6 Reasons Why Direct Importing with Amazon is a Game Changing Strategy for Brands

Rachel Olsen

July 7, 2022

If your brand is selling on Amazon, then you’re probably familiar with the concept of Direct Importing (DI) through Amazon’s Global Logistics Network. However, not all brands qualify for DI as it is only available if your products are manufactured in or imported from overseas. The choice brands who do import to the U.S. from overseas is simple:  use Amazon’s network and resources to distribute your products, removing multiple steps and costs from the supply chain, or to use your own supply chain.  

Sounds compelling, right?  But also sounds scary since you are giving up a lot of control and process to Amazon rather than keeping it in-house. As a global ecommerce accelerator, Pattern knows how to leverage DI, maintain control of your brand, and find new ways to improve logistics through Amazon’s Global Logistics Network.  

Pattern, an ecommerce accelerator and one of the top Amazon sellers, understands the unique challenges brands face getting products from international production facilities to consumers’ doorsteps and manages the entire process for brands. And although DI is not the right strategy for every brand, we know the potential savings and customer benefits you can experience through DI make it an option that’s worth exploring. 

6 Brand Benefits of Direct Importing 

Fewer Touchpoints in the Supply Chain

The most profound benefit you can experience through DI is massively reducing your supply chain touchpoints—when your products go straight to Amazon’s fulfillment centers, the ripple effect in your cost savings is powerful.

For one thing, you save a significant amount of money by not paying for the processes you’d normally need to in order to get your products to domestic warehouses. Once your items get to their shipping containers, Amazon takes over, freeing you from the responsibility of getting the product from its origin port to the U.S. to your warehouses, then re-packaging and labeling to ship into Amazon fulfillment centers, and finally to customers—with all of the associated processes and costs.

Less handoffs also means less opportunity and responsibility for incurred damages, which is something that pays off in both the short-term, by avoiding replacement costs, and long-term, in customer satisfaction.

Lower Container Rates

As probably the biggest U.S. marketplace in the ecommerce space, one of Amazon’s perks is lower container rates. They have negotiated prices that are considerably lower than a brand would pay as a traditional importer. So, it’s likely that, however you’re importing your products into the U.S. today, it’ll be cheaper to get your products to your customers using Direct Importing.

No Additional Brokering Fees

By leveraging Direct Importing, you eliminate the need to pay tariffs and duties as your inventory arrives in the U.S.. This generates significant cost savings for many brands—whatever you pay to ship your products with Amazon includes the brokering fees instead of adding to costs for you.

Advance Forecasting

When a brand ships all of its orders to Amazon Fulfillment instead of your domestic warehouses, the process generally takes longer. This additional time allows brands and ecommerce accelerators to plan inventory months in advance, rather than a week or two.  

For instance, rather than guessing on the amount of inventory you’ll need to ship to Amazon in two weeks, you’d be able to plan much further ahead with purchase orders, as far as months in advance. Typically, this advanced planning gives brands a leg up in leveraging their supply chain to advance order what they need.

Reduced Reliance on Domestic Fulfillment

Direct Importing also removes your dependency on your domestic fulfillment teams for the manpower needed to get products from their port of origin to your warehouses. Removing these processes allows you to save both the money and the time it takes to unpack, repack, and label your items. Instead, all of those tasks are taken care of at a lower cost at the origin port.

In addition to eliminating time and manpower spent packaging and labeling, you also remove the need to store product domestically, meaning you can save domestic warehouse space and reduce the amount of time spent fulfilling domestic orders.

Faster Speed to Market

As your teams eliminate the extra steps in the fulfillment process, you’re able to free up precious time in getting your products directly to Amazon customers. What would you be able to accomplish in getting 2-3 weeks back from your current speed to market model? As you get products into your customers’ hands faster, you can stay more competitive as shipping times continue to shrink across the globe.

The Power of Pattern and Direct Importing

As the benefits of DI start to build upon each other, the savings can be significant for brands and the momentum for any brand to achieve new sales potential is truly powerful.  Brands that partner with Pattern know they are getting premier resources in logistics and fulfillment as well as the competitive advantage of working with a top seller on Amazon. 

Since brands sell their products to Pattern months in advance, they avoid freight, shipping, port, packaging, labeling and other costs associated with their inventory coming from overseas. Additionally, brands who partner with Pattern can also take advantage of time and cost savings as part of their access to our fulfillment resources while, at the same time, experiencing multiple other ways we’re able to accelerate their products on Amazon.

Accelerate your brand on Amazon, starting at the port of origin. Contact Pattern.

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Aug 9, 2022

The Ecommerce Equation: 4 Levers CEOs Use to Drive Marketplace Revenue

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. 

1. Drive Traffic to Products

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.”

2. Create Content that Converts

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.

3. Control Your Price

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.

Download the LifeSeasons 1-Page Case Study Here

4. Optimize Your Product Availability

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.

How Pattern Drives Revenue Using the Ecommerce Equation

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.

Aug 8, 2022

Global Insights: Spotlight on Amazon in Emerging Markets

We have analyzed Amazon in emerging markets compared to countries where it has already achieved dominance, following its reported growth of 22% between [2020](https://www.marketplacepulse.com/articles/amazon-gmv-in-2020) and [2021](https://www.marketplacepulse.com/articles/amazon-gmv-reached-600-billion-in-2021). Pattern’s [Amazon Consumer Insights Report 2022](https://info.pattern.com/amazon-consumer-insights-report-2022) has highlighted some interesting insights into the similarities and differences in the ways Amazon is used across 17 different countries. We carried out research on various macroeconomic indicators and data related to Amazon usage in each country to better understand the key factors that determine the suitability of the markets. In this blog we outline the most interesting Amazon global insights that will be of interest to brands determining where they should have a presence on the marketplace, particularly Amazon in emerging markets. Population, urbanization, and GDP per capita are all factors which have a large effect on ecommerce and marketplace strategy in a country. These factors need to be taken into consideration when understanding the potential a brand has when entering a new market. Notable takeaways from the report are highlighted below. Price of Amazon Prime The monthly cost of Amazon Prime varies greatly depending on how developed the Amazon market is in the country. We noticed that in countries with a higher GDP per capita and a more dominant Amazon presence, the price of Prime is substantially higher, for example, in the US ($14.99) and in the UK ($10.08). The monthly cost of Prime in the UK has [recently increased by $1.26](https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-62297014) due to higher operating costs, but we believe that UK consumers will accept this increase. As a comparison, less developed markets with lower GDP per capita figures, such as Poland ($2.56) and Brazil ($3.12), have significantly lower monthly Prime prices. Amazon purposely prices Prime to be very cost-effective for customers in emerging markets as a customer acquisition strategy and to help grow its market share more quickly. Desktop vs. Mobile India, Japan and Mexico were found to have higher percentages of traffic from mobile devices compared to other markets. This is in line with data which looks at the [leading countries based on retail mobile commerce sales growth](https://www.statista.com/statistics/1261743/leading-countries-mobile-commerce-sales-growth/), and shows how particular countries spend more time online using mobiles rather than desktops. App Downloads & Ranking In this year’s report, we made the decision to include data on the Amazon App (Android), as more consumers are shopping online on mobile devices. This is reflected in the average monthly downloads and category rank of the app. Mexico sees an average of 1.2 million monthly downloads of the Amazon (Android) App. This is expected, as Mexico is one of the regions that has a higher percentage of traffic from mobile devices compared to desktops. In terms of average monthly Amazon web traffic, Mexico is the 9th largest out of the 17 countries analyzed, but after the US and Brazil, is the 3rd largest in terms of monthly downloads of the Android App, highlighting the country’s preference for using the Amazon App. Visit Duration & Page Views In markets where Amazon is robust and well developed, like the USA, UK and Germany, consumers tend to spend more time on the platform and view more pages per visit, as there is more choice from a wider range of products to explore. On the other hand, in markets where Amazon is still either at its early implementation or growth phase, like the Netherlands, Poland, and Brazil, there is less on offer and a far smaller selection or products. Inevitably, we noticed consumers have a lower average visit duration and view fewer pages in these markets. We would expect to see these metrics increase as Amazon’s product selection increases in these markets. Top Selling Categories There are many similarities between the different markets in terms of the top selling categories in each country. Out of 17 countries, 12 had Home & Kitchen and 11 had Electronics in their top 3 categories. Regional differences can be seen with Sports & Outdoors only ranking as a top category in the UK, Video Games only in Japan, and Hardware only in Germany. It is important for brands to acknowledge that not all categories will sell successfully across all markets. Just because the category is popular in one or more markets, does not mean that it will work across all 17 instances that we analyzed. Our Amazon consumer insights report shows that although the online marketplace dominates online retail in the USA and several other Western European countries, the company is aiming to build that position in countries where it is newer in the market by taking into account the regional differences in consumer behavior and expectations within its proposition. [Download the full report here](https://info.pattern.com/amazon-consumer-insights-report-2022), and [contact us here](https://info.pattern.com/contact-us/) to learn how we could support your global marketplace strategy or for more information on how we partner with brands to represent them on Amazon.
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.