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Top 10 Mistakes To Avoid When You Start Selling On Amazon

Starting an Amazon Business can be incredibly rewarding, with access to the world’s largest marketplace and an almost endless supply of customers, success should be guaranteed, right?


Any experienced Amazon seller can tell you that there are high standards to be met, and hoops to be jumped through in order to guarantee success on Amazon. Does that mean you should give up now? Definitely not. What it means is that you need to be aware of what to do, and more importantly, what not to do. In this article, we’ll cover some of the most common mistakes new sellers make, and how to avoid them.

1. Not Taking Care Of Your Customers

Amazon loves customers. That seems like common sense, but it’s something a lot of sellers forget. Amazon has always been a customer-centric business, with Jeff Bezos attributing his success to an “obsessive compulsion” for putting customers over the competition.

With online businesses, when you have no direct contact with customers, it’s easy to forget that good customer service is still vitally important.

Because of Amazon’s approach as a company, being customer-centric is also key to success as a seller on the platform. Responding to questions, dealing with customer complaints, and maintaining high review scores are all ways you can keep your customers happy. 

The one thing Amazon doesn’t want is unhappy customers, and you can guarantee that they’ll make your business fail if you’re not keeping customers happy.

2. Not Optimizing Your Product Listings (And Keeping Them Accurate)

If you’re new to selling on Amazon, the phrase “optimize your product listings” may not mean much to you, but it is quite possibly the single most important aspect of selling on Amazon and will always be worth the investment.

We’ve talked a lot on Keyworx about this, but it’s always worth repeating. 

The greatest driver of sales on Amazon has always been the Amazon search engine, if you’re at the top of the search then your product will sell well. It’s that simple.

Not optimizing your product listings is a death-wish for an Amazon seller, and with so many great resources available that walk you through the process, there’s really no excuse for skipping this step.

3. Not Using High-Quality Images

Have you ever noticed that the main image on all the top Amazon listings shows the product against a plain white background? 

That’s not a coincidence. 

Amazon has incredibly high standards for their imagery. Not only do you need to match a certain format, but you should also be ensuring that your images represent your product as fully and accurately as possible. 

We’ve done a whole guide on Amazon imagery that will give you all the information you need to get your product images ready.

4. Not Caring About Rankings

It’s become a cliche to quote The Art Of War when talking about business, but sometimes it’s just necessary, and when talking about rankings one quote in particular springs to mind.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

Consider every potential sale a battle. Amazon is your battlefield. You need to win those sales from your competitors, and without knowing both your own rankings and your competitors, you are ill-equipped to win the war.

In less dramatic terms, you need to understand that Amazon’s product rankings are the most important factor in sales numbers, and the best way to stay on top of the rankings is by using tools like Keyworx to track your rank and making adjustments when needed.

5. Selling Too Much

No, you didn’t misread that.

Selling too much is a huge mistake on Amazon. Or at least, selling more than you’re prepared for is. 

This warning on your listings is a guarantee that you'll be plummeting through the rankings in no time.

We’ve already mentioned how much Amazon focuses on the customer experience, trying to order a product that is out of stock is a terrible customer experience, and Amazon has been known to penalize sellers that don’t keep their stock high enough to keep up with demand. 

When you’re aiming for longevity, that penalty can signal the beginning of the end of a seller’s success. Stay on top of your stock to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

6. Choosing The Wrong Products

So you’ve optimized your listing, paid for professional images, you have plenty of stock, and you’re ranking in the top 10 for your keyword. 

But you’re not making sales. What’s gone wrong?

Have you considered that your product might be trash? 

This is a real question you need to ask yourself. Or in more considered terms, are you sure there is a market for your product in the first place? Finding a niche is a great way to get success on Amazon, but if that niche has no demand (or a very specific low volume demand), you’re not going to make a profit.

Understanding how to find a gap in the market and predict demand will help you make sensible choices before you commit to an unsellable product.

7. Breaking The Rules

Just don’t do it. It’s that simple.

The rules are there for a reason, and you won’t be able to hide your infractions from Amazon forever. Any aspiring seller should familiarize themselves with the most important rules before trying to build a business on Amazon. 

Ignoring the rules is a surefire way to never make a penny on Amazon.

8. Jumping On Trends (At the wrong time)

Who remembers fidget spinners? 

For a lucky few people who dove on that trend right at the start, that became one of the most lucrative booms in Amazon history. But for every forerunner who got there early and capitalized, there were hundreds of followers who got there too late and ended up with hundreds of useless fidget spinners that never sold.

The same can be said of any big trend to hit Amazon. If you’re early, and you can predict the wave, you’re in a great position to make a lot of money, very fast, but always beware of jumping on a trend that is already at its peak. 

9. Redirecting Traffic to your Website

So you’re trying to build a brand, selling on your own site as well as Amazon. The end goal for companies like this is usually platform independence, the ability to run a successful business on your own site without Amazon. This is desirable for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that you don’t have to pay Amazon a cut of every sale.

While Amazon doesn’t care about you running your own business elsewhere, what they will clamp down on is trying to direct traffic from your Amazon listing to your site.

Does that mean you can’t build a brand on Amazon? Absolutely not. Instead, you can take more subtle approaches, maintain a strong brand identity to inspire customers to search for you directly, include leaflets with links to your website in your product packaging. 

As long as you’re not blatant about it in your listing, you can expect little in the way of resistance from Amazon.

10. Ignoring The Importance Of Reviews 

Reviews are one of the biggest factors that turn a potential sale into a sale. Seeing social proof of other customer’s satisfaction with your product is the clearest measure of your quality that a customer has access to, and you better bet they’ll use it.

Requesting reviews from satisfied customers, and attempting to address the issues raised in negative reviews will help instill confidence in your business from any new potential customers. 

Keeping these tips in mind will set you on the right path for starting your Amazon business, and keep you one step above the competition.