Turns out launching a new product is much like starting a new business in that you will have to accept operating at the break-even point or even at a loss to begin with, before you gain enough traction to live on the plus side of the ledger.
You will also need to spend some serious advertising money to give you that boost you need to get going.
Whenever you’re launching a new product on Amazon, you will come up against a big initial hurdle: the A9 algorithm.
The algorithm, which determines your product rankings on Amazon, takes a number of factors into account, including conversion rates and sales. What that means for a new product is that you need to make sales in order to rank high, but you also need to rank high to make enough sales in the first place, so what do you do?
Your biggest problem to begin with is that no-one knows your product even exists and, because you haven’t had a chance to work up the rankings, you’re not in a position for customers to discover it either. So you have to give them a reason to look.
The easiest thing you can do to increase demand at this point is to reduce the price - offer promotions that present shoppers with value. This may turn a few heads, but it won’t fix the fundamental problem of customers not being able to find your product.
If you already have other successful products selling on Amazon, though, you can offer them up with the new ones. Cross-sell, upsell and bundle your products to create a piggybacking effect - remember, the goal here is to get inventory out of the warehouse and start racking up your A9 score. Pairing the new product with existing ones is a good way to do that and gain visibility.
Upselling with existing products will only work, however, if the product is complementary. If you’re launching an innovative umbrella and already sell raincoats, you can upsell, but if you only have bicycles in your product line, it won’t match up as well.
Using external channels to drive traffic to your product listing will be very useful if you can do so, as you will not be getting any help from Amazon rankings at this point, and people hardly ever go much further than the first page in their search. These off-site channels can include:
Obviously this will only be an option if you also run another site, or have some other access to customer data. If you do, it is a prime avenue to make offers and give exclusive discount codes to entice shoppers.
Using ads on these two platforms can be hugely advantageous to getting the ball rolling. Facebook’s algorithm is incredibly granular and can put you in front of the exact audience you are targeting, while Google casts a wider net but puts you in front of a huge audience (which can still be targeted more narrowly). A potential risk here would be driving irrelevant traffic to your page and possibly pushing down your conversion rate as a result.
If you've a vendor launching a new product, you can also make use of Amazon's Born to Run program, through which Amazon - if it agrees your product is likely to sell well - will buy enough stock so you don't sell out and maintain sales velocity, giving you a jumpstart to build on. In exchange Amazon requires full return rights on any unsold items.
This is in contrast to how Amazon may usually wait until your products gets traction before putting in larger purchase orders.
You could have a really nice product page, with great pictures and good copy, but how can people be sure that it’s actually any good in real life? We’ve all been there, seeing a product that looks good and then turning away when we see there have not been any reviews yet. Let’s face it, it just looks suspicious.
If you are selling in the US, you can make use of Amazon’s Early Reviewer Programme, which will - for a fee - send follow up emails seeking a review from customers, provided your product has less than five reviews.
Sellers also have the option of enrolling in the Amazon Vine program through the advertising tab on Seller Central, which invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon - judged by how helpful their reviews have been to Amazon customers - to review new and pre-release products and give you a boost. Just because you get an early review doesn't necessarily mean it will be a positive one, though.
If that option is not available to you, try creating value for customers that they may not have been expecting, such as sending free material or goods in the packaging.
Eventually, there is only so far you can go without starting a PPC campaign. If you’re launching a new product, you want to kick things off aggressively to create momentum that you can just ride on, rather than having everything be an uphill struggle.
A crucial part of any ad campaign is getting to know your customer. The people who will buy your new product are not necessarily the same that buy your other ones, so in many ways you’re starting from square one. Research the data and analytics on your target market, turn those insights into a buyer profile as part of your launch plan, and make sure that it all fits your product.
Make your bids aggressive, use dynamic bidding and don’t be afraid to fork out the cash to get that Top of Search placement. Remember, operating at a loss is expected at this point, so just focus on getting those sales and those conversions up, and then you can start to worry about getting your ACoS back down once the word is out.
Different ASINs require different approaches, but there are certain things that remain the same across the board. These include:
Amazon has terms of service for a reason. Even if you don’t agree with them, failure to follow will have consequences that will mean less money in your pocket. Don’t violate the rules.
Get your images, your copywriting, and your video content right. This is an investment, not just a cost, and cheaping out on it will mean fewer sales. If you don’t have the resources to get a good-looking page done in-house, spend the money to do it professionally.
Give yourself another bite at the apple. Just because shoppers don’t convert the first time around doesn’t mean they won’t ever buy. If they already showed interest once, remind them through remarketing campaigns.
This is true for any ad campaign, and especially true at launch. Keep a watchful eye on your metrics and make adjustments wherever you need to in order to keep everything as optimized as possible.
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Our Solution Architects are trained to understand your business and present your best options to grow on Amazon. All advice is customized to your needs.
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