If there were any holdouts to the convenience of online shopping, the COVID-19 pandemic has converted them. With online shopping being the norm, it’s important for brands to manage a strong presence on e-commerce platforms like Amazon.
A poll my company conducted revealed many shoppers now use Amazon as a way to discover new brands — large and small. In fact, 87% of consumers say they’ve purchased a product on Amazon from a brand they’ve never tried before. In addition, 35% say Amazon is how they discover new brands, even if they’re small. This shows why it’s more important than ever to have a presence on Amazon.
However, it’s not enough for brands to simply list their products on Amazon and expect the sales to come rolling in. There are Amazon best practices that can help them stand out and drive sales — and complement sales on their own websites.
One Amazon best practice for brands is to establish a clear plan for the platform. This includes researching which platform options to leverage, such as Amazon’s fulfillment and advertising options.
It’s also prudent to watch what competitors are doing and take a lead from them. Brands also should take the time to consider their pricing strategy and how they will ultimately fulfill orders. Without a clear Amazon sales strategy, brands risk missing out on the huge volume of traffic that Amazon receives. This can lead to lost sales opportunities.
In fact, we find retailers often saying that, despite having a sales presence on Amazon, the majority of their sales still come from their own website. This often leaves them frustrated and confused.
Another Amazon best practice is to develop a plan that leverages the platform’s options, takes into account competitors, establishes a competitive pricing strategy and outlines a fulfillment plan.
Win the Buy Box
Brands should make sure to build an omnichannel marketing strategy that includes Amazon, their own website and other sales channels. This means allocating the necessary budget for advertising on Amazon and closely monitoring their success by incorporating key metrics in a reporting dashboard. Brands also should ensure that they have an agency or expert in media buying to help them navigate the complex world of e-commerce advertising.
One of the most important aspects of selling on Amazon is securing visibility. With so many products listed on the site, it can be difficult for brands to stand out to potential customers.
One way to increase visibility is to win what’s called the “Amazon Buy Box.” This appears at the top of the product page and is the default choice for customers when they add a product to their cart. To win the Buy Box, brands should focus on building a track record of reliable, positive Amazon reviews, fast delivery times and competitive pricing.
By becoming an Amazon favorite, brands can increase their chances of being featured in the Buy Box, — a key for driving sales.
Fulfilling Amazon sales
Once you’ve made sales, you’ll need to fulfill them. When it comes to fulfilling orders on Amazon, sellers have two primary options: Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) and Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). FBA allows customers to take advantage of free Prime shipping (a huge plus) and can accelerate sales and advertising efficiency.
However, this option does represent a cost for the seller, as Amazon earns higher fees on those sales. Brands should weigh the pros and cons of each option and choose the fulfillment method that makes the most economic sense for their business.
Messaging, pricing, stock
Sellers must regularly update product listings, always be testing and optimizing content and ensuring that branding imagery and messaging is consistent across all listings. By keeping things tidy and easy to find via search, brands can make the shopping experience easier for customers, which will increase the chances of a sale.
In terms of pricing, brands are on their own enforcing manufacturer’s suggested retail pricing (MSRP) and minimum advertised pricing (MAP) on Amazon. Amazon has decided it doesn’t need to enforce MAP agreements, so brands are left to engage in reseller abatement if other sellers are violating IP or MAP agreements.
However, it’s important to note that Amazon favors retailers who offer super competitive pricing, so brands should keep this in mind when establishing price points and wholesale arrangements with resellers.
Another Amazon best practice and moral imperative for brands is to keep their product in stock and available to be purchased on the platform. This is critical! If you don’t keep products in stock, you are jeopardizing the entirety of your investment in ads, and can never win back a lost sale due to inventory issues.
In conclusion, as consumers continue to expand their online shopping, brands need to have a strong presence on e-commerce platforms like Amazon. By following these Amazon best practices such as establishing a clear plan, increasing visibility, choosing the right fulfillment option, keeping inventory in stock and having a comprehensive marketing strategy, brands can increase their chances of success on the world’s largest retailer — as well as their own website.
Brian Byer is the chief operating officer of Emplicit, a leading Amazon-partnered eCommerce maximization agency. Brian offers deep expertise in the digital agency, marketing and technology services sector with versatile product and platform marketing experience across multiple continents and industries.
If you like this article, sign up for the SmartBrief on Social Business email newsletter for free.