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Running a successful business is hard work. Aren’t you sick of it? The constant emails, fulfilling orders, researching best practices — the list goes on and on. If you want to throw in the towel and ruin your Amazon business, you’re in the right place.

However, just in case you’re worried about ruining your business by accident, we’ll talk about what to do instead of these surprisingly common practices that are ruining businesses every day.

1. Oops! That’s Out of Stock.

Being out of stock is great, right? It means there’s interest and you don’t have inventory sitting on the shelves taking up space.

Unfortunately, being habitually out of stock on your products may seem great at first, because there is clearly interest from buyers, but it actually signals an issue with your inventory management. Customers are usually not committed enough to any Amazon seller to wait until the product is back in stock (unless they have no other option), so this will just steadily turn away customers, and you’ll lose those sales. It’s a great way to consistently hinder your growth.

In addition to that, the worst thing you can do to a customer after they’ve searched through multiple product pages, read through descriptions, and finally decided on your product and pressed the buy button is to then have to tell them, “No, sorry, we don’t actually have that item in stock.”

What to do instead

While there will be some trial and error to figure out how much of your products to keep on hand so that you don’t run out, your top priority should be making sure that your inventory management system always has up-to-date information.

2. See You in a Week or Two

You’re not going to find a less forgiving customer than an Amazon shopper when it comes to shipping times. Amazon sets the bar high, and therefore the customers have high expectations when shopping there. There are a couple of ways you can really mess up on the shipping and fulfillment side of your business and discourage customers from ever coming back.

The first is long processing times. The “two-day” in two-day shipping actually refers to the time it takes for the package to get from the warehouse to the customer’s doorstep once shipped – however, most take it to mean that the two-day countdown starts from the moment they finalize their purchase. If you take two days to process the order before shipping, you may already be running behind in the mind of the shopper, and you’re likely to get bad reviews.

What to do instead

Focus on becoming more efficient and trimming down your processing time. I

f you are struggling to do this at your local warehouse, consider working with a 3PL (third-party logistics company) that can take over for you (and even spread your inventory strategically across different warehouses to cut down on shipping times).

The second is slow shipping methods. Amazon guarantees free 2-day shipping for Prime members, but all shoppers tend to expect fast shipping from every store. If you’re selling on other platforms, you may be offering free shipping and keeping that cost low by choosing the slowest method. On Amazon, this strategy could be the death knell for your business.

What to do instead

Because of the expectations in place when shopping on Amazon, you’d be better off selling at a higher price and choosing a faster shipping method.

3. The Product Speaks for Itself

Reviews are practically money on Amazon, so if you don’t want anyone to buy your product, don’t encourage your customers to leave reviews. You can include tons of details about the product, a dozen photos, and even a video of it in use, and you’ll find plenty of shoppers who won’t buy because you have no reviews.

What to do instead

Ask your customers to leave reviews! Include a card with your product that reminds them to review if they love it, and even consider pairing that with a coupon for returning customers. Studies show that shoppers believe reviews almost as much as they believe a recommendation (or warning) from friends or family, which can make them powerful social proof of the viability of your product.

Another important component of reviews is not letting the bad reviews go unanswered. Bad reviews can be frustrating, but they can also be an opportunity for you to showcase how you respond to unhappy customers. The best-case scenario from a bad review is that future shoppers see how well you responded and are impressed with your customer service, not discouraged from buying your product.

4. It’s All in the Description

Taking product photography can be time-consuming, and even expensive if you’re thinking about hiring a professional photographer. Depending on how many products you’re selling, that can become a huge headache. You may think that you can save some money and time by only showing one photo of the product and including all the important information in the description, but this is the wrong place to cut corners.

What to do instead

Make no mistake — good Amazon product descriptions are vital. However, your product photography can make or break your business. Amazon has plenty of product photography best practices, but they can all be boiled down to clear, high-quality photos from different angles. While the first photo should be clear and plain, following photos can have important features, like measurements, and show the product in use.

By repeating important details and measurements and showing your product from every angle, you’re indicating that you want the customer to be fully informed before buying, and you’ll likely have fewer returns due to misunderstandings. Time spent on product photography will have untold ROI.

5. I’ll Get Back to You Soon

Good customer service rarely makes you any money. So many people appear to submit your contact forms asking questions about your products and you rarely follow through, or they ask questions that could easily be answered if they read the product description or your FAQ page. So, while you do plan to answer them, you have a lot of other tasks that come first. Right?

If this is the way you view your customer service, your Amazon store will go downhill fast. Not only do you receive a rating partially based on how quickly you answer questions, there are plenty of ways you can use those questions to improve your business and your sales.

What to do instead

First, make sure you’re answering all messages promptly. You likely aren’t getting a flood of messages in your inbox, so it should be pretty easy to carve out a small chunk of time every day to respond to queries. In addition to boosting your rating, consider why the question came up — was it not clear enough in your description?

Could you add extra information in your photos or title? If one person takes the time to reach out to you and ask a question, you can safely assume there were many more people who wondered the same thing, but just moved on to a different seller.

When you use each question as a learning experience for how to improve your listings, your store can only get better.

Second, answer public questions as well. This is a section that many shoppers will turn to for commonly asked questions and can act like a mini FAQ page just for that product.

Say Goodbye to Your Amazon Business

We hope this guide is helpful to you as you run your Amazon business into the ground. Remember, all you need is some shoddy inventory management, poor product descriptions, and lackadaisical customer service, and you’ll be well on your way to bankruptcy.

Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an ecommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of ecommerce. He has years of experience in ecommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.

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