Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5
Subscribe

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Through Amazon

Simple errors can quickly upend your Amazon selling strategy. Learn how to avoid those mistakes and maximize your reach on the world's top seller platform.

By
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

With so many brands selling on Amazon, standing out and maximizing your Amazon potential can sometimes be a challenge. That's not only because millions of Amazon sellers are constantly vying for the same space, but also due to the many potential pitfalls haunting merchants throughout the selling process — dangers that can upend your strategy and dent your bottom line in a hurry.

If you sell on Amazon, knowing how to avoid these dangers is key to reaching more buyers and optimizing the impact of your professional seller account. Here are five of the most common mistakes Amazon sellers make on the platform to ensure your Amazon business strategy is outpacing the competition.

Mistake #1: Setting up on Amazon and expecting instant results

Setting up an Amazon seller account and listing products on the platform is one thing. But for most brands, expecting immediate success or skyrocketing sales numbers right after plugging into the platform will likely lead to major disappointment. In some cases, that lack of instant production can discourage brands from taking their Amazon approach seriously, with some disappointed sellers jumping off or dismissing the platform altogether.

Like any sales or advertising approach, achieving meaningful results isn't done overnight. It takes an ongoing commitment of time and effort. For any Amazon seller, cultivating the keyword rankings, review presence, and paid ads strategy needed to build trust and boost sales requires patience, proactivity, and the willingness to manage and adapt over a long period.

Noting those Amazon branding elements and adjusting to a long-term mindset helps set strategy expectations while heading off disappointment. It also provides the launching pad your professional selling plan needs to take off and succeed over the long haul.

Mistake #2: Confusing Amazon brand SEO with Google branding

A big part of getting your products to sell on Amazon is knowing how to boost your visibility in Amazon's shopper search results. Unfortunately, many an Amazon seller mistakenly confuses Amazon ranking's search engine optimization with Google's, failing to recognize the huge difference between Amazon's and Google's algorithms while pursuing SEO strategies that put their own brand at a disadvantage.

Avoiding this common Amazon seller mistake means knowing what Amazon users are searching for. To get that inside scoop, it's crucial to shelve your Google SEO knowledge for the time being and research the industry and product category keywords regularly searched on Amazon itself. Tailoring the research process to Amazon helps even brand new sellers better understand the specific terms buyers are using to find their products on the popular e-commerce platform, providing an important edge right out of the gate.

Of course, having the right keywords provides a crucial leg-up when it comes to optimizing listings and paid ad content. And with an Amazon-centered keyword research and SEO strategy in place, you can continually refine that content and ensure your product pages are always search engine sharp.

Related: Want to Rank Higher in Google and Amazon Search? This $29 Course Can Help.

Mistake #3: Going halfway on Amazon product listings

Regardless of the product category, how you present your goods on Amazon matters. And if you sell on Amazon and aren't taking every step to polish up each product detail page and create high-quality listings, you're making a crucial mistake that'll cost you well down the line.

Customers visit your product listings to learn more about your product and make the final decision on whether to buy. That gives elements like incomplete product descriptions, pixelated images, lack of keywords, and the omission of essential product benefits and features) an outsized impact on your conversion rate. Failing to provide correct product details can also create headaches for your brand and bottom line, putting your brand in the crosshairs of customers always ready to share their thoughts online.

In short, product listings offer an easy but often-missed opportunity to share product detail, improve the shopper experience and compel customers to action. Amazon sellers that fail to take each product listing seriously do so at their own peril.

Mistake #4: Going inactive (treating Amazon as a passive sales outlet)

As the current "king" of online selling platforms, the Amazon seller app attracts companies and sellers of all types from across the world. Brands and consumers are always coming and going through the platform. This constant movement, combined with Amazon's diverse, highly competitive seller base (each vying for the same consumers), makes selling on Amazon a dynamic proposition. Ultimately, that means a "set it and forget it" strategy just won't cut it, especially if you're aiming to sell on Amazon over the long term.

Related: 7 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Seller on Amazon

Far too often, brand owners make the mistake of completing an Amazon brand registry, filling out a product detail page or two, and simply waiting for the sales to roll in. But while this approach might work for the occasional new Amazon seller account, it's rarely effective for building the brand story and trust many Amazon users demand, or for creating the competitive edge you need to stand apart from other online retailers.

Sustained success on Amazon not only takes foresight but a continuous, proactive effort, including ongoing monitoring, research, and a commitment to change directions and tweak your selling plan when needed. The most successful third-party sellers on Amazon don't sit on their heels but remain vigilant when it comes to monitoring trends and maximizing the reach and potential of each existing listing.

Mistake #5: Failing to advertise on Amazon

Are you supplementing your Amazon seller account with advertising? If not, you're making a critical strategy error.

Amazon is undoubtedly the world's most competitive online selling marketplace. And in such a cutthroat and crowded e-commerce environment, failing to utilize a well-tested Amazon ads strategy automatically puts you at a significant disadvantage, particularly among the many other local merchants using that tool to broadcast their brands across the platform. You may be saving money now, but if you aren't boosting your seller account with at least a nominal paid ads effort, you're missing a powerful opportunity to broaden your reach and earn new business.

Of course, it's critical to tailor each new Amazon PPC strategy to your brand, industry, budget, and target audience, and to continually evolve your approach to keep up with changing shopper dynamics. But if you choose to start selling or operate Amazon stores without running any ads at all, you're likely to regret it at some point in the future.

Related: How Amazon's Domination Could Benefit Your Business

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks