Today, we delve into the fascinating world of Amazon selling, a realm that beautifully blends these two domains.
In the world of Amazon selling, there's a constant struggle between staying afloat and scaling up. Sellers find themselves in the crucible of market competition, where evolving is the only way to survive. Amazon's Marketplace appstore, a veritable treasure trove of tools and solutions, is a testament to this necessity. Just as I have always advocated for the tactical use of resources in business, these tools can be the lever that propels your enterprise into new heights.
However, as is often the case in any journey towards success, the path is riddled with obstructions. The biggest of these is understanding the health of your own business. Amazon provides an abundance of data, but it often feels like trying to drink from a fire hose. Just as I, in my writing, strive to simplify complex concepts, Amazon sellers need to learn how to decipher this flood of information.
This is the heart of our discourse today. It is a journey of understanding, of learning how to navigate the choppy waters of Amazon selling. It is about finding your weak spots and turning them into your strengths. It is about leveraging the tools at your disposal to not just survive, but to thrive.
Do not be disheartened by the challenges on this path. Remember, it is in adversity that we find our true potential. After all, as they say in the world of investment, 'the greater the risk, the greater the reward'.
Apps to Boost Amazon Success
An Amazon seller tool can answer any of the main seller activities like operations, collecting reviews, accounting or increasing sales for their products.
Not all seller apps are relevant for all Amazon sellers. For example, some apps are super helpful if you run an Amazon FBA business but are useless otherwise.
Some of them are ideal for sellers juggling multiple products but are not relevant for sellers using a single ASIN. A bigger Amazon business can afford the cost while the cost might be too much to bear for a smaller Amazon business.
There’s a difference between Amazon only vendors who specialize in Amazon marketplaces and between ecommerce businesses with their own website and online stores.
Another factor is your seller status. Vendors who just started out, or that are constantly updating their products, will use a tool like a keyword optimizer more often than other Amazon sellers.
What are Amazon seller tools
As with any kind of tool, Amazon seller tools can roughly be separated into two main categories, self made solutions and external apps developed by third parties.
Self made internal tools
Many Amazon sellers are trying to ease up their workload by using methods and solutions they create for themselves. Such an Amazon seller tool can vary greatly which we’ll discuss next.
A common example is a seller that downloads their monthly sales data from Amazon and slice and dice the information in excel to make a simple dashboard that will help them better understand where their business stands.
Keyword research is also done manually at many times – simply search for the terms you want to rank for and keep track of the history so you can tell how you are doing.
The advantages of internal tools
The main advantage of a self made automation software is that it is a free tool. If you created it yourself, no need to pay anyone.
Such solutions are also easy to understand since you made them yourself, and they are easy to modify within the limits of your abilities. For example, you can easily change the graph in your spreadsheet to better present the data.
The disadvantages of self made tools
There are a few disadvantages to self made tools and the most obvious one is that they are not professional. This means data and analysis may be wrong and that there are many capabilities that you just can’t add to the tool yourself without the assistance of a costly developer.
Another big shortcoming of such tools is that they are often manual and at the balance of things cost you more time than they save you.
Imagine keeping track of your review and feedback ratings over time in excel – it is a super important and powerful tool that can help you increase your sales on the Amazon website, but it will be tedious and repetitive work.
For these reasons usually a dedicated software for Amazon sellers can bring better results. We will discuss this in a second.
The case for using self made tools
Manual solutions are better than using no tools at all. If such an Amazon seller tool helps you become a better seller, by all means use it Just make sure you are accurate and not wasting too much of your team.
Seller tools can be internal or external
Luckily, with the growth of Amazon as a platform, many third party companies started creating Amazon apps you can use to boost your sales and work more efficiently.
Amazon sellers often use a few of these apps to impact the bottom line but also to improve their daily lives.
There are a few axes you should consider when looking into an Amazon seller tool:
Amazon’s API vs other technologies
Some of the apps use the Amazon API – a way that let’s programs interact with your Amazon data to perform actions.
For example, such a tool can generate sales dashboards for you using your Amazon data, or let you to automatically email customers without entering the buyer seller messaging platform.
Other apps use different technologies. This is usually the case when they are performing an action that the Amazon API doesn’t give access to.
There usually not much of a difference between the two options, but there is one big advantage to an Amazon seller tool that is using the API since they are supervised by Amazon which gives you extra confidence in them.
What you should consider when using an App
Since these apps have access to much of your data, you must make sure you are using a credible app. There are a few factors we recommend you look into before using an app or tool:
Identity of the app developer
Always try to find out who is the developer of the tool. Is it a company or an individual? Do they have an online presence? Check out their LinkedIn profiles and see if there is real business behind them.
Do they have Amazon’s approval
If the App is part of Amazon’s appstore it means it has gone through some sort of a review by Amazon. This greatly increases the chances they are legit.
Check out the developers website. Does it have relevant content? Is the language acceptable or does it look fishy? Go to the About Us section and make sure there are actual people behind the app.
As a general rule, it is good practice to trust developers from countries and geographies you are familiar with. If it’s a western country with a modern law system you can be more confident than with a company from a small totalitarian state.
We are not going to advise which countries to trust, this is a trap we will not fall into, but we are sure you can easily tell the difference 🙂
When you are requested to grant permissions, make sure they make sense. If the tool or app has nothing to do with your sales data, there’s no reason to grant access to such data.
External tools and Amazon seller apps
Apps and Amazon tools also differ on pricing. There are free solutions and paid solutions. This is an important factor due to various reasons
Amazon apps can make your seller life a lot better, however, if you can’t afford them it all becomes irrelevant. Make sure you can afford the apps you use and that they are not causing too much of a constraint on your budget.
There are also free apps that can provide everything a paid tool can, so it makes more sense to use them.
ROI of the tool
Many of the tools are going to help your bottom line and help you sell more and for bigger and healthy profit margins.
A PPC tool or a good dashboard app can help you optimize your sales. It’s very easy to calculate the ROI – Return on Investment, for such tools. For example, if a tool costs $50/month and you generate extra $200/month it’s obviously a tool you should get.
Other apps will also help your revenues but a bit more indirectly. For example, a good review and feedback tool will increase your revenues. Make sure to take that into account.
Level of service
Understand the level of service you will get for each tool. In mission critical areas of work, an app with a high level of service is worth a lot.
To deduce the level of service you can expect from the makers of the tool, check out their website and see the reply policy or better yet, check the reviews the tool got in the Amazon appstore.
Multi feature apps vs single feature apps
There are apps that offer a variety of features for a hefty sum. They can easily cost many dozens of dollars or even cost hundreds of dollars per month. Often you can find single feature apps that are free or cost only a few dollars per month.
You can often get the same functionality of an all in one tool for a fraction of the cost by adding several single feature apps.
These suite of tools of single feature can also be better suitable and provide a better solution for the feature they are aimed at.
Price difference between paid apps
Amon the paid apps, some apps are affordable while others can cost a lot of money, some Amazon sellers pay hundreds of dollars per month when they could have get the same functionality for way less than $100.
Make sure you not only compare the functionality, but also compare the costs. If an app you are using raises their price, don’t be afraid to look for an alternative.
Also note that many paid apps offer a free trial. Some free trials require you to insert your credit card upon registration and some request it only after the free trial period ends. See what suits you best.
Paid tools vs free tools
Amazon seller tools can improve your business in many ways. In fact, there are apps for pretty much any aspect of your seller life, from managing your product listings, listing optimization, getting reviews, through PPC management and even funding and credit solutions.
In this segment we are going to go over how apps can help you and how to approach this subject considering the cost, the benefits and other related aspects.
We are going to go over the important aspects of an Amazon seller tool and their importance to Amazon sellers.
Amazon seller app usage can change your business
Different apps can assist in different areas and it makes a lot of sense to understand at what area can you get the biggest benefit. We suggest to try to think along the following lines:
Try to make a time table of an average day. Figure out the amount of time you are spending on different tasks. Some of the biggest time consumers are checking out the ranking of your product listings and your competitors’ ranking, listing optimization, managing product reviews and seller feedback and dealing with customers.
Are these your biggest time consuming activities? If not, find out what the time consumers are for you.
There are also periodical time consumers. For one seller it can be managing inventory and for another, the problem is to analyze sales data every week to see where you stand.
These are the best candidates to be simplified by apps. A good review request app like HighFive can reduce the time you spend on getting reviews to zero. It will also make following the reviews over time (to see your progress and find out weak spots) automatic.
A good listing tool or keyword optimization tool will save you hours performing keyword research and listing update tasks. There’s a good chance you’ll also get a better outcome using the tool compared to doing the keyword research yourself.
This is a good example where the cost of the keyword tool is easily offset by the value the tool brings.
Make a list of the time wasters and find out solutions as explained below.
Money and sales
Think about your orders and sales process. What’s holding you back? Almost every seller wants more views on their products, but you may also struggle with managing your inventory, having enough returning cash to grow your business and so on. Volume flexibility and funding related challenges can also be effectively mitigated with seller apps and it is worth the while to look into options and find the right tool or apps for your needs.
Considering revenues versus cost is significant for you and apps can be of assistance. Inventory themed apps can assist in reducing the cost of inventory by optimizing it, PPC apps can reduce the cost per click.
Also consider growth above your current offering as a constraint. You can find new products to sell using a dedicated tool and use financing solutions to help make the transition.
Order in the gallery
When you go to the Marketplace appstore (more on that in the next section) you are going to see 16 tool categories of apps Amazon sellers can use.
The tool categories are ordered by Amazon, while not official, the higher the category is, the higher the chance it will be helpful to the average seller.
Understanding your weak spots
A challenge that many Amazon sellers need to cope with is making sure their business is running as it should. Amazon gives you much data (your Seller health metrics are a good example) but this data is often hard to follow and understand.
Many apps will help you create a sort of a super dashboard that will help you make sure you are sticking to the right course. They can assist you with knowing when to press the gas paddle, when to stir and when to break.
Keeping it all in order
In this segment we are going to go over the leading tool categories and types of seller apps and how to get them.
Types of seller apps
While many Amazon sellers hear of apps and Amazon software from friends, forums, or search for them in Google search and search engines, there’s a simpler option. Amazon released its Amazon marketplace Appstore.
The appstore shows you all the available apps that use the Amazon API at one place, ordered by categories, with descriptions, ratings and pricing information.
The appstore is categorized into the following categories
These apps help you manage your Amazon listings with tools & services that help list new products or offers, listing optimization, optimize your catalog, and reduce errors.
The Amazon repricing software in this category are designed to help you stay price competitive by automating your product pricing based on your business rules. It normally lets you set minimum and maximum prices for easy control.
Inventory and Order Management
Automate your Amazon order management and keep your inventory levels in sync with the tools in this category. Better inventory management can affect your seller rating and make it more cost effective.
The shipping solutions category is all about apps that automate shipping and fulfillment processes with apps that facilitate shipping rate purchasing, label printing, and logistics.
The advertising category is full of tools that optimize pay-per-click advertising to improve product visibility and drive more purchases to your business.
Improve the discoverability of your products by creating targeted and compelling promotions with the tools in this category.
Product Research and Scouting
These product research apps screen prospective products to sell using criteria such as customer demand, allowing more data-driven sourcing decisions.
Feedback and Reviews
Use these tools to get on top of reviews and seller feedback from customers and improve your seller ratings.
Buyer-Seller Messaging Service
The apps in this category will help you answer customer questions in order to meet response timelines and provide a high level of customer service.
Analytics and Reporting
Use these apps and analyze your profitability and cost-per-product.
Find apps and services to track finances, help reconcile payments, or integrate with your accounting software in this category. Refunds manager apps are also examples of such apps.
Ecommerce Solution Connectors
Tools for integrating your ecommerce site with Amazon for quicker listing, improved order management, cross-channel and multi channel inventory sync, and more.
Full Service Solutions
The tools in this category will assist with integrating business management throughout the selling lifecycle.
Funding and Credit
This is an assortment of tools that will help you obtain financing to fund large purchases and support the day-to-day operations of your business.
In this category you can explore solutions to disburse to bank accounts located outside of the Amazon store geography.
Find apps and services in this category to help file taxes and comply with regulations.
Remember, when you use apps from Amazon’s appstore you are giving permissions to your data. Only give permissions to apps you trust. Also make sure the permissions you give are connected to what the web app does.
Non Amazon apps gallery tools
The Amazon appstore is a great gallery of apps, with all apps being approved by Amazon. However, there are a few Amazon tools that do not use the Amazon API. Therefore they are not part of the Apps gallery.
Such tools use different technologies and can be, for example, a Chrome extension that performs an action that is not supported by Amazon’s API.
The Lone payment tool is a good example. Since the API of Amazon doesn’t allow requesting payment from Amazon, we’ve created a Chrome extension that lets you automate the payment requests from Amazon.
When using a non gallery tool, make sure you are installing from a credible site and publisher you trust.
Where can I get the best Amazon seller tools
In this segment we are going to briefly go over the main tools an average seller might wish to use.
This list is comprehensive yet not exhaustive so you should examine your Amazon business and see which tools are suitable for your needs and if there are others you might want to add.
Product reviews and Feedback management tools
Product reviews and seller feedback are among the most important keys to your success as an Amazon seller.
Getting a good and consistent rating can win the Buy Box and let you rule the marketplace. They are important to initiate a viral launch of new products and for maintaining ranking for existing products to grow your Amazon sales.
A good review management tool will make sure you are not at risk of violating Amazon’s guidelines when soliciting a review from a buyer. This is why we believe tools that deploy the Request a Review button and automate it are your best bet.
HighFive is an example of such a tool. While it is completely free, it gives you all the request a review functionality you need – safety, compliance with Amazon and complete automation. You set it up once and it will send the review requests automatically and give you dashboards and notifications to keep track of your progress and status.
Amazon Inventory management
Inventory management tools and software let you connect your Marketplace product listings to Amazon FBA (FBA stands for Fulfillment by Amazon), synchronizes your Amazon inventory to your channels and assists you with fulfilling orders at the shortest possible time.
This is ideal for all vendors and especially if you have an Amazon FBA business. Such an inventory management software can be used for private label or reselling business and can dramatically reduce handling time for Amazon FBA sellers but also for FMB sellers.
These tools can also save Amazon FBA fees by giving you better clarity as for the FBA fees you pay.
Depending on your budget, a good inventory management tool can save a lot of time and grease the wheels of your Amazon machine, especially for Amazon FBA sellers.
Price Automation tools
Tools and software for price automation are important for all seller types but especially if you don’t have your own private label. This will allow you to better price yourself against your competition.
A good pricing tool will help you get to the correct pricing to increase your profit margins while ensuring as many Amazon sales as possible. You can also have details about your price history so you can come up with insights that can further boost your sales.
Good pricing is also a major factor contributing to your chances of winning the buy box on Amazon’s website.
Keyword research tools
A Keyword research tool is among the most popular Amazon seller apps out there. They let you easily track your keyword rankings as well as look into the possibility of getting new eyeballs using additional keywords and searches.
Amazon keyword research is relatively easy to do manually, you simply type the desired phrase with your ASIN, but doing it by hand is usually hard to do and not many people manage to continually do it.
This is why you should definitely consider using an Amazon keyword optimization and research tool to continually optimize your Amazon sales. Remember, it’s a good practice to add keyword by keyword so you don’t make changes too radical to effect your account and keyword rankings.
Many Amazon sellers plan a viral launch, thoroughly consider pricing but forget to check the competition for the keyword they wish to use. Remember, same as SEO for a website, competitor analysis, competitor monitoring and Keyword optimization are critical to your listing. Proper keyword data, keyword research and the keyword bidding that follows is key to your success.
Product research tool
Remember, a product research app is useful for most online sellers, but especially useful to those who frequently refresh their variety of products.
PPC management software
PPC (Pay Per Click) is basically the practice of buying eyeballs. Many people know this term from their website, buying views on google or boosting traffic to support a viral launch of a new product when cost is less of a concern. The same is true on Amazon.
This means you pay Amazon money and they’ll get potential customers to look at your listings. This ad spend is one of the best tools to help boost your sales, since not only are you getting traffic and orders from people who saw your ads, but you will also usually see an increase in your organic (meaning the unpaid) traffic.
In order to successfully run Amazon PPC campaigns, many sellers use a PPC tool for Amazon that manages the PPC campaigns for them or assists them with lowering the cost and the ad spend while maximizing the results.
We will not delve into PPC in this article, but lowering your ACoS is something that can be achieved easier with dedicated tools. Not sure what ACoS means?
ACoS stands for Amazon Advertising Cost of Sales.
ACoS is the key metric that measures how well your Sponsored Products campaigns are working and how effective is your Amazon advertising.
Alternative Amazon dashboards
Amazon is a gold mine of data, unfortunately, very much an actual mine, it requires a lot of work and know-how to be able to extract value.
While many of the metrics you see in your Amazon seller central account are self explanatory, most sellers need to dig deeper, and crunch the numbers in order to know exactly how well they are doing and what are the actions they should take next.
Another problem is that seller central does a poor job at separating the actual costs, especially among multiple products. For example, try to figure out what your acquisition costs were in an acceptable time.
Many tools and apps offer alternative dashboards that will show you exactly what you need to see. They will take you further than what you see on you Amazon seller account.
How much do you really spend, breakdown of costs and your sales rank and much more. Such dashboards are good for deep analysis but also for checking status many times a day (as an example, sales rank is updated every hour).
Remember that different types of sellers (just compare the needs of an Amazon FBA business to a FBM business). Or consider a volume intensive business with inventory management needs. Their notification needs will be entirely different.
It is hard to find one tool that offers the exact dashboard you need, but it’s worth looking around because you’ll find dashboards that will make selling on Amazon easier in ways you didn’t expect just because they highlighted problems that were hidden.
Website and channel related apps
Some vendors are selling on Amazon as well as on their website, using WooCommerce & WordPress, Shopify, Wix or a self developed website or platform.
In that case, you can use apps that connect sales from your website to Amazon to automate fulfillment. That way, each purchase on your website can automatically be processed as if it was made via Amazon.
Listing optimization tools
As the name suggests, such software and tools are specializing in listing management and optimization.
They can save you a lot of time handling your listings, especially if you have multiple products and are working in various marketplaces in a multi channel environment.
Being a seller is like juggling 42 balls in the air, all at the same time. Even if you are the most attentive seller you are bound to miss out on important metrics and announcements that might gravely affect your business.
Notification software can make sure you are not missing any of the important data. They can alert you whenever there’s something worth knowing.
Finance related apps
The apps in this list range from refunds manager apps, through apps that help you with your sales tax or connecting you to your online accounting software (Quickbooks, Xero etc.) and all the way to apps that give you funding so you can expand your stock and aid you selling on Amazon.
Due to the nature of this category, and your specific needs (calculating your sales tax, connecting to Quickbooks or a more complex usage) it is best handled at a per basis case.
We advise you to go to the Accounting category on the Amazon Marketplace Appstore to see which apps and software can best serve you.
Main Amazon tools you should use
After going over all there is to know about Amazon seller tools, let’s take a moment to discuss the best Amazon seller tools Amazon sellers can use.
As we mentioned, the apps should be assessed judging multiple axes. From cost to efficiency through the identity of the developer.
Let’s use an example of how you can analyze the relevance of an app and its cost to your needs. We will use one of our apps, HighFive to walk you through the thought process to be taken. It is a free tool that you can get working in less than 2minutes.
Recommended tools for sellers
We are going to go over each of the factors and see the tests the app should pass before it qualifies and can be used by you.
You don’t have to go over all the questions and some factors may be more important to you than to other Amazon merchants.
Don’t worry , the important thing is that you’ll know what questions can be relevant and ask yourself the ones that you care about:
As an Amazon seller worrying about your monthly sales, you notice you are spending a lot of time managing feedback and review, leaving you scarce time to worry about your inventory, cost of goods, and other daily operations.
Ask yourself: Can the tool save me time asking customers for reviews and feedback?
The answer: Yes it does. The app, HighFive, completely automates the process.
Is the regular operation of the tool putting me at any risk? For example, buyer seller messaging apps, when not used correctly can get your account blocked.
Ask yourself: Is there a risk using the app?
The answer: No, it is safe. Actually it takes the risk out of requesting reviews.
Who created the app
Is the developer of the software tools or apps trustworthy?
Is the software they created approved by Amazon?
Are they working from a geography I trust?
Are the people behind it credible?
Is this tool for Amazon or mainly for another usage?
Remember the cost of an untrustworthy tool can be unbearable. Go to the website and the app page on the Amazon marketplace website to find out the details about the developers.
Ask yourself: Do I trust the people behind the app?
The answer: Yes. You should look at the Lonesome labs website, the about us page and see the company and the people behind it are credible.
Does the app fit my seller type
Here you need to make sure if the tool is fitting for your seller type. For example, Volume sellers, wholesale sellers, Amazon FBA sellers, FBM sellers, Private label sellers etc.
Ask yourself: Is the tool specific or has advantages for my seller type?
The answer: Not relevant, this tool is type agnostic and fits all types.
How frequently will I use the app
This question is related to cost since it makes less sense to have a high cost for a tool you seldom use. It also relates to how you use the app, a mobile app is sometimges easier to access.
Ask yourself: Am I going to use the tool often?
The answer: This is a tool that is going to be used a lot, after each order. It’s automatic but used very frequently.
Cost of the app
Amazon sellers need to ask themselves the following:
Is the cost per month of the app something that I can afford?
Does the cost fit in our budget?
Is the cost per month mitigated by the increased revenues we’ll make?
Ask yourself: What is the cost of the app and does it fit my resources and business?
The answer: Since this is a free app, the answer is obviously yes. Further to that, it will also help you sell on Amazon and improve your chance to win the Buy box.
Is the app a single feature app or is it an all in one tool? The difference between a single dedicated app to a suite of tools can be significant. The advantage of a suite of features is that such software is offering you more functionality. The disadvantage is that such apps are harder to manage and their cost is significantly higher, often making it a less desirable option.
So, what’s better: a single feature app or an all in one tool with a suite of features?
You should judge each case on its own merits but you should consider what will better fit your needs.
Ask yourself: Am I getting a list of features or a single one?
The answer: In the case of HighFive you are getting a single main feature (requesting review) and accompanying features (like a review dashboard and notifications) that make it the most comprehensive tool for this purpose.
Complexity of using the app
Some apps are very technical in nature and even require a full on boarding. Others are simple plug and play. You need to factor the complexity in your decision making.
Ask yourself: Can I handle the technical complexity of using the app?
The answer: Sure, the app is quite simple, you choose your desired listings and the requests will be sent after the number of days you specify
Will I receive support if needed
This is more relevant for complex apps, but you need to rest assured you will get timely assistance in times of need. You can read about the company’s policy and read the review to get a good answer for this question.
Ask yourself: In times of need, will I get assistance?
The answer: You should always read the reviews and the company’s policy but the answer is Of course! We pride ourselves on offering premium and fast support.
So, what’s the bottom line?
After asking yourself the relevant questions and getting sufficient data to answer them you can now decide if you wish to install the app.
If you decide to use the app, install it promptly and make sure it fits your needs.
If it’s a free tool there’s usually no harm in trying. Same for free trial apps – give it a go for a few days and if it’s good keep it.
Different sellers not only need solutions from different tool categories, a specific seller might prefer a specific tool while another likes another tool.
This makes perfect sense since the first tool might emphasize specific aspects while the other tool focuses on other aspects.
Remember, there’s no one tool to effectively answer all your seller needs. You should experiment with various apps until you find the ideal array of apps for your account.
Whatever you choose to do, always look for ways to increase your revenues and cut costs. It’s the sure fire way to sell on Amazon and achieve success.
How to measure the worthwhileness on an app – HighFive
Apps can help you in many ways. A review tool will make the review request process easy, safe and effective, a PPC management tool can reduce the cost of PPC and reduce the cost associated with inventory by optimizing it. A keyword tool will help you reach new heights and even win the buy box and a listing tool will keep your listings optimized.
Whether you sell exclusively on Amazon or on your website as well, smart tool usage can make you a much more successful and cost effective vendor.
Make sure you follow our tool selection methodology and periodically assess your business and see if you can reduce your cost or increase your revenues by applying a new tool.