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Gamified Marketplaces: Cracking Amazon, Ebay, Flippa and Beyond

Introduction

Those who are familiar with my work see me as an Amazon guy. Well today, I hope you see me as the eCommerce guy. I am going to open your eyes to the eCommerce marketplace and why it is easier than ever to not only succeed but to dominate in 2016 and beyond.

The first thing I want you to realize is eCommerce marketplaces give you opportunities to exploit them. They do this by giving you data, for example, search result pages (every commerce site), reviews (every commerce site), bestseller rank (Amazon), sales history, and feedback of sellers (eBay and Amazon), etc. All these pieces of data can be manipulated in your favor. These pieces of data should be used to create conditions for a successful product launch.

The Traffic Problem is Solved…Here’s Your Job

One of the hardest things for any new eCommerce brand is to get traffic and at the same time convert those potential customers. Marketplaces sustain the traffic you need to make continuous sales. The job of you, as the seller, is to prime your product listing(s) so potential buyers see your product, can evaluate if it is what they are looking for, and see your product as the only option to buy. To do this, you must prepare your product before doing any extensive advertising or launching.

Prepping Your Product For Launch

When I mention “launch” in this article, I simply mean marketing your product or advertising your product to a niche community (product hunt, niche forum, magazine ad, YouTube Channel) or even spending advertising dollars yourself with ad platforms (Facebook Ads, Google Adwords, Amazon PPC, etc..) A launch can also be a giveaway or contest to get your product in the hands of potential customers.

There are three steps to follow when it comes to any placing any product on an eCommerce platform.

Step 1: Perfecting Offer Presentation and Search Engine Optimization

Step 2: Positioning (particularly in the keyword search result pages for product offer)

Step 3: Launch or promotion of that product.

All these steps can be utilized to affect your bottom line.

First I’m going to go into what can be done on all platforms. Then I’ll break it down to specifics.

Step 1: Offer Presentation and Search Engine Optimization

Offer Presentation

Be sure that your product offer looks as professional as possible. Make sure your product description covers all the questions a potential customer may have. Additionally, your product photos should be of the best resolution. The stock photos provided by your manufacturer simply will not do.

Search Engine Optimization

The first step to every commerce profile is the SEO or the Search Engine Optimization. The main thing is people need to find your product when they type it into the marketplaces search box. So we use the familiar concept the “keyword” or “keywords” that will describe your product and allow it to be found.

How do you find keywords? Top of mind analysis, the keyword for “Double A battery” is obviously “Double A Battery.” But how are most people typing this phrase in (Two Options: Double A Battery or “AA Battery”) which way is most popular.

Three ways to confirm:

  1. The search box suggestions of the platform

  1. Go to the Internet’s keeper, Google, and use their Adwords tool: Keyword Planner
  2. There are also spy tools you can use, simply search “keyword spy tool [insert marketplace]” to see if they are available for your ecommerce platform.

Once you find the keywords, you will place them in your title or tags.

Note: Put keywords in your description of the product as well. Many people forget this and simply list features.

Steps 2 and 3

 

Positioning (Social Proof)

You can consider these the next steps of offer presentation.

Before the big launch or any promotions, you need social proof for your product. You will need to generate some activity that signals to prospective buyers that your offer is good. On Ebay, this activity sign could be watchers or few sales you have already made with the product. On Amazon, and most other marketplaces, this is signaled by reviews of your product. The most basic rule of sales on any marketplace is the more activity (reviews, sales rank) the higher your conversion rate (percentage of people who land on your listing and purchase vs. those who land and do not purchase).

You want to have some semblance of activity before you start advertising your product to the general niche audience. Skipping this step your product offer will most certainly fall on deaf ears.

The next metric you can manipulate, is “reviews.” In this metric, we will also say ratings (one, two, three stars rating) count as reviews as well. I am going to start by saying; sometimes it is okay to “cheat.” The biggest companies in the world fake tests, hire celebrity doctors, misquote, and hire actors in attempts to prove to you their product is the best. It is okay for the little guy to do this too. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is aware of this practice too. Hence the small font you see at the bottom of most commercials with testimonial sequences. It is okay for your reviewers to state I got this because of a contest or I received this product at a discount. You can hire someone to review or ask friends and family.

The Launch

You can also host a contest or giveaway requiring buyers to leave a testimonial or review. There is nothing wrong with doing this. People need to know your product is good; you cannot contact them personally and vouch for your product. The ethics here is in the product you sell; sell high-quality products that actually solve the problems of your customers.

The next metric is sales history; maybe you can manufacture a few sales with friends and family. Due to budget issues for most, this aspect is limited. So you have to perform what is known to the Internet marketing world as a “launch.” You have to present your product to a large number of people, hopefully, a targeted audience. This can be an email list, Facebook Group post, Twitter post, or Instagram shoutout from an influencer (paying them for advertisement is also in the cards). Focus on finding a large number of people who might be interested in what you have to offer.

Now We Move to Specifics

 

Amazon

My favorite is Amazon. This marketplace has been completely cracked. I you haven’t read my breakdown go here, if you’ve read it before I have added some things so please review: https://www.reddit.com/r/Entrepreneur/comments/33ix6y/want_to_buy_an_amazon_course_let_me_save_you_5000/

Ebay

Ebay is a little backwards when it comes to listing optimization as you have to keyword stuff in the title and description of your product or offer. Now you can manipulate Ebay’s search rankings in the same way you can with Amazon. You do this through sales history and Watchcount. Sales history is a little difficult, but watch count is much easier to manufacture. Just go Fiverr’s search bar type in “eBay watchers.”

The in-demand categories it can still be hard to rank. There are sellers selling an iPhone 6 every hour and an iPhone case every two minutes. So with this, you find speed to market is also a shining factor in eCommerce, especially regarding Ebay.

Of course, an excellent Ebay HTML description is also necessary and can be found as a Fiverr gig for that as well.

Flippa

Flippa is weird in that; the focus is centered on seller history rather than offer specifications. Again, in this instance sales, history is difficult to manipulate. Flippa’s search results pages operate much like Ebay and Amazon and are manipulated through offer listing activity. Again, go to Fiverr and type in “Flippa” and look for gigs that say they will increase activity in your listing.

Udemy

Udemy’s Search Result Pages (SERP) is heavily keyword, and activity focused. The best way to bring your course to the top of the SERP is a Free Coupon coupled with a promotion from Fiverr. These combined with a course that measures up to your competition regarding length and perceived value (price), will make you successful in some form. You should put an excellent and detailed description and have your course have something extra added, for mine, I have a textbook and exclusive deals with services I mention within the course.

To the Pessimistic Commenter…

Can marketplaces read this and change to close the loop?

Yes and No. These platforms optimize through search result pages so that you are more likely to buy what returns. How can they determine what you will probably buy? The common thread among all these marketplaces is buyer activity, offers that either received a consistent or a burst of reviews, sales activity, watches, etc. It would be a disservice to themselves and customers to end this activity — optimization because it simply works. The very basics of capitalism the cream will rise to the top through competition those less innovative with inferior product offers or listings, or just lazy in their listing’s promotion will fall to the bottom.

Conclusion

Realize though these sites can be exploited, the responsibility of finding a good product offer relies on you. In terms of physical products, see Watchcount.com or Amazon’s Top 100–2000 BSRs (see Amazon post for in-depth look at finding products: Amazon FBA for Beginners).  For Flippa, you want a good-looking site that can be heavily automated.  Udemy’s most in-demand courses focus on something with the potential for those to earn money like coding, accounting, dropship e-commerce, and solo ads.

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