How to Launch a New Product on Amazon

Jun 7, 2021 2:00 pm3:00 PM EST

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Key Discussion Takeaways

How do you launch a new product on Amazon in 2021?

For any given industry or product, there are countless sellers competing for limited visibility on Amazon. It can be difficult to gain any traction as a new brand, let alone excel when up against established brands in the marketplace. Fortunately, there are companies that specialize in Amazon launches.

Orca Pacific is a full-service Amazon agency that guides brands through the entire process. They have worked with leading businesses such as Reebok, Godiva, and Mars. Over the years, they have cultivated the expertise to get brands off the ground and are thriving by improving the customer’s journey. Want to know how they do it?

In this virtual event, Aaron Conant sits down with Andrew Lorence, Jackie Andreetta, and Tracy McManus of Orca Pacific to learn their approach to launching on Amazon. They cover when and how to launch, managing inventory, getting reviews early on, and what to expect from the process. The three also answer questions from growing brands like “What are the challenges of launching internationally?” and “How do I deal with storage limits?”

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

 

  • Andrew Lorence of Orca Pacific goes over what brands should expect when launching on Amazon
  • Is DSP important for product launch strategies?
  • The good, the bad, and the ugly of the Born to Run program
  • Is Amazon going to bring back Seller Fulfilled Prime?
  • Advice for how to get reviews during launch
  • How early should you start advertising your Amazon product?
  • The differences between launching products domestically versus internationally
  • When is the best time of the year to launch?
  • What are some common mistakes that launching brands should avoid?
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Event Partners

Guest Speakers

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.

Jackie Andreetta

Associate Director, Performance eCommerce Advertising at Media.Monks

Jackie Andreetta is the Associate Director, Performance eCommerce Advertising at Media.Monks, a full service agency that is primarily focused on Amazon. She is a dedicated marketer with expertise in Amazon Advertising Sponsored Ads and Demand Side Platforms (DSP). Previously, Jackie was Account Executive at Channel Bakers, a retail media, eCommerce, advertising, and creative powerhouse agency.

Tracy McManus

Global Expansion Lead at Orca Pacific

Tracy McManus also works at Orca Pacific as their Global Expansion Lead. Before Orca Pacific, she worked as an Assistant Buyer at Zulily and a Marketing Coordinator for Meijer. She now applies her expertise to help grow Orca Pacific internationally.

Andrew Lorence

Director, Sales Operations at Orca Pacific

Andrew Lorence is the Sales Operation Lead at Orca Pacific, a company that helps eCommerce brands improve their customer’s experience on Amazon. He has more than 13 years of experience in managing accounts and projects. In the past three years, Andrew has moved up the ladder at Orca Pacific from Account Manager to Business Development Manager to his current role.

Event Moderator

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.

Jackie Andreetta

Associate Director, Performance eCommerce Advertising at Media.Monks

Jackie Andreetta is the Associate Director, Performance eCommerce Advertising at Media.Monks, a full service agency that is primarily focused on Amazon. She is a dedicated marketer with expertise in Amazon Advertising Sponsored Ads and Demand Side Platforms (DSP). Previously, Jackie was Account Executive at Channel Bakers, a retail media, eCommerce, advertising, and creative powerhouse agency.

Tracy McManus

Global Expansion Lead at Orca Pacific

Tracy McManus also works at Orca Pacific as their Global Expansion Lead. Before Orca Pacific, she worked as an Assistant Buyer at Zulily and a Marketing Coordinator for Meijer. She now applies her expertise to help grow Orca Pacific internationally.

Andrew Lorence

Director, Sales Operations at Orca Pacific

Andrew Lorence is the Sales Operation Lead at Orca Pacific, a company that helps eCommerce brands improve their customer’s experience on Amazon. He has more than 13 years of experience in managing accounts and projects. In the past three years, Andrew has moved up the ladder at Orca Pacific from Account Manager to Business Development Manager to his current role.

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Discussion Transcription

Aaron Conant 0:18

My name is Aaron Conant and Co-founder and Managing Director of BWG Connect. We're a networking and knowledge sharing group to 1000s of brands who do exactly that. We network analysis here together to stay on top of the newest trends, strategies, pain points, whatever it is that shapes in the digital space, I connect with 30 to 40 brands a week, we'd love to talk with anybody on the phone here, we don't sell anything, we're just a networking group. But I spend time with 30 to 40 brands each week, just doing digital strategy as a whole. And also, that's where we get the topics for these calls with the same points of interest come up over and over again, we host an event like this. So do a ton of help. People are looking for partner selection. Just having talked to that many brands as a whole, you know, kept, you know, just this shortlist of top service providers. It's everything from paid media to Amazon to performance marketing, international expansion, anything direct to consumer Amazon marketplaces. If you're ever looking for any kind of help with partner selection, don't don't hesitate to reach out always more than happy to put some time on the calendar. As we kick off the call today, a couple of housekeeping items. Number one want to get as many questions answered as possible. At any point in time, if you have a question, you can hit star five, the handle go up on the screen here and we can bring you into the conversation. The other ways if you can just just know a lot of people have background noise still. So if you get a chance, if you still have a question, just email me Aaron, aaron@bwgconnect.com we'll get those answered real time. But still, I always say if there's something that pops up, you know, an hour after the call tomorrow, next week, never hesitate to shoot me an email, I'll get back to you as soon as I can. And the last thing is, we're starting three to four minutes after the hour. And we're going to wrap up with three to four minutes to go on the hour as well. So just know, if you're looking at your watch, we'll give you plenty of time to get on to the next meeting without being late. So then I'm going to go ahead and kick it off, as I noted, you know, chatting with 30 or 40 brands a week. You know, this, the question is now is how do I launch at this point in time a new product on Amazon, you know, over the past 15/16 months, if it wasn't hard enough, you know, is you know, January of 2020. Now we have even more sellers and more products and more paid media dumping into the platform, you know, reduced inventory space and the one key and this repeat side, tons of people saying hey, are there any tips, strategies. And so we've got great friends, great partners, supporters that would network for you know, over three years now, almost four years now. Just helping a ton of different brands out across the board with All Things Amazon. And so they agreed to jump on the phone today and kind of give us an overview, but also answer as many questions as we can throw at them in regards to this topic as a whole. But you know, I'll kick it off. Andrew, if you want to do a brief intro on yourself in Orca Pacific, that'd be awesome. I know we have Tracy, Jackie on the lines out loud as well with questions today. But if you want to jump in brief intro on yourself and work with the awesome.

Andrew Lorence 3:08

That's awesome, appreciate you having us on the call here today. So a quick introduction of myself, Andrew Lorence, with the with Orca Pacific for a little over three years now started on the account management side moved into business development to really work with, you know, leading strategy calls with brands, talking through strategy and so forth on the platform. So that's kind of my history, I do a lot of auditing and kind of assessments there as well. So, you know, happy to jump into specifics here on the call, or afterwards happy to have those calls, be more in person as well. So, in terms of work, empathetic, you know, we've been around for about 13 years, you know, working on the Amazon platform, we work with brands of all sizes, categories, in various platforms in terms of vendor central Seller Central. And it's not only here in the US, we work with brands globally as well. And actually, with Tracy on the line here, she's our global expansion lead. So there's any global questions, we can kind of get into those as well as it goes into launching new products. But as I mentioned, we're based here in Seattle, a couple blocks away from the Amazon campus, all eager to, you know, be meeting in person with Amazon. Obviously, they're not in their offices yet. We aren't either. So hopefully in the near future, we'll get back to somewhat of a norm there. Really, we take a holistic approach is how we look at Amazon. So looking at content operations, advertising, we'll touch on each one of those here today, as we talk through kind of launching new products and so forth. Our goal is really to make sure that we're setting a solid base with the the brands that we work with to make sure that they have you know that that room to grow, and then really accelerate the growth there. So that's kind of a quick introduction there. There's a lot more to cover. You know, I know some people are new to the call here. Some people have heard this feel a number of times, but we'll keep that portion of it brief so we can jump into the topics today.

Aaron Conant 4:55

Awesome. So I'm just going to kind of kick this conversation off. There's a bunch of things that I get out Ask in a routine basis. And just reminder to others. If you have questions, hit star five I handed up on the screen here, we can unmute you and bring you in. Or you can always just email me Aaron, aaron@bwgconnect.com, and we'll get an answer there as well. So here's number one, you know, things that come up all the time, what should a brand expect when going through a launch? In terms of, you know, gaining traction? How long should it take? How will new brands handle? What is a new product? Do you handle inventory? You know, people are talking about advertising new products, you know, key metrics for launch. So anyways, if we can kind of kind of take the stepwise, that'd be great timeframe, what should a brand expect when going through a launch in terms of gaining traction as a whole?

Andrew Lorence 5:45

Yeah, I can kick that one off. And then I think with each one of these, I can cover kind of some of the strategy, I think Tracy will kind of cover more of the operational side. And we've got a Jackie here and the phone company advertising piece, which one of these will have a number of factors that kind of go into it. So in terms of a timeframe, I think the common thing that we see in a branded here at Amazon, I think you probably have a good understanding that things take time on Amazon, I think just planning for that planning for the unexpected is super important. We're with a lot of brands have these expectations of launching a product in a very short time window. And a lot of times, you know, we can do it, we can do but there's obviously you know, as you start talking about the operational side or fulfillment, some of those things take a little bit more time. There are ways to kind of get around some of those. And so in terms of this timeframe, you definitely need to kind of work that, you know, timeframe backwards. And so looking at, you know how you're going to fulfill the item. If you're looking at fulfillment and you're using you know, FBA, or you're sending it into Amazon's warehouses on the vendor central side, you're going to be looking at kind of, you know, how long is that going to take? Those times have really been fluctuating, especially with COVID, especially with q4, you know, we're in a timeframe where things are taking, you know, upwards of six weeks to kind of get in and get accepted. Right now, there's issues sometimes with carriers not picking up. So you kind of need, again, to plan for those unexpected pieces there. The nice thing is that we can be getting other things kind of ready in the meantime. So as we start to look at content and advertising strategies, we'll be kind of putting those together as as items around. And the goal is that obviously, once that product hits is available, then we have content ready to go advertising ready to go there as well. But I think, you know, Jackie, if you want to touch a little bit on the advertising fees, I think that would be good to kind of understand what that ramp up period is as we start to advertise and gain that relevancy of the product.

Jackie Andreetta 7:38

Yes, thanks, Andrew. So as relates kind of the timeframe on advertising, like Andrew mentioned, setting expectations is really time in setting up this products for success. So determining your strategy, as well as going to have a big effect on that ramp up period while you're where they're either taking an aggressive or conservative approach. And so obviously, with more aggressive approach, you can expect on the advertising side to see a lot more traction and traffic on your ads right off the bat. However, if you're a bit more limited, either with budget or just with the overall goals that you have for that launch, and taking a more conservative conservative approach, you definitely want to level set your expectations on that level that your products, not necessarily on the advertising side gonna blow up right away, you're looking at more of those lower funnel tactics that are going to grow the products lower over time. And so really determining those two different types of strategy is going to affect the advertising relevance that trickles down and affects your overall organic relevance as well in the long term. So we'll dive more into overall strategies, but definitely something to keep in mind with kind of the build and ramp up process of what it looks like on the advertising side.

Aaron Conant 9:08

So really quick, a question that comes up a lot just because there's been this huge push and since we're on advertising, huge push by Amazon for DSP. Are you seeing DSP being part of a product launch strategy? Or is this something if you still think back to, you know, a little while back here where over index just you know, sponsored products. That side of the house before branching into DSP, or you see in DSP is critical to you know, new product launch or is it something in between?

Jackie Andreetta 9:41

Great question, I think it's definitely somewhere in between DSP overall, isn't said for every product, every advertisers, so that's going to contribute to a launch as well. When you're comparing cost of search sponsored ad sponsored ads advertising versus DSP. DSP could often be considerably but considerably more expensive to be bidding within that category. But at the same time, DSP is really important in a launch in leveraging your previous cause customer purchase data. So a big strategy, especially if you are a larger brand that has more more products that have been on Amazon for a long period of time, utilizing that data to upsell your customers utilizing that purchase data to bring in that audience of people who have purchased older versions of the product or just from your brand in general and then marketing them the new latest and greatest products that you are launching. So that's a really effective way to utilize the DSP that you don't have the exact purchase data on the sponsored ad side of the business, but definitely not fit for all brands, once and brands don't have the access to DSP, as well as it just being more costly at the start of the launch compared to sponsored ads and advertising.

Aaron Conant 11:06

Awesome. Another question that comes in is around the Born to Run program, can you address the ins and outs and or the good, the bad, the ugly is a Born to Run. And that can be Andrew could be anybody.

Tracy McManus 11:21

I can speak to that this is Tracy, the Born to Run program is a great tool to get your inventory into the warehouse before launch, it's absolutely necessary if you're not going to do direct fulfillment, it allows you to get the inventory in without waiting for class views. And which typically triggers the algorithm to start placing purchase orders. So it kind of allows you to skip over that. It's a great tool, we have seen lately that there has been some limitations on which ones are eligible. And you also have to sell through your inventory within 10 weeks or you get charged for that, which I have the specifics on that. It is essential, though, to get your inventory into the warehouse before launching a new item. Otherwise, you're not going to see that traction. And you're not going to see those clients view.

Aaron Conant 12:18

Awesome. Oh, please.

Andrew Lorence 12:21

Yeah, so the Born to Run program that that started, I think it was a couple of years ago, when they started doing the beta, we were one of the first agencies kind of be taking part in that. So we started doing that with a lot of brands. And actually one of the brands I was working with was was pretty heavily using a hybrid model. And so there was that mix of you know, they tried to send stuff in through Seller Central to try to get those glance views and relevancy, then Amazon will start purchasing on the one p model. But then you have product in both locations, that obviously isn't good, and so forth to run really came in and kind of, you know, filled that gap of where that need was. So, you know, we highly recommend that with any brands, as Tracy was mentioning, if they're launching a new product, you can do the dropship option as well. And this is all in relation to vendor central Seller Central, obviously, you know, you can pretty much determine when and what you want to share fan, but boards around is definitely been a great kind of fill in. And it's it's kind of, you know, limited the amount of confusion there was as well, where people were kind of doing the hybrid model, you know, trying to get stuff in Seller Central, and then you know, having to deal with that kind of juggling at that time it would have with video products on both sides. So definitely theater is a key piece for launches on the vendor central side.

Aaron Conant 13:35

I mean, because well inventory there is so essential, because you can still on the one t side, you can still have if your merchant fulfilled, right, you can still have a prime tag. But if your seller fulfilled or you're launching this on the FBA is FBA, like requirement. I, for the longest time it has been Has anything changed over the past year where maybe having that Prime tag, you know, you get to this point now where Amazon's not hasn't handed out any new seller fulfilled prime badges? And it seems like two years now. And so important is that Prime, do you have to use FBA for people on the third party side that are looking to launch a new product?

Andrew Lorence 14:13

Yeah, I would say that it's pretty much required, I mean, obviously, you're going to look at that in terms of your product. And so if you're selling a huge, massive, you know, two or 300 pound item that that takes up a lot of space, they're gonna have to look at the margins, see if that makes sense. might not make sense there. But pretty much any other products, you want to look at your competition there. So your competition is most likely selling, you know, prime. The other piece is that if you're launching new product, they're going to be looking at your your metrics that are to kind of see how quickly you're fulfilling that item. And they're going to set that shift window. So if you're not using prime, they're gonna you know, pretty, pretty conservative there. So you'll see that if you do fulfilled by merchant, you know, you might be able to get that product to them in two days, but Amazon's gonna listen to this five to seven. So you know, most most consumers, including myself, I, you know, I order stuff I'm like, wait, like, where's where's my product, you're used to receiving things in the one to two days from Amazon. So just a lot of this stuff that you start to kind of think through it's a lot of it is somewhat common sense, because you're thinking about it from the consumer perspective. And if you shop on Amazon, you should have those kind of inclinations there. But FBA is, is pretty well, a requirement on that side, they'll put things to the other side, we definitely recommend, you know, if you have the capabilities to have that fulfilled by merchant option, especially with a new product launch, and especially if you're going through, you know, an interesting time, like Prime Day or q4, where, you know, deliveries might be delayed going into Amazon or being picked up, you want to make sure that you have that that backup offer available there. To know that you have product in stock. And so you might launch a product. And you know, you think you've sent him three months of coverage. And let's say Jackie is your advertising manager, things are going great and it out of the park and suddenly you've sold through that three months and you know, one month time and then suddenly you're scrambling to get product and FBA. In the meantime, you're out of stock, you've lost relevancy, and you've spent all this money and time and effort to get that relevancy and now you're starting to lose it on a daily basis. So that's where we're kind of having that two prong approach having that fulfilled by merchant or dropship option on the vendor central side along with kind of the FBA or you know directions from Amazon in place is really important.

Aaron Conant 16:30

Also a question that comes in is around seller fulfilled prime I think just because we just brought it up Do you have any you know, Inklings or information around if Amazon's going to be bringing back sell fulfilled prime as a whole and this is the reason I love the question is because Amazon's constricted right now right hearing you know, issues around restrictions around FDA and the the allocations you have that really hit the wall last q4, when they're making room for LEGO sets, and L.O.L. Dolls and everything else and some home goods brands really got restricted on POs and FBA space. And so it seems like that Amazon doesn't always work this way. But it seems like Amazon would be better off handing out seller fulfilled prime badges if people can actually adhere to the program and get it there in two days. But we'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

Andrew Lorence 17:22

I can share my thoughts and then Tracy If you have any additional thoughts there as well. Seller filled prime is great if it works Amazon has put in additional restrictions and in terms of requiring people to you know ship out on Saturdays there as well. We haven't as far as I know haven't heard anything about it being opened back up but last time I talked with the seller central team data administrator thing I check in with them probably you know quarterly at least that's the question because you know a lot of brands are asking that it's it's pretty labor intensive to fulfill things on the seller fulfilled prime offering and so if you have a three PL that, you know, they're able to do that and you have that, you know, you're grandfathered in, I think that's great. I think the problem is is that Amazon is extremely strict on their metrics surrounding that program. So even if you are grandfathered in it's pretty risky and so let's say you're in q4 Peak year season you're using sellers fulfilled prime and you have most of your products you know through that seller fulfilled prime program let's say there's a storm whatever it might be that delays those shipments out if you suddenly have you know missed shipments and you're you know you're hitting up against those metrics we're gonna move on saying it's not acceptable they can quickly just turn that other canceled prime option off and suddenly you're stuck you know in the middle of your peak selling season with out the prime batch and so it's kind of risky anyways, but yeah, we haven't seen it it would be kind of interesting to see if they will relook at opening that back up or figure out some different options there. But as of today, I haven't heard anything about that and Tracy if you have anything to add there.

Tracy McManus 18:55

No unfortunately I I do believe the waitlist is still there and it's just getting longer they did update their requirements for the people who are currently on Seller Fulfilled Prime into much more strict kind of guidelines in order to be qualify for Seller Fulfilled Prime so I'm sure and this is recently within the last four months or so. So hopefully things are going to start picking up here and maybe they'll open that back up with these new requirements.

Aaron Conant 19:24

Awesome. Love it another question that comes in so we're tackling you know for those of you who have just joined you know the the new product launch kind of like overall you know, key takeaways key points key things to know when you're launching new product on Amazon. If you have any questions along the way, hit star phi the handle go up in the screen here, we can get them answered or you can keep emailing them to me Aaron, aaron@bwgconnect.com. So the next question that comes in here, any recommendations for getting reviews during launch. Now that Amazon is removed early review program, you know how to keep Three, how do you? How do you keep pace with three p sellers who are clearly using review manipulation?

Andrew Lorence 20:06

Yeah, that's a tough one. Well, not a tough one in terms of following Amazon's guidelines, but it's hard to compete with some of those that are not quite following Amazon's guidelines, Amazon has started to crack down on companies and brands that are doing that. They have recently taken off from some pretty large overseas sellers, that they they thought were, you know, taking part in review manipulation. So anything that we take part within our brands and highly recommend any of you out there doing this on your own, follow Amazon's guidelines do not stray away from those, because that's a very quick and easy way to get taken offline or get your account shut down or get product taken offline. So in terms of seller, Central, or vendor central there is buying. So on the seller, central thought side vine is under beta program right now. And so Tracy, you correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that one is still free on that side. Which is, is pretty great. Because on the vendor social side, it's pretty costly. So that would be definitely a recommendation there. There are feedback services that you can utilize as well, which in essence, is sending a message out in the cadence to customers purchasing your products. And so feedback, five feedback, genius, there's another number of them out there, again, key things to take away from theirs is following Amazon's guidelines. So you know, if if those are being sent out, and you're, you know, putting out a message that does not follow their guidelines, again, Amazon is going to ding you for that and in some cases could potentially take your account down. So those are things that you can do that we'd highly recommend. There's other things that you can do that, you know, really just you know, the relevancy of your product, sell through rate, as you sell more, you're going to get more, you know, product reviews, and so forth. So that's where you advertising comes into play. But the other piece is really as you launch a new product, looking at those reviews thing was coming in, are there negative review this? So why is that a manufacturing issue? Is that a product detail? Page issue? Is it something as easy as changing, you know, the titles, bullet points or description, you know, maybe the imagery, maybe you know, customers don't realize something about your product. So that's probably the easiest thing to do is just, you know, adjusting your content there. But there's a number of factors that kind of go into play. And I say the the important piece is really kind of watching those reviews and make sure that you know, what's going on how people are reacting to the products are as well.

Aaron Conant 22:31

Awesome. No, love it. So the next question that comes in, is around how soon do you kick off advertising, that you kick it off as soon as it hits? So let me elaborate, I think just going to do do kick off advertising as soon as it's uploaded? Seems like no if you don't have it, but the other one is, how quickly do you kick it up as soon as the inventory hits the fulfillment centers as soon as you have it shipped and in set up and ready to ship if your merchant fulfilled when you turn that on. And then we've got a hand up, we'll go out to Stuart next would love to hear your thoughts there.

Jackie Andreetta 23:02

Definitely. So I would say on the advertising side, you could always send advertising right away, but it's recommended by Amazon. And what we recommend to our clients as well is to be waiting on Amazon side is recommended that you're wait waiting for 25 reviews at a 3.5 star minimum. So that could take some time. But really, when you're competing, especially in some more aggressive categories, that against products that have over 10,000 reviews, at least having that positive review count of 3.5 stars are hired, that's really where you want to focus on and so sometimes if products really eager to get launched, and brands are really eager to get the product up and going especially if it started out low with the traffic they're seeing without advertising off the bat, then I definitely recommend incorporating advertising earlier than the 25 Review mark. But it's essential to make sure you're advertising when you do have good reviews. So it's not required that you're waiting for that 25 Review Mark but if you're advertising with anything below three and a half stars, you're wasting your ad spend at that point and kind of driving convert driving then to pages that might end product and might not convert as high. So definitely waiting for that thresholds and participating in some of those programs that Andrew mentioned as well to get some reviews right off the bat. I did an additional program that is through vendor central only right now to come on Seller Central is through the vendor central portal is called customer engagement and those in but there does is an email blast that directly through Amazon's probe program that is targeted towards new products. So right now, the only email template is new product focus and all you We have to do all that's required of you is to put in that asen in, it blasts out that email to all of your brand followers. And so, brand followers, it's just as an information piece there, where that comes from is through Amazon posts, people engaging with your brand store. So that's a way to grow that follower base. And then from there, you can send direct emails through this portal now to make all of your brand collars aware of new products also. So that's definitely recommended. Within the launch, it's a very new programs to Amazon, still in beta, some brands on vendor central still don't have full access there. But he's been rolling out more and more of the past few weeks. So I definitely recommend utilizing that as well, to just blast out new products to people that are already familiar with your brand.

Aaron Conant 25:51

Awesome. Love it. And just a quick reminder, if you have questions as well, you can hit star five in the handle go up on the screen here. I'm going to jump out to Stuart Stuart, they shouldn't start by he have a question? Yes, feel free to jump in and ask away.

Stuart 26:07

Thank you. Apologies for any background noise. We have a bunch of products on Amazon US. I'm hoping we can kind of abstract the conversation to international markets. I have two questions for you. So we've been trying to launch them on Amazon Canada. And we we hit up against two all. The first is when we try to launch them in Amazon Canada, we see that we aren't able to select the category. If we click the sell globally tab and try to export the product there. The other thing we put up against is will launch a product. And we'll be selling a fair amount actually. And then all of a sudden we get hit with a source limitation. So if you have any suggestions for either of those challenges launching a national Mark product in an international market?

Andrew Lorence 26:52

Yeah. So the last seat there, you're kind of wondering about? Well, the first piece is wondering what the category and selecting into the category are. And I guess we probably need a little bit more information about why you might not be able to list in that category in some categories. And I don't know what brand you're coming from there. There are pieces where there will be gating for those specific categories. And so like grocery specific in the US is gated if you look at the supplement space, or whatever. Or it might also just be that your brand is gated depending on what your brand is, who limit other people from coming in and selling it as well. So there are some pieces there. And then can you remind me what the second part of that question was there? was about oratory limit.

Stuart 27:37

Storage limit, okay, for example.

Andrew Lorence 27:39

Yeah, yeah. So we'd have to look at that facility in Canada. I mean, we, we were hit with a lot of those in the US in general during q4. And that's kind of continued into a little bit of 2021, we're starting to see that list. And so I don't know if this was a recent addition, or if this was something that you were going through in q4, if it's in q4, you know, we saw that across the board. And to be honest, you know, it will depend on you know, maybe there are some restrictions there in Canada, it used to be that when you launch the product, Amazon will just give you full rein and say, you know, you can chip in as much as you want, without any restrictions based on your metrics, you know, other selling metrics. And so Amazon will look at kind of what your sell through rate is, you know, how long your product has been in stock for. And so we'd want to kind of look at what those metrics are today in Canada and see if they're in good health, that might limit your restrictions. But Amazon has started put in some restrictions unfortunately, with with just ending items and in general, and so again, kind of looking at the timing of when you experienced that, but also looking at some of those metrics that you might have in place where Amazon is basically grading you on how well you're performing.

Stuart 28:50

Okay, thank you.

Andrew Lorence 28:52

Yeah, yeah, obviously if there's any internal contacts that you have, you know, it sounds like this is probably on the seller central side. But if you have contacts there you know if that was something that Amazon was helping you with, you know, always reaching out to them we do have contacts on the seller central side there as well. So at times we'll reach out to them and kind of say, Hey, you know, are you seeing something that's maybe flagging list or you know, or something we can figure out within your account that might be flagging that as well.

Stuart 29:20

Alright. Good stuff.

Aaron Conant 29:22

Yeah. Awesome. Thanks Stuart for for jumping in. Awesome. Just remind others if you have a question hit star five handle up on the screen here we can bring you and or you can keep submitting them to me via email Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com and keep getting questions answered as a whole. So you know, another question that comes in here and I think we're just going to find is, you know, on an international basis, is it the same as yours what's coming up a lot is people want to launch products on Amazon EU. You know, it's a natural area for growth. There's Canada you know it but also the EU is coming up all the time. any insights on what it's like to launch a product in international, Amazon as well?

Andrew Lorence 30:05

Yeah, so there's a number of things here. And I'll let Tracy kind of jump in as well. It really depends on where you're launching, to be honest. And it also depends on if you already have a business set up in those local marketplaces. So if you're launching into the into Canada, pretty straightforward language is the same. If you start looking at the UK, again, there's additional restriction in each to consider in terms of, you know, getting the pilots in there, you know, taxes and so forth. But it's really when you start going into those foreign markets that you start need to start to consider you know, language translation, and so forth. And so with each market, it's going to be a little bit different, I would say that most of our clients will start obviously, they're, they're based in the US, or they're selling as their primary marketplace in the US, that's where the majority of sales are anyways, Canada's pretty much the next logical step. And then, you know, people will start to look at UK or Germany, the UK with Brexit has a little bit more issues, obviously, they're not sharing their, their supply with other countries surrounding them. That's why Germany actually has a larger marketplace to launch into. But then again, you're dealing with the translation services there. So that's kind of the process that things have gone through. There's emerging marketplaces as well, you know, so like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, is coming online here pretty soon. And so there are certain countries like that, that are emerging, where Amazon will really work with you pretty hand in hand, to help you launch in those places. So when when you start looking at that, you know, if your product might be a fad, you know, we've Tracy and I actually had a call the other day with someone over at Amazon is really pushing in the UAE, you know, eventually Egypt and Saudi Arabia, you can get some pretty good support from the Amazon side on those launches there as well to help you figure out importing pricing, you know, taxes and so forth. So international markets are of interest. And it's it's one of those emerging markets, definitely let us know, we can get you in contact with them over Amazon, or, you know, they might have already reached out to say, Hey, what's your interest level as well? So definitely, definitely, with those that are national launches, you're having someone that has been there or, you know, if you're able to, you know, engage someone on the Amazon side, that works really well.

Aaron Conant 32:27

Awesome. Love it in. So another question around that is, is paid media launch strategy the same.

Andrew Lorence 32:32

In terms of advertising in those foreign countries?

Aaron Conant 32:34

Yeah. And in the strategy around product launch?

Andrew Lorence 32:37

Yeah, let, Jackie, if you have some insight there.

Jackie Andreetta 32:41

Yeah, I would say that it's similar in that the requirements are going to be the same on when to start advertising. But the list of all markets in terms of determining your ad budgets and the competitiveness within the market us is we're going to see the most aggressive competition in terms of CPC bidding. And so whether it's Canada or the the EU market, the other markets in the Asian countries as well, across the board, you're going to see much lower CPCs. And so in terms of strategies, you'll be able to possibly be more aggressive than you would be launching in the US market as well, with the budget that you have determined in those countries, as well as similar to how you would create the content on those pages. But leveraging both the the language of that of that country a bet as well, I levering leveraging English and a lot of those countries as well, we tend to see a lot of traffic on both English still in some of the countries where English isn't the first or most spoken language. So definitely translating your campaigns that you see successful on the US side into that language is step one. And hopefully utilizing kind of more, not directly just Google translations, but kind of more colloquial language as well, is definitely seen as effective within that. But similarly to launching products in the US, utilizing things like automatic campaigns to pick up on customer searches is going to be really important to make sure you're picking up on all the relevant keywords for your products.

Aaron Conant 34:30

Awesome. Love it. And everybody keep sending the questions are great. The next question that comes in here is around timing. So a lot of people is it the best time of year to launch just prior to Prime Day just after Prime Day? Is it just before q4 you know there's different things that you're you're in those times where it seems great, there's more traffic, it's also harder to get inventory into Amazon is pricing is pageviews are up, but still, you know the cost to advertisers as well? Do you have like a best time of year? Or are there multiple best times? Are there times to avoid launching new products?

Andrew Lorence 35:11

Yeah. So when you look at and this kind of goes into the initial question you answered about, you know, expected timelines, I think it's being realistic with your timelines there. And then if you have the ability to plan to not launch right in the middle of Prime Day, or right in the middle of q4, the reason being is that you're basically going to be paying a higher rate for your advertising for those CPCs are, you know, elevated, you also don't have that relevancy. So let's say you're a, you know, let's say you sell grills and your your, your launch and, and you're getting ready for your peak season, which is in the summer, and you know, you're in January, you're like, hey, when are we going to launch this product, I would say, you know, during that kind of ramp up period into the season would be kind of that perfect time. So, you know, if you're able to launch and, you know, April May, kind of knowing that, you know, June, July, August are going to be your peak seasons, you have time to get the product, and you have the time to get your advertising up and going. And then you have time to really refined that advertising as well, that will give you enough time to build up that relevancy. So when you're in that peak season, you are, you know, clicking on all cylinders with all aspects of your business there. So I think it depends on that. But you know, obviously, you know, you're not always going to have that type of control for launching a product. So you know, if it comes down to that you're launching it and people are, there's way to do it, it's just knowing that there isn't much margin for error there. And it's going to be more costly. So, again, it depends on the product type. And if you have that kind of ramp up time period, to take part in that. So, you know, it's pretty product and category specific there as well. But I would say looking at kind of your peak seasons. And if you can give yourself a couple months prior to that peak season, I think that would be ideal.

Aaron Conant 37:02

Just going down that path a little bit. Are there are there like key things you should stay away from what do people most often you know, if you guys step in and take a look and help people out? Were people have made a mistake in launching, you know, those common mistakes that people have with launching new product on Amazon, are there like a top three or a top five? Or is there like, Hey, this is the number one?

Andrew Lorence 37:25

Yeah, I think right now, inventory is an important piece. You know, a lot of our clients and this brands were talking to her having issues with inventory. And so you know, their supply chain issues coming over what depending on where they're sourcing those products or materials. There, if you're gonna launch a product, I think we talked a little bit about this earlier. But as if you're going to launch, make sure that you have everything in place that you can have those weeks of cover months of cover, so you're not running out of stock. The worst case scenario is you put all this you know, time and effort getting ready for the launch, building out the content, building out the advertising, get the product in stock, people love it, they start buying and they start reviewing it, you start jumping into the organic search, rank, sponsor, search, rank, all that kind of stuff. And then suddenly, you're out of stock. And so that's like, absolutely worst case scenario. So that probably be one of the biggest ones. Jackie, if you want to talk to with any kind of advertising aspect, I think that probably be good as well.

Jackie Andreetta 38:18

Yeah, I would say on the advertising side, some common mistakes would be kind of spending out of the like being super aggressive, if your goals are real as a cost in return, being really aggressive right out of the gate, and then falling short of those. And then just all of a sudden dialing back all of that traction that you built on this campaigns initially out launch, that is definitely going to affect your overall campaign performance. And so with a lot of the topics that we've been discussing already kind of setting those expectations and having a plan from the outset. So whether that's being aggressive, maintaining that aggressive strategy through the launch, or starting more conservatively and then building up, but what you definitely don't want to be doing is going really aggressive for a week or two and then kind of shredding everything off just because you're going to be spending a lot in that first initial launch and not seeing the conversion and results of either your existing product lines or potentially what you would have expected on a return perspective. So definitely focusing on the separate metrics for launch versus your regular where you might be always focusing on realized for your core products. But really looking at metrics like click through rates in detail page through rates that are more consideration focused and driving people to learn more and engage with your page and your products, as opposed to just being conversion focus right off the bat since a big portion of conversions on Amazon is the reviews which you're not going to have a ton of right at the beginning of your launch. So really focusing on growing click through rates in detail page view rates instead of focusing on ro eyes and a cost as your most important metrics.

Aaron Conant 40:07

No, I love it. I mean, so they, you know, content for sure. Right. So inventory content and then end and paid media. So kind of standard, you know, what you consider for just overall success as well. The next question that comes in if people are looking at launching products, so right, pandemic kit, stop ship orders happen only essential, not, you know, not not essential, whatever, however, Amazon decided to deem that, and then, you know, people sat up, and they're looking around like, Hey, wait a minute, I should not be quite so over indexed on Amazon, and they started really pushing for other marketplaces. But with that, you know, competition and, you know, price matching and everything else. So, I'm kind of elaborating from next question that comes in is, would you suggest launching the same product offering is another marketplaces for adapting a specific product offering for Amazon and a specific one for Walmart? If you're, if you're launching on Walmart as well, I just think a lot of people are thinking more outside of Amazon, is there a way to differentiate products, pack sizes, combo packs, whatever it might be? Would you? Is there any, you know, is that an active strategy? Or is that hit? Miss? We'd love to hear your thoughts there. Yeah.

Andrew Lorence 41:26

Tracy, do you wanna share a little bit on that one?

Tracy McManus 41:28

Yeah. Yeah, Amazon loves special pack sizes and special things specifically for them. A lot of times, you can use this as leverage, if you're on the vendor central side, and you're trying to get them to buy the product, if you have special new for Amazon products, they are really keen to bring that into the warehouse. Also, we have seen over the many years that customers love, like larger packs dies on Amazon, they love buying buying bulk. So getting those bundles together, or creating something unique and new specifically for Amazon is a great way to launch an item. And it can really differentiate yourself from the rest of the marketplace, which again, would help with pricing and our competitive landscape. So I would definitely say it would be worth doing on the Amazon platform.

Andrew Lorence 42:25

To use even good another piece there and kind of on pricing control. And so looking at launching on other platforms, I think it's different for each brand. And how you look at this, because I think if you're going to launch the same product across multiple platforms for launching on Target or Walmart, the main thing to keep in mind there is a pricing consistency. So whether you're in vendor central or seller, Central, Amazon wants to be competitive. So they're going to want to make sure that they have a competitive price. It's not, you know, matching the lowest price. And so just having good control over, you know, other sellers, that may be on those marketplaces or those marketplaces in general is going to be extremely important. Sure, the people that sell on vendor central have seen this many times where Amazon starts dropping their price to match an external website. And then suddenly, you know, you've got issues in terms of Amazon's margin profitability, it starts to get into crap status where it can't realize a profit. So there's a lot of things that can happen there. So that is something to kind of consider in terms of your channel management and pricing control. Do you have a map pricing policy in place? Do your distributors have a policy in place where resellers or whoever else might be selling that outside of, you know, kind of the the main channels there. So it is pretty important. If you have good control there, I think it's fine to launch the same product across multiple platforms. If you don't so much, then as Tracy was talking about that unique, you know, Amazon specific ASIN or SKU is is, you know, could be beneficial just in terms of kind of keeping your relationship with Amazon good and keeping your pricing in a good place there as well.

Aaron Conant 44:03

Awesome. Next, I'm going to jump out we have a handout. Brittany, thanks for Brittany, thanks for hitting star five. If you want to jump in. Yeah, feel free to ask away. So Brittany might be unmute on your side.

Brittany 44:16

Can you hear me now?

Aaron Conant 44:17

Yep, sure, again.

Brittany 44:18

Okay. Sorry about that. Hi, guys. Um, so this goes with the pricing. I just have a quick question. So we're raising our prices this year. And when I go into Amazon, and the vendor Central, and I want to edit, let's say the price is making me basically resubmit the entire form. I have to resubmit all the details and everything and then it goes back into review. Is there a way a better way to do price management or maybe a different area of price management on vendor Central and some of our products are new, so we don't necessarily know you were saying that Amazon's trying to be competitive and we'll go with the lower prices from outside markets is there a way to control that, especially with a new product that we're launching.

Tracy McManus 45:03

So the first part of your question, is there any way to submit the cost changes without getting selling in everything? Is that is that correct? or? Yeah, clarify?

Brittany 45:16

Yeah. So yeah, that's exactly it. So it's basically when I go to update a price, it, it makes me resubmit, I go, I press the Edit details. And then I have to resubmit every aspect, or every every field in the form that I submitted previously.

Tracy McManus 45:36

That could be some sort of error either on your account in general, and you could go through RBS to correct that. Or it could be something as there's one feels wrong, and then it makes you redo the entire thing and resubmit it. So in my experience, if you get the date wrong, so let's say you want to submit it, you have to submit it 60 days out, and if you don't, you have to resubmit the entire form. I'm not sure if that's what's happening here. But it is possible, unfortunately, they're the only way to get a cost change for a price change is to go through that system. And if you tried all around it using a vendor manager or RBS or something, they will just direct you right back there. Unfortunately, it's not a manual. It's not done by a human being. It's done by the computer. So the algorithm, so it has to go through that platform.

Brittany 46:32

Okay. All right. That makes sense. All right. Thank you. And then I have two more questions, if that's okay with everyone. So one of the one of the things that happened last week is there was an error on our account. And when I went to fix the error, it was actually displaying someone else's vendor code. It wasn't our vendor code, vendor code, I wasn't able to change it. I don't know if this may have come from his sense that there is a lot of diversion with what we sell that or not, this could have potentially been someone else. And there was a glitch in the system, and it was showing up with a different vendor code. Does anybody else run into that issue before? And how, how do you resolve that?

Aaron Conant 47:08

Now, I think I'm gonna jump in here, like, I think, you know, just from this, I'm going to connect you with Tracy and Jackie, like, after and Andrew after the call, and they're sure they're more than happy to do that deep dive on it and other stuff, as well. Just a few, we probably got about three minutes left. And my guess is that's probably a five minute answer, if not seen, but they're, they're fantastic helping tons of brands out in the in the network as a whole. So I would like right afterwards, you can kind of do that the time was the other question around product launch or advertising.

Brittany 47:46

It was about a product launch. So we are launching three products as part of a system. But a number of following all the guidelines and everything, but they just keep getting rejected where all their other products are getting accepted. I don't know why they're getting rejected. I don't know if it's because they're part of a system. There's like three steps, but we sell them separately.

Tracy McManus 48:08

Where are they getting rejected?

Brittany 48:10

When I do the new product submission through vendor central?

Tracy McManus 48:16

Oh, yeah, that's very, very common. It sometimes can take months to be accepted and still be rejected. So anyone's running into issues with submitting new item, submission pages first, then NIS is going away. They're replacing it. So that could be an issue right there. Then also, I would just recommend reaching out to RBS and troubleshooting as to why is giving you that rejection.

Brittany 48:42

Okay, great. Thank you.

Aaron Conant 48:44

We are so the the new ASR form is going away. And I'm thinking of different calls that are coming up that we're we should be able to tackle as well. Right. And the other one was pricing changes. I think a lot of people what I'm hearing right now, cost increases, you know, people are getting it from their suppliers. You know, I don't think anybody's surprised that, you know, prices are going up. Now, how do you push through a price increase with Amazon, I think that is going to be probably a call we need to have in the next month or so. And my guess is it's going to be hundreds, hundreds of people that join that. So just a heads up, you know, Andrew, and to me,

Andrew Lorence 49:21

That was two minutes ago here.

Aaron Conant 49:24

Yeah, I'll kind of leave it there. Because we do have in thanks, Brittany, for jumping in, you know, are their key. Just really quick, everybody. Thanks for the great questions that came over today. As we kind of wrap up the call here at the next minute. You know, I'd love to jump on the phone with anybody if anybody wants to have a strategy session on either Amazon or digital or, you know, performance marketing, direct consumer. You know, more than happy to jump on the phone. I deal with 30 to 40 brands a week. It's about all the extra time that I have, but I always love those conversations. And I don't sell anything here I just we run these networking events. So more than happy to knowledge share across the board. If you're looking For how around Amazon, the team at Orca Pacific, great friends, partners, supporters of the network working came highly recommended from multiple brands within the network. That's how we got them on this call today. And I would encourage you to have a follow up conversation with anyone on their team over there, we can connect you after the call. It's at this point in time where it's really tough to build something out internally in match the expectation, get through an agency around Amazon and performance and optimize everything that you're doing there. So encourage everybody have a look with them. But you know, Andrew, we wrap it up here, key takeaways in the last, you know, minute, minute and a half.

Andrew Lorence 50:34

Yeah, for sure. First, thanks, everyone, for joining us here today. I know there were some, you know, more depth questions. So Brittany, so we're happy to handle those offline, have a kind of a strategy call specifically on those items that you might be working through. So and if anyone else has any interest, always happy to jump on the phone here. But really kind of takeaways here, as we kind of talked about it, it's, it's again, you know, you'll probably hear this over and over again, at least for myself is looking at things holistically. So making sure that you're really covering all the bases, because you know, your your strategy can only be as good as all the pieces that go into it. So, again, looking at the timeline, looking at some of that work back, you know, getting the product, then looking at fulfillment, making sure operationally that your account is in general good health, as well. And one of those questions was, you know, launching into Canada and not having the inventory that you want to ship in or restriction. So making sure that your account is in good health is extremely important as you go to launch new products, that there aren't any issues, you know, setting up a program surrounding you know, reviews, because again, reviews built into the relevancy there as well. The settlement and we covered that, you know, with the board run program, you know, FDA, both of those are extremely important having that backup offer as well. So we live that dropship or the fulfilled by merchant. But then again, one piece that we didn't touch a whole lot on is the content there as well. So content is extremely important. You know, each category is extremely competitive right now. And you need to have best in class content. So making sure that you're working with your content team, we're working with your agency, whoever you're working with, to make sure that you have a plan in advance to have those pieces, basic content enhanced content brand store all updated and ready when you have that launch going live. And then of course once everything goes live, you have to have that advertising strategy in place there as well. So again, I think all those pieces really tying into a successful launch and you know if anyone's have any issues or has any additional questions, always happy to again jump on the phone and kind of talk through those though don't hesitate to reach out to our team here.

Aaron Conant 52:36

Awesome. Well thanks Andrew for for your your time today. Thanks for being such great friends and supporters of the network as a whole thanks Tracy and Jackie you guys are great friends as well. And once again encourage anybody if you have more questions in this space you know reach out we can connect you with the team over there they're great friends and as a whole across the board and helping tons of brands out in the network. With that also I'd love to jump on the phone look for a follow up email for me love to spend some time and see what the next digital topics we should have but also brainstorm if you're looking for specifically around you know help with third party logistics like a digital age three PL shoot me an email Aaron aaron@bwgconnect.com there's a couple that are popping up that are really good and we can kind of just, you know slice and dice one that that's the right fit for you. But with that we're going to wrap up. hope everybody has a fantastic Monday, everybody. Take care, stay safe and look forward to having you on a future event. Take care everybody already. Thanks again, Andrew. Thanks, Jackie, thanks, Tracy.

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