Amazon launching into Australia is a big deal in the retail world and for months there’s been hundreds of news article about how it’s going to kill a lot of brands in Australia.
On one side these articles are right – department stores and supermarkets that sell other peoples brands, for example Harvey Norman are going to face increased competition and margin pressure. On the other side, however, is the brands themselves, and far from kill these brands Amazon’s launch is a big opportunity, especially for smaller brands.
Read on to find out why and to learn the 7 key tactics brands should focus on to take advantage of this opportunity.
Do you remember the early days of Search Engine Optimisation, back when smaller brands could more easily compete with bigger companies using speed, better optimisation and crafty tactics? Well, with the launch of Amazon into Australia - that exact same opportunity exists right now and for companies selling their own branded products who move fast this could be a goldmine.
Let me start with an example of a small Australian brand based in Perth that is starting to dominate its big competitors over in the US using the tactics i’ll run you through shortly. You’ve probably never heard of them but the brand name “Sh*t the Bed Hot Sauce” is pretty memorable. Despite being relatively unknown they’ve managed to optimise their way to being one of the top ranked and best-selling hot sauces on Amazon with revenue already at $8,000 per day and growing fast. They’ve done this despite having the most expensive product and being based in another country. Pretty impressive stuff!
So how does this all work?
Amazon Marketplace for those that don’t know, is a service which thousands of Australian businesses have already signed up for and which allows brands to list their products for a small fee alongside Amazon’s and sell direct to consumers. The brand can then either organise shipping, returns and customer service themselves or they can take part in Fulfilment by Amazon - a service that will launch soon in Australia which will allow them to ship their items in bulk direct to Amazon and for a fee have them take care of everything.
The opportunity to outperform big brands that would generally dominate lies in the fact that Amazon uses advanced algorithms with 1,000s of data points to determine which products to rank in search results and categories to ensure they show customers the most relevant products that are priced correctly and are likely to deliver the best customer experience. Like SEO, these rankings can be optimised allowing smaller brands with the right strategy to outrank bigger ones and therefore get more traffic and sales.
I’m interested, how do I get started?
Firstly you need to signup for Amazon Marketplace. Once you’ve been approved and can start listing products, here are the 7 key things you should focus on to maximise the sales you generate:
1. Create An Attractive Brand That Stands Out
Even the power of Amazon won’t help a poorly thought out brand so it’s important to invest time into improving it & into making sure it’s attractive to your target market. Make sure your products are high quality, that they’ve got the best packaging and that you’re selling products that people actually want.
If you can nail this, then every other element in your Amazon marketing campaign will be maximised.
2. Give Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse
Amazon is a marketplace and in every category there are hundreds of competitors so you need to give your target market an offer they can’t refuse. To start with, ensure your pricing is correct and that your product has the best shipping, guarantees and returns policy.
After the basics are in place, you should brainstorm on what more you can offer to entice the purchase. A good example of this is what the TV Shopping channel is famous for - “the free gift” and this is a tactic which can work well on Amazon. You could offer an extended warranty, a complementary item or if you offered a skincare product for example you could offer free eBook featuring a skin care guide.
3. Optimise Your Product Pages
Like optimising and improving your eCommerce website your actual product listings will have a big impact on your overall results with a high converting product being favoured by Amazon. You can optimise your product titles, images, bullet points, product descriptions, the categories each product appears in and way more.
Once you’ve optimised your listings it doesn’t stop there - you can use your Amazon Marketplace statistics to continually improve every aspect of your product pages.
4. Generate Positive Reviews
Amazon prides itself on customer service and ensuring a great shopping experience and thus it favours products that have a lot of positive reviews. Ensure the quality of your products is high and your customer experience is top notch and then setup an automated review generation system to increase the number of positive reviews you are getting. Not only will this improve your product rankings but it will also maximise your conversion rate.
If you get any negative reviews it’s worthwhile spending time to solve the issue or offering them a refund and then asking them to edit their review.
5. Market Your Product Listings
Although you probably want to send marketing to your own website and avoid any fees, Amazon gives a higher priority to products that are making them more money and thus if you get early traction with your products you can get better rankings and build reviews faster.
To do this you should market your Amazon products using Amazon’s own marketing options such as sponsored products and dynamic display ads. Plus, you should also utilise offsite advertising such as Adwords, Bing, Facebook Ads, “Amazon Only” Email Offers to your database and you can even build SEO links to your product listings to help them rank in Google.
6. Take Advantage Of Amazon’s Features
Amazon's sole objective is to give customers the best service possible and to do this they’re frequently launching new features, for example Fulfilment by Amazon, which I mentioned earlier. Because of the customer service focus they have, they then prioritise products with these features enabled knowing that the infrastructure Amazon has invested in is the best possible solution for their customers.
If you take advantage of these features & implement them quickly you’ll get a big head start on your competitors.
7. Broaden Your Product Range
Once some of your products are succeeding on Amazon you can also start broadening your product range as you’ll find future products take off much faster via cross-selling, bundling of products and Amazon’s personalised recommendations which will favour your brand to past customers.
You should also build an email list of all your past Amazon purchasers as well which will enable you to kick start sales of new products plus generate repeat purchases of old ones.
If you implement your Amazon strategy correctly, you’ll be able to compete with the big brands who have outbid you for supermarket and department store shelves for years. With persistence and a bit of creativity it could grow to be one of your biggest digital marketing channels - just don’t forget to keep optimising and innovating as those big brands may catch you up eventually and like the supermarkets Amazon will one day launch it’s own private labels in each category.
About the author:
Duncan Jones, head of Fluid Online Marketing at the Digital Marketing Agency, Web Profits, is a growth marketing specialist and works with clients to maximise the performance of every dollar they spend online.