A Chow Chow Wearing Sunglasses and a Kitten

The Pet Supplies category is an emotions category – shoppers buy with their emotions and justify with logic. The joy that comes from delighting a beloved pet or the fierce protectiveness that comes when thinking of their safety – these are grounding factors that must guide your marketing strategy for the Pet Supplies category.    

Pet Owners Seek Trustworthy Brands 

Shoppers in the Pet Supplies category tend to demonstrate high brand loyalty. Shoppers want to trust that the toys, treats, and items they buy for their pets are safe and reliable. Once they’ve found a brand that they trust, they tend to stay with it.  

We see this played out in data, which shows that first-time buyers enter the category using broad keywords, like “dog toy,” while repeat buyers often use branded keywords.   

In the same vein, we also see that shoppers in the Pet Supplies category are willing to pay for quality. Because pet owners want the best for their pets, they’re willing to pay more for higher quality items. This is especially important to consider given that this category struggles disproportionately with counterfeit product. The low production and freight costs often associated with this category make it a prime hunting ground for counterfeiters. 

3 Ways to Tailor Your Amazon Marketing Strategy for Pet Products 

1 – Lifestyle Images are a Must  

Exciting visuals are critical in emotions categories because they are the first step towards inspiring an emotional rapport with shoppersLifestyle images are images that show your product in use in a natural setting. An adorable photo of a dog using your chew toy will delight shoppers and make them want to see that joy in their own furry friend. In many cases, they also help display the size of the product, helping ensure customers know what size they’re buying. 

Dog with Frisbee in park

Recommendations: 

  • Re-use images generated by influencers for your Amazon listings 
  • Include 2-4 lifestyle images and 1 video, if possible, in your Amazon listings 

Read more about the role of images and video for Amazon marketing. 

2 – Tell a Story with A+ Content 

A+ Content is a potent marketing tool in any category, but especially so in the Pet Supplies category. Pet owners value safety and reliability from the brands they patronize. A+ Content is an excellent place to acknowledge and empathize with their desire. Share your brand’s story and values to show shoppers that your brand is worthy of their trust. 

A Plus Content on Amazon

Recommendations: 

  • Create A+ Content for top performing ASINs (requires Brand Registry) 
  • Share your brand story and values 
  • Use additional imagery that shows your products in use 
  • Highlight product features 
  • Include a sizing chart, if applicable to the product 
  • Link to your other product lines through a comparison chart 

Learn more about earning customer trust in a skeptical world. 

3 – Reach Brand-Loyal Shoppers with Sponsored Brand Ads 

Earlier, we identified shoppers in the Pet Supplies category as being brand loyal. We see this played out in Sponsored Brand Ads – banner ads that show the brand name, logo, and several products. Sponsored Brand Ads typically have lower conversion rates than Sponsored Product Ads, but in the Pet Supplies category, we see strong performance because repeat buyers are seeking specific brands. 

Sponsored Brand Ad on Amazon SERP

Recommendations: 

  • Direct Sponsored Brand Ads to your Amazon Store 
  • Bid on branded keywords so the ads appear for repeat buyers 

Learn more about sponsored ad strategy on Amazon. 

The Best Doggone Guide to Pet Supplies on Amazon 

Like what you’re learning? This is only scratching the surface. Our Amazon marketing experts put together a comprehensive Amazon seller’s guide to selling pet products on Amazon. It contains a category overview, top challenges for pet brands on Amazon (and solutions for them)legal and marketplace requirements, and 10 ways to customize your Amazon marketing strategy specifically for the Pet Supplies category.  

Download the guide for free!  

Bezos answers congressional antitrust questions for house subcommittee on the judiciary

On July 29, 2020, Jeff Bezos testified before the US House Committee on the Judiciary. After the testimony, the committee submitted a list of additional questions for Amazon to answer in writing. The questions and answers were published on September 4th. We’ve reviewed Amazon’s responses in the Questions for the Record and identified some key takeaways for brands and third-party sellers that operate on the Amazon marketplace.  

Does Amazon Steal Third-Party Data? 

One of the most persistent lines of questioning was around Amazon’s use, or rather, alleged misuse of third-party data, including third-party seller data from the Amazon marketplace and third-party data from AWS users. Amazon has been accused of using third-party data to create copycat products and undercut its users’ prices. 

In short, Amazon openly admits to drawing on its enormous wealth of third-party data to improve its first-party offerings. However, it denies targeting any single seller because it anonymizes and aggregates data. 

Amazon responded in multiple instances that Amazon uses anonymized, aggregated data to inform its decisions, including which private label brands and products it pursues. Amazon argued that this is an ability that any retailer has, ecommerce or brick and mortar. Amazon also stated that, like any other seller, its private label developers research public-facing content on listings, such as price, reviews, rank, and features. 

Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s questions pressed Amazon to define “aggregated data” through a hypothetical: If a category consisted of one seller who accounted for 99% of sales and another seller who accounted for 1% of sales, would Amazon deem the combined data “aggregate data”? Amazon’s response that aggregate data is “data that is aggregated across multiple third-party sellers and, where available, Amazon’s first party sales,” suggested that it would. 

First-Party Share of Listings by Category

First-Party Share of Sales by Category

Amazon First Party Share of Sales by Category

 This question and Amazon’s answer are important to note for brands that release innovative products. Even if Amazon reviews data at a category level (and Amazon did not specify how deep category levels go for their product development purposes)successful products in niche categories are particularly vulnerable to copycat products based on Amazon’s aggregated data and frontend research. 

Does Amazon Unfairly Favor First-Party Products & Services? 

The Buy Box 

Chairman David Cicilline asked if Amazon considers profitability to Amazon when determining which seller wins the Buy Box. Amazon responded that profitability to Amazon is not a factor. Instead, factors such as price, delivery speed and cost, Prime eligibility, and seller performance determine Buy Box ownership. These factors are all things prioritized by Amazon first-party products. 

FBA vs Non-FBA Offers 

Cicilline also asked if Amazon favors products fulfilled through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) are favored over non-FBA options. As with nearly every answer, Amazon responded in a roundabout way, stating that Amazon’s data shows that customers prefer orders with FBA over non-FBA orders by 9.46%. This answer suggests that, yes, Amazon does favor FBA orders over non-FBA orders, but justifies it by claiming it provides the superior customer experience. 

However, this may change in the coming fourth quarter, as Amazon has been forced to impose inventory constraints across its fulfillment centers due to being unable to meet the surge in ecommerce purchases caused by COVID-19Since inventory space is limited and in high demand, Amazon is focusing on higher-volume, faster turning ASINs, as well as higher-profit items, to ensure that products stored in Amazon fulfillment centers (FC) are worthwhile for Amazon. 

The Amazon FC capacity constraints has driven many third-party sellers to establish hybrid fulfillment strategies for Q4, combining FBA with Fulfillment by Merchant (FBM). 

Purchases Through Alexa 

Cicilline also submitted questions about what ratio of first-party products are sold through Alexa compared to third-party productsAmazon stated that third-party sales account for 45% of sales made through Alexa in 2020, despite accounting for 58% of sales of physical products on Amazon. Amazon stated this discrepancy is due to the fact that many sales on Alexa are for consumable household items, like paper towels and diapers, and Amazon has a larger first-party presence in this category. 

Amazon also stated that only a low, single-digit percentage of customers complete the purchase of a product suggested by Alexa on Alexa. The clause “on Alexa” is worth noting, as it implies that the conversion rate for Alexa-recommended products could be higher if one tracked sales made on other devicesWhen Alexa recommends a product, shoppers may look it up on their phone to view pictures and read reviews, then purchase from their phone. Such conversions would not be counted in the low, single-digit conversion rate provided by Amazon. 

Does Amazon Do Enough to Protect Brands & Consumers? 

Project Zero Allows Brands to Remove Counterfeits 

Representative Henry Johnson, Jr.’s line of inquiry focused on brand protection services available to sellers on Amazon, and by extension, consumers who shop on Amazon. His first line of questioning focused on Project Zero, an Amazon program that gives brands the power to take down counterfeit listings themselves. 

According to Amazon, to be eligible for Project Zero, a brand must have a registered trademark, an Amazon account with access to Brand Registry, and have maintained an accuracy rate of higher than 90% for all notices of infringement submitted to Amazon in the prior six months. Requiring a high rate of accuracy for notices of infringement is critical to protecting honest sellers from abusive removals. 

Amazon stated that currently, 10,000 brands are enrolled in Project Zero. When challenged why brands should have to police Amazon’s marketplace for it through Project Zero, Amazon stated that their automated brand protections proactively remove more than 100 items suspected of infringement for every 1 item that a brand owner manually removes.  

IP Accelerator Expedites Trademark Registration 

Responding to questions about protecting intellectual property rights (IPR), Amazon brought attention to its IP Accelerator program, which connects brands with a curated network of trusted IP-focused law firms to help with trademark registration. According to Amazon, this program has connected over 1,500 brands to the network, and over 500 brands have received “accelerated protection” on Amazon. 

Accuracy of Seller Contact Information 

As of September 1, 2020, Amazon requires all sellers to list their contact information on their public-facing Amazon seller profile page. Representative Johnson, Jr. asked Amazon how they plan to ensure that the seller information is accurate.  

Amazon responded that they combine computer and human resources to validate seller contact information. However, many of their efforts seem to occur when a new account is created, so it is unclear how effective Amazon’s systems will be at retroactively identifying inaccurate information in existing seller accounts. 

Does Amazon Knowingly Permit the Sale of Counterfeits? 

Despite a plethora of anecdotes from consumers and brands about a pervasive counterfeit problem existing on Amazon and the Department of Homeland Security’s report from January 2020, Amazon continues to deny that counterfeit products are prevalent on the Amazon marketplace.  

Amazon claims that 99.9% of all products viewed by customers on Amazon do not have a valid counterfeit complaint, although Amazon did not state how it determines which complaints are valid.  

CJ Rosenbaum, founding partner of Amazon Sellers Lawyer, also cast further doubt on the sincerity of Amazon’s claim that it proactively fights the sale of counterfeit product on its marketplace. In an interview with Kaspien’s CEO and Director of Compliance, Rosenbaum shared that his firm recently represented a vendor who knowingly sold counterfeit product to Amazon Retail (first-party or 1P), and that Amazon Retail: 

  • Knew the product was counterfeit and bought it anyways, then sold it to consumers 
  • Simultaneously had an existing partnership with the competing authentic brand 
  • Stopped paying the vendor when the vendor’s account was accused of counterfeit, while continuing to sell the counterfeit product to consumers, resulting in maximum profits  
  • Instructed the vendor to create a new vendor account so that Amazon Retail could place another purchase order, then repeated the whole process several times before the vendor took Amazon to court 

The below video starts at the segment where Rosenbaum shares the story.

The frankly shocking allegations can be listened to in full, here. 

Other Notable Lines of Inquiry 

Because we are an ecommerce services provider with a large portion of our business and expertise focused on the Amazon marketplace, our review focused on key takeaways for brands and third-party sellers that operate on the Amazon marketplace. However, the committee’s questions delved into much more, including: 

  • Whether Amazon is seeking access to content rights for content available on HBO Max, Hulu, Disney+, or Netflix as part of its negotiations around Fire TV 
  • Whether Amazon’s initial and ongoing response to COVID-19 has been sufficient 
  • Allegations of wrongful terminations 
  • Amazon’s plans for the upcoming pilot commercial ecommerce program organized by the General Services Administration (GSA) (the program will essentially offer a marketplace specifically for federal employees) 

The Future of Amazon 

While Amazon is under fire from Congress for monopolizing the ecommerce space and stealing third-party data to usurp its customers, Amazon hasn’t broken its stride. Q3 is looking to be another strong quarter, with North American retail revenue forecasted to grow 30% year-over-year (YOY), compared to 21% YOY growth in Q3 2019. Likewise, Amazon’s advertising revenue is expected to grow 37% YOY in Q3, compared to 41% in the previous quarter.  

Predictions for the Amazon Marketplace, Near and Far 

  • Amazon will continue enhancing advertising services on and off its platform to further realize revenue from this rapidly growing segment. 
  • Amazon will continue expanding its brand protection services, including paid brand protection services, as pressure mounts from Congress and upcoming competitors, like Walmart and Target. 
  • Amazon will retain many of the inventory policies for its fulfillment centers that it put into place during the pandemic. Permitting only faster-turning products to be stored in Amazon fulfillment centers increases Amazon’s profits, and the baseline for consumer demand in ecommerce has been permanently raised as the result of COVID-19. As a result, Amazon can afford to impose stricter conditions. 
  • Amazon first-party sales share will continue to reduce, as Amazon enjoys better profits and less risk through seller fees and having third-party sellers carry inventory risk. Pointing to the shrinking share of first-party goods, even as total revenue grows, also helps Amazon argue against calls for trust busting. 
  • If other online marketplaces can rise to compete with Amazon, as Walmart has been making strides towards with the launch of Walmart Fulfillment Services and Walmart+, calls for trust busting may dissipate. As such, Amazon may limit competitive efforts to stymie their growth too much, so it can point to competition as antitrust pressure mounts.  
  • Though countries such as India have forbidden the marketplace owner from also being a seller, it is unlikely that the US will institute such a policy given that Amazon, Walmart, Target, and others all act as first-party sellers alongside third-party sellers on their marketplaces.  

On September 8th, Amazon announced updates to its communications policyThe update clarifies what buyer-selling communication is permitted by Amazon’s policies, something that was previously ambiguous at best. The update is intended to reduce the number and improve the quality of emails Amazon shoppers receive in the interest of improving the Amazon buying experience. 

Biggest Takeaways: 

  • Sellers can ask buyers for product reviews and/or seller feedback (although you still cannot ask for a positive review, only an honest review) 
  • Amazon clarified what message types, content, and formatting are not permitted 
  • The policy update applies to all Amazon marketplaces 
  • The updated policies go into effect on November 3, 2020 

Communications Updates 

Permitted Buyer-Seller Communications 

Sellers are permitted to communicate with buyers for the following three reasons: 

  1. If an order cannot be shipped or if it will be delayed. This must be communicated via Seller Central using the Manage Orders feature. 
  2. If additional information is needed to complete a return or if the seller is offering a partial refund. This must be communicated via Seller Central using the Manage Orders feature. 
  3. Communicate with buyers proactively (communication initiated by the seller instead of the buyer) to: 
    1. Resolve an order fulfillment issue  
    2. Request additional information required to complete the order 
    3. Ask a return-related question 
    4. Send an invoice 
    5. Request product review and/or seller feedback 
    6. Schedule the delivery of a heavy or bulky item 
    7. Schedule a Home Services appointment 
    8. Verify a custom design 
    9. Any other reason where the contact is required for the buyer to receive their purchase 

 

Proactive messages may be sent using email, Amazon’s templates in Seller Central, third-party applications, or via API. These messages must be sent within 30 days of order completion, include the 17-digit order ID, and be in the buyer’s preferred language. Amazon retains the authority to modify subject lines as it deems necessary.  

Learn more about how customer reviews impact Amazon sales or how to generate new customer reviews compliantly. 

Forbidden Message Types 

Amazon’s policy update states that sellers may not send the following message types to buyers: 

  1. Order or shipping confirmations 
  2. Messages that say only “Thank you” or that you are here to help if buyers have any problems  
  3. Marketing or promotional messaging, including coupons  
  4. Language that either incentivizes or persuades the buyer to submit positive product reviews or seller feedback, including by offering compensation, money, gift cards, free or discounted products, refunds, rebates or reimbursements, or future benefits  
  5. Language that requests removal or an update of an existing product review  
  6. Language that requests a product review only if they have had a positive experience with the product 
  7. A repeat request (per order) for a product review or seller feedback 

 

Forbidden Message Features 

Seller-buyer communications must not contain any of the following: 

  1. External links unless they are secure working links (https, not http) necessary for order completion or links to Amazon  
  2. Attachments except for product instructions, warranty information, or invoices  
  3. Logos, if they contain or display a link to your website  
  4. Link to opt-out of messaging  
  5. Sensitive content in images or text (e.g. bare skin, violence/gore, adult/offensive language)  
  6. Tracking pixels or images  
  7. Email addresses or telephone numbers  
  8. Images of purchased products as Amazon includes those on your behalf  
  9. Images that do not relate to your brand or company 

 

Forbidden Message Styling 

Likewise, the policy update also forbids seller communications from containing any of the following: 

  1. Accessibility issues as specified in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines from the Web Accessibility Initiative  
  2. Emojis  
  3. GIFs  
  4. Message margins over 20% max width  
  5. Image or graphic sizes larger than 80% max width  
  6. Overrides of Amazon’s default line height, font family, or font color  
  7. Fonts in more than three sizes  
  8. Message bodies that are centered or that otherwise override default text alignment settings  
  9. More than two line-breaks (spacing between paragraphs) in a row  
  10. Unsecure images (http instead of https)  
  11. Spelling errors or grammar issues 

 

Compliance Required by November 3, 2020 

Sellers that fail to comply with Amazon’s updated guidelines by November 3rd may face temporary restrictions in proactive seller-buyer communication or a suspension of their seller account. 

Target Earnings Q2 2020

Target released their earnings report today for the threemonth period ended August 1, 2020. Comparing Q2 2019 to Q2 2020, this quarter was a resounding success for Target. Notable highlights include:  

  • Second quarter sales grew 24.3% year-over-year (YoY), the highest Target has ever reported, with digital sales contributing 13.4 percentage points and store sales contributing 10.9 percentage points 
  • Digital sales grew 195% YoY  
  • 17.2% of total sales from the second quarter originated online 
  • Total revenue grew 24.7% YoY, from $18.4B to $23B 
  • Operating income grew 73.8% YoY 
  • Same-day services for Q2 grew 273% YoY 
  • Target gained $5B in market share in the first six months of 2020, exceeding gains made in all of 2019 

Target’s Q2 earnings snapshot also notes that more than 90% of second quarter sales involved stores in some manner, whether it be in-store shopping, pick-up, or delivery through Shipt. 

Key Takeaways for Online Sellers 

In February, eMarketer forecasted that Target would finally break into the top 10 US ecommerce retailers, capturing 1.2% of total retail ecommerce sales in the USEMarketer also predicted that Target’s ecommerce business will grow to $8.34 billion. Target’s second quarter earnings report supports this prediction.  

In the six months preceding August 1, 2020, digital accounted for 16.3% of Target’s sales. In that same period, Target reported $42 billion in sales, which indicates that they’re nearing $7 billion sales generated through ecommerce.  

This is impressive growth, but still trails Walmart, which generated roughly $5.5 billion from ecommerce in Q2 alone, and Amazon, which grew North American net sales to $55 billion in Q2. Brands interested in growing their online business should continue to focus on Amazon and Walmart’s online marketplace, but Target is clearly one to watch. 

Read our breakdowns of Amazon’s Q2 Earnings Report and Walmart’s Q2 Earnings Report. 

Walmart earnings report Q2 2020

Today, Walmart released their earnings report for the 13-week period ended July 31, 2020Notable highlights from the release include:  

  • Net sales in the US were up 9.3% year-over-year (YoY) to $93.3B 
  • Total revenue was up $7.4B YoY to $137.7B 
  • Walmart US ecommerce sales increased 97% YoY 
  • Walmart US ecommerce sales accounted for approximately 6% of Q2 net sales, around $5.5B
  • Sam’s Club ecommerce sales grew 39% YoY 
  • International net sales were down 6.8% YoY 
  • Ecommerce sales accounted for 12% of total international sales 
  • Walmart incurred $1.5B in COVID-related costs 

Global Ecommerce Growth 

As a company that operates in the ecommerce space, we took particular note of Walmart’s online sales performance. Just this year, Walmart has announced Walmart Fulfillment Services, an integration with Shopify, and Walmart Plus – all indicators of Walmart’s growing ambition for their ecommerce presence. As COVID-19 impacted shopping in physical stores, Walmart’s online sales growth boomed around the globe. 

Walmart Marketplace Ecommerce Net Sales: 

  • US: +97% 
  • Mexico & Central America: +217% 
  • China: +104% 
  • Canada: +215% 
  • United Kingdom: +98% 

Online grocery sales were a significant contributor to online sales growth in each of the below markets. Pickup and delivery services experienced record-high sales, with approximately 3,450 stores allowing pickup and approximately 2,730 stores offering same-day delivery. 

Key Takeaways for Sellers 

Walmart’s online marketplace has been building momentum since it launched, but it’s rapidly gaining speed in 2020. We saw with Amazon that brands who entered the marketplace early were positioned to seize and grow a greater market share. As Walmart’s online marketplace matures, a similar outcome is likely.  

In addition to general ecommerce growth, the current health crisis has also led to a surge in online grocery shopping. This is a fascinating space that’s likely to continue growing even after shopping in physical stores normalized again. You can learn more about the rapid rise of online grocery in our podcast episode with Chicory, a digital shopper marketing platform that specializes in the grocery industry. 

Read our breakdowns of Amazon’s Q2 Earnings Report and Target’s Q2 Earnings Report.

Amazon PPC Management Software

Today, we’re excited to announce the release of a new suite of features for our Amazon PPC management software, AdManager. The new features include: 

  • Automated search term optimization 
  • Automated budget optimization to maximize profitability 
  • An Out of Budget table that recommends ideal budgets 
  • A new “4 Campaign Build” option for campaign creation 

All these features are being added for free for existing users and will be included as standard features for all new subscribers.

This set of features joins the existing suite of features, which includes dynamic bid optimizations, a centralized keywords table for simplified campaign management, and detailed reporting. 

Automated Search Term Optimization 

AdManager can now automatically identify and add high-converting search terms as keywords to campaigns, promoting relevancy and driving more sales. Users set custom rulesets that will mine customer search terms from automatic campaigns and broad and phrase match types. If a search term meets your selected parameters, AdManager will automatically add it as a keyword to your manual campaigns.  

With this feature also comes keyword negation. AdManager will automatically identify and negate terms that don’t meet your custom performance thresholds. For example, a keyword that continuously generates clicks but never generates a conversion is wasting your budget. AdManager can now automatically negate such terms, minimizing wasted ad spend and increasing campaign relevancy. 

Search Term Optimization

Never Run out of Budget 

AdManager now lets you set custom rules that automatically increase daily budget for high-performing campaigns if they run low. This way, you ensure that your most profitable campaigns never turn off, maximizing your revenue. 

Budget Optimization

Campaign Budget Optimization Table 

AdManager now includes an Out-of-Budget table that shows at what time a campaign ran out of budget, how often they run out of budget, and uses Kaspien’s proprietary data to recommend an ideal budget for each campaign.  

It’s important that campaigns can run 24 hours per day because optimizing campaigns requires data. If your campaigns consistently run out before 10am, any optimizations you make are using incomplete data, and as a result, risk doing more harm than good. The Out of Budget Table provides both visibility and a solution for this problem.  

Out of Budget Table

Automated Campaign Build Strategy 

Maximize data insights and improve performance using our proven “4 Campaign Build” architecture. When creating a new campaign, you can select our “4 Campaign Build” to automatically create three manual campaigns (one per match type) and one automatic campaign. 

Since we began advertising on Amazon seven years ago, we’ve been experimenting with campaign architecture to find the most effective structure for strong results and ease of management. The 4 Campaign Build is what we’ve found to be the most effective.  

Manually creating this architecture is time consuming, which has led many marketers to regretfully turn away from it, even knowing the benefits to data insights and performance. AdManager solves this problem by automating its creation.  

4 Campaign Build Ad Architecture

For New and Experienced Marketers 

AdManager is designed to cater to both novice and experienced Amazon marketers. The easy-to-use interface and data visualization make it accessible for marketers not yet versed in Amazon advertising. For users who are experienced with Amazon advertising and want to get more in the weedsAdManager offers the depth and customization that you’re looking for.  

Take a self-guided demo to see the backend, or request a live demo with a specialist to see AdManager in action and ask more detailed questions.  

If you’re not ready to start using the software yourself, AdManager is also available as a managed service. Our experts can serve as an extension of your team and manage your Amazon ad campaigns on your behalf. 

Our Lowest Prices Ever 

To celebrate the launch of these new features, we’re offering AdManager at our lowest prices ever! Self-service AdManager is now available starting at $99/month and managed service AdManager is available starting at $1,300/month. Visit Kaspien.com/AdManager to learn more. 

Amazon's second quarter earnings soar in 2020

Amazon Revenue Soars in Second Quarter

Today, Amazon published their earnings report for the second quarter of 2020. Their earnings exceeded expectations, with Amazon reporting a revenue of $88.91B and a net sales increase of 40% compared to Q2 in 2019. Other notable results include: 

  • Net income increased to $5.2B, doubling their net income from the second quarter of 2019 
  • North American net sales were up 43% YoY, while international sales were up 38% YoY 
  • Amazon’s “Other” category (which consists mostly of Amazon advertising) grew revenue 41% 
  • AWS grew 29%, the lowest growth rate since Q1 2017 
  • Operating cash flow increased 42% YoY  
  • Free cash flow increased from $25B to $31.9B YoY 
  • Operating income increased from $3.1B in Q2 2019 to $5.8B in Q2 2020 
  • Third-party sales growth outpaced first-party sales growth 
  • Grocery delivery capacity grew by over 160% and online grocery sales tripled, YoY 

Amazon’s guidance for Q3 anticipates slightly more modest growth, with net sales expected to increase between 24% and 33% YoY. 

Amazon’s COVID-19 Efforts 

In Q1, Amazon promised to spend $4B on COVID-related costs during Q2. In Amazon’s earnings report, CEO Jeff Bezos stated, “As expected, we spent over $4 billion on incremental COVID-19-related costs in the quarter to help keep employees safe and deliver products to customers in this time of high demand.”  

Bezos added that since March, Amazon has created over 175,000 jobs, 125,000 of which are planned to transition to full-time positions. 

Amazon promised to invest an additional $2B in COVID-19 related costs during Q3. As noted by Venture BeatAmazon does not wish to appear to benefit too much from the pandemic, even as their $5.2B quarterly profit marks the highest on record in their 26year history. 

Key Takeaways from Q2 for Sellers 

By looking at where Amazon is experiencing the most consistent, strongest growth rates, we can see where Amazon is likely to continue investing in the future. This report marks yet another strong quarter for third-party seller growth and Amazon advertising.  

Third-party seller sales yet again grew faster than Amazon’s first-party sales, indicating that Amazon is continuing to embrace the third-party approach to the marketplace. This makes sense, as holding inventory carries greater risks. By expanding the third-party network, Amazon reduces its inventory risk while still generating more revenue in the form of fees.  

Those fees include advertising. Amazon’s “other” category by and large consists of their advertising business. Revenue grew 41%, making it yet again one of their fastest growing segments. It’s likely that Amazon will continue expanding their offerings and capabilities for their ad platform, making it an even more appealing tool for brands selling on its platform. 

Read our breakdowns of Walmart’s Q2 Earnings Report and Target’s Q2 Earnings Report.

Jeff Bezos Testified Before Congress 

Amazon’s Q2 earnings report comes one day after Jeff Bezos testified before the US House Committee on the Judiciary. Amazon, along with Facebook, Google, and Apple, were brought before the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law to answer questions for an antitrust case.  

It did not appear to go well. Members of congress grilled Bezos about Amazon’s alleged practice of using third-party data to create copycat products, then undercut the brands selling on its platform. The same accusation was made regarding AWS, with members asking about allegations that Amazon stole third-party data to create competitor products, as well as identify and then target competitors’ customers.  

Congress members also pressed Bezos to explain why sellers bear the burden and costs of combating counterfeiters instead of Amazon, implying that Amazon has taken too passive a role because Amazon still profits from sales even if the products are counterfeits.  

Bezos’s answers seemed unsatisfactory for committee members. In many cases, he stated he could not remember the details or was unaware of the alleged events.  

Mr. Cicilline shared the following story from an apparel company that compared Amazon’s first-party division, Amazon Retail, to a drug dealer: 

“Amazon strings you along for a while because it feels so good to get that paycheck every week. And in the past, for a lack of a better term, we called it, ‘Amazon heroine’ because you just kept going, you had to get your next fix, your next check. And at the end of the day, you find out that this person, who was seemingly benefiting you, making you feel good, was just ultimately going to be your downfall.” 

Bezos responded by saying that he “completely disagrees with that characterization.” However, the anecdote rang true for third-party retailers. It is not a rare occurrence for a brand to seek out partnering with trusted third-party retailers after having a similar adverse experience selling through Amazon Retail.  

What the Antitrust Hearing Means for Brands on Amazon 

The antitrust hearing could be a huge win for brands selling online. If Amazon is indeed exploiting brands selling on its platform through copycat tactics, actions taken as a result of this hearing could put a stop to it. Likewise, if the burden of combating counterfeiters is placed on Amazon, brands may not have to bear the costs.  

Unfortunately, both of the above are big “ifs” and will take months or years to be acted upon. As Amazon’s Q2 earnings report shows, Amazon is and will remain the dominant marketplace in US ecommerce for the foreseeable future 

Start Selling on Amazon

Brands that wish to sell online will need an Amazon strategy if they wish to grow their online sales. If you’re wary of doing that, work with an experienced Amazon retailer like Kaspien who already has the infrastructure and safeguards in place to protect your brand.  

If your business is not selling on Amazon yet, read this article on why your brand should probably be selling on Amazon, even if you don’t want to be on Amazon

Walmart announces Walmart Plus to Compete with Amazon Prime

Updated 9/1/2020: Walmart officially announced that Walmart Plus will become available to all members on September 15th.

What is Walmart+ (Walmart Plus)? 

Walmart will be launching a new service in July called Walmart+, according to Recode. Walmart+ is a subscription-based service that will provide members access to unlimited same-day delivery for eligible items, discounts at Walmart gas stations, and early access to Walmart deals.  

Walmart+ is set to launch in July for $98/year, roughly $20 less than Amazon PrimeThe service is meant to rival Amazon Prime as Walmart continues expanding its ecommerce operations. Walmart has yet to clarify whether the service will launch nationally or in select regions to start. According to Recode, a Walmart+-branded credit card will also be introduced after launch. 

Walmart Plus vs Amazon Prime

What Does Walmart+ Signify? 

Walmart+ is the latest move in Walmart’s efforts to challenge Amazon for market share in online retail. Earlier this year, Walmart announced Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS), a Walmart owned and operated fulfillment network for goods sold on Walmart.com. Walmart Fulfillment Services offers many of the same benefits as Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). 

Walmart Fulfillment Service Benefits 

  • 100% nationwide coverage 
  • Increased product visibility  
  • Significant sales lift  
  • Fast & affordable fulfillment 
  • Free & easy returns, including in-store returns 
  • Consistent storage rates 

Download our free eBook all about Walmart Fulfillment Services. 

Walmart+ and Walmart Fulfillment Services make it clear that Walmart is taking advantage of Amazon’s successes and failures. They can see which services have proved most useful for online sellers and shoppers, and they are actively working to create comparable services for their own platform.  

How Will This Affect Shoppers and Sellers? 

Shoppers and sellers alike will benefit from the competition between Amazon and Walmart. Amazon Prime was largely unchallenged in the online marketplace space. With the introduction of Walmart+, the two services will vie for sellers’ and customers’ patronage, resulting in better features and deals. 

How does Walmart.com Compare to Amazon? 

Walmart has made excellent progress this year on their ecommerce platform. Along with Walmart Fulfillment Services and Walmart+, Walmart also offers brands better protection from counterfeiters and unauthorized sellers than Amazon.  

Walmart is a gated marketplace, meaning that sellers must be approved before they can sell on the platform. Amazon, on the other hand, is an ungated marketplace, so anyone can create a seller account and begin selling. Amazon’s approach contributed to its staggering growth, but it also made it vulnerable to exploitation. Counterfeiters and rogue sellers have long plagued brands on the Amazon platform, and the problem has even received attention from the Department of Homeland Security 

Walmart also has the upper hand in the online grocery business. Walmart+ will offer benefits for grocery purchases as well, helping defend Walmart’s position as Amazon works to take control of the grocery sector. 

Despite their progress, Walmart still has a lot of catching up to do. Walmart’s paid marketing services do not yet offer the same control as Amazon’s, resulting in lower ROI, nor do they offer the same breadth of services. 

Sell on Walmart Sooner Rather Than Later 

As Walmart continues building out its ecommerce platform, they are improving their ability to pull market share from Amazon. In their earnings report, Walmart shared that their ecommerce sales are up 37% year over year (partly due to the coronavirus). 

 Walmart is learning from Amazon’s history; brands should too. Establishing an early foothold on the ecommerce platform will position brands for long-term success. 

Kaspien is a preferred solutions provider for the Walmart marketplace. If you’d like to discuss expanding your brand onto Walmart, reach out through our contact form 

Amazon Upgrades US Seller Profiles

On July 8th, Amazon Services notified sellers in the US that, effective September 1st, 2020, Amazon will display a seller’s business name and address on their Amazon.com “Seller Profile page. For individuals, Amazon will display the individual name and address.  

This change will help eliminate seller anonymity on Amazon’s US marketplace, bringing it into alignment with their European, Japan, and Mexico marketplaces.  

Amazon US and UK Seller profile comparison

In their notice, Amazon Services states, “[…] We are making this change to ensure that there is a consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shopping decisions.” You can read the full notice from Amazon at the bottom of this post. 

Why Does This Amazon Update Matter? 

This update will increase transparency on the Amazon platform. Though Amazon has not stated as much, they may be making this change as a result of the Department of Homeland Security’s counterfeit report, which was published in January 2020. The report exposed the full scale of the counterfeit problem on Amazon, stating, “global employment losses due to counterfeit goods were between 2 million and 2.6 million jobs in 2013, with job displacement expected to double by 2022.”  

Among the many recommendations in the report was a call to publicly display seller identities, which would make it easier for consumers and businesses to file legal action in the event of a counterfeit, IPR infringement, or other violation. 

Kaspien’s Compliance Manager, Jed Nelsen, commented, “Amazon is making a big step forward in transparency. This update will make it easier for brands to track down the 3rd party sellers who are selling their products.” 

How Will This Affect Shoppers and Sellers? 

The anonymity update is unlikely to significantly impact online shoppers, as few take the time to research the seller they’re patronizing.  

Sellers, on the other hand, are much more likely to take advantage of the update. As mentioned above, access to more business information will make it easier for brands and sellers to take action against counterfeits and cases of IPR infringement.  

As Marketplace Pulse notessellers can fake business details to circumnavigate Amazon’s enforcement, so the update will not eliminate Amazon’s issues. But it’s a step in the right direction to protect consumers and businesses in the US. 

What Steps Do Amazon Sellers Need to Take? 

Sellers do not need to take any action, unless they’d like to update view and update their contact information. Amazon Services provided directions on how to do so in their notice: 

  1. Log into your Amazon seller account. 
  2. In the “Settings” menu at the top right corner of Seller Central, click “Account Info” to view your “Seller Account Information” page. 
  3. In the “Business Information” section, click the links for the information you want to view. 
  4. To change your business name, click “Display Name” and to change the address, click “Business Address”. Enter the new information or edit the current information. 
  5. Once completed, click “Submit” to save. 

 

Read the Full Notice from Amazon 

Dear Seller 

Beginning on September 1, 2020, we will display a seller’s business name and address on their Amazon.com “Seller Profile” page. For individuals, we will display the individual name and address. This is consistent with “Seller Profile” pages across the Amazon stores in Europe, Japan, and Mexico. 

Why are we making this change? 

Over the years, we have developed many ways for sellers to share more about their business, including through features like the “Seller Profile” page, “Store” pages for brand owners, and Handmade “Maker Profile” pages. These features help customers learn more about the businesses of a seller and the products they are selling. We are making this change to ensure that there is a consistent baseline of seller information to help customers make informed shopping decisions. 

Can I share more information to help customers beyond my business name and address? 

Yes, you are welcome to add additional information about your business and products that you think would be helpful to customers. However, remember that you should not include an email address in order to prevent spam and abuse. We ask customers and sellers to use our Buyer-Seller Messaging system to communicate electronically. 

How do I ensure that my information is up to date? 

You can view and update your contact information by following the steps below: 

  1. Log into your Amazon seller account. 
  2. In the “Settings” menu at the top right corner of Seller Central, click “Account Info” to view your “Seller Account Information” page. 
  3. In the “Business Information” section, click the links for the information you want to view. 
  4. To change your business name, click “Display Name” and to change the address, click “Business Address”. Enter the new information or edit the current information. 
  5. Once completed, click “Submit” to save. 

 

Regards, 
Amazon Services 

 

Consumers are shifting their spend from brick and mortar stores to ecommerce marketplaces

If you’re shopping for an Amazon agency but aren’t sure if now is the right time, consider this: Consumer spend in ecommerce is expected to grow 18% this year, while spend in brick and mortar retail is expected to drop by 14%. This forecast supports two important trends we’ve seen since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in the US:  

1) More shoppers are buying more of their goods online. 

2) Shoppers who previously did not shop online are now using ecommerce sites.  

We fully expect both of these trends will outlive the pandemic, which means that brands who aren’t selling online are going to be at an increasing disadvantage.  

Now is the time to sell online, Amazon is the place to do it, and an Amazon agency is one of the best ways to do it. To help you decide if you want to work with an Amazon agency, we’ve prepared a list of the top four considerations and benefits of hiring an agency. 

#1 – Working with an Amazon Agency is Simply Convenient  

Selling online is challenging. Managing the supply chain, inventory, marketing, listing optimizations, case management, customer reviews, and reporting requires a full-time team. If you don’t have the personnel, expertise, and/or software in-house to successfully manage these programs, it’s far easier to hire outside help. An Amazon agency provides the staff, experience, strategy, and software needed to grow a profitable and secure Amazon business. Furthermore, hiring an agency will likely be cheaper than hiring comparable personnel in-house.  

Even if you’d prefer to manage your online sales channel independently, an agency can be a good stepping stone, laying a strong foundation for your online business while you prepare resources internally to eventually take over. 

#2 – You Maintain Control of Your Brand 

When you work with an Amazon agency, you maintain an inventory position; in other words, you’re the seller. No one else is between your brand and your customers. Shoppers will see that the product is made by yousold by you, customer questions are answered by your brand, and that can build trust 

Now, how does that work when partnering with an agency? When you work with an agency, they’ll manage the backend of your Amazon channel through your brand’s seller account. This means all their expertise and resources are applied from within your own account, so consumers see only your brand on the frontend of a listing. This is one of the many differences between working with an agency and working with a retailer. A retailer will optimize your listings through their seller account, whereas an agency does so through yours. 

Ultimately, maintaining inventory control and optimizing your sales channel through your own seller account results in greater transparency and control. You can access your account to review performance whenever you want. The agency can (and should) advise, but you have the final say on all things. 

#3 – You’ll Save Time to Focus on Other Areas of Your Business 

Getting the most out of your online business requires hours of attention. Amazon is not a “set it and forget it” marketplace. Each ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number – an alphanumeric code Amazon uses to identify each product) requires regular review and management if you want to maximize your sales 

We serve as an Amazon agency for many leading brands with varying catalog sizes. On average, we invest 60 hours per week in channel management for brands with 100 or more ASINs. That time includes inventory management, sales forecasting, customer review management, listing optimizations, paid marketing optimizations, and more. But as a result of investing so many hours on a weekly basis, we drive continual strong growth. 

Now, if you don’t have such a large catalog, you’ll naturally require less time for channel management. Just keep in mind that hours per ASIN is not a linear chart. The time commitment per ASIN typically reduces as the number of ASINs increases because, in most cases, groups of ASINs share similarities, so the same content can be adapted to suit multiple ASINs.  

#4 – The Costs Pencil Out 

One of the most important questions is price. How much does it cost to work with an Amazon agency?  

At Kaspien, our agency partnerships start at a $3,000/month retainer. However, if you’re seeking assistance for only specific services, such as marketing, all of our offerings are also available as managed services. Our managed services start at $100/hour. 

If you think about it, that means working with an agency is actually less expensive than hiring a full-time employee to run your online sales channel. Furthermore, you gain much more than a single employee by working with an agency; you tap into the collective knowledge of hundreds of professionals and a suite of software (at least, if you work with Kaspien). That expertise, strategy, and automation translates into more sales and greater profitability, to the point where your Amazon agency pays for itself and then some.  

Learn more about Kaspien’s Agency or request a free brand consultation to see what we could do for your brand. 

Amazon Q1 Earnings Report Indicates Positive Outlook for Brands Selling on Platform

Amazon recently published its Q1 2020 Earnings Report. The report posted positive results for Q1, with the anticipation of high expenses in Q2 as Amazon responds to COVID-19 impact 

KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM AMAZON’S Q1 EARNINGS REPORT 

  • Amazon saw strong YoY sales growth, coming in at 26% growth in Q1 net sales. This growth comes in the face of COVID-19, and may be partly attributed to the stimulus checks.  
  • However, Amazon’s profits were down YoY, with operating income reported at $4B compared to $4.4B last year. 
  • North America and AWS segment saw strong performances, while the International segment saw a loss of $398M, compared to a loss of $90M in Q1 2019. 
  • Third-party sellers drove $14.5B in profits in Q1, compared to $11.1B in Q1 2019. 
  • The ‘Other’ segment, which consists mostly of advertising revenue, saw 44% growth comparing Q1 2020 to Q1 2019. 
  • Amazon anticipates spending approximately $4B in Q2 for COVID-related expenses, which places its operating income at risk of reporting a $1.5B loss in Q2. 

Read Kaspien’s Assessment of Amazon’s Q4 2019 Earnings Report. 

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR BRANDS SELLING ON AMAZON? 

Amazon’s results in Q1 would surely have been stronger if the coronavirus had not hampered the global economy; however, the results are still positive, indicating that Amazon will remain a key component of any successful online strategy.  

However, while Amazon managed to push through strong results in Q1, the journey was not entirely smooth. Brands were repeatedly, and often adversely, impacted by Amazon’s unilateral decisions as it struggled to respond to COVID-19‘s impact on its operations. 

Amazon Restricted Shipments, Indicating Stress Fractures 

Amazon’s fulfillment and distribution infrastructure buckled under the sudden and dramatic increase in online purchases. In response, Amazon restricted which types of products it would accept to its fulfillment centersBrands that were in non-essential categories were left out to dry as Amazon’s overloaded fulfillment centers raced to fulfill orders. Amazon’s capacity was so overloaded that they began hiring for 175,000 new jobs.  

Nevertheless, Non-Essential Categories Performed Better than Expected 

Kaspien’s partner brands were able to recover from the restrictions, but the fact that Amazon restricted shipments in the first place is cause for concern. Brands unable to respond quickly enough could see significant harm to their business stability caused by the decision, however necessary it was. 

Although stay-at-home orders were issued across the nation in mid-March, online sales remained steady in most categories, regardless of whether they were labelled essential or non-essential. 

Amazon Then Restricted Unit Capacity at Fulfillment Centers 

While the category restrictions have been lifted and new recruitment is underway, we do not anticipate that Amazon will have resolved the issue by the end of Q2. In fact, we’ve seen a new restriction arise: Amazon is capping the number of units that brands can keep in their fulfillment centers. At Kaspien, we’ve seen one brand’s monthly storage limit be reduced to 3,000 units, despite typically selling through 10,000 units per month.  

Amazon has not clearly communicated the reason for the unit restriction, but there are two probable causes:  

1. Amazon’s processing centers are still overloaded and will likely remain so for several more months. 

2. Storing fewer units is more efficient for Amazon because it helps reduce the financial risk of storing stagnant inventory that does not generate profits.

For sellers, this change means that their sales forecasting and lead time prediction models need to be highly accurate so that they can optimize inventory turn rates. If sales remain steady but Amazon limits the unit volume, sellers will need to move smaller numbers of units more frequently in order to maintain sales capacity.  

Brands May Need to Explore Supplementary Fulfillment Options 

These back-to-back restrictions indicate that Amazon may not always be reliable fulfillment partner, at least not in the near future as it responds to COVID-19. Brands may need to explore supplementary options, such as Fulfilled by Merchant (FBM) or third-party logistics providers like Deliverr, to support their Amazon business. 

Dropshipping also proved to be an extremely beneficial tool for brands that were impacted by the category restrictions. As Amazon’s shipping times for non-essential items grew, dropship-enabled products even began to win the Buy Box against FBA offerings. Kaspien saw triple digit YoY growth in dropship orders while the category restrictions were in effect. 

WHAT LIES AHEAD: Q2 MAY BE ONE OF THE STRONGEST ON RECORD 

Amazon expects net sales to grow between 18% and 28% compared to Q2 2019. However, operating income is expected to range from -$1.5B to $1.5B, compared to $3.1B in Q2 2019Amazon provides this guidance with the plan that they will spend approximately $4B in Q2 for coronavirus testing, revised safety policies, increased pay for hourly workers, and other measures. As Amazon explicitly notes, the above expectations are only that – expectations – and are subject to change due to a number of factors. 

Although Amazon may expect their operating income to be negative in Q2 due to COVID-related expenses, experts predict that this quarter may be one of the strongest in Amazon’s history. This prediction is based on several factors, but the two biggest are related to the government’s stimulus package and pervasive, lasting changes in consumer buying behavior. 

Amazon Benefits from Stimulus Checks 

Amazon has and will continue to benefit from the stimulus checks the government began distributing in April, with experts predicting that Amazon will capture a leading share of consumer purchases made with the stimulus money. Some forecasts estimate that April will see approximately 50-60% growth YoY in the North American Retail segment, due in large part to consumers spending their stimulus checks on Amazon.  

The fact that Amazon has captured the majority of stimulus purchases is a positive sign for brands on the marketplace. While brick & mortar stores have been hard hit by stay at home orders across the nation, brands are still able to capture sales and provide for their customers by listing online. 

Consumer Buying Behaviors Will Change 

In addition to capturing a large share of the stimulus package, Amazon also stands to gain from pervasive shifts in consumer buying behavior. More shoppers than ever before are buying online, and even after the stay-at-home orders are lifted, we expect to see a lasting impact in where and how shoppers purchase.  

Amazon’s Advertising Revenue May Dip 

While Q2 may be one of Amazon’s best, at least by some metrics, advertising revenue is unlikely to be among them. Ad revenue has been one of Amazon’s fastest growing segments in recent years, but experts predict that their advertising revenue growth rate will dip in Q2, a trend that Kaspien has seen in our own data.  

The average cost-per-click for Amazon Sponsored Product ads has decreased by 6% YoY, compared to a 38% increase in 2018 to 2019. This shift from rising costs to falling costs suggests a reduction in competition as more brands pull back their advertising budgets. This reaction is likely a mistake, but you can read more about why in another post. For Amazon, brands pulling back ad spend will diminish their advertising revenue growth rate 

etailz AdManager is your marketer who never sleeps

We recently launched Kaspien AdManager, software for Amazon pay-per-click (PPC) ad management. To celebrate this momentous occasion, we sat down with our AdManager experts to discuss some of the most pertinent questions, like “What is AdManager?” and “What makes it better than other Amazon ad management software?”  

You’ve asked. We’ve answered.  

Find all the juicy details below. 

What is Kaspien AdManager?  

AdManager is your Amazon search marketing team member who never sleeps. In more technical terms, it’s marketing software for Amazon that minimizes manual campaign management by automating keyword and bid optimizations for PPC ads. Users can take a simple “autopilot” approach, where they select their target advertising cost of sale (ACoS) then let Kaspien’s proven optimizations turn on, or users can get into the weeds and create custom rule sets around specific goals per ad group. Additionally, AdManager also captures and composes data, giving you the insights needed to improve your marketing efforts.  

What problems does AdManager solve?   

On Amazon, marketers face three consistent problems: campaign management is time consuming, achieving optimal return and product placement simultaneously is challenging, and data is limited and spread across several reports. All three of these issues become more problematic as a business scales. AdManager solves each of them.   

Automates Optimizations: AdManager gives back time by automating optimizations, including bid up and bid down, adding new high-converting keywords from the Search Term Report, and adding low-converting keywords as negative keywords. It also saves time for manual optimizations by allowing users to adjust all keywords, all ads, all ad groups, or all campaigns at once via a centralized keywords table.

Enhances Efficiency: Second, it maximizes returns and placement by using a combination of value-based and rule-based bidding, which enables optimizations to be more nuanced, precise, and efficient.

To get more insights into why this is such a big deal, download our AdManager eBook. 

Empowers Data-Driven Strategy: Third and finally, it solves the data issue by collecting data from the lifetime of the campaign (instead of just the trailing 90 days), then presents it in a single place, so you can easily assess campaign performance and make strategic improvements. 

etailz's PPC management software increases Amazon sales

What circumstances brought about the need for AdManager?   

Saying that we “just launched” AdManager is a bit of a misnomer. In truth, Kaspien created AdManager over 4 years ago for our own teams to use when managing our partners’ ad campaigns. What we really mean when we say AdManager “just launched” is that it is available for the first time as a self-service application.  

Interestingly, the impetus for AdManager was the need to reduce the time it takes for reporting. As one of the largest 3P sellers on Amazon, Kaspien was running thousands of campaigns for hundreds of brands and reporting on those campaigns was time intensive. As we built out the reporting functionality, we quickly found that there was so much more potential in automation.   

Amazon lacked a way to effectively manage ads for every product, so we had been making all our optimizations via macros in Excel. The files grew so large that they literally crashed Excel. By creating AdManager, we could save time for not just reporting, but every aspect of campaign management. And since we were building the software ourselves, we could ensure it ticked all our boxes, first and foremost being that automation did not sacrifice our experts’ ability to tailor optimizations down to the product-level. 

How does AdManager differ from what’s available in Seller Central?  

Where to begin? AdManager is much more robust and has a more user-friendly interfaceUnlike Seller Central, it provides access to lifetime campaign data, displays realtime changes, enhances optimization functionality, uses AI algorithms that optimize based on product-level KPIs, allows max bid ceilings, and provides cross-campaign reports of keywords, ad group, and product performance 

etailz AdManager vs Seller Central

software for Amazon PPC ads outperforms Seller Central

Amazon advertising via Seller Central is limited compared to AdManager

How does AdManager differ from other PPC Management software for Amazon?  

AdManager is more sophisticated. Most other Amazon PPC management applications dumb down the ad management process by only allowing users to select a target ACoS for their entire product line. This is great for small catalogs or marketers who want to maximize return at a very high level, but it does not serve brands that have products at varying stage of their life cycles (i.e. new products need more aggressive ACoS targets), and products with different margins (which require different ACoS targets)AdManager has dynamic optimization capabilities. Marketers can either set a target ACoS and use Kaspien’s proven optimizations, or they can create custom optimizations using a combination of metrics in a tiered structure, enabling a more nuanced strategy than most competitors. 

It’s also one of the only PPC management tools built by Amazon sellers. We’ve spent over 12 years in online retail and have been refining and validating AdManager on our own and partners’ campaigns for over 4 years. We know the ins and outs and all the pain points of advertising on Amazon, and we used that experience to make the best Amazon advertising software available 

Who should use AdManager as a Managed Service vs. Self-Service? 

AdManager is available in two formats: as a Managed Service and as Self-Service. In the Managed Service model, Kaspien’s marketing experts use AdManager to run your Amazon ad campaigns on your behalf. As such, the Managed Service is ideal for brands who don’t have the personnel, time, or expertise to run and optimize Sponsored Ads on Amazon. This model is available to everyone: our retail partners, agency partners, and businesses using just a select set of Kaspien services.  

The Self-Service model is for brands or agencies who have the personnel and know-how to run PPC ad campaigns on Amazon but could use a better tool. If you have the expertise, but struggle to find the time or want to see improved performance, then the Self-Service model is a great fit. 

Who could benefit from using AdManager?  

All businesses who advertise on Amazon could benefit. The PPC management software can handle a few campaigns or hundreds of campaigns, depending on your needs. AdManager gives you the tools you need with the option to get as granular as you’d like, so anyone from an entrylevel marketer to a veteran marketing manager can drive improvements to their campaigns.  

Some businesses are cutting back on marketing spending now due to the human and economic impact of COVID. Why should impacted businesses be looking for software at a time like this?  

The biggest winners in uncertain times are the ones who can maximize wherever theyre investing time and money. With the reduction in ACoS that AdManager provides, we typically see the software pays for itself through spend reduction and sales increases in just a few months. If you’re skeptical, start your free trial. You’ll see results. 

Amazon PPC software drove consistent year over year sales growth

What are the next steps in AdManager’s journey? What else is on the roadmap? 

There is so much potential for this unicorn! We’re developing Vendor Central compatibility and improved automated optimizations. We’re close to releasing Day Parting, which is a feature that many advertisers (and we at Kaspien) are very excited about. We’ve been beta testing Day Parting, and the results are very promising. We’re also looking to expand to additional domestic and international marketplaces, which is a huge need within the marketing world. The goal is to simplify and enhance every marketer’s online performance through the use of this incredibly powerful software. 

Learn more, request a demo, or start a free trial at Kaspien.com/admanager.