There’s a certain level of bliss that goes into purchasing, anticipating and receiving something ordered online. It’s like a birthday present you sent yourself, the perfect gift straight off your list. As you peel back the tape and toss aside the bubble wrap, you uncover the greatest non-surprise. What is it that makes online shopping so exhilarating?
The powerhouse of all things online shopping, Amazon has more than $177 billion in sales, which equates to around $20 million every hour. Amazon continues to expand and dominate other sectors—from television series on Amazon Prime to automation with Alexa. Around 55 percent of all product searches begin on Amazon. While marketing on Amazon is still evolving, brands should have a plan in place before selling their products on the online superstore. To succeed, products must climb their way to the top (front page) of this sales engine giant, but not all marketers have the stamina or the budget. How can your brand ensure it is placed in front of the shoppers who matter most? Here are four steps we use to help clients enter the market and elevate their performance on Amazon.
1. Start With a Great Product Page
All product pages are created equal: a maximum of nine images and five bullets. How a brand uses them, that’s where the real opportunity lies. A product page is the equivalent of a storefront and will lead to the search engine optimization (SEO) of that page. These five product page pointers can help when creating or updating a product page:
- Choose high-quality photos that have a plain, white background. A high-definition image ensures the “zoom-in” feature can be utilized by shoppers. This ranks well with Amazon’s algorithm (A9) and can dramatically increase conversion rates with buyers.
- Don’t use HTML. The only exception being </br> for line breaks. You can use typeface variations like bold, italics and underlines. This will allow marketers to get the most out of five bullet points by making them longer yet readable.
- Provide a “limited stock” button to create a sense of urgency with shoppers.
- Try building a couple of great product pages first and then apply those learnings to future pages. Ensure the brand is ready for an influx of demand. If you cannot fill orders, Amazon may lower or ban your pages.
- Test, retest, repeat. Play with your product descriptions and their order. Make sure to only test one variable at a time. This makes it easier to measure the effect of each change on the results.
See--you can fit plenty of information in five bullet points.
2. Get Great Reviews—But Not Too Great
Depending on the product, there could be tens, hundreds or thousands of products similar in quality and price all fighting for their spot in the digital shopping cart. To ensure your product is considered, it is important to have positive reviews and lots of them. Conversion rates increase by there is proof of happy customers. Of shoppers, 97 percent purchase products contingent on their reviews. To ensure good reviews, make sure you have a great return policy and highly trained customer service representatives if/when problems arise. Don’t focus too much on only 5-star ratings. In fact, research shows a rating of demonstrates honesty and can build trust. If one product’s rating is too low, consider promoting other, more highly rated products until the numbers can rise.
Having trouble getting reviews? Some brands offer incentives for reviews like free or discounted product. These users typically provide more thorough responses than an average, non-incentivized consumer. Or, consider using Amazon’s API to send out automatic emails to anyone who purchases a product. These three emails will include a shipping reminder, delivery reminder and a final email once the product is received (which can ask the buyer for a review). This means every purchase has the potential to turn into a review. This practice lowers the chance of negative reviews, as well.
3. Optimize With Amazon Marketing Services & Google
With reviews in place and product pages that perform, it’s time to start promoting.
Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) gives Amazon sellers the ability to target potential shoppers based on keywords in a customer’s product searches. To use AMS, a marketer must be using Amazon to sell their product. As long as a marketer chooses keywords carefully, this can guarantee that the people reached are in the market for your product. These listing ads are served when a shopper is viewing a similar product. Done correctly, the promoted product would be cheaper or have higher ratings than the product being viewed to persuade these potential buyers to the advertiser’s product page instead.
AMS is self-serve and marketers pay per click rather than by impression. It includes services like sponsored products, headline search ads and product display ads. The intuitive program can even remove a product from “Sponsored” once the product sells out or reaches the desired threshold.
Google and Amazon are fierce competitors, but for marketers, they’re our best friends. The results of a Google AdWords search campaign can provide marketers with valuable insights for AMS. While 55 percent of product searches occur on Amazon, a large portion of product and non-product-specific searches occur on Google. Google offers tools for assessing the level of search interest that exists for product, category or competitor keywords. Moreover, if a product is performing well on Google, this can assist marketers when making decisions on which product(s) to put more support against in Amazon.
“Amazon’s algorithm places a premium on popular products, so in a vacuum, Amazon metrics alone can give you an incomplete story. By testing and comparing different variables on Google and Amazon, marketers can identify what is working and what is not,” Hoffman York Account Supervisor Troy Alfke explains.
For example, let’s say you are selling two different widgets: Widget A is selling at twice the pace of Widget B on Amazon. However, when investigating further on Google, the two seem to garner similar results on searches and purchases through e-commerce. This boils down to popularity and need for a product. In this case, it would be wise to review the AMS keywords of Widget A and apply it to Widget B. A small change can make a huge difference. Give this variable time, and if the results aren’t what you expect, test another variable and repeat.
4. Utilize Purchasing & Behavioral Data for Targeted Display Ads
Once you have your Amazon product page and paid search efforts optimized to target consumers while they are shopping on Amazon, it’s time to target potential consumers even when they are not on Amazon with assets such as display ads, mobile banners, native ads, video and social. Programmatic vendors and agencies that use a demand-side-platform (DSP) provide the option to bid on ad inventory and target each impression based on a consumer’s online interests, behaviors and purchase history.
Amazon offers this service through their in-house team, the Amazon Media Group (AMG), but there are plenty of other ways to acquire a digital advertising placement. Which method will be most effective for your product depends on how much you are willing to spend, who you prefer to manage the buy and what data you would like to use.
AMG will pull information from past purchases and behaviors on Amazon and use this information to best serve your ads across the web using their Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP). Ads purchased through AAP will appear on other websites across the web, not just on Amazon. AMG’s minimum buy-in is typically around $50,000.
Alternatively, ads do not need to be purchased through AMG in order to click through to your product pages on Amazon. Other programmatic partners or agencies with in-house demand-side platforms (DSPs) can use behavioral and purchaser data from several other data companies often at a lower cost.
Once a brand has invested the time, energy and capital to grow their Amazon presence, it is critical to continually drive interested users to those pages in order to reap the rewards of those efforts. With the right plan, selling products on Amazon should be even more blissful than purchasing them.
Looking for assistance building and enhancing your Amazon presence? Hoffman York can help.To learn more about our work or view case studies, click here. If you’d like to talk to us or have questions, shoot us an email at ROI@hoffmanyork.com.