In October 2015, Eric Schmidt responded to reporter questions about Amazon’s dominance in consumer search. “People don’t think of Amazon as search, but if you are looking for something to buy, you are more often than not looking for it on Amazon,” Google’s executive chairman said during a speech in Berlin this week. “They are obviously more focused on the commerce side of the equation, but at their roots, they are answering users’ questions and searches, just as we are.”
The Amazon.com website is one of a brand owner’s most valuable tools in growing exposure and conversion when selling online. The detail page on an Amazon listing act as your salesperson and advertisement and point of sale combined, so that page has to do a lot of work for the brand owner.
At Cascadia, we support brand owners with growing their selling business on Amazon. We are exclusively focused on growing brand owners on Seller Central, as opposed to Vendor Central. The platforms are different, the logistics and inventory planning are different, and all of the consultants in the firm have worked either exclusively on the seller platform or on brand development.
What are the most important aspects of being a seller on Amazon as a brand owner?
- Exposure – how many customers can find your products when they’re looking for them?
Exposure is increased by traffic, which is typically increased through advertising for shopping online. On Amazon, the platform used is Sponsored Ads. These are relatively simple as a platform, but can be a huge waste of money for sellers who are new to online marketing. The use of long tail keywords and being smart with your money is essential for low average cost of sales (ACoS), or the ratio of advertising cost to total revenue. Ideally, this is 15-25% at launch of a new product, then settles in to 5-7% for a mature product.
- Conversion – how many customers are then buying your products once they’ve found them?
Having an excellent detail page, with stellar photos is essential to converting customers once they’ve found your product through your advertising. We recommend a six sided approach to product photos, with pictures of packaging and lifestyle photos as well. Amazon gives you many opportunities in the photos section to showcase how awesome your products are; use them! Great packaging really increases perceived value for customers.
- Quality – how many customers are happy with the purchase once they’ve gotten it?
There are three elements to quality: product quality, account quality, and customer service quality. For product quality, you’ve gotten great exposure and good conversion, but how do you make sure that the product you’re marketing actually performs to the level that you’re marketing it at? Product testing in a laboratory is the best way to ensure that your products are safe, compliant, and will perform as expected. If you get complaints, having a quality customer service strategy is a must. If you have a real dud of a product, have great account quality and knowing how to work with Amazon’s enforcement teams is key. The customer is king on Amazon, and making sure they get a great product is essential to success.
- Brand – as more customers have happy experiences, how is your brand viewed on Amazon?
Now you’ve got good traffic, good conversion, and great reviews and low returns on your quality products. How do you then achieve brand uplift? You can measure your overall ranking, your sales growth, and set goals around review improvement. Do you have a style guide? Is your brand coherent to customers? Do they know what they’re getting when they buy a product from your brand? What is your customer engagement strategy? Amazon prohibits direct marketing to its customers by sellers, so a strategy to increase visibility with customers like a feedback request program with PDF guides or great insert cards are a must.
So, how can you work with us to achieve your goals on Amazon?
We believe that a shared risk model best demonstrates our commitment to you, our client. We are paid more when you are making more in net Amazon profits. Our greatest investment is onboarding and the first six months, with more of a maintenance approach from 6-12 months, and a full maintenance mode from 12+ months onward, so we employ a downward sliding scale of profit sharing to match these time periods. Note, if you are not happy with our service for any reason, you can cancel the contract with a 30-day notice at any time.
As former Amazonians, we are the experts on how to do Amazon, on Amazon. We are confident we can help you manage your brand and grow your business on Amazon!