Did You Put All Your Eggs in the “Amazon Basket”?

About four years ago as of this writing, ZonBlast actually created a new category of marketing for Amazon sellers by inventing the “blast.” This simple concept allowed private label brand owners (and some big brand owners as well) to quickly scale by driving massive visibility, and thus sales, to their listings within a short period of time.

For marketplace search engines, it’s a genius concept. Since all marketplaces tend to prioritize listings that have strong sales, stimulating sales inevitably gives the algorithm what it ultimately wants. This, in turn, rewards the listing with better keyword placement (rank).

The formula is simple: drive sales through deep discounts within a small window of time. The results are simple too: massive sales velocity, combined with a target search term, equals rank increase.

It is true with Amazon, and it is true with other marketplaces. Ebay, Etsy, Walmart. Anywhere that customers search for a keyword, browse products, select one, and then purchase.

The reason this is important is because while Amazon is an amazing platform to springboard your brand into growth and sustainability, it may not be safe for sellers to solely rely on the ecommerce behemoth. With the recent rash of listings becoming review locked, or products being shifted into irrelevant categories, forcing rapid and inexplicable rank drops (and subsequent sales drops), more and more sellers are looking to diversify.

So it’s good to know that the rules are not much different. That means, you can take the skills you’ve learned while growing your Amazon sales, and apply them to different marketplaces.

Most people on Walmart.com appear to be looking for a bargain, so higher priced items may not gain as much traction as desired.

The Wild Wild West of Walmart.com

I’ve personally been testing selling some of our products on Walmart.com and can report that, while the platform itself has many major differences, many aspects of the keyword ranking algorithm are almost identical to Amazon’s….from about three years ago!

When I wrote my Walmart.com listings, my products landed between pages three and four for the main search term just based on SEO alone.

The first “test” I conducted was to see what factors OTHER than sales affected ranking. So I hired one of those “SEO firms” you find on Fiverr that guarantee page one rankings. I paid the freelancer and let him do his magic on one of my listings.

I discovered that his method was using fake reviews (which I later had him delete). I received about 12 fake reviews, and watched my listing go from page four to page one.

My next test was to see if bot traffic had any effect. I purchased a bot script, and sent daily traffic to another of my listings. Nothing happened.

This meant it wasn’t SO easy to manipulate the algorithm, but still, anyone with a Walmart.com account could leave a review and that would significantly impact ranking. That was an interesting revelation.

I decided then to send out a message to all of my past buyers and ask for a review. This was a grueling and manual process since there aren’t services that currently automate feedback emails. However, after doing so, I managed one genuine review for one of my listings.

Within a couple of days, that listing jumped from page three to the bottom of page one.

 

That was exciting. The final step would be to run traditional blasts to my products to see if massive sales velocity would impact rank. The results were quite interesting.

My Walmart.com Blasts

I had three products I was looking to blast (three color variations of the same item). I tested the blasts on each, one at a time.

My first blast, I only managed to get about five sales. This was due to the fact that I was selling a $39 product for $16, so it was a decent discount but not a huge promo amount.

I then blasted the second color and then the third, both being more popular variations, they sold about ten units each.

And within a week, each of my three color variations were ranked on page one for the primary and most relevant keyword “baby carrier.” Two variations ended up on the third row on page one, and another one ended up on row seven.

This was off of so few sales, and even fewer reviews (the one that made it to bottom of page one got to third row page one).

What was even more interesting was my secondary search term, “baby sling,” also ranked these listings. All three moved from pages eight or more to page one after this promotion.

As a result, my products went from selling nearly nothing (MAYBE one sale every two or three days) to selling an average of five to ten units per day. Now, that isn’t a lot….definitely not retirement money, but I also haven’t put anymore effort into it at all. As in, no more blasts, no more review requests. Nothing.

And still, these products consistently sell around 200 units per month. I have no doubt if I worked to get more reviews, and ran a few more promotions, I could get to the top of page one rankings and then sell even more.

all marketplaces tend to prioritize listings that have strong sales.

A Couple of Notes About Walmart.com

There are some notable differences about the platform that should be mentioned. First, products tend to be much less expensive. Most people on Walmart.com appear to be looking for a bargain, so higher priced items may not gain as much traction as desired.

I see it as a great platform to liquidate inventory for a product you don’t wish to carry anymore (like me) or for small, introductory products to your brand.

Also, Walmart.com doesn’t offer coupon codes. This seems silly, as the platform is trying to compete with Amazon, and promo codes are one of the most effective ways to drive traffic to an order page. I’ve even reached out to try and talk to them about this. But, for now anyway, it is a reality we must live with.

Instead of coupon codes, you can run “price discounts,” which require the uploading of a file in the seller central of Walmart. This reduces the price for a determined amount of time, displaying the normal price and a slash through it with the new price, as well as a badge on the listing that says “discount price.”

The problem is, the discount is public to all.

This requires a couple of things to successfully run blasts to Walmart.com:

  1. You probably will want to make the discount lower than you normally would. So, rather than blast your product for $1, you may consider $4 or $5 or more.
  2. You have to monitor the blast. Meaning, you have to watch your sales, and as soon as you get the amount you feel you need, you should end the price discount promotion (which requires uploading another file).

The last notable difference is, you cannot specify a keyword.

Now, of course we at SixLeaf are testing and examining URL structures to try and drive rank to specific keywords, but for now there doesn’t appear to be a keyword embedded URL for any listing. All listings default to a canonical URL at the moment.

If you can work with these differences and constraints, however, ZonBlast by SixLeaf can help you to grow and scale your brand to Off-Amazon channels. If you have products live on Walmart.com, we encourage you to rank your listings while it’s still incredibly easy using blasts.

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