Want to win on Amazon without breaking the rules? Here are 5 perfectly legal hacks to help you dominate the marketplace.

With so many sellers in the space, winning a purchase on Amazon is becoming incredibly competitive. For any one product, you’ll have scores of other sellers looking to get their listing in front of the same buyers. It’s a dog eat dog world and many sellers have resorted to underhand tactics.

Amazon, however, is getting wise to these practices. Whether it’s buying positive reviews, spamming competitors or attempting to force customers to remove negative reviews, Amazon is making moves to stop these behaviors.

You don’t need to be shady or underhanded! There are plenty of perfectly legal hacks you can use that will help you dominate the Amazon marketplace.

Amazon’s crackdown

Bad seller behavior has long been a problem for Amazon. In a recent analysis from the Washington Post, figures were released which suggested 61% of reviews for electrical products on Amazon were fake. In the spring of 2018, hundreds of Amazon sellers began posting on social media complaining that their accounts had been suspended. Amazon replied that, in most cases, the sellers had been suspended because they had broken the platform’s reviews policy. The message is clear – if you contravene Amazon’s increasingly strict guidelines you should expect to pay the consequences.

That should be good news for most Amazon sellers. If the cheaters are no longer prospering it creates a level playing field for everyone else. Even so, winning at this game will not be easy, so here are five legal hacks for Amazon sellers that will put you well ahead of the competition.

Competitor Research

If you’re entering a physical marketplace you might well get out there to scout the competition and you can also do this on Amazon. Your competitors are all available online and you can see what they are doing well and what they aren’t.

Have a look at those who are ranked higher and look at what they are doing which is working so well. Have a read of their product reviews. This is a great chance to find out what they are doing well and where things are going wrong. Pay particularly close attention to any negative reviews. This tells you where they are falling down. Not only does this give you an opportunity to see what kind of issues might crop up, but also how you can beat them.

You should also do this with your own listings. Have a look at your negative reviews and see what people are most concerned about. This can help you refine your product and improve the value you offer your customers.

To get a real idea of how they operate try buying their product. Have a look at it and study everything – from the product itself, to the way it is packaged and their email sequences. Look at how they communicate with you. Think about their messaging, their product inserts and if their customer service makes it more or less likely that you will leave a positive review.  

Contacting customers

Amazon has strict guidelines about when you can and cannot contact a buyer. For example, you should only contact a buyer if it is in relation to a specific purchase. You can contact them to let them know the item has shipped, or you can contact them to resolve an issue they are having with their purchase.

You cannot market to them, promote other services or offer an incentive to encourage them to leave a positive product review.

You can set up automated emails that will go out in specific circumstances that may improve your product review and seller feedback scores. Using a tool like FeedbackWhiz, you can set up emails to be sent automatically once a product has shipped or when it is delivered. You can include contact links so the buyer can contact you with any questions or concerns, links to Amazon’s product review pages, and any information the buyer may need to more easily and successfully use your product.

Emails can also be sent to buyers who have left positive seller feedback asking them to consider leaving a product review as well. Just be careful of the language you use. You cannot ask for a positive review, but given that they have given you positive feedback, it is likely that the buyer will also leave you a positive product review.

Improve your review rating

One factor which will govern whether you appear in the buy box will be how positive your reviews have been. In general, you will only see sellers in the buy box who have an average rating of 90% or above.

Of course, the best way to ensure a good rating is to sell high-quality products and make sure they make it to the customer intact and on time.

But there is no such thing as perfection. Even if you master your product and your shipping processes, the odds are good you will encounter negative reviews at some point. What matters the most is how you respond.

You can contact the buyer through Amazon’s message system to resolve the issue but it is also a good idea to comment directly on the negative review. When you do this, potential customers will see the steps you are taking, or have taken, to remedy the situation. This may give them the confidence they need to choose you over another seller.

Taking that step will establish you as a seller who cares about what they are selling and will be available to help should any problems arise.

Automated keyword research

SEO is an important tool on Amazon as it is anywhere else which is why sellers will dedicate a lot of time and effort into keyword research. You can do this manually. If you identify a popular keyword in Google you could type that word into the search bar plus a single letter to get a list of suggestions. For example, if you type Juicer A into the search bar you might see another list of suggested phrases such as ‘Juicer accessories, Juicer and blender…’ and so on.

This will take a long time, but there are automated keyword search tools you can use to get an instant list of suggestions. This cuts out a huge amount of work, gives you an edge in creating your product descriptions and helps you to concentrate on other areas.  

User seller review tools

Never underestimate the power of software tools. Sellers are increasingly using software like FeedbackWhiz to manage their orders, product reviews, and email campaigns.

From one secure and accessible dashboard, you can track the status of each order, develop and test email campaigns, and easily manage all of your product reviews. Perhaps most important, FeedbackWhiz helps you collate important data about your sales. You can filter product reviews based on star rating, allowing you to see an overview of the positives and negatives of any given product. If something comes up over and over again as a problem, you know you’ve got a weak point in your product.

You can also A/B test emails, and check open rates. This information can help you develop more effective marketing strategies going forward.

It is indeed a competitive world out there with millions of sellers competing for the same buyers. Given the pressure, it’s no surprise many sellers have taken to underhand tactics. However, as these 5 tips show, you don’t have to break the rules to get ahead. In this case, the risk is simply not worth it.