This isn’t the outlook any of us wanted or had in mind for 2020, but we can make the most of it. COVID-19 is wreaking havoc on businesses worldwide and changes are being made to accommodate immediate needs as the vast majority of the population is ordered to stay at home. Understandably so, many of us want toys and games to fill the hours, however, the needs lie in medical and household essentials - and we can understand that. But we don’t have to let our businesses dry up. Follow these five tips to stay relevant in the world of Amazon through COVID-19 and beyond.
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Learn more: COVID-19 Affecting Amazon Sellers - What You Need to Know.
COVID-19 Amazon Tips
1. Be Smart, Follow the Rules
Don’t try anything tricky, or anything that may look tricky to alter your account and listings in order to get around recent restrictions. Stay honest and true to your brand and customers, even though you see others trying to capitalize on this difficult time. Amazon is on high alert for this and it will inevitably not fare well for your business.
2. Be Attentive to Customers
Customer service should remain one of your top priorities. Stay attentive to buyer messages and questions. Overall good customer service and responsiveness will be helpful in maintaining a good brand to consumer relationship. People are likely to be more impatient than normal. Try and make sure their experience with your business is pleasant and helpful. People remember and when this is behind us hopefully they will be a repeat customer for you.
3. Advertising is Still Important
We know what you’re thinking, sales are down, I should cut my advertising budget. Absolutely not! That may do you more harm than good. Run the course and do not make any drastic changes. The only reason why you should change your advertising game plan is if you start to see your ACoS spike.
4. Maintain Prices
Do not increase your prices - no matter how tempting it may be. You will likely slow conversions as well as draw yourself unwanted attention from Amazon. They may suspect price gouging and could suspend your account or prosecute.
5. Get Your Product Out the Door
Shipping is taking on a new life of its own. During this time you may want to explore different shipping opportunities. Undoubtedly this will most likely result in more time being spent on the logistics of shipping but the good news is that you are making sales. Any positive movement of your inventory is good. Here are some shipping options and advice:
Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM)
Right now FBM is your best shipping solution to stay relevant and competitive, even if you currently have products in FBA. If you have the capability or the desire to learn how to fulfill orders via FBM, now is the time to make the shift.
Adjust your shipping settings to ensure that you are meeting the shipping times. Don’t count on Amazon to be sympathetic to these challenges. You need to take control of your shipping times, even if they need to be pushed out in order to maintain a positive standing with Amazon.
Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA)
Right now, FBA is not the place to be if you are selling non-essential inventory (per Amazon’s guidelines) but you can consider shipping FBM instead. This will allow you to keep selling. The most important thing to note is that you need to be 100% sure that you can meet your ship times and metrics for selling FBM. We suggest starting small. You don’t want to ruin your account health - it’s easier to do than you may think.
If you are currently an FBA seller and you have inventory in Amazon’s warehouses but you are selling in a non-essential category, it’s okay. Keep your inventory there and Amazon will still sell it for you under the FBA guidelines. Right now you may even be seeing a spike in sales. However, when inventory runs out, in a non-essential category, Amazon will not allow you to replenish. So, what other shipping options can you set up?
Third Party Logistics (3PL)
If you don’t have warehouse or fulfillment capabilities look into a 3PL service. This would enable Amazon FBM but could also be used to fulfill other sales on different channels.
Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP)
Unfortunately, if you are not already enrolled in this shipping option you can not sign up at this time.
The impact of COVID-19 is changing the way we do business - for today. Amazon is still one of the leading eCommerce platforms available to sellers. They will undoubtedly survive and probably thrive in the chaos that has taken over our lives. Amazon sellers who are positioned to shift and change with the times have the potential to see this through. Start by following our COVID-19 Amazon tips explained above. We don’t have a Magic 8 ball (even if we ordered one, it wouldn’t get here for 2-3 more weeks) but we can set up our businesses for the new normal and build from there.
If you are overwhelmed with what to do among this crisis and need help with your business, we’re here to help. Our experts are already working with clients, just like you, to reposition their eCommerce businesses on Amazon in light of COVID-19. A bonus for our clients is that we’ve been working remotely for years - so there is no interruption of services. Let us help you do the same.