At one point, launching new products on Amazon presented a relatively low barrier to entry. If you could produce a product with demand and knew how to leverage some of the primary Amazon marketing tools like content merchandising, SEO, and PPC advertising, you could probably start to see some results right away
Today, although the same theory of, quality product + marketing = success, applies in some capacity… it's not as straightforward. So, what has made it so difficult to launch products these days?
Amazon’s algorithm takes the category leaders and puts them into a position to dominate search placement. It’s a winners-win marketplace, so those few products at the top of the search results pages with 10,000 reviews that launched in 2018 won’t be easily dethroned.
BRAND VS PRICE
Two primary factors in your right-to-win are your price point vs your branded search on the marketplace. If you have a low or mid-tier price point compared to many of the top performers in your category then you’ll be in a position to compete on keywords. If you have a significant number of consumers coming into Amazon searching for your brand or product (as in thousands of people per month), then you can leverage those easy conversions to go broaden your discoverability in search results. If you have both branded search and a sweet-spot price point, you’re set up to win. If you have a high price point product, and nobody looking for your brand, expect a longer product launch process.
Increasing advertising costs make it difficult to jump right in on day one and start targeting the broadest, highest-opportunity keywords. With the amount of competition in the market and the stronghold that longstanding competitors have on key search terms, it is driving up the average cost per click. Regardless of what you’re willing to bid, if you aren’t converting early on your CPCs may rise, metrics like ROI and conversion rate will likely decrease, and Amazon will gradually phase you out of those placements to give it to competitors more likely to convert.
Due to the challenge that lies ahead, focus first on the preparation leading up to launch to put yourself in the best position to succeed.
Build out your content
Create detail page images, A+ content, and a storefront that is ready to convert. You want this to provide the same experience consumer will have on your direct-to-consumer site. Make sure to have your product differentiators at the forefront of your primary imagery and position new products in cross-merchandising features of already existing products.
Optimize your copy
Be true to your brand, and honest about your key product features, but don’t be afraid to throw in some SEO keywords to help put you in a position to be relevant on search terms you want to target in the future.
Reviews are key, and these days we recommend you get at least a few reviews before you start spending large amounts on advertising. The Vine program is an easy way to earn up to 30 reviews while still following Amazon guidelines.
Optimize your content based on these initial reviews
Listen to your customer feedback and adjust your content accordingly. If you’re seeing early reviews complaining about, size, fit, flavor, or other key points of consideration, address these issues early on in your carousel images and bullet points.
Start slow with advertising
Don’t set up exact match targeting to go after the highest volume terms just yet. Broaden your targeting and even run some auto campaigns. This will give you some early insights at a lower cost and help you get more efficient in the next phases of optimization.
Drive external traffic
Even if it's for a short period of time, leverage Amazon Attribution to drive some lower-cost traffic to your pages. This helps the algorithm and can set you up to start getting more aggressive with on-Amazon advertising.
The overall takeaway is that many categories are no longer set up to “quickly” launch a brand-new product and drive it to the top of the category. Focus on positioning yourself for success, test small, and adjust fast. Over time you’ll be able to get more and more aggressive, but many times the high sales velocity may take a couple of seasons to reach.