Chris from Chris Turton Ecommerce is an ecommerce and marketplace consultant passionate about understanding how online businesses tick. He writes from experience and tries to answer questions from sellers to improve and share his knowledge. Today, Chris spills the secrets on the vital Amazon metric that can win you sales ranking:
The vital Amazon metric for sales ranking
Whilst scrolling through endless amounts of information about what is best for Amazon SEO, I am sure you have come across many of the same points over and over again – quality images, keyword laden titles and bullet points, mixed with quality reviews, good delivery times and much more.
However, the most important metric is repeatedly missed in this list.
I want you to pretend you’re Jeff Bezos. Ignore the riches, fame and lifestyle but instead focus on what singular value he built Amazon on. It is not about a “pretty” listing or description page, a highly quality video or thousands of five star reviews but on one, single point… the concept of customer centricity.
For Bezos and Amazons general ethos, Customer importance is its driving force, just like it is for us here at Ecommerce Intelligence. We strive on our product model being solely about the customer and their feedback
So why is this mindset so important and most importantly why is it the most important factor for your Amazon Search engine optimization?
We always make sure new sellers on Amazon focus on delivering for their customers, especially when they launch. This is absolutely pivotal for new sellers as their seller rankings (which you can find under performance > voice of the customer in seller central) have such an important role in the acquisition of the buybox for your listings and ultimately the products ranking.
I want you to think again from the marketplace’s perspective.
You have 2 separate products with one seller each. Product 1 seller has a seller rating of 100% and Product 2 Seller has a seller rating of 79% as per this screenshot below.
Both products may be optimised very well in terms of perfect imagery, content, video, bullet points and may even have the same amount of product reviews and the pricing may be the same on both, they may both also have next day prime services.
The likelihood is that Amazon will rank Product 1 better, because it knows that its more likely that the seller will provide a better experience to the customer and not just because the buybox winner has thousands more reviews.
Of course, this is not metric or heavily researched data, it is however, a common sense approach, and we do have evidence to support that buybox losses do happen from a seller who’s ratings are lower than competitors.
Why poor performance can kill a new seller
If you make mistakes in your first handful of orders on the Amazon platform, this can not only be costly to you but can also kill your seller account extremely quickly.
We always advise clients to “bow down” to customers, especially unhappy customers in the early formations of a seller central account. This is because it will cost you MUCH more than just a refund for that customer. What we mean by that is, a one star review will have a heavy impact on your sales, rather just appeasing and offering a full refund or replacement to the disgruntled customer. Remember, resolving a customer’s poor experience can actually turn that customer into a happy brand advocate!
Unfortunately, getting an “A-to-z guarantee claim” can be an almost death knell for new sellers. An A-z claim is essentially a frustrated customer looking for recompense of a lost or damaged item here the seller has not managed to resolve the issue in a timely manner, of course, you cannot keep all customers happy all the time, and we know there’s always “awkward” customers, but it is essential you put in a plan to keep these experience issues to an absolute minimum.
“Unhappy customers will cost your MUCH more than just a refund”
This is fundamentally because a brand new product getting a poor review will automatically lower that products status to be less than 5 star which will impact the way customers buy.
Even worse, a seller review of less than 5 stars, will potentially knock you off from getting the buybox, even if you are the only person selling it, automatically reducing the position of your products in rankings.
This snapshot below is a product that is being sold, but the business selling it has not got the “buybox” and we see this “available from these sellers” message displayed under the title.
Brand new sellers will find this on their products, but after a week or two, your own products should have you solely in the buybox, if it does not, one key reason could be your seller performance score!
A quick caveat here, total buybox loss can also happen because of other factors – such as your product being overpriced in comparison to Amazon’s “competitive market” for example if your product is being sold in Tesco, eBay, Costco etc and the pricing is higher on Amazon
The other main reason for buybox loss is your “account health” being less than satisfactory.
Account health can be a major reason behind poor rankings and buybox loss.
Account health really is the beating heart of your account and is purely performance based against customer expectations.
This example above shows some worrying signs including policy compliance issues and valid tracking rates (VTR) below optimal. These metrics are much more important than getting your listings and Amazon SEO points in order.
Quick tips on keeping your performance metrics optimal
- Review DAILY your account health metrics
- Pay attention to dips in your order defect rates and valid tracking rates, new Amazon rules in April 2021 will mean bad VTR metrics can get your account suspended, you may need to invest a little more in your postage but it will boost the customer experience.
- Absorb feedback and messages from customers and implement into product listings or make changes to reduce “friction” in their shopping experience
- Keep a close eye on your DSR (detailed seller ratings) as this can heavily impact on your rankings and buybox capabilities.