Amazon Sellers, Here is how to rejig your product sales on Amazon
Recently, we have been contracting recently with alot of Amazon sellers who are entrepreneurs, distributors, resellers and small businesses.
Market Research Findings
In our beginning days, when we first decided to craft our digital marketing strategy and services for Amazon sellers we first started by looking at marketing trends and then we conducted market research on our potential B2B audience. We recruited an online panel of Amazon sellers of about 300 respondents across Canada and USA. We asked them a series of about 15 questions and started splicing the data and analyzing it.
We had deep insights to the various segments of Amazon sellers i.e. what product and categories they sell in, their pricing strategy, their promotion strategy, their hero SKUs, their positioning, the demographic they after and their messaging strategy. Right off the bat, we realized that the Amazon sellers had something in common, they used the templated strategy and followed the bullet points that Amazon recommends on their site. There is nothing wrong in that and it is certainly useful to cross check your page and brand/product setup against Amazon’s recommendation so as to complement the algorithm and to be optimized for sales. Secondly, we also realized that 90% of the sellers were using Amazon advertising to reach out to their target audience on Amazon. This is also a fine strategy as people do search on Amazon and use the engine as a substitute for Google. So it would make sense to feature your product against competitive products or to buy keywords to emerge as one of the visible products for your target audience. Then, we had an interesting finding in our data around pricing, it seems the way pricing was done for the product SKUs was varied. Some used competitive data from Amazon, some guessed and altered the pricing every month or so, some used a cost of goods profit calculation to validate the price of their products and some used the recommended price from Amazon.
When it came to product descriptions, keywords targeting, competitive product benchmarking and advertising budget , the Amazon sellers made the decisions by themselves. To them there was no difference in keywords on amazon and on google, they keywords were all the same and they used that across the platforms in an agnostic way.
Almost all(95% of the respondents), were not using digital marketing services from agencies or external companies. Everything was either done in house, through a friend or by the sellers themselves. In the past 3 months, they had spent nothing on digital marketing except online advertising on Amazon. The reason that they all gave was unanimous, digital marketing agencies are too expensive and not worth the investment.
We then asked them to share their average advertising cost of sales. Most of them spend more than what they were getting in revenue. This means that not only were they not taking in any profits, they have been paying a higher cost of acquisition per customer than what the value of the product (customer value) can offer. This is of course explainable if you are first starting off your business and selling products just to gain awareness and visibility and trial. However, most of these Amazon sellers have been selling products for the past 12 months.
As a follow up question, we also asked them what was their wasted ad spend. 78% mentioned that they do not know what amount of their budget was wasted ad spend.
We also asked what sort of content marketing, social media marketing and media marketing they do apart from what they have been doing on the Amazon site. 90% mentioned that they have an external website, facebook page, twitter page and post offers on their existing digital platforms. They do not do any content marketing per say and do not spend on paid media on social media marketing.
Finally, we asked them about reviews and retargeting and remarketing. More than 83% of them are paying attention to reviews and have responded and interacted to reviews when given. Alot of them have reviews that are below 15 in count, and they do not (82%) do any retargeting or remarketing to their consumers that come to Amazon from Google search.
Remedy in their Digital Strategy
So after the survey and research findings, we decided to offer our digital marketing services to these 300 odd Amazon sellers so that we can help them in their businesses, and also evaluate the before and after improvements. As a caveat, we only charged them a small fee of $200 USD to make the changes and to optimize their digital strategy. Out of the 300, only 23 Amazon sellers were interested.
So we began the work with these 23 Amazon sellers who were selling everything from safety pins to bags and children toys.
We gave them the following support:
- Data Science Package
- Optimized Product Description (using html, keywords related to categories)
- Dynamic Update of Keywords in the product description
- 1000 keywords(max) targeting for Amazon sponsored ads (CSV bulk upload)
- Categories Targeting including niche categories
- Increasing Reviews & Star Ratings
- Amazon Store SEO Services(10 Product Descriptions(100 words), Store page (meta tags, meta descriptions, meta keywords), Image captions/alt -text captions
- Sponsored Display Artwork Services (Developing 7 Google Display Banner Ads in sizes (300x250), (728x90), (300x600), (970x250), (250x250), (300x50, 320x50) including copy development
- Google Search/SEM includes identifying keywords and ad copies (headline 1,2,3 , description 1,2, Url/Call to action)
- Reporting on Amazon Sponsored Ad Campaign (Post Campaign results and KPIs)
In essence, what we did was crafted a upper funnel and lower funnel strategy for them in 4 weeks. We asked that the put $60 a month on Amazon and $60 a month on Google display. We developed the media mix with a focus on 60% on Amazon and 40% on Google. We started our data mining exercises for them individually, and started optimizing their product descriptions, keywords, product schema SEO, rich snippets SEO etc. We also developed a/b testing on messaging and concepts in their ads and ad copies across the 4 weeks. Most importantly, we had a very clear segment and audience group we were targeting with these products.
We of course knew that our digital strategy would work and so we didn’t ask for the metrics to be evaluated and quantified to them in a report (we were tracking against them separately on our end) but instead we asked the sellers themselves to evaluate us based on quantitative or qualitative measurements — what they feel we have achieved and have not achieved and to share their evaluation with us.
Out of the 23 Amazon seller accounts, we increased conversions and sales from a minimum daily sales of 3–4 orders from 0 orders. Impressions and clicks went up by 10 folds minimum and we were spending less on per customer acquisition costs than what we used to. And when we asked for their evaluation, we were told by 15 of the Amazon sellers that our work certainly changed their business online and that they were motivated to sell more products and SKUs on Amazon. The 8 Amazon sellers were indifferent saying that it remains to be seen how long our work and the sales trend can last and that they can do the same level of digital marketing work that we did.
As you can see from the experience that we had, there are Amazon sellers who are truly interested in improving their business online and engaging their consumers and customers in the right way. They certainly exist and they certainly know that it takes alot of effort and discipline in targeting and getting to the right audience with the right message.
Having said that, there are also alot of ego from owners of businesses that do not want to rely on digital marketing services from external companies. They will use the excuse of costs and the excuse of having the capabilities in house etc. but what they won’t tell you and as what we have seen from our research is that they would rather burn $2000 in ad spend and get nothing in profit as opposed to contracting a digital marketing services company for $300 month with a media spend of $60 on Amazon and $60 on Google a month making it only $420 a month.
Therefore, we advise our Amazon sellers that are looking into marketing their product and selling SKUs online, to take a hard look at what capabilities they have and to understand that the game on digital is algorithm based, html based and data based. It is about math and science and less luck.