5 B2B Tech Brands That Really Need Help on Amazon

Tim Wilson

September 7, 2021

Whether you like it or not, if you’re a manufacturer selling a product in 2021, that product is going to end up on Amazon.

Online B2B sales platforms have seen explosive growth over the past few years, and sellers looking for opportunity are paying close attention, including your own VARs. VARs are flocking to Amazon to create product listings and sell products, but far too many of them have no idea what they’re doing.

While this might seem harmless, VARs who are thoughtless about their listings and ill-equipped to navigate Amazon can indirectly harm the reputation and growth of the brands they’re representing. Even the best B2B brands in the world are negatively impacted by VARs misrepresenting their products online.

So what’s the secret to avoiding that? It starts with knowing the difference between a good listing and a bad one.

What makes a good Amazon listing?

A brand with a good Amazon presence incorporates best practices into their listings. These are just a few of the best practices that can elevate a listing.

Keywords

Brands with good listings leverage their product title by including long-tail keywords that can put their product at the top of organic search rankings and reach customers who might not otherwise be able to find them on Amazon.

Bullet points

Many brands lose their buyers’ attention by having too much information cluttering their product descriptions. Great product descriptions incorporate bullet points, which are far more concise than big paragraphs and allow buyers to quickly scan listings for the most important information about a product.

Good reviews

Research shows that 84% of shoppers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. That means that in order to stand out, you need to have product reviews and you need a customer experience so stellar that customers are more likely to leave good reviews. Good reviews can also be showcased on your listing to give other buyers the social proof that your product is worth buying.

Quality image stack

Less is most definitely not more when it comes to listing imagery. A good rule of thumb is to have around seven images in your stack that allow consumers to get a complete view of the product. A good listing also has high quality images.

3D renderings

Good listings give consumers a full view and understanding of the product, and a great way to do that is to include 3D renderings. 3D renderings make listings more eye-catching, and they also allow consumers to engage with products in the digital equivalent way to touching and feeling them in-store.

Video

Like 3D renderings, video is a fantastic way to engage customers and give them a full understanding of what your product will look like and how it will function once they have it in-hand. Think of it as one extra layer of trust and education.

Consistent and appropriate price

When a price on a product is too low, customers distrust it, and when it’s too high, customers won’t buy it. A good product listing has a reasonable price, and that price doesn’t change dramatically often, and doesn’t change drastically if buyers shop around between sites and physical retail locations.

5 brands that are doing product listings wrong

Now that you have an idea of what it looks like when a brand is doing listings right, here’s what it looks like when a brand is doing listings wrong.

Sonicwall

Sonicwall Amazon Product Listing

Sonicwall is a six-time award winner in the Network Product Guide’s 2020 IT World Awards, but looking at this particular lack-lustre listing for their Network Security Appliance, you wouldn’t know it. For starters, this listing lacks the long-tailed keywords we mentioned previously that brands need to rank on page one of the Amazon search results. That means that potential new customers who don’t know about Sonicwall likely aren’t finding their product on Amazon. This listing also only has one product image instead of the seven which is considered best practice, and it lacks the necessary bullet points and descriptions needed to educate Sonicwall customers.

Cisco

Cisco Amazon Product Listing

Bad listings aren’t a problem reserved for small and little-known brands. Some of the best B2B tech brands in the world struggle with their listings. This particular example comes from a B2B brand well known for their product excellence: Cisco.

In the listing above we can see that there’s a bit more information about the product than in Sonicwall’s listing, but not much. While they have three images in their stack, all of those images appear to be the exact same image, giving customers a limited understanding of the product.

But the biggest issue with this particular product listing is the price. Historically, pricing on this listing has been all over the place and in no way consistent with MAP. Inconsistent pricing is a very common issue on Amazon, because the lowest price tends to be the one that “wins the buy box” or gets the sale on Amazon, but this is a misrepresentation of the brand and their image.

Axis

Axis Amazon Product Listing

The issues with this listing from Axis are pretty obvious. Although they have a great product rating, the page gives very little information in the way of educating their consumers. The imagery only shows the packaging and, like the Cisco example above, all of the images are duplicates. There is a lot to be desired in the way of customer experience.

Fortinet

Fortinet Amazon Product Listing

Fortinet shares similar problems with the last three brands. On this product listing, they only have one image, and they’ve committed the cardinal listing image sin: it’s blurry. There is not much in the way of product description or bullet points, the pricing is less than MAP, and the product doesn’t have any reviews, leaving consumers with very little information on why they should choose Fortinet over competitors.

HP

HP Amazon Product Listing

HP is another well-known brand that has an underwhelming Amazon listing. Even though this Print Server is high ranking in search results—you can see from the URL that its search rank is row one, slot three—the listing itself has some issues that render that ranking almost useless for the brand. They need to get more reviews, the majority of the few reviews they have are poor, they only have one image in their stack, and they also have no product description. Shoppers might be able to find this product on Amazon, but they won’t know anything about it and won’t be convinced to buy.

These examples, all from fantastic B2B tech brands, really depict the issue we see in the B2B ecommerce market. All of these brands have put time, effort, and money behind protecting their brand and its image, but because their products are listed on Amazon, and most likely not managed by a VAR with marketplace experience, the brand is cheapened and looks second-rate instead of the first class prestige these brands are known for.

Get a VAR with expert Amazon experience

Working with a VAR who understands Amazon well and knows how to leverage listings is key to doing well on the platform, and Pattern can be that VAR for your brand. At Pattern, we’re Amazon experts who work with brands to provide an exceptional customer experience across online channels. We consolidate every support tool and consultation you need into one package that includes marketing, SEO, shipping, customer experience, and marketplace expertise, saving you money and helping you grow your business.

To learn how Pattern can help your B2B tech brand create dazzling listings and grow online, get a custom demo for more information.

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Aug 4, 2022

Ecommerce Innovators Podcast - Achieving Growth Through Technology

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.

Listen on Spotify

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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.

Ecommerce Innovators Episode Synopsis

As we interviewed John Wessel, here are some things we learned:

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.

Aug 4, 2022

How Disjointed Sellers Take Away Brand Control on Ecommerce Marketplaces

A top issue we see with brands struggling on ecommerce marketplaces is a loss of brand control due to disjointed sellers—those that aren't following your brand policies and guidelines when selling your products online. Disjointed sellers can be gray market, unauthorized, and rogue sellers, as well as 3P and other sellers that are noncompliant with your branding, pricing, and other forms of representation online.

It can be very easy for brands to lose control of their ecommerce strategy when they can’t get a handle on disjointed sellers. Typically, these brands are either stuck in a game of whack-a-mole or just ignoring the warning signs of bigger issues and hoping for the best. But, when disjointed selling isn't handled right, the consequences can be devastating to profitability. A loss of brand control doesn’t happen overnight, and the factors that contribute to it are long-standing. 

Erode Consumer Trust

Before the advent of ecommerce, brands favored a wide distribution. It was the easiest way to get products to as many distributors as possible. But wide distribution, when left unchecked, leads to leaky distribution—allowing your excess products to end up in the hands of unwanted sellers.

So brands that continue to operate with a wide distribution strategy are losing brand control and are damaging their brand equity and product performance. Why? You’re unable to monitor your products’ pricing, performance, or quality. You can’t dictate how you’re represented by each seller, creating an inconsistent and false representation of your brand to your new and existing consumers. These issues often lead to poor reviews and erode opportunities to build trust with future customers.

Wear Away Brand Equity

In today’s ecommerce landscape, marketplaces and digital platforms connect people and sellers to make online shopping simple and seamless. They also provide customers complete price transparency. Google, for instance, allows consumers to access any of your products on virtually every ecommerce channel and retail location and posts them side-by-side for you to comparison shop.

Now, everyone from your D2C distributors to large marketplace sellers, legitimate 3P sellers, and rogue and unauthorized sellers are on a level playing field—they’re all presented to the searching consumer, and that consumer has the purchase power.

Disjointed sellers have just as much power and authority to represent your brand as you do, without the same quality, pricing strategy, and customer focus as you.

Cause Competition and Price Matching Issues 

In most shopping scenarios, consumers will choose to purchase a product from whichever seller offers the lowest price. Marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart know this, and optimize their product selection based on all retail offers to serve consumers the lowest price for the same item.

This means that as one seller drops the price of your product, the next will follow, and then the next, etc. Everyone gains access to the product at or below MSRP. This opens the door for unauthorized sellers to purchase inventory during promotions or at discounted prices and then turn around and sell the same product slightly below competing sellers’ prices—for profit.  

As customers search for your product, they notice the cheaper price and purchase from the unauthorized seller, rather than paying the price you’ve established with your retail teams. Simultaneously, as Amazon monitors their product listing against other available channels, they notice they don’t have the lowest price. So Amazon, and other marketplaces, in service of the consumer, drop their price to match the lower price offered by an unauthorized seller. To stay competitive, your other channels follow suit. The cycle, also know as the profitability death spiral, continues to drive down the price of your product, grinding away your margins and profitability.

This doesn’t sound like much of a problem if your brand isn’t actively selling on ecommerce marketplaces, right? Unfortunately, it causes big issues for your brick-and-mortar sales, too. Large retail chains like Best Buy and Macy’s noticed this potential loss of sales from ecommerce and needed to defend and protect their profit. Retailers started telling brands that, in order to keep their products in-store (which accounts for 80% of most brands’ sales) they would need to lower their prices to match online prices. Which led to the concept of price matching. If a customer could prove the price of a product was lower somewhere else, Best Buy would match the lower price and charge the brand for the difference.

As other brick-and-mortar retailers jumped on the trend, brands started to see large losses in their margins.

Gain Ecommerce Control with Pattern

The danger that disjointed sellers pose to brands is enormous—without a way to control all of a brand’s distribution points on ecommerce, your brand spins farther and farther down the profitability death spiral. Using custom technology and data-driven insights, Pattern can identify disjointed and unauthorized sellers for your brand and develop a custom strategy tailored to your specific needs to address these big issues as soon as possible. Then, Pattern partners with the econtrol law firm, VORYs, to enforce take downs and save brands who find themselves caught on any stage of the death spiral.

With the right resources and expert help, we’ve helped hundreds of brands to regain their footing and control on ecommerce, win the buy box, and grow their sales. 

Contact us today to regain your brand control.

Aug 3, 2022

How Pattern Took Sylvania Beyond Amazon to Achieve Double Digit Growth

As the leading automotive supplier and long-time brick-and-mortar brand of high performance lighting products, Sylvania was facing challenges to increase profitability on ecommerce.  Exclusively available on Amazon and direct to consumer, Sylvania built a strong seller network, with huge market share, but was having issues with compliance and optimizing ecommerce.

As the top ecommerce accelerator, partnering with Pattern provides the expertise and deep marketplace knowledge to identify additional marketplace opportunities for brands, and the strategic teams to effectively launch on global marketplaces. Partnering with Pattern was critical for Sylvania to grow its profitability on and beyond Amazon.  

Pattern Develops and Launches a Custom Marketplace Playbook

By effectively evaluating the opportunity for new customer growth, increasing profitability, and outperforming competitors, Pattern’s marketplace experts and brand managers went above and beyond to help Sylvania diversify its ecommerce portfolio.  

In addition to creating an eBay storefront, Sylvania expanded its products to Target+ and Walmart.com. In some instances, like on Walmart, Sylvania was already available on the marketplace but changed its strategy from a 1P seller model, which has its own challenges and roadblocks, to a 3P partner seller model–naming Pattern as its partner.

Whether it was launching on new marketplaces or shifting its seller strategy to achieve greater marketplace success, Sylvania benefited from Pattern’s relationships with and deep understanding of how to succeed on marketplaces.  

In addition, as an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern invests in Sylvania’s product and manages the brand’s entire ecommerce journey on each marketplace. This partnership takes the stress and fear out of launching somewhere new so the brand does not need to understand the nuances, best practices, and details of each individual marketplace.

Sylvania Sales Jump Almost 100%

Not only did Pattern help Sylvania with their simple goal to increase its availability on marketplaces beyond Amazon, the ecommerce accelerator helped the automotive supplier achieve: 

Exponential Sales Growth:

  • 97% sales revenue growth YoY from November 2018 to November 2019

  • 151% unit sales growth YoY from November 2018 to November 2019

Flawless Marketplace Growth:

  • Sylvania has expanded to Amazon, eBay, Target+ and Walmart, all with Pattern’s strategic marketplace expertise and knowledge

  • Target+ is difficult to get approved to sell on, but Pattern’s marketplaces team and its resources was the necessary advantage to get Sylvania listed

    • Pattern managed the administrative and compliance logistics to get products approved, listed, and optimized to match other marketplaces

    • Pattern is also working with Target to redefine categories so they better match Sylvania’s products 

  • Pattern’s customer service team helped Sylvania’s eBay business achieve 100% positive customer feedback

Pattern has the resources necessary for a brand to take control on existing and launch on new marketplaces.

"Pattern is truly an extension of our brand. They know what they are doing when it comes to everything needed for a brand to succeed on marketplaces.”

- Chris Mitchell, Sylvania OmniChannel Analytics Manager

Contact us today to build your game plan for and take control of your marketplace strategy.