How to make the most of your online Christmas presence

Whether you have a multi-billion pound turnover or a pin-money side-hustle, nailing your online sales offering is imperative for millions of British businesses.

But with the busiest selling season around the corner, online sales expert Chris Turton believes most firms are still missing out on millions of pounds of trade by making simple mistakes.

Chris, who runs online marketing agency Ecommerce Intelligence, says business owners can waste huge amounts of time tinkering with images or pricing without looking at the data behind it.

And he believes getting to grips with Amazon is the best way to make tills ring this Christmas.

Chris explained: “Clearly everyone looks at Jeff Bezos and the Amazon brand and thinks they’re the only ones making money, but there are 85,000 small businesses in the UK using Amazon to build their brand and so it’s in Amazon’s interest to make it work for both parties.

“The cold, hard truth is that most listings look awful, and you need to be using the right tools and support on offer to make your products stand out.”

Chris said Britain’s army of small businesses and lone traders would be the lifeblood of the economy this Christmas and needed everyone’s support.

“Not using Amazon to sell your products is like closing your doors to the public during peak shopping hours, so it’s vital for everyone trying to improve trading this Christmas that they follow some of these simple tips."

  • Get the right pictures that perfectly represent the product, then use video and get reviews using Amazon Vine (where Amazon handpicks people it identifies as its “most insightful reviewers” and makes them eligible to request free products from thousands of brands in return for honest reviews).
  • If you are a trademark brand owner, make sure your products are fully optimised and have all bells and whistles including A+ (officially known as Enhanced Brand Content) which allows you to showcase your products through enhanced design, image and text.
  • Check out your competition – is your price relative? Are your competitors using Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) which means customers get a product available on Amazon Prime? Do they have good reviews? Do you have reviews that mean people trust your products?
  • Focus on the long game - business owners can become fixated with weekly, daily or even hourly sales drops but remember, sales ebb and flow and it's important to look at a longer term perspective. When people make knee jerk reactions to changes in their sales, things can get worse.
  • Make sure the product is as good as it can be - marketed, packaged and delivered correctly.
  • No buyer cares about your “premium” product unless you’re Gucci, Tiffany or Louis Vuitton. It’s because someone offering a premium product means having a higher price point - and if another seller has a relatively similar product at a much cheaper price point, that’s the one that will get the sales. That means a better sales velocity, which in turn improves ranking. People assume a price point means customers will be led to believe it’s a better quality product, but this isn't always true on Amazon.
  • Don’t assume fulfilled by merchant (FBM) is cheaper than fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) - in volume it usually isn’t. It might cost you £6 to send a customer a product – but you might be able to send 10 to Amazon’s warehouse – so the postage cost gets split into 10, making it cheaper.
  • Use your Amazon data to inform your decisions on other platforms such as eBay or OnBuy. What is selling? If you have products with good conversion rates, use the same pictures and content on all your platforms.

Chris also has advice on common mistakes people make on their online listings which should be avoided:

  • Don’t use too many keywords or “keyword stuffing” - often this makes the product sound terrible. The most important thing is that your description is grammatically correct.
  • Don’t constantly change the pricing of your product. It upsets the Amazon algorithm.
  • Don’t make knee-jerk reactions to things the customer is looking at - pricing, images, text, without looking at the data behind them.