Understanding how to leverage Amazon’s Seller Platform and its numerous tools to provide clarity and aid decision making is key to maximising sales and saving time. One of the most time-efficient ways of achieving your goals is to better understand how bulk operations work – in this blog, we’ll take a look at what this term means, and how to use operations in your own campaigns. Other than bulk operations, another useful skill to achieve your targets is to use Amazon SEO to your advantage.
Understanding Bulk Operations
Within Amazon Advertising, operations represent each activity performed on your account. This description spans every single action which takes place while your Amazon Seller account is active, ranging from creating campaigns right through to adjusting your bids and adding keywords.
Bulk operations encompass multiple changes with are made all at once, instead of in individual actions. Bulk operations provide time-strapped sellers with the tools they need to optimise campaigns on a larger scale, helping to save both time and money in the long-term and allowing them to focus on other areas of their business.
How do bulk operations work?
For this, we asked George Meressa, Managing Director of specialist Amazon agency Clear Ads and he said:
“The process of getting to grips with bulk operations is relatively straightforward; you simply upload a single file to the Amazon Seller platform, through which you can then carry out many different ‘operations’.”
The file used for bulk operations is provided by Amazon in the form of a spreadsheet. This includes a template for your campaigns, with all the data available for download via your account. You can use this template to change existing campaigns.
Accessing the bulk operations spreadsheet
The bulk operations functionality is not only handy for editing existing campaigns, it also enables you to create new campaigns.
To get started, you need to go to Campaign Manager and click on the tag titled ‘Bulk Operations’ (full instructions below).
After logging into your Seller account, head for Advertising, click on Campaign Manager and select Bulk Operations. After this, you can then choose to modify your existing campaigns or start afresh.
- To modify campaigns, you will have to select creating and downloading a custom spreadsheet. From here, you can choose to adjust a variety of different variables including the date range. This affects only the columns containing existing campaign performance data – notably orders, sales, impressions, clicks, spend etc.
- You cannot make adjustments to a campaign which has been terminated or archived, but there should be little reason to do so. You should also exclude from your selection any campaigns which have received zero impressions.
After you have made your selections, click on Create spreadsheet for download. It will take a few minutes for the file to be created. After Amazon has created the file, simply download it and get started.
If you are beginning this process with an account which has no existing data, then you can simply download a blank template by avoiding most of the options above and going straight to creating the spreadsheet for download.
This can be quite confusing, particularly for those who are new to selling on Amazon, but in essence the spreadsheet is comprised of six different tabs, which detail key pieces of information:
- Attribute Definitions
- Example Bulk Template
- Template – Sponsored Product
- Template – Headline Search
- Template – Portfolio
The template varies depending on your geographical location, so the above definitions may vary – they are intended as a guideline only for what you will see when opening the spreadsheet.
The structure of the bulk file includes a header row, and named columns, which must be preserved to ensure the process of editing works as it should. Be sure not to delete or alter any of the information included in this first row. The second row onwards is referred to as a record, and provides all the data associated with your seller account.
Editing your bulk operations spreadsheet
Editing the spreadsheet is relatively straightforward. You can edit the document in any applicable editing software, including everything from Microsoft Excel to Google Spreadsheets. Apple users can use Apple Numbers, or those who prefer to stay away from the commercial document applications can opt for OpenOffice Calc.
Bulk operations keep track of four different types of information:
- Ad Group
Each of these will require you to fill in different fields within the spreadsheet. Campaigns require a budget for each day, a start date and targeting type, while ad groups need a name, maximum bid and status, as well as any SKUs or ads which are applicable. Keywords are added underneath each advert. Each of these steps must be repeated for every ad group in your campaign.
Uploading your file
After editing, it’s now time to upload the file to Amazon. Head for the Bulk Operations screen and select ‘Upload your file to update your campaign’. Next, select ‘Choose File’ and upload your spreadsheet. Note that it could take several hours to process the file, depending on the amount of data which is included. The process only takes a few minutes.
Bulk operations metrics
Using bulk operations is not only a handy way to get things done quickly, it also provides a closer look at your advertising metrics with an in-depth take which surpasses the relative simplicity of the campaign manager interface. There are several areas in which these two methods differ.
Amazon Bulk Operations allows you to more easily trace the tracking metrics of each campaign whilst using Sponsored Products. Following recent updates, it is now more difficult to track major changes in the campaign via the existing reporting tools, as Sponsored Products supplies only simplistic date-based tracking process.
The Campaign manager will allow you to see performance metrics which cover time frames such as today, last week, or over the lifetime of your account. With bulk operations, you can drill down into these numbers with more accuracy, allowing for a more straightforward analysis of the data. By taking this approach you will gain a clearer understanding of the true performance of your account, which is helpful when subsequently deciding on and implementing any necessary changes and improvements.
Campaign managers are advised to look closely at the data from the exact date on which the shift towards each change was made, in order to see the effects with more accuracy.
Major benefits of bulk operations
While the benefits of this approach are numerous, they can be summarised into a few key points.
First and foremost, carrying out changes in bulk means you can adjust your bids quickly and simply. This isn’t just time-saving, it also helps to prevent instances of server errors, which can often be a consequence of alternative approaches.
In addition, you can make the necessary changes without needing to be online – and simply upload the end result after completion. By using the spreadsheet to add all the important details for your campaigns, you automatically generate a back-up, which will prove invaluable should something go wrong.
Boosting your sales performance
Many sellers get confused during the Amazon selling process, mistakenly believing that the more they spend on an advertising campaign, the more they are apt to gain from it. This is not always the case – selling on Amazon is far more complex and requires a far more careful approach in order to accomplish your goals. Each campaign hinges on the bids and the budget, and testing these areas is crucial to securing ongoing success. If you have room to spend more on your campaign, then try increasing your keyword bids.
Carrying out changes in bulk allows you to update the keywords simply and set the campaign to continue for a set period of time. We would highly recommend ongoing testing to assess progress (on a weekly basis ideally) before comparing to your prior achievements. This allows enough data to be gathered for a rigorous look at how to continuously move towards enhanced sales performance.
When to use bulk operations
Whilst ultimately the ‘when’ and ‘where’ to use this capability rests with the campaign manager, there are certain situations where it is often the best choice. If you discover that working in this way doesn’t suit you, then it’s always possible to revert back to the original format, so there is no commitment.
A few clear indications that you could benefit from bulk operations include:
- You are managing larger ad accounts, where you have significant data to handle and are struggling to keep track of everything.
- The same applies to medium accounts, as you will also likely have many different variables to monitor.
- You are feeling frustrated by the limitations of your existing approach, waiting for Amazon’s seller platform to load and repeating the same operations in a time-consuming way.
In these instances, giving bulk operations a try could see you boost not only your ad performance but your productivity across the board. Selecting bulk operations needn’t replace your existing workflow, and can be used either in conjunction with your current methods or as a temporary adjustment until you make a final decision.
How To Streamline Your Startup
Are you looking to streamline your startup? Once you have got up and running and started to find your feet, it is a good time to start looking for ways to streamline, so that you can improve efficiency and start to improve performance. There are always issues and bottlenecks that arise that you did not anticipate and making minor improvements can make a big difference. There are a few important steps to take to streamline your startup and you will be impressed with the positive impact that these can have on your business, especially when they are combined together. Keep reading to find out more.
Identify Problematic Areas
A good starting place is to identify the problematic areas of the business. You may have an idea of what these are already, but it is also a good idea to ask your staff and customers. Once you have identified an area or two that needs some work, you can identify the best ways to improve and this will lift the entire operation.
You should also automate as much of the operation as you can with online tools, apps and software. Even just automating one task can make a big difference as it can speed up the process, reduce errors and free up time for your staff to focus on other aspects of their role. Often, simple admin tasks can be automated and this can make work much easier for your employees.
Outsourcing is a smart way to free up time for your staff, get work completed by specialists and scale the business. Not only this, but outsourcing is also more cost-effective than hiring new staff, and there are all kinds of tasks and even entire departments that can be outsourced with ease.
Use Cloud Management Services
The cloud is a great way to streamline your business, especially in a time where people are working remotely. Using cloud management services allows you to get the most out of the cloud with automatic content and customization management tools allowing you to maintain complete operational control of your cloud environment.
Use Remote Work Tools
Remote work can bring a range of benefits to both the business and staff, but it does also pose a few challenges. Many of these challenges can be overcome when you utilize the best and latest remote work tools, such as screen-sharing software and group chat platforms. You can also get helpful advice on how to manage remote teams that will allow everyone to get the most out of remote work and boost productivity.
These are a few of the best ways to streamline your startup. Once you have got the business up and running, it is important to take the time to find ways to streamline so that you can operate at maximum efficiency and compete at the highest possible level. It can take startups a while to find success, but when you can streamline and improve early on, it will always help you to achieve this success much faster.
How To Have The Perfect Networking Event
Business is about the contacts and networks that you create around your products and services as well as those for support and advice. Networking has come to the fore in recent times and is now considered to be essential for both meeting customers and suppliers and stakeholders, alike.
Plan, plan, plan
An event for networking needs to be planned well in advance, to choose a theme, decide on the aim and provide professionals who are invited sufficient time to plan and diarize the event. Many note that planning should take place at least several weeks in advance. The only time you don’t need to inform guests so early is if it is a pop-up networking event. The event itself will still need pre-planning, but the invites can then be sent out at a little later and a little wider to ensure sufficient attendance.
You also need to plan as to what the aim of the event is, who will be invited and why and what the content or process of the event will be.
The meet and greet is essential
Depending on the number of people that you invite and the target audience, ensure that your meet and greet is appropriate. Customers want to feel valued and special and upon arrival they will need to feel welcome and at ease to appreciate the event and engage with any company or product messages. There should also be a formal process of brief introductions depending on the aim of the networking event.
Promote the brand and provide promotional material, freebies and gifts
Include a brand story, whether it’s on written promotional material or posters and yes, even PowerPoint can work. Telling your audience a memorable anecdote about the product is a must for a networking event. It’s stories like these that people remember and create the backstory to the product or business. There should also be some takeaways with all contact details of the host as well as a commitment to subsequently provide the contacts of others who have attended. This can be in the form of a fun branded item that has the contact details and there are some exciting developments in this sector at the moment. Good examples are made by anthembranding.com.
Have connectors on hand
The one thing that many businesses neglect to do at a networking or marketing event is to have a few connectors in the room and at the venue. They need to have been selected very carefully, generally from members of your own company or team. They need to know the brand, have a clear idea of what the event aims to achieve and then most of all they need to be personable. Their role is to make sure that there is interaction, talking to people and introducing those who have arrived, to others already in the room.
The end of the event is the start of your actual networking. It’s vital to then reflect on the event and determine exactly what the next steps are for sustainable networking and relationship building.
How to increase your workforce’s efficiency
The phrase ‘a company’s greatest asset is its staff’ may be a cliche, but like many cliches, it is absolutely true. If your workforce doesn’t have the necessary skills, if their morale isn’t high enough or your employees aren’t being led effectively enough, then your business will suffer as a result.
Unfortunately, neglecting your workforce is one of the easiest mistakes you can make as a business leader. This is because you aren’t dealing with spreadsheets or products, you are dealing with human beings. When you are busy trying to maximize profits, compete with business rivals and attract new customers, you can quickly forget that the only way you’re going to do any of that is not through machines, but people.
However, if your workforce is not performing well enough, you may feel conflicted about what to do. If you fire certain employees then you run the risk of letting morale drop, but if you don’t make your feelings known, then nothing will ever change.
This is how to increase your workforce’s efficiency:
Improve your production processes
The first step to improving the efficiency of your employees is to make their jobs easier. This means improving your production processes by investing in tooling. This tooling could mean fitting a conveyor system, such as those from fluentconveyors.com, if you have a production line, or using cloud computing to help make project work easier.
By initially focusing on helping your employees do their jobs in a more efficient way, you will create a positive working atmosphere, rather than one of unnecessary pressure to perform. Your job is not to suspect that your workforce is underperforming, but appreciate whether they have the necessary tools to improve their efficiency.
Ask them directly what they need
Arguably the best way to improve your workforce’s efficiency is to ask them what they need to improve their productivity. This is often an overlooked step by business leaders, but talking one-on-one with employees could generate valuable information to improve productivity.
There will almost certainly be small details that you would never have thought of, or even gaping holes in the company’s management structure that need addressing.
Create a positive atmosphere
One of the simplest ways you can improve your workforce’s efficiency is to create a positive working atmosphere within your organization. You would be amazed how easily people can pick up on poor management structures, negative pressure and a lack of leadership. It can quickly impact overall productivity and take a long time to change.
Thankfully, this can easily be avoided by creating an atmosphere of trust and support at every level of your organization. Ensure that there are channels of communication open to employees looking to give their feedback, and regularly catch up with members of every department. It is easy as a business leader to become isolated from the rest of the organization, so an open-door policy often works best for maintaining a positive work environment.
How To Streamline Your Startup
How To Have The Perfect Networking Event
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