Katie has served in various roles at Kaspien throughout her 5 years with the company, including copywriter & Inbound Marketing Manager. She lives in Spokane, WA with her husband and two corgis.
We are happy to announce that Scott Allen has joined our company as our new Chief of Staff!Allenis a 21-year Air Force veteran with a background in strategic leadership experience andguiding large teams through operational execution. He will report directly to our CEO, Kunal Chopra, and will focus on streamlining Kaspien’s strategic initiatives, overseeing program management, and communicating objectives between departments.
“Kaspien is experiencing a period of immense growth,and we need an individual to champion strategic initiatives across our expandingteam,” said Chopra. “Scott’s leadership experience will be aninvaluable asset as we continue to scale our operations throughout 2021.”
Allen has a master’s degree in Human Service Counseling & Executive Leadership that he’s used extensively during his 21 years in the Air Force. Throughout his service, heworked as a Career Development Senior Leader, a role in which he leda team of 30+ to execute improvement processes. He also held the role of Organization Superintendent, where he led a change management initiative focused on recruitment, resulting in a 28% increase in key personnel recruitment.Allen is passionate about using team building, professional development, and process improvement to elevate employee potential and execution.
“I am excited to be a part of the Kaspien team and the phenomenal culture they have built,” said Allen. “I hope to leverage my outside lens to streamline our operational execution and thereby meet our teams’ vision and goals. I look forward to partnering closely with the executive team and every department to facilitate cross-functional, organization-wide projects and developing new processes to support Kaspien throughout our scale phase of 2021.”
Throughout the rise of the ecommerce marketplaces, millions of sellers have emerged, but few have endured long along to reach a billion dollars in lifetime revenue. Kaspien is pleased to announce that, this week, we reached this milestone.
“One billion in lifetime revenue represents a significant milestone in the history of our company,” said Brock Kowalchuk, Chief Financial Officer at Kaspien Inc. “It symbolizes our ability to endure as one of the original third-party retailers in the marketplace industry. Not only have we persevered as the industry continues to evolve, but we’ve also built a scalable business that is meeting a real need for brands looking to optimize and grow on online marketplaces.”
According to Marketplace Pulse’s recent post, The Disappearing Amazon Resellers, “There are still successful resellers left, and some new entrants manage to build a business around it. The few that remain are very strong … Successful resellers are now often positioned much more like agencies than retailers.”
Kaspien has adapted with the market, expanding from our wholesale retail roots to also offer a best-in-class marketplace agency, as well as seller software solutions. Our robust offerings were created in our pursuit to become the one-stop ecommerce shop for brands; whatever brands need for selling on the marketplaces, we’ve got it. Our ability to adapt quickly and expand our offerings has been foundational to us reaching this billion-dollar milestone.
Additionally, on Jan. 22, 2021, Kaspien Holdings received written notice from the Listing Qualifications Staff of The Nasdaq Stock Market confirming that the company had regained compliance with the continued listing requirements after the company’s market value exceeded $35MM for 10 consecutive days in January.
Significant highlights of the past year include:
Rebranded parent company from Trans World Entertainment to Kaspien Holdings Inc.
Named Kunal Chopra CEO of Kaspien Holdings
Moved corporate headquarters from Albany, NY to Spokane Valley, Wash.
Announced a net revenue increase of +36% in Q3 2020 compared to prior year
GMV increase of 127% in Q3 2020 compared to prior year, led by gains in subscription business
Kaspien’s full Q3 earnings report can be found here.
Never Miss a Beat with Kaspien
We have a growing library of resources about Amazon services, including other blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, podcasts, and more. Subscribe to our weekly blog to never miss a beat!
We’re co-hosting a webinar with Levin Consulting about opportunities and challenges facing consumer technology brands in 2021. It will be held on January 19th at 10am PT / 1pm ET.
Here are 5 reasons why you should attend!
5 Reasons to Attend our Electronics Webinar
1. Levin Consulting has 33 Years Experience in the Consumer Electronics Industry
Levin Consulting has spent the past 33 years serving consumer technology brands in the retail space. From emerging technologies to Fortune 100 giants, they’ve seen the evolution of many electronics brands and will be sharing a wealth of industry insights at the webinar.
2. Now is Peak Planning Time if You’re an Electronics Brand
With the latest technology unveiled at CES, now is the time to plan your overall strategy for both traditional and e-commerce retail so you’re ideally positioned for the year, but especially Black Friday & Cyber Monday and next holiday season. Our webinar will take an overall look at the state of the industry and provide actual takeaways you can implement into your current planning.
3. We’ll Provide Actionable Advice About Launching or Optimizing Your Brand on Amazon
One of our pet peeves are webinars that are all fluff without any actionable advice, so we will never produce a webinar like that. With our 12+ years of experience selling in Electronics on Amazon, the webinar will be jam-packed with category-specific advice such as compliance regulations, advertising nuances & strategy, and listing optimization techniques we’ve found to be successful.
4. You’ll Gain COVID-19 Trend Insights and Explore What They Mean for 2021
The pandemic has affected every category, and consumer electronics is no exception. Levin Consulting will explore these industry trends as a whole and Kaspien will narrow in on what it means on Amazon.
5. You’ll Get a Free Copy of our eBook, The Amazon Seller’s Guide to Electronics
We have all sorts of good things in store, and one of them is providing a free copy of our popular eBook, The Amazon Seller’s Guide to Electronics. This 28-page guide is our compilation of everything we’ve learned about selling in the electronics category on Amazon.
Register for the Webinar
Date: January 19th at 10am PT / 1pm ET
Duration: 60 minutes
Even if you cannot attend at this time, register and we’ll send you a recording of the webinar!
It’s no secret that the Amazon landscape is becoming increasingly saturated. As a result, it takes more to stand out these days: More effort, more time, and more money. So, what are you going to do to stand apart from the competition?
Our recommendation: Beef up your social media strategy; it’s often an untapped gold mine of potential. Both paid and organic social media will increase your brand presence off of Amazon, yes, but social media will also create tangible impacts on Amazon.
For example, we launched a private label brand in the baby & kids category, and through active Facebook & Instagram pages and social ads directing back to Amazon, we were able to produce over 30,000 organic monthly brand name searches on Amazon within the first few months. We took this brand that no one had ever heard of, and through social media, had 30,000+ people searching for the brand on Amazon with presumably high intent to purchase.
Here’s how we did it.
Integrate Amazon into Your Facebook & Instagram Pages
Whether you’re creating your social profiles from scratch or have an active social community already, there are social media strategies you can implement to help drive more traffic to Amazon specifically:
Include a link to your Amazon brand store or Amazon listing(s) in your Instagram bio. You can either put this as the only bio link or use services such as tap.bio or linktree to maximize that space. In your bio, mention that your followers can shop on Amazon via that link. Here’s a good example.
Set up your Facebook shop page. Did you know that anyone with a Facebook business page can create a digital storefront that displays on your Facebook page and has the ability to link directly to each Amazon listing? It’s a piece of cake to set up and link right to Amazon, like this brand does.
Regularly link to your Amazon listings or brand store in your Facebook posts. Since you can include links directly in your Facebook posts, take advantage of that space to post direct links to Amazon, but don’t do it so often that it begins to look spammy.
Here’s an example of a Facebook post that integrates a trackable link in the caption.
Use attributable links – always. With the recent release of the Amazon Attribution Program, there’s no reason why you can’t make every link trackable. Learn all about the Attribution program in this blog post.
Include Amazon coupon codes in your posts and/or Instagram bio. Use the Amazon Promotions coupon codes feature to create an eight-digit coupon code that can be shared anywhere you please on social media. This will enable you to see how engaged your audience is based on how many redemptions you receive, as well as provide your followers a nice treat. This brand does a good job of sharing an Amazon coupon code in their Instagram bio.
Use your social pages to communicate updates about your brand on Amazon, like a new coupon, product launch, or price cut.
Don’t have social pages set up or a team to manage them? We have a team of Facebook Blueprint Certified social media strategists who can do it for you!
Drive Targeted Traffic to Amazon with Facebook & Instagram Ads
If you really want to start driving a significant amount of off-Amazon traffic back to your Amazon listings or brand store, paid Facebook & Instagram ads are a quick, strategic way to do it. Within 30 minutes, our experienced social media experts can have a campaign set up and launched that’s driving people from social media directly to your Amazon listings.
Here’s how we typically build a paid social campaign:
Campaign objective – Traffic. It’s no question that the best campaign objective for driving conversions is, not surprisingly, the conversions objective. Unfortunately, there’s no way for any of us to place Facebook’s tracking pixel onto the back end of Amazon (maybe someday we will be able to – what a dream that would be!). That means we cannot use the conversions objective because there’s no way for Amazon to communicate back to Facebook when someone completes a conversion event. The next best objective we have is traffic. Or, maybe video views, if you have a good video.
Ad sets – We typically build out at least 3 ad sets per campaign based on these 3 audience types:
Interest-based audiences – This ad set is built using Facebook’s demographics and interest targeting. We build these audiences based on information from our partners and educated guesses about who would be interested in the brand. We then review this audience weekly to make adjustments based on which demographics are clicking the most.
Custom audiences – These are audiences based on some sort of value, like your Facebook page followers, an email list, or video viewers. For example, we could create a custom audience of people who have abandoned the cart on your direct website and target them with an ad urging them to purchase on Amazon instead.
Lookalike audiences – I’m a huge fan of lookalike audiences because they’re an easy, strategic way to expand your reach beyond your current social following and customers. I like to create lookalike audiences based off of Facebook followers, email lists, and those who have previously engaged with Facebook/Instagram ads or posts.
Use eye-catching creative – There’s no point in running social ads if you don’t have something beautiful to put money behind. Facebook puts a lot of weight on the creative and may not even approve your ad if there’s too much text in the image or it’s in bad taste.
Again, use the Amazon Attribution Program to create trackable links –I create a trackable link for each ad set, or sometimes even each ad, so I can gain insight into exactly which audience or piece of creative is driving sales. You’ll have to view these insights directly in the Amazon Attribution dashboard, as they’re not currently viewable in Facebook.
We’re firm believers in using paid and unpaid ads in your social media strategy to not only increase Amazon traffic and sales, but also increase your brand’s presence overall. However, creating effective social ads can be an extremely daunting process without the proper training or experience. That’s why we have a team in-house who is Facebook Blueprint Certified to run them for your brand! We can run social ads back to your website, Amazon, or both.
Amazon is working on two exciting programs that will make it easier than ever to incorporate influencer marketing into your Amazon marketing strategy: Amazon’s Influencer Program and Amazon’s Attribution Program. These services provide a means to track and attribute influencers impact on brand awareness and sales.
AMAZON’S INFLUENCER PROGRAM
The Influencer Program is an expansion of Amazon’s Affiliate Program. Available since 2017, it allows individuals with large followings and strong engagement on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or YouTube to create personalized storefronts on Amazon.
“With the Influencer Program, you get your own page on Amazon with a URL to showcase the products you recommend to your followers. This gives you an additional way to direct traffic to Amazon, which is especially useful where hyperlinking isn’t possible (e.g. Instagram captions or video content.)”
As you can see in the examples above, each influencer storefront has a vanity URL – amazon.com/shop/influencername.
The vanity URL allows influencers to direct traffic to their storefronts. Any product listing navigated to through the influencer storefront has a unique tag attached to the URL, which is used to attribute page views, sessions, and sales.
Currently, the storefront customization is fairly limited, but per AdExchanger, Amazon is currently working on a means for influencers to import content from their social media pages to the storefront, creating an aesthetically rich, personable experience. You can read more about crafting great personalized experiences in our blog post on behavioral economics applied to marketing.
Benefits of Influencer Storefronts
The influencer storefront is a mutually beneficial feature for influencers and their brand partners. For brands, the ability to attribute traffic and sales allows them to measure the results of their influencer marketing dollars, which was previously quite difficult.
For influencers, the storefronts allow them to provide a curated selection of products for their followers, reinforcing the personalization that draws their audiences to them. Influencers attract followers because people like their personality and put stock in their opinions. The storefront provides a convenient, centralized location for influencers’ followers to view the products that they’re willing to put their weight (and name) behind.
AMAZON ATTRIBUTION PROGRAM
The second of the two programs that will enhance social media marketing is Amazon’s Attribution Program. Currently in beta, the Attribution Programallows US brands enrolled in Brand Registry to utilize a cross-device, 14 day, last-touch attribution system for promotions on non-Amazon sites.
That’s a mouthful, so let’s break it apart.
Attribution for Off-Amazon Promotions
Starting with the last part, “promotions on non-Amazon sites:” The Attribution Program allows brands to create unique tags for eachof their off-Amazon marketing promotions.The tags can be for campaigns, products, ad-groups, keywords, channels, or any combination of them.
Once a tag is created, brands attach it to a link for their product listing or brand store. When this link + tag is used in its respective promotion, brands canisolate the results driven from each promotion.
For example, a brand could create a tag for a giveaway hosted on their Instagram, then create a separate tag for the same giveaway hosted on their Facebook. Even though the link might be identical, the tags differ, allowing brands to isolate attribution.
Cross Device Tracking
“Cross-device” means that the program will track a shopper’s journey across multiple devices. If a shopper clicks a Facebook ad while on their phone, then purchases the advertised product two days later from their laptop, Amazon will attribute the sale to the mobile Facebook ad. Pretty neat.
If a shopper clicks a link that has been tagged through the Attribution program, Amazon will attribute any page views, purchases, or sales to that promotion if it occurs in the next 14 days.
The caveat to the 14-day window is that Amazon attributes page views, purchases, and sales to the point of last touch. If a shopper clicks Ad #1, then a day later clicks Ad #2, then a week later makes a purchase, Amazon will attribute the sale only to Ad #2 because it was the most recent point of contact.
According to an Amazon spokesperson, Amazon will still attribute the sale to the last-touch promotion regardless of whether the sale occurs through the brand store or through the product listing and vice versa. If a promotion links to a listing, but the customer converts in the brand store, Amazon would still attribute the sale.
The spokesperson also states that in 2020, Amazon hopes to move to a multi-touch attribution system.
INFLUENCER MARKETING POTENTIAL
Influencer marketing has been building momentum for years. With Amazon accounting for 38% of online sales in the US, these efforts to enable a data-driven approach are big news for the industry.
Kaspien has utilized influencer marketing to drive Amazon sales for over two years. You can view the results of our services in ourInfluencer Marketing Overview.
We can run influencer marketing on your behalf as your retail or agency partner. Get in touch with us to start utilizing our service.
When Amazon Live launched in 2019, it was hailed as “the new QVC.” The Amazon Live page still feels reminiscent of the original shopping channel’s signature show-and-tell video style, and perhaps that’s just what the largest online marketplace needed.
Capitalizing on the livestream trend was a brilliant move by Amazon because livestream fills the void of not being able to see, touch, and experience products before online shoppers buy. For Amazon shoppers, livestream is the next best thing.
So, how do you as a seller take advantage of this free (I repeat, FREE) opportunity? Keep on reading.
What is Amazon Live?
“Amazon Live takes the fun and interactive nature of live video and joins it with online shopping,” states Amazon.com. “Bring products to life by featuring them in your product carousel. Features like product highlighting, live promotions and chat help you engage with your audience during your streams.”
Amazon Live has been drawing more attention this year as Amazon pulls publicity stunts, like partnering with celebrities like Demi Lovato to promote products and brands on Prime day 2020.
Amazon first unveiled Amazon Live in early 2019. The US-only service allows brands to broadcast live or pre-recorded videos to Amazon shoppers demonstrating product usage and features. Shoppers can watch the livestreams across devices and platforms. While pre-recorded video is not technically livestreaming, the expectation is that brand representatives will engage with shoppers while the video broadcasts.
However, Amazon Live will ban pre-recorded videos that are longer than 5 minutes and/or looped. Amazon also requires that pre-recorded videos must not appear to be pre-recorded in order to retain the “live” feel of Amazon Live.
Amazon stated, “Content you stream should be primarily live, with the majority of your livestream content captured and streamed in real-time. If any pre-recorded video is included in your livestream, it cannot be “looped” or played on repeat multiple times, and any such pre-recorded video cannot exceed 5 minutes in duration.”
While playing, the videos appear on the brand’s listings, brand store, and Amazon.com/Live.
Amazon’s FAQ page also states, “Livestreams can appear … across various placements where Amazon shoppers browse.” While vague, we’ve seen livestreams from one brand appear on a competing brand’s listing, below the “Sponsored Products related to this item” section.
As Amazon Live grows, this placement could become a significant asset or paint point for brands.
Amazon Influencers with an ActiveInfluencerStorefront
Recently, Amazon rolled out livestreaming for influencers, which is an extension of Amazon’s affiliate program that allows influencers to earn a commission on each item they sell.
Third–Party Sellers& Amazon Agencies
While not a traditional user of Amazon Live, third-party sellers and agencies can certainly livestream on behalf of the brands they represent. This is a service we offer to our clients free of charge here at Kaspien.
Why Brands Should Use Amazon Live
All you need to do is download the Live Creator App (more on that later) and you can start livestreaming.
You’re on Amazon to make more sales, and Amazon Live is a free way to do that with attribution capabilities. When you’re live, your livestream appears at the top of the Amazon Live page, which is a very highly trafficked page. Underneath your live video is the product carousel that features all the products you’ve associated with that livestream. Entice viewers to click through to your listings by offering special pricing or deals, as those promos are displayed in the product carousel.
ItReaches & Engages Shoppers
By its very nature, livestreaming is engaging. Through this platform, you can talk directly to potential customers, show them your passion, and sell them on your brand and products. Especially if you’re in a category that is ripe with counterfeiters or pricing wars, Amazon Live is the perfect place for you to show why your products are the best.
As you livestream more and sell more, you can “level-up” on Amazon Live, which unlocks additional livestream placements beyond just Amazon.com/live.
How to Get Amazon Live
Your brand must be enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry to gain access to Amazon Live. Learn how to sign up in Brand Registry in ourBrand Registry enrollment guide.
Download the Amazon Live Creator app and log in to your brand’s Amazon account. Currently, Amazon offers the service solely through an iOS mobile app (Amazon has not yet released an app for Android or Google phone users).
How to Use Amazon Live (for brands)
Option #1: Go Livewith the Live Creator App
Use this method if you are going live with your iPhone.
Download the Amazon Live Creator app in the app store. It’s currently only available for iPhones.
Sign into the app with the log-in credentials for your Amazon Advertising Console account (advertising.amazon.com account) where you created your brand’s Amazon Store page.
You’ll land on your dashboard which gives you an overview of your Amazon Live level and analytics from past livestreams. To create a new livestream or schedule a future livestream, click the plus button in the bottom center of the app.
Fill out all the details on the new live screen scheduler. This includes adding the relevant product(s) from your catalog to the livestream, adding a title, start time, video source (which should be phone if you’re truly going live), and any relevant promo codes or boosting budget. While livestreaming is free, you can choose to place budget behind boosting your livestream. According to Amazon, “Livestream boosting allows you to pay to help expand the reach of your livestream on Amazon, driving discoverability of your content to broader audience across the site. To leverage paid boosting, you choose a budget for the livestream and a CPM bid. These are used to display your video across various advertising placements on Amazon.com and the Amazon mobile shopping app, including on product detail pages. The budget you choose applies just to boosting that specific livestream.”
When you’re ready to go live, tap the big “Go Live” red button. It will count down from 3 and then you’re live! During the livestream, your video may appear on various placements around Amazon, depending on your Amazon Live level. If you’re just starting out, you’ll be the Rising Star level and your livestream will only place on Amazon.com/live. As you level up in Amazon Live, your streams are eligible to appear in more placements on Amazon.com, including the Amazon.com home page.
While you’re live, have someone monitor the livestream app for questions so you canpromptly respond and engage with customers in real time.
Option #2: Broadcast a Pre-Recorded Video
Use this method if you want to use a broadcast software to stream a pre-recorded video.
Setting up an Amazon Live broadcast using a pre-recorded video takes quite a bit more finagling than streaming a live video. We’ve been using Amazon Live since it was released in 2019, and we’ve developed a reliable process for it. To get the guide, click the button below!
Best Practices During a Livestream
Keep the Amazon Live Creator App open on your phone to watch for any comments that come in and respond as the brand when appropriate
Livestream during the afternoon and evening on Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
If you stream live, take a few test runs before broadcasting to work out the kinks. Ensure you’re in a controlled environment with minimal risk of disruption.
Include a clear Call-to-Action.
Use Amazon Live to promote complex or high price point products.
Use eye-catching visual elements or settings to increase viewership.
Promote the livestream ahead of time on your social media.
Restate key messages and themes throughout the livestream.
Pair livestreams with promo codes.It provides a clear CTA and increases viewership, especially when promoted on your brand’s social media accounts.
If you use or have used influencer marketing, reuse product videos they created for your brand.
Coordinate livestreams with other promotions to amplify each of their impact. This is a case where the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.
We have a growing library of resources about Amazon marketing services, including other blog posts, whitepapers, eBooks, podcasts, and more. Subscribe to our weekly blog to never miss a beat!
Here’s an interesting fact: 49% of US shoppers begin their search on Amazon. That’s a staggering percentage, right? But it still begs the question, where are the other 51%?
Those online shoppers are spread across many other online marketplaces, like Walmart, eBay, Google Express, and direct websites. Fortunately, you don’t have to advertise on all of those sites to reach that 51% of shoppers, because they still share a very significant connection: Social media.
While online shoppers may prefer shopping on different ecommerce sites, such as Walmart.com, eBay, or direct websites, most of them still use social media. In 2018, the Pew Research Center reported that 69% of US adults use social media, and 88% of US adults aged 18-29 use social media. That’s a huge market that your brand can tap into through social media marketing.
By maintaining active social channels and running marketing campaigns on Facebook and Instagram, you can reach the bulk of the off-Amazon audience and direct them to your products, regardless of where they’re listed. But anyone can post a picture with a comment. The question is, how do you transform a simple post into a powerful tool for brand awareness and conversions?
Kaspien recently launched a new service, Social Media Management, to do just that.
What is Social Media Management?
Social Media Management is precisely what it sounds like: Our team manages your brand’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, creating and publishing posts each week to grow an engaged following. Our dedicated social media managers review and respond to comments and messages daily, cultivating a tight-knit and loyal community of users who know that their feedback is seen, acknowledged, and appreciated.
We’ll collaborate with you to develop a social media calendar, scheduling social promotions that complement or supplement your other promotions. This can be especially effective for seasonal products, when many shoppers are conducting impromptu research into which brands offer the products they need. Through a strategic social media calendar, we amplify the efficacy of your marketing as a whole.
Last but not least, we provide detailed monthly reporting, offering transparency into your campaign’s performance. You’ll have insight into engagements, views, reach, and more.
Posting and commenting regularly is a great start to increasing brand awareness, but at the end of the day, it’s sales that keep your business running. We use our decade of Amazon experience to create social content that surpass brand awareness to drive action. We promote coupons and run giveaways through our posts, directing users from Facebook and Instagram to Amazon for conversion; we create original content that speaks to both features and benefits, describing the functional uses and the positive experiences your products provide; and we maintain a year-round social media presence to stay at top of mind with shoppers, ramping up our campaign efforts in the months preceding and through your peak seasons to.
We took over the Instagram and Facebook accounts for our partner Big Betty in March 2018. In less than a year, we grew their Instagram account to 1,100 followers and their Facebook account to 250 followers. But like we said, we want more than just brand awareness; we want action. The industry average engagement rate on Instagram is 3%. We achieved an 8.2% engagement rate for Big Betty, with the average post generating 69 likes and 8 comments!
How Social Media Fits in Your Marketing Strategy
Social media marketing allows you to cast a wider net and reach the shoppers who don’t start on Amazon. By doing so, we increase the total traffic coming to your listings, which in turn can increase your number of conversions.
The catch? Your listings must be prepared to capitalize on that influx of traffic. Our social media campaigns drive more shoppers to your listings, but it’s the listing that makes the final sell. Optimized listings have high resolution studio and lifestyle images, informative bullet points, and product demonstration videos. You can learn more of the details in our post aboutimproving Amazon listing discoverability.
If you’re interested in learning more about our social media management service, contact your Kaspien Account Manager or reach out via our contact form.