It’s widely known that 40 percent of new product launches fail. This data point has held true since the 1970s. But that was before the ascent of Amazon.com. Today, the online retail giant’s marketplace lists close to 350 million products. Competition is fierce and many brands can expect to fail.
However, Amazon does offer new sellers a decisive advantage. It’s called the “honeymoon” period — an unadvertised time frame that opens the door for new products to rank highly off the bat and, more importantly, stay ranked highly.
While you may be tempted to slow roll your product launch to test consumer response, going slow with an Amazon product launch wastes this hidden, valuable advantage.
How Does the Amazon Honeymoon Period Work?
Amazon doesn’t publish information on this period, but we know it’s a 30- to 90-day window in which the retailer gives a new brand or product an unfair organic rank. It’s unfair because your brand hasn’t yet “earned” a spot on that first page of search results. Amazon does this to test your clickthrough rate, conversion rate, reviews, etc., and determine where your brand deserves to rank in its seller ecosystem.
This creates opportunity. If you can optimize the factors that Amazon is testing, the more likely your product is to retain that amplified status once the honeymoon is over.
Let’s look at the three best practices you must capitalize on to successfully launch new products on Amazon:
1. Launch with A+ content.
Optimized content will differentiate your brand, inform buying decisions, and help Amazon determine if you have a right to win over other brands.
Start with keyword research. Tools like Helium10 and Jungle Scout can help you research what consumers search for, competitive keywords, where you have a right to win on terms, and the sales metrics you need to rank for those terms. Incorporate these terms into your page copy, specifically page titles.
Next, optimize your below-the-fold A+ content. This content should aim to delight, engage, tell your brand’s story, and give your customers a memorable shopping experience.
Visually showcase your product and brand with rich graphics, lifestyle images, videos, and appealing thumbnails. Couple these with informative, concise copy. Keyword-rich text overlays to your images can succinctly convey product features and benefits.
2. Gain early, positive reviews.
Because your honeymoon period is brief, securing early and positive reviews is crucial
There are many legitimate ways to ask for feedback. The Amazon-managed “Amazon Vine” program, in which “professional” Amazon reviewers receive a free product in exchange for a review, can help you secure your first 30 reviews. A word of caution: These reviewers may not be people who naturally seek out your product, and their reviews can be overzealous. If your product has mass-market appeal, the Vine program could be a good fit.
Other options include tools like Feedback Five, Feedback Whiz, or Amazon’s own “Request a Review” feature.
3. Elevate your profile with advertising.
The final pillar of your honeymoon strategy is a robust advertising plan that focuses on keyword targeting. Since search results pages are increasingly occupied by paid advertising, you need to find opportunities to outperform the competition for the long haul.
Conduct extensive research to determine which terms you have a right to win on and how many units you need to sell to rank for that term. Concentrate on long- or medium-tail terms that distinguish your brand from the competition.
As you gain momentum and your conversion rate grows, Amazon’s algorithm will increase your product’s organic rank. You can then invest in higher volume, competitive terms.
Don’t Let the Amazon Honeymoon Period Go to Waste
To compete in a marketplace as vast as Amazon, you can’t win with a “Field of Dreams” mindset — the notion that “if you build it, they will come.” Simply listing a product doesn't mean it will sell.
The Amazon honeymoon period is your window of opportunity to optimize your product launch. Don’t let it go to waste.
Sean Lee is the chief marketing officer of Amify, a management, strategy, and operational partner that helps brands reach success on Amazon.