Sellers starting their Amazon e-commerce business often wonder “Do I really need a business plan?”. The answer is most definitely a “Yes!”. It is important to think through your business plan and write it down on paper or Google document so you can visualize it better and take action.
Having a strategic business plan is only the first step toward starting your Amazon business. It takes more than that to build a successful e-commerce business. You have probably heard a lot of success and failure stories, but why do so many products fail to produce any financial return on the world largest e-commerce platform? Here are 7 reasons products fail in the marketplace and how to avoid them.
1. Lack of Market Research
It is important for sellers to perform thorough market research prior to launching a product to mitigate the risk of product failure. Don’t just launch a product because your neighbor or friends say it has a lot of selling potential. Utilizing ZonGuru’s Chrome extension, sellers are able to find their next best seller with the data provided. For instance, sellers can identify the estimated monthly revenue, the number of reviews and ratings, estimated monthly sales, price, and much more.
You need to dig deeper into the type of products you are looking to sell. Search for product history and check Google Trends to ensure the product isn’t just a fad. Also, you can ask yourself these basic questions before deciding on a product to sell:
- Does the product have consistent demand? Is it seasonal?
- Does the product have good margins?
- Is the product fragile? Does it ship easily?
- Does the product have less than 1000 reviews on average? If so, great!
- Is the product trademarked? If so, then walk away.
2. Thinking Short Term
Having only one product planned for your Amazon e-commerce business will most likely lead you to failure. True, there are “one hit wonders” happening around us but failing to launch the next product within a short time frame will give competitors a chance to knock you out. I am a great example of it!
When I first started selling iPhone glass screen protectors 5 years ago, I was raking it in with almost 60 sales per day. I got carried away and didn’t launch my second product in time and competitors came in and blew me out of the water.
The lesson here is to think long term, plan your line of products accordingly and launch products on a timely basis. Don’t be afraid if a product fails to produce consistent sales, you can always innovate and launch another product.
3. Starting Off Cheap
Gone are the days of sellers sourcing for private label suppliers, slapping a label onto the product, and expecting to generate tons of sales. Sure, you only need a few hundred dollars to launch a product, but if your product is too generic, you won’t be able to compete with other sellers as customers will just buy the cheapest product on Amazon. With all the resources on Google, most people can launch their own brand by putting a label on available products.
Sellers need to be more innovative when it comes to creating your product. For instance, you need to spend money on customizing a specific formula for your Vegan protein powder to avoid clashing with other competitors. You need to deliver extraordinary products that solve a problem in order to stand out from competitors.
Selling products of low quality to save cost will also lead to product failure. Customers want and will pay a higher price for high quality products so don’t try to cut cost or take shortcuts.
4. Failed to Figure Out What it Takes For Products to Rank
Jumping on the Amazon bandwagon without figuring out what it costs for a product to rank on the site will most definitely cause your product to fail. ZonGuru’s Chrome extension has a metric called “Launch Budget” which is an estimated budget for you to launch your product and get it to page 1. Estimates include:
- COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) of 30% of the average sale price
- Enough stock for you to run giveaways for 15 days
- 2 months of stock for organic sales
Another important metric is finding out the number of units you need to sell in order to be on page 1. For instance, if a product on page 1 is selling 3000 units per month then you need to sell at least 100 units per day (3000 units / 30 days) in order to compete and be on page 1.
Knowing how Amazon SEO works gives you an upper hand by helping you better understand the ranking factors that determine whether your product shows up on page 1 or is buried at the bottom of page 10.
5. Product Listing Not Optimized
Not optimizing your product listing is another reason products fail in the marketplace. Product listings that are not optimized will have a high bounce rate and low conversion rate. Sellers need to optimize their product listings in order to rank on Amazon’s search results page. Knowing how the Amazon A9 algorithm works will certainly put you in an advantage for ranking your products. If you’re struggling writing your listing copy, you can always hire an agency to help. The experts over at MarketHustl are great at writing fully optimized listings that will lead to greater visibility on Amazon.
You need to optimize your product images to attract customers and provide an enhanced customer shopping experience. You can also implement video into your listing images, however, only Brand Registered sellers are able to do so. Product description needs to have better copywriting to convince customers to make a purchase. Backend search terms need to be optimized with keywords and other relevant product information for better customer search traffic.
6. Poor Marketing Strategy and Execution
Having a poor marketing strategy will not only cause you to lose time and money but will lead to product failure. Keep in mind that customers are not aware of your product if you are targeting the wrong audience. Also, too often, sellers have the mindset of “set and forget” when it comes to selling online. Expecting customers to buy your products because it is “the best” is just ignorant and will only set you up for failure.
You need to run Amazon ads and laser focus on optimizing it before you even think about moving on to driving outside traffic (i.e. Facebook ads, Pinterest ads, etc). Reason being people already have a buying mindset when they are on Amazon and if you can’t make the most out of it then there’s no point getting distracted running ads on other platforms.
There are plenty of strategic ways to market your product, for some examples, here’s an article on 5 brilliant New Year marketing strategy you can execute. You can follow our blog for more marketing ideas.
7. Prolonged Product Development and Delayed Market Entry
Contemplating and taking too long to launch your product may cause your product to fail. By the time your product hits the marketplace customer needs have probably changed or competitors might have gotten ahead of you.
Instead of spending too much time perfecting your product, launch it, get feedback from customers, tweak it, and launch an improved version.
Staying focused is one of the main keys to selling a successful product on and off Amazon. Focus on solving a core problem that frustrates your target audience and be sure to do plenty of research prior to launching your product.
Do you want to learn more? Don’t forget to watch our video!