A sampling of e-retailer and vendor announcements from the NRF show floor this week.
With millions of sellers offering billions of products, it’s not easy to stand out on the rapidly growing Amazon Marketplace.
Amazon’s marketplace is experiencing explosive growth that presents incredible opportunity if your brand is positioned correctly. According to Amazon, in 2013 over two million sellers sold over two billion units through the marketplace. As a brand and as a third party seller, how do you optimize your listing in order to capture eyeballs in a sea of product? There are five primary sub categories for optimization to look at when doing an evaluation that go far beyond just the aesthetic of the listing (although that is critically important). These categories include product, listing, sellers, price and distribution.
When you analyze the listing itself, think about how it is viewed by the consumer. Consider its categorization and make sure that you accurately categorized the listing down to the most specific node possible. An example of this is the categorization of the Puku phone charger; it is specified down the most accurate fourth node. Cell Phones & Accessories› Accessories › Batteries › External Battery Packs. Additionally, it is important to address negative reviews as quickly as possible and encourage customers to write reviews. Positive reviews, the right price point and proper categorization all will improve your ranking, which is critical to visibility.
When you review your listing, think about how it visually communicates to the consumer. Be sure to have at least five high quality images, employ an efficient but effective copywriter and adhere to brand guidelines when writing body copy and attributes, i.e., bullet points. When you think about your pricing, know that you likely will be competing for the buy box with numerous sellers. Do the best you can on price to gain the buy box, without breaking Amazon or manufacturer policies.
When you think about making the product easier to ship to a consumer, consider that shipping should be simple and seamless. The product should either be in-stock or the listing should be suppressed. Consider whether or not FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon) is faster and cheaper for your consumer and make the appropriate decision on methodology.
If you are a manufacturer, have a strong Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy, tight distribution policy and a strong reseller agreement in place to protect your brand. Regularly monitor the marketplaces and develop a strategy to manage distribution, sales, margin and retail relationships effectively. Some danger points to address include:
- Your product is selling double-digit percentage points below MAP.
- Unauthorized sellers are selling your product with impunity.
- Your brand’s visual representation online via copy, images and video is suspect to say the least.
- Negative reviews are going unanswered.
- Margins are being compressed.
If any of those danger points resonate with you, it is likely that your product line reviews with retailers are intensely painful; your biggest resellers are asking you to clean up unauthorized sellers moving your products at cut-rate prices and to end the never-ending race to the bottom on pricing. There is a way to get a handle on this problem and it starts with understanding how you are positioned on the digital channels. Actively participate on Amazon to understand how your product is positioned by completing a comprehensive analysis on pricing, distribution, sellers, product and the listing itself. That will enable you to identify specific areas for optimization and find opportunities for changes in your channel strategy that can ease the negative impacts of “showrooming,” online discounting, and brand degradation.
If you have your products listed on Amazon’s fast-growing third-party marketplace and are looking to get noticed among the millions of products that are listed while maintaining the integrity of your brand and the products that you are selling, you may consider sponsored listings. Sponsored listings can be a great way to stand out when you have a product to sell in a crowded marketplace.
Amazon Sponsored Listings are ads within Amazon that drive the user back to a marketplace listing page on Amazon. Like traditional search marketing, the seller bids on keyword terms (that often sell for pennies) and the ads appear alongside organic search results. Also, like traditional paid search, you only pay for an ad when the user clicks on your ad. In the home goods category we have realized very high ROI (over 500% in some cases) by bidding on branded and non-branded terms. An added benefit of listing with Amazon Sponsored Listings is that when a seller sells a product it increases the product ranking within Amazon.
Make sure you have done the basics to ensure the quality of your sponsored listing. That includes:
- Proper categorization
- Stellar Imagery
- Uploaded video content
- Compelling copy
- Worked out pricing so that you are competitively priced and adhering to MAP policies
Amazon Product Ads work much in the same way as Amazon Sponsored Listings; however, when a user clicks on one of these ads, the user is driven back to a seller’s own e-commerce store outside of Amazon. We have found these ads have worked well for differentiated product available outside of the marketplace; however, we have seen fewer clicks relative to Sponsored Listings, as users often are more apt to want to stay within the Amazon ecosystem.
Digital BrandWorks specializes in online marketing, including helping clients sell on marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay.