Cracking the Code to Amazon: How Brands Can Market Smarter

By Manish Mohan, Senior Director of Digital Strategy, NetElixir

As recently reported, dozens of agencies are emerging to help brands with everything from advertising to selling as Amazon’s ad business grows. With many of today’s consumers opting to shop online and Amazon’s vast inventory and quick logistical services, there is a clear appetite for brands to claim a stake and sell. But, what do brands need to know to do this right? How can agencies best help brands navigate this large, fragmented, and rapidly growing market?

Let’s explore my three top tips to help marketers “crack the code” to Amazon.

Understand where your target customers are looking to shop.

The first step is simple, and that is to do your due diligence. First, take time to research your target customer demographic. Their online buying behaviors are likely experiencing some seismic shifts as a result of the pandemic. Keep an eye out for where your customers are and if they expect you to be a part of their Amazon shopping ecosystem. Then, research the addressable market available on Amazon for your products and plan on being there with a cohesive cross-channel strategy.

Your strategy in a vertical with 10 competitors vs 100 competitors has to be different. Once you have figured out the available market, be prepared to invest three to six months in setting up the Amazon ecosystem. And keep in mind that getting started on Amazon — or even just growing an existing business on the platform — can feel equally overwhelming and daunting considering the rapidly changing pace of the marketplace.

This is where brands will benefit most from conducting research on the various brands and verticals on Amazon, to best understand where they fit into the equation. Aside from market research, it’s imperative to stay abreast of ongoing privacy regulation changes and keep an updated tech stack for data governance. Beyond that, marketers will need to think through smart inventory management tactics, potential areas for process automation, and listing optimization. It can also be wise to consider added reach through a custom-designed Amazon brand store and sponsored advertising strategy.

Amazon is now an integral discovery platform; factor this into your customer acquisition plans.

Though you may not own the customer journey in totality, this pipeline of new customers cannot be ignored. Ongoing seismic shifts in online shopping behaviors should signal big changes in brand marketing strategies.

As our nation’s shoppers continue to migrate life in a pandemic, retail marketers must pay closer attention to live consumer and sales data and apply those actionable insights to campaign plans. Generally speaking, today’s consumers are researching more and are hyper-focused on value. Some people’s purchases may be driven more by need than want; some might be new-to-online shopping altogether, and others might be more socially-conscious than ever before.

But that’s only scratching the surface, and consumer behavior is not so predictable. The key is to rely on data-driven, first-party insights to produce smarter, effective marketing material that will resonate. Also, consider the overall shopping experience. Whether it be something as simple as offering a seamless checkout or leveraging Amazon’s augmented reality technology offerings to provide prospective customers with an immersive experience, it will play a major role in customer loyalty.

Invest time and dollars into catering to the individual customer’s unique buying behaviors.

We touched on the fact that customers will respond best to personalized, curated content. They want to feel heard, seen, and valued, as well as connect with the purchasing brand. Showing up on Amazon with a few products and ads to drive traffic is no longer enough. For instance, a home improvement brand recently relied on NetElixir to ramp up its own Amazon presence, working with the agency to better understand its target demographic’s shifting buying behaviors. In partnership with NetElixir, the brand utilized the first-party data findings to think through innovative ways to capture seasonal demand and attract new customers. During the height of the pandemic in 2020, the brand’s revenue skyrocketed by 160% at a 336% increase in ad spend.

Your Amazon customers are conditioned to a different shopping experience and you have to invest the time to treat them differently. Take the opportunity to survey your consumers and directly ask them questions that can help you gauge better insights into your target audience’s passions, interests, and pain points. Leverage the responses to inform future strategies on everything from relevant product content, pricing, handling positive and negative reviews and smooth shipping and returns experience.

The number one goal remains to stay agile. Cracking the code to Amazon services is rather simple: it starts and ends with the customer. Understand their shifting buying behaviors and find inventive ways to appeal to them. Now is the time to stay dialed into consumer attitudes, and be attentive and mindful.

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