For traditional brands that drive the vast majority of their revenue through traditional brick-and-mortar channels, e-commerce and Amazon may still be an afterthought.
Yet, a major misconception about Amazon is that the cost of not playing an active role in the implementation and maintenance of their Amazon strategy is little more than revenue.
However, as many brands can attest, an unmonitored Amazon presence is anything but benign.
There are significant costs of inaction, well beyond simply falling behind the competition in online presence and influence.
The vast majority of regional or national brands will find third parties – sometimes as many as two or three dozen – selling their products on Amazon. Regardless of whether the brand itself has chosen to sell on the platform, the third parties are free to, and will, do so.
Third parties may be distributors, retailers, or independent organizations who procure product from any number of methods.
No matter who they are, these sellers are focused primarily on revenue and very seldom do they pay any attention to branding, brand consistency, or even the inclusion of accurate information on product listings.
This manifests itself in the form of a messy, disorganized look full of amateur product photos; vague, short, or simply badly written product descriptions that may include typos, misspellings, or incorrect information; a scattered, unfocused brand presence site-wide; and an overall confusing shopping experience.
If a group of outsiders are defining how an organization’s brand is represented on a major e-commerce site, that alone should be enough to coax marketers from that company to step in and regain control.
Meanwhile, a significant percentage of Amazon customers don’t actively pay attention to, or even know how to tell, whether their Amazon purchase is coming through Amazon itself (from the brand), or via a third party. Given that fact, it’s more than likely a customer will attribute a shoddy look, setup, or shopping experience as a bad reflection of the brand itself.
Potentially worse even, any negative experiences a customer may have as far as product quality or customer service also can easily be blamed on the brand itself vs. the seller, even though the manufacturer’s only crime was inaction.
Just imagine if a major retailer’s policy was to carry an organization’s products, but make no guarantees as far as how the product would be presented, or displayed, or even if the product would be properly handled.
The manufacturer would be out the door.
Yet thousands of brands – big and small – are currently following that very strategy, or lack thereof, with the fastest-growing retailer in the U.S. and Canada.
For all the marketers who take their brand so seriously that even seeing a logo one pantone color off from brand guidelines is enough to get them to take action, it’s shocking they allow the free-for-all seen among some of the biggest brands in the world on Amazon.
OUR ADVICE TO MANUFACTURERS
It’s important, regardless of how involved your organization is with Amazon now, to go online and take a look at your brand presence. Look at product listings — the descriptions and photos — as well as how products are sorted and listed, and ask yourself if you feel comfortable with how your brand and its products are being represented.
If the answer is no, it may be time to get down in the muck and start cleaning things up.