Let’s start with a generally accepted principle. To get to page 1 of the search results on Amazon you need to roughly match the sales velocity of the top listings.
If your product is in a moderate to high competition category that may mean you need to generate hundreds of sales per day. Now if you're like most sellers starting out with a new product, your listing is somewhere on page 5,6,7 or deeper in the search results. Maybe your generating a few sales per day... You have a lot of ground to make up!
But here’s the problem: To get anywhere close to the number of sales your top competitors are generating you’re going to need to spend a fortune on advertising, likely at nosebleed level ACOS. You’ll also need to generate a substantial number of daily sales through high value rebate campaigns. This all adds up to thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in daily spend just for a shot at reaching the coveted page one.
It’s certainly worth the launch cost if your listing successfully lands on page 1, but you also risk a big loss if you come up short. So the question is: How do you spend less (and risk less) on a product launch while still giving your listing a reasonably good chance of attaining a page 1 rank? The answer is below.
This is a bit technical but should be familiar to most Amazon Sellers. On a variation listing, the child ASIN does not technically “rank”. The parent ASIN ranks somewhere in the search results for a given search term. That means that the parent ASIN benefits from the sales velocity of any of the child ASIN’s.
So this means if you generate a substantial number of sales on 1 variation, all other variations effectively piggyback on it’s success. With that idea in mind, you should create a listing configuration by which you can launch a variation at a lower cost than your primary product.
The story that led to this breakthrough:
A seller on Rebaid contacted us with an interesting problem. He had launched numerous items successfully using rebate campaigns but his new product was different than his previous items. His new listing was for a GPS system with a target sales price of $299, substantially more expensive than his previous products. To rank on page 1 he would have to generate at least a hundred sales per day. And to generate that order volume on a new product he was looking at a prohibitively expensive launch campaign.
So after chatting for a while we came up with what turned out to be an ingenious strategy. He had a substantially quantity of plastic cases that were an optional add on for this product. Rather than sell these under a separate listing we suggested he add the cases as a variation on his primary listing. The cases sold for $7.99, substantially less than the $299 sales price of the GPS unit. Once the variation listing was created we launched an aggressive rebate campaign generating a large volume of daily orders for the cases.
As expected the listing quickly rose in the search results, bringing the expensive GPS unit to the top of the search results along with the inexpensive case. The cost of the campaign was modest compared to what it would have been had we run the campaign offering the full GPS unit. Best of all any review generated displayed for both variations, despite the reality that they were all attributed to the inexpensive case.
In the weeks and months following the launch the parent listing stayed highly ranked for many relevant search terms and many full price organic sales were made for the expensive GPS unit despite the fact that not a single one of these units were given away during the launch phase.
So if you are launching a product with a moderate to high sales price this strategy is definitely worth a try. Expanding on the above example, if you sell a supplement or health product which typically sells in a 30 or 60 day supply, add a 7 day sample pack variation to your listing and launch that ASIN
To conclude, your primary focus should be to risk less for a higher potential return. This principle doesn’t just apply to Amazon but transcends the world of business more broadly. The reality is that not all product launches are successful.
Spending $20,000 on a product launch to create a product listing that will generate $40,000 in sales per month for years on end is a no brainer. But the reality is it’s far from a sure thing. If you could spend a fraction of that amount and give your product the same likelihood of achieving that success you would be foolish not to do so. Moreover that savings in launch spend can be allocated to launching other products. And at the end of the day it’s a numbers game. You will develop a winning product, you just don’t know which it’s going to be yet.