Our high growth team recently hosted a virtual roundtable for ecommerce entrepreneurs’ who have experienced great success leveraging Amazon as a platform for growth. Here are some of our key learnings from the roundtable discussion.
Optimising your listing and avoiding advertising pitfalls
“Customers have become more savvy, they now know when something is written for search so your listing must be well written”
Chris Parr, Co-founder of Pro Bike Tool
Even for some of the more successful Amazon based businesses it can take a while to realise you are essentially trying to get in Amazon’s good books by manipulating keywords, providing clear and well-written descriptions, building a bank of good reviews and lighting up as many stars as you can on your products.
But there is a fine balance between a successful listing and one that is punished by the algorithm. Keyword stuffing is something that a lot of people fall foul of on the ecommerce platform, not only can it be identified by the bots and therefore moved down the results page, but consumers are not silly, they are tech savvy and can now very quickly identify something that has been written for search rather than them as consumers.
There are a few things which make the difference between a good and a bad listing. High-quality product images and a description that solves the consumers problem are key. You must make sure that your listing is describing the key benefits of your product.
That said, nothing clinches the deal more than good reviews and high star ratings. The difference between a 3 star listing and a 4 star listing is enormous. If you are a true customer centric seller on Amazon you will rise above competitors that use tactics like purchasing reviews. Amazon seem to be clamping down on this bad practice more than ever, so your chances of gaining the advantage over those sellers have improved.
Advertising on the platform has become increasingly competitive, in part due to ads being given more prime real estate on the first results page by Amazon.
If your ads aren’t working, you first need to figure out why. Often you will get clicks from ads but the shopper does not convert, this goes back to making sure your listing isn’t missing something vital. PPC should come after improving quality of your listing, not the other way around.
It’s important to remember that you can’t simply set ads or PPC campaigns on Amazon and walk away, they need to be monitored, tweaked, and analysed. If you don’t have the knowledge or the time to commit to it, it’s a good idea to outsource. Amazon account managers can give you guidance and offer you some alternative formats, for example, using their display network to reach out elsewhere.
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Taking full advantage of the platform’s functionality
“These innovation tools are fantastic if you are heading into the eye of the storm and going head-to-head with Amazon’s big players.”
Joel Parkes, Founder of Bamboo Bamboo
Although it is an extra overhead, investing in Amazon account services can open opportunities for your business. Since Amazon introduced the ‘Prime’ label for its best sellers, this kite mark has now become the goal for many businesses using the platform who really want to position themselves as a high-quality seller, focussed on addressing the needs of their customers.
There are new and emerging channels on Amazon, which if taken advantage of, will soon put you ahead of your competitors. Amazon Live provides a platform, similar to TV shopping channels, where consumers can watch live streams about your product, its benefits and interact with you in real time. It provides an opportunity to get closer to your customers and is perfect for some of the more impulse, lower consideration purchases – typically those in the £10 to £100 price range.
Amazon Posts is an integrated social media type platform where users can post about their buying experiences, share product reviews and ‘like’ products. This is a great opportunity if you are heading into a new market and want to test initial interest in your product. Great if you are going head-to-head with one of Amazon’s big players as they are less likely to be looking at newer channels until they are more embedded in seller culture.
If you are looking for ways to better understand your target audience’s buying behaviour and unpick their habits, experiences, and demographic – you’ll not only need access to data, but also the insights and actions that can turn that data into revenue. Turning data into insights and actions is a specialist skillset and time consuming, so businesses with the capital to invest might benefit from outsourcing this to an Amazon account manager, or hiring an in-house specialist, who will present you with recommendations and actions, saving you the time of analysing the data yourself. If you’re not an expert in a particular area of digital marketing or data, make sure to explore the options available to you to free up your time to focus on the strategic direction of the business.
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Building an engaged community and staying nimble
“It’s a marathon not a sprint. Find the right people and the right words. Followers can’t be bought.”
Chris Parr, Co-founder of Pro Bike Tool
One of the reasons Amazon has been so hugely successful is because there are millions of users scrolling through products there at any given time, with their payment details saved and only one click away from a potential purchase. That’s why its vital to be close to your customer, know their needs and give them the easiest path to conversion. Amazon is a great space to hear directly what they are saying about your product, providing you with real time feedback and improvement suggestions.
Knowing your audience and finding the right gap in the market is important but investing in that pre and post buy experience is going to give your business longevity. Amazon loves outside traffic coming into the platform – so be sure to leverage social media, community groups and word of mouth to direct people to your listing.
There is a sweet spot in terms of product price on Amazon, £10-£100 is classed as an unconsidered purchase meaning buyers will do less research and convert more quickly. For bigger ticket items, it’s worth nurturing recommendations and reviews elsewhere too as people will often come into the funnel elsewhere and then convert on Amazon. Look at the channels you have and ensure you are getting good feedback across the board.
As Amazon grows it becomes difficult to be doing the same things you were doing before – you must have an audience outside amazon to mitigate risk, scale quickly and build a community.
This is easier said than done and success on social media for e-commerce businesses is often mis-judged. A high number of followers on Instagram, for example, but low engagement rates means that you aren’t creating intention from your customer. Concentrate on building engagement from the customers who really love your products, get them involved in sharing their own content, recommending you and provide them with valuable content that they will share with others. It won’t happen overnight, but it will be worth it, and as ever, find someone who knows the platforms and is enthusiastic about generating buzz around your products.
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