It’s no surprise that if you’re looking to grow your U.S. ecommerce business, you most likely need to be on Amazon. The site’s reach alone is incredible—servicing over 300 million active customers each year.
As one of Amazon’s top sellers and the leading ecommerce accelerator, Pattern provides brand partners significant resources, from distribution and logistics to creative, advertising, and data-driven insights, in order to crack the code that gets brands from good (or even not-so-good) to great on Amazon and other global marketplaces.
And a key piece of advice for any brand looking to sell on Amazon, now or in the future, is to control your Amazon strategy before your lack of strategy controls you. Because Amazon US is a powerhouse in the ecommerce space, if you’re not prepared, you can get steamrolled pretty quickly with things like price erosion, the death spiral, and fall far behind with a weak seller strategy. So, how can you get ahead with Amazon?
Here are four steps to follow in order to gain control of your brand before it’s too late.
We hear a lot of brands say “I don’t have to worry about issues on Amazon—we don’t even sell there!” But if you think you’re not on Amazon, it’s probably time for you to think again. Do a quick Amazon search for your products. (Your customers are likely already doing this—it’s reported that 74% of consumers start their product search through Amazon.)
After a brief search and seeing the results, most brands we meet with are shocked to discover that rogue, unauthorized sellers are unknowingly offloading their products, often at below MAP prices, and potentially hurting their other selling avenues, from D2C to brick and mortar.
It’s important that every ecommerce brand that wants to be successful on Amazon knows how their brand shows up to consumers first. Before you can begin to control your Amazon strategy, you need to truly know how your brand is represented on the marketplace.
For brands completely aware they are available on Amazon, you probably have one of three relationships to Amazon: you’re living in blissful ignorance of how your brand stands there, you’ve got contracted selling going on with authorized Amazon sellers, or you’re fully on-board, locked and loaded with Amazon as a major distribution channel for your brand (in a 1P or 3P seller relationship). If you happen to be a brand that just discovered your Amazon presence isn’t what you were expecting (surprise—your brand or some version of it is on Amazon), you might be tempted to stand up right now, gather all of your available resources, and spontaneously react to the issues you’ve just uncovered.
But before you reactively spark to action, we want to caution that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to Amazon. Before you can work on improving your brand presence (or official launch), you need to understand the right strategy for your brand. The last thing you want to do is waste your valuable resources.
At Pattern, we have the experience, proprietary technology and tools to effectively evaluate a brand’s presence and meet each partner where they’re at to develop a go forward strategy on Amazon. Based on historical Amazon category and product-level data, we provide analysis and recommendations that allow us to customize an Amazon launch—or relaunch—strategy, including a seller approach, for most brands that optimizes long term profitability.
We’ll let you in on a secret—the truth is, not all brands need to be completely committed to Amazon right now, or are able to do so. If you really want to start distributing your products on the marketplace in the right way, it’s a big investment to get started (or improve your presence) there and to do it right. Many companies that make the mistake of committing too much too soon end up exacerbating problems for their brand instead of solving them.
But if you do decide that now is the right time to start selling on Amazon, you need to make sure you have sufficient resources in place to execute the most profitable way for your brand. Starting your strategy off right will help you establish a lasting foothold in the market and keep you available to other marketplace and retail growth opportunities in the future as your brand develops and changes.
At Pattern we have ample resources to improve a brand’s presence on Amazon. From brand strategy to advertising, from invoicing and fulfillment to product listing optimization and more, we know how to meet brands where they’re at and do what it takes to make them successful across digital marketplaces.
Now that you know where your brand truly stands on Amazon, you have developed a strategy, and dedicated the right resources to profitability, it’s vital that you prioritize taking control of your brand presence.
The brands that take off on Amazon are those that move beyond the bare minimum of meeting the basic requirements of the Amazon algorithm in order to achieve top rank, have high product page conversion, and positive reviews. At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that you’re selling real, quality products to real people.
So, in order to win in the long run, you need to drive traffic to your page, which means customers have to be able to easily find your listings. Then, they need to connect with your brand, easily learn about what you have to sell, decide to buy, and have a great product experience.
Pattern grows brand equity for hundreds of brands on Amazon and other marketplaces. From optimizing SEO and winning organic site traffic to developing product descriptions and image stacks, managing customer reviews, setting MAP pricing, working with an eControl firm like Vorys Law to eliminate unauthorized sellers, and consistently controlling the Buy Box all combine into a great customer experience and better brand affinity for you.
Regardless of how you show up on Amazon today, most brands recognize Amazon is an essential aspect of a successful ecommerce strategy, but the expertise and resources needed to execute can be very daunting for many growing brands.
As an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern has the experience, team, and unparalleled marketplace knowledge to help brands find their footings on Amazon and other marketplaces as they grow their distribution and maintain brand equity in a healthy, sustainable, proven way.
Ready to address what your Amazon search revealed? Contact us to set up a meeting.
Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.
Developing your ecommerce strategy for digital marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, Tmall, and Alibaba gets complicated fast—there’s a lot to think about, including marketplace SEO, product photography, advertising tactics, disjointed sellers, distribution logistics, managing ratings and reviews, and more. It can be overwhelming for brands, especially those with small teams, to know which behaviors to optimize for for the highest gains in profitability.
The good news? Revenue performance all comes down to data. Pattern was built on a data science approach to ecommerce success. We find the patterns that drive profitability, then apply them to boost our brand partners’ revenue on ecommerce channels.
And a key pattern we follow for all brands on digital marketplaces is the ecommerce equation: revenue = traffic x conversions x price x availability. As brands zero in on these four pieces of the equation, they can simplify and focus their efforts to reach truly profitable ecommerce growth.
The first part of the equation is traffic—you need to get people to see your listings if you want to generate sales. There are two ways to drive traffic to your products: through organic search and paid search. Striking the right balance between both for your brands is crucial to driving enough of the right traffic to your products, ultimately increasing your ecommerce revenue.
Knowing this, Pattern provides the resources and technology needed to drive traffic to your product listings. Our brand management team, advertising specialists, and SEO technicians work in harmony to create a unified strategy to boost your brand’s organic profile and balance that with a paid advertising approach that works for your brand and listings.
Using this method, we took Feetures socks from ranking on longer-tail terms like “no show athletic socks black” to driving traffic on parent keywords like “no show socks.”
Getting customers to your product listing is only half the battle. Once on your listing, you need customers to convert. Conversion is key to the ecommerce equation because it leads to real product purchases and revenue. Traffic without conversion leads to more time and ad spend without the ROI.
Optimizing your images, product description, bulleted details, customer reviews, and buy box performance is key to successful conversion. If you’re going to spend time and effort driving traffic, you should make sure customers can easily and clearly find what they’re looking for when they arrive at your listing.
While your imagery and descriptions are important, you also need to build customer trust to drive conversions. Studies show that your customer service efforts matter too—84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends, making strong reviews an important factor of conversion on marketplaces.
The good news is as you provide a quality product and a great marketplace experience, you’ll build brand equity, increasing your customer loyalty. Then, as your reputation, reviews, and traffic grow positively, marketplace algorithms will recognize your popularity and improve your rank accordingly. Rank drives both traffic and conversions, helping you to optimize your performance further. As your brand equity grows, your conversions will continue to grow with it.
While setting a strategic price is an important step in your ecommerce strategy, it takes more than that to truly control your price on marketplaces.
Without proper control and with wide distribution, your product could end up in the hands of disjointed sellers who lower your marketplace price to sell their inventory and make quick profits. With one seller lowering price online, other authorized sellers and retail partners are forced to lower their price to compete, creating price erosion and sending your brand down the profitability death spiral.
This Death Spiral damages brand equity, hurts conversions, and can lead to Buy Box Suppression on Amazon, hindering traffic as well. And as prices get lower and lower, your profit margin withers away, decreasing your overall revenue.
Using our data-driven insights and Pattern’s eControl partner Vorys, we help brands implement narrow distribution, identify and take-down unauthorized sellers, eliminate price erosion, and control their price online. Focusing on price control, Pattern helped LifeSeasons, a premium supplement company, take back 91% control of the Buy Box on Amazon.
The last piece of the ecommerce equation is availability. It makes sense to think of availability as a contributing factor in conversion, but we felt that it’s important enough to call out on its own—you can fully optimize your traffic, conversion, and price, but without availability, you can’t grow revenue for your brand.
A lack of availability leads to stock outs, losing conversions to competitors, losing possession of the buy box, poor customer reviews, a decrease in traffic…the list goes on. The best-performing brands on ecommerce digital marketplaces optimize their availability with high-end technology, optimize their cash on hand, and inventory time on hand to keep the ecommerce equation powered and optimized in their favor.
Pattern is committed to solving the ecommerce equation. We partner with brands to provide the expertise, resources, and technology needed to drive traffic, create content that converts, protect price, maintain availability, and ultimately accelerate ecommerce revenue and profitable growth.
Interested in improving the results of your ecommerce equation? Schedule a call.
Join us for Ecommerce Innovators, a podcast that brings together the brightest minds in the industry to explore innovative strategies and trends in global ecommerce. We'll analyze what top brands are doing to accelerate their online success and you’ll hear from top executives who are changing the game for their organizations. Our host is John LeBaron, Chief Revenue Officer at Pattern—the premier partner for global ecommerce acceleration.
In our conversation with John Wessel, CTO and SVP of Product & Digital at Fresh Water Systems, he talks about digital transformation, innovation, and growth. Hear about the many hats John’s wears, how the company has transformed since the 90s to stay cutting edge, the pharmacy part of the business, aligning and prioritizing multiple channels, and competing with Amazon.
Content leads to search ranking. For Fresh Water Systems’ ecommerce site, around 70% of their traffic is to the blog. The secret for content is “well-researched, well-written, long form content that is informative”. John explained that they have an SEO team who writes 5000+ word posts that are researched and documented. People read these blogs and comment, which drives more traffic to the blogs.
Ecommerce is changing the shopping game. John shared an interesting story about a plumber who orders parts every Friday night online, from wherever he can get the best price. He doesn’t have relationships with one supplier or an auto-renew subscription for his parts. Instead, he finds the best price just for the parts he needs every week. John thinks the trend of price shopping will continue, especially as ecommerce grows.
Invest in customer engagement, but don’t invest a lot of time into emails. How many advertising emails do you actually read? Companies often spend a lot of time doing A/B tests and crafting the “perfect” email. However, John pointed out that almost no one reads emails anymore. Instead, invest your time into different brand touchpoints you will have with your customer. You can still send emails, but make sure you dedicate less time to the process.
Listen to the full episode for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.