Hacking Vendor Express for Greater Ranking & Profits

Vendor Express is only just now a couple of years old. It’s Amazon’s gateway into establishing a wholesale relationship (referred to as 1P) with sellers. Essentially it is their vendor “lite” program. The difference between Vendor Express and the regular, invite-only Vendor Central program is that with VE anyone can sign up. Anyone can also place their products up for offer to wholesale to Amazon.

When you do this, Amazon can either accept your offer or decline the price you give them. If they accept, this opens a number of vendor tools for the seller (AMS, on-page coupons, and a couple others). Historically, however, this is where sellers hit a snafu. At this point, Amazon takes “control” over the detail page listing for the product. When they do this, they tend to follow extremely outdated and inefficient style guides that, for the most part, un-optimize the listing.

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The Power of Bundling

Since the humble beginnings of FBA people have been speculating the most efficient way to stand out and get more clicks/views/conversions/sales. Before the surge of private label, one of the most effective ways to not have to battle out the buy box was to bundle. This would allow a seller to package multiple items together under a new ASIN.

Now brands big and small have caught onto the profitable potential of the Amazon marketplace, but the bundle trend doesn’t seem to have changed. Big brands and major sellers alike utilize the unique benefits bundling provides for a number of different reasons; to beat out the buy box, to offer more value, to have a more unique main image that converts more clicks or just to be better than their competition.

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Does Fulfillment Type Significantly Affect Ranking?

merchant-fullfil

We’ve dug into this topic before; asking how 1P sellers are treated vs third party. We uncovered that there appears to be an obvious bias in ranking for products that Amazon sells and fulfills. However, the question has still remained as to how significant ranking appears to be affected by fulfillment type at all.

In order to determine this we looked at the top 15 results on the first page of a number of popular search terms. We analyzed 267 keyword phrases for a total of 4,005 listings. The logic was, the listings on page one as a whole typically represent larger sales volumes and therefore could tell us if there was any obvious anomalies with regard to fulfillment type.

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What Impact Does the Bullet Section REALLY Have on Keyword Ranking?

bullets

We keep diving deeper and deeper into what makes Amazon’s keyword ranking algorithm work. The only way to truly analyze it is by looking at data served up from listings that are already in top ranking spots, or those that move into those spots after promotion and optimization. The interesting thing is, as we dissect the listings, often the data comes at odds with conventional wisdom. This time is no different.

The data we dug into for this examination was specific to bullet points. We analyzed 2,500 listings; the top ten results of 250 keyword phrases. We focused on a very simple set of criteria:

  • How many full bullet points were showing.
  • How many times was the searched for keyword mentioned within the bullets.

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Do Tricks Aimed at Catching the Eye in Main Images Work?

Product Images Brand Branding Value Label Concept

We’ve seen them repeatedly in the Amazon world. Certified organic, lifetime warranty and best new seller badges abound with the intention of grabbing the attention of browsing potential customers. While this is a violation of the exact terms, using seals and badges in main images is often looked at as a minor infraction at worst.

Another infraction is the inclusion of items NOT actually for sale in the offer. Such as the apple with an apple slicer, or the smoothie in the blender. Also, many people use models in their photographs, which is totally acceptable, but NOT in the main image. We have even seen sellers outright violate the number one main image rule; to put the image on a white background.

So the question is, do these tactics afford anything more than a stern slap on the wrist from Amazon if caught? Do they actually help get you ahead of the pack with listing interaction that will ideally lead to increased sales and ranking?

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How To Include Video Content In Your Followup Sequence

vid-content-scaled

Many sellers on Amazon are interested in the prospect of building a lasting brand. Part of that process is engaging with customers, and what better way to do just that than by providing them with enriching video content?

In fact, it is likely Amazon brand owners would engage much more with customers if only the platform allowed it. However, as it stands, sellers are not allowed the real email addresses of their buyers, phone numbers of their buyers and cannot even include links to any website outside of Amazon in their communications (which all must take place within Amazon’s messaging system).

So, if Amazon doesn’t allow external links, how do you include video content?

The answer is simple; by keeping all links inside of Amazon.

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Does the Age of a Listing Affect Ranking on Amazon?

listing-age

We sure love rabbit holes here and that is why we are continuing down the wonderland of keyword ranking. In this episode of ranking factors we explore whether there appears to be a strong correlation between listing age and rank. Now, determining listing age is difficult, as the exact date a product became available on Amazon isn’t shown to the public. So we had to get creative and we judged our listings’ begin date based on the date of their very first review.

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Does Seller Feedback Have An Effect on Keyword Ranking?

Best vendor five golden stars on Chalkboard

This is an old issue, and most sellers have moved past it. We concluded long ago that there was no reason to believe seller feedback had any significant effect on keyword ranking. Even though the popular consensus landed on this, I felt it would still be worthwhile to look at the data.

So my team and I analyzed 113 popular keywords and key phrases. We looked at the top ten listings on page one for each keyword and drilled down into their seller accounts. We collected the data based on 1130 seller accounts, recording their lifetime seller feedback.

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Does Amazon Store Size Affect Ranking?

interior of warehouse. Rows of shelves with boxes

One of the many long contended ideas about Amazon’s elusive ranking algorithm is that the size of your store may have an impact on ranking. On the face of it, we can come up with just as many logical reasons why that is ridiculous as we can why it makes sense. The only real way of drawing meaningful correlations is to look at ranking listings and their owners’ store sizes.

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Does Voting Reviews “Helpful” Affect Ranking?

upvote

In our constant obsession with what exactly makes Amazon’s ranking algorithm tick, we decided to turn our attention to certain nuances that have long been under speculation. One is listing “activity” or otherwise helpful and unhelpful review votes.

Some have wondered whether tampering with reviews in any way would affect, positively or negatively, keyword ranking. While this is one of those small factors that it would be impossible to determine fully, we still thought it would be worthwhile to look for any obvious correlations. So we narrowed our focus to helpful reviews, and set out to see if those helpful votes appeared to be connected at all with the ranking of the product.

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