Amazon Strategies that Apparel and Footwear Brands are using to Multiply Sales

Jun 15, 2021 2:00 PM3:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

How do you get ahead as an apparel brand on Amazon?

The clothing and footwear industries are built on trial and error. Many people stick to brands they already trust and are quick to return items — and these spending habits can slowly grow the divide between established products and new ones. As a result, advertising budgets and strategies have to be used carefully to ensure success, and the best solution is to trust the advice of people who have done it before.

Blue Wheel Media is a business that specializes in Amazon advertising and digital marketing. They are one of the top 5,000 fastest-growing companies according to Inc. Magazine. Some of the apparel brands they’ve worked with include Berne Apparel, Foster Grant, and Deer Stags. Blue Wheel Media truly knows how to help emerging products get to the next level — and today they are here to share their top insights and strategies with you.

In this virtual event, Peter Kearns and Melissa Ardavany of Blue Wheel Media discuss how to grow your apparel brand on Amazon. Peter and Melissa lay out their “do-or-die” strategies, give recommendations on refining your content to attract and keep customers, and reveal their best tips for everything from mitigating returns to advertising budgets to making your brand truly omni-channel.

Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:


  • Peter Kearns of Blue Wheel Media talks about making your brand omni-channel on Amazon
  • How much of your catalog should you put on Amazon?
  • Understanding and utilizing path-to-purchase behavior
  • The “do-or-die” strategies that help save businesses
  • Search term advertising and how it helps apparel brands
  • What’s the best way to allocate your advertising budget?
  • Why you need to have a sponsored brand video
  • Getting the most out of your product detail page
  • Crafting quality content for your brand store
  • Best practices for mitigating returns

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Event Partners

Blue Wheel

Blue Wheel is an omni-channel marketing and operational partner delivering excellence in digital commerce -- from click to ship. As a new breed of omni-channel agency, Blue Wheel supports brands from marketplace management to performance advertising, and creative services. With over $1B in revenue managed for our clients, we help brands from click to ship, scaling brand sales across D2C, Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and retail.

Connect with Blue Wheel

Guest Speakers

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Peter Kearns

Vice President of Amazon at Blue Wheel Media

Peter Kearns is the Vice President of Marketplaces at Blue Wheel Media, an agency that works with eCommerce brands for Amazon advertising, digital marketing, and content creation. In addition to this, he is also on the Board of Directors for the Montana Outdoors Foundation. Peter is an Amazon expert, having worked as a Business Development Manager of Consumables and Strategic FBA for Amazon from 2011 to 2015.

Melissa Ardavany

Director of Client Services at Blue Wheel

Melissa Ardavany is also a member of the Blue Wheel Media staff, serving as their Director of Client Services. She has worked at other leading businesses such as Nordstrom, Ideoclick, Inc., and, and has 20 years of experience in inventory, account directing, and client services.

Event Moderator

Aaron Conant LinkedIn

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

Aaron Conant is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Strategist at BWG Connect, a networking and knowledge sharing group of thousands of brands who collectively grow their digital knowledge base and collaborate on partner selection. Speaking 1x1 with over 1200 brands a year and hosting over 250 in-person and virtual events, he has a real time pulse on the newest trends, strategies and partners shaping growth in the digital space.

Peter Kearns

Vice President of Amazon at Blue Wheel Media

Peter Kearns is the Vice President of Marketplaces at Blue Wheel Media, an agency that works with eCommerce brands for Amazon advertising, digital marketing, and content creation. In addition to this, he is also on the Board of Directors for the Montana Outdoors Foundation. Peter is an Amazon expert, having worked as a Business Development Manager of Consumables and Strategic FBA for Amazon from 2011 to 2015.

Melissa Ardavany

Director of Client Services at Blue Wheel

Melissa Ardavany is also a member of the Blue Wheel Media staff, serving as their Director of Client Services. She has worked at other leading businesses such as Nordstrom, Ideoclick, Inc., and, and has 20 years of experience in inventory, account directing, and client services.

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Aaron Conant

Co-Founder & Managing Director at BWG Connect

BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution.

Co-Founder & Managing Director Aaron Conant runs the group & connects with dozens of brand executives every week, always for free.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:04

Happy Tuesday, everybody, my name is Aaron Conant, Co-founder, Managing Director of BWG Connect, we're networking and knowledge sharing group with 1000s of brands who do exactly that we network analysis here together to stay on top of the newest trends and strategies, pain points, whatever it may be the shaping digital as a whole. I connect with 30 to 40 brands a week just to stay on top of those Digital Trends. love to talk with anybody that's dialed in today always love a great digital conversation. We don't sell anything here up BWG Connect. So there's never a sales pitch. But always love to network and knowledge share. So, you know, shoot me an email, we'll find some time to connect. That being said, just a couple of housekeeping items. Number one, we're starting three to four minutes after the hour, we're going to wrap up with three to four minutes to go as well. So just you know, we're gonna give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. The other thing is we want this to be as educational informational as possible. So at any point in time, if you have questions, drop into the chat drop into the question section or email them directly to me, Aaron And you know, what, if it's an hour after the call, and you say, hey, shoot, I forgot to ask something. Shoot it over to us today. Tomorrow, next week, we'll make sure we'll get an answer back to you. And another day. So anyways, that being said, I'm chatting with, you know, 30 to 40 brands a week, a bunch in the apparel space, for sure. footwear space as well. And just a lot of questions coming up specifically to Amazon strategies in these kind of unique areas where you don't might not always have an always on you have seasonality, all this other fun stuff that doesn't necessarily go with the CPG items. So we got great friends, great partners of the network over at Blue Wheel, they support a lot of brands and that were come highly recommended. They spent, you know, great partners of ours for a long time and for a lot of brands here. And so we asked him to jump on the line today and kind of share, you know, across the board what they're seeing happening in the space and how they work with a lot of people here. And so you'll they're all around digital experts here. So don't hesitate to shoot questions along the way. But Peter was, uh, you know, I'll kind of kick it over you if you want to do a brief intro on yourself and Blue Wheel. That'd be awesome in the wind. Can I kick off the talk sounded.

Peter Kearns 3:40

That sounds great. Hi, everyone. I'm Peter Kearns. And I'm with my colleague, Melissa. We're actually together in the same room for the first time since COVID. So it's it's really exciting to kind of get back to normal. And Aaron, thanks for the heads up about the in person events coming. That's really exciting to hear. And it'd be great to meet you in person.

Aaron Conant 4:04

Digital, yeah.

Peter Kearns 4:05

Yeah. So I know it's Yeah, we were all excited to get back to some semblance of normal. So as I said, I'm Peter Kearns. I'm the VP of Marketplaces here at Blue Wheel. I've been in the e commerce space for nine and a half years, all of it with Amazon. And really, I lead a team at Amazon, on this soft lines, apparel, also consumables, launching new brands doing in your account management and brand strategy to drive top line sales as quickly as possible product adoption and things like that. Being in the space ever since I was there for about four years, and then I've been working with brands and agencies since basically doing the same thing. Just off of Amazon. I run the team here at Blue wheel blue wheel. We're a digital commerce agency focused on Amazon and Walmart now, advertising and content. We're really focusing on the two things that make carte teaching, we run about 75/80 clients, we also have an owned and operated side that does Facebook, Google everything that you need. So we're a complete package, not one stop shop, if you will for for commerce. And then I'm with Melissa.

Melissa Ardavany 5:16

Hi, everyone. So I'm Melissa Ardavany, Director of Client Services at Blue Wheel. I have a ton of eCommerce experience prior to being in the agency space supporting brand growth on Amazon. I was at Nordstrom as an e commerce buyer for online off price at the rack and Hautelook, which is now Sunset. I also have experience with other retailers like, Blue Nile, all sorts of e commerce has merchandising, operations, marketing. So really looking forward to digging into today.

Aaron Conant 5:45

Awesome. Should be a blast. Just a quick reminder for those who join drop questions in the chat the Q&A, email them to me. But yeah, awesome.

Melissa Ardavany 5:55

Great. So what we're covering today is the omni channel path of purchase for apparel and shoe brands. You know, we really want to, you know, make sure that we're covering a holistic approach, as well as how Amazon advertising supports the entire customer journey, and why it needs to be a part of your holistic eCommerce advertising strategy, do or die tactic. So you know, I know that sounds really dramatic, but we really want to press upon how critical some of these tactics are that every brand needs to be leveraging right now. And then some key takeaways from other apparel brands in the space. And just from our experience and learning well.

Peter Kearns 6:37

Yeah, and I think that's the key here, we're going to be sharing our experience and learnings. I think one of the things that I've learned since leaving Amazon is there's a number of ways to succeed on Amazon. And we're just sharing our best practices, the do or die, I think it's really important. And actually, Aaron, you mentioned the always on, and I think you tagged, are connected CPG with that, and the reality of it is and we're gonna talk about it is that to be successful on Amazon, the advertising needs to be on all the time, regardless of category now, which is kind of frustrating, but you got to know and understand the the lay of the land. All right. So the first thing to understanding the lay of the land, if you will, is to make sure nowadays, the way that your brand is truly an omni channel brand on Amazon. And so what that means is that most of the brands that we're working with, we're omni channel, you know, selling in multiple locations or mortar, things like that. And it's really important that the brands now recognize that Amazon is at equal footing, and that you have to recognize also just the competitive landscape, and the changing customer behavior. So what you have to do is make sure that you're inspiring discovery. So shoppers, they develop a brand impression and intent to discover in that category. So they're looking for brands, or looking for products, either through Instagram, or Facebook, or maybe they're getting back to brick and mortar and they're you know, window shopping in real life. All of the different ways that brand that consumers can connect with brand, you have to make sure that your brand is positioned in the right way on Amazon, into that, that when they do find your product on Amazon, that it's inspiring that they're able to discover it that they're able to engage in it. And that that impression is really strong because of the competitive nature of the fact that there are so many ad placements, and so many opportunities for you to lose the customer before you even had a chance to engage with them. That dovetails into the second part, which is optimizing for vision for visits. So your shoppers are going to land on your product detail pages or your web store. And you need to make sure that your interaction with the customer is the same as it would be in all of your channels. So it needs to be the same for your on Amazon, it's it is on your website, it's the same that it is on, you know Target or Walmart or Nordstrom or wherever else it is that you're selling it.

Melissa Ardavany 9:04

For your social media presence as well. Right? Yeah, super important to have a consistent brand forward message.

Peter Kearns 9:10

Absolutely. And then, and why it's so important for that is because and we're gonna talk about the way that customers interact with products on Amazon, is that you've got to then have that research and consideration loop where customers engage with your Detail page, maybe they didn't purchase, you want to be able to go back and get them or the same thing with your competitors they engaged with your competitor didn't purchase you want to be able to go get them. And then there's the last aspect of this tchami chain omni channel brand strategy, which is just driving purchase. So making sure that your customers are checking out and that you're you're hitting them at the right phase in their journey when they're ready to make that purchase. Right now as we're building up to Prime Day you're seeing a lot of basket building where people are putting into things into their carts or into their wish lists. And you want to make sure that you're hitting those repurchases opportunities through retargeting. And making sure that, again, it comes back to the content and the ad type is correct to make sure that they're really engaging with them.

Aaron Conant 10:08

It's a really quick question around the research and consideration loop Are you seeing, there's a trend for a while where, you know, people jump on Amazon, they jump out to the direct consumer site to make, you know, that research and it kind of goes, that blends in and maybe we're going to get into this, but it also blends into another, you know, thing that comes up a lot and conversations I have with brands around, hey, I don't know, if I want my entire catalog there. I may want to use Amazon for discovery, and I do like to make the sale. But I'd also like to when they do the consideration loop jump out to my direct consumer side, it may be, you know, capitalize that way as well. Are you still seeing? Is that a trend that you're seeing with brands today? Is it working? I would love to hear your thoughts on that.

Peter Kearns 10:52

Yeah, so I saw a lot of that COVID accelerated a lot of that because of Amazon's fulfillment issues where consumers were definitely looking at Amazon. And then fulfillment was warranting them having to jump off of Amazon and look at other places like their website. I've always believed that the most successful apparel apparel brands specifically are the ones that you know, embrace the Amazon algorithm, not just the Amazon shopper, but the algorithm and the Amazon algorithm is really about like creating these evergreen products that you're continuously just fueling that flywheel. And so one of the best strategies that I've seen are these evergreen products, and then you're you're you're able to then you know, grow the customer, earn their trust, get them as a as a customer, and then get them to your website for seasonal products, exclusive things. Those are the things that I've seen that have been really successful.

Melissa Ardavany 11:48

Right, there's still the the thought that you know, ultimately, Amazon has your credit card, and it's so easy to check out. And that's why you have to have those top items, or those evergreen items always live because it's so easy that it's actually faster to checkout on Amazon than it is if you have Apple Pay on a DTC site, you know, it still is that the path of least resistance. And so I would say that that's why it's still so important to have those top items on Amazon.

Peter Kearns 12:19

Yeah. And I will also say like, I've seen and worked with brands who have tried this and failed because there's friction on their DTC around getting the product and checkout. And that's the thing, like, if you think boil it down, why was Amazon successful, because they guaranteed two day delivery, and you can check it out, and you could get it returned, and you didn't have to worry about it. And we have some stats that really, really support that. And so I think if you're going to embrace this kind of strategy, you have to like really be truthful with yourself about how is your fulfillment off of Amazon, because you don't have you know, 150 plus fulfillment centers, you know, you don't have you know, the customer service. If you don't, then then you're going to lose the consumer. And I think that that's really important to recognize, so be truthful if you're going to try to take that that approach.

Aaron Conant 13:08


Peter Kearns 13:11

All right. So full funnel, or I mean omni channel, recognize these three elements. Here's a really interesting stat or a slide that I want we want to talk about is in apparel and footwear, it's really important to understand the path to purchase behavior. So there are a number of key takeaways here days from consumer behavior takeaways days from first browsing to purchase. days spent actively browsing. Keep the number of keywords that are used in the search, the number of PDP pages views, the average time spent on a product detail page, the number of considered products, the number of clicks on a product, visit customer review section, the number of products added to cart, the number of items purchased, so there's 123 there's 10 different metrics, if you will here. The thing that is so important is if you're thinking about the category from Oh, I sell apparel, or Oh, I sell footwear, and you're you're gonna you're gonna have challenges with that, because the customer behavior at the subcategory level is significantly different. And so we had some data that Amazon provided to us, which showed that in say like essential apparel, so things that people need, their number of days from first browsing to purchase was one or two. So they're like men's black t shirt, done it a couple of days look purchase done, the number of keyword searches was lower the number of product paid product detail pages viewed was lower. Average spent time on a detail page is lower, but then compared that to like athletic or you know some of those other denim subcategories much more time spent. From first day browsing to the actual purchase, days spent, I think in apparel, or excuse me, not that athletic, it was closer to 18 days, so almost two weeks longer. So it's really, really important that if you have a large catalog that you're actually starting to build strategies around that subcategories because of the purchase behavior that these customers demonstrate. And when you're looking at that the one element that you really need to take into consideration and start implementing is running awareness and consideration campaign. So really, you know in retargeting So at what point are you saying like, Okay, in this subcategory, it takes three weeks for a customer to actually purchase the product. So you need to be recognizing that you should be retargeting your own product. You know, people who looked at your Detail page, but didn't buy or consume or competitor products, who looked at a detail page and didn't buy, and really building out that full funnel so that you can support the amazon customer because their purchase behavior is so varied and vary so much from subcategory to subcategory.

Aaron Conant 16:12

Even really quick, so is the awareness and consideration a lot of times are we talking like a DSP? You know, advertising.

Peter Kearns 16:23

DSP or sponsored display. So that's it. Maybe this is it. All right, awesome. Yeah. Yeah, it's a great segue. Yeah, this is if we planted

Melissa Ardavany 16:35

Right, exactly. So as Peter mentioned, you know, just ensuring that you do have every area of the funnel covered. And so if you think about three or four years ago, you know, Amazon was thought primarily as a conversion only platform. But as over time, a lot of those marketing programs have matured, and there's so many more placements. And that's why it's even more important to have a strategy that incorporates all the different ad types, since customers enter through every phase of that shopping journey, as Peter mentioned, and it varies between, you know, each subcategory how long they're there on each each component of that decision making process. So there's a lot of information here, we're going to cover each of those ad types later on, but just wanted to, to demonstrate that the tactics and and the stages, have some, like merging and overlap, and there's a lot of like Venn diagram that they that occurs during these ad types.

Peter Kearns 17:43

Yeah. Any questions here and we move on to the next we're gonna jump in. Yeah, we're gonna jump into that.

Aaron Conant 17:51

Yeah. For those who have questions, drop them in the chat the q&a or keep emailing them to me, Aaron, Awesome.

Peter Kearns 18:00

Yeah. So yep, full funnel habit. Now more than ever, and do or die tactics. So these are things and we really do call them do or die, because the reality of them is you don't do your brands can die versus the advertising. Melissa was just talking about these.

Melissa Ardavany 18:18

Yeah, absolutely. So we're gonna cover sponsored product and search term isolation, sponsored product and sponsored brand working together, sponsored brand video sponsored display, and DSP and some of the differences between the two. It's a hot topic these days, around sponsored display and sponsored NDSP. And there have been some enhancements. And so we'll cover some of that as well.

Peter Kearns 18:41

Yeah, and then content. I've done some presentations with BWG before. So if any of you were on those earlier ones, I'm a huge advocate of content. It's not sexy, it's often overlooked. It's not the hot topic. But the reality of it is, is that it's one of the biggest aspects of whether or not your brand succeeds on Amazon. And when you think about the slide that I showed a couple minutes ago about the customer behavior, there's a lot of opportunities to lose customers if your contents not great. And Amazon has been doubling down on engaging consumers with better content. So you need to make sure that your detail pages are optimized, and your brand stores are optimized. And if you're not doing this, the challenge is is that your competition is and it doesn't need to be 100% better than your competition, it just needs to be a little bit better. So that's why we put it on here is do or die, because if you're not doing these things, you're not gonna be around for long.

Aaron Conant 19:35

And I also think a lot of people overlook So number one, right? They say number one being stock, number two, content number three, advertising and the impact that content has if you're driving traffic to a, you know, a detail page that's not engaging, and they don't convert. The algorithm looks at that negatively on two fronts. One is the actual SEO side of it. The organic search ranking is now impacted because somebody landed on a page and they didn't buy. But on the flip side, and when you're running ads and you're trying to win that bid for the ad, if, if that's been shown enough times and nobody's buying it, then Amazon doesn't want to show that ad either, right? Amazon wants to put in front of the customer, what they're most likely to buy as quickly as possible. And this shows.

Melissa Ardavany 20:24

That relevancy is super important as a part of your your overall strategy.

Peter Kearns 20:28

Yep. Awesome. All right. So overall strategy advertising, first search advertising, we use search term isolation. We specifically believe that this this particular search advertising strategy is the most ideal for apparel and footwear, because it allows you to basically isolate the search term that generated the sales. So you can cast a wide net using broad phrase match. And then as soon as that search term generated a sale, you move it into an exact match and negate it from the other ones, which really allows you to get hyper focused on that search term, you can control your budget specifically to it.

Melissa Ardavany 21:13

I mean efficiency, then you're spending less on those performance keywords.

Peter Kearns 21:16

Yeah, the thing that's really important is that you know, what we'll talk about, we'll talk about DSP, we'll talk about sponsored, brand sponsored brand video sponsored display. The bread and butter on Amazon, though, is search advertising and in apparel, it's really, really vital because of how much Amazon has moved into this space with their own private label brands, and how much more they're providing and supporting initiatives in the apparel category. And what we're finding is that there are less and less organic placements, and more paid search placements, which are all specific to sponsored product ads. So you really need to make sure that you've got this sponsored product ads campaign built up. And search term isolation is just the strategy that we found to be the most successful. And that's what we use with our clients. Case Study really quick is we had one client with a costs over 30%, they needed a complete revamp of their Amazon advertising, there's a lot of wasted spend. So audit your accounts, audit your performance, you want to make sure that you know, ads that are getting click throughs but aren't getting sales are getting moved or ads that are getting, click throughs. And sales are getting moved into exact match campaigns. So you can control them. So this particular apparel brand, we consolidated their spend to top performing products, which allowed us to have the ad budget go to farther and better, create a farther and better return by being able to you know, isolate, or use, allocate the funds towards ASINs and SKUs that weren't being as productive and help them build relevancy. And all through the search term isolations it's really strong, powerful. Anything?

Melissa Ardavany 23:08


Peter Kearns 23:09

All right.

Melissa Ardavany 23:10

So from isolation is an important tactic. So as far as how it translates to sponsored product and sponsored brand, we typically think of them as individual ad types. And it's super important to think about them how you use them together. Because if you if you think about wanting to own the most real estate on the page, it's a little bit like when you're at Target or at a department store and you're walking down the aisle, and you are an apparel and shoe brands have purchased like end caps or clothing circulars that are along the aisle, it's that same type of thought. And so you want as much of that space as possible. So So dominating that is, is what's important. And as you can see here, I did a search for Batman t shirts, and so Pop Funk, which is a novelty, pop culture t shirt brand on not only the sponsored brand above, but all four of the fun sponsored product placements below. And so above the fold, they dominate the space. And so that's why it's really important to to incorporate both into your strategy and invest in both. So some cool stats from Amazon are that over 30% average increase in impression share as well as over 16% average uplift and row as after three months of running needs together. So at the end of the day, the increase in placements result in opportunity for more impressions per customer.

Peter Kearns 24:43

Yeah. You really want that one two punch. It's that, you know, with the digital shelf, if you will, you need to have that placement above the fold, where you're capturing the sponsored brand spot and the sponsored products box.

Aaron Conant 24:58

So how is the budget then allocated this, it's been a moving target for, I mean, way back when I was doing paid media on Amazon, right on the brand side, you know, it's so now, you know, if you break it down to $100, how much goes to DSP? How much goes to sponsored products? How much goes to sponsored brands? How much? You know? Can you? Is there a way to break that down? And I think, you know, maybe there is maybe it's by, you know, startup, you know, apparel versus well known or established apparel brand, I think it's cool that we can kind of you know, isolate, just because the top of this call was out, I can get a little bit more specific where, you know, anyways, would love to hear your thoughts there.

Melissa Ardavany 25:39

You know, I my thought is that depending on what your goals are, and what your product categories are thinking about sponsored brand as the place where you can direct customers to either those product detail pages directly, or to your brand store, and that is a great place to then control the shopping. If someone is, you know, not really sure they're like, oh, I've heard of this brand. But I you know, I'm interested in the sandal that's feature and you click through and then you also see that they have sneakers, I think that that's a way to think about sponsored brand sponsored product is like strictly placement on the page. And you and wanting those eyeballs, they're worth a quick click through to the product detail page, quick conversion, they see all that the the hot things like number of reviews, the title, the size, the color, everything is really straightforward. And that's how I would think about the difference between the two. And as as far as the incorporating DSP and sponsored display as a part of that overall strategy. I think that considerations like new product launches, that's going to inform how you allocate your budget as well.

Peter Kearns 26:53

Yeah, typically, you've got to start somewhere. And we get this question all the time. And so we usually start with 80%, to sponsored to search 20% to display. But then we start getting into the nuances around like, Okay, well, are you you know, what's your new new new product launch camp strategy? And should? Should you be driving more revenue or budget to display for new product launches? You know, what's the category look like in terms of how competitive is it isn't one of those things where you absolutely can't afford to turn anything off from a product search perspective from a product ads perspective, because your competition will then just take over for those terms, if you don't. So a lot of it has to do with that a lot of it has to do with, you know, what's the overall strategy for the brand that year? You know, is it a growth were they just like, you know, what our category is really growing, we need to make sure that we're owning share a voice on page one. So we're going to make sure that we're really spending on the sponsored brand portions, or excuse me, sponsored product portions. And then on generic keywords, we want net new customers. So we're going to be spending on that. And we're also going to be using, you know, display, it really, you know, there isn't a this is the perfect budget is what we're basically getting at, we typically start around at 20 display versus at search 20 display. But from there, we break it down into the nuances of what the particular subcategory and the overall performance that they're trying to achieve.

Aaron Conant 28:30

Awesome. Love it.

Peter Kearns 28:32

Got to start somewhere. Sponsored brand video. So we want to spend a couple minutes to talk about this because everyone needs to be doing it, period. It's really powerful. It's really good. And it's going to continue to evolve on Amazon. So the basics at the high level, do it. It's not that hard. Why do you need to be doing it? We've seen click through rates for our clients coming in 59% higher than sponsored products 53% higher than sponsor brands. So we're seeing a higher level of engagement. And the click through the CPCs weren't as high, which is really an affordable aspect of it. And if you've been following CPCs over the last six months, they've really started to increase, especially as we're getting closer to Prime Day you're gonna see these increasing CPCs a lot. So you want to figure out ways to you know, mitigate those increasing costs. The other aspect of it is is that when Amazon sees success in something like this, they continue to expand on it. So we're hearing that there's going to be new placement opportunities coming specifically on detail pages to rumor, there's no confirmation on that, but I wouldn't be surprised if you're going to see sponsored video onto detail pages. So at the moment that the minimum You have to do it we this is a great Have one of our brands that we were working with, they weren't running sponsored video and we just basically like pieced it together really short. I think it was a second video?

Melissa Ardavany 30:10

Yeah, barely.

Peter Kearns 30:12

And just because it's so such a powerful tool, they saw an eight and a half percent a cost on branded and category terms combined, the click through rate was 2.6% on versus sponsored products at point three, and the brand working. And now the brands basically it was a quick test and learn. And now the brand's like holy cow, this is important. Let's invest in it and get more relevant video and assets to drive better engagement because this was basically something that we just kind of banded together for them.

Melissa Ardavany 30:39

Yeah. And created in the DSP builder tool, like if not.

Aaron Conant 30:45

What does it take to build the assets for that? So right, the the sponsor product ads are pretty straightforward, right? What is the sponsor brand video? How long does it take to build the assets? How do you build them? You know, what's required, you know, people I know, you guys, you know, deal with both the you know, the traditional paid search and social sign off MSRP the content that people are being required to generate now is through the roof. Yeah, I did. Yeah.

Peter Kearns 31:11

It's just expensive.

Aaron Conant 31:14

Multiple calls just on digital content, generation syndication, you know, optimization, you know, how do you what tools are out there that allow you to generate it at, you know, at a quick pace without having to fly everybody, you know, do a photo shoot? There's big concerns around that with as budgets get squeezed, and, you know, in more accountability on budgets as well, even if they're not going to squeeze? What happened to the dollars? How would you spend them? So anyways, just elaborate a little bit on the question came in around, you know, can you walk through a little bit the, the asset generation for sponsored brand video?

Melissa Ardavany 31:48

Sure, you know, so best in class, as you mentioned, would be, you know, an a product in action on a live model with music and perhaps, you know, some sort of voice over a voiceover around features. But ultimately, you could reuse some of your images and assets with text overlay and piece it together and build it yourself within the DSP ad builder tool. It's not great, but it's a start. And I think ultimately, it's about having the product in use as as quickly as you can get to that level, is has the most engagement, the most conversion, and the most just success.

Peter Kearns 32:34

Yep. Yeah, it doesn't have to be fancy. You can use, you know, still imagery that you pull into a video, kind of like the Ken Burns effect, put text overlays on it. We use the DSP builder tool to create this ad. So it's available. It's not not real difficult. There's a lot of online resources, though, also, I mean, there's a lot of, you know, websites where there's a lot of digital content, creative people out there that are available that you can get things done pretty quickly. And for all sizes of budgets.

Aaron Conant 33:08

Awesome. Love it.

Peter Kearns 33:11

All right, next up, sponsored display.

Melissa Ardavany 33:14

Yeah, so sponsored display has been a pure awareness, the toxic and so Amazon has recently added a feature for audiences. So it's broken up into four segments, lifestyle, interest, life events, and in market. It's a great way to see the reach potential as it includes the volume of shoppers in that refined segment. So you can get super granular and be able to see is it even worth it to invest? And so that's a game changer as far as the sponsor display. Ad type goes. Many people Oh, yeah. Many people have been thinking about this ad type as being a DSP light. But there are some big differences between the two. DSP is CPM and sponsored display is PPC. Additionally, there are some differences in optimizations and campaign features such as DSP has a look back option up to 90 days. For purchasers versus sponsored display, you can only remark it in views and searches. Additionally, you can only auto optimize the sponsored display and there's just no way to go in and manually, you know, move the needle. Another big differences with creative DSP have the ability to have custom creative to really tell that product or brand story, and an abbreviated way versus sponsored display is strictly just a dynamic shot, which is featured here as an example. So it's just the product shot face on plus a logo and brief headline, but it's pretty limiting in that way.

Peter Kearns 34:51

Yeah. important to recognize though, you know, the three elements to this sponsor display are the hero image, the title, the review, I guess the four images? Yeah, yeah, the review and the price and the fact that it's prime badge. So that's really important. Those are like the four most important aspects to a detail page right there. The thing about sponsored display that everyone should start paying closer attention to is that there's going to be changed. I'm anticipating changes in DSP, with a couple of things. One, the iOS rollout where you can opt out of being tracked for advertising. And then supposedly, Google's also making changes to cookies later this year or early next year, which I think that that's going to impact that. The other element is that display sponsored display, anyone can access it, or DSP, you have to go through either Amazon, or through an agency like ours.

Melissa Ardavany 35:50

Yep. So yeah, let's go on to the next one is more specifically about DSP. So it's been a hot topic, you know, as Peter mentioned, you have to go through an agency or Amazon specifically, I think that a lot of folks have probably had experience going through an ad where they spent maybe 25% of the fence, you know, as a fee to Amazon, they probably got impressions that weren't very good and not very relevant. And so there has been a lot of refinements even in the last six months. And you know, I think that is a it's an important part to incorporate it as a part of your overall strategy. So now with the DSP console, you can choose from more tactics and there's it's really helpful for new product and new brand launches. And for an apparel customer, it's a great way to highlight positive customer reviews, target shoppers that showed interest in a competitor brand, then you can then you can target and I think it's also important that there's we're seeing more engagement around reusing influenced our content as a part of the GSP video, because there's more engagement there as well.

Peter Kearns 37:09

Retargeting in that that last are not the last one. But you talked about competitor and going and targeting competitors who are either higher priced than your product or have lower reviews is a really good strategy.

Melissa Ardavany 37:23

Absolutely. And it has the ability for that refinement.

Aaron Conant 37:27

No, it's an interesting platform. You know, initially I think looking back a year it was the old AMG and a lot of people had a lot of questions on it but with their ability to target not only Amazon like you have here owned and operated but also you know Comscore top 300 and it's no longer just that static like you know the sponsor product or sponsor brand ad it is you know, a really engaging could be video right there's multiple different aspects of it. But do you find a question that comes in Do you find people using DSP to drive traffic to direct to consumer site?

Melissa Ardavany 38:03

No, I'm primarily to their brand store on Amazon we've seen more focus on this I think because it can also control the the customer journey and so you can show like they can experience different categories and more information about the product and about the brand.

Aaron Conant 38:27

yeah awesome. So you would say then so we isolated to Amazon the best place to drive it is to your you know actual brand store?

Melissa Ardavany 38:38

I depending on your on your strategic objective but yes, I think that that's a we've seen a lot of success there to also purchase more than just one item also is there some halo effect as well?

Aaron Conant 38:56

Awesome. Yeah, love it. Just remind others if you joined or you know, just over halfway through now you have questions along the way drop into the chat the q&a or keep emailing them to me Aaron we'll just keep your questions answered. So yeah, love it. Yeah. Okay, back over to you.

Peter Kearns 39:14

Yeah, next thing is product detail page content. So do or die is kind of the theme here right you have to optimize your product detail page content. And really the way you need to optimize it now is not for the desktop but for your mobile phones. So you need to make sure that it's really dialed in from that perspective. So that's where so much shopping is occurring now. If you go back if we talk about this you know the example that we had you had the hero product so which had the the main on the DSP stuff you had the the main hero image and then a title, the price, the reviews, etc. So with your Detail page, obviously title makes a big difference. The bullets make a difference. Amazon actually only crawls the first time 1000 characters, so your title, description, make sure that they're all really relevant. The key here, though, is really the image carousel. That is where most honestly, most shoe and apparel brands just kind of missed the mark. And you what you really want is you've got your main hero image, which Amazon is requiring, it's all white background, the product takes up 80% of the image space. The next image, it needs to be, you know, filled with features and benefits, it needs to, you know, where was it made? What's the material, you know, what's the sizing around it, you know, make sure that you you can get a size, you know, information into it, you know, like, if it's like a product brand small, you can put those text overlays into it, get lifestyle imagery in there, so that people who, you know, imagine, you know, what they're doing and how they're going to interact with this. Take into consideration what what category you're in. So if it's an essential product, like a T shirt, you may want to talk about like, why is this? What makes this essential item? So good, you know, is it is it something like, like, if it's a T shirt, it's like, it's this is a this is the T shirt today, and this is the T shirt after 100? washes, right? It's not all wrinkled, and the color is all jacked up. Or if it's apparel eita or excuse me an athletic item, you know, how does it help this person who's considering like, you know what, my running shoes, I'm going to need new running shoes in the next month or two. So really make sure that you're you're building out detail pages with the consumer in mind, don't just check boxes. So many times I see apparel and shoe brands are like, yep, we've got a full image carousel. And Yep, we've got product, detail a video on there. And Yep, we've got A plus. But ultimately, it's not retail ready, it doesn't help me make a decision as a consumer. So really spend time to optimize, because of the fact that this is where you're spending your money to drive your consumer to. So you want to make sure that you have the best presentation. So that journey is consistent.

Melissa Ardavany 41:56

And and you want to make it fast. I think that that's the other components of this is that within the text overlay, think about things that are going to make that a quick purchase. I think that adding additional measurements I've seen has been really helpful that you know, maybe it's also measurement from the top of the of the shirt to the bottom versus just sizing because how often have you know, it? The length of the shirt matters for a lot of us? So I think that those are things to to think about to help a convert faster.

Peter Kearns 42:27

Yeah. Oh, Aaron are you-

Melissa Ardavany 42:33

I think you're muted Aaron.

Aaron Conant 42:35

That was on mute. That's one. I just know, in this space, there's a lot of new players that are popping up, especially in the apparel space, we have so many SKUs that are able to kind of analyze on the back end and make the recommendations to flag right. There's been some long standing people, but there's some newer ones that are doing that I think we're gonna have some upcoming calls out because this to be notified every single time like maybe somebody you know, this third party that's uploaded, you know, a new image, you know, if you're not on the, if you're not on the vendor side, you know, what's right, what's working, and you know, Amazon's updating the algorithm all the time, is it, you know, 1200 characters, is it now 900 characters anyways, it's just super interesting. It's just I know, this, you know, content now that we talked a little bit about the cost of producing it. But also, you know, knowing when to update it when not update it.

Melissa Ardavany 43:31

Yeah, I think also keeping in mind that you have to stay on top of search trends. You know, right now, there's a lot of puff sleeve that is searched, is more trendy. And so you should be saying it's a puff sleeve shirt, rather than just it being shown on the image. So incorporating that holistic approach of like, so it is an image of a pop shirt, it's those puff shirt sleeve on the content in the title and and and then the A plus and then also your bidding on that search term. I think that's like how you you incorporate everything, but you have to stay on top of those trends as it relates to your product.

Aaron Conant 44:11

Such a different world from 10 years ago,

Peter Kearns 44:14

Even three years ago, really. And part of that trend that has changed in the last three years has been a lot around brand stores. So the other aspect of content is your brand store. See you've got to make sure that you have a great brand store that you're driving sponsored brand ads to or retargeting to include a lifestyle image in the panel along the top is really important. Make sure that you've got something that the consumer can immediately identify with a gift. This is it's an affiliate athletic brand. This is me this is what I want. I see myself using it. Make sure that it's got related products to the essence that are there. Update your brand store for seasonality, just like in real, you know brick and mortar retailing on your website, you're changing for spring, you're changing for back to school for winter, do the same in your brand store. Also update your brand store for tentpole sales events like Prime Day. This is where like for Prime Day example, maybe you're moving away from more image and lifestyle to price base because consumers are coming to Amazon looking for a deal. So maybe your brand store should have product carousel grid product grid featuring your deals, make it really shoppable. In that case, you want your images to have text overlay, you don't want a box with image and then a text box with text and in a box, your image here, you really want to utilize your space. And then also make sure that you're getting that follow on there. And that you're we're because Amazon now allows customers to follow your brand store and you can mark it back to them via email. And then what we've seen is on average linking to a sponsor brand campaign, linking a sponsor brand campaign to a brand store has a 64% better return compared to linking it to just a product listing page. So really, really take time to optimize your brand store have a full 12 month view point of view on what what the store is going to look and feel like for the seasonality and really make sure that it's aligned with what you're doing off of Amazon.

Melissa Ardavany 46:18

Yeah. And I would say stay on top of the updates, you want to update for seasonality ahead of the season, and, and not have a Christmas page on January 15th. You know, it's really important that you maintain that integrity with the seasonality as well as making sure that you're auditing for broken links. You know, that's the other component that I think a lot of people miss is that once you do get to the page, and you maybe go to a shorts category, half of those items are unavailable. And that's not a great experience. It's really making sure that you're maintaining on all parts of the brand store like you would your own DTC.

Aaron Conant 46:59

Awesome. Are you helping brands with content as well?

Peter Kearns 47:02

Yeah, we have we do brand stores, we do PDP page optimizations were work with one really well known brand who's very seasonal. And we've built out their brand store for the 12 month looking forward because we know when Thanksgiving is we know when Christmas is we know when Easter is and we literally have it set up. So the first thing that Monday morning, you know, like after Sunday holiday, you know, three in the morning, we update the store, it's ready to go so that there isn't that kind of like we're four days past Easter and people are still going to that.

Melissa Ardavany 47:32

And then we're also incorporating a strategy for the ad placements that are aligned with each of those tentpole holidays as well. So we it's a father's day brand store messaging. We're also running brands, our Father's Day ads and linking it to the store as well.

Aaron Conant 47:52

Yeah, any best practices aimed at mitigating returns?

Peter Kearns 47:57

Yeah, content like seriously, like, that's one of the things we have is key takeaway for apparel and shoes. And the Amazon just makes it so easy to buy so much in return. So you live and die by your return rate, right. And so the content is really the key, making sure that your your content has the sizing guides, call outs within it. You know, that's where when we're optimizing a detail page, in apparel or footwear, we're looking at the customer reviews to see like, you know how many of them said that fit true to size, and making sure that that call out is there, because the better the content before the customer purchases, then it reduces the amount of returns and Amazon, the programs that they have, you can buy the product, but you know, before we even purchase it, you have seven days once you get it. So what do you do you buy three pairs, you know, like do I need a nine, a nine and a half or a 10 size shoe, well buy all three and keep the one that fits. So if you can, if you can reduce that where you can say like, you know what, this really does true fit true to size, if you're a size this, you're going to be you know, you're going to be able to to fit nicely in it. So that's really a key is the content around that.

Melissa Ardavany 49:08

And I think even incorporating things like that are best practices on other websites like Nordstrom or other or even have noticed on Target, that they will give you the size of the model that the model is wearing the size of the model. And so I think that incorporating some of those best practices off Amazon as a part of your product detail page on Amazon is really important to reduce some of that return that return rate.

Peter Kearns 49:34

Yeah, like model is six foot Yeah, wearing a size medium t shirt.

Aaron Conant 49:40

Yeah. Awesome. Um, next question that comes in is around Prime Day. Any thoughts on Prime Day?

Peter Kearns 49:49

Sure. Let's see. We're gonna skip this this just as an example. Hold that thought for Prime Day. I know we're getting close to getting towards the end. I think we just want to sit on And then we'll go back to Prime Days. Okay, Aaron?

Aaron Conant 50:02

Sounds awesome. Yeah.

Peter Kearns 50:03

Okay. So why all this matters. There's some really big stats that Melissa and I, we got from Amazon, that are really important to recognize 75% of Amazon shoppers come to discover new products or brands. So three quarters of the consumers of the shoppers are coming, they're looking for a new product or a new brand. 52% of shoppers are more willing to buy a brand they're not familiar with on Amazon than they would be at any other store. That goes back to that trust level, right, they know they can buy it and return it.

Melissa Ardavany 50:39

And not only that, I think this just points to how critical it is that you need to invest in non branded and category terms. Customers are not brand loyal in a in a lot of areas. And I think that this just demonstrates that they'll quickly bounce. And so you need to really be in in front of them as often as you can on those non branded keywords.

Peter Kearns 51:04

Yeah, 60% of customers window shop. So they're coming they're browsing. And 80% of customers are looking for new brands. So it really comes down to you know, this, this nuance around like it used to be this marketplace where everyone was competing for buy box, now it's really a, it's kind of an incubator for net new customers, because customers are so willing to try new brands because they, they have nothing to fear. And that's why we slayed this, we oftentimes will talk about the numbers at the beginning, but I just wanted like, you're gonna spend all this money on advertising, you're gonna spend all this money on content, you need to make sure that you understand how your customers at the subcategory level are shopping, and then recognize that the large amount of Amazon customers that are so open to buying your competition. And that's really what this message comes down to, to me. And so Prime Day. Let's talk a little bit about Prime Day.

Melissa Ardavany 52:04

Yeah, as you can see, you know, just a couple of short years ago, the presence for apparel and accessories was pretty limited. It was kind of Pinterest looking. And, and very like I think very, you know, suave, valuable, like, it's not really a story, and just putting in whatever they can. And when you fast forward to today, if you are any of the Amazon program, any of the landing pages within apparel and footwear, there is are these banner ads everywhere for shopping the deal, getting ahead on what some of the what some of the deals are, so that you can add to cart ahead of time. And so that's a real shift in in that shopping journey, that customers are becoming more savvy, they're looking earlier, but trying to check it out, they want to get ahead of the game, and Amazon's making it easy for them. So that's something to consider. Also, I know there's like, there's so many different experiences within some of the different Prime Day promotions. And I think that depending on who you are, and how your engagement is with Amazon, that experience vary, especially with the timing of the placement with Lightning Deals, that sort of thing. So, um, you know, just being involved and having traffic driving to your pages are what's important over that time period.

Aaron Conant 53:23

Awesome. And I can see we're almost at time, and I do want to kick it over to you for key takeaways. But I also want to let everybody know, they're all around great friends, partners, supporters to the network worked with a lot of brands and they come highly recommended. If you're looking for additional information here, if you need any help here. 100% or a follow up, you know, conversation with Peter, Melissa. They're all around awesome people and just want to connect with so I encourage anybody to do that. But yeah, awesome. So key takeaway slide. Yeah, I will kick it over to you. If you guys want to wrap it up. That'd be awesome.

Peter Kearns 53:54

Yeah. Melissa touched on it the full funnel ad strategy. It's so important for your content strategy, specifically around your brand store. Regular PDP audits keep up to date with changes. We heard that there may be a change in apparel that you're going to need to have all of the imagery on it model.

Melissa Ardavany 54:20

On model on figure.

Peter Kearns 54:21

Yeah. Make sure you're you're staying up to date so that you can keep track and use things like the follows in the posts. saved search terms. What else? I think we have one more Oh, yeah, parting thoughts. We we did have a parting thoughts.

Melissa Ardavany 54:38

Yeah, we didn't. We didn't touch on inventory. But I think you know one of the critical things is staying in stock, have a dialed in inventory demand planner. You need to react to Amazon's policies and logistics like that is complicated and having someone on your side that really can help with that. is important. I think that kind of carries over into just having general Amazon expertise. You know, you're, if you're especially on the vendor side, if you have your annual vendor negotiations, having someone that really speaks that Amazon language or speaks Amazonian to help you negotiate that is is important, whether that's through an agency or somebody on your internal team.

Peter Kearns 55:21

Yeah, know the terms of service. I think that's one of the things that a lot of sellers and brands just they don't truly know. So like, especially in apparel, oftentimes, brands will want to try to merge ASINs together or break ASINs apart for review. Because of the reviews, which is a violation of Terms of Service, you've got the the changing, potentially this change, where you've got to be required to have images on figure or model, which could eventually be a violation of Terms of Service. So just really make sure that you're up to speed on that have that Amazon expertise, also be able to weed through when Amazon's pitching you on something that's a nice to have another need to have for your brand. And don't just check boxes for content, it's one of the biggest challenges like, you know, like, Oh, we've got A plus. But A plus is about the brand and not about the product, or we've got all our images, but they're not really that great, or we've got our bullets, but they don't actually, you know, highlight the features and benefits. And then the ad strategy, pay to play now. So make sure that you're always there always on page one audit frequently, and have flexible ad budgets for growth. Don't be you know, a cost constraint, because you got to look at it from the perspective of Amazon's continuing to grow and the amount of customers that are continuing to shop on Amazon. If your budget is is set, it's possible that you're going to be leaving money on the table.

Aaron Conant 56:43

Awesome. I see we're literally right at time here. I want to make sure we get everybody out before the next meeting. So I mean, well done. We made it through it all in an hour. We got a bunch of questions and along the way. Thanks again, Peter and Melissa you guys are awesome. Thanks for being such great friends, partners, supporters of the network. I once again encourage anybody you need more information, these people is often more than happy to connect you afterwards. Also, for a valid email, you know, from our side of the BWG Connects, I'd love to have a conversation with you. We don't sell anything here but we'd love to network knowledge share. This is how we get topics for future calls. With that right wrap up here, hope everybody has a fantastic Tuesday Everybody stay safe, take care. And I look forward to seeing you on a future event and hopefully it's an in person event as well. So already, everybody thanks Melissa. Bye.

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BWG Connect provides executive strategy & networking sessions that help brands from any industry with their overall business planning and execution. BWG has built an exclusive network of 125,000+ senior professionals and hosts over 2,000 virtual and in-person networking events on an annual basis.
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