If you’re building or expanding your brand, you already know the importance of Amazon growth. Amazon is the most important ecommerce marketplace in the U.S., and it’s only growing in prominence. While some brands excel on Amazon, others fall short of their goals and potential, and it can feel intimidating to invest time and resources into Amazon if you’re not sure this investment will pay off.
But what if we told you that ecommerce success isn’t erratic and arbitrary, but something brands can predictably achieve when focusing on a few key goals? At Pattern, working with hundreds of brands on Amazon has shown us that ecommerce success isn’t unattainable or random—it’s a mathematical equation that can be solved. And this equation is fairly straightforward: if you want to accelerate your brand on Amazon, you need to master insights, traffic, content, and protection. Not sure what we mean? We’ll tell you all you need to know below.
Since selling on ecommerce is still relatively new, many brands lack insight into their brand’s online presence. It’s not uncommon for brands to be unaware of who’s selling their product on ecommerce, what their web listings look like, what’s happening to their prices across marketplaces, or even how much sales revenue is generated through ecommerce platforms.
Although this situation is common, it’s a dangerous pitfall that prevents brands from maximizing their Amazon growth. To fulfill your brand’s potential you must have real-time ecommerce data informing you on your prices across marketplaces, the efficacy of your listing pages, and how you measure up to your competition.
Using data to determine your “digital shelf” is an important step in forming a comprehensive picture of your brand’s ecommerce standing. Just like brick-and-mortar stores place products on a physical shelf alongside competitors, ecommerce products exist on a digital shelf of competitors. On the digital shelf, products compete on a keyword or key phrase level.
Instead of assuming you know who your primary competitors are, rely on data to tell you. Brands are often surprised to find out that their ecommerce competitors aren’t who they thought they were, as ecommerce competitors can vary widely from your brand’s traditional competitors.
“It’s important for brands to understand, ‘Well, who am I competing against? What keywords are they winning? Where’s my opportunity?’” said Pattern Head of Revenue Operations Scott Crandall. “If you don’t know who you’re competing against, it’s tough to really win.”
Once you have a good idea of your competition, you should next gather and analyze data about your market share, both compared to your competitors and over time. Even if you think you’re growing at a solid pace, that pace may not be enough to keep up with competitors who are growing more quickly.
At Pattern, we help brands increase their awareness with a marketplace performance score, which analyzes data on product traffic, conversion, and price to illuminate missed revenue growth opportunities. Some factors that contribute to this score include how your listings look, whether they’re SEO optimized, and your response rate to consumer questions.
No matter how you decide to stay on top of your brand’s ecommerce data, make sure you’re seeing the whole picture—isolated data means very little if it doesn’t tell you about your missed opportunities and how you compare to competitors.
It’s not difficult to see why driving traffic is so important in ecommerce success—if consumers don’t see your product, they’ll never have the opportunity to click “add to cart.” An effective ecommerce advertising strategy will leverage both paid and organic traffic to increase sales and ultimately improve your organic search ranking on Amazon.
At Pattern, we reference a customer experience funnel while forming advertising strategies for our brands. The first step in any ecommerce advertising strategy, which forms the base of the funnel, should be creating retail and brand readiness by optimizing product listings.
The next goal is to reach shoppers who are most likely to purchase your product through sponsored products, sponsored display, and Amazon Display and Video (DSP.) Once you’ve completed those two goals, you should then start working on standing out in your category with sponsored brands, sponsored products, and sponsored display.
The fourth goal is to build your brand with Amazon DSP, sponsored brands video, and over-the-top. The final step is to expand your reach and build awareness with over-the-top audio ads and Amazon DSP.
By crafting an advertising strategy with the help of this framework, you can expand your reach and increase your organic ranking over time. Focusing on ROI as the sole metric to determine advertising success is an outdated strategy.
“We see this all the time,” Morales said. “A brand has a great return on investment, and then we come to find that 80-90% of what they’re doing is branded keywords. In many cases, those are shoppers that would’ve purchased anyway.”
By shifting advertising focus to winning keywords and categories, brands may see an initial lower ROI but can feel confident that the incremental revenue driven by ads is hitting the top line for their business. Instead of just reaching the shoppers that would’ve bought your product anyway, you’ll be able to reach new customers and improve your organic rank over time.
The importance of improving organic search rank through advertising is too often ignored considering its implications on Amazon. 80% of all the clicks on Amazon happen on the first page of results. 58% of shoppers don’t scroll past the first 12 listings. 60% of all clicks go to the top 3 products, and 35% of those go to the top organic product. Seven out of 10 shoppers don’t bother going to the second page of search results.
“The ultimate end goal in every marketplace is to improve organic ranking, because that will increase the size of the pie that we’re capturing for the brand or the product at large,” Morales said.
Mastering content is closely related to mastering traffic. Along with an effective advertising strategy, high conversion rates will also improve your organic search rank. The A9 algorithm rewards brands and products that convert, and content is the key to conversion on Amazon.
Creating content that converts starts with creating content that engages and creating as much as possible. Take advantage of every Amazon opportunity to publish content—in a product listing, for example, fill every image slot available. In these spots, publish only high-quality photography and video. In addition to photos of the product itself, include lifestyle photos, aspirational photos, and photos of the product in use to help consumers envision themselves with your product.
The next key goal of content creation should be education. When consumers land on a product listing page, answer every question they may have about the product’s features, specifications, and benefits. Use iconography or infographic images to communicate information in an engaging, digestible way, and show the product in use to give consumers a better idea of the product’s size and function. Pull powerful testimonials or reviews to highlight others’ positive experiences with the product. This kind of content both improves conversion rates and decreases the rate of returns.
Finally, your content should connect with consumers consistently. Learn about your demographic so you can connect with them better and keep them in mind always. Focus on maintaining consistent voice, branding, and style. This consistency has the added benefit of decreasing brand erosion across marketplaces.
“Once you have these three things, we see an increase in conversion,” said Pattern Chief Creative Officer Josh Mendenhall. “What I like about ecommerce creative is that it is so measurable. You can’t measure how well a billboard does on the side of a highway. You can tell that when you switch image 2 and 3 placements on Amazon, the conversion rate changes.”
Once you’ve gathered data to guide your ecommerce decisions, crafted an advertising strategy focused on improving organic search rank, and optimized your listing content, the final hack to maximize your Amazon growth is protecting your price and brand. This brand protection is the only way to avoid price erosion, maintain cross-channel consistency, and preserve relationships with brick-and-mortar sellers.
Having multiple random sellers for a given product is a recipe for MAP policy violations and price erosion. In many cases, brands aren’t even aware of all the vendors who are selling their products on Amazon. These sellers often lower the price below MAP, decreasing your profits and causing suppression on Amazon.
“The more offers that you have on a given listing, the more it drives down the price and vice versa,” said Pattern Head of Revenue Operations Scott Crandall. “We see this consistently across so many brands and channels.”
If Amazon can find your product cheaper elsewhere, your Buy Box will not be optimized and you’ll see lower conversion rates. This price disparity also introduces cross-channel consistency problems. If one random seller sells your product below MAP, that can impact your relationship with brick-and-mortar sellers. These retail sellers may be following your MAP policies and seeing a decrease in sales since shoppers can find the product for cheaper on Amazon. In response, you lose leverage in your annual negotiations with brick-and-mortar.
The solution? Limiting additional Amazon sellers as much as possible and strictly enforcing your MAP policy. This keeps your prices at MAP, shows you have your brand under control, and gives you leverage in negotiations with brick-and-mortar retailers.
While ecommerce success may not be easy, it is simple—it just requires you to harness the power of data, advertise to improve organic rank, craft content that converts, and protect your price and brand.
For a small ecommerce team, mastering these four elements may feel overwhelming, but that’s why Pattern is here. We support brands in this acceleration framework at no cost to you. We can step in as little or as much as you need. Interested in learning more?
Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.
Peak season is almost upon us and with all signs pointing to it starting earlier than ever, with Christmas gifting searches now ramping up in August and September, it’s time to start preparing for peak. In this article, we’re sharing our top five tips for planning and preparing for peak season with Google Ads and the strategies required to get your Paid Search ready so you can drive success over this crucial period.
In 2021, gifting search terms started increasing in popularity in August. The general trend is that people are looking, researching and weighing their options early, so it’s best to start your Paid activity early to ensure that you’re capturing that early research traffic. This will help drive revenue alongside aiding those consumers who are in their research phase.
From 2020 to 2021, spend during Cyber Week actually only rose 2% but in the weeks leading up to it, it increased by 16%. However, Cyber Week is still the biggest period during the latter half of the year, accounting for 23% of all online spend by consumers over peak. Being prepared and starting early will help you to maximise your time during this period.
According to Google, 48% of global consumers have stopped buying or using a service due to privacy concerns. Privacy is front of mind when consumers are shopping online and we know that Google is phasing out 3rd party cookies in 2023. This is going to make it much harder to track users online and it’s something that brands need to think about this now – waiting isn’t an option.
From a Google Ads point of view, you want to ensure you have set up the Google Ads tag across your site and have enabled ‘Enhanced Conversions’, which ensures all conversions are tracked and allows you to monitor other actions such as ‘Add to Cart.’ This is relatively easy to set up, especially if you use ‘Google Tag Manager’.
It’s also vitally important that you build up your first-party data during this time as this is data you own and it can be used when targeting consumers that have provided your brand with their email address. Pattern’s own experience shows that by segmenting and using first-party data, you can see a 10% improvement in revenue and ROI.
A full-funnel approach is now more important than ever as consumers become more discerning and have more choices than ever of where to shop.
Pattern has seen success with Google Ads’ ‘Discovery Campaigns’ (image-based ads that appear on Google platforms such as Gmail and the Google app), which have driven success both from a traffic and revenue perspective.
The performance of these campaigns is significantly enhanced by adopting a segmented and nuanced approach to first-party data and incorporating these into your campaigns. Other options for a full-funnel approach include YouTube and testing bidding on keywords that are more representative of the research phase. (e.g. ‘best baby clothes’ for a baby clothes brand)
Earlier this year, Google announced that they were moving away from Smart Shopping and launched Performance Max. This is a new campaign type that incorporates features and placements from Smart Shopping but expands them onto other platforms such as Gmail but also alternative creative options, such as images and videos.
Since Google has already started automatically upgrading Smart Shopping campaigns to Performance Max, expect to see some fluctuations in the first 2 weeks following the switch over but results generally seem positive. We recommend upgrading sooner rather than later to limit any potential impact to peak period.
Peak period will be even more competitive than in 2021 and you’ll need your budgets to support this period, we recommend boosting budgets in October to start capturing that early peak traffic. As we enter November and the Cyber Period, start early and make sure you are capturing those consumers looking for early bargains, ensuring you are being nimble in your optimisations and reacting to the data that you are seeing.
Overall, peak period is vital to help drive your sales and by preparing early, you will see strong results and drive success for your brand. If you want to discuss how your brand can navigate this next peak period, contact us to discuss your options with our performance team now.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.