Amazon is a massive marketplace and it’s easy to assume anything under the sun will sell well there. It has a huge customer base, services multiple countries, and is constantly working to improve both customer and seller experiences with their brand. A lot of companies and individual sellers find huge success using Amazon to sell their product online.
In 2018 Amazon sold 232.88 billion U.S. dollars worth of product. With sales numbers this astronomical it’s definitely reasonable to want to get in on the action. If you’re already selling on Amazon and aren’t seeing the profits you expected based on these types of statistics it can be frustrating. The truth is not every product under the sun is a great fit for Amazon.
You can do everything exactly right, and use the exact right strategies. You can use your fee and profit FBA calculators and keyword tools. You can make sure your listings are SEO friendly, and you still may not be seeing the levels of success you’d expect from selling on the world’s largest online retailer.
If you’re starting to wonder if Amazon just isn’t a good fit for you and your product, you could be right. There are a lot of factors that go into what makes a product successful on the Amazon marketplace platform. Here are five reasons why your product might not be a good fit for Amazon.
1. It’s A Product Amazon Itself Is Already Selling
Amazon customers trust the Amazon brand. You can’t expect to beat out the Amazon reputation because the reason customers go to the website is for that exact reason. Their reputation has been their bread and butter for years now. When you’re trying to compete with them in any space, you’re going to lose out.
If your product is already something Amazon is selling under their own brand, with Amazon Prime benefits and tons of happy customer reviews, there’s just no chance you’re winning that battle. Amazon’s own products will always rank higher in search results, and they’ll always win the competition for customers. If your product is the same as something Amazon is selling, it’s not a great fit for Amazon.
You can try other selling platforms but you’re unlikely to see any great success going up against Amazon on Amazon’s own website. Going up against any large competitor is a tough road to choose, but going against Amazon isn’t just tough, it’s impossible. When it comes to choosing who your competition is going to be, Amazon itself is the worst choice you can make.
2. It’s A Product With A Short Sale Life
Trendy products do well for a few weeks or even a year or so sometimes. But eventually, everyone is going to forget about that product. It’s not solving a problem, it’s not something they need daily, and there’s a new trend they care about more. It’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon, sure, but that’s not going to guarantee you success.
You might see people making some big profits from a trend item but that probably won’t last. If you’re trying to sell a product that was popular in 2017, you’re going to find that your sales eventually hit a wall. They aren’t a good fit for Amazon any longer. There might still be other sites that you can sell on, but Amazon is not a great fit for the longevity of trendy items.
Here’s what Marco Tassiano, CEO of AmzSEO.it has to say about trendy items and what to avoid selling on Amazon:
“Items that are not solving any problem or giving any solutions. So the fidget spinner, for example, is a nice item, but after 15 days, everyone forgets about it. So it’s better to keep selling something that may be boring, but people need 365 days a year.”
No one is saying you can’t sell items that are fad based or just a passing trend. If you just want to have some fun and sell fun items that are great. But if you’re looking for long term real success, a trend item is not the right fit for Amazon.
3. It’s A Hard To Understand Item
Complicated items can definitely be something that you can sell online. The problem with selling them on Amazon is that you might not be able to draw customers in and help them understand what your product does. Amazon does offer you a built-in traffic source but it also has limitations.
If your product can’t be clearly explained in a few pictures, a short video, and a product description it’s probably not a great fit for Amazon’s marketplace. It doesn’t mean your product is a terrible product. It just means it doesn’t fit with Amazon because the format isn’t right for what you’re selling.
If you need to have long videos on how to use your product, set up instructions, or explanations of what the product does, Amazon is not the right fit. You’ll need products that are eye-catching, easy to understand with one or two pictures, and don’t leave the customer with a lot of extra questions. If this isn’t describing your product, it’s best to find another online platform for it.
4. It’s A Product That Requires A Lot Of Personalization
Not all personalized products are doomed to fail on Amazon but it’s important to remember that Amazon has some limitations on how you interact with customers. If you’re selling something that requires a lot of conversation back and forth to personalize or customize the item, Amazon isn’t always a great fit.
While they have increased the ways that they sell handmade items, it’s still not as good as other handmade marketplace options out there. If your items require more than a simple drop-down menu selection or a message with a line of text to print, it’s not a great fit for Amazon’s current offerings in this space.
Look for platforms that have easier ways to talk directly with your customer so you don’t wind up with a lot of disappointed reviews and lost money on returns. Items with simple personalization options might be okay sometimes, but Amazon is not the place to expect huge success from selling highly customizable products.
5. It’s An Item That Social Media Can’t Embrace
Social media is a huge part of online selling success and that’s especially true for Amazon. Since you’re going to be relying a lot on having a high review score, you’re going to need customers to want to interact with you and your brand/product beyond just making the purchase. Think about items that look great on Pinterest or other social media websites.
If your social media following just isn’t happening it’s not going to translate very well to Amazon success either. Again, as with other reasons your item might not be a good Amazon fit, it doesn’t mean you have a bad product. In this case, it just means you might have a very niche product, a product that isn’t easily photographed or isn’t easy to talk about with limitations like character count limits.
If you’re not getting a lot of interaction online using social media, you can expect that to be a reasonable projection of the type of interaction you’ll get with customers on Amazon. Consider how much social media marketing you do, and how successful it is when you’re trying to decide if your product is a good fit for Amazon. It really does matter.
As you can see there are some products that just aren’t going to sell well on Amazon. There are some products that will do well on other platforms, and some products that might just need their own website entirely. None of these things means you have a bad product. It just means you might have to find new ways to go about selling your items.
Keep in mind that you want to make a decent profit. It costs money and time to list items on Amazon so if you’re not seeing results it’s okay to accept that and try a new marketplace. Think about why your product isn’t doing well and consider where to go from there.
Making a change and finding what works for you could be the key to your online selling success. Don’t get stuck on one selling option or idea. Your bank account will thank you for your flexibility when you start to bring in higher overall profits.
Ashley Coblentz is a lifestyle blogger currently writing for Synccentric and political journalist. After graduating from college, she worked as a Registered Nurse at one of the largest hospitals in South Dakota until deciding to be a full-time mom. She remains very passionate about the nursing profession and often volunteers in her extra time to teach community education classes on first aid and other related topics. She has one amazing child who keeps her on her toes. Who knew 10-year-olds could have so many questions? If you want to keep up with her and see what she’s writing next you can find her on Twitter or check out her portfolio for other fun reads.