Getting Started with Amazon: A Beginners guide

Getting started with Amazon can feel like a bit of a minefield and a maze in one, as with any new platform there are more than a handful of new acronyms and data specs to get your head around and in some cases it can feel like more hassle than it’s worth. Well, fear not intrepid Amazon novice, as always here at The Demand Generation Team we’re here to help demystify getting started with Amazon with this short, no nonsense guide for beginners.

Firstly (and quickly) a little about us – at The Demand Generation Team we help businesses grow through Marketing and Sales, combining deep Marketing knowledge with over 25 years’ experience in Sales and sales management. We’re proud to deliver impressive levels of ROI – 3781% is our current monthly record for Google Search & Shopping. Anyway, enough about us, let’s get into Getting Started with Amazon: Your Beginners guide.

Setting your Goals

As with any new platform we always start with your goals, and in this case they might be simple – or as simple as “We want to sell more” or “We want to sell to new audiences”. Whatever your rationale may be, make sure you quantify your goals effectively, so instead of “We want to sell more” try “We want to sell 200% more of product line X”, that way when you do start to inevitably head down the Amazon advertising route you’ll have a core group of goals that you can really focus on.

Seller Central

For anyone already at this point then feel free to skip ahead but for complete Amazon novices then getting your Amazon account ready to sell can be a mountain in itself. Here’s what you’ll need to create your account or Seller Profile – note this is for the UK, each marketplace has its own requirements and you can find the full list here.

  • Business Name
  • Business Address
  • Business Phone Number
  • Company Registration Number
  • Valid Credit Card
  • VAT Information/ Number

You may also need to provide proof of identify if you’re registering a business for the very first time, so have you ID details to hand as you may need them.

You’ll also need to decide whether you’d prefer to fulfil yourself or are planning to use FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon), whilst the glossy front makes this seem like a no-brainer remember that at least some of your inventory will need to be held by Amazon to make this happen. If you’re just starting out with Amazon and your already have a fulfilment partner and storage then maybe this isn’t for you just yet but don’t lose heart, Seller Fulfilled shipping is widely used. Just be sure to head on over to the shipping settings when you’ve set up your Seller Central account.

Here’s what Amazon have to say on the matter:

Your products are eligible for Amazon Prime for unlimited, fast One-Day Delivery on millions of items.

All Amazon Prime members love the free Two-Day Shipping offered on eligible orders. The products you list on FBA can qualify for free shipping too, as well as the sought-after Prime badge. This tells customers that Amazon handles packing, delivery, customer service, and returns and has been shown to boost sales by up to 26.5%*

Creating Listings

Creating listings is perhaps what we all recognise as one of the biggest areas in your Amazon selling journey. Think of them as the shop front for your products and yes, they need to be pretty darn good to cut through the millions of products out there. If you are just getting started, then here are the key areas to consider in your listing.

Get your Basic Information together before you start, creating listings can be a time consuming process and if you’re flipping between spreadsheets then mistakes can be made easily. Get your basic data together from your Marketing or Product teams (or yourself!) before you start and turn your phone off! Nothing worse than getting distracted mid roll!

  • EAN – What’s an EAN? That would be your European Article Number, a standard 12 or 13 digit product identification code that you might expect to find on barcode or similar. You can also use a GTIN (UPC (USA), EAN, JAN or ISBN) depending on your product category, if the product you’re selling is from a manufacturer other than yourself they should have these codes already but if you’re selling your own proprietary products then check out GS1 or similar providers to get your products registered.
  • SKU – We should all be familiar with the SKU or Stock Keeping Unit, as Amazon add their own ASIN or Amazon Standard Identification Number to all products keeping your SKU should help you tie up your whole inventory.
  • ASIN – As above the ASIN or Amazon Standard Identification Number is created automatically when a new product or variant is created, if you are creating variants like colour or size, pattern or style your ASIN will help you understand performance at product, parent and variation level.
  • Variants – variants are essentially what you’d expect, different variants of the same product. What’s worth noting is how your customers interact with and normally engage with your product as you may want to create new product parent groups and sub divide by variant or keep your products as stand alone. There is no right or wrong answer here but worth thinking about based on your customer journey.

Ok so we’ve covered some basics, it’s worth bearing in mind that all product categories tend to have their own other essential data points based on what you’re actually selling so be sure to gather all your data in one place and really dig into the detail. Customers are clued up on exactly what it is that they want to shop for so make sure they can find your product by including all the detail you have.

Getting your products on Amazon

You’ve got all your data in one place and now it’s time to start filling in the details and really getting creative with how you want your customers to see you. This is your major opportunity to showcase your brand and products so don’t skimp on this area especially when you’re getting started with Amazon

Amazon Product Titles

Your title (or product name) is a key part in how the Amazon search engine knows which products to show to your potential customers and so we should think critically about the terms that our buyers are using to find products like ours.

Making sure you include relevant descriptions and terms in your title can be the difference between winning and losing an order so make sure yours really highlights the specification of your product without being gimmicky. Amazon are pretty hot on their customer experience and will take action on titles that violate their policies, including non-product style information like “Free Shipping” or “Guarantees”. Here are some other top tips straight from Amazon themselves:

  • Titles should be concise. We recommend fewer than 80 characters.
  • Don’t use ALL CAPS.
  • Capitalise the first letter of each word except for prepositions (in, on, over, with), conjunctions (and, or, for), or articles (the, a, an).
  • Use numerals: “2” instead of “two”.
  • Don’t use non-language ASCII characters such as Æ, ©, or ®.
  • Titles should contain the minimal information needed to identify the item and nothing more.
  • Don’t use subjective commentary, such as “Hot Item” or “Best Seller”.
  • Titles can include necessary punctuation, like hyphens (-), forward slashes (/), commas (,), ampersands (&), and full stops (.).
  • Titles can abbreviate measurements, such as “cm”, “oz”, “in”, and “kg”.
  • Don’t include your merchant name in titles.
  • Size and colour variations should be included in titles for child ASINs, not the main title.

Amazon Product Descriptions

Once you’ve won that click the next thing that your potential buyers see will be your bullet points, don’t confuse these with your product description which comes much, much later down the listing page and is frequently overlooked by potential buyers but more about that later.

Your bullet points are your split-second window to help your customers see all the benefits of your product and yes, in some cases your features – if that’s what your customers are looking for.

We recommend thinking outside of the box on this one, if for example you’re selling a high-quality product then don’t just talk about the materials it’s made from, show your customers the quality, perhaps it’s a guarantee that the product comes with or some use cases that demonstrate the quality, whatever it is make sure you use your bullet points wisely. We’d also recommend making more than just bullet points here too, sentences and detail can go a long way to helping your customer make an informed choice.

Further down the page you’ll find your full description field, which is an excellent place to hold some of your long tail key phrases and optimise your listing within Amazon’s marketplaces. Note – if you’re using A+ content) previously Enhanced Brand Content, then A+ replaces your descriptions instead although it’s not indexed by Amazon so won’t help you be found any more easily.

Amazon Product Images

We process images a whopping 60,000 times faster than text – yes, read that again for our slow processing brains! The human brain can process images 60,000 times faster than text and that means your images are hyper critical to your success on Amazon. Here’s a little of the factual guidance from Amazon before we get started:

  • Images must accurately represent the product that is for sale.
  • Images must match the product title.
  • Product must fill at least 85% of the image.
  • The optimal zoom experience for detail pages requires files to be 1600px or larger on the longest side. Zoom has been shown to help enhance sales. If you are unable to meet this requirement, the smallest your file can be for zoom is 1000px, and the smallest your file can be for the site is 500px.
  • Images must not exceed 10,000px on the longest side.
  • Images must be JPEG (.jpg or .jpeg), TIFF (.tif), PNG(.png) or GIF (.gif) file formats. JPEG is preferred. Our servers do not support animated gifs.
  • Images must not be blurry, pixelated or have jagged edges.
  • Images must not contain nudity or be sexually suggestive. Kids, baby leotards, underwear and swimwear must not be shown on a human model.
  • Images must not include any Amazon logos or trademarks, or variations, modifications or anything confusingly similar to Amazon’s logos and trademarks. This includes, but is not limited to, any words or logos with the terms AMAZON, PRIME, ALEXA or the Amazon Smile design.

So, providing you stick to the above it’s now down to our own creativity and photography right? Well, yes, to a certain extent but like all good shop windows your listing images should really show the product in its best light. By “best light” we don’t actually mean good product images, we mean showcase your product for your audience, so for example if you sell super soft cuddly teddy bears then rather than just a shot of the bear try including someone actually snuggling up, demonstrating the “snuggliness” rather than just talking about it. Similarly, if you sell headphones that are perfect for running, then show a runner in your images to demonstrate the product in action.

Product details are equally important and should be showcased in your listing images, think about showing buttons, zippers, close ups of fabric or materials etc and even highlighting your biggest benefits with additional text. The rule of thumb on this one is to imagine your shoppers as though they were in a store, picking up and turning over your product, use your images to give your buyers that experience online.

Keywords and Advertising

Whenever you’re creating new listings make sure your pay close attention the keywords for each product or ASIN. Think specifically about capturing keywords within long tail, more intent driven searches. There’s no need to repeat yourself in keywords as it gives you no additional value but don’t ignore this section either, as with all search based algorithms, the keywords that you provide for your products will be crucial in helping Amazon serve your product to your potential buyers.

Getting Started with Amazon

Getting started with Amazon can feel like a daunting task but with the coveted title of the worlds biggest online marketplace and an incredible 89% trust ranking it’s easy to see why over 9.7 Million sellers worldwide chose to sell through Amazon. We hope this quick fire guide has helped you navigate a few of the key steps to getting started and as always if we at The Demand Generation Team can help you accelerate your own performance on Amazon or any other channel then pop your details below and we’ll be back to you in a jiffy.

Posted by Helen Brookes on Monday 7th June 2021