Online shoppers have made Amazon the number one retail hub because of its affordable products and easy shopping experience. Entrepreneurs have flocked the giant retail center, making competition tougher than ever.
If you are an Amazon seller, you cannot just rely on product quality and price to reel in and keep customers. There are dozens of other sellers who can offer the same service. A single negative review on your profile is enough reason to turn customers away.
Amazon shoppers find it easy to ditch a seller because they are confident that they can find another one that sells what they are looking for.
Yet, it pays to know what makes customers turn away so you don’t find yourself at the receiving end of a shopper’s rejection. Even worse, they might leave a bad review on your profile which will leave prospective shoppers dubious about your business.
Have a look at the top culprits that send customers walking in the opposite direction:
- Your Seller’s Account Page Sucks
Review your selling page honestly.
Here are some questions to serve as guidelines:
- Are your products presented in an appealing manner?
- Do you use high-quality photos that present the product in different angles?
- Do the product pictures come with captions?
- Is your product description clear, credible, and complete?
- Do you use correct spelling and grammar?
From product description, images, and even your seller’s information, every detail that the customer find must be clear, straightforward, and complete enough to help them come to a purchase decision. You don’t want your own page to be the reason customers change their minds about buying your products.
- Your Previous Transactions Were Lousy
Have you encountered transactions that turned out rather unsatisfactorily? Is your page marred with low ratings and bad reviews?
People who shop in Amazon make purchase decisions significantly based on reviews from previous customers. Online shoppers are now wiser when it comes to bogus sellers and products. You may put up high-resolution pictures but a single negative review from a harried past customer can send prospects scurrying away to another seller’s direction.
- Other Sellers Beat You to the Best Deal
Because Amazon is a large shopping hub, people cannot help but check out similar products and other sellers for comparison. When they find a cheaper price or a product similar to their liking, they would be reeled in to the most appealing deal.
Sometimes, it is not necessarily the price that makes customers choose a seller among others. It could be that one is faster to reply to customer inquiries or is more courteous and accommodating to requests. Other times, it could be that one seller throws in a few bonuses like discounts, free shipping, and freebies.
- Counterfeit Products
Amazon is quickly triggered when it comes to the authenticity of the products in their website. Although the retail center has imposed stricter rules to keep fake products at bay, some are still smuggled in and sold in the website.
Aside from breaking rules set by Amazon pertaining to counterfeit products, you are also risking your business if you sell knock-offs. It pays to be straightforward about the quality of brands you are selling if you are aiming for long-term business relationships.
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Other vendors may also be sniffing around their competition to boost their own selling tactics. When they see you selling your products at a reasonable price, they may sell theirs at a lower rate or find a different angle to make customers consider them instead.
How, then, do you keep fellow Amazon sellers from snatching your customers away?
Here are customer retention strategies you can practice to keep your Amazon customers:
Secret #1: Know What Makes Amazon’s Messaging Service Tick.
Previously named as Amazon’s Communication Manager, the Messaging service is open to third-party emailing systems. This is the platform used by Amazon to facilitate communications between sellers and shoppers. The messaging service has been engineered to heighten security by masking private email addresses. It also aims to improve claims investigations, lessen customer disputes, and provide better resolutions.
Just like any other technology, Amazon’s messaging system has its occasional share of pitfalls. For instance, sellers who integrate their Messaging Service to third-party emails such as Gmail or Outlook may send or receive delayed messages. If you are using a corporate email client to receive and send messages, make sure to monitor Amazon seller center from time to time. You wouldn’t want to get caught up in a time-sensitive issue with Amazon and your customers just because of an email glitch.
Secret #2: Be a Customer-Centric Business Person.
Many people fail in customer service because they listen to a client’s woes with a formulated response in mind. This approach puts you on a defensive stance and in effect, empathy is not prioritized.
Although it pays to be a problem-solver, what many customers want when they vent out is to be heard. Aside from providing an explanation on how a problem took place, make customers feel that their concerns are valid. People who want to reel in customers have revenues as a goal. Those who want to make lifetime business patrons aim for optimum customer experience.
Secret #3: Don’t Neglect Reputation Management.
Deescalate a tense moment by responding to a bad customer review as soon as possible. When dealing with a frustrated customer, it is important to keep a calm and reassuring tone. Negative feedbacks are unavoidable but you can keep the fire from spreading into a viral mayhem. Engage the customer in a private discourse and discuss what you can offer to solve the issue at hand.
To ensure that such instance would not happen again, get down to the root of the problem and have precautionary measures in place.
Secret #4: Know When to Ask for Help.
Some days may be busier than others. When it’s peak season and orders and emails are piling up, make sure that you get all the help you can get. Hire an online assistant to help you sort out admin work to manage the flow of orders and messages. Many times, customers patronize a certain seller not necessarily because they sell cheap products but because they are accommodating and prompt to reply.
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You cannot afford to compromise the products you are selling or sell goods at a lower value but you can always ensure your customer service is exceptional. This is where a virtual secretary can help you. Fast, reliable customer assistance does not have to mean you will man your desk 24/7. It just means there’s someone to have your back when you have to attend to other business or personal matters.
Another great thing about hiring a virtual secretary: it’s fast, easy, and you don’t have to pay a full-time employee salary.
Secret #5: Leverage on the Buy Box.
Although Amazon has a reputation for imposing stringent seller regulations, it also helps vendors to optimize their business. One of these efforts is through the Buy Box.
This special Amazon feature allows customers to start shopping by adding products to their carts from the product detail page.
Here’s the catch: you have to compete with other sellers to win the Buy Box. The algorithm for doing so is not disclosed by Amazon. However, you have to contend with other vendors in terms of product pricing, fulfillment options, customer reviews, inventory availability, and seller rating.
Bonus Tip: Amazon also shows affinity towards vendors who can make the most sales in one transaction. For example, bundling up products is an excellent and proven way to win the Buy Box. If you are selling electronics, bundle up like products such as mouse and mousepad along with other computer accessories into a single deal. This is a big winning factor to both Amazon and customers.
Secret #6: Optimize Product and Customer Reviews and Ratings
Even though the world has gone digital, word of mouth remains to be a top determining factor to push people into a purchase decision. No wonder why businesses invaded social media. When users share their page and blog links, they have direct, not to mention free, advertising. People are more likely to try a product they see being recommended or used by someone they know than products they see on fliers or billboards.
In the world of Amazon shopping, the closest thing you can get to being endorsed by word of mouth is through customer reviews.
Just as a negative review can compromise your business, a positive one can turn visitors into shoppers. The problem is, many customers do not spare the time to leave a review. The reasons may be varying but one thing you have to ensure is the issue is not coming from your end.
Make sure to leave a call to action so shoppers will be reminded to rate your service or review your product.
Email customers to make sure that they are satisfied with the product and happy with the transaction. Ask them to leave a review on your page to rate your service and products if the shopping experience has made them happy.
Although this may seem like an extra task, it will go a long way to attract future customers.
Secret #7: Monitor Your Inventory Regularly
Many vendors think that the secrets to retaining Amazon customers are sophisticated and tech-savvy. The truth is, one hefty chunk of the deal includes being proactive with basic selling practices such as monitoring one’s inventory.
Putting up something for sale online and then finding out that you don’t have it at hand is an elementary mistake. Yet, many vendors are still guilty of it.
Make sure that you proactively review and update your inventory as carefully as you improve your online store.
Secret #8: Improve Product Details to Optimize Search
Help Amazon to market your products. There is nothing worse than a vendor that gives vague, if not incomplete product description and wrong product listing.
The online shopping authority helps customers narrow down on the product they have in mind. From a vast category such as Men’s shoes, customers zero in on a certain product by clicking through attributes such as brand, color, and size.
When you enlist your product, make sure that you provide as much details as possible. This way, your products will have more chances of coming up whichever way a customer will look for it – whether through brand, product type, category, color, or size.
Secret #9: Stick with Competitive Product Pricing
One of the things Amazon is famous for is the great deals it gives to customers. This means, you have to stick to a competitive price for your goods. This is especially crucial when the products you are selling are also being endorsed by multiple sellers. The price tag of your product is one of the first things customers check out when they go to your page.
Take some time to research on the pricing of your products and how the price you have in mind will fare with your contenders in the marketplace. You can use Amazon’s Match Low price service feature to help you come up with the right figures.
Vendors who overprice do not only lose customers to their competition, they are also risking their business into negative reviews. Customers feel compelled to leave a comment to express their frustration, disbelief, or disapproval when they think they are being overpriced.
Secret #10: Only Use Professional Product Photos
If you want customers to take your business seriously, you can start by showcasing your products through professional images. Put yourself in the customer’s position. If you have visited your space in Amazon, would you be enticed to add the product to your cart based on the photos you see?
Shoppers want to scrutinize a product as carefully as possible before they add it to their cart. Because they can’t be physically present, a product photo is their best shot to examine an item. Help them out by posting clear, sharp photos of your products from different angles.
There’s no need to be intimidated by the tough selling competition in Amazon now that you know these retention secrets to turn buyers into regulars.
About The Author:
Catherine vanVonno, the author, is the President and Executive Director of 20Four7VA, a global Virtual Assistant (VA) Service Provider. She holds a doctorate degree in Applied Statistics, Research Design and Program Evaluation from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and has over 10 years experience in facilitating evidence-based strategic planning, product development, brand management, legislative communications, and medical policy. She is married and has four children. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter