Now that you have perfected your product page, you’re ready to start selling on Amazon… but research has shown that there are some ways you can improve this process before you actually hit “launch.” In fact, you believe with thorough research, selecting a third-party service provider may benefit your store significantly. But, with hundreds of providers out there, it’s possible that any of these Amazon Seller Central Consulting Providers could steer you and your store in the wrong direction. How can you prevent that? How can you ensure that you won’t make a $10,000 mistake?
Simple – you need to ask the right questions to start a service provider partnership in the right direction. Here are five necessary questions to ask your potential Amazon Seller Central Consulting Provider (and the right answers) before you give them a single penny.
Question 1: How soon can I begin to see results in my Amazon account?
Within all realms of e-commerce, what’s so significant about Amazon? Their authority and how quickly a seller can see results.
In some cases, sellers can see the fruit of their hard work normally within a month, but in a more realistic sense, sellers should wait after month three for their online presence to start building real momentum. It allows sellers to see the reactions and feedback of what works and what doesn’t.
However, take this answer with a grain of salt. If you are doing a fresh setup, lack content, don’t have your product lines set up or your product family clearly established, etc., you cannot expect the same results as a product that has been well optimized and ready. Expect positive results if your product pages have a more established foundation, or if it’s an existing infrastructure where it’s a matter of a few adjustments. Allow your service provider to take what you have and evolve it appropriately.
Question 2: Is there a chance something may go wrong and we wouldn’t be successful?
Any good Amazon Seller Central Consulting Provider should tell you, immediately and honestly, yes. The Amazon Marketplace, in addition to Amazon itself, is an unpredictable environment. It’s a highly competitive space and if something doesn’t pan out well, sellers have to immediately shift gears to make up for lost time. There are too many possible occurrences that can completely halt or derail any sort of progress you may have made creating your Amazon presence. It is the nature of this volatile environment.
Question 3: What do I need to do from my end to ensure the greatest chance of success?
It takes two to tango. To really be successful, it’s all about building your relationship with your service provider. Each side should be engaged, ready to sell, optimize, and make the best decisions for your product listings.
From you, however, Amazon Seller Central Consulting Providers should have two expectations:
- Know where you want to go with your
- products and brand
- Be willing to invest time, money, and effort
First, when you know what you want to achieve, you are able to give guidance in exactly where you want your brand to go. It is extremely important to Amazon Service Providers to know what you want, removing any sort of uncertainty or room for error when developing your brand and products.
Second, you need to be willing to invest, not just money, but your time and effort, as well. Managing your relationship with an Amazon Service Provider is not simple and easy. When you know how much time, money, and commitment it will take to get your product up and running, then the service can help you.
Question 4: What is the most important thing that I can do to ensure that you succeed in helping me?
To build off the previous question, the most important thing you can do to create meaningful service from your provider is timely feedback. Don’t be afraid to be honest with them; when your service provider completes a task or requests approval for your products, you should promptly sign off on tasks or offer your thoughtful comments and concerns. This ensures a positive partnership and keeps your brand consistent and in line with your vision.
Question 5: What planning and strategy exercises will be required to get up to speed?
Again, as another question had stated, it depends. There are a number of things that need to be consistent and standard regardless of where you are in the process. If you already have a product and may have the optimization nailed down, then it’s more of, for example, planning out what keywords to target, how to set up an advertising campaign, etc. However, if you are starting up an entirely new line of business with quite a bit of uncertainty, then there will be some planning around, for example, what profitability will be with FBA, without FBA, etc.
A good Amazon Service Provider should tell you it depends on where you are in your business. They should also be able to pick up where you left off and begin a meaningful process for your brand’s success.
The core questions Amazon Service Providers may start with:
- How much you will make with each sale of a product?
- Which types of keywords are most relevant?
- What types of advertising should we start with?
- What kinds of assets will we be able to utilize or create?
Bonus Question 1: Which key performance indicators does your team typically focus on for client work and how will you report on our progress month-over-month?
The answer to this question can depend on the goals in your business, but the likely key performance indicators (KPIs) your Amazon Service Provider may tell you are:
- What’s your month over month growth?
- How are your profits growing?
- One product outselling the rest?
- Even distribution of sales among all products?
- What are your overall costs?
- Blended ACOS between marketing, advertising, overall top-line expenses?
- How are you ranking for your most important keywords?
- Are we growing fast enough to make up for costs?
- How efficiently are we growing?
A good rule of thumb is to check how your KPIs are going every three to four weeks. Any good service provider would be able to offer you the proper insight on how you are doing, as well as give you the opportunity to check yourself. Ask to see examples of their reporting, and make sure you focus on your margin above all.
Bonus Question 2: Who will be managing my account and executing the work?
How would you feel about this: You think you have found the perfect service provider with the right price and tools to get your product out the door and in the hands of your customers. You decide to sign with them, but quickly realize you don’t have a dedicated account manager, you have to chat for support, you don’t have regular meetings, the one who sold you this service has nothing to do with the maintenance and execution of your store, etc.
You probably would not feel too great about this type of partnership. These are the types of things you should be hesitant about from an Amazon Seller Central Consulting Provider.
Instead, your provider should:
- Offer a dedicated point of contact/account manager
- Be easy to reach in case of an emergency or basic support needs
- A phone call, email, or just 24-hour response should be expected
- Be upfront and transparent about everything regarding your account.
Once you have asked your Amazon Service Provider these questions, you will avoid any unnecessary, costly mistakes and see if they truly can make your Amazon store successful. With the vast variety of services, providers, and agencies out there, you want to know that you selected the right one for your business. In the end, find an agency and Amazon consultant that best fits your needs with a full strategy to drive your business towards success.
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Ryan Flannagan is the Founder & CEO of Nuanced Media, an international eCommerce marketing agency specializing in Amazon. Nuanced has sold $100s of Millions online and Ryan has built a client base representing a total revenue of over 1.5 billion dollars. Ryan is a published author and has been quoted by a number of media sources such as BuzzFeed, CNBC, and Modern Retail.