Amazon has become the world’s largest online marketplace for two simple reasons:
- They provide value and convenience to online shoppers
- They make it simple for sellers to sell their products.
Amazon’s massive customer base has brands large and small rushing to list their offerings, hoping to capitalize on the 2.45+ billion monthly visits Amazon earns across its sites.
Amazon presents a substantial opportunity for brands looking to grow online revenues, but doing so requires a sound strategy and an understanding of the unique risks and rewards.
Amazon Advertising and Marketing Opportunities
Amazon is a self-contained ecosystem, offering advertising, and platform-specific marketing channels available only to Amazon sellers. It’s always important to remember that just as you have the ability to compete with other sellers on their product pages, they have the ability to compete on yours.
Amazon Advertising, formerly called Amazon Marketing Services, is a pay-per-click (PPC) service that works much the same as Google Ads. You are only charged if someone clicks your ad.
There are three different types of ads:
- Product Display ads. These appear on the sidebar or at the bottom of Amazon search-result pages, as well as on related product pages on any Amazon store. When clicked, they take the viewer to your product page.
- Sponsored Product ads. These appear on Amazon search result pages and on product pages before the product description. When clicked, they take viewers to your product page.
- Headline Search ads. These appear on the top of Amazon search result pages. They can include customized copy, and you can link them to your product page or to a Campaign Landing Page.
Campaign Landing Pages are temporary brand pages you can create to support important ad campaigns and marketing events. These pages are always associated with your specific ad campaigns and should follow the same schedule as those campaigns. Amazon offers templates for these pages, which you can populate with branded images, select products and customized navigation options.
Optimize Your Amazon Marketing Strategy
No amount of Amazon advertising will bring you profits if you don’t develop a sound strategy to maximize conversions.
Amazon Reviews and Ratings
Customer ratings and reviews are central to your success in getting your products in front of your audience. For online shoppers who don’t have the ability to hold your product in their hands, reviews are central to their buying decision. In fact, a recent survey showed that 89% of online shoppers will read reviews before buying a product, and 79% say they trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation from someone they know.
Not surprisingly, Amazon prioritizes reviews on product pages, so getting feedback from happy customers needs to be a key part of your marketing strategy. The more positive reviews you have, the more sales you will make.
Getting reviews is usually just a matter of asking. Send a follow-up message, via either email or SMS, asking customers for a review shortly after they have received the product. Better yet, include a thank-you card in each package, with a review request in the card.
Another valuable strategy involves responding to customer reviews. An apologetic response to negative reviews will show that you care about customer satisfaction, while a thank-you response to positive reviews will make your customers feel engaged and appreciated.
Position your products for the best organic ranking in Amazon searches by taking advantage of SEO. Determine which search terms are most relevant and have the highest conversion rate, then align your product titles, descriptions, and key feature points with those search terms.
Search advertising on Amazon is similar to Google’s PPC options. Targeted product or storefront ads are a great way to increase brand awareness and drive revenue. Start with a simple beta/alpha campaign structure:
- Beta campaigns: Determine top-performing keywords from an initial discovery set
- Alpha campaigns: Move the top-performing keywords from the beta campaign to exact-match keywords and scale your spending.
Your Amazon storefront can tell your brand story and communicate key value propositions. Turning your storefront into a branded experience will establish a deeper connection with potential customers, increasing the likelihood of conversion. This is especially important for newer brands, where Amazon is more likely to be a user’s first exposure.
Repurpose content from your website for consistency. Use eye-catching imagery and messaging in your brand voice to capitalize on the high purchase intent of Amazon users.
The Risks of Amazon
By providing digital storefronts and fulfillment, Amazon appears to be a cash-printing machine for consumer brands. But with its lack of customer data, brand dilution, and, in some cases, potential entry as a competitor, selling on Amazon is a trickier proposition than it may seem at first blush, especially for growing brands.
Lack of Data
Amazon is a great way to increase sales, but you might not acquire repeat customers. Amazon doesn’t pass back customer data to sellers. For most brands, this data is crucial to personalizing customers’ experiences across multiple touchpoints to build a long-term relationship and increase customer lifetime value.
Shaping the customer journey is one of the key reasons brands create their own websites. Ecommerce sites are not just windows to sell directly to consumers, they’re engines of sophisticated marketing strategies based on customer information and behavioral data.
Earning a purchase on your own site isn’t the end of your relationship with that customer. An Amazon purchaser may come back for more, but it’s entirely out of your hands.
Simply being listed on Amazon can substantially cheapen a brand’s image. Amazon’s shoppers expect product availability and low prices. It’s where people go to buy diapers in bulk or get a deal on protein powder — not exactly an environment of exclusivity or luxury.
Established brands risk negatively affecting how consumers perceive them, and newer brands without brand equity run the risk of pigeonholing themselves as value brands, since it’s highly possible that Amazon will be the first place many customers discover them.
Amazon has aggressively grown its private-label business, replicating products that perform well and undercutting prices to capitalize on margins. Sellers have reason to fear this direct competition: Amazon can (and does) advertise its own products and place them higher in “organic” search results.
This creates an interesting dilemma for brands looking to sell via Amazon — sell too much, and you could awaken a sleeping giant looking to club you out of business.
Amazon can be a great revenue generator for your business, but only if you understand the risks and how to navigate them. Take the proper steps to keep high-lifetime-value customers coming to your owned sites while protecting against damage to brand perception and being ripped off. Pair this with the Amazon marketing strategy we’ve outlined here, and you’ll be on your way.
Similarweb — Amazon.com September 2021 Overview
Amazon Ads — Campaign Landing Pages
Digiday — Retailers Chafe at Amazon’s Tight Hold on Data
Oberlo — 10 Online Review Statistics You Need to Know in 2021