The Marketplace Control Benefits of Switching from a 1P to a 3P Seller

Cassandra Shaffer

April 10, 2020

Should you switch from being a first-party seller to a third-party seller on Amazon? Or is the 1P model good enough for your brand?

These questions and others were explored in a webinar discussing the pros and cons of 3P selling hosted by Cleveland Research Company and Pattern on April 7. John LeBaron, Chief Revenue Officer at Pattern, and Angy Steiner, the National Key Account Manager at Panasonic, discussed how they’ve seen the 3P model work for their brands.

While solutions vary based on business models and margin and fulfillment constraints, there are many takeaways from Steiner and LeBaron’s remarks that can help merchants determine if making the transition from 1P to 3P is right for their brand.

Here are a few key takeaways.

**Being a 1P seller has its benefits **

For many merchants, 1P relationships with Amazon work really well for their business, and having a conversation about 3P selling is unnecessary.

“There are a lot of advantages to 1P in certain scenarios,” LeBaron said. “For example, if you’ve got an average selling price of, let’s say, $10 or in that neighborhood . . . 1P is hard to beat.”

Third-party sellers pay 15% in commission to Amazon, so businesses selling products in a complex environment (like Fresh or Pantry) or selling products that are less expensive may find 1P the preferable model.

According to LeBaron, to simply sell a $10 product through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) as a third-party merchant can cost you 30-40% in FBA fees. First-party selling is often the more affordable option.

So why transition to a 3P seller?

As a 1P seller, you cede a lot of control to Amazon, and that can be harmful to your brand. In March 2019, for example, Amazon suddenly halted purchase orders for a large number of 1P sellers, creating concern and panic among vendors who could do little to control it.

Becoming a 3P seller gives your brand more flexibility and the ability to “control your own destiny,” LeBaron said. It gives vendors much more control over pricing and inventory as well as a stronger brand presence. According to LeBaron, 3P selling also eliminates the “terror of vendor negotiations” and backend costs that can sometimes happen in a 1P relationship.

“A lot of that baggage that comes with that kind of relationship kind of goes away on the 3P side as long as you have a strong partner,” he said.

Why brands should consider switching to 3P

If your average selling price (ASP) is over the $40-$60 range, LeBaron said there are really good cost-effective advantages to being a 3P seller. Those numbers give you the margins to make it worth it for your business.

A 3P relationship with Amazon gives you significantly more control over your pricing so that it’s clean across all channels, LeBaron explained. This allows both your profitability to increase and your brand’s reputation to improve.

One of the greatest benefits of being a 3P seller is the freedom to establish a strong brand presence, from the quality of your image photography to the management of your listings to customized fulfillment.

“In almost every case, that 3P environment gives you more control over that customer experience, all the way even into the data,” LeBaron said. He added that 3P sellers are allowed more in-depth customer data that can indicate things like the effect of advertising on sales.

How 3P has helped Panasonic

Pattern’s brand partner Panasonic is one great case study in how switching from a 1P to a 3P business model can help brands. Before transitioning to a 3P, the company was struggling.

According to Steiner, Panasonic’s margin of profitability was on a downward spiral for about a year before the company made the choice to switch from being a 1P to a 3P seller in 2018. Doing so gave them better compliance and MAP adherence on Amazon—the switch to 3P helped Panasonic’s compliance go from single digits to the mid 90s, Steiner said. This also helped the company protect their brand and improve brand recognition in the industry.

“For our product category, it’s a very successful story,” Steiner said of the switch.

How to transition to a 3P

When transitioning to 3P, you’ll need to take into consideration issues like the amount of inventory you have and sales tax adjustments. There are resources available to help your company comply with Amazon policies.

One of the biggest things you’ll need is time. Steiner said it took Panasonic six to nine months to make the transition to 3P. In that time, they notified Amazon about the shift, kept their contract with them, and worked around available inventory. Giving your brand enough time to stock up on inventory in the interim is an important step, she and LeBaron said.

While brands like Panasonic have gotten some pushback from Amazon for transitioning to a 3P, LeBaron said the company doesn’t negatively impact your seller ranking or suppress your listings if you do so.

“Having worked with, like I said, 70 brands on this, there’s no proof that that happens. A lot is speculative,” LeBaron said. “If anything, it’s almost been the opposite. All the brands we work with have grown on Amazon.”

One thing LeBaron recommends is that brands not make the switch to 3P by themselves. Amazon has policies in place that block certain manufacturers from running their own 3P sites, he said, so he recommends for merchants to know their options and learn if they fall into those categories before putting the time and resources into making the switch. Working with a company like Pattern is one way that the transition to 3P can be simplified.

Ultimately, it’s up to you as a merchant to determine what the best fit for your business is. The options available in the market right now are enough to be optimistic about.

“You can absolutely be successful via either model,” LeBaron said. “The good news is that Amazon has really leveled the playing field when it comes to things like merchandising and promotions and advertising. I think we’ll continue to see more of a unification on that front in terms of the platforming.”

Want to transition from 1P to 3P? Pattern can help. Contact us below to set up an appointment.

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Amazon's Sponsored Product ads
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What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

What Are Amazon’s Advertising Products? Sponsored Product, Brand, & Display Ads

Utilizing Amazon sponsored ads can be a smart way for a brand to drive greater traffic to a product listing and start increasing sales. While many brands still struggle to manage their advertising strategies, 30% of Amazon brand sellers increased their advertising budgets in 2022. As ecommerce executives (or even on the nose with VPs of ecommerce?)  approve their 2023 advertising budgets, it may be worth it to take a look at Amazon’s advertising products and the benefit they may have on increasing conversions. 

​​Pattern is the premier ecommerce accelerator with all of the expertise, data-driven insights, and technology brands need to gain control on Amazon and maintain their competitive niche. We know the high value of and how to utilize Amazon’s advertising products to drive the most traffic and conversions to benefit and accelerate your brand.

Here are Amazon’s three main advertising products you should know about in order to drive listing traffic to your products and increase conversions: 

For a brand executive who is selling their product on Amazon, you may not already know the differences between campaign type, so we will walk you through the differences and uses for each of these three ad campaigns.

Sponsored Product Ads

Sponsored Products are a mid-funnel advertising strategy that gives visibility to products above the top organic listings (see example below). This strategy uses custom keywords to get products in front of the consumers who are searching for them, however it can be used to capture new audiences as well.These cost-per-click (CPC) ads require no additional copy or images, but usually receive the most interaction of the campaigns and need to be monitored closely.

As you can see, these ads look just like an organic listing, however they say, “Sponsored,” on them. These types of ads can be especially effective forms of advertising because they tend to blend in with the organic results around them. With Sponsored Products, you can get your products in front of qualified customers who are searching for your product in such a way that doesn’t make them feel like they are being served an advertisement.

Sponsored Brand Ads

Sponsored Brand Ads are a top-of-funnel brand awareness tool and function on keywords. This ad format helps show a customer what they may be in need of and where to get it.  Commonly used to promote product lines or best sellers, a Sponsored Brand ad shows up as a banner above the search results (see example below). This type of ad requires that the brand showcase at least three separate products.

Unlike other campaigns used on the Amazon platform, Sponsored Brand ads require ad copy and a unique logo. These ads also can take customers to a custom landing page, or a page on the brand store, that way they get a clear and overall picture about who your brand is, what other products you sell, and why they can trust your brand

Sponsored Display Ads

Sponsored Display ads can be a tactic for top, middle, or bottom of the advertising funnel due to its varying targeting abilities. Although most commonly found under the bullet points of a detail page, these ads can also show in emails, newsletters, and even more locations off platform.

Unlike the previous ad campaigns discussed, sponsored display ads can target shopping behaviors, like repeat purchasers, similar product purchasers, and even people who viewed the detail page but did not buy. Sponsored Display ads help customers discover your brand, drive awareness, and create loyalty. 

The example above shows just one of the many placements Sponsored Display has.

Accelerate Your Sponsored Products With Pattern 

Rather than competing with each other, each of the three sponsored ad products focus on a different section of the sales funnel, allowing you to target your customers and hit your sales numbers, all while edging out possible competitors. When brands use these advertising campaigns, they can better optimize their ad budget to improve ROAS and build revenue. 

At Pattern, we have all the resources to help your brand build successful advertising and digital marketing campaigns on Amazon so you can increase traffic and conversions, which will in turn increase your revenue

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022
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Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters](https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/amazon-drives-renewable-energy-push-with-71-new-projects-2022-09-21/) Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/26/prime-early-access-sale/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/shopify-launches-new-localisation-tool/) Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News](https://uk.news.yahoo.com/etsy-600-million-on-marketing-ceo-154054219.html) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/22/meta-to-slash-costs-by-10-over-coming-months/) DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/21/dhl-partners-with-quadient-to-offer-smart-locker-delivery/) The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/online-fashion-market-worth-e175-billion-in-2025/)

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads
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Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Peak with Google Ads

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.

1. Go Early

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.

2. Get Ready for Privacy Changes

 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.

3. Ensure Consumers Can Discover your Brand

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)

4. Get Moving with Performance Max

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.

5. Flight Budgets Accordingly

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.