How to Deal with Increased Competition on Amazon

Dec 15, 2021 12:00 pm1:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

In 2020, the Amazon marketplace became a hub for brands looking to trade their brick-and-mortar stores for an online presence. But, with so many businesses taking advantage of the eCommerce boom caused by the pandemic, it has never been more difficult to stand out. So, how can you differentiate your brand in Amazon’s fiercely competitive landscape?

When everyone is selling on Amazon, it’s no longer enough to simply post your products on the platform, start a paid media campaign, and hope for the best. Now, you must stay ahead of the curve to succeed. According to leading Amazon experts, this means building a holistic ad strategy, leveraging video content, and navigating your marketing around supply chain challenges.

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant is joined by Mike Battista, Jeni Doig, and Mackenzie Mendoza from Orca Pacific to discuss the latest strategies, tools, and techniques you need to win on Amazon. Listen in as they talk about how to stand out in the increasingly competitive marketplace, what to do if you run low on stock, and the keys to creating a holistic Amazon ad strategy.

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

 

  • Mike Battista explains how Orca Pacific helps brands succeed in the Amazon marketplace
  • How has Amazon’s competitive landscape changed since the beginning of the pandemic?
  • Mackenzie Mendoza’s advice for navigating supply chain issues while advertising on Amazon
  • Jeni Doig talks about recent changes to Amazon fulfillment centers and the value of backup dropshipping options
  • The pros and cons of raising your prices to avoid running out of stock
  • What is the key to having a holistic — and effective — Amazon ad strategy?
  • How to win the Buy Box on Amazon
  • Best practices for creating Amazon content: tell your brand story, leverage videos, and more
  • The new keyword strategy you need in order to win on Amazon
  • Balancing sponsored ads and DSP — and how to boost glance views
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Event Partners

Guest Speakers

Mackenzie Mendoza

Business Manager at Orca Pacific

Mackenzie Mendoza is a Business Manager at Orca Pacific. As an experienced online marketing professional, Mackenzie is an expert in Amazon marketing, search engine marketing, data feed optimization, and more. Before joining Orca Pacific, he was the Director of eCommerce for True Brands, the National Account Manager on the Amazon team for Newell Brands, and a Senior Online Strategy Consultant for Marketplace Ignition.

Aaron Conant

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.

Jeni Doig

Senior Business Development Manager at Orca Pacific

Jeni Doig is the Senior Business Development Manager at Orca Pacific. She has experience working in sales for manufacturing and was a Manufacturer’s Sales Representative for Morgan & Sampson USA as well as the Owner and Manufacturer’s Sales Representative for KRM Sales & Marketing, Inc. Jeni graduated from Indiana University Bloomington. 

Event Moderator

Mackenzie Mendoza

Business Manager at Orca Pacific

Mackenzie Mendoza is a Business Manager at Orca Pacific. As an experienced online marketing professional, Mackenzie is an expert in Amazon marketing, search engine marketing, data feed optimization, and more. Before joining Orca Pacific, he was the Director of eCommerce for True Brands, the National Account Manager on the Amazon team for Newell Brands, and a Senior Online Strategy Consultant for Marketplace Ignition.

Aaron Conant

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.

Jeni Doig

Senior Business Development Manager at Orca Pacific

Jeni Doig is the Senior Business Development Manager at Orca Pacific. She has experience working in sales for manufacturing and was a Manufacturer’s Sales Representative for Morgan & Sampson USA as well as the Owner and Manufacturer’s Sales Representative for KRM Sales & Marketing, Inc. Jeni graduated from Indiana University Bloomington. 

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

Happy Wednesday, everybody. We're kind of getting here to the end of the year. My name is Aaron Conant. I'm the Co-founder and Managing Director here at BWG Connect. We're a networking knowledge sharing group of 1000s of brands, who do exactly that. We network knowledge share together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that is shaping digital, I talk with 30 Plus brands a week to stay on top of those trends. If anybody here ever liked to have a conversation on it, hey, what took place over the past year was looking what the next year looking like. And that's everything from direct consumer to Amazon, and everything that goes along with it from drop shipping to paid media. The couple housekeeping items, as we get started, here, we're starting this at three to four minutes after the hour, just a heads up, we're gonna wrap this up with three to four minutes to go in the hour as well. So if you're looking at your watch, just know, hey, we're gonna, we're gonna wrap this up in plenty of time to get you on to your next meeting without being late. Those thing is we want it to be as educational and informational as possible. So at any point in time you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop them. On this case, drop me an email at Aaron, aaron@BWGconnect.com. Or you can always hit star five, a handle goes up on the screen here, we'll just unmute you and you can ask the question live, we'll get it answered right away. So with that, I want to go ahead and kick this off. You know, as I was noting, you know, talking with, you know, 30 plus brands a week on industry trends, the whole and what's happening and the newest, you know, challenges that are shaping digital, you know, is really interesting is the free call chit chat. I was mentioned this week, which made the shift over the past year from, you know, 75% of the calls were on Amazon is what people were trying to figure out years ago that now like 75, direct consumer, and then we have the 25% that's focused on Amazon. And really, a lot of the topics have shifted focus a little bit to the idea, like, how do I deal with increased competition on Amazon? Right? That's a that's, that's the top of people's mind right now. There's obviously a ton of things going on in the paid media space. But it is, what am I How am I tackling the biggest pain points that are out there, right now on Amazon? And one of those is everybody's selling on Amazon now. And there's so much more competition? How do I maximize that effort? We're now at like Amazon 2.0. Right? It's not just enough to have your product there. It's not just, you know, enough to have five images. It's not just enough to have bullet points or doing paid media. There's a next level that people do. And so we got some great friends, partners, supporters, the network, since basically we kicked this off four years ago, they're helped me a ton of brands out in this space. And they just, you know, they agreed to jump on here and just kind of give us oversight of what they're seeing across the board, but also answers many questions. Right. So you know, my pieces on for more specific, Mike, I'll kick it over to you. You know, if you want to jump in with a brief intro on yourself on Orca, and I know we have Jeni and Mack on as well, from different aspects to help but you know, like, as long as jumped in brief overview of yourself in Orca Pacific. That's awesome. And then we can kind of jump into the questions here that have popped up in the q&a that people said it sounded.

Mike Battista 3:39

Yes, absolutely, Aaron, and thank you. Thank you so much for the introduction. Hi, everyone, Mike Battista here. I'm a Senior Business Development Manager here at Orca Pacific and formerly a senior advertising manager here. So the been with the company for a few years. Joining me today are Jeni Doig and Mackenzie Mendoza. Jeni just also joined the business development team. prior history was about four and a half years of seasoned, seasoned experienced being a business manager with Nick and Mackenzie Mendoza being one of our top seasons current business manager. And so we're all very excited to be able to have this conversation with the group today. It's certainly a conversation that we have been having quite having quite quite repeatedly over the last couple of months, really trying to understand how the Amazon ecosystem has been affected by this increased competition over the last 24 months. So again, very excited to kind of flesh out some of those details here today and answer any questions for you. A little bit about Orca Pacific is we've been around for about 13 years. I'm born and bred in Seattle, two blocks away from the Amazon campuses here. And our bread and butter is Amazon, you know, we can handle a number of different platforms within eCommerce. But our main focus is and always has been the the Amazon ecosystem, large majority of the employees that are working here are Amazonians themselves, have friends and family working for the company. And we're no, we're really, we're really proud to say that we have a very strong relationship with that organization really have some, some strong leverage in building that those relationships out on a day to day week to week basis. They're, you know, how we act here at Orca Pacific is help brands, whether that be a new to Amazon brand, or a very established brand that has already kind of cut their teeth in the Amazon space, help grow their sales, grow their incremental revenue, understand and and fix some of the main issues when it comes to content and inventory, planning and demand. And then also advertising and marketing, how to be able to implement those strategies really effectively to maximize your potential on the platform. So that's a little bit about us, we would absolutely love to kind of dive into some questions and get into the nitty gritty on on some of the facts about the competition on Amazon in the last 24 months here.

Aaron Conant 6:32

Yeah, also. So I want to I do want to start off there. And just to reminder, if people have questions, hit star five, the handle up on the screen here, we can just unmute you and bring you into the conversation. Or you can always just email them to me, aaron@BWGconnect.com. So I just want to start off high level, because I'm feeling a lot of questions on this, it's tough for me to have that that deep dive inside because I'm not in vendor Central on a daily basis. So how is Amazon's you know, in your opinion, which you guys are seeing, just dealing with so many brands, how's this competitive landscape changed? Since the start, I want to say like at the start of the pandemic, because that's where I think, you know, a lot of it, you know, when that when the store shut down, massive shift, Amazon massive shift. And then Amazon did a couple crazy things where they stop shipping non essential items, shifted, move pivoted a little bit, and then, you know, different rounds of essential items start rolling out till we get to where we're at now. So, like, how do you guys have any insights on that competitive landscape and how it's changed? And, you know, March of 2020?

Mike Battista 7:40

Yeah, I can, I can kick the answer off here, and Jeni and Mack, feel free to grab the torch at any time. You know, over the last 24 months, we obviously saw a pretty massive shift in buying habits. You know, we had brick and mortar retailers shut down and therefore had to experience a larger influx of traffic, but then eCommerce, as shoppers were having to get all of their essential and non essential items on eCommerce and through Amazon, this has caused over the last 24 months, a couple of different things changed. One, as an advertising manager, I certainly saw the cost per clicks, the CPCs, rising quite a bit, as we saw more and more traffic come on to the space, and therefore more and more advertisers come on to try to vie for those eyes. So PPC has increased, you know, from anywhere from, you know, 20 to about 30% or so on average, depending on the category. So that's one thing. But you know, the second thing is it's it's a cyclical cycle, right? It the more traffic that is coming onto Amazon, the more advertisers will be coming on to try to take advantage of that traffic to sell product. And not only are we having to deal with large players in the space, who have established brands on Amazon that have deeper pockets and larger marketing budgets, we've seen them, increase their marketing budgets and take extra take budget from external marketing initiatives and put that back into Amazon. So that competition has become a little stiffer. But we've also seen a number of first time drop shippers and resellers try to ride the coattails in essence of those larger retailers as well and also just try to take advantage of that traffic. So the competition has become a little stiffer there are more and more savvy, advertising managers and business managers taking control of these accounts and understanding how to spend money in marketing themselves efficiently on the platform, becoming a little bit more of a challenge for those new to Amazon launches, and, you know, poses the question of a few questions, right? How much? How much money? And what kind of marketing budget do we actually need to implement here to be considered a viable competitor in the space? That was that was kind of a steal from my, from my experience as an advertising manager, but a Mack and Jeni, do you have anything else to add to that? Well,

Mackenzie Mendoza 10:32

as the pandemic has continued on here, we've seen you know, the supply chain issues crop up. So while there was this huge push to get everything up on Amazon, and get everything in stock on Amazon, what we're seeing now is, you know, there's some holes in the supply chain, and we're seeing those, you know, more nimble, companies fail to take advantage of that, or companies that at least were able to maybe domestically produce their items, stay in stock. Well, other people may have been jammed up with items coming over from China. So that has been as the pandemic has, you know, come along into 2021. Here, and especially the latter half, that has been a big story about the, you know, maybe not saturation on Amazon, but maybe opportunities within the saturation for for people who saw the levels have remained steady.

Aaron Conant 11:19

So really quick, just going down that that point, because I know a lot of brands have dealt with, Hey, I'm going out of stock. Right? So number one, how do you? How do you advise them on paid media if they're going out of stock, right? Because you don't want to drive yourself out of stock, because that opens up the hole. And that's where we have, you know, a lot more brands that are able to jump in and fill that void. And we have a lot of companies with competition where it's just flowing in from overseas, right, and it's filling that void, and then they're building up, then the sales, the conversion, because they're the only one there with with inventory. And then they're overtaking, and they're getting to the point where they're in top 10 ranking. Sometimes they're number one. So it is number one, you tells people to dial back their paid media? Do you tell them to turn it off? Or is it okay to sell out? I don't think it is. But I'd love to hear your thoughts there. Then the next phase of that is, what do you see the likelihood of being able to come back and overtake it? Is that going to take paid media? Is that going to take content? Is that going to take discussions with a vendor manager? Or, you know, I'd love the like? Have you been knocked out of a spot because you went out of stock? And now you have you know, these new brands? Like taking over the number one in two spots? How do you advise people? Are you taking your brands back to number one to spot?

Mackenzie Mendoza 12:41

Right? And that's a great question. So what you see here is, but let's put two different scenarios out there. Let's say you're advertising and you do 10 units a day and you won't be restocked until the end of the week. Or, if you don't advertise, it'll take your whole week to do the 10 units. Either way, you know, you're going to sell the 10 units within a week, one way you sell them right at the start one way, you're kind of on the whole time. So at the end, for one, if you advertise this cost money, right, so you're more efficient selling them throughout the week, but to if you're going to be in an out of stock position, you know, it's the thought of you get more relevant, selling 10 units in a day, and then going out of stock for the rest of six days and taking that loss of relevance after that, or do you gain more relevance or keep relevance by just turning off your advertising and slowly selling through all kinds of keeping the lights on the whole time. The better approach here is to keep the lights on the whole time. Anytime I've seen people go out of stock and especially has stopped for a week or two, once they come back in stock, you are seeing their organic ranking really plummet from that. So you want to avoid out of stock at that, you know, if at all possible. So you want to be looking at your weeks of cover, you know, looking at your turns, look at your run rate, and adding those up against how much you're advertising against certain nations certain items on the site. That's the first thing you should be talking about with your advertising manager making sure you're not advertising into it out of stock position. In my opinion, that's a disaster for any campaign on the sites, you need to be putting those dollars to more effective. No a sensations that you know, you can stay in stock on or holding those dollars back until you're in a better position and then hitting it hard in that scenario that I just put up. If you're re upping you know, in a week or two, I would hold my dollars back maybe not spread it around if it's a good selling item hold those dollars back and once I'm in a good stocking deficient double down on my ad spend to really help boost my relevant stuff. So you want to avoid going out of stock if at all possible you do I do tend to see higher I won't call it penalties but higher grace when your products go out of stock.

Aaron Conant 14:48

Now that is awesome. I love it that wasn't one that I thought about which is hey, don't just shift it over to others which you can write if there are other hide moving products and it makes sense. Hold it back. So if it does happen, somebody does take over, you're not overspending per se. You're just allocating the dollars later, when you later time when you actually have inventory there, have you? Um, have you seen this just something that comes to mind, because the out of stock scenario is a lot of cases people are getting product in, you know, to their own warehouses. And then you have this delay of getting them into Amazon fulfillment centers, the having the drop shipping option, I've seen that explode over the past like 15 months of a ton of brands adding in their warehouse can do it like a digital age three PL. That just does drop shipping for backup, or Amazon or Walmart or wherever Have you seen those take off and alleviate some of the artifacts. And I'm thinking that's another strategy as well. Hi, this

Jeni Doig 15:51

is Jeni, yes, for sure. We actually last another thing, important thing to mention with the pandemic over the last year is really the constraint that we're seeing Amazon's fulfillment centers. So you know, just, of course, the shift from brick and mortar to eCommerce, as well as Amazon, you know, experiencing the same employee shortages that the rest of the nation is experiencing, we've seen a lot slower receiving time that the filament centers that product. So you know, even if you are shipping product in, it can take some time for Amazon to receive your product. Number one, number two, right now, Amazon has drastically decreased the replan limits that a lot of our sellers were able to ship into Seller Central. So you have to be much more strategic on you know, what quantities you're sending in for each Asin. And again, a lot of times after you ship it in Amazon, you're not really efficiently receiving your product in a timely manner. And then number three, just you know, especially as we're in q4, um, even if you have product at Amazon, we're seeing inventory at Amazon, we're seeing Amazon actually pan the buy box over we saw this last q4, and I've seen it several times this year as well, where they'll hand over the buy box to a third party seller, just to have some assistance in helping you get your product out the door. You know, Amazon is huge into that cost the consumer experience. And so, you know, they stand behind their prime badging, they stand behind getting your product to you and to the consumer, in a timely manner. So, you know, especially during q4, when they're trying to get out all the instapot for the world or the deals, you know, the holiday items, or Prime Day etc. They're really leaning on those dropship offers or third party sellers to help them fulfill orders. So I think it's a huge myth, if clients can't have those offers offered like a dropship offer and are fulfilled by merchant offer. With called as well as official to Amazon, I think it's super important to have those options. So you basically have just what you're saying a backup offer to, to the inventory offer Fulfilled by Amazon?

Aaron Conant 18:01

Yeah, I think we're gonna have probably 15 conversations on that next year. And if anybody needs a recommendation, just shoot me an email Aaron, aaron@BWGconnect.com. And we can get a few of them that have popped up that really worked well, in the back of drop shipping three PL space that just shoot me an email, and we can get you in contact with him. But so I have a couple of hands up here. And I have an email question that came in. So I'm gonna jump out to Benjamin first here. But if you want to jump in, I just unmuted you, if you want to unmute on your side, just want to jump in brief intro on yourself in the company and then ask away, that'd be awesome.

Benjamin 18:39

That's great. Yeah, I'm here. Awesome. Yeah, my name is Benjamin. I'm the Ecom. Manager for a company. We sell a variety of consumer products companies, and we celebrate consumer products. I'm sorry, that we have a few companies under umbrella. I had a question about that, you know, this idea of keeping the lights on versus selling out not specifically with advertising, but with the strategy of raising your price. Is that something which would also be a better option than to sell out? Or if or would raising your price have a negative connotation with the rankings or just you know, Amazon seeing that it's not as affordable or accessible to the customer anymore?

Mackenzie Mendoza 19:24

Interesting question. And this question would be more on you know, the three P side of things probably then the one fee is on the one side Amazon controls your price, one three P you kind of control your own price. So if you're on the three P side and you know let's say you're selling an item at $20. And you know your run rate, if you up at 230. You know you're going to slow your run rate. I would say that is a that is a viable answer or a viable solution in that type of situation where you have a scarcity of inventory and you want to keep the lights on. You can raise your price and you know, see that increase margin realize that increasing And while also, you know, keeping your offer up. That would be probably a recommended strategy there events. So that's, that's an interesting take. But that's how I would play it. If I was on the three P side, and I had a scarcity of inventory, I would take my advertising away. And if it's still going to sell out, I would consider raising my prices and grabbing that increased margin. Now, downside to that you do have some people that look, you know, and they're researching maybe for future buy. They're going to look at your product. Oh, I thought this product was at $20, especially at $30. And now they're not going to come back to you. So that might be a downside there. But I think the upside of not going out of stock and realizing the increase margin is is preferable there. So I would execute on that strategy.

Benjamin 20:47

Understand. I appreciate that. Yeah. Awesome.

Aaron Conant 20:50

Thanks, man. I'm in love it. Next up, Bill, I'm going to jump out to you. I just unmuted you. If you want to unmute on your side if you want to jump in. That'd be great, company, buddy. Awesome.

Bill 21:04

Sure. Hi, my name is Bill. I'm digital marketing director, we manufacture commercial cleaning products. I guess I just had a little bit of a follow up on there was a comment made about, you know, looking for potential dropship options as backup with Amazon. And I guess I'd like a little bit more context on that. Because traditionally, when we've looked at doing that, that is the number one way to get them done not to stock your product. They would rather that we shipped it. So just wondering, you know, there seems to be I guess if that's the suggestion, there's some risk that goes along with it.

Jeni Doig 21:45

Are you are you on vendor Central or Seller Central? Vendor? Vendor? Okay. No, actually, that's a great point. But you know, in my experience, the vendor managers actually like to see the dropship offer as well, they definitely would, it's actually more profitable for them to ship it out of their warehouse. But at the back, I think the most management vendor managers I work with also suggest just having that backup offer. So it's not the main offer, of course, they're still going to go into automatically pull from the fulfillment center. But if for instance, they can get it there quicker, like if you know, if it's across the country, or it's during q4, and they just can't get it out on time that dropship offer really helps them get a product to the consumer in a more timely fashion, which goes along with that, you know, the customer experience. Also, sometimes there's, you know, Amazon's demand system and forecast system isn't completely accurate, as we all know. So, you know, if Amazon does run out of stock at the Performance Center, it's best to have that backup offer. That way, you know, you're not completely running out of stock, and you know, your advertising stops and the whole, the whole flywheel stops. So it's truly a backup offer to help support to really help support.

Bill 23:05

Teams, it benefits Amazon, but I don't know that it benefits a one piece seller necessarily. Right.

Mackenzie Mendoza 23:12

So let's read unpacking that question just a little more I take your question is, hey, if we switch to dress fulfillment, rather than a network, Amazon's going to lean into the direct fulfillment, and I'm not going to be getting those big replenishment POS anymore, which puts more pressure on your individual warehouse to ship out one offs instead of you know, shipping pallets to Amazon. I actually haven't seen this to be the case on my clients that when my clients turn on direct fulfillment, it's not like, oh, Amazon was sending $100,000 to the weekend. Now they only get, you know, $20,000 Because they're relying on direct soulmate, I really haven't seen that Amazon first to use their in network system. Amazon is still all about that promise state to the customer. And Amazon believes that and network inventory can for the most part get to the customer quicker than direct fulfillment inventory. So Amazon and As Jeni mentioned, Amazon's also more profitable doing it in network rather than paying the one off to send it directly to the customer. So overall, I haven't seen that be the case I haven't seen when people turn on direct to filmin as a backup, it having a huge adverse effect on their in network POS. So if that was your experience, it might be a little different. I know there's certain categories, especially like let's say furniture or anything that's big and bulky, that might be a little better going directly film it. But for the most part, I continue to see Amazon lean into the network quarters, even if direct fulfillment is turned off. So

Jeni Doig 24:45

to add to that, I want to make sure that we're talking the same thing like we're we're not we're not saying that you should have the vendor Central account shipping out you know, where you received the orders and then have a separate seller account to direct fulfill what we're saying is on the vendor central side, he would literally turn on, you would obtain a dropship vendor code within your vendor Central account and use the drop ship within vendor Central. So it still is all within your vendor central selling account as a true back, right, so it's not Yeah, doesn't make sure we're talking about the same thing. Because you are right. There are definitely certain categories and vendor managers that would frown on having this seller option for the same reason. So thank you.

Aaron Conant 25:32

You're awesome. And thanks, Bill for for jumping in. And then I have a couple more questions that come in, though I want to throw out there in one is around the changes in Amazon advertising. And then one is a very specific one in regards to loss by box. But if I kind of take the ones that Amazon advertising, we think about something that's changed it is the table stakes portion of of Amazon advertising. And then DSP has taken off. There's no Amazon Marketing Cloud that people are saying, Hey, we move. There's all these things that are going on. I'd love to have your insights up. Now, what are the best in class companies doing for AMS? My old school, right? So the PPC side, but also DSP? And is it worth it or not?

Mike Battista 26:18

Yeah, I can, I can take that one. So, you know, ensuring that you have a holistic ad strategy implemented here. That is, you know, tied to perhaps a implemented promotional strategy throughout the year is, I think one piece to that. But the other piece to having a holistic ad strategy is having multiple different ads product, targeting different shoppers, no matter where they are in their customer journey, whether that be ready to buy your product right now, considering your product versus similar aces or competitor agents, or just providing additional brand awareness, if you are a new newer to Amazon launch, or you have a new product that you would like to launch, very, very crucial to be able to implement different ad products to target those, those different shoppers in that journey. And DSP also plays a role within that right, DSP, Amazon's programmatic approach, and is the kind of the next step the enhanced version of sponsored ads. These two platforms work holistically together, you know, when done right, but certainly, it's a step by step basis here, we need to ensure that sponsored ad is absolutely set up foundationally Well, meaning the ads that are being served on Amazon within those listing results. Amazon has created additional resources within sponsored ads over the last 12 months, including giving us even more even even more functionality within a certain app product, whether that be with sponsored display, which is a cost per click version of DSP, in a way we have, we have a little bit more capability to target customers on a more granular level. They're so using sponsored display using a sponsored video to really take up that wonderful real estate on page one and page two and engage and capture those customers that are not exactly sure which brand they're going to buy, inserted, certainly a crucial step for the foundation of sponsored ads. You know, when we talk about these larger companies with larger ad budgets and utilizing or even, you know, mid cap companies and smaller companies utilizing an advertising manager service, you know, we need to ensure that, hey, that is implemented, but then we need to explore what DSP can mean for that particular company or that particular set of products. We know that DSP brings in a lot of extra traffic and eyes by being able to engage customers, whether they're on Amazon, or or they're on another site if they're on ESPN or cnn.com. Right. So being able to target those shoppers at the point of purchase, and then also when they're still considering that product, increasing the amount of touchpoints is absolutely crucial for that holistic ad strategy there. And then the second portion of that is a firebox question. I would probably direct that to either Mack or Jeni on successful buybacks.

Mackenzie Mendoza 29:48

Yes. So Aaron, is there a specific question around the buy box or?

Aaron Conant 29:51

Yeah, I'm bringing it up right now. So I can actually just read it. The email. Let me go here and It says, following up regarding losing buy box because of stocking out, we've lost the buy box in the listing where we have very deep inventory, but another seller listed the Asin. Right? So they've got it. Why would we lose position when the price is the same? We have seller fulfilled prime offer and delivery estimates are the same as a seller who was now featured. How do we get it back? So I mean, the ad heart there is you can't run any product ads if you don't have to buy a box, right? And so you start to see a drop off. I think that's a great, you know, this, this idea of the competition that's heating up. You know, there's a lot of sellers on the listing. Any guy who's reading the Bible, is this

Jeni Doig 30:41

this recent happened during q4, or Prime Day, I mean, because this is exactly what it should be exactly what I was talking about before where Amazon is not able to fulfill all the shipping out the supplement centers just due to all the constraints I was referring to. So this is where they are giving over the buy box to we're seeing them hanbok through third party sellers to help them fulfill and get the product out the door. But if this is happening consistently over the last year, it could be a whole different story. I'm sorry,

Mackenzie Mendoza 31:10

go ahead. And so it sounds like this was feller still prime so

Aaron Conant 31:16

and all the time.

Mackenzie Mendoza 31:20

It happens all the time. Okay, so what we're talking about here is a little bit of a Buy Box theory on Amazon and what goes into winning the buy box on Amazon. So a few factors that Amazon takes into account, they'll take into versus fulfillment, you know is that FBA or you know, if you're one p is a one P ship and sold by Amazon offer or if you're one P isn't a direct fulfillment offer or if you're on the three P side is it a seller fulfilled offer there's a difference there if you're FBA or have it prime badge, your you know kind of a cut above someone who is Seller Fulfilled. Next, if your three key is you know, kind of your your seller score on Amazon, your your health score, are you considered you know, in good standing with Amazon is your you know, order defect rate really high or or anything like that. And then the third element that is in there is your price. You know, if your prices, you know you can be a seller fulfilled item. And if you're five to 10% below all in shipping plus less price below an FBA seller, you can still go in and smash that buy box away from an FBA seller. It's just a matter of how far you have to go down on that price. We see all the time, long standing items that are one piece of unsold by Amazon, the buy box is suddenly stolen by a three piece Seller Fulfilled who comes in, you know, as maybe 8% below the overall price. And they can go ahead and take the buy box. So there's a few elements where you're talking about five bucks theory. And you know how all of those play out is that can be on an ace device basis. But those are the factors that you want to take into account. So if you're selling a certain item, and you're upset that you're not winning the buy box, now you can advertise now you're not getting the sales on that item. If you're three P you might want to look in in reducing your price. And there's numerous repricing tools out there that can help you do this in an automated fashion if you wanted to. But also, if you're really just high volleys specific top sellers, you can kind of you know, buy and fiddle around with your price until you're able to get back into the buy box.

Aaron Conant 33:28

Awesome. A couple other things that come up routinely. And again, if others have questions, you can hit star five, we'll handle up on the screen here. We can unmute you and bring you in or you can keep emailing them to me, Aaron, aaron@BWGconnect.com is just multiple questions around content. Right as we look at it, Amazon now versus two years ago, when this started the amount of content that's there, how it's used, even getting into the storefronts that people are building out what's now table stakes, and what's now best in class from a content perspective, including it into Amazon live. So I think images, what's the right number, you know, what converts more images or wording, a post detail page content brand stores? Yet? It's so much more than it was just a few years ago, including Amazon live any thoughts there about how how brands should be looking at content? How often they should be updating it or refreshing it or testing and learning with it. Would love your thoughts that?

Jeni Doig 34:32

Sure. I think it has changed a lot but at the same time, I think that it has also it's pretty consistent, probably the same in the way that the best of class content like so when we first engaged with a client, one of the first things we do of course, the beyond the audit is you know, bring their ASINs into our internal software to really identify the most highly relevant search words person for SEO purposes. So super important that you have SEO really Built in embedded into your content from from the above the fold essential all the way through through the a plus enhanced content. So, so first things first, you know, heavy SEO embedded into your content, a plus content is extremely important, which is the enhanced content below the fold, that's really a great place to tell your story, which, you know, as we know, a lot of consumers, you know, not only shot from Amazon, but also use Amazon to do their research on the brand. So, the more you can tell your story on Amazon, the better, which you can really tell through the enhanced re plus content, I think the level of competition has really is one area has really increased, you still have to stay within the modules of of the APL content, but brands are getting much more creative, you know, creating custom modules and then or custom content, and then bringing it into the modules. You know, you can use the comparative charts, you can list out the additional products that you offer, you know, for incremental buys, etc. Video video is, has been used a lot more in the last year, I would say for advertising video, which I'll let Mike talk about that. But you can also really manage the videos on site now within vendor Central and see you know how many times your videos have been watched in the length of time that consumers actually stayed watching your video. So videos are super powerful. And then the brand store, the brand store is another way another place that you can really load custom content and custom custom images and custom modules to really show your entire offering, as an offer a really incredible shopping experience to the consumer, and then use that platform to advertise directly to as well. So Mike, would you mind talking through like the video and brand store? Advertising person? Sure.

Mike Battista 37:01

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And you know, and just to add on to that, guys, it's just, it's important to remember that the Amazon digital shelf space will always be full, there will always be another option that is somewhat similar to your options. So having that enhanced content, you know, having that kind of full suite of products, including video, that engaging contents, a plus bullet points, imagery and content on your detail pages. And having a well established and nicely put together brand store with product differentiation is all very, very important for conversion rates, and to keep interest on your detail pages and within your brand. You know, specifically within video we've seen over the last 12 months, I mean, it started as a beta program just about a year ago or so, and started pretty low as far as a cost per click investment level and still has remained a pretty cost effective ad product here. And and this is something to really take advantage of here. Because again, as I mentioned earlier, the real estate, that that we are essentially prepping and buying on this platform is is the most important thing to remember. And the videos that that I've seen and I've launched myself has have been really strong engagement with click through rates. And with the number of clicks with the obviously the amount of impressions. And adding into that that cost benefit as well has proven to us that having video is a strong component of a total content package here. And as far as brand store goes, you know, again, we like here at Pacific to be able to consistently do a B testing on your brand store on the detail pages to ensure that we're constantly uncovering new insights about your shoppers about your brand, how they're trying to find you, and implementing those insights so that we can maximize results on the platform. So taking a look at that brand store, changing it for seasonality for new products, and beautifying it, in effect is a really important aspect of having a plus content on Amazon.

Aaron Conant 39:28

So are there any new trends or strategies as we think about everybody's up their game on Amazon content, paid media offerings, pricing tools along the way over the past couple years, right is everybody's jumped into Amazon, the level of expert expertise. And I think more of like competition, not just from a similar brand, but competition from you know, ECOM teams, right and leveling up internally. Right where Look back two years ago, there's 1000 people who really know digital, you know, now there's 3000 people. And so they're you're playing against, you know, a different level of paid media marketing team, digital marketers, you know, digital copywriters, whatever it might be. What's, what should people be thinking about as we head into 2022? Like, where should they be investing in? Are there any new betas? Are there any new things that people should really be have top of mind for them? To get ahead of the game? We talked about some things, right? Make sure you have a digital h3 tl in place, right? There's the management of making sure you don't go out of stock. There's the hay plane and the video space. Are there other things that are coming up that kind of give people a competitive advantage?

Mackenzie Mendoza 40:52

And, you know, the thoughts around how to win on Amazon, it's really starting to evolve, it is happening because of what you mentioned, Aaron, the saturation, right? If you are in sports, the sports and outdoors category, and you sell pens, you know, I don't know if you're going to be Coleman on the keyword tent, or camping tents, right? Like you probably won't even be able to make it on page one there. But can you still win making tents on Amazon? Yes, but you have to find the keywords that will work for you, you know, you have to go downstream a little bit. And if you go downstream, and say maybe you're in a canvas tent, or maybe you're in a canvas to Manteno, or maybe Canvas to manhunt with dog entry, you know, now you're starting to get really specific, yes, the volume is a little less. But the volume being a little less on Amazon is still greater than most other sites or most other stores in the world. So what's really evolved is people finding the keywords that they can win on putting those keywords into their content, advertising against those keywords, and really making a push to get to page one on very specific keywords. That how a smaller person or a sports person with a smaller budget can still win on Amazon. So the thought around, I'm in the 10th category, I just have to bid on the keyword tenant. And that's all I do that that's kind of gone to the past. So even the thought that you're in a category has gone to the wayside, you're not in the category, you're on numerous different keywords and where you rank on those keywords. And so starting to evolve your thoughts around that, because that's how, for the most part, Amazon, consumers find a new the Amazon consumer doesn't typically browse the left nav that you know, they don't really click around, they go in, they type in the keywords that they're looking for, and they scroll through. And that's what we have to start wrapping our head around as merchants and brands and sellers on Amazon. Is this really a keyword by keyword decision making base? And how can you know which keywords can you compete on and how to push into those. And if you stack enough, long term or medium term keywords together, suddenly you're starting to push volume. And now it started getting to the camping tent space where you could just dive into it before. Now you have five or six tent poles around to boost you up to get you that volume or now maybe you can get to page one on on a broader term within your category. So there has been kind of a thought evolution on how to win on Amazon. And if you're not thinking that way, you just certainly certainly reach out happy to have more conversations about that.

Aaron Conant 43:26

No, I love it. Right? You're not in HPC. Right? You're not in pet. You're literally on, you know 24 hour allergy, right? That's right, or you're on allergy, or you're on, you know Zyrtec 24 hour allergy. And when you shift the mindset, look, I know I love it. I think it from a strategic standpoint, how are you going to win, you're going to refine how you approach and you handle Amazon because that's the reality. Nobody goes to. I remember, you know, back when I was at Perego, they'd be like, Oh, well, you know, for this bout 10s of 1000s of dollars, we'll put your front and center on the you know, HPC homepage. I bet you there's 10 People in the history of Amazon that went to that. And five of us were at Perego at the time when we clicked on it after we bought it, right? Nobody goes there, right? People go there completely intentionally to buy they type in a search term and Amazon's goal is to get you to the product you're most likely to buy as quickly as possible and have you buy it. And when you change your mindset of hey, I'm in beauty, like your urine. Bright red lipstick. Right or moisturizing? badly, right?

Mackenzie Mendoza 44:37

That's exactly right. You're not You're not You're not showing up to the store and walk into the beauty aisle you're showing up to the store and walk into the most moisturizing lip balm aisle right like that is the aisle you're on. There's not a category wide aisle. It doesn't really work that way.

Aaron Conant 44:51

And then you find tune messaging, advertising content, all around the terms you want to win on it. that category, whichever one you're playing in, that's it that people win. That's how people know the back side, you still have to be able to get them to the product. So don't go out of stock. We talked about those issues right leveling up the game. I love the one about hate major, if you're on a third party site, you can raise prices, one piece I, you know, you can actually walk down paid media or start dialing it back holding it back when you get back in stock. And the flip side is make sure you have a digital h3 pl, right and I say that because the traditional three PL is the price and gets out of all out of whack. If they're trying to drop ship, your traditional three PL is not not made for it in in everybody's trying to make you know, eCommerce less margin diluted, especially Amazon. So you got to find somebody that really works in the space. Awesome. Any other questions? You know, people you have them hit star five, the handle go up on the screen here? But are there other other thoughts? Like what is the balance? You know, what is the other question that comes in, I want to get to it. What do you see is the balance between AMS I'm old school, right? PVC anambas, traditional sponsored products versus DSP. Like how should people be looking at? That's a common question, because it's changed over the past 18 months?

Mike Battista 46:19

Yeah, it's, you know, it's a question that that it's a question that's going to depend on on your level of engagement with the platform, and you know, what your, what your level of investment is, what your budget is going to look like, you know, having sponsored ads, and DSP balanced as part of your marketing portfolio here is ideal. But you know, we also understand that, that next step, that DSP investment is certainly a little bit higher, and traditionally, does not produce the direct role as that sponsored app does. So if you're new to Amazon launch, and you're really just getting your feet under you, if you're ramping up, or if you're just testing the platform, you know, the first the first thought is to say, Okay, well, let's just ensure that we are only investing in that product that is giving us direct returns. So you know, the balance comes from a little bit of learning and a little bit of data coming back on your sponsored ads, to try to maximize that. And then and then also understanding that, you know, you can reach a lot more net new customers with that enhanced ad product of DSP, to add more of those customers in the top of that purchase funnel is crucial over time. Now, is every brand going to be ready to do that? Right away? You know, historically that that answer is no. But if you want an increased competitive edge, which is getting more and more important to have these days, I think having those conversations with with the marketing team is is important to have,

Aaron Conant 48:03

for sure. Awesome. Question comes in, I have one item that drives 25% of my total sales. Start in April, we've been barely able to move the needle with glance views on this item and others in this portfolio, we tried several different ad placements and continue to spend aggressively, you know, even incorporate more non branded keywords. You know, any advice on driving up glance views,

Mackenzie Mendoza 48:28

right? So once use are going to be based on a mix between your paid advertising, right, your AMS and and your organic, you know, how people are seeing you organically. So, again, you know, the conversation here would be if their glasses aren't going up, okay, where are they great? What are the keywords that they want to rank on? And, you know, how many of those keywords are they on page one, you know, where you tend to see most of the glances, you know, so if you see your plants use, holding steady or even going down, you might want to check out how your organic rank is looking at this relationship between. I mean, everyone knows that glance uses a big input, but you got to see what feeds the glassy glance use always has to do with your organic rank. So this idea of how you work with organic rank influences your POS or your sales on Amazon. It's something that people really need to start unpacking it really need to start understanding especially for a hero item that's doing 25% of your total get, you know, you should you should really be looking at what are the 10 keywords that matter and where are we ranking on those 10 keywords and maybe you'll find out that oh, a competitor jumped in here on on keyword number eight and actually knocked us off. And this is where you know, we're losing out on the glance.

Aaron Conant 49:44

Awesome. Love it.

Mackenzie Mendoza 49:47

Aaron one way or another just portion I wanted to touch on here and I know times just winding down. The other part I know we're talking about saturation, right and how to win in a saturated marketplace such as that Amazon, we talked about, you know, being nimble with your keywords. The other portion to think about is your pricing on Amazon. We all know that, you know, inflation is happening, you go to Walmart or Target, you know, the price is going up the price of milk as a store is going up, right? So how is that impacting Amazon, there's been a lot of articles written about the pricing power of brands, and how brands were able, in standard retail to, you know, increase their price from $10 to $11, not really take a hit on the body of the American consumer is willing to shoulder that, that has been true on most brick and mortar shops. But I would contend that it's not true on Amazon. The reason here being, if you go to Walmart, and you're looking for a pack of scissors, there might be you know, three other brands selling scissors there and all their prices have gone up. So you're probably still gonna buy a pack of scissors there. When you go to Amazon, and the price on, you know, the price on your packages that you're selling has gone up. Well, there's what like 1000 other brands on Amazon that are selling scissors, so with the advantage of the affinity shelf, the consumer is going to, you know, go for the lower price point option, which is still available. So I know everyone's inputs are going up, we talked about cost increase discussions on a daily basis with with Amazon, here at work. But I would encourage brands to really take a look at at where they're being priced within the market. And the you know, if they can be competitive there, I think a lot of people are taking these costs increases, they're really worried about their margin, but they're going to price themselves out of the volume, you know, and I think you need to be more worried about your gross margin dollars and your gross margin percentage. And I feel that a big problem happening at the end of 2021 here probably in the 2022 is that people are going to increase their prices too much on Amazon, and they don't have the pricing power on Amazon that they might have across the broader market. And they're going to see a giant headwind against volume, and they're gonna wind up making less profit at the end of 2022. And as well as selling less volume and possibly holding inventory that they didn't want to hold. I have been doing a lot of research on this. And the data internally that we have actually backs this up as HSPs go up on Amazon, the volume is going down and then on the market is just so big, and there's so many brands that are is always someone that can step in and fill that void at the lower price point. So especially for these brands that have jumped first, we're seeing, you know, a big hole seen in volume, and it's an issue. So when you're having these discussions with your leadership, you know, I wouldn't say hey, we can raise our prices 5% on Amazon and expect the same volume in 2022. As we've gotten 2021 I don't think it's going to work that way. So I just wanted to put a warning out there for everyone.

Aaron Conant 52:54

Also, and one last question that we have to wrap it up. But yeah, I'm gonna, can you speak quick? I said it's gonna have to be quick. Can you speak to using some of the new data tools Amazon has made available, top of search, impression, share brand metrics, product opportunity explore, and really quick, anybody wants to follow up, you can stay on but I have a file conversation with the team here at Orca Pacific. They're all around industry leaders, they've been part of the network and the networking and knowledge sharing with you know, 1000s of brands in it for four plus years now. They just crushed it in this space. So it's worth setting some time up if we didn't get to your question or if you have others, but really quick you want to talk to and then I'm more than happy to connect anybody shoot me an email Aaron, aaron@BWGconnect.com, let's set some time on the calendar. And I can walk you through everything that I'm hearing going on from brands as well. But you know, topic search impression share brand metrics product opportunity explore, you know, any thoughts there?

Mike Battista 53:49

Yeah, absolutely. So some of these new tools are very, very valuable to have in your tool belt. As for any Amazon marketer or seller on the platform, you know, having insight into how much market share, you are gaining on page one, and how much of that real estate you are owning on page one is definitely definitely a first priority for for marketers, you know, we typically take a look at your share of voice curate Orca Pacific and be able to measure that over time and against your competitors. So Amazon being able to put this tool in for all advertisers is really, really fantastic. You know, I think the more tools that we are able to have in our tool belt here, the better. But, you know, the bottom line is also you know, being able to sync up these new KPIs and metrics with the rest of your 100 and a half KPIs that you're going to have to be looking at on a weekly or bi weekly basis is really important. Having a dedicated team as well that thinks on your content, and on, you know, some of your inventory flow and on your marketing is also very important philosophy here at Orca Pacific is that, you know, us being acting as an extension of that team and being able to handle kind of all three legs of the stool that's going to be able to make you successful on Amazon has been quite successful for our clients and would certainly help to help to promote that philosophy to you know, anyone listening on the call as well.

Aaron Conant 55:35

Awesome. Well, I see we're right here at time. Thanks so much. You know, everybody as a team, you know, Mike, Mack, Jeni from Orca Pacific, again, look for a follow up email from us with connection with, you know, I'd love to have a conversation with you as well. Don't ever hesitate to reach out for any recommendations on service providers across the digital landscape. That's a lot of what we do here. Look forward to having everybody at a future event. Everybody, take care, stay safe. And hope everybody has a fantastic week. And with that, we're going to wrap it up. Everybody have a great Wednesday, Friday. Take care now. Thanks, team. We'll follow up. Thanks so much.

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