7 ways your business might fail on Amazon Australia

Elizabeth Barry 1 December 2017 NEWS

small business amazon

Want to make money on Amazon Australia? Make sure you're not committing these deadly sins.

Amazon is soon to (properly) launch in Australia and a number of retailers have already signed up to sell. If you're one of those businesses or are considering listing on Amazon, you're likely reading up on ways you can be successful.

Amazon's Australian Marketplace is uncharted territory, given the fact that it's only soft-launched and most of what we know about the platform is still largely conjecture. However, taking what we know from other markets and about how Amazon's platform works, there are still some hard and fast truths for Australian businesses about selling on Amazon.

So, if you want to be a successful Amazon seller, here are some things to avoid.

  • Not optimising your listings

You should be thinking about your Amazon search terms and listings just like you would if putting a page up to rank on Google. Or at least, giving it as much attention. The keyword search function on Amazon works very differently – customers are allowed five search terms for a product – so applying your keyword SEO tactics to Amazon will not produce the same result.

However, search is the main way customers use to find items on Amazon, and if they can't find your item, you won't be making any money. If you have a popular product, see how your competitors are listing their products. There are a number of things to keep in mind when listing a product, but here are the main points:

  • Check the autocomplete function in the search tool. You may find customers that start typing in a keyword to find your product opt for whatever Amazon suggests. You should include this in your listing.
  • Always include the brand or maker at the beginning of your product listing. If there is a sub-brand, you can include this as well.
  • If there are model numbers or sizes, include these in the product title.
  • At the end of the product title, include a short description and any defining features. For example, colour, materials, etc.
  • Use your product description wisely! Talk about the unique features of your product but also how the customer may be able to use it.
  • Make use of the hidden keywords function where appropriate. This will allow you to use synonyms, acronyms and abbreviations that customers can use to find your products.
  • Forgetting about your brand

Setting up on Amazon can be a simple process, but building a brand and attracting loyal customers are more difficult. If you don't already have an established brand you need to think about this before you start selling. If you already have an established brand, make sure you don't let this fall by the wayside as you sell.

Selling on Amazon is extremely competitive and your brand can be one of your biggest advantages. A trusted brand can encourage customers to buy from you, leave reviews for you, and therefore increase your customer base and sales.

For new sellers, have a clearly defined idea of what your brand is and what products you will be selling. Make sure you get a logo created or brand your products in some way so customers begin associating them with your product.

Keeping your brand paramount when selling on Amazon is important to all business' success, so make sure you consider it when making all decisions.

  • Underestimating your stock

Amazon is a huge name. All it has done is confirmed its launch in Australia, and the amount of conversation and number of rumours it has generated has been almost unparalleled.

People want to buy from Amazon, and if you offer a good product that they want, they will want to buy from you too. But there will be no point if you underestimate the power of Amazon and have insufficient stock or don't plan your stock supplies to replenish in order to meet the increased demand.

Building a business on Amazon can be difficult, but it will be made even more so if your product is constantly out of stock.

  • Being slow with delivery

Customers love a number of Amazon's features, and one of those is the quick delivery. While Prime, Amazon's super speedy delivery service, won't be available at launch, customers are still likely to be expecting fast delivery times.

Amazon has set up a warehouse in Melbourne and has also purchased land in Sydney but sellers will have to wait a while until they can sign up to Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), which signs over delivery logistics to the retail giant. While it does come with a fee, it saves you the hassle of ensuring timely orders and dealing with returns.

Until then, make sure you have your delivery and returns process organised. If think you will need to, hire help to assist you in this. Anything to save you from negative reviews about delayed delivery or unhappy customers waiting for refunds.

  • Not encouraging reviews

Amazon is a user-fuelled marketplace and one that relies heavily on reviews. So, rather than waiting for your customers to leave you lovely reviews about your amazing products and customer service – ask for it! This is especially crucial in the early days of listing and while the Amazon Australia platform is still getting going.

You can do this by encouraging reviews in your listing, sending follow-up emails and providing great ongoing support after you've already made the sale. Having a person dedicated to customer support can be really useful in ensuring a good customer experience and positive customer reviews.

  • Losing sight of your prices

There are a huge number of strategies to be successful on Amazon, and one of these is focusing on price. When listing your products, assess what prices your competitors are listing the same product for. Many sellers on overseas Amazon platforms pick specific products to reduce prices for in order to get ahead.

This is a very specific strategy but one that can work. However, it's important to assess which products you're assigning which price points in order to retain a sufficient rate of return. It's also important to keep continually assessing prices so you can be sure you are remaining competitive and that you're giving your customers little reason to go anywhere else.

  • Only listing on Amazon Australia

Australian businesses have been making money on Amazon for years – just not in Australia. If you have a great product and are confident in the Amazon platform you might want to consider setting up on Amazon overseas. Just make sure you do research to ensure your product/s will be in demand in that market and that you assess the competitive landscape. But by setting up on overseas platforms you can take advantage of offerings not yet available to Australian businesses, such as FBA and Prime.

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