Developing a Balanced eCommerce Sales Strategy, Starting with Amazon

Apr 29, 2021 12:00 pm1:00 PM EST

Summary

In the ever changing eCommerce & digital retail landscape, brands are in a constant state of evaluation around their digital sales strategies & what marketplaces to prioritize.

Amazon however, has undoubtedly become a necessary platform to be apart of that strategy. We will dive deep into how build your overall strategy, starting with Amazon at the heart of it.

BWG Connect & Retail Bloom invite you to participate in an interactive discussion with your peers.

As always, there will be no sales pitches and there is no cost to join.

Discussion Topics

  • Getting started on Amazon - how do I set my brand up for success?
  • Optimizing content, advertising & order fulfillment on Amazon
  • Amazon vs. Walmart - what do I need to know?
  • Overview of different technology & software for overall platform management
  • Review of other emerging marketplaces

Event Partners

Guest Speaker

Nicole Reich

Co-founder and VP of Sales and Marketing at Retail Bloom

Nicole Reich is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing and the Co-founder of Retail Bloom, a third-party marketplace service provider that provides all-inclusive services to brands, retailers, and distributors to drive sales on eCommerce marketplaces. Retail Bloom was previously a branch of Aleva Stores, where Nicole served as the National Account Manager.

Event Moderator

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. 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.

Please enter your information below to request a copy of the post-event written summary or recording.

Event Information

Apr 29, 2021 12:00 pm - 1:00 PM EST

Event format

Roundtable Layout
Featuring 20+ executives, where everyone can contribute, ask questions and learn from peers
On-Topic Discussions
Q&A format, moderated by BWG Connect with group interaction throughout
Make Connections
Opportunities to network before and after

BRINGING TOGETHER INFLUENTIAL EXECUTIVES AND SENIOR PROFESSIONALS

What is BWG Connect?

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.

Key Discussion Takeaways

There’s no way around it: The e-commerce landscape is defined by Amazon, with Walmart following close behind.

Between both companies, many brands find their success and their core customer base. However, the space is crowded with competition, making every advantage essential to stay ahead. Retail Bloom is a company that seeks to help these brands make the most of their spot in the e-commerce marketplace. Retail Bloom combines data, technology, and expertise to scale businesses to their fullest potential — and today, Nicole Reich is here to share some of Retail Bloom’s tried-and-true strategies with you.

Aaron Conant hosts Nicole Reich, the Co-founder and VP of Sales and Marketing at Retail Bloom, to break down e-commerce data and strategy. Listen in as Aaron and Nicole discuss bidding for ads on Amazon and Walmart, identifying online customer demographics, and important recent data about e-commerce shopping after COVID-19.

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

 

  • Nicole Reich talks about Retail Bloom’s e-commerce expertise
  • The importance of knowing your e-commerce competitors — and winning over your target customer
  • How will e-commerce sites be different a year from now?
  • Nicole breaks down Walmart’s online sales and demographics
  • The differences between selling on Amazon and Walmart
  • Leveraging technology to scale your e-commerce business
  • How to manage your catalogue and optimize SEO
  • Bidding for cost-per-click advertising on Walmart and Amazon
  • What Nicole has learned from her time in e-commerce advertising

Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant  0:00  

Hey everybody, happy Thursday here, close to the end of April. Hope everybody's had a fantastic month, we still got about, I don't know, two minutes or so here before we kick it off. Give everybody time to get down from your last meeting, you know, be able to get a cup of coffee along the way. But it should be a great discussion. Just a quick reminder, you have questions as a whole, submit them, you know, in the questions tab there in the GoToWebinar panel. You can also at any point in time, email me Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com. That's, you know, at any point in time, even if you forget to ask a question during the webinar today, if it's an hour afterwards, tomorrow, next week, shoot me an email, I always love to follow up on those. And also, if anybody ever wants to just have a fun chat on digital strategy, always love those conversations as well. I chat with I don't know 30 to 40 different brands a weekend. Not just like to stay on top of those things that are of biggest concern to you. That's how we get topics for our calls as well. So anybody who wants to have a fun conversation, you know, we don't sell anything here at BWG Connect. So just be a great digital chat. Got about 15 seconds here. Before we kick off this webinar. Hope everybody's having a great day. Awesome, you know, so a few people jumping on but just in the interest of time, we're going to go ahead and kick it off. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm Co-founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group of 1000s of brands. We kick this off as a way for brands to do exactly that network and knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends and strategies, everything that's shaping the digital ecosystem today. You know, use this as a network as much as possible. If you need other brands you'd like to talk to that you've heard on these calls more than happy to make those connections and doing a lot of help right now around service provider selection. As people are trying to now fill out their digital strategies. We like I said, I talked with 30 to 40 brands a week. So I'm asking everybody, Hey, who's working for you and who's not. So I've got a shortlist of top service providers. That's everything from Amazon, to Walmart to direct to consumer fulfillment, supply chain logistics, performance, marketing, SEO, SEM, whatever it might be in the digital space, don't ever hesitate to reach out. I'm also doing a talent division as well. So if you're looking to hire in the digital space, don't hesitate to shoot me an email, I can connect you with Rhett and the talent team. As we get kicked off today, a couple of housekeeping items, we're starting three to four minutes after the hour. And just so you know, we're going to wrap up with three to four minutes to go as well. You're going to give you plenty of time to get on to your next meeting without being late. The other thing before we kick it off is we want to get as many questions answered today as possible. So as we go at any point in time a question pops into your head, drop it in the Questions tab, the GoToWebinar panel, or email me directly anytime you want Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com. And then we'll get the questions answered as we go. So as we kick this off, you know, a lot of questions around take what's next, like how do I balance a might be slightly over index, you know, quote unquote, might be slightly over indexed on Amazon? What does it look like as we balance out a sales strategy outside of Amazon. And so we've got some great friends, great network, great partners. They come, you know, highly recommended from brands within the network for their expertise in this space. They've been selling on Amazon and Walmart and other marketplaces for a long time. And so Nicole from Retail Bloom agreed to jump on the line today and kind of give us an overview of how they see it and how they see a balanced strategy working out for brands they are working with, but then also answer as many questions as we can throw at her today, so it should be fun. Don't forget, don't ever hesitate to drop any questions in but Nicole I'm going to kick it over to you if you want to do a brief intro on yourself and Retail Bloom, that would be awesome. And then we can kind of kick off into this.

 

Nicole Reich  4:24  

Thanks, Aaron. And thank you for having me today. I'm super excited to be talking to all of you about Amazon and then kind of what's next. So quick background on Retail Bloom. So I'm Nicole, the VP of Marketing and Sales and Co-founder of Retail Bloom. Basically our goal is to help brands make online marketplaces easy. We do that by helping brands understand how to bridge the connection between themselves and consumers online through data and technology. And once we have that data and technology with the brand, we start to develop a goal to help our partner partners understand the entire landscape, all of the tools at their disposal, all the new ones that are coming out, and then provide a recommendation on how we can leverage those opportunities and then also execute for them. So, as Aaron has mentioned, you know, some previous calls, we have different business models. We're a third party seller, we're an agency, a lot. Most of our services are through Amazon and Walmart, but we are quickly looking at the data to say, What is next? Where should we be going next? So, for today's agenda, when it comes to developing a balanced ecommerce sales strategy, I have three goals for this call today. The first one is for you to understand, right. So if I were in your shoes, the first one, I'd be asking her, where am I customer shopping beyond Amazon? The second one is, if I know where they're going, how do I get there? And then the third one would be what do I need to manage the business? So I want to start with first, obviously, no brainer, Amazon is still number one, right? They are five times larger than any other retailer online, coming in at 367 billion. Walmart is the only one that's even even in the conversation right now at 64 billion and Walmart is growing quickly. So today, I want to first give you some data that we have from some of our other partners to help you understand where our customers are going in the next 12 months. As Aaron mentioned, I'm super open to any of the questions if we end up going on a tangent because I have a question. I think that would be great. So please let us know what those are. And then Aaron, you know, feel free to interrupt me as I go through this if you're getting any on your end. Sounds good?

 

Aaron Conant  6:40  

Yeah, perfect. No. Love it. Yeah. So for those who have joined dropping in the question section there. If you can't do that, if it's easier, just email me Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com.

 

Nicole Reich  6:53  

So first question, Where do I cost customer shopping beyond Amazon? And when you understand that, then you can start to prioritize where to go next. So first bit of data here we have one of our partners Cleveland Research Company who has done a survey this year and poll 3000 customers about how they feel about these different online marketplaces or retail sites. You see here, Amazon and Walmart, we'll focus on those two today but also have some information on Wayfair, Lowe's, Costco, Target and Home Depot. So first one for the 3000 customers polled. This is a breakdown of if the customer shopped on these sites, where they were located in the US region. Um, long story short, they're everywhere, right? All of us are shopping online at this point, the Midwest is a little bit behind. The other one big takeaway that I saw that was just a little of an anomaly compared to the others is that Costco is really leading in the West. So for those who shop on Costco, 36% of them are in the West Region. If we look at the area, it's really split between suburban and urban shopping online. So on Amazon 39% of those customers said that they are in urban areas where 42% said they were suburban. Again, Costco is another kind of, weirdly enough, a little bit different customer than everyone else. 51% of those customers are urban, 38% suburban and the lowest percentage of being rural. So I include the data in here because for brands, you know who your demographic is, right, you know who your target audience is. So when you look at this type of information, you can look at this data and say, Okay, if I'm really targeting an urban customer, I want to make sure that Costco is somewhere on my list. So that's kind of the point of me providing this data to you today. If we look at income, still pretty similar. You have Costco with the highest average household income, Target at 111,000. And then Walmart and Amazon are pretty similar. I want to point out that Walmart's average income is the lowest at 95,000 per year. I think that's really interesting. Not surprising, but interesting, because a lot of the brands that we work with that are kind of that premium brand, right at a higher cost point, they want to be well known in the industry for being the best of the best. Some of them are reluctant to go to Walmart. And I think Walmart recognizes that. And that's why they're making a push for premium brands on their sites. And they're acquiring brands that are a little bit more premium in different categories. Unfortunately, come looking at this data. If we're assuming that higher household income goes after premium brands, that isn't necessarily what the shopper on Walmart is today. So it'll be an interesting thing to watch to see if this average household income for walmart.com increases as people become more familiar or comfortable shopping on the.com website, even if they don't shop in store? 

 

Aaron Conant  10:06  

Yeah, I think it's interesting to me that it is broken out by age group because, you know, if I look at Amazon being so close to Walmart, you know, I take a pause there. And I say, Well, why is that? But if you look at a millennial shopper a little bit younger, maybe has lower income as a whole, or is not, you know, hasn't been hasn't gotten married yet doesn't have a household income that is essentially doubled. No, it's super interesting. 

 

Nicole Reich  10:36  

Yeah, so actually speaking of generation, right, so same actually data. Thanks, Aaron. As you can see here, also split between boomers, Gen X, millennials, and Gen Z. Not surprising at all that Gen Z is the smallest portion of shoppers on these sites, right, because they don't have the income yet. But pretty balanced between Amazon and Walmart again, right? The similar shoppers on Amazon as on Walmart, again, Target and Costco, millennials really liking those two sites. And if they're in urban areas, and if they have a higher household income, maybe for Costco, you can maybe make the assumption that you know, you have to pay a membership fee very similar to Sam's Club. So maybe that's why they are going after a greater income. But again, interesting to see how this kind of shifts. The other thing, though, that I really want to take away is that boomers are still getting very comfortable with shopping online. It isn't just millennials, you know, it's still 40 to 50% of customers online are millennials. But it's not like if you have a brand that targets an older generation, they're not online, they're getting way more comfortable over the last 12 months shopping online.

 

Aaron Conant  11:52  

Yeah, and this is, I think this is neat from the standpoint of, you know, this isn't like how much you slip your shopping. So, you know, Millennials are just as likely to shop on Amazon as Walmart, but will you shop on the platform? And this clearly says that like, Yeah, well, we'll shop on walmart.com. But you know, that doesn't mean we're shopping there, you know, as often as we are. It says really quick here, can you clarify walmart.com and target.com or just a pure play activity? Or if it includes click and collect?

 

Nicole Reich  12:28  

This would be just for the actual I don't know if this answers the question, but it's just retail purchases on the site. So actually using the site, searching for products and buying on the platform, not in stores. Does that answer it, Aaron?

 

Aaron Conant  12:44  

Yeah, I think it's the muddy waters of if I do online grocery pickup, does that count towards the store? Right? Or buy online pick up in store?

 

Nicole Reich  13:01  

Yep. So this is an online pick up in store. So good. Thank you for clarifying that for Walmart and Target. So Walmart is a really easy one in the grocery space, right? If you're using the app walmart.com app to buy groceries and then picking up in the store. It's included in this information. 

 

Aaron Conant  13:18  

Awesome. 

 

Nicole Reich  13:19  

One of the last things I want to point out before we really dig into Walmart, because I know that's where a lot of the conversations are. The last question would be a year from now, how do you think the usage of a given ecommerce site will be different? And how likely are you to spend more or spend a similar amount of money on that site or purchases on that site? So interesting. Again, Amazon and Walmart, it's going to be the same 35 to 36%. Say that they're going to spend more around 58, 59% said they'll do a similar amount of purchases, and then less than 9% said that they'll spend less. So this was pretty insightful for me because I know we talked about you know, after COVID are people going to be rushing back to the stores? Did we get really comfortable with shopping online, but now we want to support brick and mortar compared to this data. It's not going away. it's here to stay. And a lot of the sites you can even see they plan on making more purchases online. Next couple of slides, I really dig into walmart.com. Again, because Aaron has shared with me that a lot of the questions he's getting from all of you is in Walmart, which makes sense. It's obviously the number two ranked retailer online. They have about as half as many visitors as Amazon. And they have about 5% of e-com sales where Amazon has 40%. So I put this in here for a couple of reasons Walmart is growing quickly. I think that walmart.com was up 80% year over year where Amazon retail was only up about 12%. But something to consider again is that Amazon is still much much bigger. So this is not a play where you're gonna have a really good Amazon business. This launch on Walmart and all of a sudden, it's going to be the exact same sales, a cost right return on ad spend, that's just really isn't realistic at this point. If you need to go somewhere else beyond Amazon, obviously Walmart, but just really be realistic in your expectations in what the opportunity is on the platform. That isn't to say that there aren't certain products that work really well, obviously, grocery, I'll speak to in a second is a good opportunity. But let's just say that you're in the apparel category, or more of a premium brand, don't assume that you're just going to get to Walmart, it's going to absolutely take off.

 

Aaron Conant  15:40  

So maybe that's a question that comes in, is there any that's broken out specifically by category? Because I mean, that's, I think what people are trying to figure out right now, Walmart seems to be spinning its wheels, but it's the next most viable outside of I mean, you can if you're in the, you know, electronics space, you know, eBay, you know, might randomly be the next best place to go to, but I think all eyes are on Walmart, because the amount of money that they're putting behind it. You know, I wish they got their paid media side straightened out, but I know that throwing people at it, but no, super, super industry.

 

Nicole Reich  16:17  

I'm actually going to go forward to answer that question. So this slide actually outlines walmart.com as a percentage of their total sales. So what you can see here is walmart.com as a percentage of total Walmart, so blue is before 2020. Gray is last year, and gold is this year, broken out by different categories. So for dry grocery, right, that's doing fairly well, household consumables doing really well. This one was a little surprising to me. And I don't know if it's just because the store is such a great place for beauty products. But I was surprised to see that their beauty and personal care only makes up about 5% of their total business.

 

Aaron Conant  17:01  

Yeah, it's interesting, we have one that comes in, you know, 50%, they are interested there, you had a 50% of business that does not transfer the same amount of sale. So is it a trust factor or still price driven? You know, going back to the previous slide that you had around, you know, it's almost the same number of people shopping, but the, you know, the total amount or share is so drastically different. And I think, you know, I think that people will jump on Walmart and shop, but they're gonna do it, you know, eight times as often on Amazon in a week. 

 

Nicole Reich  17:38  

Yeah, absolutely. And I do want to get into kind of wrong. Now I'll back up again, just because I want to answer some of the other questions of really diving back into Walmart. So we talked about kind of generation or geographic, but some other things that we found is that gender split on Walmart. So it's about 52%, female 48%, male, we talked about a little less than 100,000 of their average income. If we look at their household, it's evenly split with 35% living with a significant other 35% with a family 22% single. And then I really also thought that the purchasing behavior was an important piece to point out. So 68% of the customers on Walmart started using Walmart before COVID. And 81% of them have made two or more purchases from walmart.com in the last six months. So this is pretty telling, right? People are coming to Walmart, they're getting more comfortable about it. And hopefully that's a piece of Walmart investing in it right, and people just going there to buy it on the mobile or desktop either having it delivered to their house or picking it up in the store.

 

Aaron Conant  18:49  

I mean, it's interesting. I mean, two or more. You know, it's almost like selectively going to Walmart when they can't find it in other places. So it's super interesting, you know, maybe a huge statistic, if you have made 12 or more purchases from walmart.com in the last six months. So no, it'd be a fun thing to track over, you know, the next 12 months for sure. Yeah.

 

Nicole Reich  19:17  

And then how are they finding products on the site. So 74% of them are just using search, very similar to Amazon 30% are kind of using previous purchase lists to purchase again 33% have used the app or website just to browse. I think this is a really big thing that Walmart started with. If you look at some of their add capabilities, or even the way that they're setting up their pages on the site, they're trying to make it a little bit more browser friendly. You can kind of shop the entire style if I think about the fashion category they do. I think they do a better job of having landing pages Giving customers the ability to search on landing pages versus just using the store or search. And then they're also setting up their ads. Hopefully, Aaron, I know we go back and forth on this a lot too. But ideally, they're giving brands the ability to advertise on browse placement, instead of browsing at search, which is a little bit different than Amazon. Coming down here, 45% of them said that they've purchased a new brand on the site, and 39% of them have not. Again, this is another push for customers that are going to marketplaces aren't brand loyal, right. So you can't just assume because you are a household name, that you're going to be found and purchased on Walmart, if you are not there, chances are, they're going to buy a product no matter what. And they may buy it from a direct competitor or another competitor, another brand that you may never have heard of. So a lot of you know, the private label or the offshore brands that are on amazon.com are still moving to Walmart and just owning based on search. Not necessarily brand reputation.

 

Aaron Conant  21:10  

Super interesting. Just reminders, we've had some more people join if you have any questions along the way, drop into the question section, or email me directly Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com just you know tackling this, hey, it was a balanced portfolio against Amazon. You know, we're doing a deep dive here on Walmart. I just you know, in talking with 30 plus brands a week, Walmart seems to be the next best place to go. And so how do we look at it? How is it performing? What are the expectations? What should you be committed internally as you're being asked to Hey, what how big is Walmart going to grow? Just I think we're kind of over indexing on purpose for a good reason at Walmart right now. I think it's probably the next best place to go as you try to balance this out outside of a direct consumer site, which you guys have a ton of control over. So awesome. Nicole, I'll kick it, kick it back to you.

 

Nicole Reich  22:03  

Cool. Okay, so enough for the kind of the customer data. I guess the whole point again is that other marketplaces, other online retail sites are growing. We're leading with Walmart, because we know that they're investing in that platform. So let's just assume that you need to get to Walmart, you're on Amazon. The next question is, how are you going to get there, right? This is a little bit of an overview here. But just so that we're kind of all on the same page, there are still three ways to sell on Walmart, you can either sell directly to them. You can sell through seller center, meaning you have your own seller center account, and you are a third party seller. Or you can leverage a trusted partner or reseller to represent the brand for you, right, they're buying the products from you, and then they're selling on Walmart. I think it's important to talk a little bit about the difference between Amazon and Walmart. I want to say that the platform's like how you run them, the content, the advertising, a lot of that is very different. But their end goals are similar. So, Paul's had an article last week that I thought did a really good job of kind of explaining that Walmart isn't trying to recreate the Amazon or do something completely different than the Amazon flywheel, right. So they haven't released their official Walmart plus flywheel. But if they did, maybe it looks something like this right? sellers brands, they get on the platform, and they get into Walmart fulfillment services, or Walmart owns the inventory. When they get brands, their sellers to do that, they're able to provide a large catalog with free shipping for Walmart plus customers, right, the shopping experience for Walmart plus is elevated, which leads to conversion and sales, more Walmart plus users are added. Maybe they are also prime customers or best case scenario, they dropped their prime membership and just do Walmart plus. And then they continue to find products in search with free shipping and it kind of goes around. So I put this on here. Because if you are a brand that is going through a third party seller or going through a seller center, and you are not providing two day free shipping, that might be one of the number one reasons that you're not seeing the lift that you're expecting. So before we talk about advertising, before we talk about content, just know that the end goal for Walmart is still to provide products the fastest with the fastest delivery options for the best price and to have a broad catalog that is still their goal and they're trying to compete with Amazon to get those Walmart plus customers. So next thing is know what's in your control just on Amazon, right? So if you don't know how to, if you can't ship directly to the consumer right now, don't try to launch a Walmart seller center account. Try to leverage what you're doing for amazon.com for Walmart, if on Amazon you're selling directly through vendor Central, and that is working well, that is that makes sense for Walmart, right? They order products from you, they own them, they ship to the end consumer, if you don't want to sell directly to Walmart because of pricing challenges, or just wanting to make sure that you are splitting up your distribution, and controlling it a little bit more than look to leverage a distributor or a third party seller to potentially do a test for you. At the end of it. If you can't provide free two day shipping, try someone else, try a different third party seller who's doing Walmart fulfillment services, try to offer maybe direct like two days shipping three days shipping, even if you have to pay for it. Because if you're not doing that, you're going to be investing a lot of time and resources or ad dollars, and you're just not going to see the return.

 

Aaron Conant  25:49  

So really quick, when you're doing your Walmart strategy, and you're trying to build this out, because you want to balance your portfolio. This is more important than advertising or content. Is it? I mean, it's the flip on Amazon, right? It's, hey, number one, get your content, right. I mean, obviously Amazon, you can stick it in FBA, or they're buying from you wholesale, or you can find a, you know, a digital age three PL that can individually pick pack, ship kit bundle, whatever it is, you know, but it's content. And then it's paid media. But you're saying here, number one, make sure you have the capability to have two day shipping before.

 

Nicole Reich  26:28  

Okay, so Aaron, I agree with you a little bit. But I think on Amazon, everyone just assumes it's today, right? They have FBA that you're either selling directly or you're leveraging FBA. I think that sometimes we go to Walmart, and we jump at content advertising, because that's what we're focusing on Amazon. But we kind of forget that the first thing that we did on Amazon was making sure that we got products in FBA or got them Prime.

 

Aaron Conant  26:54  

Great, great. Yeah. Great clarification. Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

 

Nicole Reich  26:58  

So I point this out, because I talked to brands on Walmart, who were a little bit frustrated, and hey, my ads aren't working or my content is a mess. I'm still not selling as much. And I look at your listing, and it's $5.99. Standard shipping, and we'll get there for seven days. Well, let's try to fix that first before we move on to content advertising. 

 

Aaron Conant  27:17  

All right. No, I yeah, no, I got it. Yeah. Dead on its inventory. Right. It's being unstoppable, which is the number one thing you're gonna have the best pages in the world, you know, the best ad tech around managing your paid media spending the biggest budget, but if you're not in stock, then it doesn't matter. Okay. Awesome. I love it.

 

Nicole Reich  27:37  

So I talked about this early on about, you know, Amazon still being number one and Walmart being number two, but way farther back, right. There's a lot of conversations right now and pressure on e-com teams to say, okay, Amazon was challenged last year with receiving and FBA, we couldn't get our products in time, it took way too long, we stopped out so we better be on all of our other marketplaces. Yes, that is definitely a good idea. But don't assume that Walmart is going to be Amazon. So I just have this picture here to say reality and expectations, right? Look at the data, we've already shared a little bit of that about the Walmart customer, and use that data to say, Okay, what is realistic? Is Walmart going to be five to 10% of my business? And what data am I using to get to that? Or am I thinking that it's going to be 80% of our business, my business on Amazon, maybe because you're in grocery or something like PPE math did really well on Walmart. So just be careful about that. And then when you have that sales forecast, then determine from that from that sales forecast, what budget you're going to need for resources internally, software and then advertising.

 

Aaron Conant  28:52  

Awesome. So a question that comes in? Are consumers really driven to have a Walmart plus membership? What is the conversion rate of prime to Walmart Plus, what's the rate of multiple membership? So have you seen Walmart plus really take off? I'd be interested. So just a quick poll, and we won't jump out to anybody. So no worries about that. But if you can raise your hand, if you have a Walmart plus membership, right, if you just raise your hand, I have a Walmart plus membership. So just a few people. Just a few people have it. And I think Yeah, it does. No, it's interesting. Okay, cool. I don't know if you have any data on that, Nicole, but—

 

Nicole Reich  29:34  

Yeah, no, not a ton of data yet on Walmart Plus, I mean, we are seeing a lot of difficulties on kind of Walmart fulfillment services and not having the margins make sense for the brand. But when we talk about the Walmart plus and how customers are adapting to it, I haven't seen much on it, but it only launched in September, September 15 of last year. So I will write that down. Aaron, when I have data on it. I'd love to share that with you and you can share it with the group.

 

Aaron Conant  30:00  

100% awesome.

 

Nicole Reich  30:05  

Okay, so let's assume you know you, you know where your customers are shopping.

 

Aaron Conant  30:09  

Oh wait, really? This is great. Thanks, Ed. Just a quick another poll is if you can raise your hand, if you have a Prime membership. This is a great one. Thanks, Ed.

 

Nicole Reich  30:23  

Everyone, right?

 

Aaron Conant  30:32  

Yeah, not quite everyone, but almost everybody has it. Awesome. Thanks Ed, great call out. Yeah, it's a flip side. Anyways, Oh, awesome. So I want to jump into this leveraging technology to scale. So I know on the Amazon side over the past year, you know, so the pandemic hits? Yeah, I know, there's some issues with shipping. But then everybody over indexed to selling on Amazon, which means everybody shifting paid media dollars, AMS, I'm old school. So AMS piggy on Amazon gets a lot more complicated pricing goes through the roof. The recommendation now is, you know, if you're spending over 5000, a month on paid media on Amazon, you should have either an agency helping you out, or ad tech, you know, indefinitely as you get bigger, it kind of shifts closer towards an agency. But no, I love this point. Because I know technology is on top of people's minds as they're trying to, you know, as everything gets more complicated, it takes up more of a person's time. Is there tech that can help trim that down and make it more efficient?

 

Nicole Reich  31:37  

Yeah, absolutely. So not only having the technology but also having the people with the experience and the bandwidth, important aspects around bandwidth right to run that technology. So on e-commerce, I know that Aaron, I've been watching kind of your LinkedIn posts, right about the conversations of a lot of pressure on e-commerce as brick and mortar was shut down last year. Okay, brick and mortar down all my sales should assume right immediately go right to e-com. Yeah, that's not necessarily how it works. And a lot of times we find that e-commerce teams are under a lot of pressure with not a lot of resources, right? Maybe it's a team of one to five, and all of a sudden, now they have to be on 10 marketplaces, or 10 different sites, and they just don't really have the time. And the other part of it is that Walmart is so new, Amazon, we're really figuring out obviously, a lot of agencies there, but you really have to stay ahead of the curve. If you want to stay on top of all the new ad releases, both on Amazon and on Walmart, what it means, how important price monitoring is how to use the catalogs for content, pushing content through Walmart is much different than Amazon. Um, so there's a lot of things that I would say is that if you have the technology, and you don't have the people to support it, that's not, it's just not going to work, right, you might as well not even have the technology. So in the next couple of slides, I talk through the technology that we use and the people that we have on our teams to support it. I will share with you the kind of partnerships that we leverage for that. But whether you work with us or you work with another provider for that technology, here's some things to think about. The first one would be price monitoring and brand protection. And I say it over and over, Aaron, every time we talk, it is only becoming more important. If you have buybox issues on Amazon, you are going to have buybacks issues on Walmart, if you have unauthorized sellers on Amazon, you're going to have unauthorized sellers on Walmart. So I would really recommend getting a price monitoring software that allows you to monitor pricing across all channels. Other ones that we use in our price monitoring technology that we use, we're also able to enforce e-com policies within there. So for example, if there's a third party seller that violates a map policy, we have automated system, an automated process that reaches out to the seller, hey, this is our map policy, we see that you're breaking map on Amazon, Walmart, whatever, what comm website, it might be, please fix this, or we're gonna reach out to you again, right. And another thing that I see that is really important for the price monitoring brand protection software that we use is that it also tracks discounts and sales estimates by seller. So this one has been really huge for us over the last six months because we were able to go to our partners and say, yes, you have 25 rogue sellers on Walmart, or on Amazon, and here's what they're doing and what they're selling for you on the platform. Some of the concerns we hear from the brands is Yeah, I understand there's a lot of sellers, but if I kick them off, all that revenue is just going to go away. Well, not really we're able to track what the revenue is of that seller and then make sure that 30 days after you cut them off, that revenue was picked up by another seller or by Amazon or Walmart. So Um, that has been really big for us. And also stock outs have been really big for us. Let's say that on Amazon or Walmart, you have 10 sellers, and you're trying to minimize the number of sellers on that platform. If you see that they're stocking out consistently, maybe they're not the best fit to be approved on Amazon or Walmart for you. So we can use that data to help the brands make decisions about what the right mix of one p two, three p sellers are on the platform. And then lastly, we have another software that's been really helpful about contacting rogue sellers to get invoices from them to prove that they have legitimate inventory. And then if they don't, we actually have partnerships with Amazon and with Walmart, that we report them to the platform to say, hey, they haven't given us an invoice to prove that this is legitimate in inventory, we have no idea who they are. And then eventually Amazon or Walmart actually removes them from the site for us. So I would definitely say that this is a reactive approach. This is not what we rely on. But we have been able to shut off 1000s of sellers over the last 12 months for the brands that we partner with by making sure that we understand where they're getting their inventory from. Aaron, any questions on that?

 

Aaron Conant  36:13  

No, I mean, I just completely agree. I mean, I would just say, hey, if anybody needs recommendations on any of these don't hesitate to reach out. You know, we've got a shortlist of top ones that are recommended from brands in the network, more than happy to connect you to because I agree. I mean, there's one new, more interesting thing that's coming out, at least on the Amazon side, is there's essentially a mini patent court within Amazon that they built out that's just rolling out right now. And essentially, rather than if you have an issue, this isn't with unauthorized resellers, but it's if you think a company's infringed on your patent or your trademark, you can actually challenge them within Amazon. So you don't have to go to a patent trade court and file a $150,000 lawsuit in federal court. It's basically this mini court, we'll probably end up having a future call on it. So anyways, it's no, it's interesting that this is incredibly important for balancing everything that you're doing, love it.

 

Nicole Reich  37:19  

Yeah, Aaron, if I understand the program that you're speaking to, so we use that last year with one of our partners, and they basically the way it was was okay, stellar, you can keep selling on the platform, you can get off or you can keep selling, and you can pay us to stay on the platform. And they ended up making so much money from that program that it ended up being a separate revenue line item for them. So that has worked really, really well. Aaron, you know, you I'm curious to be on that call to learn more about how your other brands or other partners have leveraged that because it's worked really well for us. 

 

Aaron Conant  37:52  

Yeah, absolutely. It's actually with a guy who was at a brand and was brought internal to Amazon to help design that internal mini court. So yeah.

 

Nicole Reich  38:03  

Okay, next one would be catalog management. So we see this a lot, especially with big, large SKU sets, right apparel, footwear, it's like, oh, my gosh, yes, I know the importance of content. But how the heck do I make sure that I understand that every UPC that I have, has the crate, creates the right image, the right title? And even beyond that, how do I make sure that I have the right SEO keywords for Amazon versus Walmart. So there are tools out there that we use to conduct SEO, keyword research, the keywords on Walmart are different from Amazon. Once we do keyword research on both platforms, we are rewriting all of the content just for Walmart and Amazon. And then from there, we're also using technology to syndicate content across all platforms. I think that sometimes this is a little, we want it to be the silver bullet. And in reality, it's not. So just because you have for example, a PIM tool, and you're pushing specific content to Amazon and specific content to Walmart, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's always going to be live from the front end. So the software that we use, not only pushes it, but then it also reports back to us inaccurate content. So what is the title I have in my, in my system? What is the title live on Amazon or Walmart, it alerts us when those are different. This is the part where it comes back to the people and bandwidth and resources. Unfortunately, a lot of the time you still have to be opening up manual tickets with Walmart or with Amazon to get that fixed. So my recommendation is that at the brand level, if you are spending numerous hours opening up tickets to talk to either support teams, start to look to leverage or outsource that piece of the business right as a brand. You should be making decisions about product selection, merchandising, what your strategy is going to be what your ad budget is going to be if you are an e commerce team and you're spending money 80 of your time opening tickets, talk to someone reach out blue could definitely help to outsource some of the more tedious time consuming tasks, because that doesn't go away just because you have a great PIM tool that allows you to link to several marketplaces. And then the third one would be advertising, right. So before you get on the ad platform, look at your forecast again, and create an ad budget based on what your expectations are for sales, Walmart is a good one to use. And as an example, most of the time, what we're seeing is that you are not getting the same type of return, that doesn't necessarily mean that it's not a good option. It's just the ads are clunky, they're harder to manage. It's a good one, again, to use an agency because we know how to use the campaigns. And we use technology to get into the interface a little bit differently. But also, one of the things I would say about Walmart is that your cost per click should be cheaper if you are doing it the right way. So if you are seeing in your campaigns, that your cost per click is higher than on Amazon, something is wrong. And that means that you're not bidding the right way on the platform. I'm not saying that again, you're gonna see those same ROI, but the cost per click should definitely be lower on Walmart versus Amazon. 

 

Aaron Conant  41:17  

Yeah, I mean, from that standpoint, I mean, though, the issue that some people have when you try to do this manually on Walmart is, you know, it's how the bidding works, right? So Amazon, I bid $1, you bid to bet you in for $1, in one cent on Walmart, I bid 1, you bid 2, you paid to win for $2. And so you don't have something on the back end. So number one, if you have a small enough budget, or if you have a you know, low enough SKU count, you can get in there and manage it. But at scale, you'll need something to help. Especially Are you just flushing money down the drain and in reality, right?

 

Nicole Reich  41:51  

Yep, absolutely. So the advertising platform that we use is not the Walmart UI, right. So it helps us get around some of those issues. Maybe if you're just testing without a ton of experience, you kind of learn by failure. So we try to help our brands get ahead of that piece. The other thing that we think is important is that the software that we use for advertising allows us to do both Amazon and Walmart in one place. So it's easier for us to compare what works, and what doesn't with the keywords. When we go back to the demographics, the Amazon and Walmart customers are similar. So the keywords that they're using are similar. So we can sometimes use our Amazon data to set up our Walmart campaigns doesn't mean they're always going to yield the same results, but at least gives us an idea of how to set up those campaigns for Walmart. And then the other- Aaron, did you say something there?

 

Aaron Conant  42:44  

No.

 

Nicole Reich  42:46  

Okay, cool. And then look at the results, right. So look at your reporting dashboard. And I'm going to kind of go to the next one for a second here is having everything in one place. So one P business, three P business, Amazon, Walmart, try to find some type of technology that allows you to have one centralized location for both. A lot of times when we talk to our brands, they're like, not only are we spending a lot of time, opening up tickets, but we're also spending a lot of time putting together the reports in a way that works for our leadership team, so that they understand what is going on. So we've built dashboards for our brands to pull in Walmart, pulling Amazon, pulling one P data, three P data so that we can ask them what their KPIs are, and customize that dashboard just for what they need. So they're not spending a whole ton of time doing that. Again, make sure that it's clear what your forecast is, what your budgets are, and then be measuring those. So that's another call out. And then I have some data on the kind of Walmart advertising results that we've seen so far. But I don't have to get to that. If we want to talk about questions.

 

Aaron Conant  43:52  

I think, I think you want to jump back to I want to get to that reporting. Like the Amazon advertising piece, I think it would be good. And if others yeah, yeah, feel free to drop into the Questions tab, or shoot me questions at aaron@bwgconnect.com. Well, how does this compare? Yeah.

 

Nicole Reich  44:09  

Yeah, so I talked about the cost per click right. So if you're setting up the bids the right way on Walmart, here's some average cost per clicks for consumable versus durable prices by the different campaigns. So you can set up campaigns in Walmart for browse item or search level, and in the consumables, you're seeing browse at around 81 cents a click item around 89 cents search at 80. If we compare those to Walmart, we're looking at you know, depending on how competitive the category is to 25 to five to $10 a click so if you're doing it the right way, right, it definitely is cheaper. Um, the other thing that I really like about Walmart I said this earlier is that they're doing an okay job about setting up campaigns for different types of ad placements, right. So browse verse items. Search. And you can kind of see the A costs per click, conversion or percent of spend. So 43% of the spend on Walmart ads is still going through search. But you can see that 16% browse. So this kind of goes back to the Walmart data that I showed previously that Walmart is making a search, an attempt to try to make it more of a browser platform versus search.

 

Aaron Conant  45:26  

No, I mean, that makes sense, right? I mean, if you think about how people use the platform, I mean, Amazon's kind of a flip, right? is I'm gonna do a quick search, I go there, I know what I want to buy, you know, I need a new leash from my dog, I go to Amazon, I don't go to the pet care page, pet care landing page or homepage, right, I go to amazon.com, I go to the search bar, I hit dog leash. And then I select the one and you know, maybe I like bounced back and forth. So I find it and I buy it, which is a little different than the emphasis on browse.

 

Nicole Reich  46:04  

No. So this is a little bit of the results. And then I removed it. Aaron, I think I hit this slide on kind of the differences between the ad, like how the actual ad platforms work. So I guess at this point, we can go through questions, and then I can stop and share my screen and pull that slide up.

 

Aaron Conant  46:23  

Another question that comes in is, what percentage of a catalog is balancing out my Amazon/Walmart business? And then we can do it, you know, in a few months, a different way? What's the next one after Walmart? What percentage of my Amazon catalog Do I have on walmart.com? 

 

Nicole Reich  46:40  

Oh, good question. Okay. So as we're testing, we really only look at the 80/20 on Amazon, to start to think about what a test would be for Walmart. So we start at the top, you know, 80% of your business is driven by 20% of your catalog, sometimes it's a little bit different. But we look at that 20% of the catalog and say, Okay, what actually makes sense on Walmart, we do some competitive research in the category to show kind of reviews and pricing. And then we have a small segment of that catalog on Walmart to start. And that gives us the ability to walk before we run. And then as those products take off, then we bring in the catalog and then invest more in the catalog as well.

 

Aaron Conant  47:22  

The next question is, how are you seeing ad budgets being balanced between Amazon and Walmart? Is it expanded from the current ad budget? Or is it drawing from the Amazon budget? 

 

Nicole Reich  47:37  

Good question again. So if you are just testing out Walmart, a lot of times, unfortunately, we kind of think brands aren't getting a dedicated budget just for Walmart. So we're optimizing our Amazon budget as much as we can, and then taking out what we're saving on Walmart to test it. But again, it depends on the forecast and what you're already doing on the platform. So for Walmart, if you're doing a million dollars there, then I would still kind of take that total advertising cost of sale approach, multiply your sales by five to 10%, to get an idea of what the ad budget would be. And if you're not there, then again, taking it as a piece of Amazon, I think more instances right now, when we're talking to brands, it's an extension of Amazon. It's not necessarily a hey, here's $100,000, just to go for Walmart, at least at the PPC level.

 

Aaron Conant  48:24  

Were there any other key things? And there's a couple more questions that come in. But I mean, you're I mean, Retail Bloom is unique, right? Because you can buy wholesale and be a strategic third party. You know, sir, you know, where you're buying wholesale and reselling strategically on different platforms. So you have a unique take on not only being able to manage one p or three p or hybrid accounts, but also having your own third party account. What are the top things that you’ve learned across this landscape? And then I have a couple more questions that come in that they want to get to think should people be aggressively going after Walmart. You know, how big is it for you and do you think it's going to be in the end? Is this something if you're not started you can, you know, wait another three to six months as people are trying to align budget and staffing and headcount and priorities and launching DVC sites? Where does it fall from a premier standpoint?

 

Nicole Reich  49:27  

All great questions. I would say for the brands that we're with right now, they all lead with Amazon, right? And that's usually how we help our partners expand to other sites. So we don't necessarily work with a ton of brands just on Walmart. It's mostly having conversations with them. Okay, we figured it out Amazon, what is the best way to go to Walmart? Is it through us as a third party seller, which sometimes works really well because it's a testing ground right where we're purchasing inventory. We're already on Walmart, we already know how to manage it. So the brands kind of see that as kind of like a hands off approach that's worked really well. In other scenarios, we manage vendor central accounts for the brand on Amazon. And then they also sell directly on Walmart. So we're helping them figure out how to optimize walmart.com. A little bit more. Very rarely, I guess I would say at this point that we have brands, selling to us as a third party seller and then saying, Yeah, I want to sell directly on Walmart. And it goes back to that shipping method, right, like, as a brand, try not to recreate and start from scratch, what are you doing on Amazon the way that you're getting to the customer, and try to replicate that on Walmart?

 

Aaron Conant  50:39  

So the next question, Walmart, seems to recently change their campaign attribution. Did this impact your strategy? Paid media to Walmart? Or has it stayed the same?

 

Nicole Reich  50:51  

It changes all the time. I can't really, if there's been a lot of, I'm not going to be the best person, you know, I'll talk to our ad team. If you have specific Walmart advertising questions, I'd love to connect you with our advertising Client Services Director, because he can speak to those a little bit more. But I do know that they're seeing a bunch of challenges of just new things coming out or changing the way that the either the bidding works, or the different types of campaigns. So unfortunately, I wouldn't be the best person to talk to you about the technical changes recently, but can get you answers if you if we want to connect after this

 

Aaron Conant  51:26  

Yeah, 100% more than happy to do it. And then Walmart being an open marketplace has many of the same issues as Amazon with a unified catalog, you know, how do you keep rogue sellers from pushing on your buy box? Next question that comes in?

 

Nicole Reich  51:40  

Good question. So that actually goes back to the price monitoring that we have. So what we find sometimes is that the brands will clean up Amazon, right? Hey, I don't need to remove 20 sellers from Amazon. And all of a sudden, all those sellers just pop back up on Walmart. So when we're looking at brand protection, now we're telling the brands that it's not just Amazon, it's Walmart, it's everything else. And then the other thing is coming back to this fourth bullet point is that we have a software that for Walmart, specifically, we can contact sellers and ask them where they're getting their products from, if they don't provide us an invoice, then we report them to Walmart and they remove them. But then on the flip side, if they do give us an invoice, we give that invoice back to the brand. And they can see where their leaking distribution is. But a lot of that goes back to policy enforcement.

 

Aaron Conant  52:27  

Awesome. Love it. And I see that we've got about a minute and a half or so left here. And we promised everybody to get them out a few minutes early. You know, I want to say, you know, quick thank you to everybody who submitted questions, there's tons of them here. In regards to you know, Nicole mentioned the LinkedIn post and kind of starting a conversation around, you know, what's happened in digital over the past year. So feel free to jump out and follow that it's gonna be a great conversation on everything from Walmart, to Amazon, to staffing, to fulfillment, the fact that this you know, what's happening and what businesses are trying to solve for is, you know, complex and complicated, they're going to try and pick that apart on LinkedIn over the next few months here. I'd like to say a few days, but the reality is a few months, because there's so many different pieces to pull apart. But you know, I'd also say, if anybody's looking for any help with Amazon, with Walmart, one p three p looking for a partner that can buy wholesale resale, Retail Bloom, Nicole and her team are just fantastic. People experts in that area come highly recommended from multiple brands in the category. So 100% encourage a follow up conversation. If you're looking to have it further that conversation as a whole with the call the team. They're just awesome friends and supporters of the network as a whole. And so, you know, Nicole, key takeaways here as we wrap it up, the next minute.

 

Nicole Reich  53:52  

Yep. So one, follow your customers, right? Get the data before you start to decide what other platforms you want to be on, to understand your resources and your capabilities to get there and then three leverage technology in the right people with the right experience to help you scale that business. That would be my takeaways. Last thing I would say Aaron, thank you for having me. If you guys are interested in Amazon or Walmart, specifically managed services or us being a third party seller, we typically have a $2,500 launch fee that we would love to waive for you if we for you if you are on this call and then want to have a conversation afterwards.

 

Aaron Conant  54:29  

Awesome. Love it. Well, thanks again to everybody who dialed in. And thanks to Nicole for your time today. Thanks for all the information and as well as like this put you on the hot seat across the hour. I hope everybody has a fantastic Thursday and a great rest of the week. Don't hesitate to reach out with any questions or you'd like to have a fun chat on digital strategy as a whole. Everybody take care, stay safe and have a fantastic Thursday. Take care now. We'll be in touch already. Thanks Nicole. Goodbye e

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