global perspective, while understanding the interconnections
and conflicts between each sales channel and retailer sales plan.
Strategies to contemplate when considering e-commerce include the following: maintaining price parity for the same products across your site, e-commerce resellers, and brick-and-mortar channels; protecting your brand name, key product features,
and unique characteristics from competitive threats in Google
and Amazon search; and merchandising your product as well
online as you would at brick-and-mortar. That means having
high quality photos from a variety of angles. Include all color
options or other choices. Work with a professional copywriter
to describe your product and don’t overlook the fundamentals,
such as product dimensions, weight, material, and warranty.
Koeppel: First, you have to be on Amazon. Why? Because
more consumers turn to Amazon to begin their product research journey than Google. If you are not on Amazon, you risk
having your prospect easily diverted to a competitor’s product.
Second, on Amazon, you have to offer Prime. Prime membership has surpassed 100 million households domestically and
is growing rapidly. If you don’t offer Prime, you risk having your
prospect buy a competitor’s Prime-available product.
Third, a marketer has to mirror the best-in-class e-commerce sites in terms of quality of experience, ease of checkout,
delivery turnaround, and customer service. The leading e-commerce companies have conditioned consumers to expect
Lee: No. 1, mobile allows for “instantaneous gratification.” Mobile is and will continue to be the top effort of retail executives
for sales and conversion, although attribution to mobile and
across devices needs improvement.
Second, accurate data of organic vs. paid search results is
key. Utilizing consumer search behavior can make both in-store
and digital shopping an excellent and consistent experience.
Finally, cart abandonment strategies must be continuously
tested for consumer engagement and purchase.
Stacey: For many product marketers, the primary focus of any
e-commerce strategy should be on Amazon. Many marketers
list on Amazon but actually have little understanding of how to
drive sales with click-funnels and other models and manage the
metrics to win the buy box. Amazon is a very powerful platform
when managed properly. Its Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program also removes a lot of the operational hassles.
With Amazon’s fingers in everything, what
are the three things marketers must consider
when working with the e-commerce giant?
Besasie: Amazon has used the carrot-and-stick approach to
persuade marketers to use its FBA services. FBA has some clear
benefits, but it’s important that the marketer understand all
of the costs associated with FBA. There are several P&L tem-
plates online that capture all of the cost implications of selling
through Amazon’s marketplace and using its FBA services.
Amazon’s algorithms are designed to help improve the
customer’s shopping experience and, as such, Amazon places
greater value on positive reviews, FBA, conversion, sales velocity, and minimal returns. There are several hacks that can be
used to boost a marketer’s value score and chances of appearing
in Amazon’s organic search results.
Koeppel: If you sell directly to Amazon you are, in effect, a
wholesaler. The Amazon algorithm will keep lowering your
price, which could impact your other channels of distribution.
The result could be a loss of distribution in other channels and
a lack of channel diversification.
Consumers are looking for information to decide between
competitive products, so having rich content in the form of
images, videos, FAQs, and the like can help be a deciding factor between one brand versus another. And you must monitor
Amazon on an ongoing, vigilant basis to ensure you are not
being undercut by third-party sellers, gray marketers, or counterfeiters.
Lee: Don’t give up on Amazon sales because they keep customer
data. Utilizing the opportunity for product delivery into consumers’ hands is important. For example, if a brand utilizes a
soft offer of a product by asking the shopper to pay for “shipping
and tax” only as a lead-gen opportunity to acquire customers for
future sales, and the product value is $59.95, it should sell the
product on Amazon with collateral material that invites more
offers if the purchaser signs up online.
Selling on Amazon can be a cash generator. For example, if
consumer sales were noted at a hypothetical 32,000 pieces (in
a given year) with payment only for shipping and tax as a lead-gen campaign CTA; and the value of the product is $59.95; and
the product is sold on Amazon for that value of $59.95, revenue
can be realized: 5 percent of 32,000 sales equals 1,600. That
number multiplied by $59.95 is just short of $96,000.
McAlister: Fees … fees, fees — and knockoffs.
Stacey: The first thing to consider is education. Few people
know how to fully utilize Amazon to build sales. Attend conferences like Prosper Show or Sellers Summit — or even learn on
You Tube. The second thing is understanding brand and price
protection. Many people complain about counterfeits and price
competition on Amazon, but this is mostly related to lack of education and how to properly set up initial listings. Third, know
how to build reviews and win the buy box. This is a complex
process and requires skilled personnel to be successful.
For the complete and unabridged answers to the questions from our
Advisory Board, find the June issue online now at responsemagazine.com.