When it comes to marketplace ecommerce, maximizing your brand’s potential on Amazon is vital to any strategy—but it can be difficult to determine whether Amazon is working for you based on sales alone. Many factors influence your brand’s success on Amazon, and some aren’t as obvious as conversion rates or year-over-year growth.
So how can you understand where your brand stands on Amazon? We’ve compiled a list of questions that uncover if Amazon is truly working for you. And in the case that your brand is falling short in any of these areas, we’ve also offered practical suggestions on how to improve.
Are you growing as fast as your category?
Obviously, profitability is an important factor to keep in mind when considering whether Amazon is working for your brand. But keeping up with your competitors isn’t as cut-and-dry as it seems—you could be making a decent profit on Amazon yet still be underperforming in your category or market.
Almost every brand is growing on Amazon. A rising tide lifts all boats, as they say. What brands need to determine is whether they’re rising as quickly as others in their market. You may have had 40% year-over-year growth and feel happy with that, but if the rest of your market had 50% year-over-year growth, you’re ultimately losing market share.
Check how your product measures up to competitors in terms of pricing, reviews, and content. If a competitor offers a similar product with a lower price or better reviews (either in ratings or number), your product may struggle to keep up on sales. Consider ethical ways to get reviews or better calling out the qualities that make your product more expensive.
Is your price stable on Amazon?
Loss of price control online is a major pain point for many brands. If another vendor is selling your products on Amazon, they will control every aspect of the listing, including content and pricing. These sellers rarely, if ever, value your brand image and reputation as much as you do. As such, it’s likely they will cause price erosion by selling your product for lower than MAP and tarnishing your brand’s name with subpar listing content. This not only hurts your price, but the control of your overall branding.
Enforcing a MAP policy can be a lot of work, but pays off in your profits, branding, and distributor relationships. You may also consider working with fewer or even a single authorized seller to ensure your product is always listed at the price you approve.
Are you staying in stock?
Going out of stock can be one common cause for decreased sales, especially in COVID times. So how is your forecasting and inventory management going? Are you spending more time worrying about issues, dealing with Amazon support, or making last minute production orders than is worth the profits you see from the platform?
Working with your historical data to forecast sales and inventory needs is crucial to marketplace success, especially because temporarily out of stock products can cost you long term rankings and sales.
How do your data reports trend?
Taking a look at Amazon’s metrics is a quick way to determine how you’re performing online and where you can improve. Check your sales patterns, your traffic, and your conversion rates, but make sure to check how they trend over time. If your sales are decreasing, take a deep dive to discover why—but don’t forget to account for seasonality or historical sales events and promotions.
If your traffic is low but your conversion is high, you know there’s an opportunity for more success with increased advertising and traffic. If your traffic is high but conversions are low, you know convincing people to buy is the problem and you can look at your image stack, product description, and overall listing appeal.
Do your Amazon listings strengthen your brand?
Amazon has evolved to become more than just an ecommerce platform—it doubles as a search engine. Customers look to Amazon to research product options, read reviews, and find additional information. They also price check online vs in-store prices to find the best deal. For this reason, it’s of utmost importance that your Amazon listings accurately and consistently represent your product and brand.
Prioritize publishing top-notch creative content in your listings. Tell your product’s whole story. Answer all of your customers’ questions. Detailed descriptions, clear and concise bullet points, and high-quality images make a big difference in how your brand and product are perceived both online and off.
How much do you have to spend on advertising?
Evaluate how much you’re budgeting for paid ads. If you’re regularly spending through your budget and your ads are getting shut off, you may need to allocate more money to advertising or adjust your ad strategy. Although adding spend may initially cut into your ecommerce budget, it may ultimately pay off. Paid advertising helps your product gain reviews, credibility, and sales, which in turn boost your organic rankings.
It’s also worth evaluating if other brands are targeting yours through conquest advertising. To avoid this, you can invest in defensive advertising by paying to show up in the sponsored search results for your own branded terms, like your company name or product titles. You can also serve the strategy right back and invest in conquest advertising to appear in search results for branded terms of competing brands.
Did you say no to multiple of these questions?
If considering the questions above made you realize your brand has room for improvement on Amazon, it’s very likely that an under-resourced ecommerce team is to blame. We’ve been in the room where executives at large, well-known companies are asked if they have more than 5 people running their ecommerce, and the answer is usually no.
Even large companies still rely on small teams to handle an inordinate amount of work. Realistically, an individual or small team simply does not have the time or bandwidth to do everything necessary to keep ecommerce and marketplaces like Amazon rolling smoothly and efficiently. Add in new marketplaces, new countries, and new languages and they’ll inevitably drop the ball somewhere—due to no fault of their own.
What to do if Amazon isn’t working for you
In today’s ecommerce landscape, giving up on Amazon isn’t a valid option, even if it isn’t currently working for you. If you don’t sell your product on Amazon, someone else will, often cutting at your brand credibility and profits.
Your specific approach to solving your problems on Amazon will, of course, depend on the type and extent of your issues. While we’ve given many examples and strategies here, each brand will require a unique approach tailored to their specific brand weaknesses and strengths.
Need help reaching your potential on Amazon? Learn how Pattern can help fix the concerns addressed above for your brand.