While Amazon remains a thorn in the side of many-a-retail-giant, there’s no denying its outsized influence on US consumers. According to eMarketer, Amazon generated 49% of e-commerce sales in 2018, while nearly 47% of US internet users start their product search on the platform.
While brands and e-commerce companies have begrudgingly accepted this inevitable expansion, many have stood on the sidelines, unsure what to make of Amazon’s unpredictable moves. Is it a retail competitor? Marketplace? Advertising channel? Search engine? Cloud computing and data company? Right. It’s complicated.
It can feel intimidating to puzzle out how to leverage the always-evolving features of Amazon. But this shouldn’t stop you from optimizing the platform to your advantage. Here are five steps to get you started on that journey.
1. Find a home for Amazon in your digital strategy
Consumers look to Amazon first during product research. This means the biggest benefit to optimizing on the platform is improving product and brand visibility. Unfortunately, measuring the omnichannel impact of product visibility can get fuzzy. So while it’s tempting to compare Amazon with Facebook and Google’s metrics, it’s more complicated than that.
The good news is Amazon’s strengths play into your other digital channel’s weaknesses. In thinking through your broader digital strategy, ask yourself where your shortcomings lie. Do you have product visibility issues? Are you struggling to get reviews? Are people not finding your products via search? There’s likely at least one hole in your digital strategy that Amazon can fill.
2. Nail the basics of brand and product visibility
To begin with, Amazon is a place for product discovery and research. So be sure you show up in a way that reflects well on your brand. Product photos, detailed descriptions, size considerations and anything that can impact customer experience should be optimized. But first, register your brand with Amazon Brand Registry to ensure you have editorial control over your listings. Otherwise, your content could be overwritten by 3rd party sellers of your product.
Shoppers are likely already searching for your brand and product category on Amazon, so invest in appearing accurately and comprehensively in every single search, from both a brand and product perspective.
After nailing the basics, it’s time to evaluate the return of Amazon as more than just a discovery tool.
3. Advertise & reallocate spend to stay competitive
Unfortunately, your access to customer data on Amazon is limited. Therefore determining incrementality, or the platform’s value in any multi-touch customer journey, can be tough.
Despite this, Amazon is the fastest growing digital ad marketplace. The features evolve constantly, giving those willing to experiment a significant competitive edge. It’s no surprise then that 80% of Amazon advertisers plan to increase budgets in 2019 (MarketingLand).
Our key piece of advice is to structure your investment around your strategic digital objectives. This could mean purchasing brand and non-brand terms based on customer acquisition and retention goals, or owning your brand terms to box out the competition. Of course, these are just a few of the many potential strategies.
4. Optimize for organic ranking with high-quality product content
The first step is researching relevant, high-volume keywords using data from both Amazon Advertising and Google Adwords. Next, make sure your high-volume, high-converting keywords are in your listing. Think at both a category and product level. To rank well for a keyword, your listing must consistently generate sales from that specific keyword. Ensuring your Amazon listings reflect the content on your website is a great start. After that, it’s wise to invest more time and attention in your top-selling Amazon products using Amazon’s rich content features.
Achieving consistent sales boils down to having products in-stock, being eligible for Prime shipping, getting great reviews, and writing product listings that convert searchers into buyers.
5. Refine product visibility improvements
After completing steps one through four, your products should be gaining visibility and sales on Amazon. Ideally, optimization is relentless. So here are a few more tips to keep the momentum going.
- Create a Brand Store on Amazon to showcase your products to shoppers
- Treat product pages as an extension of your brand. For top listings, you can use Amazon’s A+ or Enhanced Brand Content features to make your listings stand out.
- Take advantage of Amazon’s evolving Advertising features to show up in the right places
At a minimum, achieving the steps above will require having one or several team members dedicated to learning Amazon’s suite of self-service tools. Or, you’ll need to hire an outside expert or consultancy. In either case, the process requires significant time and investment.
But by investing in Amazon, you’ll gain brand control, product visibility and even increase sales. Sound complicated? The team at Ovative Group would love to help. Let’s talk.