Tag Archive: Amazon

  1. Is Amazon Vendor Central Changing? What You Need to Know

    Leave a Comment

    The Amazon rumor mill is running at full speed. But more alarming than the usual rumblings of mergers, buy-outs, and robots delivering your orders is one big closer-to-reality story: Amazon is getting ready to eliminate first party sellers.

    In early 2019, Amazon sent shockwaves throughout the eCommerce world when it briefly stopped issuing thousands of POs to vendors.[1] The eCommerce giant told those brands to sign up for the brand registry, a move many linked to Amazon’s desire to eliminate vendors that aren’t profitable – especially those that sell low quality of counterfeit goods.[2]

    The forecast, reignited by a report from Reuters this week, is that a new One Vendor platform is in the works, combining 1st party and 3rd party capabilities.[3]

    “The forecast: a new One Vendor platform is in the works, combining 1st party and 3rd party capabilities.”

    But right now, first party sellers and third party sellers on Amazon have completely different platforms for selling and advertising. The core difference? Fulfillment responsibility – who takes on the risks of  inventory, pricing, customer service, and shipping – Amazon or Brands. Generally, Amazon absorbs the bulk of the effort for 1P sellers. Naturally, they want all their Vendors to become self-service.

    Still struggling with what that means? Let’s lay it out…

     

    Amazon 1st Party Vendor Central Amazon 3rd Party Seller Central Impact
    Inventory & Pricing Amazon sets price and issues Purchase Orders for wholesale items based on sales, demand, and category considerations. Vendors fill purchase orders and must ensure products are available for purchase on Amazon. Seller manages inventory and sets price. There is potential for a significant impact on manufacturing, demand planning and inventory management for 1P vendors, which are traditionally not set up for real-time inventory.
    Pricing & Fees 4-10% COOP fees for manufacturers 15% referral fee paid by seller to Amazon Any fees paid to Amazon eats into revenue. Price point matters, especially with fulfillment costs in the mix.
    Fulfillment Amazon houses, packs and ships inventory. Manufacturers receive chargebacks for incorrect labels or packaging Fulfilled By Amazon brands need to pay fees to store product and fulfill orders. Drop shipping requires brands to stock, pack, and ship themselves, avoiding fees but shouldering the costs themselves. Most large brands don’t have drop-shipping capabilities due to volume issues. It can cost millions to adapt, but it will be worth it as online shopping adoption rates skyrocket.
    Customer Service Amazon is responsible for handling shipping or customer service issues. All issues managed by individual sellers. They have the opportunity to communicate directly shoppers The email capabilities on Seller Central are great for promotions and driving loyalty. There are penalties for not responding quickly to customer service issues (including getting removed from Amazon)
    Advertising Access to all Amazon Advertising Tools. Access to Advertising tools is limited to Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand ads. Marketing products and brands can be a huge effort. Smart strategy, fluency in the platforms, and a team of content creators is a must-have for selling on Amazon.

     

    What Brands Can Do Right Now: Get both 1st Party and 3rd Party Access on Amazon

    Sometimes brands have both  1st Party and 3rd Party accounts so they can provide customers with options and inventory that Amazon won’t purchase on the 1st Party side. Brands with their own 3rd Party presence can mitigate resellers denigrating their brand with bad customer experiences.

     

    What does this all mean for mid-sized brands on Amazon in 2019?

    Here’s the bottom line: Amazon is going to need more from your brand.

    The eCommerce platform will increase their expectations for brands to managing fulfillment, marketing, and manufacturing – without help from Amazon. The burden to fulfill customer’s high shipping expectations will fall squarely on the brands – which could seriously eat into profits. If you don’t have help.  

     

    [SOURCES]

    1Leigh, Andrea, Vendors snubbed by Amazon’s ordering system – it’s not me, it’s you, LinkedIn Blog, 2019 https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/vendors-snubbed-amazons-ordering-system-its-me-you-andrea-leigh/

    2Milnes, Hilary, Amazon walks back vendor purge as sellers look to reduce dependence on the platform, Digiday Blog, 2019 https://digiday.com/retail/amazon-vendor-purge-sellers-reduce-dependence-platform/

    3Soper, Spencer, Amazon Is Poised to Unleash a Long-Feared Purge of Small Suppliers, Bloomberg, 2019 https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-05-28/amazon-is-poised-to-unleash-long-feared-purge-of-small-suppliers?srnd=premium

  2. 5 Reasons You Need an Amazon Agency to Win

    Leave a Comment

    The sales and marketing worlds are colliding online. It’s a tumultuous and exciting time in your organization, but everyone is scrambling to figure out how to win on Amazon. Suddenly, the executive leadership is demanding significant growth in the eCommerce channel, Amazon didn’t send a PO last week and a brand manager is upset that an old logo is on a product page. Not to mention, there’s a random third party selling expired products and winning the Buy Box. What do you do first?

    You’re going to need some help. Because going it alone is tough.

    Here are just a handful of reasons partnering with an Amazon agency not only alleviates some of your pressure and workload, but makes the most strategic sense in an eCommerce channel that’s a constant moving target.

    How to Sell an Amazon Agency in to Executive Leadership

    1. There’s No Amazon Help Line

    The only constant on Amazon is change. Some agencies have full teams that just submit tickets, resolve issues, and dig through knowledge bases to solve problems that arise on a daily basis. Why isn’t that gallery image appearing? Why aren’t we winning the Buy Box? How do I create variations on Amazon? Why did a third party hijack my ASIN?

    You can’t phone Amazon, but you can phone a friend—the next best thing.

    By using an Amazon agency, you have access to a team of people who have already experienced and solved 90% of the issues you face on your own. Searching for solutions by Googling and digging through Amazon forums can get very time consuming.  If an Amazon agency doesn’t know the answer, they have the manpower and contacts to quickly resolve a problem so you can focus on other things.

    2. Amazon is a Sales Channel and a Brand Experience

    Would you bring your PR, Media or Print campaign work in-house? Just like any other channel, there’s an art and science to winning on Amazon. That’s a lot of responsibility (and pressure) to put on a small in house “eCommerce” team (or often, a single person). From logistics, to product setup, to content, keywords, pricing, and fulfillment, it takes a village to rise to the top.

    It’s not enough to just get your product on Amazon. Successful brands on Amazon have internal people or teams that lead eCommerce functions, but have realized that adding an Amazon agency gives them the competitive edge. As a bonus, Amazon agencies save you time and money because they’ve mastered the nuances of the self-service model.

    3. You Don’t Have the Time or Adequate Resources to Create and Optimize Amazon Content

    For the same reason that you hire a PR agency or a digital agency, an Amazon or eCommerce agency has the expertise, insights and resources to not just “get your products up on Amazon” but create a digital shelf that impacts the brand and drives sales. It’s been proven that the more (quality) imagery and valuable content provided during the shopping experience significantly impacts conversions.[1]  

    While your brand or digital agency might have the ability to upload images, they most likely don’t have the experience or understanding of unique Amazon shopper needs in your category. The strategies and tactics used offline (or not on eCommerce) are different, and investing in the right Amazon partner to create best-in-class content will pay dividends.

    4. You’ve Got Plenty of Other Amazon Tasks to Worry About

    Before you can create and syndicate great eCommerce content, a manufacturer must ensure their assortment and availability is stable. If you’re a mid-to-large-size company, you’re most likely facing supply chain and inventory management challenges, the rectifying of which is required to win on Amazon. While your Amazon agency focuses on the digital experience, you’ll need to collaborate with sales, logistics, demand planning and last-mile delivery solutions to keep up with the new pull strategies required by Amazon. Do you have the right selection? Are people interested in buying? Can you keep it in stock? Can you get it to the consumer in 48 hours without melting or breaking?[2]

    5. An Amazon Agency Helps You Stay a Step Ahead of the Trend

    Did we mention Amazon changes every day? A great Amazon agency is already poised for coming changes, and will proactively provide solutions to avoid missteps and beat the competition. You can take advantage of what’s new and now on Amazon…and sometimes capabilities that haven’t even been widely released yet…with an Amazon agency that knows how to push the envelope and pull strings with elusive Amazon reps.

    They’re experts on the latest Amazon best practices and can help optimize existing assets for Amazon or even create an Amazon testing environment for a brand, product or campaign. They can assess your ASINS, handle reporting, and provide Amazon success metrics. Amazon agencies at the top of their game possess a deep understanding of how different pieces of the Amazon puzzle click together to bolster clients’ efforts without breaking the bank…or a sweat.

    A dedicated Amazon agency can also arm you with thought leadership and forward thinking strategy on a rolling basis in an often confusing and cluttered eCommerce space.

    About CT Ad Agency Scrum50, an Amazon Agency that uses One-of-a-Kind Amazon Agile Methodology

    Scrum50 is the first born agile advertising agency. Their mission is to marry world-class strategic creative with efficiency by embracing agile marketing approaches — employing shorter production sprints managed by uniquely-talented hybrid teams. They focus on three competency areas for clients: (1) Agency Services, (2) eBusiness, and (3) Digital Transformation.

     

    [1]Lisac-Ramirez, Maria, The Sales Impact of Product Content, Salsify Transformers Blog, 2018 https://www.salsify.com/blog/the-sales-impact-of-product-content  

    [2]Pull Marketing Strategy, CFI https://corporatefinanceinstitute.com/resources/knowledge/strategy/pull-marketing-strategy/

  3. Creating Killer Conversion-Driving Visual Content on Amazon

    Leave a Comment

    Content is king, right? Right. So it goes without saying that all your visual content in Amazon should be as professional, educational and impactful as possible. If your product doesn’t look good, people will believe with all their heart and soul that it is NOT a good product. Consider Amazon as your most powerful conversion-driving Content marketing platform and make it work for you.

    Amazon Visual Content Rules

    Get familiar. The eCommerce giant has well-defined image guidelines, and playing by the rules is always rewarded. After all, it’s in both your brand and Amazon’s best interest for images to follow their best practices. Failure to do so often results in death, well the death of ROI. Death of sales, and death of your product page, A+ content, or Brand store going live because it’s not gonna happen without their approval. But with a little creativity, your Amazon enhanced brand content can really sell your story (and a lot of product).

    Think Mobile First

    Mobile friendly hero images are a must. When creating and managing visual content, think about how your brand pages are going to stack in mobile and think about what will actually show in your header image when it scales down to size. Amazon’s projected share of holiday sales via mobile app in 2018 was 40%, up from 35% in 2017, including $9.4 billion in incremental sales. That percentage includes sales from Vendor Central (sold by Amazon) and Seller Central (marketplace sales by retailers).[1]

    Product Image Photography

    What’s in the Box?! No, really, show me what’s in the box. Setting customer expectations of what they get is critical to purchase decision and reducing returns. Unboxing videos and clear, beautiful shots of everything you get with your purchase located in the gallery images help to win on Amazon. And anything that is NEW, like “new packaging” or redesigned products, should definitely be showcased as such to clear up confusion as people compare your products to others selling your products on Amazon.

    Refresh That Amazon Content

    Constantly evolving content is a must for the Amazon environment. Seasonal content refreshes are key to keeping repeat consumers engaged. Let’s face it, people get bored quick these days in an oversaturated eCommerce landscape. Embrace it and keep them coming back for more with the occasional Amazon Listing Optimization. Beyond boredom, the eCommerce giant is constantly changing. Templates change, image sizes change, formats change, and you may not get notified. So you need to be checking those pages and assume adjustments will need to be made (plan for at least 2-3 times a year). It’s also good to have a test and learn approach. Shift placement of visual content, include lifestyle, remove lifestyle, add more color—the best way to win is to make a hypothesis and test it.

    Use Lifestyle Imagery on Amazon

    Amazon product photos in lifestyle settings are how people relate to your products. Lifestyle is for the living and the living shop and compare on the site. A gorgeous kitchen inspires culinary genius’ to buy your premium pots and pans. That weekend warrior is convinced he (or she) can do that half marathon seeing a picture of those slick cross trainers pounding the pavement. How could she not? The pictures looked amazing. Time to order on Prime because those items will transform you.

    Sprinkle in Some Text

    Think outside (the first) box. You can’t add text to the main image, but, it can be added to the additional images for each ASIN if used correctly. A smart keyword strategy will always help supplement the visuals and boost your ranking in the site’s search. Scrum50, a leader in Amazon content creation, cites the COS (Content Optimization Score) as a key indicator of conversion opportunity. Among other factors, visual quality and copy content play a large role in its calculation and potential for the ASIN’s success.

    Tricks of the Trade

    We can’t give you all of our secrets, but we can put them to good use for your brand as your Amazon Marketing Agency or Amazon consultant. Let’s talk about what we can do to make your brand kick ass on the eCommerce giant, deliver effective agile creative and improve your Amazon Ranking. To get more info, contact us today.

     

    [1]  Marvin, Ginny, Report: 2018 holiday sales to grow 15%, driven by Amazon and mobile season, Marketing Land, 2018 https://marketingland.com/report-2018-holiday-sales-to-grow-15-driven-by-amazon-and-mobile-248468

  4. Growing Up on Amazon: The Radically Different Way Gen Z Shops

    Leave a Comment

    If you think the up and coming generation: Gen Z are basically the same as Millennials…you might want to look up from your Avocado toast.

    This new posse of tenacious teens and twentysomethings is already poised to take the eCommerce world by storm.

    Members of Gen Z are 13–22 years old. 90% have their own phones, they make half their purchases using said phones and 64% say they’re heavily influenced by imagery online when making shopping decisions.[1] They don’t cozy up to brands. They ARE the brand. They’re not idealistic. They’re pragmatic. And they’re not curators. They’re creators.

    Perhaps of most interest: Gen Z represents up to $143 billion in buying power, so understanding how they think, shop and consider the world around them is the next silver bullet.

    Gen Z Shopper Profile
    Profile of the Gen Z Amazon Shopper [1][2]

    Gen Z & Amazon: The Mall Effect

    For Gen Z, going to Amazon to “hang out” is a thing. It’s a place where emotion trumps practicality, insightful content turns a sale, and the “mall effect” makes the Internet shopping giant the hottest place to see and be seen.

    Like most shopping malls, Amazon is designed to facilitate the “Gruen Transfer,” or the moment when consumers enter a store and are intentionally surrounded by a confusing layout, which distracts them from their original intentions…priming them for impulse buys.

    • They go to Amazon when they’re bored, just to hang out
    • They scroll for days because of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
    • They get hooked on color…imagining how everything would look with an outfit or in photos for social media (right down to their candy!)

    Gen Z & Amazon: Brand Challenges and Solutions

    Like every generation, Gen Z comes with its own set of challenges, many of them to do simply with the challenges of youth:

    • Consistency of available funds
    • Price Point
    • Sorting through all the options on Amazon
    • Waiting for delivery (vs. going in person)
    • Reliant on parents account or funds 

    Gen Z Phenomenons & How Brands Can Meet Them Halfway

    • Understand Ongoing Cart Curation—purchase may not be at the time of discovery. Gen Z are practical and their money isn’t always their own. They constantly browse, adding to their Amazon carts products they may need, products that catch their eye, or products they want to think about before making a final purchase. They are cash-strapped and are usually curating their Amazon cart while waiting for funds to become available. Making it into the Amazon cart is half the battle…making it into the final purchase is the win.[3]
    • Craft an ExperienceGen Z are willing to browse until they find something that compliments or enhances who they are, and that helps promote their own brand.
    • Show Them What You Can Do For Their ImageGen Z have a desire to stand out and to be different, but they also need to be accepted and perceived as cool and unique. They’re searching for something no one else has or something they can “discover” that others will want to emulate. Creating unique experiences that help them visualize how your brand enhances their presentation as a person, will help break through the noise on Amazon.
    • Prime It and Price It RightGen Z are more frugal than Millennials, so while they may be browsing and experiencing all their options, ultimately, they will filter down by Amazon Prime options and price. They are pragmatic and planners—and they want things fast. So while experiences matter…if they filter you out because of the lack of convenience or price is too high, you won’t even be considered.
    • Build a Compelling NarrativeGen Z view brands as representations of their values, an extension of themselves. If they associate with a brand, what does that say about them? Are they part of something bigger than themselves, something cool and unique? They don’t want you to talk at them, they want you to show them who you are and include them as part of the process. Consider your brand presence on Amazon and how you stand out against competitors in the same space. Authenticity, transparency and having a greater purpose are extremely high attributes valued by Gen Z.
    • Break Through the NoiseGeneration Z are digital natives. This is all they’ve known. They have incredibly short attention spans and are used to making decisions quickly. Add that to an incredibly noisy space of Amazon and their need to browse through everything, and you’ve got one chaotic blizzard of brands clawing over one another. Imagery, colors, showing people they can relate to, prime availability, and price all weigh heavily into your product being findable on Amazon and making it into the Gen Z consideration set.
    • Cast a Wider NetMillennials and GenX know what they want. They search exactly for that thing and get results served up that give us a selection of that thing, which makes a brand’s search strategy easy. If you’re selling sneakers, the search strategy would naturally include shoe-related keywords. But in a Gen Z world, where browsing is life and impulse buys online are the norm—they think about their purchases emotionally. So that same sneaker brand may need to start to look at keywords like “accessories.”

    Reach Gen Z with eCommerce Agile Methodology.

    Scrum50 is the first born agile marketing agency. Their mission is to marry world-class strategic creative with efficiency by embracing agile marketing approaches—employing shorter production sprints managed by uniquely-talented hybrid teams. They focus on three competency areas for clients: (1) Agency Services, (2) eBusiness, and (3) Digital Transformation.

    [1] Generation Z, New insights into the mobile-first mindset of teens, think with Google, 2016 https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/interactive-report/gen-z-a-look-inside-its-mobile-first-mindset/

    [2] Generation Z, The Newest Generation, Response Media,
    http://www.responsemedia.com/generation-z-the-newest-generation/

    [3] Gen Z Amazon Consumer Journey Group Research, Scrum50, 2018
    (more…)

  5. Mondelēz International Names Scrum50 its eCommerce Agency of Record

    Leave a Comment

    SOUTH NORWALK, CT – Pioneer agile marketing agency Scrum50 has been awarded eCommerce Agency and Amazon Agency of Record (AOR) status for global consumer packaged goods company Mondelēz International, leader in biscuits, chocolate, gum, and candy, with brands such as OREO, Ritz, Chips Ahoy!, Belvita, Halls, Trident, Cadbury. The partnership solidifies Scrum50’s highly-regarded credentials in eCommerce, and specifically the Amazon marketplace, where many brands are struggling to keep pace with commerce platform and its many intricacies.

    The AOR distinction was awarded after a series of successful 2018 projects together—including Amazon-specific Trident Vibes launch and seasonal Back-to-School/Halloween programs for Multi-Pack snacks, OREO, Sour Patch Kids, and Swedish Fish.

    “In our relatively short time working together, Scrum50 has demonstrated a command of the Amazon landscape, delivered thoughtful, insight-driven creative, then executed efficiently through their agile approach,” said Chris Butler, Head of eCommerce NA at Mondelēz International “Our eCommerce channel has grown share in very competitive categories and seasons much quicker than anticipated thanks to Scrum50’s strategy and support.”

    Setting Brands Up for Success in Amazon

    In addition to their work for Mondelēz, Scrum50 has built successful eBusiness programs for Luxury Beauty and Fragrance, Gerber Naturals Baby Formula, Conair, Welch’s, Revlon, Elizabeth Arden and more.

    “Our eCommerce success relies specifically on the category and shopper insights we develop together in partnership with our clients so that we can fully understand what makes them tick and then deliver that messaging and creative directly to them.” Says Stacy Thomson, VP of eBusiness for Scrum50, who leads the charge in client growth on the ebusiness side. “Our clients overall have found success through our work on their Amazon platform with our expertise and strategy from product details pages with custom content, to brand stores and display units.”

    Press and Insights About the Scrum50 and Mondelēz International eCommerce Partnership

    Originally published in: Marketing Dive

    Naming Scrum50 as its designated e-commerce AOR points to how important e-commerce is becoming for Mondelez as well as for the consumer packaged goods sector more broadly. Mondelez said the agency was selected for its expertise in Amazon marketplace as evidenced in past efforts. Mondelez is clearly working to ramp up e-commerce across its brands as consumers, especially millennials, do more of their grocery shopping online. Amazon commands 30% of online grocery spending in the U.S., according to a Brick Meets Click survey cited by Supermarket News. P&G has also been pushing aggressively into e-commerce with new packaging, acquisitions and key partnerships and other marketers in this sector are similarly focused on establishing closer relationships with consumers through online sales

    Teaming up with Scrum50 will allow Mondelez to tap into a trove of product category and shopper insights that can help the company better understand its consumer base and deliver more personalized messaging. The news comes as Mondelez has already been bringing an e-commerce element to recent marketing campaigns.

    Pickups also appeared in: AdAge and MediaPost.

    What is eCommerce Agile Methodology? About CT Ad Agency Scrum50

    Scrum50 is the first born agile marketing agency. Their mission is to marry world-class strategic creative with efficiency by embracing agile marketing approaches — employing shorter production sprints managed by uniquely-talented hybrid teams. They focus on three competency areas for clients: (1) Agency Services, (2) eBusiness, and (3) Digital Transformation