The first thing to do when you get started with Splitly is to sync your Amazon account with Splitly. Splitly will then organize your products based on the best selling products. It also provides a hint as to what product you should start with. It will offer suggestions for each listing before you even start testing. For instance, if you are only using 5 of your 9 images, it will alert you.
The best place to start, when you’re ready to test, is with images and pricing. These are the easiest tests to run without much effort, and give very good results. Bear in mind that these are general suggestions and it will vary person to person.
Even if you’re not willing or able to get new images of your products, you can still test you main image. Simply test one of your other images as your main.
Pricing is another great test to run as long as you’re changing the price significantly. If you’re only adjusting is by $1, you’re not likely to see much improvement. However, if you alter it by $5, you’re probably going to see a large difference.
The best technique is to start wide, and narrow down through testing. Let’s say you’re testing $19.99 against $21.99, and you find that you get better results with $21.99. The next thing is to try $20.99 against $22.99 and see what performs better.
One thing to keep in mind is how Amazon does it’s search results. Google isn’t going to boost a page in its results because it’s selling well. Amazon does. This is probably the single greatest factor in search ranking. So if you’re testing different price points, you will want to go with the one that has higher sales. Since this can complicate the test results, they released a new feature called Profit Beak.
With this feature, you set the minimum and maximum price for the product. The software will then update your listing every hour, and try a different price point. This allows Splitly to gather data much faster and they can determine the best price based on profit and sales. You can adjust it so it focuses on one or the other. It can also test multiple other factors including keyword ranking and conversion.
Keyword rank tracking is a standard piece of software that most people are familiar with. Now, you can tie it into Profit Beak. You can then tell the software that you don’t want to fall below number 10 on a keyword, and that become a new floor. So during testing, Splitly will monitor that and keep it ranked high enough.
At its core, Splitly is a testing suite. When you get started with Splitly , the possibilities are endless. Unlike other tools, the software create more work for you because now you have to think of different ideas of how to tweak your listing. However, in the end, it will make you more money.
You can test a title that is packed with keywords against one that isn’t. This is really useful because the effects happen quickly. You can see your ranking change within 10 or 20 minutes. It’s very useful if you’re testing your keywords.
Your bullet points are another great test because it’s never easy to figure out the best way to go about it. It’s best not to stuff keywords in your bullet points. It’s best used for selling to potential buyers. You can look at the negative reviews of your competitors, and address those concerns in the bullets. Then you can split test them to figure out the best way to do it.
Split testing is a technique you can use to test which variation performs better. It’s very common in web design. An online store may want to find which color checkout button converts the best. They would then show half their audience one colour, and the rest another and track conversion rates. It’s very important to split test your Amazon listing to help optimise it.
Andrew Browne co-founded Splitly as a way to use this technique with Amazon listings. This way you are able to test different aspects of your listing, to fine-tune every feature so it converts as good as it can. You can test different main images and title to find out which gets better traction. This uses objective data rather than your subjected intuition.
It is the first thing your customers see therefore has a major impact on getting potential buyers’ attention. If you split test your Amazon listing image, you can determine the best picture that will get people to click on your product.
One success story that Andrew shared was one he did on his own product. He wasn’t looking for results, he was merely testing the software. In doing so, he found that by changing the main image, to one he thought were do poorly, he improved his conversion rate by 50%.
Another great place to start is your price. It’s easy to test and is incredibly impactful on your conversion and you can get your results quickly. Other places to test are your title, bullets, and product description.
Splitly is an amazing tool that does the split testing for you. When your start you test, your listing updates at midnight, Amazon time, which is GMT-8. The reason for that is Amazon does your reports based on that time. Then every night at midnight, you listing updates with the other version of your listing. While it’s not true AB testing, it’s the best you can do with Amazon’s limitations, and it’s better than using your own intuition.
It’s important to understand that split testing isn’t for saving products. If you have a failing product, it won’t help to split test to try and save it. You need to have enough traffic in order to get enough data to make improvements. You want to split test products that are already doing well in order to improve them and boost them a few percent. You’re looking to improve upon products that are already getting traffic and sales.
How long it takes to split test a listing depends on a few factors. The more sales your product gets, the quicker you’ll get your results. If you’re selling 5 units a day, Splitly will be able to collect enough data much quicker than if you’re selling 1 unit a day.
The significance of the difference places a large factor. If you’re testing a price difference of 5 cents, it might not affect the sales enough to determine a winner. Whereas if you’re testing a $5 difference, it will have a larger effect and the software will be able to determine which is better.
There is no specific number, it just depends on how long it takes Splitly to gather enough data to give you an answer. It may determine that there isn’t enough difference to go one way or another.
The great thing about running an Amazon business is the freedom it allows in your personal life. You can go on holiday as you want and you can take a day off as needed. You set your own schedule and make your own deadlines. That also creates one of the more difficult aspects of your job as an Amazon seller, time management. Today on the show we have David Aggiss and we’ll be discussing time management techniques when you’re running an online business.
If you are first starting out, the challenge is finding enough time to work on your business. You have your full-time job, maybe a spouse and children, then your Amazon business on top of that. It’s going to lead to some late nights and long days. That’s the struggle of it. It’s important to set aside time-blocks for specific tasks. If you start working without this, you’ll end up working on a number of things and accomplishing nothing.
Customer service is a daily task. You’re probably going to be in Seller Central a lot anyway, which is a good thing so you can respond to customer questions and other issues as they arise. Once a week, you want to look at your listings. See if there is any way to improve them. You should take a look at your PPC and keywords to make sure they are performing how you want.
Expanding your business is an evening job. If you are looking to research new product lines or find new suppliers, make sure you have a few weeks available where you can put in some serious evening hours. You’re going to have to work everyday with emails back and forth with your suppliers, especially if they’re in China. Unless you can get on a Skype call, this process could take a week or more because of the time difference.
Skype is recommended to help speed up this exchange. However, keep in mind that if you’re looking into several suppliers, that Skype could get overwhelming. It is easier to maintain all the information if you limit it to email since that has understood, built-in limitations. Also, you will have a record of everything discussed.
If you find that you don’t have the time to handle everything that you need, consider outsourcing. Be aware of what your strengths and weaknesses are. Focus on your strengths, outsource your weaknesses.
If you are making enough money from your Amazon business that you can afford to outsource, then you are probably pretty proficient at the day-to-day Amazon tasks. Then you’ll want to continue to handle those. If your background is in web design, then build your website yourself.
If, however, you don’t know the first thing about building a website and you have no idea how to work on social media, outsource those. Chances are you can find someone that will do it better and faster. If a task is going to take you a week, but someone who is an expert can do it in a day, pay them to do it. The task will get done several days soon and you now have that week to work on something you’re an expert in.
While time management is important, focus management is as well. Like I said before, you have the freedom to make your own schedule, but you don’t have a boss to keep you on track. It’s easy to lose focus and let your business suffer because of it. You have to keep in mind why you want to run your own business. Whether it’s to have a luxury house, nice cars, or to simply spend more time with your family. Whatever it is, whether it changes over time, always remember that and let it be your motivation to stay focused.
Today on the show, I have one of the first contacts I made when starting this show, David Aggiss. I had him on, all the way back in November of 2015. Since then, he has given up the day job and is his own full-time boss. He has a few business, one of which being an Amazon business. We’re going to dive in and find out David’s strategy for selling on Amazon.com.
David started learning about Amazon in April/May of 2015 and began receiving some training. In about four months, he started selling his own product. He took off quite well in Q4. At the time, incentivised reviews were still allowed so he made that a large part of his strategy. His sales exceeded his expectations going from 10 units a day to 30 on average. He launched his second product in Q4 last year and focused on his listing since incentivised reviews were no longer available.
There are a lot of techniques for finding products. David decided to simply look through Amazon. This is a great technique for finding good products. Look for lower prices and low competition items when first starting out. If you find a good product and the listing isn’t optimised, then there is definitely an opportunity for you to sweep in and take over. You can use Google Trends, Merchant Words to help you find what popular and what people are looking for.
David didn’t use any tools to find products, like Jungle Scout etc. He didn’t know what his products would be so he wouldn’t know what to search. Once he picked the products, he verified through Jungle Scout that there was a demand. Now he has about 5 products he’s working through launching.
He search Amazon to find his products. He narrowed his search to products between $15 and $50 and looked for products that interested him. If you are interested in the product then it’s easier to relate and figure out what those buyers are looking for. Then you can tailor your listing to those shoppers.
Getting reviews has become much more difficult since Amazon banned incentivised reviews. With this new world, you have to pay more attention to reviews since you can no longer give products away in exchange for a review. One thing to pay attention to when getting started with a new product is the number a reviews your competition has. If they have thousands of reviews, it’s going to be much harder to compete because it is more difficult to reach a competitive level.
Make sure you competitors only have a hundred or so reviews so you can better compete. Then you can use other services to help get legitimate reviews. You can also try to get traffic coming in from off Amazon.Ads on Facebook, Google, and Bing are great places to start.
There are also ways you can use Amazon to boost your listing. Spending heavy on PPC at the beginning is a good way to drive traffic when selling on Amazon.com. Once your listing gets going, then you can cut back to where it’s profitable. One thing David mentioned was participating in Lightning Deals. These deals on put on by Amazon that offers their shoppers very good discounts for a very limited amount of time. There is a link underneath your Advertising tab on the main screen of Seller Central. It’s not all the time, but Amazon will offer you a Lightning Deal when it’s relevant. This is a great way to drive a lot of sellers to you listing and gives a nice boost to new products.
Amazon sets the parameters. They will tell you the time slot, the minimum number of units, and the sale price which is based on your sales history. David, for example, recently got a time slot for 1am to 7am. Not the best time as many people aren’t looking at Amazon so early in the morning. Despite that, he had an additional 40 sales from the deal.
It’s offers more robust to you PPC advertising. The top banner ad on Amazon, that is usually a link to someone’s storefront, that’s Amazon Marketing Services. Sometimes there are ads under the Buy box, those are Amazon Marketing Services ads. It’s more exposure and drives more customers to your products which, in turn, could lead to more sales.
It’s only accessible to vendors. This used to be invite only until Amazon started Vendor Express, which is open to everyone. Now you can get access to Amazon Marketing Services once you have a purchase order. So once Amazon orders product from you, then you have access to AMS and all the benefits that come with it. To learn how to get started with Vendor Express, please check out my interviews with Will Tjernlund.
If you don’t want to go down the route of Vendor Express, there is a work around. You can sell Amazon a product that you don’t intend to keep in stock. Go to aliexpress and buy 10 units of some item. Tell Amazon that you want to sell it to them and they will request samples. Once that process starts, you should be able to then sign up for AMS. Once in Amazon Marketing Services, you are able to advertise any products, not just the ones you have in Vendor Express.
Not only can you advertise products that are in your Seller Central, you can advertise products for items that Amazon doesn’t list you as the seller of. This is very beneficial if you have a Merch by Amazon account. If you sell Merch, you don’t have access to ads. With Amazon Marketing Services, you can then run ads for you t-shirts. You can check out my interview with Chris Green if you are interested in getting started with Merch by Amazon.
It may not be worth it, for everyone, to utilize Vendor Express beyond getting your foot in the door. There are many issues with it because they take over the listing and they tend not to optimise it so it converts. However, it’s almost a necessity for some. For example, Anthony has a friend that selling a health and beauty product that he makes from home. Since he makes it from home it is impossible for him to get ungated. However, by selling through Vendor Express he is now able to get past that since it’s technically Amazon selling it, not him.
Vendor Express is making strides to improve the listings by making some of it available to the sellers to be edited. Some aspects, like the title, you may need to ask Amazon and jump through hoops for, but it is possible to optimise your listing.
Get in touch with Anthony:
He has written two books about selling on Amazon:
Bootstrapping E-commerce: How to Import and Sell on Amazon
Bootstrapping E-commerce: Advanced Amazon Tactics
You can contact him at he publishing company
As we discussed in the previous episode, building a brand away from Amazon is a very good idea.
Amazon owns you and your listing. They control everything. They can suspend your account at anytime. If you sell exclusively on Amazon, that puts you in a difficult situation. It’s a good idea to have multiple selling channels. That way, if any one goes down for whatever reason, you have other sources of income. Amazon only accounts for about 20 – 30% of Manuel’s income. Now, if something happens to his Amazon account, it wouldn’t shut down his business.
Another reason for building a brand is that Amazon is a race to the bottom on pricing. If you come up with a new product, in a couple months a lot of sellers have copied it and now everyone is lowering prices to get sales. If you have your own ecommerce site or wholesale, you can dictate the prices as long.
When building a brand, there are several options when it comes to other sales channels. There is jet.com where you can signup to be a third-party seller. Wal-Mart recently bought them for $3.3 billion. You can also sign up to be a third party seller on walmart.com. When it comes to these these third-party selling routes, it’s important to bear in mind that it may take awhile to be ungated. For those in the UK, you can use tesco.com. The downside to these platforms is that you are still a third-party that is subject to Wal-Mart or Jet or Tesco, etc.
The best security would be owning the platform with Shopify. That way you control everything. It takes a lot more work than with Amazon as you don’t have the benefit of them shipping everything. However, the big issue is getting traffic. You can always find people on Amazon, but getting them to come to your site takes work, like all aspects of building a brand.
You have to work on SEO in order to be found. One strategy is to go to other sites where your target audience is. You can find forums or go to Reddit and talk to people that are interested in your category. For example, Manuel is selling VR products so he goes to a Reddit forum about VR and talks to people about a new headset Samsung is releasing. This can drive traffic to your Shopify store which will help your Google rank.
Ads are another way to boost rank and drive traffic. Google or Bing as are effective. You can use Facebook ads for conversion and email signup; not so much for selling products.
It can be more expensive and it takes a lot of work. But if you have good content, good SEO and traffic you can easily rank on page 1 or 2 of Google. That is building a brand that has visibility on the most powerful website on the planet: Google.