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.
1. Insights: Harness the power of data to know where your brand stands in the market
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.
Understand your Digital Shelf
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.”
Find your market share
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.
2. Traffic: Focus on advertising as a key lever to increase your organic traffic and build your business
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.
Advertise based on the customer experience Funnel
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.”
Focus on more than branded keywords
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.
3. Content: Don’t just create content–Create content that converts
Mastering content is closely related to mastering traffic. Along with an effective advertising strategy, high conversion rates will also improve your organic search rank. Amazon’s A9 algorithm rewards brands and products that convert, and content is the key to conversion.
Don’t waste your space
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.
Educate with your content
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.
Keep your content consistent
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.”
4. Protect: Fiercely protect your brand and price on ecommerce
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.
Catch MAP violators
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.”
Manage seller opportunity
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.
Grow Amazon revenue with Pattern
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?