One of the biggest reasons that we talk to sellers on Amazon is that they had a very significant decrease in sales, and their revenue has dropped off. They can’t understand why, so they really start to panic.  In this post, I want to talk about why  sales all of a sudden drop on Amazon, and what you can do to get your sales back up.

If you are doing pretty well on Amazon, and then seemingly overnight your sales started to drop and are continuing to spiral downward, it’s likely that one of two things has happened. The first is that you have increased competition: more and more sellers started crowding your space and offering similar or the same products, sometimes at a lower price. These sellers are going to eat into your sales.

The second thing that has happened (and they’re not mutually exclusive), is that you had a good review rating, and your review rating has gone down. You probably got some bad reviews, maybe a few one stars (and those are really hard to shake off) and your review rating dropped somewhat significantly as a result. Now, potential customers are choosing to buy products from other listings that have a higher review rating.

If one or both of these two events has happened, it can be pretty difficult to get your sales back up if you don’t diagnose the underlying problems. What a lot of people will do is start to spend more ad money on because they think that’s the solution to the drop off in sales. In reality, what that does is just drive traffic to a listing that’s not going to convert well. So, the increased ad budget won’t result in a correlating increase in sales because that’s not the solution. It actually can make things worse!

Instead of pumping PPC, the first thing that you should do is perform a comprehensive keyword analysis, which most sellers on Amazon do not do. The new competitors in your space are probably all going to be targeting the same big keywords. Most sellers on Amazon do not undertake thorough keyword research, so they all compete for the same high volume keywords. If your listing was ranking for these keywords because you had a good review rating and/or your product category wasn’t that competitive, you probably just got lucky, and now it could be really hard and expensive to rank for those keywords due to the increased competition.

A comprehensive keyword analysis will reveal less competitive keywords you can go after and ultimately rank for. It’s likely that the new sellers are not going to be ranked for them (or even targeting them through their listing), so it’ll be easier for you to get some of those lost sales back through these new keywords. Additionally, once you’ve identified these less competitive keywords, you can target them through new PPC campaigns.

As a side note, you probably don’t want to use old PPC campaigns because these campaigns might have a bad performance history and/or concentrate your budget on the same keywords that had previously performed well. It’s usually better to create new campaigns and start over so that they have a clean slate in the eyes of the Amazon algorithm. This will also make it easier to optimize the campaigns and pin down the new keywords that will perform well in the long run.

The second thing you’ll want to do following a steep decline in sales is look at your listing. You might have been getting lucky again with a really sub-par listing that did well because it had a good review rating or because it was not in a competitive niche.

Now that your niche is competitive and/or you don’t have an attractive review rating, you need to look closely at your listing and see how can you make it nicer. In another post, I talk about all of the steps you can take to make your listing stand out. If you haven’t done those things, then you probably should in order to enhance your listing quality and ultimately increase its conversion rate and make it stand out among the new sellers’ listings in your space.

The third step you can take to get your sales back on track is to adjust your price. It’s possible that you were getting away with an above market price because there were a small amount of competitors, and you were one of a handful of listings with an attractive review rating and number of reviews. However, if there are a ton of competing listings with around the the same number of reviews/review rating, all else being equal, most of the time Amazon shoppers are going to go with the cheaper option.

If you have margins that can support a lower price, it might be better to drop your price a little bit, and see if that makes a difference (I’ll talk about price wars in another post because there’s a certain point where continuously lowering your price doesn’t make sense). Alternatively, you can simply add a coupon. Most sellers on Amazon these days, even though the coupon feature has been around for a little while, do not add coupons to their listings. Coupons will increase your conversion rate pretty significantly and are very attractive to shoppers. So, if you don’t have a coupon, instead of dropping your price by $2, you can simply add a $2 off coupon.

Finally, if you’ve tried all of these things and are still not seeing your sale increase, then you might want to consider offering a slightly different product to avoid direct competition with the other listings in your niche. For example, you can offer a bundle or a free “bonus” product (e.g., if you’re selling tennis rackets, then you can include complementary tennis balls). Sometimes being successful on Amazon requires thinking outside of the box.