A solid customer experience can be the difference between a brand that wins big and a brand that totally flops. Every experience a customer has with your business, from viewing your product online to pulling it out of the box and holding it in their hands is a significant one, and making sure their expectations are met from end-to-end is the trick to winning big on ecommerce.
Through brand control, consistent storytelling, and customer service that looks outside of the box, brands can create exceptional customer experiences for their customers and ultimately remain profitable.
Getting control of your brand on ecommerce directly and often deeply affects your customer experience. Iconic brands like Apple and Nike are as dominant in their markets as they are because they’re so good at control. They’re selective with who they let distribute their product, and when lines are crossed, they enforce their policies with teeth.
Most brands when they’re starting out or trying to grow quickly are more inclined to do the opposite. They opt for as wide a distribution as possible to get their products in as many hands as possible, because more is better, right? Well, not so much, and especially not for customer experience.
Having wide distribution on ecommerce without proper checks can be a bit like wrangling livestock on foot. You can get some and maybe even most distributors where you want them to be, but there’s no way you can control all of them, and without full control, your channels can become chaotic. When one distributor breaks the rules—drops their prices below your MAP, for example—others will follow to compete. That harms your margins and your profits online and off. It also devalues your product and your brand equity.
Wide distribution means a bigger pool of sellers who can represent your brand however they’d like to online. They may offer poor customer service. They might have blurry photographs on listings of your product or incoherent product descriptions. That doesn’t just reflect badly on them. It reflects badly on you.
Exceptional customer experience starts with making sure you have control of your brand on ecommerce, that unauthorized sellers aren’t distributing your products, and that your distributors are limited so it’s easier to maintain control and consistency.
With billions of products and brands scrambling for the attention of online shoppers, you have to have consistent branding and storytelling to stand out on ecommerce. Consistency—consistent product quality, consistent imagery, consistent voice—communicates trust. It helps your brand become familiar, and it shows consumers they can rely on you.
Your goal is to make sure that a customer can pick your brand out of a lineup no matter which distributor is standing there holding your product. Ideally, the customer experience should be the same on two fronts: your visuals and your customer service.
When we talk about visuals we mean things like the photography in your image stacks, the video content you use, the typography, the way your content is formatted, and the colors on the page. These should be consistent on both your D2C site and on marketplaces where your product is being sold so that your customers can immediately recognize you.
You also want to choose distributors who care as much about your customers and your product as you do so they’ll offer the same level of service. If your distributors are providing poor customer service, it can be reflective on the experience with your brand as a whole.
So where do you begin? First, determine what story you want your brand to tell. Is your brand young and exciting? Luxurious and sophisticated? Edgy or clean? Once you’ve found your story, you can begin to decide what you want your branding to look like and then, with the help of a partner like Pattern, you can clean up your product listings on ecommerce and maintain consistency.
PopSocket is an example of a Pattern brand that has done really well with its storytelling across multiple distributors. Its D2C is young and vibrant, as are its pop grip products. PopSocket listings are easily recognizable on Amazon because the imagery is consistently the same, as is the formatting of the listings. Customers know that what they see is what they’ll get.
Another area where businesses have the space to improve customer experience is through their customer service, particularly their packaging and shipping. Packaging can be a great way to reinforce your branding as well as build positive connections between your customers and your business. You might handle your packaging directly to make it more personalized, for example, or add more collateral to a shipment as a treat for your customers.
One brand that has leveraged their packaging and shipping to provide exceptional customer experiences with Pattern is KONG. The KONG brand is centered around training dogs to behave well through play. Along with selling dog toys and treats individually online, KONG sells them in a monthly subscription service called KONG Box. KONG Boxes typically come with three toys, three treats, an easy-to-make dog snack recipe, and personality tips based on the personality of each subscriber’s dog.
One of the biggest selling points of a KONG Box is that it makes purchasing dog snacks and toys more convenient for pet owners who already purchase them regularly. They’re also fun to receive—subscribers are surprised with different hand-picked toys and unique treats each month that their dogs will love. Check out the Facebook Live event we did with KONG here.
With Pattern’s help, KONG has been able to make the shipping experience an exciting event for their customers, but they’ve also been able to leverage data to address problems and make the shipping experience more aligned with their story.
The KONG Box was designed to be a party in a box for dog owners and their pups, and initially KONG toys and treats were packaged with tissue paper and crinkle paper to improve the aesthetic of the packaging and make it feel more giftlike. Through Pattern’s data analysis, KONG was able to learn that the way they were packaging their product was in fact detrimental to the mission of their brand.
Consumers would open their boxes in front of their dogs, and their dogs would immediately pull out the packaging and make a mess in their homes. What was party packaging for KONG was an annoyance for customers and, on a larger scale, a disconnect from KONG’s branding story about improving dogs’ behavior through play. KONG used that analysis to change the way they packaged their products. Dog owners still get surprise treats and toys for their dogs in a fun box, but now with less of a mess to clean up and definitely no crinkle paper.
KONG is one of many brands Pattern has helped achieve success on ecommerce through improved customer experience. As an exclusive 3P seller, Pattern gives control back to the brands we partner with and provides expansive data analytics to help those brands win on every facet of their ecommerce business, including advertising, SEO, product innovation, and growth.
Pattern uses data to identify what your consumers expect from your brand, which areas you should address to meet those expectations, and missed opportunities for growth. We identify the story your brand is best positioned to tell, clean up, and create content for your ecommerce listings that help them become more aligned with that story. We also help you gain control of your brand across ecommerce marketplaces by finding the bad players eroding your pricing, connecting you with resources you need to eliminate them, and giving you tools for long-term profitable growth.
To learn more about how Pattern can help you improve your brand experience, contact us in the form below.
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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.