How to pivot your Amazon business through COVID-19May 05, 2020
If you're like most sellers, you're probably wondering if we are any closer to approaching the ‘new normal’ for selling on Amazon.
The fact is that it's too early to tell. But there may be some clues in the changes we've seen so far that can help you plan your next steps.
1. Stay Updated on Amazon’s Policy Changes
Amazon’s first COVID-19-related policy change came in March when it announced it would temporarily restrict FBA inventory shipments for non-essential items.
Although this restriction has been lifted, it caught sellers off guard and caused inventory management problems for many (more on this below).
Also, Amazon has removed over 1 million listings that made COVID-19 claims. Pay attention to your product listing and make sure they are ToS-compliant to avoid having your listings shut down or seller accounts suspended.
2. Adjust Your Inventory Management Strategy
Despite inbound shipments of non-essential items being opened up, many sellers are still experiencing delayed check-ins.
If your supply chain is in place, you may want to consider sending in smaller shipments to increase your chances for faster check-in.
This adjustment in your inventory strategy especially makes sense if you have seen a fall in demand for your products.
By keeping your inventory levels as lean as possible so you free up cash flow and fulfil your orders as efficiently as possible.
3. Explore Alternative Fulfillment Channels
Amazon’s temporary suspension of non-essential FBA inventory shipments in March may not be the last.
The cancellation of key sales events such as Mother's Day and Father's Day promotions and the indefinite delay of Prime Day may be an indication that Amazon is taking measures to ensure it can keep up with customer demand.
If and when your FBA inventory runs low, you may want to consider converting those listings from FBA to Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) or Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP).
Whichever way you go you will need to have the capacity to store, fulfil, and ship your orders on your own or partner with a third-party logistics (3PL) company. But the added benefit of doing this is that YOU control the inventory.
4. Over Deliver On Customer Service
Many sellers are still facing delayed shipping of their items. There have also been problems with individual orders getting to customers on time or undamaged.
While there is very little you can do about this, you can stay on top of negative feedback or complaints and over-deliver when it comes to customer service.
The same goes for dealing with returns. You may find that you are experiencing a higher rate than normal due to impulse purchases or panic buying.
Again, be empathetic and understanding and try to provide the best customer experience possible.
5. Adjust Your Ad Spend
Last but by no means least, you need to adapt your PPC strategy and spend based on how your campaigns are performing.
Check your metrics daily and focus your ad dollars on the keywords and campaigns that are working and converting into sales.
The reality is that it's cheaper to advertise on Amazon right now. With so many sellers dialling back their spend or turning off campaigns (do NOT do this!), average Cost Per Clicks (CPC) has fallen significantly.
This presents you with an opportunity to go after Best Seller and Amazon Choice badges - inventory dependant obviously.
There's no denying that COVID-19 has presented Amazon sellers with a multitude of challenges.
But at the same time, it has presented an opportunity to adjust, pivot, and hopefully become better sellers in the process.
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