Favourite Settings for Woozone Amazon Affiliate Plugin

Update: 17/09/202’ve removed the link to the Frozen Party Shop as I no longer have time to develop it. Sadly as time goes by Amazon keeps cutting its commission levels so that it has now moved from one of the best paying affiliate schemes to one of the worst.

I am still an amazon affiliate but it is now only on a couple of my sites. I’ve also changed my mind on my favourite settings for Woozone.

I used to like running the cart on the shops that I had because it was good for SEO and search engines. Keeping everyone on the site until the last possible moment and taking them to the checkout at Amazon meant that bonce rates were super low. That’s good for rankings but I was getting too many negatives by running the cart model.

On Wildlife News shop I have the product page gong direct to the Amazon page. This makes things completely hands-off. With the on-site cart option I used to get:

  • products being added to cart being different from what was at checkout. Amazon rotates the buy button so what gets added to the cart may be a different price than you advertise or even a different product. I’ve had people complain to me that a product advertised features a free gift but what they got did not have one. That’s the impact of amazon rotate. You have no control over what gets added but the customer thinks it’s your product.
  • complaints from customers. With add to cart feature, people were thinking they were buying from me and holding me responsible for problems
  • pre-sales questions. I used to get a lot of pre-sale emails about products such as quantity discounts and do I ship overseas. You can be too store like at times. Being an affiliate should be passive.

Those things meat that what is supposed to be passive income became a lot of hard work.

Today I just have the link to Amazon. It’s a higher bounce rate so not as good as using the cart feature of Woozone but a whole lot less hassle.

 

Previous favourite settings

I’ve been an affiliate of Amazon for over 20 years. My first monthly payout back in 2000 was a miserly £3.22. But there have been times, when the Amazon affiliate programme was at its peak, that the monthly payout ran into £3,000+ a month. A few years ago Amazon changed its commission structure. That saw a lot of affiliate marketers lose a lot of income.  You can still make reasonable money on Amazon but the big earning days are over.

As an example of how much those earnings have dropped here; I used to regularly hit the 8% commission levels because of the number of items I sold each month. One of my biggest selling ranges where binoculars selling at in the £70 – £100 range. On the old commission structure, I would earn 8% commission or between £5.6o and £7.00 (there was a £7.00 commission cap per item). Today the binoculars category only pays out 2% commission so those commissions are now between £1.40 and £2.00.

This is why a lot of active affiliate marketers have left Amazon over the last 5 years. But there is still money to be made from Amazon. Category level commissions range of 0% to as much as 10%. Choose your niche and category carefully and you can still produce an ongoing income. Even with little in the way of ongoing work.

The secret to making money from Amazon affiliates now is to set up niche shops. These require a bit of work to set up but little work to maintain. The income will not cover the cost of time in most cases. Lots of small automated shops are more effective than a large wide-ranging shop.

Niche Amazon Shop Set-Up with Woozone

This blog is going to be a case-study of one of my niche Amazon shops for the UK. It’s going to show the settings I use to make the shop as automated as possible once that initial set up is put in place. The shop is my Frozen Party Shop.  (shop now closed as I move onto dropshipping)

The shop uses the free Envo Ecommerce theme on a child theme as I have some custom functions to use. I use my favourite Amazon affiliate management plugin for Woocommerce which is the AA-Team Woozone Amazon Affiliate plugin. This is a really powerful plugin that can be used to import and auto-sync products from both Amazon and eBay (with an additional add-on). I just use the Amazon aspect.

My shops are on dedicated servers which means I can auto-sync prices every 12 hours to keep my shop up to date. If you are on cheap shared hosting you may need to look at updating less often.  For hosting examples, if you are going to have a couple of niche shops of between 100 and 300 items then you can get away with a 1&1 Pro hosting account. This should let you auto-syn prices every day. For any more than this, you really need to be at least on a 1&1 Expert account or look at virtual or cloud servers.

I’m not going to go into all the plugins that I use on the shop. I might do another blog to cover that but needless to say, you’ll need Woocommerce and, of course, I use Category Tinymce 5 to boost my archive pages for both users and search engines.

Woozone Settings for Woocommerce Shop

There are two major ways to set up Woozone. You can use the cart so people add items as a normal eCommerce shop. They only go to Amazon once they check out. All the items they order are there ready to pay. The second way is when each product has a link to the product page on Amazon. They don’t multi-buy items and ‘check out’ as a normal shop. Each of your Woocommerce pages is just a link to a product page.

Both have pros and cons. For instance, there’s nothing worse than you getting someone to check out to Amazon only for half their products not to be there. This happens because the product has either sold out on Amazon or just not there any more. This is why if you use the cart option you need to sync your items at least daily. This keeps your shop up to date and fresh. If you use the product link option then the customer will just be sent to a page at Amazon that says out of stock. But at least they will have other options to choose from.

I’m not going to go through how to install Woozone. There are plenty of videos to show how to do that. This blog is going to show how I set up Woozone as a cart-based shop.

Amazon Config Plugin Set-up

From top to bottom these are my settings:

  • On-site cart – yes
  • 90-day cookies – yes
  • Show Amazon URL as buy URL – yes
  • Get Product short URL – no
  • Display free shipping details – yes
  • Activate GDPR compliance – no. Note: GDPR compliance should be in your privacy policy and cookie acceptance detail page.
  • Product delete move to trash – no. Note: Google does not like a lot of 404’s. If you deliver a lot as products go out of stock etc you will fall in the search rankings. I keep the product pages but hide them from categories etc. So there are fewer 404 pages. How I do this is shown later.
  • External country detection – default. Note:  I only sell into the UK I don’t use geo detection because this only opens up issues with cart-based systems and flags are links to amazon giving the game away to google that you are a made for affiliate site.
  • Check-out email – no
  • Check out email mandatory – no
  • Gallery – no. Note: the normal gallery will still show. This is to replicate the gallery also in the description area.
  • Remove featured image from product gallery – no
  • Product short description – yes. Note: I will manually change this over time as I optimise products for search.
  • Review tab – yes. Note: customers like reviews but it brings Amazon onto your site so risk of being found as an affiliate site by Google. I am currently a/b testing yes and no.
  • Redirect – 1 second
  • Remote Amazon images – no
  • Activate product availability by country – no
  • Delete attachment when you delete the product – yes
  • Cross-selling – no. Note: even when using cart-based set up cross-selling products provide links to Amazon which increases the risk of being classed as a made for affiliate site.
  • Products with missing offer listing id external – no. Note: this will make product pages with missing ids to a direct affiliate link to Amazon. My experience is that even with missing listing ids the products are still on sale. Also, it spoils the effect of shopping experience.
  • Products with missing offer listing id delete/trash – no. Note: as said previously Google do not like sending people to 404 pages. Far better to treat it differently.
  • Show availability icon – yes
  • Product price disclaimer – Activate product price – no. Note: if you are updating prices daily this is not a concern.

Amazon Config Import Set-Up

Again going from top to bottom these are my settings.

  • Import attributes – no. note: these can get out of hand and lessen the SEO optimisation of the site later.
  • Prices set up: Only Amazon. Note: From my experience, only Amazon is effectively the buy box price. You can have all sorts of issues if you choose all the sellers. The plugin will opt for the lowest price. So, for example, a seller may have a price of 1p with £10 postage. Your price will display as 1p but at checkout, the price will show the buy box price which could be £6.00. You don’t want to upset customers.
  • Import product from the merchant – Amazon and other sellers. Note: You would think that if only using Amazon price then other sellers products would have no price, but they do. This is why I think Amazon price relates to buy box price, not amazon only products.
  • Import products with price 0 – no
  • Variations – yes 20 variations. Note: this is a default setting which you can override at actual import. I tend to restrict to 10 variations. Remember there is evidence that when people have too many choices they choose NOT to buy. This is because they start to doubt about making the right choice. But having variations is needed for things like clothes, shoes etc where sizes are important.
  • Import as – publish
  • Image import type – default. Note; if you have a slow server you might try asynchronous download. This means images are download at a slower rate. The option for shared or slow servers.
  • Cron number of images – 100
  • Number of images – 2. Note: you don’t need a lot of images, they take up server space and slow down the load times of your site. This will set 2 image for the main items and also download 1 image for any variations. If your product has variations Woocommerce will swap the main image for the variation image when selected. But for this to work you need at least 2 images in the gallery.
  • Image names – product titles
  •  Spin-on import – no. Note: I’ve never seen a content spinner do a decent job. Plus I will manually rewrite the product description anyway.
  • Create only parent categories on import – yes. Note: I assign categories manually when importing which overrides this. But this setting helps reduce the number of categories to clean up if I forget about choosing the category. It happens occasionally.
  • Force import parent if a variation – yes
  • Import products with missing offer listing id – yes
  • Import variations with missing offer listing id – yes

Choosing products to import with Woozone

Once the settings have been set it’s now time to import products into your Woocomerce shop. The first thing to do is to set your own categories. Don’t rely on importing Amazon’s categories. You’re trying to set up a shop which is your own. Use your own categories which should be easier for customers to understand. It also helps to set you apart from being an affiliate site.

Woozone has a good internal search feature for you to use and select the products to import. But I prefer to grab ASIN numbers after doing a search on Amazon. Their own search engine tends to be better. You also get to see better images and a few more details than the Woozone search option.

Woozone had an ASIN grabber in the Google Chrome store but following recent changes at Amazon, it no longer works. I now use the pickasin – The ASIN tool for Amazon Chrome plugin. I can choose all my products I want in my category and then export a CSV list to use in the Woozone Insane importer.

You can see the result of a category on the Frozen Party Supplies Cake Decoration (site closed) archive page. The archive is very clean and clear. The products are all to do with cake decorations. It is much better organised than Amazon’s hierarchy.

My experience is that niche stores containing between 200 and 500 products are the most effective.

Setting up Product synchronisation

There are 2 places you set up product synchronisation depending on if you have Amazon API kes or not. Whichever place you go to in order to set your syncing, you don’t want to set everything to update.

What you want to update are the following:

  • Price
  • Sales rank
  • Buy URL
  • Reviews
  • New Variations

You do not want to update the title, short description or main description. You should manually rewrite these over time. If you set them to auto-update then it will overwrite your manually optimised content.

Search optimisation of imported products

The best way to get consistent results in search engines is to use unique content. Rewriting the product title, short description and main description may seem a big job but it’s not. Rewriting not only gives you unique optimised content but it also cleans up the mess the Amazon sellers do.

Some product titles are hundreds of characters long. not only does this look a mess but it doesn’t help with search engine optimisation. A short and descriptive title is far better – an not all in capitals!

It need not be a big task. Optimising a product can take just a few minutes. If you set aside an hour a day to optimise a 200 product store it is done in less than a month. A 500 product store can be done in just over a couple of months if you only do an hour a day.

Once it’s done then there’s no further work to do and you can move onto the next niche store. To help get your shop in the Google index quicker you can do a couple of things. Make sure you have your site in the Google Search Console and Analytics. Then just share your site on Facebook buy and sell pages. When Google sees visitors to your site they will ensure you are indexed.

Don’t overdo the sharing as Facebook will pick you up as a spammer but post out a product or a category to 12 groups a day and over a month you will start to see sales coming through.

An effective way to deal with Amazon out of stock products

In the Woozone plugin setting thee is the possibility to send to trash products with no listing id on syncing. This is not a good way to deal with products not currently available in Amazon. Firstly it means your site will start to grow in 404 pages. Google doesn’t like to send their searchers to 404 pages. Your site will start to drop in authority and search.

In addition, I know that a missing offer id does not mean the product is not available. It can still be there to buy. Also if you send these to trash then what happens if it’s just a temporary out of stock situation.

My personal choice is to use ‘Out of Stock’ notifications if the price is 0 or empty. Take a look through the cake decorations page again. You’ll see products listed that have out of stock on them. If you click through then the product pages say out of stock. When the product is resynced and at a later stage it comes back into stock on Amazon then it becomes available again on my site.

There are 2 functions you need to make this happen. Place these in your child theme functions file or a custom functions plugin.

Function to mark product page out of stock if the price is 0 or empty

add_filter( 'woocommerce_get_price_html', 'empty_and_zero_price_html', 20, 2 );
function empty_and_zero_price_html( $price, $product ) {
$empty_price = __('Out of stock', 'woocommerce');

if( $product->is_type('variable') )
{
$prices = $product->get_variation_prices( true );

if ( empty( $prices['price'] ) ) {
return $empty_price; // <=== HERE below for empty price
} else {
$min_price = current( $prices['price'] );
$max_price = end( $prices['price'] );
if ( $min_price === $max_price && 0 == $min_price ) {
return $empty_price; // <=== HERE for zero price
}
elseif ( $min_price !== $max_price && 0 == $min_price ) {
return wc_price( $max_price );
}
}
}
elseif( $product->is_type('simple') )
{
if ( '' === $product->get_price() || 0 == $product->get_price() ) {
return $empty_price; // <=== HERE for empty and zero prices
}
}
return $price;
}

// Product Variation displayed prices
add_filter( 'woocommerce_available_variation', 'empty_and_zero_variation_prices_html', 10, 3);
function empty_and_zero_variation_prices_html( $data, $product, $variation ) {

    if( '' === $variation->get_price() || 0 == $variation->get_price() )
        $data['price_html'] = __('Out of stock', 'woocommerce'); // <=== HERE for empty and zero prices

    return $data;
}

The second function deals with how these products appear in the archive pages. You can choose 2 options depending on how you want to do it. The first option will hide the out of stock items from archive pages. This means that your web visitors will not see it unless they have the URL to the actual product. The second way is to have the product appear on archive pages but marked as out of stock.

My personal choice is to display the product as out of stock. It helps to develop a sense of urgency in potential buyers. They don’t want the item to go out of stock so are more likely to buy.

Function to remove out of stock items from archives

add_filter( 'woocommerce_product_query_meta_query', 'shop_only_instock_products', 10, 2 );
function shop_only_instock_products( $meta_query, $query ) {
// In frontend only
if( is_admin() ) return $meta_query;

$meta_query['relation'] = 'OR';

$meta_query[] = array(
'key' => '_price',
'value' => '',
'type' => 'numeric',
'compare' => '!='
);
$meta_query[] = array(
'key' => '_price',
'value' => 0,
'type' => 'numeric',
'compare' => '!='
);
return $meta_query;
}

And if you want the out of stock items to show in the archives you don’t need to do anything!

Woozone Woocommerce Shop Setup conclusion

Having small niche shops is an effective way of still making money from Amazon. You need to spend time on the set up to optimise the content and make it unique. Once it’s done though it’s pretty maintenance free.

On most shops, you may only make £20 or £30 a month profit in commissions. But you can build up over time to have 20 or 30  shops each producing income each month. With 100 niche sites which you can build up over a year ( 2 a week) and you start to move towards full-time income.

It takes time and effort to set up each shop but it returns long-term. I have shops that are 10 and even 20 years old that I’ve done nothing to for years but are still generating income each and every month.

 

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Posted in Blog.

Blog postings from the developer of Y Praise Digital. some thoughts and wonderings of a web developer of over 25 years experience.

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