7 Things Successful Sellers Do; In conversation with Pranav Bhasin
Amazon's Pranav Bhasin shares seven things successful sellers do to achieve success.
Entrusted with a mission to simplify the online selling experience, Amazon India’s Director of Seller Experience, Pranav Bhasin’s approachable and calm demeanour wouldn’t give out much about the high-stress responsibility. Imagine having to constantly co-ordinate between teams to help over a lakh of business owners, manufacturers, distributors and sellers realise their financial dream, often leading to major life transformations.
Pranav believes that he co-owns a large part of the responsibility with the sellers themselves. He keeps an open ear for their constant feedback and anecdotes that give him cues on the practices that make them successful and the innovations that he can lead to making their selling experience seamless.
In a rare candid moment, he’s agreed to share his insights with us. Well, at least some of it.
- 1 Q1. Who according to you is a successful seller? Can you share some characteristics?
- 2 Q2. How often do you get a chance to interact with sellers?
- 3 Q3. Are there any initiatives taken up by Amazon to ensure sellers without technical knowhow get help?
- 4 Q4. Is there a success pattern or are there any specific habits of a highly successful sellers on Amazon that you would like to share with us?
- 5 Q5. If you could give only one piece of advice to a seller, what would you tell them?
- 6 Q6. What are the areas where sellers repeatedly make mistakes?
- 7 Q7. Do you think there is greater access to equal opportunities in online selling?
- 8 Q8. What do you have to tell sellers who haven’t found success on Amazon yet?
- 9 Q9. Do you believe the future of selling is online or offline?
In my experience, the key thing that distinguishes successful sellers from others is a really good understanding of their customer, ability to take risks/experiment, and last but not the least, their intrinsic motivation to succeed.
Successful sellers understand the needs of their customer really well and are able to identify unique opportunities and products that stand out in the marketplace.
They also transform their customer understanding into finer details like the title of their product, choice of imagery, choice of keywords etc. and use Sponsored Products to make their products discoverable. Finally, they leverage tools and services provided by Amazon, like Fulfillment By Amazon, to get products faster to the customers and delight them.
Q2. How often do you get a chance to interact with sellers?
While I would love to meet them daily, I only get a chance for face to face interactions just a few times a month. However, a large number of my team members meet and interact with sellers every day. They highlight seller concerns during our weekly meetings for which we ensure we expedite the resolution process.
I also like to follow up on anecdotes that are received by our social media teams, they help me learn about our sellers better so when I meet them I usually have an understanding of their concerns. I also take time to hear about our seller success stories, because it tells us when we are on the right path.
Q3. Are there any initiatives taken up by Amazon to ensure sellers without technical knowhow get help?
Yes, we have made significant investments in both online and offline initiatives to provide the help sellers need at different stages of their journey. We provide guidance that also includes early assistance and constant support post registration. For example, we set up regular online training sessions through Webinars and send relevant SMSs and emails if a seller is stuck at a certain point.
For a big change in the taxation system or in the processes, we have specific online help and guidance material available like the A to Z GST guide would be your go-to destination for all GST and tax-related information. For prospective and undecided sellers we have this unique initiative called the Start Selling Guide that works like a web of information for everything a seller needs to know about Online selling. For those who want more detailed information, we have our Seller Blog. To regularly educate our sellers, our team frequently creates and publishes help videos in 5 different languages.
As for the offline initiatives we have set up training sessions through Seller University for sellers residing in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities. We have also setup seller cafes in over 25 cities across India where sellers can walk in for any kind of support.
While there are many peculiar and unique habits, I can actually share seven common habits that I have seen all across. The first observation is that most successful sellers are obsessed with customers. They understand that customers want good quality products faster and do everything in their capability to ensure customers have a great experience. The second thing that they do is usually trying to leverage the FBA & Easy Ship Prime services in order to get their products reach a customer faster.
Thirdly, they ensure that products sold by them are of the highest quality at a really reasonable cost. They are obsessed with customer ratings and performance metrics, keeping in mind cancellations and late shipment. Fourth, we have observed that some of our best sellers take the additional pain to identify what are the products that a customer would desire and identify innovative ways to manufacture or source these products at lower costs. Basically, increase their selection to offer a larger variety of products. The fifth habit has been adapted by many of our sellers. It is to manage their business through the Amazon Seller App. They say it helps them keep a track of their orders and connect with their customers directly.
I think, I already mentioned this one before, but the sixth habit is to use the Sponsored Products feature that can really push your business to achieve a scale you wouldn’t comprehend.
Probably the last habit is something that many of our sellers underestimate, which is to seek help. To become successful you must recognize whether or not you need help and then reach out to the right people. For example, the third party service provider network can usually provide you quick assistance but reach out to them in advance so you don’t lose out on time.
While this is not an exhaustive list, it will still help business owners on Amazon achieve good growth in their business.
Q5. If you could give only one piece of advice to a seller, what would you tell them?
It’s Day One for online selling in India. We have just got started and believe the market will grow dramatically over the next 5~10 years. My advice to our sellers would be to think about the potential of online sales over the next 5 years and invest right now to ensure they continue to reap benefits and grow along with the market.
In order to do the same, they need to optimize for the long term rather than short-term gains. For example, I would obsess about customer ratings and feedback, ensure that we are selling high-quality genuine products and last but not the least, focus on building an online brand. We have seen a large number of big brands getting created on Amazon over the last 3 years and all of them have loyal customers who love to shop repeatedly from them.
Q6. What are the areas where sellers repeatedly make mistakes?
Ans: Most sellers underestimate the focus and discipline required to build an online business. A very common pattern that we see with new sellers is that they will add 2 – 3 products, and then wait for sales to happen. If they do not see sales for the next few days, they are likely to believe that online commerce is not for them. However, sellers who experiment quickly figure out that they start seeing traction after they have listed 20 – 30 products and invested some time to understand how to make their products discoverable to customers. It’s important to realize that there is no magic formula for success and that basic principles of running a business (good quality product, right pricing, discoverable to customers) apply to online business as well.
Q7. Do you think there is greater access to equal opportunities in online selling?
We have seen several examples in the marketplace where women are finding it easier to start selling online. For example, we have a seller who is also a housewife based out of Panipat, Haryana. She found it very unsafe to go out, travel long hours and pursue a career while she was also expecting her first child. So she set up an online store and uses a part of her residence to store her inventory. She feels it makes her financially independent.
Similarly, there are stories of young sellers who haven’t yet turned 20 and have an established business already to fund their higher education, while there are some stories of 50-year-old sellers who feel they finally have a sustainable business that made them successful.
Q8. What do you have to tell sellers who haven’t found success on Amazon yet?
The first thing to do is to ensure that all of your products are available for sale on Amazon. Secondly, check your pricing against similar products and make sure that your products are priced competitively. Third, make sure that you ship your orders on the same day you receive them.
Customers really like it when they receive products quickly, and it builds trust and helps you get good ratings. Once you start getting some scale, sign up for Fulfillment By Amazon to let Amazon take care of the operational load as you scale your business.
Q9. Do you believe the future of selling is online or offline?
The answer is not in the medium, but in the option that provides maximum convenience to the customer. Online commerce has seen a surge because it’s convenient for customers to order stuff and have it delivered to their home. This has now been superseded with Mobile commerce because it’s more convenient to order on a device that is always in your hand. In future, as technology evolves, we may see consumers shift to voice-based ordering on Alexa, or adopt new hyperlocal models that serve their needs better.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Amazon India Seller Services