ICYMI, eCommerce sales are booming (and they’re only expected to keep growing). If you’re going to take your fair share of the profit, you have to earn it. At Pattern, we’re experts at helping brands increase their margins and profits without sacrificing quality products and consumer trust in the process. In fact, our partners' revenue grows by an average of 40% in their first year with us.
Here are five things you can do to increase your margins for online sales without cutting corners or spending oodles of money:
1. Drive more traffic to your products
2. Utilize premium content
3. Optimize for Amazon SEO
4. Scale to international marketplaces
5. Control dynamic pricing
This first one may seem obvious. If you’re going to increase your sales, you need more people seeing your products. Using advertising and Amazon marketing services to your advantage can help you quickly see a rise in visitors and, ultimately, conversions.
Create an advertising strategy.
Without a solid advertising strategy, buying ads on Google, Facebook, or Amazon is basically just throwing cash to the wind and hoping for the best.
Either on your own or with a partner like Pattern, identify what customer segments are important and what their behaviors are.
Then create great targeted product pages that are persuasive, concise, and interesting to the consumer. The more information you have about your consumers' behavior in your arsenal, the better. If consumers feel like you know and understand them, they're more likely to stick around and end up purchasing your product.
Let data change and improve your strategy over time.
Next, use A/B testing to see which ads are working well and which aren’t. The key here is to never settle and realize there's always room to grow. Maybe your customer segment could be more dialed in. Maybe one image works better than another. Test, test, test and then let the data inform your strategy over time!
At Pattern, our advertising team uses our proprietary technology Predict to automatically adjust hundreds of thousands of keyword bids to ensure we’re putting money behind keywords that get our partners the highest returns. We’re able to test which words perform best and then optimize advertising strategies (and bids) from there.
Track your success.
Finally, make sure you have a measuring system in place to ensure you can track each advertising campaign. That way, you’ll be even more prepared as you head into the next one.
Learn more about Amazon Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brads, Display Ads, and more on this post about Amazon AMS.
Customers are more likely to purchase products that look legitimate. After all, if one product costs 30 cents and another costs $3, but the images and product descriptions are terrible on the cheap one, consumers are much more likely to choose the latter.
“Premium content is a big way to improve profits,” said Kevin Lamb, Pattern’s Marketplace Insights Specialist. “You have to look way better than the average listing or you’re not going to sell.”
Use on-site content optimization options.
Most eCommerce sites offer options to improve content offerings.
For example, Walmart gives each page a content score that guides retailers to make their product pages more effective. They even offer content audits to help retailers sell and show up more on their site.
Amazon’s version is called Enhanced Brand Content (EBC). EBC helps brands create individualized product pages that increase conversion rates and raise profit margins. By using EBC, you can add extra content to your Amazon product page, make it more mobile friendly, and ultimately keep more customers on your page for longer.
If you’re going to increase your margins, you have to show up on page 1 of Amazon. (Very few customers look beyond the first product page.)
Know that Amazon SEO is different than Google.
Not all search engines are created equal. Amazon uses the A9 ranking algorithm to decide who shows up first on their product pages, and it’s not at all the same as Google.
We recommend putting someone on your team (or partnering with someone) who knows the A9 algorithm and all its nuances inside and out. Otherwise, your SEO optimization isn’t going to take you very far.
Get the basics down.
Pattern’s SEO experts recommend optimizing your product titles, backend search terms, and product descriptions first to include keywords related to your product. However, there’s so much more you can do with Amazon SEO.
Learn more about how to get started with Amazon SEO here.
Finally, a key part of increasing your margins on eCommerce is increasing your audience size. If you’re only selling on Amazon or eBay or Walmart, you’re missing out on huge international markets like China, Europe, and beyond.
Analyze whether or not you’re ready to go international.
It’s true, not everyone is ready to sell on marketplaces like Tmall or Alibaba yet. However, you might be more ready than you think. Pattern’s international eCommerce experts can tell you whether your product is ready to enter new markets.
.Fighting for control over your product pricing may be the most important factor in creating (and maintaining) a high profit margin eCommerce strategy.
Since sellers on Amazon and other marketplaces are constantly in competition, price erosion can often affect brands and cut deeply into their margins as each seller tries to win the Buy Box.
Create a MAP policy.
A Minimum Advertised Price (MAP) policy can help you create fixed price points for your products among your many sellers. By requiring your sellers to advertise at exactly how much your products are worth, you can save yourself many headaches (and shrinking margins) in the future.
Our partner brands' legal counsel helps Pattern partners create MAP policies that are thorough and binding.
Enforce your MAP policy.
Sellers aren’t that great at maintaining price parity. However, if you have a MAP policy in place you won’t be left helpless when the inevitable price dropping war ensues. If unauthorized sellers are disrupting your MAP policy, you can work to get them removed, thereby saving your margin.
We know these four strategies will be helpful for you as you try to improve your eCommerce margins. Learn more about how Pattern can grow your profit margins by reaching out below.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.