[Webinar] The Rebirth of Amazon Display Advertising

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

[Webinar] The Rebirth of Amazon Display Advertising

Dina Podnar

[Webinar] The Rebirth of Amazon Display Advertising

Wednesday, December 12, 2018 at 1:00 pm EST/ 10:00 am PST

Register Here Today!

In early 2018, Amazon finally unlocked the doors to its programmatic display advertising platform, providing exclusive access to top strategic marketing agencies.

 For the first time, instead of making bulk Amazon Media Group (AMG) buys to guarantee a display presence, brands had the ability to join with an agency partner and fully control the programmatic side of their Amazon efforts, opening the doors to a world of new targeting capabilities.

Amazon DSP (formerly known as Amazon Advertising Platform) has created the opportunity for brands to go beyond search ads and reach a larger number of high-intent consumers by implementing a full range of audience targeting strategies.

By delivering high numbers of impressions to shoppers wherever they are online, these ads can drive awareness and consideration of previously unfamiliar brands and products, as well as re-engage customers who have expressed interest in your products but have yet to purchase.

 With this capability now available to brands with agency partnership, organizations should be taking advantage of the opportunity to remarket, track customer behaviors, and target defined audiences like never before.

Join Amazon Advertising expert Ben LeMaster, as he shares some of the critical strategies brands should be exploring within Amazon Display.

Topics we will cover include:

  • How DSP efforts impact the full sales funnel
  • An overview of general capabilities within Amazon DSP
  • Insight into DSP’s immense audience targeting options
  • A dive into DSP’s extensive data and reporting capabilities
  • How DSP increases branded searches & daily average sales
  • Measuring success of an Amazon DSP campaign

Register Here Today!

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Amazon’s Turkey 5 Record-Breaking Sales Success

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Amazon’s Turkey 5 Record-Breaking Sales Success

Dina Podnar

Amazon’s Turkey 5 Record-Breaking Sales Success

Coming off the “Turkey 5”, a term coined for brands and retailers as the five day shopping rush between Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, including Black Friday, Amazon has announced record-breaking sales, yet again. 2018’s Cyber Monday marking Amazon’s single biggest shopping day in the company’s history with the most products ordered worldwide.

Compared to last year, shoppers ordered millions more products during the Turkey 5 than during the same time period last year. In fact, Amazon customers worldwide ordered more than 18 million toys and more than 13 million fashion items on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, combined.

In a statement released by Amazon, “Black Friday and Cyber Monday continue to break records on Amazon year over year, which tells us that customers love shopping for deals to kick off the holiday shopping season,” stated Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer. “With curated gift guides, convenient shopping experiences, incredible product selection, and free shipping with no minimum purchase amount, Amazon offers customers tremendous value—sure to deliver smiles all season long.”

Our Advertising and Account Strategy teams took no rest over the Turkey 5 either, working around the clock on adjusting bids, monitoring inventory and deals, as well as fixing any product listing glitches to create the best customer shopping experience. Almost all of our clients saw the same record-breaking growth that Amazon did!

Holiday Weekend Highlights

  • Sales by small and medium-sized businesses worldwide grew more than 20 percent on Black Friday year-over-year.
  • Throughout the Turkey 5, Amazon.com customers ordered more than 180 million items.
  • Prime members got into the Christmas spirit over the holiday weekend—Christmas lights were a bestseller on Prime Now.
  • The best-selling products at Amazon 4-star and Amazon Books over the Turkey 5 weekend included the all-new Echo Dot, Becoming by Michelle Obama, the Amazon Smart Plug, and the L.O.L. Surprise Series toys.
  • The best-selling products at Amazon Pop-Up device kiosks over the Turkey 5 weekend included the all-new Echo Dot and the Amazon Smart Plug.
  • Customers ordered more than four million toys and electronics on the mobile app on Black Friday.
  • The best-selling products across Amazon.com on Cyber Monday included the all-new Echo Dot, AncestryDNA: Genetic Testing Ethnicity, Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices, Becoming by Michelle Obama, Jenga, and Instant Pot DUO60 – 6 Quart

Did more shoppers head to Amazon.com than to physical stores on Black Friday?

While Black Friday will still be sited a brick-and-mortar’s busiest shopping day of the year, with Amazon seeing record-breaking numbers one has to wonder if shoppers chose to avoid the chaos and the lines and checkout from their couch. Forbes Senior Contributor, Andria Cheng states, “Visits to physical stores, where the bulk of the industry’s sales is made, continued to slow. RetailNext, which measures store traffic and other data at more than 425 retail brands, said brick-and-mortar sales on Thanksgiving and Black Friday had dropped by as much as 7% while traffic was down 5% to 9%—at least the fourth straight year when both of those measures declined. The line between physical and online sales is more blurred than ever. Not only did Black Friday, a day once synonymous with in-store shopping, see the day’s biggest online sales ever of $6.2 billion, but online orders from consumers choosing to pick up in stores surged 73% from Thursday to Friday, according to Adobe.”

Retailers and brands who synergized both promotional strategies online and in-store are those who are coming out on top after this weekend. Shoppers no longer have to go in-store for that instant gratification of purchasing a great deal this holiday, because Amazon has found a way to meet that need. Amazon is offering free shipping to all customers this holiday season, same day deli-every on more than three million items, and having grocery delivery right to customer’s doorsteps. Here are Amazon’s holiday delivery offerings:

Doorstep Delivery and Convenient Pick Up

  • Free Shipping This Holiday: All Amazon customers can shop hundreds of millions of items including every product category with free shipping, and now for a limited time, there is no minimum purchase amount on orders delivered through the holiday season. These items typically ship in 5-8 business days.
  • Delivery as Fast as Today: Tens of millions of Prime members can shop with FREE Same-Day Delivery on more than three million items. Place an order in the morning and receive eligible same-day orders before bedtime that very same day, seven days a week – even Sunday. Plus free Two-Day Shipping is available exclusively to all Prime members in the U.S. on more than 100 million items with no minimum purchase amount.
  • One Hour Grocery Delivery + Pickup: Prime members can shop groceries from Whole Foods Market through Prime Now in as little as an hour in 60 cities, and grocery pickup in as little as thirty minutes in select cities – making holiday feast planning or last minute baking even easier. And even beyond groceries, Prime members can use Prime Now to get one- and two-hour delivery on tens of thousands of items across dozens of categories in 30 major cities, perfect for last minute parties, gifts or travel.
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Marketplace Strategy Team Members Among First to Complete Amazon’s New Accreditation Program as Early Adopters

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Marketplace Strategy Team Members Among First to Complete Amazon’s New Accreditation Program as Early Adopters

Dina Podnar

Marketplace Strategy Team Members Among First to Complete Amazon’s New Accreditation Program as Early Adopters

The firm’s Advertising Team recently earned Amazon’s Learning Console’s Early Adopter, as well as Amazon Advertising Sponsored Ads – US Marketplace Accreditation

Marketplace Strategy’s (MPS) Advertising Team is part of the first group to complete Amazon’s new certification program, the firm announced Monday.

Leveraging its strong agency relationship with Amazon, several of MPS’s team members were invited to pilot and troubleshoot the Learning Console program for Amazon, providing valuable, constructive feedback, while earning Early Adopter Accreditation.

Being among the first agencies to receive the accreditation and gain access to the Learning Console allows MPS to continue moving towards its goal to be the nation’s leading Amazon Sales Acceleration Agency. The accreditation will allow the team to ensure it is offering its clients the most innovative and up-to-date solutions through Amazon Advertising.

Through the program, MPS’s advertising team earned both Learning Console’s Early Adopter Accreditation, as well as Amazon Advertising Sponsored Ads – US Marketplace Accreditation — the highest certification available at this time.

To earn the accreditation, all participants completed Learning Console tasks and educational courses, followed by an assessment to showcase knowledge of the material covered. Course topics included Sponsored Ads optimization, reporting, audience targeting, among other aspects of Amazon Advertising.

“It’s a similar concept [to Google] to get accredited and learn, but Amazon’s accreditation is much more rigid and tactical, and you really have to know the platform first,” Ashley Long, Lead Amazon Advertising Strategist, said. “Because of that, I believe Amazon’s accreditation process is so much more merited.”

Through this and other ongoing initiatives, Marketplace Strategy is proud and excited to be an active participant within Amazon’s agency partnership programs.

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How Baggallini Uses Amazon Creative Content to Win Consumers in Apparel

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

How Baggallini Uses Amazon Creative Content to Win Consumers in Apparel

Brandi Takas

How Baggallini Uses Amazon Creative Content to Win Consumers in Apparel

Apparel is one of Amazon’s fastest-growing product categories. With an Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Clothing, Shoes, & Jewelry Baggallini utilizes Amazon’s full range of creative content to win over consumers. By implementing custom product images, an Amazon Store, and A+ pages Baggallini has ensured the consumer receives all the information they need above and below the fold to make a purchase on or beyond the product listing.

In Amazon’s Clothing, Shoes, & Jewelry category there is the option to include up to 7 product images. While most brands keep their product images extremely simple displaying only the product, Baggallini fills all 7 slots showing all sides of the “bagg” including custom product images, lifestyle photography, and text callouts to point out the bagg’s best and most appealing features.

How Baggallini Utilizes Custom Product Images

The main or primary image seen first in the search results is of the bagg, on a white background, with a slight shadow reflection underneath. The shadow reflection adds more interest in contrast to the other crossbody bags in the search results and immediately sets Baggallini apart from the competition.

The next two custom product images call directly to the bagg’s most appealing qualities. The first displays 4 different views of the bagg calling out features related to that view—anywhere from RFID protection, to interior organization. There are various colors available for each bagg and therefore each color has its own custom image. The second image includes lifestyle photography showing the bagg in use and calling out that it is both lightweight and water-resistant.

The third custom product image focuses directly on the RFID protection capability of a large range of Baggallini’s products. A general image like this can be used across a large span of products (of which the feature applies to). This feature is highly important as it shows consumers there is an anti-theft security, built directly into the lining of the bagg making the consumer feel safe about their future purchase.

The last custom product image keeps it simple in showing a diagram of the bagg’s dimensions. When reading descriptions and bullet points it can be difficult to fully visualize the size of the product, so this image takes the confusion out of the picture and displays it in an organized manner.

How Baggallini Utilizes Amazon Stores

Besides product images, brands have another chance to win over consumers above the fold—creating a custom Amazon Store. Consumers access the brand’s store in the Clothing, Shoes, & Jewelry category by clicking on the brand’s logo located directly above the product title. Overall, make sure your brand’s Amazon creative content is consistent in style and quality across the board.

Baggallini takes a great simplistic approach and style utilizing blocks of color as buttons, including calls to action, and most importantly A LOT of lifestyle photography. Lifestyle photography helps the consumer make a connection with the product and visualize the many ways and places the product can be used.

On the homepage best selling baggs are featured right at the top in various lifestyle images, a long with a button for best sellers and a shop now call to action. The navigation in their store follows a similar organization as their brand website keeping everything straight forward and to the point.

How Baggallini Utilizes A+ Pages

Utilizing branded images throughout your brand’s Amazon creative allows a larger section of your catalog to have optimized and targeted content. Baggallini utilizes a branded A+ page that can be implemented across their entire catalog, showcasing their brand’s best features, lifestyle photography, and a cross sell module linking to more of their products.

The first module (1 of 5) brings attention directly to the brand and brand tagline with a lifestyle image showing a consumer on the go. Its important to include the brand logo in this module as (besides the store link) this is one of your first chances to be brand forward on your Amazon listing. (Amazon denies product images including logos.)

The following modules focus on the brand’s best features. The second module brings attention to Baggallini’s brand pillars, showing that all of their products are organized, lightweight, and durable. The third module showcases various lifestyle images of best selling baggs, and the fourth module focuses on Baggallini’s signature features that are available with various baggs.

The last module is the cross sell module and one of the most valuable pieces of Amazon creative. If the consumer has not made a decision yet this is one last chance for you to display more of your products they may be interested in. In this case Baggallini showcases and links to 5 of their best selling products.

Does a Creative Content Strategy Really Make a Difference

According to Amazon 90% of consumers look at every image of the product they eventually purchase, and utilizing A+ page content to educate the consumer about your product and brand can increase sales on average 3-10%. While bullet points and product descriptions often go unread including highly visual, brand focused, strategic Amazon creative content will help your brand be successful and increase sales on Amazon.

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Amazon Advertising launches in Mexico

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Amazon Advertising launches in Mexico

Dina Podnar

Amazon Advertising launches in Mexico

Amazon.com.mx launched in June 2015 and attracts 10 million unique monthly visitors, according to Comscore, who come to Amazon not only as a place to shop, but also as a place to discover new products and brands. To help businesses extend the reach of their advertising campaigns, Amazon has announced that they are expanding Amazon Advertising to the Mexico market.

With Amazon Advertising, agencies and advertisers – regardless of whether or not they sell on Amazon – can deliver relevant messages at every stage of the customer journey from research and consideration, to purchase.

Marketplace Strategy is excited for the opportunity to help expand and reach a wider audience for our clients to help exceed their goals.

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How to Get Your Advertising Ready for Q4

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

How to Get Your Advertising Ready for Q4

How to Get Your Advertising Ready for Q4

Even if the holidays are not your brand’s peak time period, the end of the year is an extremely important time for most brands to wrap up the year successfully and profitably on Amazon and beyond. During the holiday season of November 1 through December 31, U.S. shoppers will spend $120 billion with online retailers, an increase of 15.5% from last year. Amazon’s projected share of this enormous spend is 40%, up from 35% last year. No matter what your product, you want to take advantage of this time of year.

So how do you get ready for Q4 on Amazon? Prepare. Here are three strategies to get your brand’s advertising ready for a successful Q4.

1. Set your strategy in advance

You want to come out strong in November and December, having all the kinks worked out and your advertising strategy set and in execution mode. The last thing you want is to still be testing and planning come November 1

• A great thing about Q4 is it’s after Prime Day! You can replicate your Prime Day strategy, use the elements that worked and refine those that were less successful.

• Wrap up message testing in October so you have a set strategy for November and December and the big Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping days.

• Don’t forget about mobile! 68% of all holiday sales will be sourced by mobile this season so make sure to consider how listings change when viewed on a mobile device when creating images and copy

• If you’re using Amazon promotions and lightning deals, make those products a focus on- and off-Amazon. Create a page in your store for Q4-focused products and promotions. Leverage your Amazon promotions off-channel to existing customers through social media and email. Use promo codes and point links back to your store.

2. Anticipate the price of competition

Q4 is extremely competitive and therefore can be very expensive. Rather than coming from behind, anticipate this cost and increase your advertising spend in October to get ahead of the big spike in November and December. Increase your bids and don’t forget to have your own brand covered. In Q4, competitors will bid on your brand. While you are probably ranking organically, you still need to bid on your own brand to defend those ad placements from competitors.

It’s very important to ensure ample campaign bids and budgets during Q4. For the bidding side, consider enabling Bid+ on top performing campaigns. This will hedge against the likelihood of a competitor outbidding you for key terms. While this can enhance delivery, it can also increase your spend. You should have a way to monitor your budget to ensure campaign continuity and optimal budget allocation.

3. Capitalize on all campaign types

As Q4 gears up, you want to be fully invested in all campaign types on Amazon as well as initiatives off Amazon to capitalize on consumers who have engaged with your brand. Prepare, optimize and finalize your campaigns ahead of time and have them ready to go.

When leveraging different campaign types on Amazon, make sure you understand the function and sales potential of each, so you can budget accordingly.When launching the different campaign types available on Amazon, make sure you understand the purpose of each, so you can budget accordingly and have a well-rounded program running during the quarter.

• Sponsored Product Ads – research and identify themed search terms for Q4, even if your peak period is not this time of year. For example, “Christmas gifts for teachers” if your brand is educator supplies even though your peak time of year is back to school.

• Sponsored Brand Ads (formerly HSA) – align ad creative and copy with Q4 themes to have a fully integrated brand across all touchpoints on Amazon. Extend this to off-Amazon advertising, landing pages and programs.

• Product Display Ads – leverage PDA campaigns for both offensive and defensive coverage. For offense, target similar competitor products to show your brand on a competitor’s product detail page, increasing your brand awareness and occasionally stealing a sale. On the flip side, target your own products (either complementary or otherwise) to prevent a competitor’s ad from displaying on your product detail page.

You should also consider leveraging DSP (Demand Side Platform, formerly AMG) campaigns during this peak season. Allocating dollars to display in Q4, especially toward remarketing on- and off-Amazon, can help capture people who have already engaged with your brand.

Whether your peak season is Q4 or you just want to leverage the enormous selling potential during those months, with some advance planning, you can have an exceptionally successful last quarter of 2018 that will drive residual value for your brand into 2019.

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Four Steps to Perform an Amazon Vendor Central vs Seller Central Profitability Analysis

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Four Steps to Perform an Amazon Vendor Central vs Seller Central Profitability Analysis

Dina Podnar

Four Steps to Perform an Amazon Vendor Central vs Seller Central Profitability Analysis

Last week, our team presented the first webinar in our Vendor Strategy series: Increasing Sales and Maximizing Profitability Through the Hybrid Model. This was an in-depth look at the differences between Vendor Central and Seller Central and why a 1P (First Party), might consider leveraging the 3P (Third Party) platform to gain market share and increase profits.

Click here to check it out if you weren’t able to tune in.

During the presentation, our Lead Amazon Strategist, Sam Jennings, briefly walked through the cost breakdowns for both Vendor and Seller and how to analyze your catalog’s profitability on both channels. In this blog post, we will dive into the topic further by explaining the four steps to performing a 1P vs 3P profit analysis.

 

STEP 1: UNDERSTANDING VENDOR CENTRAL COSTS

As a Vendor, the brand sells its products to Amazon at their designated ‘cost price,’ or wholesale price. Each ASIN in your catalog is assigned a cost price when created. The cost price is nearly impossible to increase and Amazon will often pressure you to lower costs if an ASIN is nearing their own internal profitability thresholds.

Strategic Vendor Tip: As long as your internal systems can manage, raise your cost prices by 10-20% above your wholesale pricing when creating an ASIN in order to provide a buffer for Amazon’s attempts at lowering them in the future.

It is important to understand the cost price because this is the number Amazon’s Vendor Central fees are based on. Vendor fees, or Terms, are percentages taken on the Purchase Order amount (Cost Price x Units Ordered). These percentages are re-negotiated (aka Amazon tries to take more money from you) on an annual basis and can be found in your Vendor Central account under Settings > Agreements:

  1. Base Accrual – Usually referred to as MDF (Marketing Development Funds) or COOP, this fee relates to Amazon’s investment to continually improve the customer experience, increase the discoverability of your products, and ultimately drive sales.
  2. Freight Allowance – This is the cost to get your products from your warehouse to Amazon’s fulfillment centers. If you choose to take the responsibility of getting your items to Amazon (collect or prepaid), you’ll have to calculate this cost.
  3. Damage Allowance – What happens to your products when they are damaged.
  4. Payment Terms – If Amazon pays ahead of their due date, they will often reward themselves with an extra percentage.

Aside from the four terms fees, another important cost to consider specific to Vendor Central is Chargebacks. There are a very wide variety of Chargebacks which can pertain to Amazon having problems with Advance Shipping Notifications (ASNs), Package Preparation, the Receive Process at Amazon, Transportation issues and much, much more.

Vendors experience Chargebacks in varying degrees, but they can often be confusing and difficult to solve. To understand the Chargebacks your account is receiving on a weekly and monthly basis, go to your Reports and then Operational Performance. To calculate this as a percentage, add up your total Chargebacks from the 6-12 months and then divide that dollar amount by your total Cost of Received (found in the Operational Metrics Report) in that same timeframe.

STEP 2: UNDERSTANDING SELLER CENTRAL COSTS

As a Seller, or 3P, the cost structure is much different because you are selling your products directly to the end consumer, as opposed to selling to Amazon. Whether you are utilizing Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM), a Seller pays $40 per month to keep their account running and a 15% Referral Fee off of the price that you sell each item to the end consumer. In addition to that, there are costs associated with both FBM and FBA.

Fulfillment by Merchant – If you are shipping your items directly to the customer after the order is placed, you will only need to pay the shipping cost. Generally, we do not recommend FBM unless your warehouse or shipping facility has the ability to meet the requirements of the Seller Fulfilled (SFP) Prime Program.

Fulfillment by Amazon – if you go the route of “renting” space in Amazon’s warehouses and having them fulfill your orders, you will inquire three FBA fees:

  1. Monthly Storage Fee – This is a monthly fee for storing one unit in an Amazon fulfillment center. Calculated based on volume of the product in cubic feet.
  2. Fulfillment Fee – Covers handling, pick & pack and the shipment to the consumer per unit sold and is based on size and weight.
  3. Ship to Amazon – This is the cost to ship the item to an Amazon fulfillment center. This is completely dependent upon the size of your shipment (sending a pallet vs a shoe box of product would change this cost heavily) and you will not know the exact cost until you create your first shipment.

To find the first two FBA costs above for each of your products, use the Seller Central FBA Calculator here. Copy and paste the ASIN into the search, type in the Retail Price under the Amazon Fulfillment column, and hit the Calculate button at the bottom.

STEP 3: CHOOSING ASINs TO ANALYZE

With a large catalog, it can be a daunting task to analyze the profitability of all your products. The next step in the process is to choose which ASINs are the largest opportunities for potential transition to Seller Central.

We recommend identifying ASINs that are:

  • CRAP (Can’t Realize a Profit) and Amazon is no longer ordering
  • Often stocked out
  • Tied to frequent Chargebacks
  • Lower in Cost Price relative to the Retail Price

It is also important to analyze products of diverse sizes and weights as well as varying price points so that you can understand how the different variables effect margins.

STEP 4: COMPLETE THE ANALYSIS

Now that you understand how to determine the Vendor Central and Seller Central costs and you have chosen your ASINs to analyze, the next step is to compare each ASIN’s profitability for Vendor and Seller, side by side.

You can build a simple excel sheet to accomplish the analysis or shoot us a note if you’d like us to send our Vendor Central vs Seller Central Margin Analysis Calculator Excel.

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Grow Your Food Brand On Amazon, If You Constantly Optimize

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Grow Your Food Brand On Amazon, If You Constantly Optimize

Jeff Walcoff

Grow Your Food Brand On Amazon, If You Constantly Optimize

Tera Johnson, founder and director of the Food Finance Institute and founder of teraswhey®  interviewed our very own Jeff Walcoff, Vice President of Sales & Marketing on his Edible-Alpha™ podcast. Listen below for Jeff’s thoughts on how Amazon can impact your food brand.

In Edible-Alpha™ podcast #38, Tera interviews Jeff Walcoff, Vice President of Sales & Marketing with Marketplace Strategy, a digital marketing agency headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio focused exclusively on Amazon.com sales acceleration and optimization. Marketplace Strategy helps large brands (ex. Nestlé) and small brands navigate the various possible tools and avenues to sell through Amazon, everything from developing an Amazon strategy to optimizing search and product pages and implementing paid promotions using Amazon Marketing Services’ keyword-based advertising. Jeff commented that most difficult thing to determine when they engage with a brand is the potential sales on Amazon depending on the various tools that make sense for the brand’s goals.

The Amazon platform provides a means for small and emerging brands to find an audience and generate sales if they dedicate time and resources to ensure discoverability on the platform. For example, brands need to constantly optimize product pages to take advantage of things like long-tail keyword searches for their niche product to bring up their product page prominently in search results. Since the majority of product pages are found via search on Amazon itself, optimizing product pages with the right keywords and features once the user is on the page is key to getting sell-through on the platform.

Jeff has found that while Amazon is becoming more competitive, many organizations aren’t giving it the level of attention they could to optimize their sales. He says the challenges of fully leveraging the platform are the same for large and small brands. For example, many food and beverage brands have found that they need to sell variety packs or other bundles to get their products to the $10 – $20 price point that is optimal for both what consumers are looking to pay while balancing achieving profitability on each unit that is not possible with selling individual products for less than $10. However, some premium products (ex. more than $20) can get sell-through on Amazon if properly differentiated.

Similar to physical retail, packaging (in this case, through an optimized product page) and paying for optimal space (in this case, having an easily discoverable product page in search) are all key to getting trial of food products on Amazon. While there are some perishable products available through Amazon Fresh or Amazon Prime Now, the food brands that have the most traction today in selling through Amazon tend to have shelf-stable products.

There are two basic ways to set up a relationship with Amazon. With Seller Central, food brands operate as a 3rd party selling directly to consumers on the platform. Seller Central gives brands more control (and more responsibility) for all of the customer experience operational needs (like shipping/fulfillment), but also more potential profitability and ability to launch/test new products easily. Vendor Central is an invitation-only way of selling wholesale to Amazon with them handling the fulfillment, pricing and other factors of selling products. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of the consumer experience, vendor operational needs and what charges have to be monitored closely with the Amazon relationship, but the optimal path (or mixture of both) depends on the goals of the brand.

Jeff encourages food brands to learn as much as they can (including from his firms’ blog) and to seek help from organizations like his if they are serious about growing their sales on Amazon.

Show notes by: Zacary Smucker Bryan

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Amazon Advertising: Announcing a Single Unified Brand

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Amazon Advertising: Announcing a Single Unified Brand

Dina Podnar

Amazon Advertising: Announcing a Single Unified Brand

Amazon is a company built on being a culture of developers and pioneers in every industry. Up until this point, Amazon has worked to build a portfolio of impressive advertising platforms to meet their various vendors advertising needs, all while helping the customer discover new brands and products.

They started this business developing products for specific advertiser sets, such as cost-per-click ads for Amazon sellers and e-commerce-enabled display ads for Amazon vendors. Amazon’s advertising team has worked secretly over the past few months to build out their products and tool sets, and today, they work with a wide range of advertisers who use multiple products within our suite to grow their business as part of an e-commerce marketing strategy. From feedback from advertisers, and agencies like us, Amazon realized that at the rate they’ve scaled their advertising platform they have also created a more complex than necessary system. In a quest to create a better experience for their advertisers, Amazon has rolled out their new, unified brand.

Reintroducing the Advertising Brand

Amazon is excited to announce that from now on they are simply Amazon Advertising. With this, they are retiring the names Amazon Media Group (AMG), Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), and Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP). You’ll see this change online and in simplified product names that reflect this unified brand and the direction of the business.

quotation

Changes will not happen all at once; you’ll see our legacy brand names—AMG, AMS, and AAP—being phased out over the next several months.

 Simplified product portfolio

They have also simplified names across our portfolio to more clearly align with product functionality.

A few weeks ago, Amazon announced the expansion of Headline Search Ads to make it even easier for customers to discover brands and products throughout search results. To better reflect this feature set, they’ve changed the name of Headline Search Ads to Sponsored Brands.

They’ve also renamed Amazon Advertising Platform to the Amazon DSP to more accurately represent the capabilities of this programmatic ad buying tool.

While some of the names are changing, how advertisers have been using the products and tools, and how advertisers work with Amazon Advertising, is not.

Amazon Advertising encompasses Amazon’s full product portfolio:

  • Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands allow advertisers to promote their products or brand to make it even easier for customers to discover and purchase products on Amazon.
  • Display ads reach relevant audiences on Amazon and third-party sites and apps using customizable brand or e-commerce creatives, and actionable insights to help advertisers optimize ads to achieve various objectives. Product Display Ads are also available for advertisers who sell products on Amazon to drive traffic to their product detail pages.
  • Video ads help advertisers tell their brand story and engage customers in brand-safe environments via trusted channels like Amazon and IMDb, on exclusive Amazon devices such as Fire TV or Fire tablet, and across third-party sites and apps.
  • Stores allow vendors and sellers to create their own website, with its own branded URL, on Amazon. Vendors and sellers can use a Store to showcase a brand story and product portfolio in a curated customer destination.
  • Measurement solutions, including campaign reporting, retail insights, and third-party reporting, help businesses understand advertising’s impact on shopper behavior—whether they run on Amazon or on third-party sites and apps—so they can optimize marketing strategies to achieve results.
  • Amazon DSP is a demand-side platform that allows advertisers to programmatically reach their audiences both on Amazon sites and apps as well as through our direct publisher relationships and third-party exchanges. Advertisers can manage, optimize, and report on their programmatic display and video campaigns through the Amazon DSP console.

If you have additional questions about Amazon Advertising, or how Marketplace Strategy can help you, please fill out our contact us form found here.

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Marketplace Strategy accepted into Forbes Agency Council

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Marketplace Strategy accepted into Forbes Agency Council

Dina Podnar

Marketplace Strategy accepted into Forbes Agency Council

Forbes Agency Council Is an Invitation-Only Community for Executives in Successful Public Relations, Media Strategy, Creative, and Advertising Agencies.

CLEVELAND, OH — Drew Kraemer, SVP, GM and Co-Founder of Marketplace Strategy, a Cleveland-based leading Amazon sales acceleration agency, has been accepted into Forbes Agency Council, an invitation-only community for owners of and executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative, and advertising agencies.

Drew Kraemer was vetted and selected by a review committee based on the depth and diversity of his experience. Criteria for acceptance include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.

“We are honored to welcome Drew into the community,” said Scott Gerber, founder of Forbes Councils, the collective that includes Forbes Agency Council. “Our mission with Forbes Councils is to bring together proven leaders from every industry, creating a curated, social capital-driven network that helps every member grow professionally and make an even greater impact on the business world.”

As an accepted member of the Council, Drew has access to a variety of exclusive opportunities designed to help him reach peak professional influence. He will connect and collaborate with other respected local leaders in a private forum. Drew will also be invited to work with a professional editorial team to share his expert insights in original business articles on Forbes.com, and to contribute to published Q&A panels alongside other experts.

Finally, Drew will benefit from exclusive access to vetted business service partners, membership-branded marketing collateral, and the high-touch support of the Forbes Councils member concierge team.

Drew is already featured in an article on Memorable Mentor Advice: 10 Thoughts on PR and Media Strategy

ABOUT FORBES COUNCILS

Forbes Councils is a collective of invitation-only communities created in partnership with Forbes and the expert community builders who founded Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC). In Forbes Councils, exceptional business owners and leaders come together with the people and resources that can help them thrive.

For more information about Forbes Agency Council, visit forbesagencycouncil.com. To learn more about Forbes Councils, visit forbescouncils.com.

ABOUT MARKETPLACE STRATEGY

MPS is a digital marketing agency focused exclusively on Amazon.com and other online marketplaces; providing strategy consulting, optimization services, advertising management, and creative solutions. MPS works with mid-size to Fortune 50 brands to maximize brand presence and increase sales on the the world’s largest online marketplaces. MPS’s full-scale, unique approach to the channel creates significant and sustainable growth for its clients.

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Jeff Bezo’s Secrets to Sucess

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Jeff Bezo’s Secrets to Sucess

Dina Podnar

Jeff Bezo’s Secrets to Sucess

 

There’s no doubt that Jeff Bezos is a successful man. Ever wonder his secret to creating one of the largest companies? In a press release earlier this year, Bezos’s shared his three secrets to his success. Before reading this and dismissing it as PR speak, consider briefly how and why each of these has made him and his company so valuable.

1. Surround yourself with the right people.

If you’re going to accomplish great things, you need a team of great people.

Notice how Bezos describes these people as “talented experts.” Aren’t all experts talented? In a sense, yes. But as years of research reveal, it’s not only about who is on the team, but how they work together. That’s why hiring is so important: You don’t simply want a bunch of “brilliant jerks,” as Netflix CEO Reed Hastings calls them. Rather, you want people who know what they’re doing, and have the necessary emotional intelligence to work well with others at the same time.

2. Have a learn-it-all mindset.

The problem with putting a bunch of experts together is you run the danger of everyone thinking they have all the answers.

That’s why it’s important to have what Bezos refers to as “a beginner’s mind.” In other words, you don’t want to be a know-it-all; you want to be a learn-it-all.

By doing this, you adopt a student’s mentality, in which you rethink everything from the ground up. You’re not forced to remain within outdated or irrelevant constraints, rather, you’re looking for new and innovative solutions. Additionally, you’re not concerned by how others view you, rather, you’re focused on growth. That gives you the liberty to pursue bias for action, to experiment and make mistakes–and transform these into learning opportunities.

3. Be ready to play the long game.

Nobody said transforming an industry or solving major problems was easy.

Bezos knows this as much as anyone; he came under fire for decades when Amazon didn’t turn a profit. But he didn’t really care, because he knew that it would take time to achieve goals as lofty as the ones he had set–goals like fundamentally changing the way people shop.

Or, as stated clearly in the set of principles Amazon sets out for their leaders“They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results.”

Talented experts. A beginner’s mind. Long-term orientation. That’s Jeff Bezos’s formula for success.

You might want to give it a try.

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July Amazon Recap

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

July Amazon Recap

Sam Jennings

July Amazon Recap

July Amazon Recap

Back to school time is in full swing, which can only mean one thing: time to start preparing for Q4 and the holiday season! Stay tuned for a webinar on Q4.

We’re excited to start getting our clients ready for the holiday season, but love looking back on July. It was a BIG month with a wildly successful Prime Day, a new webinar from the MPS team, and more industry news and insights than we know what to do with. Let’s take a look: 

Key Industry Happenings & Platform Updates

  • Despite a very rocky start with tons of cute, distracting dogs (I mean technical glitches), Prime Day was the biggest shopping event in Amazon’s history, surpassing last year’s Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Prime Day. The Prime Day outage may have cost Amazon close to $100 million, but they were still able to surpass last year’s sales within the first 10 hours. In the MPS office, we are seeing big budget shifts away from promotions like Lightning Deals and more of a focus on advertising and driving off-Amazon traffic to deals. With large amounts of 3P Sellers entering the space and Amazon aggressively showcasing their own PLs, it is crucial for brands to find creative ways to stay relevant and garner long-term benefits from Prime Day. Check out Amazon’s Prime Day press release with lots of fun facts!

  • In another attempt to compete with Amazon, Walmart is boosting its website appeal via lifestyle imagery created by influencers. Learning from Amazon’s failed foray into influencer marketing via their Spark platform, Walmart is working with brands like Bigelow tea and influencers to improve the on-page buying experience by adding product-in-use lifestyle imagery below the fold. Amazon is still light years ahead of Walmart in the world of enhanced content, but this could be a quick way to make a comeback. Read more here.

  • Snapchat is reportedly hiding a new visual product search feature that, once an item is identified via an object, song, barcode, etc., drives consumers to product results on Amazon. Visual search, let alone voice search, is likely years away from heavy usage, but the partnership between Snapchat and Amazon could expedite consumer adoption. Check out the full Tech Crunch blog.

  • We aren’t surprised by Amazon’s fastest-growing product categories – grocery, apparel, furniture and health all being fueled by big investments from Amazon in new programs and private label. Check out what else is worth keeping an eye on in 2018.

Great design inspiration we’ve found recently:

A few of our top blogs from the month:

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Amazon’s New Unified Ad Platform Offers Great Benefits

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Amazon’s New Unified Ad Platform Offers Great Benefits

Ben LeMaster

Amazon’s New Unified Ad Platform Offers Great Benefits

The differences between managing AMS campaigns in both Vendor and Seller Central would strike anyone exclusively familiar with one platform as puzzling and lacking purpose, especially considering that so many brands have taken a hybrid approach and are utilizing both platforms to get the best of both worlds and maximize results.

From campaign types, to campaign structure, to reporting capabilities, you’d expect it to be more streamlined and consistent, since it’s all AMS, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. However, luckily for us all, Amazon is making the switch to one unified advertising platform stretching throughout the entire ecosystem, not just combining the Vendor Central and Seller Central sides of AMS, but the AAP/AMG programmatic side of the business as well.

Given that Amazon was already building out techniques to measure the relationship between programmatic display ads and increases in branded search volume, this doesn’t come as a surprise. This was a necessary decision and an inevitable next step as they seek to become a dominant player in the digital ad space.

The new unified advertising platform is a great start, but we have high hopes for even more changes to come! Here are a few predictions for the future and hopes as Amazon continues to build out its advertising capabilities:

Ad Groups, Ad Groups, Everywhere:  While they already exist in the Seller Central AMS interface, as well as in the bulk upload tool for both platforms, ad groups lack any real functionality on the Vendor Central side of AMS. As anyone familiar with AdWords (or AMS in Seller Central) knows, ad groups are invaluable for segmenting keywords by match type, theme, long vs. short-tail, etc., especially when leveraging ad group-level negatives to control overlap. They’re also great for attaining full coverage of a product category in automatic campaigns—with each product in its own ad group, you get clear data on what is and is not working for each of those products while mitigating the risk of wasted impressions and diminishing returns.

Unified Ad Reporting Across Platforms: As things currently stand, anyone running AMS in both Vendor Central and Seller Central knows the pain of exporting reports from both and comparing results to get the clearest possible picture of account-level ad performance. Being able to access all ad reporting in one interface would not only save time, but also accelerate data acquisition and campaign optimization.

End-to-End Sales Attribution: As already mentioned, Amazon has been building out techniques to tie increases in branded search volume back to programmatic display ad impressions, so being able to tie sales back to ad impressions is a natural next step. While view-through and impression-assisted conversions are nothing new, attribution data can be lost because the message is frequently delivered in one place, but the conversion resulting from the message occurs elsewhere. Despite the ability to drive traffic off Amazon to other sites, the vast majority of conversions driven by Amazons ads will almost certainly take place within the same ecosystem where the message was delivered, uniquely positioning them to give advertisers an incredibly comprehensive view of ad performance.

As Amazon continues to enhance their advertising platform, we’re excited for many changes to come and hopeful for more time-saving features.

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SocialCode Acquires Marketplace Strategy, an Amazon Sales Agency

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

SocialCode Acquires Marketplace Strategy, an Amazon Sales Agency

Drew Kraemer

SocialCode Acquires Marketplace Strategy, an Amazon Sales Agency

Acquisition Bolsters SocialCode’s Full Service Offering on Amazon, Walmart, Jet.com, Home Depot, and Wayfair

NEW YORK, NY – (August 7, 2018) – SocialCode, the leader in digital media marketing solutions, today announced it has acquired Marketplace Strategy (MPS), a Cleveland-based leading Amazon sales acceleration agency. With a proven capability on most of the major social platforms, including Facebook, Google and YouTube, SocialCode is accelerating its Amazon offering with this acquisition.

Amazon’s growing advertising business is in high demand for marketers. Credibly servicing clients on Amazon requires a skill set beyond traditional ad management. MPS is a company designed to maximize a brand’s impact and revenue across Amazon and other leading retail marketplaces.

SocialCode’s acquisition of MPS demonstrates its commitment to offering a 360 degree solution to its customers, particularly those in the retail and CPG space who are looking to leverage Amazon’s thriving platform.

“Our mission is to be the world’s most effective growth partner for the global brands of today and tomorrow,” said Laura O’Shaughnessy, chief executive officer of SocialCode. “Amazon is a critical offering for our brand partners. This acquisition rounds out our capabilities with a full complement of services and brings us the uniquely experienced customer service professionals that have deep knowledge of the Amazon platform, as well as Walmart.com, Jet.com, Home Depot and Wayfair.”

MPS’ cutting-edge approach incorporates a wide array of established and proprietary strategies. This includes everything from Amazon account creation, conversion optimization, product traffic acquisition, and Amazon advertising management right through to Amazon data and analytics as well as Amazon business consulting services. MPS works with leading companies like Nestle, Jack Links, Snapple and Starkist to build their brands and sales on Amazon.

“Our integrated Amazon solution, coupled with SocialCode’s existing offerings and industry reputation, makes for a perfect pairing between our two companies,” said Drew Kraemer, chief executive officer of MPS. “More importantly, there is clear alignment with our vision for the future and shared cultural values.”

MPS will operate as a business unit within SocialCode for customers that want to run Amazon and other marketplaces (Walmart/Jet.com) alongside social. The two companies will also integrate campaign reporting so customers can have a true cross platform view of their campaigns.

About SocialCode:

SocialCode is an audience-first marketing partner built to drive results through media activation. We combine audience data, insights, content creation and measurement to drive unmatched ROI from digital campaigns. SocialCode’s solutions power the world’s most innovative brands by connecting marketers with customers to find their most valuable prospects on the most important digital media platforms — Amazon, Facebook®, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and YouTube. To learn more, please visit www.SocialCode.com.

About Marketplace Strategy (MPS):

MPS is a digital marketing agency focused exclusively on Amazon.com and other online marketplaces; providing strategy consulting, optimization services, advertising management, and creative solutions. MPS works with mid-size to Fortune 50 brands to maximize brand presence and increase sales on the the world’s largest online marketplaces. MPS’s full-scale, unique approach to the channel creates significant and sustainable growth for its clients.

 

Media Contact:

Lee Regal

DiGennaro Communications

lee.regal@digennaro-usa.com

(M) 908-433-5801

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Prepare for the Holiday Rush: 4 Ways to Optimize your Amazon Creative for the Holidays

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Prepare for the Holiday Rush: 4 Ways to Optimize your Amazon Creative for the Holidays

Brandi Takas

Prepare for the Holiday Rush: 4 Ways to Optimize your Amazon Creative for the Holidays

The holidays already? Q3 is here and consumer brands are already ramping up their ecommerce marketing strategies in plans to deck the halls on their websites, social media, and general digital presence. Just as important, though, is your Amazon strategy; according to eMarketer’s latest forecast Amazon now has nearly 50% of US ecommerce market.

Overall, always optimize all of your content (titles, descriptions, etc.) and creative assets (product images, store, A+ pages and/or enhanced brand content (EBC)) to consistently represent your brand’s best qualities, and clearly compliment and bring attention to your product’s best features. Optimizing your product pages is never a one-and-done deal, though, it is an ongoing process in keeping up with trends and seasonality.

Follow these 4 guidelines to optimize your Amazon creative assets to not only get ahead of the holiday rush, but also keep your consumers in mind throughout the year.

Make Sure You Have the Basics Covered:

Use dimensional, high quality photography of all sides of your product in and outside of its packaging. Utilize highly visual content across all of your Amazon creative avenues (product images, store, A+, etc.) by incorporating lifestyle imagery, iconography, simplistic text callouts, slogans and phrases to create a demonstrative and emotional experience to connect the consumer to your products. Give consumers multiple reasons to buy your product, putting your trustworthy and quality brand at the forefront. (See translating your brand for more information)

Examples:

Separate your product from the pack by including simplistic callouts in the main product image.

Lifestyle Product Image:

A+ Page:

Features Callout Image: (Baggallini):

­­Focus on Brand Awareness & Consistency:

Drawing as much attention to your brand’s reputation and best qualities sets you apart from your competitors and shows consumers why they need to buy your product over another. Create branded product images and A+ Page/EBC modules to span across all of your products. Keep your website and your Amazon store on the same track as far as marketing and design. These tactics will not only create brand awareness, but also consistency across your catalog. In best practice, the design of all of your content should be consistent across the board and represent the voice and tone of all your products and your brand. Utilize existing assets, themes, and marketing strategies from your website and social media to help keep you consistent across your digital platforms.

Examples:

Branded Product Image:

 

Amazon Store compared to the brand’s website:

Revamp for the Holidays:

With guides 1 and 2 in mind your Amazon creative assets should be ever changing and keeping up with day to day trends and seasonality. First and foremost, the holiday season being your main focus. In 2017, Amazon dominated 50% of all online Black Friday Sales. Redesign your imagery utilizing seasonal/holiday settings and phrases. Add images which show how the product can be given as a gift or used in a holiday setting (like a holiday feast). Overall, consider the consumers experience with your page and how your creative assets can push compelling content and be the deciding factor in their final purchase decision.

Examples:

Christmas Focus:

Snow Focus:

Great Gift:

Christmas Background:

Keeping Up with the Times:

Throughout the year continually consider your consumer and how they interact with your product pages. Think about the holidays throughout the year or seasonality aspects or occasions you can focus your creative on to help increase conversion rates. Make sure to fully utilize all the product images spots available to your product category. Create images that include more of your products in a setting to encourage the consumer to “complete the set” or buy your complementing products.

 

Examples:

Back to School:

Complete the Set:

Complete the Set:

Gifts for Baby:

Gifts for the Bride & Groom:

Gifts for Mom:

 

Interested in optimizing your account before the holiday rush? Contact us today, we can help. Want to read more about creative best practices? Download our guide below.




 

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Best Seller Badges

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Best Seller Badges

Kirk Lutz

Author

Best Seller Badges

Best Seller Badges

WHAT IS AMAZON’S BEST SELLER BADGE:

Amazon’s Best Seller Badge is a little orange icon awarded to products that perform exactly as the name states – they are best sellers in their respective category as it relates to sales velocity.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO EARN THE BEST SELLER BADGE:

Any seller who lists products on Amazon are eligible to earn the Best Seller Badge on their product(s).

WHERE CAN YOU FIND BEST SELLER BADGES:

In the past, best seller badges have commonly been found on product detail pages, but as of lately, they are being discovered in search results as well.  In a recent search for ‘waterproof Bluetooth speaker’ there were multiple products on the first page of results tagged with the Best Seller badge.  Your next question may be ‘How can there be more than one product that is a best seller?’ That is a great question – Best Seller Badges are awarded in various categories or browse nodes, and as long as there are 100 products listed in that section, the badge can be awarded to the most deserving candidate.  In the example below, the first speaker has won the best seller in ‘Satellite Speakers’, which is actually a subcategory within the Electronics Department (Electronics>Home Audio & Theater>Home Theater>Satellite Speakers).

 

WHY DO BEST SELLER BADGES MATTER?

In a saturated category where there is a lot of competition, the Best Seller Badge helps separate you from the rest of the pack.  It can act as a catalyst in a consumer’s path to purchase – if a customer sees the Best Seller Badge, this is a glaring indicator of a popular product.  If that product is backed up by a vast amount of positive reviews, that is a great indicator of a quality product that is popular.  What more does the customer need to research at that point? The Best Seller Badge can indeed help boost conversion rates as a result.

HOW CAN YOU EARN THE BEST SELLER BADGE:

While Amazon has not outlined the exact qualifications of assigning the Best Seller Badge to products, one thing can be inferred -the badge is based on both sales history & sales velocity.  Recent sales as well as historical sales (since product launch) are factors that are evaluated, however it is not determined how much emphasis or weight one has over the other in the algorithm.  You can also be strategic in moving around the browse node or category that your product is listed in in order to win the best seller badge.  In the example with the speakers above, if you are a seller selling comparable products and you are currently listed in the ‘Surround Sound System’ category, you may want to reconsider moving your product into another category/browse node such as ‘Ceiling & In-Wall Speakers’ that may have less competition in order to have a better chance for obtaining that badge.  While assessing category listings is a factor in earning the coveted badge, that is not the sole factor to take into account.  There are several other overarching components and levers to pull on your product listings in order to compete for the badge. Those components range from content, product images, advertising via sponsored product and headline search ads, variating your listings, etc.

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Amazon Announces Second Quarter Sales up 39% to $52.9 Billion

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Amazon Announces Second Quarter Sales up 39% to $52.9 Billion

Dina Podnar

Amazon Announces Second Quarter Sales up 39% to $52.9 Billion

[Press Release] Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) today announced financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2018.

Operating cash flow increased 22% to $21.8 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $17.8 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2017. Free cash flow increased to $10.4 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $9.6 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2017. Free cash flow less lease principal repayments decreased to $4.1 billion for the trailing twelve months, compared with $5.4 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2017. Free cash flow less finance lease principal repayments and assets acquired under capital leases decreased to $546 million for the trailing twelve months, compared with $1.4 billion for the trailing twelve months ended June 30, 2017.

Common shares outstanding plus shares underlying stock-based awards totaled 506 million on June 30, 2018, compared with 502 million one year ago.

Net sales increased 39% to $52.9 billion in the second quarter, compared with $38.0 billion in second quarter 2017. Excluding the $760 million favorable impact from year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates throughout the quarter, net sales increased 37% compared with second quarter 2017.

Operating income increased to $3.0 billion in the second quarter, compared with operating income of $628 million in second quarter 2017.

Net income increased to $2.5 billion in the second quarter, or $5.07 per diluted share, compared with net income of $197 million, or $0.40 per diluted share, in second quarter 2017.

“We want customers to be able to use Alexa wherever they are,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder and CEO. “There are now tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries building new devices using the Alexa Voice Service, and the number of Alexa-enabled devices has more than tripled in the past year. Our partners are creating a wide variety of new Alexa-enabled devices and experiences, including soundbars from Polk and Sonos; headphones from Jabra; smart home devices from ecobee and First Alert; Windows 10 PCs from Acer, HP, and Lenovo; and cars from automakers including BMW, Ford, and Toyota.”

In Amazon’s official press release, they list all of their highlights for Q2. Marketplace Strategy has listed out a few of highlights that stood out to us that we believe will make the greatest impact on brands:

  • Amazon added new Alexa capabilities, including calendaring features, such as the ability to move meetings via voice; new information on current events like the Royal Wedding, World Cup, and NBA Playoffs; Remember This, a new feature which enables Alexa to remember important information such as birthdays, anniversaries, and more; new ways to navigate and control video content with Alexa, including integrations with TiVo, Dish, Netflix, and DirecTV, and new ways for the blind and visually impaired community to interact with Alexa with the launch of Tap to Alexa and global expansion of Alexa Captioning.
  • The Alexa Skills store now offers more than 45,000 skills created by third-party developers, including entertainment and gaming skills like Jurassic World Revealed, Westworld: The Maze, Skyrim Very Special Edition, When in Rome, and Hotel Transylvania Stories. Additionally, customers can now use Alexa to control more than 13,000 smart home devices from over 2,500 unique brands.
  • Amazon announced Alexa for Hospitality, which brings the convenience of Alexa to hotels, vacation rentals, and other hospitality locations. Offered by invitation, Alexa for Hospitality lets hoteliers create new voice-first experiences so guests can ask Alexa for hotel information, play music in their room, request guest services, and more.
  • Alexa is available on even more products via the Alexa Voice Service, including soundbars from Polk and Sonos; headphones from Jabra; smart home devices from ecobee and First Alert; Windows 10 PCs from Acer, HP, and Lenovo; and select vehicles from BMW, Ford, and Toyota.
  • Amazon introduced new machine learning tools for developers to make Alexa skills even more engaging and discoverable, including a feature that allows U.S. customers to launch skills using more natural phrases and requests; the ability for developers to turn text into lifelike speech using Amazon Polly, for free; and the release of the software development kit for Python that allows developers to more easily build Alexa skills. Amazon also expanded the ability for developers to earn money or sell goods and services through their Alexa skills using in-skill purchasing or Amazon Pay.
  • The Alexa Fund invested in new companies, including Aaptiv, DefinedCrowd, Novel Effect, Tact.ai, and Sensible Object, and kicked off the second round of the Alexa Accelerator powered by Techstars, a program empowering entrepreneurs who are innovating voice technology.
  • Amazon announced an offering that helps entrepreneurs build their own companies by delivering Amazon packages. Business owners can grow their companies by accessing Amazon’s delivery technology and package volume, as well as receiving discounts on a suite of assets and services such as vehicle leases and comprehensive insurance. Additionally, Amazon committed $1 million to fund startup costs for eligible military veterans to start their own delivery businesses.
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Prime Day 2018 Update: Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Worldwide Have Exceeded More Than $1 Billion in Sales

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Prime Day 2018 Update: Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Worldwide Have Exceeded More Than $1 Billion in Sales

Dina Podnar

Prime Day 2018 Update: Small and Medium-Sized Businesses Worldwide Have Exceeded More Than $1 Billion in Sales

Prime Day sales in the U.S. continue to be bigger than ever – in fact, in the first 10 hours, Prime Day grew even faster, year-over-year, than the first 10 hours last year

For the first time, Prime members celebrated Prime Day at Whole Foods Market where they saved millions of dollars with extra Prime Day deals

Toshiba 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Fire TV Edition has sold out, making it the best-selling TV deal in Amazon history, and more TV deals are coming.

A day into Prime Day, and Amazon is reporting record-breaking numbers. As Prime members continue to shop through today, since yesterday, many small and medium-sized business worldwide have exceeded more than $1 billion in sales on Amazon. Including many of our clients! So far, here is what Amazon is reporting is doing well:

Electronics are among the bestsellers this Prime Day

Best-sellers so far include Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote, Instant Pot 6 Qt 7-in-1 Multi Use and Echo Dot. Other highlights include:

  • Toshiba 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Fire TV Edition has sold out, making it the best-selling TV deal in Amazon history, and more TV deals are coming.
  • Members are enjoying deep discounts on home security products like Amazon Cloud Cam, Ring and Blink—in fact, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro has already sold out, selling over 4 times as many as last year’s Prime Day deal.

Members save millions at Whole Foods Market

Prime members continue to adopt the new savings benefit at Whole Foods Market at one of the fastest rates we’ve seen. For the first time, Prime members celebrated Prime Day at Whole Foods Market where they saved millions of dollars with extra Prime Day deals. Members who spend $10 in store can get $10 to spend on Amazon for Prime Day when they shop at Whole Foods Market.

“The challenges some customers experienced shopping yesterday have been resolved – we love dogs at our Amazon offices, not on our store,” said Cem Sibay, Vice President of Prime. “With over 11 hours left to shop on Prime Day, there are tens of thousands of deals available.”

 

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June Amazon Recap

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

June Amazon Recap

Sam Jennings

June Amazon Recap

June Amazon Recap

June flew by and we are already well into July, the month that holds the internet’s largest online shopping event – Amazon Prime Day! Here at Marketplace Strategy, that’s a major holiday. And this year, it is more exciting than ever because Prime Day is not only one day—it’s a 72 hour event! We’ve been busy gearing up all of our accounts for the big event and ensuring everyone’s Lightning Deals, advertising and promotions are ready to go.

Key Industry Happenings & Platform Updates

  • Prime Wardrobe, Amazon’s own personalized shopping experience, officially launched in June after being in beta since last summer. The shopper picks at least 3 items from Amazon to fill their box and has a week to try on and return before being charged. Rather than focus on stylists and algorithmic clothing recommendations like some of its competitors, Amazon is utilizing their superior fulfillment and returns infrastructure to allow the consumer to try, buy or return as much as they want at no cost. Amazon is putting a big focus on this new platform with Prime Wardrobe landing pages sorted by category, style, occasion with other features like editor’s picks, blogger recommendations, and brand spotlights. This is another big step in increasing discovery on Amazon. Read more here.
  •  In a new study by RichRelevance, it was found that 30% of US internet users have searched for or purchased a product via a voice assistant (Google Assistant was used most, followed by Apple Siri, followed by Amazon Alexa). This number seems impressively large to us, but the search also found that roughly 63% of people do not trust any voice assistants to get voice-assisted shopping right. Although the trust might not be there yet, the need for brands to be present in voice search results is growing in importance as devices increase and user search habits evolve. Check out more of the survey results from the study here.
  • Amazon is on pace to increase its share of overall US digital ad revenue from 2.7% to 4.5% this year, slowly but surely whittling away at the duopoly (Google and Facebook). So far this year, Amazon has made some big advancements that are fueling growth, including: the introduction of new retargeting tools, expansion of their advertising teams and agency partnerships, as well as opening up access to their Amazon Ad Platform (AAP) which connects advertisers to display and video inventory outside of Amazon (we have access if you are interested in checking it out!). But, one of the biggest reasons Amazon’s ad growth is skyrocketing is their compelling pitch to brands: by combining media with retail, they are now able to truly provide a view into the full funnel, from discovery to purchase. Here are some interesting thoughts on Amazon’s plan to dominate advertising.

 

Great design inspiration we’ve found recently:

A few of our top blogs from the month:

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Amazon Prime Day 2018 Revealed

Amazon Marketplace News, Strategies, and Insights

Amazon Prime Day 2018 Revealed

Dina Podnar

Amazon Prime Day 2018 Revealed

The date has (finally) been announced: Prime Day is July 16-18. This year, the event will run for 36 hours instead of 30—giving Prime members more time to browse and buy, and you more time to drive sales on Amazon. With a date solidified, now all of our strategic planning is in go-mode to make this the best year of Prime Day sales for your brand.

Check out our Preparing for Prime Day blog series: 

Strategically Submitting Deals

Using AMS to Leverage Lightning Deals

Synergize Your Promotional Strategy

While deadlines for submitting Lightning Deals are in the past, there are still things you could be doing to ramp up your Prime Day preparedness! If your brand has deals planned, and even if you do not, the increased traffic that will be drawn to Amazon gives your brand a higher chance of conversion if your product is put in front of the customer.

Tens of millions of Prime members made a purchase on Prime Day 2017, more than 50% higher than the prior year. Marketplace Strategy suggests using advertising to help stand out from the crowd, reach a wider audience, and kick off the holiday shopping season. Start now to learn what works for your advertising strategy, and use those insights for the rest of the year (the holidays really are just around the corner). And by advertising on Amazon, you can help maximize your chance to reach, engage, and convert shoppers as they search to buy. Read about why it’s a smart strategy to launch campaigns now, learn bidding tips, and more.

When it comes to Amazon, we often see brands who internally view their Amazon promotional strategy to stay within the platform. We’re suggesting the opposite— you can be complimenting your brand’s entire promotional strategy on Amazon and using the brands other outlets to drive sales on Amazon. Read here for tips on how to utilize your promotional strategies across all marketing channels to boost Prime Day sales!

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