When it comes to online shopping, there's perhaps no retailer more favored by the general public than Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN). Roughly 55% of consumers reportedly search for products on Amazon initially before moving on to other sources, and that speaks to the site's vast range of inventory. What's interesting, however, is that third-party sellers make up almost 82% of Amazon's sales, which means that if you're looking to grow your revenue, it pays to list on Amazon.
Because Amazon is both a trusted name in the online retail business as well as a one-stop shop, selling on Amazon is a good way to broaden your customer base. Here are a few tips for making the most of Amazon to boost your sales and benefit your business.
1. Price your products strategically
Not surprisingly, there's a lot of competition on Amazon, so prepare to sink some time into researching products that are similar to yours and seeing what their price points are. Keep in mind, however, that you don't necessarily want your prices to be considerably lower than your competition's, because that might not only cut into your profits, but also send the message to customers that the items you're selling are of a lower quality. And since you'll pay for the privilege of selling on Amazon, you'll want to incorporate those costs into your price points as well.
2. Have accurate, keyword-rich product descriptions
The more thoroughly and accurately you present your products, the more likely you are to attract customers, so it pays to invest some time into developing product descriptions. Amazon tends to function as its own self-contained search engine, which means you'll want to include keywords that increase your likelihood of popping up on consumers' radar. Think about the terms people might use to search for products like yours, and be sure to incorporate them into your titles and descriptions so that consumers are more likely to find out about your business in the first place.
3. Encourage customer reviews
Amazon consumers tend to gravitate toward products with positive reviews, and a large number of them at that. And it makes sense: A five-star rating from 32 satisfied customers will carry a lot more weight than a similar rating from just one or two buyers. That's why it pays to encourage customers to submit reviews once they've gotten a chance to start using your product, and to that end, all you really need to do is contact those who have bought from you and ask them to submit feedback. That said, be sure not to cross the line into badgering the folks who have bought your products. A single follow-up email is fine, but if you send your customers weekly messages until you get what you want, you're apt to annoy them and prevent them from buying from you in the future.
4. Stand behind your products
One of the best ways to encourage positive reviews is to stand behind your products and have a flexible return policy. As stated above, there's a lot of competition on Amazon, and chances are, your product is only one of several, if not many, that will fulfill a certain need. Therefore, it's the customer service you provide that will often set you apart from the pack and get folks who have previously bought from you to come back.
5. Have a healthy level of inventory
Once you establish a presence on Amazon, there's a good chance you'll see an uptick in orders (especially if all goes well). So prepare for that scenario by having the right amount of inventory available. The last thing you want is for people to find you, only to then learn that the products they're looking for are out of stock. If that happens, chances are they'll immediately move on and buy from someone else -- someone who can ship immediately. So if you're intent on growing your sales, don't let that happen.
Selling on Amazon is a learning process, but one that can work wonders for your business once you get it down pat. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you'll see your sales numbers start to climb before you know it.
John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Maurie Backman owns shares of Amazon. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.