8 Signs Your Brand Is Out of Control on Amazon

Sarah Abel

April 28, 2022

Amazon is a growing digital channel for ecommerce brands, but when brands lose control on the marketplace it damages profitability for both their online business and their brick and mortar channels. Below are 8 signs to look for to see if your brand is out of control on Amazon.

8 SIGNS YOUR BRAND IS OUT OF CONTROL ON AMAZON

You can also download the cheat sheet here.

Sign #1: Lots of Sellers

Whether all of your sellers are authorized or not, they have the same access to update your product listing, image stack, and feature description—giving them equal power over your brand. Plus, they all want to win the Buy Box, forcing them to compete on the only thing that differentiates sellers of the same product: price. The more sellers your product has, the more vulnerable your listing and price become.

Sign #2: Poor Content

Your product title, image stack, bullet points, product description, and A+ Content are all part of your Amazon content. In short, your Amazon content is the information your customers use to decide the quality of your brand and whether or not to buy. Not maintaining control of your #1 conversion tool (images & bullets) on Amazon is a recipe for poor brand representation, confused customers, and lost sales.

Sign #3: Poor Reviews

Poor quality is not the only thing that causes poor reviews. Unauthorized sellers who have poor customer service, create misleading product listings, and send damaged products cause poor reviews that don’t accurately reflect your brand or product. Without control of your Amazon business, poor reviews can plague your listings, hurt customer trust in your brand, and result in lost sales.

Sign #4: Buy Box Suppression

Amazon is committed to providing the lowest price to its customers. So, when a product is listed for less elsewhere on the web, Amazon can suppress your product listing from the Buy Box according to their Marketplace Fair Pricing Policy. But price isn’t the only factor for the Buy Box, other influences include customer service, quality listings, and in-stock rate. Regardless of which factors you struggle with, not owning the Buy Box is a surefire way to squander sales.

Sign #5: Price Erosion

In order to win the Buy Box, rogue sellers are lowering the price of your product, stealing your sales, and diminishing your brand value. Then, to compete, the other sellers drop prices even more, creating a vicious race to the bottom and blocking everyone’s profits. Unfortunately, price erosion is easy to spot and hard to stop.

Sign #6: Stock Outs

Amazon can’t sell product it doesn’t have, so the platform makes staying in stock critical for maintaining organic rank, customer experience, Best Sellers Rank (BSR), and profitable sales. Unfortunately, Amazon may not place the same priority on your in-stock rate as you do. But, having true control of your Amazon business allows you to control inventory availability based on your forecasts.

Sign #7: Price Matching

Deep discounts on Amazon fuel price competition at retail locations. If your brand has lower prices online, you can keep retail partners happy by covering the cost of a price match. When consumers shop in-store but find a lower price online, the retailer sells your product at the lower price but charges you the difference between their listed price and the price-matched sale. So, when price matching becomes the norm, your brand ends up paying the bill.

Sign #8: Retail Partners Complain

Amazon is not in a vacuum—everything your brand does online affects your brick and mortar partners. Customers’ shopping in retail stores will check prices online before buying, and they will almost always choose the lower price. When Amazon wins on price, your retail partners can’t move product, and it hurts the retailer’s (and brand’s) profits. The stores may move your brand to a less ideal location or simply take it off the shelf altogether.

Get in Control with Pattern

Do these signs sound familiar? You’re not alone.

At Pattern, your marketplace accelerator, we understand how to eliminate the 8 signs and get your brand in control on Amazon.

Schedule a time with us and get in control on Amazon.

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4 Key Considerations To Win on International Ecommerce
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4 Key Considerations For A Winning International E-Commerce Strategy

With the acceleration of e-commerce during COVID-19, cross-border shopping also saw considerable growth making international e-commerce an attractive strategy for many retailers planning their next phase of growth. A global survey by Logistyx Technologies in 2021 revealed that 57% of online shoppers around the world made at least one online purchase from another country in the last 12 months – while a further 22% considered doing so. And 43% agree or strongly agree that shopping more online during the pandemic increased their willingness to consider cross-border e-commerce purchases.

When expanding internationally whether it be cross-border where you sell your products into a market and fulfil from your home country, or localised eCommerce where all of your key ecommerce operations are available in the market you are targeting, there are a number of considerations to enabling a successful international expansion.

While this is not a comprehensive guide to building an international expansion strategy, here are four key areas to consider when building your international strategy.

1. Which Markets Are Right?

To get started on your strategy, we recommend going through an initial market selection process. Some key areas of research will help you understand which markets look to be the best fit for your business.

Start with a shortlist of markets that might be a good fit for your brand and product, then research the following for each country:

  • What does the total opportunity look like? For example, according to Statista, the US market generated $768B in eCommerce total sales revenue in 2021 and is forecast to grow to $1.3T by 2025.

  • How and where are people shopping? Who are the key players overall and who will you be competing with? This information will help you understand which markets are right for you and in many cases present some compelling channel opportunities.

  • What do customers in each market expect from a brand in your vertical? Eg. Mckinsey’s research states that in the US - Over 90% of consumers expect FREE 2-3 day delivery – Food & Grocery consumers expect a less than a 1-day delivery window.

  • What local regulations do you need to be aware of? Research areas like privacy, tax, customs and border protection, local trade laws and regulations specific to your vertical.

 2. Which Operating Model and Channels are Right?

Having gathered data around market opportunity and growth, where your target customers are shopping and market nuances, you can begin to consider the best channel/s and operating model for launch.

There are four primary operating models, each of which will provide different levels of access to consumers when it comes to eCommerce. Working with international distributors provides the lowest barrier to entry while selling from your own website is the most complex from an organisational perspective.

  1. A distribution model means working with a local distributor to expand into a specific market. This allows businesses to leverage market-specific expertise and limited requirements for local operations. This, however, also means you have limited control of the end-to-end customer experience.

  2. Selling on marketplaces provides access to a significant existing customer pool while placing some requirements on the Australian operation (tech, admin, logistics) but also means limited control of the customer experience.

  3. Social commerce presents the benefits of providing access to a significant consumer pool with limited requirements for technology. The channel however is still awareness first, transaction second and does require logistics support.

  4. Selling on your own website while the most complex and requirement-heavy model enables complete control of the customer experience.

3. How Will You Drive Growth?

Rather than adapting your current marketing activity to a given market, a localised strategy is essential. It cannot be assumed that the same channels, ads and keywords that work in Australia can be merely repurposed for other markets.

Businesses looking to deliver growth will need to ensure investment in media is commensurate with growth plans. There will likely be a need to overinvest initially to garner results and build momentum in a new market. Furthermore, if you’re trying to accelerate in a new market, you may need to consider investing at a level such as 25%-30% of total eCommerce revenue. As the other digital marketing channels mature, this will decrease towards a normalised investment of approx. 10% of total eCommerce revenue.

Some things to consider:

  1. What are the key channels locally, depending on the market they may be different to the key domestic channels.

  2. Will your campaigns be focused primarily on the top or bottom of the funnel? This will depend on the level of brand awareness you have if any in the market. Investing in brand awareness campaigns is critical when entering a new or crowded market. 

  3. If you are planning to sell from your own website, what does your CRM strategy look like for that market and what local SPAM and privacy laws do you need to be aware of?

 4. How Will You Operationalise?

What do you need? What do you have? Where are the gaps and how you will fill them? Depending on the channel, you will need to consider people, platforms and processes across areas like management, supply chain, marketing, and customer service.

  1. People: What skill sets and capacities are required across each area? What can you manage internally, and where will you benefit from leveraging partners? 

  2. Platforms: What new technology platforms or changes to existing platforms are required to support the operation? When considering new platforms, core technology solutions are typically a multi-year investment, so it’s prudent to ensure that you undertake a comprehensive process to evaluate if a technology is the right fit for the business.

  3. Process: What existing processes need to be modified and what new processes need to be developed to service the new market and meet customer expectations?

Accelerate your International Strategy with Pattern

When expanding internationally, brands typically find greater success with a partner guiding them through the process. As a Pattern partner, you can access our extensive expertise and resources to help you succeed in domestic and international markets. We know the ins and outs of great ecommerce strategy, we’re fanatical about great data and obsessed with growing our partners’ ecommerce profitability.

Contact us to learn about how we can help you establish or accelerate your ecommerce operations.

How to Use SEO Keyword Trends to Make Business Decisions
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How to Use SEO Keyword Trends to Increase Revenue

With over 200 ranking factors Google uses to assess and position a webpage in search engine results, keywords are still a crucial aspect to any SEO strategy. Relevant keywords need to be placed across many elements of the page, from the title tag and H1 to on-page copy to help search engines understand the intent of the page.

However, if a brand is looking to accelerate its SEO success, you need to look beyond the monthly average search volume SEO tools provide. Diving deeper to understand that keyword search volumes actually change on a monthly basis—they rise and fall based on many factors—is key to elevating your strategy, increasing revenue and targeting users when they are actually searching online.

How to Use Keyword Trend Data?

Having seasonal keyword trends data can be incredibly powerful for your brand. Being able to understand what your users are searching for and when can influence many aspects of your business, from when to launch products, to selecting the most seasonally relevant terms to include in your on-page copy.

1. Better Plan Product Launches & Drops

After creating numerous iterations of keyword projects for a wide range of clients, the most consistent feedback we are given on how keyword documents are used is for helping plan product launches aligned with when users are searching for them.

A real-life example of this is a client choosing to bring forward the launch of their puffer jacket product collection to meet consumer search interest, rather than following previous fashion cycle patterns.

Looking at the keyword seasonality trends, puffer jacket keywords begin to increase in volume in February each year, hitting their peak in June. This is not a once-off trend and has been repeated in past years. Previously, the brand was launching their puffer jacket range in May, which from a weather perspective is ideal, with the temperature cooling down ahead of winter—perfect for wearing puffer jackets.

However, after analysing SEO trends, having puffer jackets available from February onwards, when users are starting to search for these products, would potentially lead to an increase in revenue and traffic to the site. This tactic of aligning keyword trends with user behaviour and product launches can also be applied to almost every industry and product category, from FMCG items to clothing collections.

2. Optimisation of Landing Pages & Product Pages

Keyword seasonality data can also be used to plan optimisations of landing and product pages. This is, in particular, extremely effective for seasonal products, or evergreen landing pages that are used across multiple campaigns throughout the year.

Looking at the fashion ecommerce industry, seasonal products such as coats and jackets to shorts and tank tops, can all benefit from an injection of seasonally relevant keywords. For coats and jackets, focusing on keywords to do with layering and transeasonal dressing should be implemented in autumn, which can then be switched out with keywords concentrating on warmth and comfort in winter. This strategy can be implemented on a range of pages, including individual product pages and product category pages.

Likewise, evergreen and core products or categories that see multiple seasonal campaigns should also be optimised using seasonal keyword data. Gift cards and gifting pages are a common example of this, where gift cards and other gifting product sales spike before the event and quickly die down afterwards. By optimising these pages ahead of the gifting holiday (e.g. Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas, etc.), you’ll be increasing the likelihood of these pages ranking—and therefore increasing revenue—for those specific event terms (e.g. father’s day gift ideas).

3. Understanding Store Visitation Seasonality

With more and more people returning to in-store shopping in this post-pandemic landscape, understanding seasonal shopping trends by assessing a brand's store-based keywords (e.g. brand name + location, such as Coles Moonee Ponds) can give a brand a glimpse into current in-store shopping trends. 

The correlation we can make between keywords and store visitation is that the higher the search volume for a particular store keyword, the more people searching for it and therefore the more people are likely to visit in-store. This data can be used for planning in-store promotions, understanding the busiest times of year for the store which helps with rostering staff, and ensuring stores have enough stock to meet customer demand.

This seasonality data can be then overlaid with store foot traffic analytics to create an omnichannel view of store performance and how users online are converting or shopping in-store vs online.

4. Planning Seasonally Relevant Content

If a user is searching for a particular keyword or product to purchase, there is a likelihood that the same person will be looking for additional information on that topic. For example, assessing the keyword trends around Spring Racing Carnival dresses and Melbourne Cup dresses (an annual thoroughbred horse race in Victoria, Australia), these keywords see their peak in October each year, before the event at the start of November.

As part of the Spring Racing Carnival, there are themed days for different events, including Derby Day, Melbourne Cup, Oaks Day and Stakes Day, and for each of those, different dress codes are required. Using the broad keyword seasonality trends can help inform brands when to produce long-form blog content in the lead-up to the event.

If Spring Racing keywords peak in October, then blog content that talks to the dress codes, what to wear, how to make a fascinator, etc. needs to be created and launched ahead of the October peak, ideally a month or two before so the article begins gaining authority and traffic. Users looking to purchase these products will be also searching for information on what the dress codes are, style advice, etc.

If content is being produced and launched during the time the keyword is peaking, you are missing out on potential traffic, brand awareness and revenue that could be captured in the lead-up to it.

Why Do Keyword Search Volumes Change?

There are multiple reasons why keyword search volumes change and that they’re not consistent each month:

Seasonal Events 

The most significant factor that affects keyword search volume trends are seasonal events. Any of the major gifting or sale periods such as Black Friday, Boxing Day, Mother’s Day, Christmas or Easter is the best example of this. 

Consider Father’s Day, which is held on the first Sunday of September every year. In the lead-up to that, searches for keywords such as [fathers day gifts] and [best gifts for dad] are going to be at their highest before the event. However, once Father’s Day is over, it is extremely unlikely that people will be searching for those terms again until next year.

However, if you only look at the average monthly search volume for these terms, it would suggest that users are still using these keywords consistently around the year.

Virality of Topic

Topics that become newsworthy, whether that's through social media, celebrities or mainstream media, are likely to see huge seasonal keyword shifts. A key example of a viral product that surged in popularity was fidget spinners in 2017. After quickly becoming a smash hit on Instagram, Snapchat and the newly-launched TikTok, interest in the topic skyrocketed from its first viral posts in early 2017 until its peak in May 2017. The interest in the product then rapidly declined, falling into the pop-culture history books a few months later.

But what does this mean for SEO? With the increasing interest in the product on social media, keyword search volumes naturally grew. Users were searching for products, how to do tricks, how to clean their products and more. Brands that were able to leverage these viral keyword trends were able to target these users and increase their revenue in line with the trend.

Consumer Trends

Overarching consumer trends, whether it’s due to economic, environmental or social factors can also impact keyword search volumes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, in the first wave of the restrictions in 2020, a number of casual clothing keyword terms saw large search volume increases. 

Why? With a large portion of Australia’s population being restricted to their homes, trackpants, hoodies, t-shirts and sports leggings became our go-to day-to-day outfits. Conversely, clothing categories such as suits and event dresses (e.g. cocktail dresses), saw large search volume declines due to not needing them for work and not being able to participate in these events.

How Do I Get Keyword Trend Data?

There are multiple ways to quickly capture keyword trend data, with the easiest being Google Trends. Simply put in the topic or keyword and it will display an aggregate interest metric which is a culmination of search volume and other factors. That being said, Google Trends doesn’t offer month-by-month breakdowns in search volume—that needs to be calculated from other tools.

Alongside Google Trends, specialised SEO tools such as SEMRush, Moz, Ahrefs and BrightEdge can also provide trends data for selected keywords.

However, for the best results, the Pattern SEO team uses a combination of SEO and SEM tools to capture granular, month-by-month keyword data so you can identify trends, grow revenue and better target users when they're searching for your products—all of which is presented in an easy-to-use, interactive spreadsheet.

For more information on how Pattern can accelerate your SEO strategy, contact us now.

Pattern UAE Shopper Report 2022 Cover Image
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Shopper trends and growth opportunities for brands in the United Arab Emirates

Pattern’s 2022 Amazon United Arab Emirates (UAE) shopper research has highlighted the consumer habits in the region, and demonstrated why it is fast becoming one of the most exciting growth opportunities for brands selling online. We surveyed UAE online shoppers at the beginning of 2022 to determine how their shopper behaviour was likely to develop during the year compared to 2021. We compiled our findings in the UAE Shopper Report 2022 and share the most interesting insights shown below. Shoppers have an appetite to spend Online spending in the UAE is set to see a year-on-year increase during 2022. Overall, 74% of online shoppers polled said they would spend more online shopping this year compared to 2021. A further 19% expected to spend the same as in 2021, with just 6% expected to spend less. Of the 74% who expect to spend more during 2022, nearly half (47%) said this figure was likely to be a lot more. Online marketplaces lead the way More respondents expected to purchase online this year from Amazon or Noon than other online retailers for every major product category, including fashion, consumer electronics, home and kitchen, and beauty. For example, in the consumer electronics category, 61% of online shoppers expect to buy from Amazon, and 42% from Noon. In comparison, only 14% expect to buy online from retailers with both stores and a website. For home and kitchen, 60% expect to buy from Amazon, 46% from Noon and just 18% to buy online from retailers with a store and website. This pattern is mirrored in many other categories. Amazon opens new doors The opportunity for consumers to discover new products and brands through Amazon is evident. 42% of Amazon.ae shoppers purchased a product from a brand that they had never purchased before. Our findings show that Amazon.ae is a great platform for brands to raise their profile amongst UAE’s online shoppers. Our UAE Shopper Report shows the growing popularity of Amazon in the region, with shoppers using Amazon to find new products and discover new brands. With increases in usage, spending and Prime membership across almost all age groups, Amazon.ae is a platform where consumer brands must build a strong presence if they want to achieve Middle Eastern sales growth. The UAE’s ecommerce market size is predicted to grow from US$10 billion in 2021, to US$17 billion in 2025, reinforcing the opportunity for brands to achieve profitable growth in the region. Download the full [2022 UAE Shopper Report](https://info.pattern.com/uae-shopper-report-2022) to learn more about the insights we have gained from this research.