When Amazon sellers look at their financials for 2016, they typically look at everything they’ve done and what is working in the current online retail environment.
Here at Skubana, we’re already thinking about your next steps for 2017 and how you need to prepare for what’s ahead.
Amazon has made some major changes recently, where the survival of many Amazon sellers just got much slimmer.
With these changes, we’ve learned some new lessons and have given thought about what you need to implement in 2017 to win on Amazon’s marketplace.
Let’s dive into some 2017 tactics that we believe will drive your business forward in the New Year.
✔ 2017 is an only-the-strong survive environment on Amazon
In 2016, we lived through a very wild-west Amazon seller era and now Amazon has made moves to reign it in.
With the Amazon incentivized review prohibition, we believe Amazon will empower third-party Amazon sellers (those that sell ON Amazon) to use it’s internal and trusted Vine Review program, which has been traditionally only available to first-party Amazon Vendor Central Clients (those that sell TO Amazon).Those outside Amazon review tools you were using will simply become Amazon deal sites, and many of them that didn’t have software will just disappear.
Key Takeaway: Once you get offered the Amazon Vine program in 2017, leverage it immediately.
Every Tom, Dick and Harry “private labeler” used to be able to source a product on Alibaba and game the system with fake reviews to boost their rank against competitors.
Let’s face it: Those days are over and the playing field is now level, forcing sellers to pay for Amazon Sponsored Product Ads to get impressions and hopefully conversions.
Moreover, with the brand gating policy that Amazon initiated, counterfeiters will be squeezed out but it also will affect the small seller that was arbitraging and the reseller that doesn’t have the money to pay the gating fee for each brand.
Key Takeaway: On Amazon, you can no longer “give-to-play” – we are in a pay-to-play environment. You need to leverage Amazon Sponsored Ads and spend to make on Amazon going forward. Let the best and STRONGEST man or woman win.
✔ Amazon sellers that have been “Amazon’d” will finally diversify to other sales channels.
We always say Amazon is like a gateway drug, once you get going it’s hard to stop. But it’s a great place to start, it’s not a great place to finish.
Sellers who have been banking on Amazon for these past years and were comfortable just got what I call Amazon’d (or in other words Shook up).
Amazon is really the decider and in control of Amazon sellers fate. With the recent changes Amazon has made and what the changes we foresee Amazon will continue to make, pressures traditional Amazon only sellers to diversify their revenue stream onto other sales channels.
Key Takeaway: Selling on Amazon is just a sales channel, not a business. Amazon sellers will seek diversification and look to alternatives such as Jet.com and Walmart.com and countless other channels along with building their own shopping cart. Sellers are going to have to move beyond their 15 go-to Amazon only tools and find a solution to support their business so they can finally scale their operations.
✔ Video is going mainstream within Amazon product listing pages
2017 is the year of video for e-commerce, and it will be leveraged by Amazon for it’s high-volume marketplace sellers. We believe Amazon sellers will be able to create video content under secondary photos, which has traditionally only been available to 1P Vendor Central clients.
Furthermore, based on our hunch that Amazon will launch Vine reviews for third-party Amazon sellers, Amazon will allow for more videos or perhaps take more of a referral fee to ask their Vine review clubs to leave Amazon video reviews.
Have you seen the Amazon related video Shorts on many Amazon listing pages?
Bottom line here is attention spans are decreasing, less consumers are reading and Amazon has all the data showing video has a HUGE impact on conversions to buy box checkout. Video must be part of your 2017 strategy.
✔ More Amazon US sellers will find new revenue streams across the world
There are specific international marketplaces that seem to be taking off better than others. Europe is the 2nd biggest market for Amazon with Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Amazon.es, and Amazon.it.Tapping into Amazon’s European customer base gets you access to another 300 million customers and is a HUGE opportunity to gain first mover advantage. Most Amazon sellers are so focused on the US and aren’t willing to put in the work to get into international markets.
Nail down the following tactics and watch your business expand globally:
– translate your Amazon listing with a native speaker (not a robot)
– figure out VAT compliance
– decide on your customer support policy
– get a operational platform like Skubana that supports all international FBA warehouses
– understand how to ship your product or get your FBA logistics squared away.
Competing on Amazon is not easy and it’s only getting harder.
Knowing what to do right now to win in 2017 is the most important thing for your business right. Planning is 90% of winning.
Luckily for you, we’ve shown you exactly what to focus on in the coming year.
Remember, in business there will always be surprises, especially on Amazon. Changes are inevitable, but what’s best is to learn from it and make the most out of it!
So get out there and start doing what your competition is not doing.
What is your best retail trend to capitalize on for 2017?