing that is also in that category. In the race for sales, it shows you what position your listing is in. A low BSR number (closer to #1) means a high rate of sales. The BSR is not a linear progression, but more of a logarithmic function. The BSR is always in a state of flux, it can change daily based on the velocity of your product listing and competitors.
Here is the point. Knowing what your BSR is, and those of your competitors is a way to figure out what targets you need to hit sales wise in order to beat them out in the search rankings. Your consultant should know of ways to improve your BSR, and should have some concrete examples of having done so for other listings in the past. These should be sustainable examples too, not some pump and dump scheme where they spiked a BSR because they sold off product at some massive discount.
21. An Agency that is a bulldog at Amazon Brand Protection
Amazon readily admits that counterfeit sellers and “unauthorized” sellers are an issue for the company to manage. They are pushing much of the responsibility on to the brands themselves. However, going after these grey market, unauthorized sellers on Amazon through Seller Central or legal means usually doesn’t result in an actual removal from the listings. When Direct to Consumer sales is becoming more and more important for brands, eliminating channel conflict on Amazon is a necessity. MAP violators or trademark infringers stand to destroy your brand’s equity, driving the new market price of goods down to what the “buy box” price is on Amazon. Consumers win in short run, but the brand is slowing getting sucked dry.
Marketplace Valet has been providing Amazon Brand Protection services for years. We work closely with Amazon to get unauthorized sellers removed from your listings. Call us today, or speak with one of our brand partners if you want to hear about actual results.
22. Amazon Expert Consulting services need to be customer focused- just like Jeff Bezos.
Brands and sellers that succeed in marketplace sales on channels like Amazon know that customer service is the key differentiator for long term success. Amazon customers continue to buy from that site because they know and trust Amazon’s return policies. Being comfortable with an extremely lenient and forgiving return policy for your Amazon sales can be a tough pill to swallow. Many brands try to treat Amazon customer service the same as the customer service they provide on their website and are surprised by the brad reviews. Don’t let this be you, and don’t be fooled by a consultant that only talks about the importance of sales.
Seller Reviews are the true staying power because over time your product catalog is going to evolve. Customers want reliability. Pick an expert with the “Customer is always right” mindset to increase your odds of success as a seller.
Marketplace Valet knows what it means to delight customers. We have over 400000 reviews as a seller on Amazon.com, and over 570000 on ebay.com
If you are actively looking for an Amazon Consulting Expert, I hope that you find these factors helpful in your decision. If you are not happy with the candidates thus far, perhaps it’s time you gave Marketplace Valet a look. www.marketplacevalet.com