How Disjointed Sellers Take Away Brand Control on Ecommerce Marketplaces

Rachel Olsen

August 4, 2022

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.

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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 9, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 9th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon opens first Irish warehouse in Dublin Amazon has unveiled its first Irish fulfilment centre in Dublin, the first of its kind in Ireland, and is expected to create 500 jobs. The ecommerce giant has said the new warehouse promises to decrease delivery times for Irish Amazon customers and will heighten the presence of the company in the market. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/05/amazon-unveils-first-irish-fulfilment-centre-in-dublin/) Amazon fulfils direct from brand stores to offer same-day delivery Amazon has launched a new fulfilment option allowing Prime members to shop for products from local stores and have them delivered on the same day. The initiative has taken off in the US in over 10 cities, with initial partners including Superdry, Diesel and PacSun. Other brands are offering users an option to buy online with Amazon and collect in store. [Read more on Retail Gazette](https://www.retailgazette.co.uk/blog/2022/08/amazon-same-day-delivery/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2e98756cab-EMAILCAMPAIGN202208030744&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2e98756cab-61040615) Amazon acquires Roomba manufacturer for $1.7bn Amazon has made a deal to purchase the manufacturer of Roomba for $1.7 billion USD. Roomba is a vacuum brand and is one of the highest selling robot vacuums on the marketplace. Roomba will join Alexa and Ring doorbell as the company expands its home system offerings. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/08/amazon-acquires-roomba-manufacturer-for-1-7bn/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Ebay beats revenue estimates on sales and earnings Ebay has outperformed in terms of its revenue expectations, as a new focus on luxury items and collectibles is improving sales and traffic to the website.The company recently launched a 31,000 square foot Ebay Vault, where collectors are able to store valuables, monitor their market value and sell them to other buyers. [Read more on Bloomberg](https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-03/ebay-beats-estimates-on-sales-and-earnings-forecast-shares-rise) Alibaba lays off 10,000 employees to cut costs amid falling sales Alibaba has allegedly laid off 9241 employees as expenses rise in other areas and sales slow. This marks the company’s first drop in payroll size since 2016, highlighting the urgency to cut costs as it faces regulatory and economic challenges. Alibaba Chairman has said that the company plans on employing over 5000 new graduates in this year. [Read more on Gadgets Now](https://www.gadgetsnow.com/tech-news/alibaba-cuts-10000-jobs-to-cut-costs-amid-falling-sales/articleshow/93392190.cms) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Facebook to close down its live shopping feature Facebook has decided to shut down its live shopping program to focus more on Reels, its short-form video content in an attempt to keep up with Tik Tok to hold Gen-Z’s attention. The company is also ending the ability to create product playlists or tag products on the site. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/facebook-to-shut-down-its-live-shopping-program-as-it-shifts-focus-to-video-content/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=57ba61a3b9-EMAILCAMPAIGN202208090745&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-57ba61a3b9-61040615)
Aug 8, 2022

Global insights: Spotlight on Amazon in Emerging Markets

We have analysed 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, urbanisation 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. We highlight notable takeaways from the report 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 analysed, 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 growing 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 have analysed. 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 behaviour and expectations within its proposition. [Download the full report here](https://info.pattern.com/amazon-consumer-insights-report-2022), and [contact us here](https://pattern.com/uk/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.