Webinar Recap: Measuring the Financial Impact of Marketplace Control

Emilee Valken

April 2, 2021

Maintaining control of your brand on marketplaces is critical for your long-term growth. To maximize your brand’s health and profit, you need to regain control as quickly as possible. But what is the actual impact of marketplace control, and why should brand leaders care?

In this week’s Pattern webinar, we’re talking about what marketplace control is, why it’s so critical for your brand, and the financial impact it can ultimately have on your business.

What is marketplace control?

Having marketplace control means that your brand is being represented with integrity online, your product is being distributed via authorized sellers, and that product is being sold at authorized price points. Essentially, your ecommerce is a well-oiled machine across all channels.

Maintaining overall marketplace control requires control in three primary areas:

  • Pricing: price control is retained by enforcing a MAP policy, creating price parity across all channels, and adhering to national promos.
  • Branding: brand control is retained by ensuring the quality of your product images is consistent across channels, your copy is compliant, and your messaging is unified.
  • Distribution: distribution control is retained by only distributing through authorized sellers, meeting customer expectations for product quality, and aligning channel incentives.

Why does marketplace control matter?

Marketplace control matters because without it, every channel of your business suffers, including, and perhaps especially, your brick and mortar distributors.

Before the advent of marketplace ecommerce, brands were highly incentivized to use scaled distribution to get their product into as many hands as possible. With scarce ways to compare prices offline, scaled distribution worked really well. Marketplace ecommerce has completely flipped the script.

Marketplace ecommerce makes price matching instantaneous, because customers can see the price of a product from almost every single distributor who’s selling it, at the same time. That much access makes wide distribution a liability.

“Because there is so much transparency in the world today across retail environments, your success is really predicated on the degree to which you have very limited distribution and what we call selective distribution on your online channels,” said John LeBaron, Pattern’s Chief Revenue Officer.

Without pricing control, branding control, and distribution control, you open the door wide for unauthorized sellers to erode your pricing and harm your brand reputation by representing it poorly online.

Without control, an unauthorized seller can get their hands on your product, list it on Amazon for however much they want, and then markdown the price to get ahead on marketplaces and undercut authorized sellers, forcing other sellers to lower their prices in order to compete. Without control, these prices will continue to be lowered, and it will penalize your distributors who are trying to follow the rules. Pretty soon, your authorized sellers may drop your product altogether because—due to eroded prices online—they cannot afford the overhead to carry it, sell it, and price match.

These negative impacts are cyclical, particularly for your brick and mortar distributors. Without control, your brand will be caught in a profitability death spiral where you’ll consistently lose the Buy Box online—disincentivizing distributors from creating engaging and clean listings and fragmenting your ad strategy—and you’ll lose distributors who can’t afford to carry your product.

You’ll also watch your brand lose its value across all channels. According to LeBaron, the race to wholesale eats at your brand equity. With too-low prices, customers perceive your products as lower value. Lack of control on the distribution and branding fronts means that unauthorized sellers can easily misrepresent your brand in their listings and their interactions with customers, diminishing your equity further.

According to LeBaron, if brand equity is falling in one channel, it’s “certainly falling in other channels as well.”

The financial impact of no marketplace control

“Once you’re in that death spiral, it’s hard to turn it back around. You have to make certain changes to really recover from that,” said Jason Beesley, Pattern’s CFO.

Profitability Death Spiral

Tommie Copper is one example of a brand that didn’t address marketplace control immediately and were eventually significantly harmed by price erosion. Without control, Tommie Copper watched the pricing on their products plummet at the hands of unauthorized sellers, taking their margins with them.

Tommie Copper

Tommie Copper is just one example. LeBaron shared another example of a brand that sought out Pattern’s help to regain control of their business after price matching gutted their profits.

“We had a large retail consumer electronics brand that came to us, and they were paying Best Buy half a million dollars a month in price match guarantees just because they had 400 unauthorized sellers selling all of their products on Amazon, and they were just hemorrhaging profitability,” LeBaron said.

This brand didn’t know who the unauthorized sellers were, why they were dropping the price, or where they got the product because they lacked proper control.

“Not only does that price match guarantee really start to hurt,” added Scott Crandall, Pattern’s Head of Revenue Operations, “but you just lose credibility. You lose any leverage that you have with those retailers. They don’t want to have to deal with all of that, so they’re going to give shelf space to other people at some point who have that better price stability online.”

For some brands, having more control doesn’t necessarily provide significant gains, but it does act as a protective barrier helping your brand avoid scenarios like these later down the road.

“In some cases, getting control on ecommerce, even if it’s a net not loss or not gain from a pricing and margin perspective, is generally protecting or hopefully helping to reinvent and improve and turn around the profitability death spiral that’s happening in brick and mortar, which ultimately might be 80% or 70% of your sales, maybe higher than that,” LeBaron said.

The benefits of marketplace control

The equation for success in ecommerce is:

Revenue = Traffic x Conversion x Price

You need customers to see your listings in the right way at the right time, you need for them to be engaged enough to click, and you need pricing that is attractive and reasonable. Marketplace control, particularly distribution control, helps you maximize every element of the ecommerce equation, because single sellers have far more incentives to be the ones driving the traffic and the conversion and positively shaping your brand image online than a wide network of sellers.

“The issue in ecommerce isn’t getting to the end consumer. The marketplaces handle that wonderfully,” said Beesley. “The issue is more how you are doing that, and that’s why limiting your distribution really allows you to even further maximize that reach.”

Control on marketplaces protects your business and it speeds up profitability.

“As you have that selective distribution on Amazon, on these marketplaces, there’s really a great flywheel that starts to develop there, a really virtuous cycle,” Crandall said.

Your distributors are more invested in your brand’s image and success. They provide quality listings with dynamic copy. They focus on a better customer experience, and you have a more consistent, sharpened ad strategy that gives you higher rankings. Soon, instead of losing profits, you’re making long-term gains and really solidifying your brand presence.

To learn more about marketplace control, how Pattern can help you win on your ad strategy to further your brand’s growth, and what opportunities for growth are available to your brand, check out the rest of our conversation in this Pattern webinar or request your free demo.

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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.