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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Walmart.com has announced important changes regarding the “Was Price” and promotions on the digital marketplace. These updates make it more important than ever to optimize your price through implementing proper strategies, controlling your distribution channels, and being intentional about your pricing strategy.
And, as with all digital marketplaces, succeeding on Walmart.com requires performing well in all areas of The Ecommerce Equation. Which means as you optimize your listings’ pricing, as well as traffic, conversions, and availability, your revenue increases.
Pattern has the resources ecommerce brands need to optimize on marketplaces for each factor in the ecommerce equation. We have the technology and strategists to help you improve your traffic, the brand dedication and passion to help you achieve greater conversions, connections to econtrol specialists who help brands regain marketplace control, and the data you need to be able to make smart forecasting decisions for better product availability.
Below, we’ll cover how Walmart.com’s recent platform changes impact ecommerce brands’ ability to drive traffic and conversions for their products and how to strategize around them to work best in your brand’s favor. But first, let’s go over the changes themselves.
Walmart.com’s newest changes reflect their mission to be the leader in low, everyday pricing. Therefore, Walmart’s customers come to the platform and expect low prices no matter what. Overall, these updates give consumers more visibility into the value they’re experiencing and hold brands more accountable in the pricing information they display.
Due to Walmart’s updates, in order for your products to qualify for a strikethrough and show “Reduced Price” or “Clearance” flags on Walmart.com, your product’s promotion must be at least 10% off the “Was Price.” (Note: “Reduced Price” is the most common type of badging. Your teams can request this badge when filling out promotion upload files.)
To specifically qualify for “Clearance,” the product needs to be discontinued and no longer replenished after selling through the remaining inventory.
Although “Rollback” is sometimes seen on site, it is a form of 1P-only badging.
Walmart now prohibits promotions lasting longer than 365 days.
Walmart’s “Was Price” was previously loosely defined and manually inputted on Walmart.com as an MSRP. Now, stricter rules are in place with regulations in the broader market to encourage enforcement and protect consumers.
The “Was Price” is now defined by these terms on Walmart:
Either the 90-day median price paid by customers for the item on Walmart.com (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance);
Or the median price offered by Walmart or Marketplace sellers for the item on Walmart.com for at least 28 out of the last 90 days (excluding special promotions like holiday campaigns, limited time deals, rollbacks, and clearance).
To protect your “Was Price” from price erosion, be intentional when planning promotions. To be most effective in your promotion, you’ll want to be able to give your customers a large enough discount to qualify for the slash-through and reduced price badging.
Without the right pricing strategy in place, your products are in danger of falling into deeper and deeper discounting as you chase the ability to achieve slash-throughs and proper badging. Without the slash-throughs and badging, you’ll lose the ability to easily communicate the increased value of your product and the traffic and conversions you’re trying to earn by running the promotion in the first place.
It’s important to keep your products’ prices as steady as possible to protect your promotion periods. As you prevent high-low price fluctuations, you’ll be able to use slash-through prices and promotional badges like “Reduced Price” and “Clearance” to your advantage in driving better traffic and conversions for your listings.
Without the ability to display badging, a promotion falls flat even if the price has been dropped. With steady pricing over time, you’ll be able to keep a stable “Was Price” and ultimately enjoy more rewarding promotional periods long-term.
It’s important to remember that the “Was Price” policy also applies to 1P and other 3P sellers representing your products on Walmart.com. Unfortunately, your other strategies will be ineffective if other sellers are breaking your MAP policy or playing the high-low price game. So, it’s more important than ever for brands to be conscious of their distribution channels and keep rogue and unauthorized sellers in check.
By allowing Pattern to be the authorized seller of your brand’s products and working with Vorys eControl law firm to eliminate rogue sellers, you can be confident in creating and executing a powerful selling strategy on Walmart.com and other digital marketplaces. As a 3P seller partner, Pattern is truly invested in our partners’ success, we’ll help you to create and execute a strategy that truly prioritizes the long-term performance of your products on digital marketplaces.
Contact us today to learn more about the changes on Walmart.com and how you can optimize your performance.
If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.
Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.
At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead.
An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.
A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:
Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance.
Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS.
To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.
A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.
It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.
Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins.
Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.
As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.
Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.