Are you in the market for some extra help with your Amazon marketplace account? Over the past year ‘Amazon consultants’ have been popping up out of nowhere. While some have the expertise and an actual business model, others leave their clients hanging. Before you invest your hard earned money into hiring a consulting agency, educate yourself on what to expect to ensure you are getting a top Amazon consultant.
Make Sure These 10 Items Are On Your List
Everyone wants to hire the best, top-rated Amazon consultant, but how do you find one that can live up to their hype? To begin, download this handy checklist that puts all the services and skills discussed below in one spot. Then read on to learn more about what you should expect when searching and interviewing a potential Amazon consultant.
Provides Exceptional Customer Service
Expect informative answers to your questions and a timely response to your emails and phone calls. All too often we hear about consulting agencies ignoring clients. Make sure they are responsive. Otherwise, how will you work together? You can get a good idea about how they run their business by reading their reviews on sites like Google and Facebook.
Understands Selling Platforms
Amazon has several options for sellers, Seller Central, Vendor Central or a Hybrid Model. Your Amazon consultant should be fluent in knowing how each of the platforms work and be able to advise which would work best for your products and why.
Must Follow Amazon's Rules
There are many black hat tactics out there and they make you think that you can get rich quick, but it’s a scheme and ultimately you will end up hurting your business. Make sure that the agency you hire is quality driven and that they can provide results without resorting to tricking the system.
Knows Amazon SEO
Amazon SEO not only utilizes keywords but also factors in your ranking. If you have a good ranking, your product listings are more likely to appear at the top of Amazon’s search results. To determine your ranking, Amazon looks at your keywords as well as the product price, availability, reviews and more. That being said, make sure your consultant knows that Amazon SEO is not just keywords but includes factors that contribute to your overall seller ranking.
Ability to Develop Product Listings That Convert
Anyone can go in and write a title and bullet points but it’s very easy too miss the mark. When crafting copy for a product listing the writer needs to consider Amazon’s guidelines (there are character limits, grammar and punctuation rules to follow, etc.) and make sure the content is compelling while still speaking to the customer. The purpose of a quality title, bullet points and description is to utilize keywords and product details to share important information about the product, answer possible questions and ultimately have the customer add the product to their cart to purchase.
Additionally, the graphics help improve buyer confidence and conversions. Photos, infographics and videos appeal to the sensory side of the purchase decision process. By using these graphics to present your product, you can fill the void many consumers feel when shopping online. Plus, you can stand apart from your competition. A top Amazon consultant agency will be able to do the copywriting and graphics all in-house. They will also be able to expand your listings to include EBC / A+ Content. They will understand the importance of each and how to present them to educate the buyer and influence their purchase.
Understand the Importance of Reviews
Reviews are important for all Amazon sellers because it helps to build a layer of trust. However, getting reviews can be a challenge and Amazon has strict rules that need to be followed. Make sure your Amazon consultant knows the right (and wrong) ways to get reviews so you don’t end up in trouble. If you are a new seller, with less than 30 reviews, it’s likely that your consultant will recommend the Amazon Vine Voice program. If they don’t, ask them.
Get Your Product in the Buy Box
Winning the Amazon Buy Box is a quest for all sellers.. Amazon established a set of criteria that they believe will provide a superior experience for customers. Amazon tracks each seller's performance metrics and features the highest performing seller in an area that is highlighted to buyers, the Buy Box. Winning the Buy Box gives sellers a competitive advantage and typically results in higher sales volume. A top Amazon consultant will be able to give you a detailed strategy to perform better as a seller. They will alert you to checking your metrics along with variables that impact your Buy Box success.
Establish and Manage Your Amazon Advertising
Optimizing your product listing with keyword backed content, powerful graphics and reviews is half of the equation for success. The second half is paid advertising. Amazon has a strong advertising platform. The advantage for businesses is that people come to Amazon to shop, not to search or connect with friends. Additionally, Amazon’s ads don’t feel like traditional advertising. They often blend in with other products in the organic search results, creating a less intrusive experience for shoppers.
A strong consultant will be able to explain the different PPC (pay per click) advertising options available to you and highlight which ones will work best for your business needs. PPC advertising is also beneficial for all budgets. Your advertising consultant will be able to help you determine a fair amount for advertising (and may even be able to help you decrease your advertising expenses, like in this case study, where they were able to maintain their sales and decrease advertising spending by 52%).
Knows FBM (Fulfillment by Merchant) vs. FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)
Part of your business includes packaging and shipping your orders. You have a few options and finding the one that fits your needs can be exhausting. The goal is to get the product into your customers hands safely and quickly. Amazon Prime and it’s 2-day shipping (same day for some items) has set expectations high for sellers across the board. Customers want their items fast. You need an experienced consultant who can help you determine the best solution and most efficient way to ship. Ultimately fast shipping increases sales due to the ‘want it now’ mentality.
Have a Proven Track Record
Look at everything from the number of years they’ve been in business to the quality of the content on their website. Dive into their reviews and see what happy and not-so-happy clients are saying about their services. Ask to see case studies and what their retention rates are. Satisfied clients stay.
How Do They Approach Amazon Consulting?
Knowing how your Amazon consulting agency approaches their work is helpful before you even sign with them. You need to determine if their work dynamic will positively impact your business. When you ask them to explain how they work look for information as it pertains to these areas:
1. Account Management and Communication
Top Amazon consultants will be upfront and give you a project manager who is experienced and ready to direct your account, and team members to complete work on your behalf. Essentially, you won’t even know that there are more hands on your project because your project manager will be your liaison and should be equipped to give you all of the information and answers you need.
2. Custom Strategy
Is your consulting agency asking questions about your business and products? Do they ask you about your current sales as well as short and long-term goals?
It may feel like they want to know all your business secrets but they are just doing good research. They need this information to provide you with a custom strategy for your business. You don’t want a one size fits all approach. You need to stand out from your competition and to do that you need a creative, custom designed approach.
Just as you are sharing all the integral workings of your business with your consultant team, they need to be upfront with you. At any point you can ask what they are working on? How much time is it going to take or taking? Also, they should be sharing metrics on a regular basis or even better, provide you with access to a company dashboard where you can stay up to speed, in real time, whenever you want to.
4. Knowledge and Experience
How much do they know? If you have questions, can they answer them? Do they have well-written articles published on their website? Do they have proof of their expertise (like case studies)?
A top Amazon consultant can be actively engaged in a conversation. If they truly are experts the conversation will be natural and nearly seamless. They will be able to answer your questions and if you toss in a trick question they can get you the answer, and do so quickly. They should present a level of confidence that makes you feel reassured that they are the best for the job.
Be Prepared to Answer Questions About Your Business
You are the most knowledgeable about your own business and products. A top Amazon consultant will take advantage of your insight to better the strategic plan they develop for your unique business model. You should expect them to ask:
- What are your goals and challenges for selling on Amazon?
- Who is your target audience?
- What experience have you had with Amazon SEO, copywriting, PPC (Pay Per Click) advertising and shipping options like FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)?
- If you have a large catalog they may ask, what products are your top sellers? What products would you like to promote or draw more attention to?
- What is your budget? A qualified Amazon Consultant can not give you a strategic plan without a budget to stick to and your goals to keep in mind.
Finding the Right Amazon Consultant
Now you have the tools you need to search and evaluate Amazon consultants to ensure that you are finding the best match for your Amazon business. Talk to a few consulting agencies if you find yourself unsure. See how timely they are returning your emails and calls. How well can they answer your questions and offer you guidance, within reason. They can’t give you all their trade secrets or they wouldn’t be in business. You should feel comfortable with the team you hire and they should be able to do everything listed above. If they can, then they are worth the investment. Don’t forget to download your free checklist as a helpful guide in your search.
While searching for a top Amazon consultant we’d like you to consider our team. Please set up a free, 30-minute consultation. We’d love to get to know more about your business and needs, as well as answer any questions you have about selling on Amazon. Best of luck in your search.