For most brands on Amazon, there are a few well-known times throughout the year when traffic spikes and sales soar. From Prime Day to holiday promotional events, these peak seasons can be critical to a brand’s long-term success. But, high increases in traffic and sales can also take their toll, leaving brands with out-of-stock products and overextended advertising budgets.
So, how can you make the most out of your seasonality on Amazon — without damaging your brand in the process?
Rising sales are amazing for a brand — until they leave you out of stock on Amazon. According to Bhupinder Singh, the Associate Director of Sales at Media.Monks (formerly Orca Pacific), your main goal should be to stay in stock 100% of the time. That’s because running out of stock can cause Amazon’s search algorithm to lower your product search relevancy.
The solution? Stock up on inventory well before the peak season begins.
If you’re utilizing Amazon FBA (Fulfillment By Amazon), it’s best practice to have your products packaged and ready to ship to Amazon’s warehouses with plenty of time to spare before your peak seasons.
Give yourself two to four weeks of a head start, as this will help you account for any unexpected variables. Bhupinder also recommends setting your products up as FBM (Fulfilled By Merchant), just in case there are any delays with Amazon — especially during chaotic periods like Q4.
Similar to preparing your inventory, it’s always best to optimize your advertising in advance.
As Jackie Andreetta, the Associate Director of Advertising for Media.Monks (formerly Orca Pacific), says, you should be building momentum and relevancy throughout the year in order to stay competitive within your category during high-traffic seasons. She suggests leveraging historical data and sales trends from your product categories so you know when to be aggressive and how to create effective evergreen strategies.
To boost your success without breaking the bank, it’s best to strive for long-term growth. Identify the most important and highest opportunity keywords for your brand, then optimize for those throughout the year.
This way, the heavy leg work is already done. You’ll have a high organic ranking in place and paid ads can simply help you ride the wave during peak seasons.
To make the most out of high-traffic seasons and events like Prime Day and Cyber Monday, it’s important to set specific budgets and sales goals for these periods.
During these times, you should invest a higher percentage of your revenue and COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) into your advertising than you usually would for your evergreen strategy. But, how can you generate the most ROI from your daily budgets?
The key is to stay visible during peak shopping hours on Amazon.
You don’t want to run out of your allocated budget by 9 a.m. EST — by then, some shoppers haven’t even started their shopping sprees. To extend your budget as far as possible, enable dayparting for important days and leverage third-party tools that allow you to set your ads as active during specific hours.
The supply chain industry is constantly evolving to meet the fast-paced consumer demands for fulfillment, shipping, and delivery. Third-party logistics companies (3PLs) are not always equipped to handle these demands, and many brands lose profit due to inconsistencies in their distribution networks.
So, how can you ensure that your brand meets consumer demands?
While 3PLs are useful in handling distribution and shipping, their warehouses are often located far from the end customer, and brands can lose control of their operations.
The more efficient option: micro fulfillment centers. These centers handle multiple aspects of the supply chain, including assortment, network optimization, replenishment, fulfillment, and data analytics, in convenient locations close to the customer. By transitioning to micro fulfillment, you can seamlessly connect your operations to regain control of your brand.
As Corey Apirian, CEO of Davinci Micro Fulfillment, says, leveraging micro fulfillment requires understanding the customer’s needs and the facilities you should be selling from. Once you take that next step, you can maximize the customer experience and grow your brand.
According to Corey, 99% of all brands and retailers will offer same-day delivery by 2025. So what can you do to ensure your brand aligns with the industry’s development?
For starters, it’s important to optimize your fulfillment channels. To achieve this, Corey recommends taking an omni-channel approach and choosing hyperlocal facilities to place your products. Corey also notes that being in close proximity to your customer allows you to digitize and better evaluate consumer data to meet delivery demands with precision.
While micro fulfillment enhances predictability in the supply chain, it still requires you to manage your day-to-day operations. That’s where automated micro fulfillment centers come in.
With automation, you can decrease your footprint and maximize your throughput. This fulfillment method is especially beneficial for brands with larger service levels. After all, you don’t want to be handling everything manually when you’re receiving thousands of orders an hour.
Corey affirms that automated micro fulfillment centers will keep your cost structure down and help you efficiently satisfy consumer demands. The result? Increased profits and a better customer experience.
It’s never been easier to stand up a professional eCommerce entity, but brands are finding it hard to make a dollar. The Wall Street Journal recently released an article stating that Amazon has posted its first quarterly loss since 2015, mainly due to supply chain issues, inflation, and a slump in online shopping.
If an eCommerce giant like Amazon has trouble generating profits, what does this mean for your eCommerce brand? Is there a way to become more profitable?
Why aren’t companies making money on their eCommerce platforms? Two likely culprits are engulfing your profits: the cost of consumer acquisition and supply chain and fulfillment difficulties.
According to Michael Zakkour of 5 New Digital, the average cost of consumer acquisition for a large retailer was $124 two years ago. This year, the average cost of acquisition is $505. If you're spending that much money on marketing and advertising to get people to buy from you once, make sure you have a plan in place to turn them into long-term customers.
In addition to the cost of customer acquisition and loyalty, brands are losing profits due to supply chain and fulfillment costs. There's been extreme pressure on the supply chain overall, particularly during the last year and a half. As the cost of manufacturing, transportation, and distribution has risen, inflation has also affected fulfillment. The expenses for simply shipping packages have hit highs. So, now you've got downward pressure on the supply chain and downward pressure on fulfillment.
Rather than just selling on digital channels, it’s vital that your brand takes a unified commerce approach if you want to survive. This means connecting channels in meaningful ways. For example, try asking yourself, “How does livestreaming create an in-store purchase? How does an in-store browse turn into a QR code purchase in a new CRM acquisition?”
A principle supporting unified commerce is the ability to diversify your channels. Especially when you're looking at new channels, this step is crucial. Livestream, QR codes, social commerce, Roblox, TikTok, and The Metaverse are just a few strategies and platforms where you can generate sales, reach a wider audience, and increase profits.
Along the same lines, think about physical retail in addition to eCommerce. Simply being online or offline won't produce success. To have a prosperous enterprise, invest in various types of retail platforms and shape a cohesive strategy.
The unified commerce approach is key to boosting eCommerce profitability. But what specific actions should you take? First, do a complete and honest assessment of your eCommerce business and financials.
Next, assess your service level and supply chain pain points. Look at what people expect in terms of customization and personalization because it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. During these assessments, it’s important to recognize that technology, data science, and digital tools are the power sources for profitability.
Finally, it’s crucial to sell on profitable channels and create an operation with a unified marketing approach and sales strategy. Consumers expect an eCommerce presence, so you need to develop new strategies across diversified channels to meet their needs and create long-term customers (and sales).
Postgres aims to help teams build applications, protect data integrity, and manage data more efficiently. Although its core platform has been around for more than 30 years, the system is evolving to meet users’ needs. Postgres is now expanding from an open-source relational database to an enterprise-class platform.
But what are the benefits of Postgres, and how can you optimize the platform to fit your business needs?
Migrating from one platform to another can be tricky. During the transition to a new database like Postgres, you want to maintain functionality while keeping costs and migration time to a minimum.
But migration isn’t all about the technical aspects. According to Julian Moffett, who moved his company from Oracle to Postgres, technical challenges are just 10% of the problem. You also have to get your application team on board and demonstrate the business case for a system transition.
So what benefits can you present to get your team on board and work toward a seamless migration? One of the major advantages of Postgres is scalability. Data growth has been a concern on the Oracle platform because the environment is getting too big and costs are rising. With Postgres, you can scale without the high costs. Additionally, Postgres provides high availability, extensibility, and security features.
Is it better to build your own system, or buy a pre-packaged module?
Ultimately, it comes down to your specific business and its needs. For one of Gunjan Goel’s clients, the process of designing a new target platform and building from the ground up took almost 10 months. However, they figured out what data structures they could put on the cloud, what they could keep on-prem, and how data performance could be enhanced as they moved onto their target platform. Once they got their new structure up and running, they were able to see performance improvement, which surpassed the time, energy, and cost of building out their platform. Plus, opting to build allowed them to differentiate their platform.
Of course, there are pros and cons to each option, but Gunjan suggests that companies combine the build and the buy and expand their platform with an open-source mindset. You don’t have to lock yourself into a pre-set product, but it’s helpful to use pre-built options to jumpstart your systems. Once the pre-built systems are in place, you can build on top of it and expand with your own designs.
Postgres isn’t just a database — it’s an entire ecosystem. So, when you successfully build out your platform by optimizing tools, you’ll see improved performance throughout your database and processes.
The different tools within Postgres work together to provide a reliable and stable platform, ensuring that critical components like automation, data backup, and data monitoring are supported (and efficient). But how does the investment compare to other platforms like Oracle, and is it really worth it?
Companies that have made the switch have found that Postgres fosters higher availability, less downtime, monitoring solutions, and tools for improved team productivity. With Postgres, you can also have greater flexibility within your database and customize your platform to fit your business needs, which, in turn, improves the overall performance of your company.
Although Postgres may have an investment upfront, many companies are finding that it outweighs the cost of a database that just isn’t working for you anymore. And as the platform’s capabilities continue to develop at a rapid rate, companies are seeing just how valuable Postgres is in the future of digital architecture.
The term “headless commerce” is gaining traction as people begin to see value in its maturity. The overriding advantages of headless commerce are apparent in a multi-storefront experience where you can blend a group of best-in-breed eCommerce, content management, and marketing technologies in a powerful way.
But there’s a big question many companies are asking: “Is headless commerce right for me?”
Let’s start with the basics. As an eCommerce brand, most of your consumers interact with a presentation layer, while the administration and what happens from a business perspective occur primarily in somewhat of a back-end management tool.
So, you have two things happening. On the one hand, customer service teams, fulfillment teams, warehouses, accounting, finance, and IT are all working with the back end. On the other hand, the customer is engaging with that front end presentation layer.
With headless commerce, you can separate the front end from the back end of your application. The idea is that you can remove the head from the rest of the body, and the body continues to operate.
There are three significant limiting factors that headless commerce can address. One factor is on the presentation layer and customer experience side. Another is in that back end and management layer. And the third factor is that it helps address limitations inside the organization itself. Essentially, you can use headless commerce as a way to patch over problems you have inside the company.
Traditionally, eCommerce teams carry the primary responsibility for eCommerce growth. However, they often don’t have the authority to manage the eCommerce toolset. They're beholden to an IT team, AI engineering group, customer service teams, operations teams, and maybe even legal and finance teams, limiting their ability to move and pivot quickly.
Headless commerce allows the eCommerce team to work more independently and quickly to achieve its goals without being concerned with all those traditional organizational workflows and approvals that can be restrictive.
Jordan Brannon, President of Coalition Technologies, says, “Headless increases your marketing outcomes. It can be organizational, and it can help free you from some of the bureaucracy traps that maybe you're stuck in with a larger organization… it can be more flexible and dynamic, it can be faster to stand up, [and] it can be more responsive [to] customer needs.”
Headless commerce can help eCommerce teams address changes in the market — such as iOS updates, TikTok, and short-form video content — and take advantage of emerging opportunities as they arise.
To illustrate, a small pest control equipment company saw a significant increase in demand for online purchases during the pandemic, specifically around beekeeping equipment. They stood up a headless commerce experience specific to these products and saw a 3X increase in ROI. Because they were able to set up subsites and optimize for the consumer, their product sales increased. As an added benefit, the headless approach is also less expensive since their main B2B site is already connected to their accounting software, warehouse, ERP, and CRM.
There’s a wide range of headless commerce implementations. Brands are employing headless for apps, emails, games, and more. Rising projects also include headless commerce as it relates to the metaverse, augmented reality experiences, and 3D rendered products. Beyond content management, headless is also being used in multi-storefront initiatives to differentiate the customer experience and optimize the customer journey.
Coalition Technologies’ clients are using headless to generate content marketing, new experiences, and new interactivity. Comparing two clients based on Shopify and big commerce, Jordan says, “Both are leveraging headless as a way of… selling experiences that are different [from the] typical ‘buy a single product.’ Both use recipe-type content for top-of-funnel traffic generation… they wanted their content marketing teams to have more freedom to be able to publish that and do that easily.” Whatever the use case, headless commerce unlocks greater flexibility and unique content for your industry.
We’re already in a new era of digital privacy. A Forrester study showed that in 2019, 77% of US adults use at least one privacy tool online — and it’s not by default. The majority of consumers want more privacy and more control over their data online.
So, how do you adapt to consumers’ needs without sacrificing your outreach strategies? Every brand is now a data company, and you have to discover new ways to collect data and communicate with customers.
The end of third-party cookies is one of the most talked-about privacy topics today. Major browsers like Apple have already ended their support for third-party cookies, and Google Chrome is moving away in the near future. As this trend continues to shift, you can no longer depend on cookies for retargeting capabilities.
Why has the digital world moved away from third-party cookies? It comes down to a lack of consent. Third-party cookies exploit relevant information and allow data and activity on one website to be tracked by another. So, if you want to gain the trust of your consumers, it’s best to meet their needs and part with third-party cookies now.
With the end of third-party cookies, Chris Harrison, CEO of FullContact, says, “What we're trying to do is give control back to the brands and their customers... and I think what you're going to see is more and more of this as we start to build up that kind of trust layer underneath our digital economy today. A lot of companies are trying to build that, but also relying on other companies and digital trust agents to help them manage their first-party relationships with customers.”
There are a number of different ways to collect data without the use of third-party cookies. It could be anything from an email opt-in to a digital advertisement. No matter how you collect data, you want to make sure you have a standard way of protecting it.
One example is encrypting data transfers through keys. As data is being collected, you can protect it through the keys and then limit who gets access to them. Any identifier you use from that point forward isn’t reversible, so you can protect the identity and data of each individual.
Although third-party cookies are going away, first-party cookies are not. You can use web recognition tools to recognize returning customers on your site. You can also partner with other companies to leverage additional insights, create better customer recognition tools, and improve the consumer experience.
There isn’t a single, silver-bullet solution to help you thrive in the cookieless present. However, there are multiple strategies you can compile to reach consumers and differentiate your brand. Kevin Lazorik, Co-founder and Senior Vice President of Alliances at Hero Digital, says that brands have to ask themselves, “What does our user want? And how are we meeting that need?” According to Kevin, this will “never serve you wrong as a brand, as a marketer, or as an organization that's trying to be client-first. And that's an example of where leading brands are starting to differentiate.”
In 2020, Forrester asked consumers what would motivate them to share more information with companies. The top answer? Nothing. Consumers believe that companies have enough data and don’t need any more. The number two answer was cash — customers want to get paid for sharing their data. So what actionable responses can companies take to meet these needs?
Loyalty programs are unique opportunities to reward consumers for sharing information. You can also give them a choice to opt out in the future, which has been shown to make consumers more willing to give information because they still have some control over their data. Consumers vary across industries and brands, so it’s important that you keep your specific customer in mind when shaping your strategy.
Above all, your brand has to be transparent. If you want to build trust with consumers for the long term, keep them in the loop of what data you’re collecting, how you’re collecting it, and who you’re sharing it with.
Are you a new brand or launching a product and not sure how to effectively measure user data? By examining consumer data using the Amazon Marketing Cloud, you can have greater insight into how to meet your customer across their shopping journey. Not only that, but you can even understand how your customer is engaging with your ads and what is motivating them to purchase.
For many brands, improperly measuring the impact of their sales marketing techniques can be detrimental. Without accurate data, you’re left in the dark on product capabilities, unable to budget properly, and can’t connect with your target audience.
So, how can you set your brand up for long-term marketing success?
Gloria Steiner, the Customer Success and Business Intelligence Team Lead at Perpetua, says that if you want to optimize your performance and appropriately allocate your budget, examining the customer-level data is key. Why? Because the Amazon Marketing Cloud allows you to follow the consumer touchpoint across multiple platforms, you can see how to maximize your brand’s fullest potential in real time.
Gloria’s advice? Use these insights to allocate your budget and market your product for best results.
Increasing your advertisement visibility can cause concern among brands that are worried they’re over or under influencing consumers on their journey — which is leading consumers to steer away from products and decrease your revenue.
How can a brand measure the value of visibility among consumers? Gloria recommends measuring the overlapping data between the display and video advertisements.
By adding an additional layer of visual advertising by video targeting, Gloria says that a consumer is 1.9 times more likely to purchase the product after viewing both ads, so viewing the impactfulness of the overlapping ads is beneficial for your brand. A video advertisement combined with a display campaign can clearly communicate the value and effectiveness of a product to the consumer — making them more likely to purchase the product.
When it comes to launching your product and advertising your product off and on Amazon, using the Amazon Marketing Cloud to measure your data can help you bring customers back for repeat purchases.
The Amazon Marketing Cloud can connect the dots between the effectiveness of ads across multiple platforms. Gloria’s experience has shown that this is important to see exactly where the product is purchased.
Knowing where consumers purchased your product is crucial for understanding how to better target your audience. If you’re a new brand or launching a new product, measuring the user metrics can help you build a better marketing strategy and gain traction. In turn, this will increase your revenue and scale your brand. Who doesn’t want that?
Adobe’s Marketo platform helps you get measurable results from acquisition to advocacy, all while keeping customers engaged. Marketo allows you to send emails, build landing pages and, most importantly, look at data so client journeys can be customized.
Specifically, Marketo’s lead scoring tools allow you to build out the customer journeys from when they first appear in your database all the way to close. Through personalized campaigns, the scoring strategies help you attract, nurture, and deliver on win-ready leads.
Lead scoring is the methodology for ranking leads in order of sales-readiness. It saves time and helps companies focus on high-quality leads that have a better chance of converting through to a sale. Once a lead scoring method has filtered relevant leads, companies can customize their communication approach to meet the needs of the customer, further moving them toward a sale.
Lead scoring is typically divided into two segments: demographic scoring and behavioral scoring. Demographic scoring is anything that exists in your data that has to do with who your customer is. This could be company size, company name, industry, job title, or country — the list can be infinite. Behavioral scoring includes things like filling out a form, browsing a website, event attendance, and other similar actions. Demographic and behavioral components work together to create a lead score for each particular customer.
Although there are plenty of platforms that have lead scoring capabilities, Marketo far surpasses competitors in various ways. Marketo offers flexibility in terms of lead scoring — compared to other platforms where you’re often married to the lead scoring method.
One of the benefits of Marketo is unlimited scoring fields. You aren’t locked into scoring only the things that your platform wants you to score. You can customize scoring fields on any data point or behavioral action, giving you the opportunity to pinpoint more relevant leads specific to your company.
Some of the more advanced strategies Marketo offers are lead scoring A/B testing, product-specific lead scores, negative lead scoring, and the ability to run lead scoring on your own schedule.
Marketo has a long list of benefits, but building your scoring model still comes with challenges.
When you’re putting a scoring model into place, one of the biggest challenges is determining what you will score. You want to collect relevant information, but you don’t want a 20-question form to identify your ideal customer profiles. Many companies solve this through enrichment tools that help you collect extra data.
Another challenge is getting buy-in from your team on a cohesive strategy. You should ensure that both your sales team and demand generation team have a voice, but you still need the leadership team to drive decisions at the end of the day. To find a good balance between conflicting voices, you can take feedback from all teams, build two different models, and see which one is more successful for your company.
Regardless of how well your scoring model is running, you want to check in from time to time and see if it needs updating. And you want to look at this from both a process and an organic standpoint. You should be in the loop with your teams and have consistent meetings, getting their feedback on what’s working and what’s not working. On the process side, revisiting your model every quarter can be helpful to ensure that you’re hitting opportunity goals as well as marketing qualified lead goals.
With the recent evolution of data and work environments, it’s never been more essential for companies to put a workload security plan in place. Zero trust segmentation is a go-to solution, boosting security by isolating attacks before they can disrupt your entire network.
Microsegmentation offers extra protection, and it is quickly taking over as the new frontier of network segmentation. However, it’s not without its challenges. So, how can you implement a microsegmentation strategy as effectively as possible?
According to John Duronio, the Director of Strategy at TrueFort, microsegmentation is essential for protecting networks from evasive attacks. These days, attackers are able to infiltrate a network and move laterally quicker than ever before. By segmenting your network into small workloads, you can efficiently isolate and even prevent those harmful attacks. And, if an attack does happen, you can take action before it gets out of control.
However, microsegmentation isn’t just best practice for businesses — it’s now becoming a requirement. As John says, many new compliance regulations are actually insisting that companies have a microsegmentation strategy in place. The same goes for insurance providers, who will be looking for these additional security measures.
John’s advice? Start implementing a microsegmentation strategy sooner rather than later, because this is just the beginning.
Despite its benefits, microsegmenting your network also has its downsides — namely, the challenge of knowing where to start. Every company has a different network of systems, and it can be difficult to understand what to segment versus what to keep together. Larger organizations may have multiple domains, and many companies may struggle to split their complex network into multiple parts.
To solve this problem, John suggests taking a step back and identifying what matters most in your network.
So, ask yourself: what is it that is most critical to protect? It’s important to monitor and assess your network before implementing a microsegmentation strategy, as not all workloads are created equal.
Then, after you’ve taken the first action, the next step is patience. As John says, microsegmentation is a “crawl, walk, run” type of project, and many businesses fail because they give up too soon. Expect a timeline of several months to a year or more. After all, there are many moving parts to sort through, from various applications, to critical interdependencies, to outdated databases. Patience is key.
Once you’ve deployed your microsegmentation strategy, the work isn’t over yet. Now you must face the challenge of managing and maintaining it in order to keep your network secure for the long term. All solutions require some care and feeding to stay strong.
To simplify the day-to-day management of your microsegmentation project, it’s best practice to build a baseline.
You can build this baseline by monitoring the activity from the past few weeks to understand what is “normal” in your network. This way, you can more easily identify an attack or disruption and quickly take action.
Have you ever stumbled upon amazing content on TikTok and wondered how you can amplify your own content for users to see? What does it take to boost your engagement and see a return?
TikTok doesn’t generate or embrace the same content that Instagram and Facebook do. Not only that, but the platform doesn’t require the high production, high-quality video that you would run on YouTube.
Ragen Cooper, the Paid Social Manager at Blue Wheel, says that Spark Ads, a TikTok ad option for already established content, is the best way to promote your brand while seamlessly integrating into the native format audiences like.
Another strategy involves leveraging influencers. Using established content influencers to feature your product or brand, you can have them generate an interactive ad or coupon code, to keep track of the success of the product and the marketing campaign. This can lead to future engagements with your brand without generating new content.
Plus, using the resources available to you, you can create content that is raw and authentic while still promoting your product or brand.
Everyone wants to go viral on TikTok, but understanding the algorithm of the newest digital platform can be difficult to master. Unlike other platforms, like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram, TikTok comes down to consistently posting — but there are some notable trends you can follow to improve overall conversion and advertising performance.
Tayler Carpenter, Director of Advertising at Blue Wheel, says that the more content you have out there, the more likely you’ll show up on someone’s FYP (For You Page). This can be done by partnering with macro and micro-influencers who will be able to generate more content and resonate more easily with consumers, while also remaining current on trends.
But Tayler cautions against using the material too many times or creating content that isn’t authentic for your brand. Because of this, it’s essential not to repurpose the same high production or editorial creative you use for your Pinterest, Snapchat, or Instagram on TikTok. That is not going to work on the platform, so influencer selection is key when promoting your products.
If your goal is to build brand awareness for your storefront, collaborating with an influencer and providing a link on your profile is crucial. While you are still at the mercy of TikTok’s unpredictable algorithm, influencer marketing is still a highly cost-effective and strategic way to promote your brand and increase traffic to your store.
Connecting the dots to locate where your conversion increase came from can be more difficult on a cookieless platform like TikTok. But, Ragen and Tayler explain that it’s possible to find out where an increase in sales is from by examining the use of hashtags, coupon codes, and leveraging relationships with your brand influencers.
Ultimately, what’s the best way to build that awareness you’re looking for? By creating partnerships outside of the brand itself and combining different tactics to see what works.