Launching a private label product on Amazon is a lot like launching a space shuttle: it can either propel you to new heights or end up being a colossal failure. The outcome ultimately boils down to planning (or lack thereof).
In this article, we’ll give you step-by-step instructions on how to navigate this process so you can emerge victorious. Consider it your guided path towards a successful Amazon product launch.
Before you launch a product of course, you need to have one you plan to sell! What you pick to sell has A LOT to do with how well the rest of this goes and the decisions you make along the way. Some products are going to be really tough to make work even if you do everything else right. Our favorite example to use for this is a bag of concrete. We don’t know if anyone actually sells bags of concrete on Amazon, but it’s hard to imagine a worse product to sell: very low price point, extremely heavy, and a large volume per unit for shipping and storage. We feel comfortable saying it would be impossible to sell on Amazon profitably no matter how well you did everything else!
On the other hand, at the other end of the spectrum, some beauty products are small and light weight and sell for huge markups over their cost, making them ideal products to sell if you can just get them to stand out from the crowd of competition. Hopefully the product you picked is closer to this than to the bag of concrete example.
Since this is such a big topic in it’s own right, we’ll save this for another post and pick up from the point where you’ve landed on a product to sell and now you just need to do everything else right!
Step 1: Get Your Ship Together
What we really mean is get your ship-ping together.
Shipping is one of the first things you should consider when launching a private label product on Amazon because the cost of it will ultimately determine how much you price the item for.
Considering that the vast majority of products are manufactured overseas, that leaves you with two shipping options: by vessel or by aircraft. Is one better than the other? Not necessarily. There are pros and cons to each. Allow us to quickly go over some factors you should consider so you can make your own informed decision.
Time to Market
In some instances, you may need to bring your product to market ASAP. Yet, in other instances, time may not be of the essence at all. The speed in which you need to make your product available to consumers is one of the biggest factors in deciding which shipping method to choose.
If, for example, you have a time-sensitive product that you need to launch immediately in order to obtain “first to market” advantages, your ideal solution is to find a local supplier. But if that’s not possible, the next best option is to have your merchandise transported by air since it’s faster.
On the other hand, if your product is not at all bound by any time constraints, you’d want to go with a more cost-effective option like sea freight.
Weighing Speed vs. Cost
Exactly how fast you need the product, along with how much you’re willing to pay, is another factor to consider.
A good rule of thumb for international shipments is to use an air courier if you need your product in 20 days or less. If you can hold out for 20 to 60 days, go with sea freight. Cost wise, the sooner you need it, the more expensive it’s going to be.
Another thing to keep in mind is that much of the cost of sea freight consists of “one-off” charges. In other words, sea freight becomes increasingly cost effective in higher volumes. This also means that small items in low quantities may actually be cheaper to deliver by air!
If you’re not confident that your new product will be a hot seller, use smaller air shipments for now. However, if you already know your product is in high demand, it’s going to be a lot cheaper to place larger orders via sea freight.
A Hybrid Approach
Let’s say you’re on a tight budget but have a time-sensitive product that needs to launch ASAP. In this situation, your best strategy is to go with a hybrid approach.
With a hybrid approach, you get the best of both worlds by splitting your shipments into air and sea freight. E-commerce expert Dom Haines uses this strategy to great effect. In an article published on Web Retailer, Haines revealed that he sends 30% by air to get the initial sales rolling in and ships the remaining 70% by sea to save money.
“This technique also works well when running out of stock!” Haines wrote.
Step 2: Find the Right Keywords for Your Listing and PPC Campaign
You can have the best product in the world, but if nobody knows it exists, you’re not going to make any sales. That’s why visibility is so important.
In this section, we’ll be focusing on gaining visibility by boosting your product ranking. Below are some strategies that will help get your product featured at the top of Amazon’s search results.
Study Your Competitors
A good place to start is by finding out what is currently working. And what better way to do that than by studying your competitors!
Begin by figuring out what people are searching for and which products are currently ranking for that keyword. This process can either be done manually or you can use a paid tool like Helium 10. The main difference is that a paid tool is going to make this process faster and easier.
When you analyze your competitors’ listings, you want to look for keywords that are strategically placed in the following key areas:
- Beginning of the title
- Remainder of the title
- Bullet points
Current best practice is to prioritize the placement of your keywords in the order outlined above.
Research Short-Tail and Long-Tail Keywords
If you’re new to selling on Amazon, your initial impulse is probably to go for short-tail keywords. But that’s not always the best strategy. Allow us to explain.
Let’s suppose you’re selling sweatshirts for women. Examples of short-tail keywords would be “women’s sweatshirts” or “women’s hoodies.” While terms like this may generate a ton of traffic, the problem is that they’re also highly competitive and thus hard to rank for.
If you find yourself in this situation, you may want to consider using long-tail keywords instead. These are keywords that consist of longer phrases (three or more words) and are more specific than short-tail keywords (which generally consist of one or two words). Examples of long-tail keywords include “fashionable women’s hooded sweatshirts,” “women’s athletic hoodies,” or “thick winter sweatshirts for women.” While they may have a lower search volume, they may also have a higher conversion rate because they are more specific.
Long-tail keywords are an excellent way to generate sales in a competitive niche. Once you get the ball rolling, you can target higher competition keywords later on.
Select the Search Terms You Want to Rank For
After you’ve studied your competitors and researched both short-term and long-term keywords, it’s time to choose which search terms you want to rank for. Remember: order them in terms of importance by placing your highest priority keywords toward the beginning of the title, then work on the remainder of the title, followed by the bullet points and lastly, the description.
Step 3: Prepare Your Amazon Product Listing for Liftoff
Having completed steps 1 and 2, now it’s time to create a fully optimized listing.
Craft the Title
Keyword-wise, the product title is the most critical aspect of your listing, which is why you should start here.
A great product title will not only be optimized for Amazon’s ranking algorithm, but it will also entice the consumer to click on the listing to learn more. The goal is to strike a healthy balance between keyword placement for the algorithm and a well-written teaser for the customer.
Upload Quality Images
Given that images are one of the first things a consumer looks at, it goes without saying that you should portray your product in the best light possible. For most Amazon sellers, this means hiring a professional photographer and editor. If you’re already skilled in this area, you can get away with doing it yourself.
Fortunately, there are a lot of affordable services that specialize in Amazon product photography. For more information, check out our Amazon product photo services guide.
Nail Your Bullet Points
Ok, so you crafted a compelling title and your images are flawless. Now what?
Now you focus on securing the sale by outlining all the key features of your product in the form of a bulleted list. This is your chance to tell the customer how your product can fulfill all their needs. But there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about it.
Firstly, make your bullet points as short as possible. Not only is a huge wall of text unappealing to the eye, but it also decreases the likelihood of customers actually reading it. Therefore, it is in your best interest to keep it concise.
And remember what we said earlier about striking a healthy balance between keyword placement and well-written descriptions? That applies here, too.
Create A+ Content
Want to gain an edge over the competition? Take advantage of A+ Content.
A+ Content, previously known as Enhanced Brand Content (EBC), is an excellent way to make your listing stand out from the crowd.
“The A+ Content feature enables brand owners to change the product descriptions of branded ASINs,” an article published by Amazon explains. “Using this tool, you can describe your product features in a different way by including a unique brand story, enhanced images, and text placements. Adding A+ to your product detail pages can result in higher conversion rates, increased traffic, and increased sales when used effectively.”
Do note that in order to use this feature, you need to either be an approved brand owner through the Amazon Brand Registry, or be part of a specific managed selling program, like Amazon Exclusive or Launchpad. Keep in mind that the Amazon Brand Registry requires a registered trademark, a process that can take months to complete, so get started early!
Fill In Those Backend Keywords
Backend keywords are the finishing touch that can add an extra boost to your listing visibility. In essence, they are hidden search terms that can help users find your product when they are using related keywords.
With backend keywords, you’re limited to a certain number of characters. To maximize your space, avoid using punctuation like commas, as they will be counted as characters.
Step 4: Send Traffic to Your Listing
Even if you follow steps 1, 2, and 3 to the T, that’s probably not going to get you the sales volume that you want. In order to build substantial launch traffic and sales, you’re going to have to send traffic to your listing. Here we’ll discuss ways in which you can go about doing so.
One of the most effective means of driving launch traffic and sales is through advertising. Below is a list of platforms that we highly suggest you consider using:
- Amazon PPC ads
- Google ads
- Facebook ads
- Instagram ads
- YouTube ads
A word of caution on this point before we move on: your advertising spend can quickly eat into your profits if you’re not careful. To prevent this from happening, make sure you factor it into your total cost of goods sold (COGS). If you’re not sure how to do this, contact us for help.
Link to Your Listing From Your Website
If you have a website, you should definitely provide a link to your listing. But don’t stop there! If you have a blog, write an article that links to the listing somewhere in the body of the text.
To be clear, there’s no real evidence that “link juice” is one of the factors Amazon’s algorithm uses to determine rank. However, there is evidence to suggest that it can help your Amazon listing rank on Google.
Step 5: Increase Brand Awareness
In this final step, we’ll go over strategies for increasing brand awareness, which will set you up for long-term success.
Influencer marketing has gotten a bad rap in recent years, but the practice is far from dead. In fact, you can still use influencer marketing to good effect—if you know what you’re doing.
Most people’s first instinct is to go for the big fish—the Kim Kardashians of the world, so to speak. But you might actually be better off going for the smaller fish, otherwise known as “micro-influencers.”
A micro-influencer is someone who has between 1,000–100,000 followers. While it’s a far cry from the 202 million Instagram followers Kim Kardashian has, micro-influencers are often used to better effect because they operate within specific niches and have active, loyal followers. Oftentimes, this translates to a higher conversion rate at a much lower cost.
As far as channels go, you should of course consider all the major players like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. But don’t overlook up-and-coming platforms either, like TikTok.
This is a strategy we’ve employed ourselves, with terrific results!
It entails applying to be a guest speaker for various podcasts that are within your industry. The benefits are twofold: for one, you’ll get a link back to your website and two, you’ll get more exposure for your brand!
A good place to start is by checking out our list of best podcasts for Amazon sellers. Another avenue you can try is PodcastGuests.com. If you sign up for their newsletter, you’ll be sent a weekly list of podcasts that are actively searching for guests.
As with most endeavors, launching a product on Amazon sounds great and all until you figure out how much work is involved. On the same token, it can come with a huge payoff if you stick to the steps outlined above. If you feel overwhelmed and discouraged, just remember: nothing worth having comes easy.