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May 1, 2015

Combat Amazon’s Latest Fee Increases With Higher Conversions


If you’re an FBA seller, chances are good that your discussions have turned to the fee increase that Amazon announced several weeks ago. In an online document entitled U.S. Fulfillment by Amazon Fee Changes 2015, Amazon rolled out its updates for various fees for 2015. You’ll see that the fees are grouped according to:

  • Fulfillment
  • Weight-based
  • Monthly inventory storage
  • Long-term storage

Every category is being hit with higher rates in one form or fashion. Many people are particularly concerned about the impact on higher-priced, physically heavy products because they are vulnerable to a combination of fee increases.

What’s more, refund charges have recently changed. Reports from various Facebook groups have sellers upset because Amazon no longer subtracts the full referral fee. It appears Amazon now retains 20 percent (up to $5) as a “refund administration fee” with additional fees applying to apparel, shoes, handbags, sunglasses, jewelry and luggage. Some are speculating that you — in essence — pay these fees twice by the time the refund is completed.

Depending on whom you listen to, the picture may look rather bleak. By now you’ve probably begun to see your profits dwindle already due to the first fee increases.

Where Does All This Leave You?

You could consider a dozen different scenarios, but, basically, you have two choices: raise prices or improve conversions.

Raising your prices may sound like an easy fix. However, you know that getting edged out of the Buy Box can mean disaster for your inventory turnover. Products that used to fly off the virtual shelf may sit dormant. And, the longer products remain in inventory (as of March 1) the more fees you’ll pay.

The other option? Improve your conversions. Notice I didn’t say, “Make more sales,” but “Get a higher conversion rate.” Judging your success strictly by the number of sales you make per day (or week or month) is deceiving. That’s because there is no way to gauge how many sales you lost.

Let’s say 100 shoppers came to your product page during a 30-day period, and one of them bought. Your product would have a one percent conversion rate (one divided by 100). This means that one out of 100 people accomplished the goal you wanted them to accomplish: purchasing what you’re selling.

But what if — during the next 30-day period — you sold four of that item? You might be leaping for joy because you’d quadrupled your sales! That is, until you found out that traffic to your page had a huge surge and — instead of 100 shoppers — you had 1,000 landing on your listing. Now you discover that you only have a conversion rate of 0.004 percent (four divided by 1,000). That’s less than half of one percent. Instead of quadrupling your sales, you’d actually had a major loss.

Improving Conversions: My Favorite Way To Make More Money

Boosting your conversion rate is the easiest way to make more money on Amazon. That’s because, when you create a listing that entices customers to buy, you can drive the same number of people to the page and more of them will purchase.

With a listing that is fine-tuned for conversions, it is possible to make more sales. How do you do it? The fastest way is by improving the copy (text) in your title (product name), bullets (features) and product description.

Titles (Product Names) Need To Grab Attention

I know there are lots of folks out there who will tell you your title must contain every keyword you can possibly fit into it. I completely disagree. While the title does count as a keyword field, Amazon gives you lots of other keyword fields as well as fields for other information that they also search when ranking products.

Why confuse or frustrate shoppers by making them read a long list of keywords instead of an enticing or informative title? When writing product listings for our clients, our team focuses on creating titles that get noticed and cause people to click. This typically means differentiating your products from all the others on Amazon. For example, answer the question “With hundreds of other Vitamin C serums for sale on Amazon, why should I buy yours?”

Bullets Should Engage And Overcome

When it comes to bullets/ features, Amazon plainly states in its terms of service that “this is not the place for paragraphs.” Most of the time (not always), bullets are limited to 256 characters each. Use that space to list features and their benefits in such a way that shoppers are engaged and intrigued. This is also the place you can overcome some objections that buyers might have and win a few more customers.

For example, instead of:

  • HOLY COW! THIS IS THE BEST OLIVE OIL SET AVAILABLE! With 100 percent extra-virgin olive oil and high-quality balsamic vinegar, ABC Olive Oil Set is what cooks are raving about. Thanks to our patented process, we are able to provide a product that you will love for years to come. The next time you head to the kitchen, you’ll taste drastic improvements in your meals … guaranteed!

Try something like this:

  • Genuine California Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Unlike imported olive oil from Italy, {Brand} olive oil is produced in small batches from olive orchards in the pristine valleys of Southern California for a milder taste.

Not only does the first example violate several FTC and FDA regulations when it comes to advertising, it also violates Amazon’s terms of service about what can and cannot be included in bullets.

The second one stays within everyone’s terms of service and regulations by offering a feature (22 percent of the special ingredient) followed by the benefit of this feature. It skips the hype and won’t get you busted by the FTC, FDA or Amazon for false advertising.

Product Descriptions Give You Room To Expand

Each product description can contain up to 2,000 characters. Just because that space is available does not mean you are obliged to use it all. In copywriting, you want to write exactly how much needs to be written to convert lookers into buyers — and not one word more.

Because you have much more room in the description area, you can go into more detail about your products, connect with people, and frame your product so that it will be highly attractive to those who click to your page.

Here’s a great example from a women’s jewelry/lanyard product:

Focus On Results

When you take time to create product listings designed to maximize conversions, you can turn inventory more quickly — which is fast becoming more important than ever. The faster you move your goods, the more money you’ll make.


Karon Thackston is president of Marketing Words Copywriting Agency helping Amazon sellers, eCommerce site owners and content marketers rank higher, convert better and make more sales.