Marketing on Amazon 101

More than 20 million individuals visit Amazon every month, making the platform the top e-commerce website in the United States. Today’s consumers don’t use Amazon solely to make purchases — they use the marketplace to check prices, discover new products, and research items they might want to buy.

Amazon continues to dominate the shopping journey, and according to Business Insider, 66 percent of consumers turn to Amazon before any other online site. More than 79 percent of consumers said they usually checked Amazon to compare prices, read reviews, or gather more information before making a final purchase decision.

Additionally, when a shopper has a specific product in mind, 74 percent will start their search on Amazon, according to the same report. Shoppers on the Amazon platform behave differently from general online shoppers or those on other platforms, such as eBay and Walmart marketplace, as well as those using traditional brick-and-mortar storefronts.

One reason for this is because Amazon has set up its listings so that it is very easy to shop around and view competing products. Brands need to make sure product listings are set up for success by clearly communicating through the value statement how the brand and product differ from competitors, and also why their products should be purchased.

With high market saturation, it is imperative for a brand to differentiate its products from competitors to drive increased traffic and sales. Marketers are in a unique position to capture consumers already on the platform, and to build a profitable marketing plan that can help brands succeed on the Amazon Marketplace.

Optimize Product Pages

Marketers should put themselves in their shoppers’ shoes and imagine the questions they are asking when evaluating a product listing. They should clearly call out what sets a product apart from dozens, or even thousands, of potential competitors.

Start by clearly communicating the brand and product name in the listing title, as well as specific features worth calling out, such as color, material, quantity, multi-use capabilities, and more.

Make sure customers know the product provides a solution for a particular problem. When people are browsing through nearly 120 million products on Amazon — whether for their homes, wardrobes or other categories — there is a need they are trying to fulfill.

When listing electronics — which ranks second in terms of volume of products, with more than 10 million units — include dimensions, specifications and key features. Show how the product looks in an environment through quality photography, thus optimizing listings and letting the shopper know how the device can satisfy a need.

Photography is the most important factor. Approximately 70 percent of consumers will choose a listing based on photography alone. Amazon has strict guidelines for photography but simply following its guidelines likely won’t increase sales. Use white backgrounds as well as lifestyle images to demonstrate products in action. Meet Amazon’s photo quantity standards, but always strive to exceed them.

Beyond the fundamentals of product information and photography, one way to ensure follow-through on purchase intent is to make product reviews visible, reputable and plentiful. Encouraging previous purchasers to provide product and seller feedback to customers like them is valuable to everyone involved. Quality reviews with high star ratings boost visibility in the Amazon algorithm — and 95 percent of shoppers look at them before purchasing.

Take Advantage of Advertising

Amazon advertising — Amazon Marketing Services — is a great way to drive traffic to A+ content, but the traffic is valuable only if it can be converted to sales. In short, when Amazon advertising, A+ content, SEO, photography, and other factors work hand-in-hand, there is a higher close rate.

To help customers find a product through advertising, there are a few best practices Amazon itself notes should be employed.

First, understand page views. Page views are the number of times that an item level has been viewed by customers on Amazon. This metric is how visibility is tracked in the marketplace. Analyzing page views for all listings can provide insight to what works well with the Amazon customer and what needs to be changed.

Invest time in a strategic advertising campaign. One of the best practices for utilizing and improving advertising is to work onimproving click-through-rate, or CTR. CTR is the ratio of shoppers that click on an ad to the number of times it is shown.

Each campaign and keyword has its own CTR that brands can see within Amazon campaign management, and CTR optimization strategies will vary by type of promotion and genre of product.

Some common ways to improve CTR are to take successful automated campaigns and create manual campaigns with those keywords. Marketers also can use negative keywords to minimize irrelevant traffic and test a product’s headlines, in addition to looking for phrases, words, and calls to action that compel customers to click and buy.

Build A+ Content

A+ content is a feature that enables brand owners to enhance the product descriptions of their Amazon Marketplace Listings.

Using these functionalities, product features can be described in a different way by including a unique brand story, enhanced images, and text placements. Adding A+ content to product detail pages can result in higher conversion rates and increased sales when used effectively.

One aspect of A+ content is design — visually showing the core selling points of the product. Consider questions such as these: Would these selling points be understood through icons and illustrations? How about through close up images of the product? What about annotated photography? Amazon shoppers respond much more positively to being shown visually what makes a product special, rather than being told.

Additionally, focus on creating a custom template that has:

  • Strong hierarchy, which makes the most important information stand out;
  • Good balance, which aids in legibility and helps the viewer to sort through the content efficiently; and
  • Repetition, which can highlight key features in certain rows or images.

These design principles allow shoppers to find, process, and understand key information quickly — making them more likely to buy.

Another important aspect of A+ content is to address a shopper’s frequently asked questions. It is key to take the time to research and know the questions potential customers may have so they can be addressed up front.

For example, a brand selling health supplements should note where its ingredients come from, any certifications that add credibility, and information on how or why their products work. A company selling a power tool should address manufacturing processes, materials that make it high quality and long lasting, and features that make it safer to use. Use A+ content to address key questions, hesitations or concerns shoppers may have when considering adding a product to their cart.

Lastly, design content to be digested easily. Shoppers rapidly lose focus if they have to search for information. Amazon’s generic A+ content is not customer friendly and creates unnecessary work for a consumer. If possible, create individual templates and upload them as an image instead of relying on basic A+ modules.

Amazon itself notes that by using this tool, brands can describe product features in a different way — including a unique brand story, enhanced images, and text placements.

Engage a Trusted Third Party

Navigating Amazon’s frequently changing algorithms through top-notch marketing, including branding and photography, can be tough for any given marketer to do alone, as Amazon rolls out new tools and tweaks functionality almost weekly.

Brands should consider engaging a trusted third party to help manage Amazon selling and eventual success. Every brand needs an Amazon strategy tailored to its specific audience, and working with an experienced partner can ensure that every step of the process runs as smoothly as possible. Verified third-party sellers are working with brand partners and in the marketplace daily, and these companies are tuned in to the availability of new tools.

It is vital to have an overarching “Amazon Marketing 101” strategy to enjoy success on the platform. By building on the basics of Amazon marketing strategies, brands can conquer the modern mall of Amazon — one full of opportunities to connect with target customers every day.

Vanessa Ruminski

Vanessa Ruminski is Vice President of Partnerships for SupplyKick, a strategic marketplace partner specialized in building brands, growing sales, and moving products on Amazon. Her background includes more than 10 years of senior experience in merchandising in brick-and-mortar and e-commerce retail for The Bon-Ton Stores. In her role at SupplyKick, she works with hundreds of category-leading brands, including Heartland Foods (Splenda), Blue Rhino, Johnson Hardware and ciao! baby.

1 Comment

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