You’ve put so much time, effort, and money into building an amazing product. But then…
Why is it not selling?
No matter what you do, the numbers just aren’t going up. It’s distressing. And it can be so easy to get discouraged if you’ve reached this point.
If you can learn to diagnose the reason(s) your product isn’t selling and correct it, you can save yourself money, time, and anguish.
Today, I’m going to break down the five most common reasons why a product is not selling well on Amazon.
Follow along as I break down everything wrong with this example Amazon listing in order of the simplest to most complicated problems to solve:
Some of our coaches became students with Just One Dime when they were in similar situations. They had decent products that were doing well on places like Shopify, but they couldn’t crack Amazon. With our training, many grew into six and seven figure Amazon sellers. They now teach others how to build successful Amazon stores and even build stores for some of our investors.
1. Your Amazon Listing Is Not Using The Right Keywords.
Keywords are search terms shoppers use to find products they’re looking to buy. Keywords can be a single word like “knife” or a string of words like “steel kitchen knife”.
Keywords play the role of matchmaker between your product and your customer. And if your keywords do not match what customers search to find your product, you will not see many sales.
To determine if keywords are part of the problem, you can evaluate the keywords you’re using for relevancy:
- Type your keyword into the shopper search bar on Amazon.com.
- Click the search icon.
- Scroll through the search results.
If at least half of the page one search results are the same type of product as yours, that keyword is relevant to your product. You should repeat this step for each keyword in your listing.
Let’s try our main keyword in the title from our example listing: “tea dispenser”.
When we search that keyword, “tea dispenser”, we get the following results:
Not one of these products looks like ours. “Tea dispenser” is not a relevant keyword to our product, and there is little chance customers who want our product will find our so-called “tea dispenser”. And shoppers who want a tea dispenser probably do not want a product like ours.
We can accurately diagnose that our title’s keyword is at least part of the reason we haven’t seen a lot of sales.
Now, our “tea dispenser” has a plunger, or a press. Let’s try “tea press”.
When we search that term, “tea press”, how many, and what percentage of the listings below are like our product?
Just from this quick snapshot, we can see that seven out of eight products on page one of search results resemble our product. That’s a percentage of 87.5%, which is well above 50%.
By performing the same search as we did earlier, we can see that “tea press” is a much more relevant keyword to our product than “tea dispenser” 🫖.
Once you know they’re relevant, check the keywords you’re using for yield in sales to ensure they can make you money.
Yield in sales refers to the amount of revenue a specific keyword brings in each month.
To check yield in sales, search your keywords on Amazon.com (as we did above to test relevancy). If you find a keyword repeated across listing titles on page one of search results, it probably has high yield in sales. There won’t be dozens of listings containing a specific keyword if it’s not performing well for those sellers.
For example, when we search “tea press”, we see that a lot of listings include the keyword “French press”.
This suggests that “French press” might be a relevant keyword for our product. If we decide to use it, we need to first test it for high yield in sales, as well.
When we search “French press” on Amazon, just about all of the listings on page one lead with the keyword “French press”. So we can deduce that keyword has high yield in sales because most competitors prioritize it.
You can also use product research software to more accurately test yield in sales by examining potential competitors’ monthly revenue.
If you’ve determined that keywords are a part of your problem, you can fix that with relative ease!
Solution: Edit Your Listing to Target High Volume Keywords That Are Relevant to Your Product.
You now need to replace any keywords from your listing that don’t serve you with ones that will better match you to your customers.
1. Find the best keywords for your listing in your competitors’ titles and in product research tools.
Searching your competitors’ listing titles is one of the easiest ways to come up with keyword ideas for your listing. For example, when we search “tea press” we can see what other keywords are common throughout the results, such as “Tea Maker”.
If a lot of competitors have that keyword in their listing title, and their products look like yours, that keyword is probably relevant to your listing, too.
Product research softwares can also help you find even more keywords that are both relevant to your listing and that shoppers are actively searching.
2. Test each keyword for relevance to your product using Amazon search.
Just because our competitors are using these new keyword ideas, or shoppers are searching them, isn’t a guarantee that they’re relevant to our particular product.
To test the relevancy of our keyword ideas, we will run the same test as we did to test the relevancy of our initial keywords, but for our new ideas:
- Search the keyword on Amazon.com.
- Count how many of the search results contain products similar to yours.
- If at least half of the results are the same type of product as yours, that keyword is relevant to your listing.
If not, you probably don’t need that keyword.
For example, we can see that “tea press for loose tea” is a good fit for our product.
However, “coffee maker” is not since the product results are not similar to our product.
Once you have your top few dozen keywords, rank them, and place them across your listing.
3. Strategically place keywords throughout your product listing.
This will optimize your listing to make it even easier for shoppers to find.
Your most relevant, high sales yield keywords will go in your title.
Your next best keywords go in your first few bullet points.
Next, your medium-relevancy keywords will go in the rest of your bullet points and your product description.
Finally, your least relevant keywords go in your backend search terms. You also want to include any common misspellings of your most relevant keywords when you add your backend search terms. This will catch shoppers who might search with a typo.
For instance, we might add “tee press” to our backend search terms in case a customer accidentally spells “tea” as “tee” 🏌.
Keywords only need to appear in your listing one time. You do not need to place keywords in your listing multiple times. We go extremely in-depth on how to write a keyword-optimized listing in our Amazon FBA membership. Learn more about our program at JOD.com/freedom.
2. Your Product Market’s Customers Cannot Find Your Listing.
The most spot-on, relevant keywords in the world mean nothing if shoppers cannot find your listing. If you’re still not seeing sales, your product’s ranking might be the issue. Ranking refers to the order in which a product appears in search results when a shopper searches a relevant keyword.
To test if ranking is your problem, you should first check that your listing is indexed, that your product will appear somewhere in search results when you search a keyword attached to your listing on Amazon:
- Locate your product’s ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) from the listing URL. The ASIN directly follows “/dp/” in the URL and begins with “B0”.
- Copy that ASIN.
- Paste it into Amazon’s search bar. Next to it, type the keyword you want to check for indexing.
- Click the search icon.
If your listing appears, your product is indexed for that keyword. In theory, shoppers can find the listing using that keyword (even though it may be on page 23).
But shoppers search with keywords, not ASINs. If your listing is indexed, you can quickly diagnose a non-ranking listing:
- Copy your title keyword.
- Search it on Amazon.com.
If your listing appears on the first page of search results, your product is ranking where customers might find it!
However, if your listing doesn’t show up on page one, or even two, you’re probably invisible to customers.
In order to rank well, you have to have sales. If you have no rank and few sales, you’ll be hard pressed to find customers who can find you.
But how do you get sales when your listing is brand new and buried on page 23 of search results?
Solution: Improve Your Ranking Via Amazon Pay-per-click (PPC) Ads.
PPC is Amazon’s built-in advertising platform. It allows you to pay for increased keyword rank so that your listing appears as a sponsored ad when shoppers search that keyword. This ad does not replace your original, organic (non-sponsored) ranking in search results. You can tell a product search result is actually an ad when “Sponsored” is displayed beneath the featured image.
Here’s how PPC works:
- You bid a specific amount on a relevant keyword.
- When shoppers search that keyword, your product appears as a sponsored ad.
- When shoppers click on your ad, you pay your bid amount to Amazon whether the shopper buys your product or not.
- As more shoppers click on your ad and buy your product, your organic listing increases rank.
- Over time, your organic listing builds such a high rank that you can decrease your ad spend.
- PPC works on a bidding system, much like an auction. You bid on each individual keyword separately.
- The seller who bids the most on a keyword will get position one at the top of the first page of search results. The seller who bids the second most will get position two and so on.
In our Amazon FBA membership we teach sellers to build products with a minimum of 40% profit margin before PPC. That way, you still have margin to run your ads and move to profitability faster.
When you first launch your PPC campaign, your goals are to collect customer data and to make your product visible. You have to spend money to make money. But with PPC, you can get your product in front of the right audience. Eventually, you can pay less for PPC or not use PPC altogether.
We have barely grazed PPC. If you want the whole shebang, visit JOD.com/freedom. Our membership covers absolutely everything you need to know about PPC.
3. Your Photos Do Not Appeal To Shoppers Enough.
The best keywords, coupled with the best product ranking, mean nothing if your listing is…ugly.
If your product photos, especially your featured image (the one shoppers see in search results), are not excellent, you could be cheating yourself out of sales.
For example, our featured product photo exhibits a shifty looking press (there’s no way to know if it’s for coffee or tea) on a wrinkled bed sheet. I can guarantee this photo is doing more harm than good.
To diagnose if product photos are part of your problem, ask yourself, “Does this photo make me want to buy this?” “Does this photo help me experience the product?”
If the answer is “no”, your product photos need help.
Solution: Split Test Stunning Product Photos.
Online shoppers buy with their eyes. The only way customers can experience your product—until they receive it, of course—is through your product photos. Your photos should convey quality and the experience your product provides.
Your featured image should be clean and your product should take up at least 80% of the space. This is the first image of your product shoppers will see, so you want it to be eye-catching.
For example, the featured image of our tea press should look clean and professional, and it should make viewers crave a steaming cup of lapsang souchong tea on a blustery morning. It certainly shouldn’t convey that you’re about to do laundry or prepare a shrine 👻.
You should also include a lifestyle photo that exhibits how consumers use and experience your product. For our tea press, we might show a model pouring, and enjoying, a cup of tea.
And another thing, make sure your models are conventionally attractive.
To get amazing images, you can either take product photos yourself, or you can hire a professional photographer. Regardless, do not skimp on your product photos. Photos can make or break your listing. If they look like cheap shots, your product will suffer.
Once you have stunning product photos, you need to split test them for consumer response to find which image converts the best. To do this, simply change out your main image every week and note your sales for the week each image is consumer facing.
When you split test your featured image, do not change anything else on your listing. You need to know that the reason your sales are up, down, the same, or nonexistent is due to this one photo.
Once you know which image converts the best, leave that one as your permanent featured image and watch the sales come in.
4. Your Market Niche Does Not Have High Enough Demand.
If your listing’s keywords are optimized, you’re running effective PPC campaigns, your product photos are beautiful, and you’re still not seeing sales, it’s time to assess your market niche’s demand.
Market niche is your product’s specific subcategory. Demand refers to the quantity of consumers who might buy your product at your price point. Together, market niche demand tells us how much money can be made in a particular niche.
If there is little or no customer demand for your product, you will have a hard time getting sales regardless of how beautiful and optimized your listing is.
To test market niche demand, you will need a product research software that tells you how much revenue the top 10 ranking listings for a given keyword make each month.
If there are not at least three out of the top ten competitor listings doing $5,000+ revenue per month, you’re probably in a market niche without strong consumer demand.
Solution: Liquidate Your Stock And Use That Money To Invest In A New Product.
Every test we’ve run up to this point has been about fixing our listing. That’s fairly reconcilable.
At this point, however, we’re looking to fix the market, which is not something you or I can do.
If you’ve determined your problem is there’s not enough market demand, and you don’t want to lose any more money, it’s time to pull the plug and liquidate your stock.
To do this, you will contract a third party to purchase, and dispose of, all of your remaining inventory.
Amazon has a liquidation program you can use. Amazon will find a liquidator for your product, that company will buy your stock, and you will have washed your hands of the situation.
When you liquidate, you will recuperate roughly five to ten percent of the product’s average retail price. And you will pay part of that amount to Amazon for the service.
It’s not glamorous, but it’s better than continuously losing money on a defunct product.
You can prevent this in the future by conducting extensive product and market research. Visit JOD.com/freedom if you’d like us to help you through the entire process.
If your market is strong, there is still one final, most common reason why your Amazon FBA product is not selling.
5. Your Product Is Not Differentiated Enough.
If your product has demand, your listing is beautiful and keyword optimized, and your PPC campaigns are running strong, your issue may be that your product is not differentiated enough.
Differentiation refers to how distinct your product is from your competitors’ products. Differentiated products stand out from the rest because of a unique attribute that makes them…different.
You can’t create the exact same tea press as every other Amazon listing and expect customers to jump at yours. You must give consumers a reason to go, “I don’t see that cool feature elsewhere”.
To test if differentiation is your particular problem, ask yourself one simple question: why would a customer buy your product over anyone else’s (not counting reviews or price point)?
If you can’t find a reasonable answer to that question, you have not differentiated your product enough. And you might be out of luck.
Solution: Liquidate Your Stock To Invest In A New Product.
Just like market demand, a non-differentiated product is not something you can just tweak on your Amazon listing. It’s something you have to reengineer. And at this point you may again have no choice but to liquidate the remainder of your stock.
You can even use the money you recuperate to manufacture a new, differentiated product, now that you know what (not) to do.
Everything we’ve just gone over has been high level. But you have to go deep. You must keep applying and reapplying these checks as you continue to tweak your product and listing.
And if you want the full scoop, the real nitty gritty on all of the topics we’ve covered today and more, visit JOD.com/freedom. You will meet with one of our staff who will assess your business plan and goals to determine if we are a good fit to help you succeed on Amazon.
What part of your listing do you want to improve? Let me know in the comments.