If, on 1st January 2020, I asked you all to make a wish-list of companies you’d like to make more money, gain more market share and be more successful than they've ever been this year, I doubt Amazon would have been at the top of many of your lists.
Over the last few Covid-19-ridden months Amazon’s unrelenting success has been taken to new and uncharted territory. The stats are amazing:
Amazon’s ad business grew 44% during Q1
Amazon Q1 sales increased 25% year-on-year
Amazon share price is at an all-time high
For those of you who’ve resisted the urge to walk your brand through the pearly orange gates, it's now time to enter Jeff's Shangri-La.
But before you jump into bed with Bezos, there are some things you need to know to ensure you have a long, loving and fruitful relationship with Amazon, and not a costly one-night stand you’ll live to regret:
1. Amazon is not Google
In the advertising world, Amazon often gets bucketed as a search platform. A mistake I often see is brands committing paid ad budget to Amazon and using the same SEO and PPC strategies they've used for Google, expecting to see the same results.
Google uses two ranking algorithms to determine search positions – paid and organic – whereas Amazon only uses one. Amazon’s one algorithm determines product search positions by favouring one main criteria - the probability of a product leading to a sale. Google doesn't prioritise this factor in its search algorithms as their search listings aren't solely designed to sell products.
On Amazon, paid ads and organic listings are all in the same algorithmic melting pot that's designed to create sales, meaning Amazon needs its own approach rather than a tweaked version of what you already have for Google.
2. Use Amazon to defend your brand
We know that prospective customers are increasingly using Amazon as a search engine, with prospective customers searching for your brand, expecting to find you on the platform. Your brand is being searched for on Amazon, regardless of whether you're there or not.
If you don't have an official presence on Amazon to be there for these search queries, you run the risk of another Amazon seller selling your brand’s products, sometimes unauthorised.
Not having a controlled brand presence on Amazon leaves you open to a multitude of brand risks - one of our clients has suffered greatly from their products being listed with incorrect descriptions, out-of-date brand imagery and prospective customer questions being ignored.
Being in control of your brand on Amazon allows you to negate those risks and avoid losing out these valuable incremental sales.
3. Amazon product pages are your new website
For people using Amazon as their product search engine, your Amazon product pages could be their first interaction with your brand or products. These pages are your new shop-window and they may generate more traffic than your website.
Making sure that you have full control and a strategy for the design, content and maintenance of these product pages will not just make them look pretty. The product page elements are also contributing factors to the Amazon search algorithm and determine where you appear in the search listings.
There are many proven tips and tricks to bolster your product pages that will ensure you are capturing this incremental traffic and maximising your sales.
4. Supercharge your Amazon fulfilment
Being on Amazon will accelerate the need to improve the capabilities of your end-to-end eCommerce fulfilment process. The majority of brands and retailers use Fulfilment by Amazon to distribute their products, however the strain on this system caused by Covid-19 has caused brands to rethink this strategy.
Having alternative options, like increasing pick-pack capabilities in your warehouses and retail stores, means you aren’t reliant on Amazon’s own processes, giving you an extra edge on your competitors due to better product range, stock availability and guaranteed delivery.
Even the most seasoned Amazon brands are rethinking their distribution strategy in the wake of Covid-19, so now is the perfect time to start thinking about this too.
5. You’ve got to pay to play
We’ve already acknowledged that Amazon will rank your product higher if it thinks that your product has more probability to sell, based on the key determining factor of their algorithm. One way to boost this probability rating in the algorithm is to run paid advertising against your key products.
Amazon paid advertising will place your product at the top of the search listings in a sponsored slot, giving the product an extra sales boost through the extra visibility and customer traffic that comes with being at the top of the page. Based on this increased sales performance, Amazon registers that your product has a higher probability to sell. So running paid advertising (and therefore increasing sales of your product) will increase your probability to sell in Amazon’s algorithm and boost your search rankings, even during times when you’re not running paid advertising.
Amazon is a ‘pay to play’ environment where paid advertising impacts product sales, so it’s essential to have a supporting paid advertising strategy to maximise your revenue and profit.
If you have any questions about my Amazon tips, or have any more of your own to add, please do get in touch either in the comments or by messaging me directly.
LEAD are currently offering a free, no obligation Amazon audit and quick-win report containing improvement recommendations on product pages, fulfilment processes, paid advertising and more.