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Amazon Success Requires Strong Foundations

Heather Eastman
Latest posts by Heather Eastman (see all)

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Sustainable Amazon success requires brands to focus on the three fundamental pillars of ecommerce: branding, operations, and advertising. Successful Amazon sellers understand how these pillars interact with this giant marketplace. They know how to leverage diversified branding, third party fulfillment options, and lead nurturing to build stable, successful sales across any platform.   In a recent podcast episode, Kaspien CEO Kunal Chopra discusses Amazon success strategies with former Amazon account manager and founder of Launchpod Academy, George Reid. With two years’ experience working for Amazon, Reid is intimately aware of how brands can increase their Amazon ranking and pull more leads into their sales funnel to drive organic growth.   At Launchpod Academy, Reid and his associates provide trainings for Amazon success and show brands how to start a successful e-commerce business. They focus on educating community members on how to sell on Amazon successfully, promoting strategies designed to build lasting and sustainable e-commerce success.  Learn why, according to Reid, brands must create a large “brand moat,” must be looking for new and better ways to communicate with end consumers, and must understand how to leverage the inverted pyramid theory of advertising. These strategic actions can help drive organic sales and promote higher rankings for sustained Amazon success. 

Branding for Amazon Success  

Branding is every touchpoint you have with a customer. This includes any opportunity to engage or interact with them, from when they first see your image or click on a link to the final experience of receiving your product after a purchase.   Reid challenges brands to ask some critical questions to develop the strength and quality of their brand. “What is holding your product in their hands like?” asks Reid. “How does the packaging feel? Is it cheap? Is it made from sustainable materials? That in itself is a touchpoint.” 

Questions to Consider When Building a Brand 

As discussed in 8 Tricks to Increase Visability on Amazon, asking questions is a great way to get to the heart of an issue. Here are some key questions successful amazon sellers use to build their brand:   
  • When do customers first see your image? 
  • How are you interacting with people who are not yet aware of you?  
  • What social media platforms do your customers frequent?  
  • What do they click on? 
  • What is the purchasing experience like? Is it easy or complicated?  
  • What is the packaging like? Is it a cheap box? Is it recyclable? 
  • What are you including in the packaging to get that customer to interact with you again?  

We’re Going to Need a Bigger Moat  

Building what Reid calls a ‘brand moat’ is key to Amazon success. “The keyword here, ‘sustainable,’ is often overlooked,” explains Reid. “You can get some quick wins on Amazon even if your branding is weak. But to build sustainable success, your brand needs to have a presence across multiple platforms.”  Reid explains that a ‘brand moat’ consists of developing an informative website, a strong social presence, and releasing new content across multiple platforms. A bigger ‘brand moat’ means more differentiation and fewer points of failure. “To sell on Amazon successfully, you can’t just be on Amazon,” Reid says. “It’s a single point of failure. If something happens, you’ll lose your entire market.”  

The Operations Are Strong with This One 

Once branding is established, Amazon success consists of two more components: operations and advertising. Strong operations means having the processes in place to deliver products quickly and consistently to your customer so the whole thing doesn’t come crashing down the minute your product becomes successful. This includes everything from managing customer expectations to supply chain awareness to utilizing different fulfillment solutions. “Whether you’re on Amazon or not, you need to ensure your operations are in place and scalable,” says Reid.   Although at its core Amazon is primarily a logistics company, Reid believes the razor-thin margins can make this option difficult for some companies. “Prime makes conversion rates higher and helps with ranking and discoverability,” says Reid. “But it does come with limitations. Is it the right solution for everyone? Probably not.”  

Product Delivery: An Overlooked Opportunity 

The packaging of a product is a terrific opportunity to create another touchpoint for your customer. Rather than concluding the relationship, brands can use this last step of the process to include an insert, a QR code, or specific call to action such as asking for a review to get your customer to reengage with your brand.   This is a huge opportunity to connect with the customer, and testing these options is usually easier with third party fulfillment. “A lot of people are so enthusiastic to get their product fulfilled by Amazon that they overlook this critical piece,” explains Reid. Yes, when you go with third party solutions, you sacrifice that Prime badge. But Reid believes that’s something you must weigh against the potential benefits you get.  

Content is King, But Focus Builds the Kingdom 

The second part of an Amazon success strategy is advertising, which is done by building out engaging content. Outstanding graphics, video, and copy all reinforce and promote the brand story. “It doesn’t matter what platform you’re on,” says Reid. “You’re going to need really strong content.”  The problem is most brands try to do too many things with their content at once.   To avoid this, Reid recommends starting with one marketplace, then building on your success. “If you try to tackle all the big markets at once, you’ll spread yourself too thin,” he says. Instead, focus on your own website plus one other platform such as Amazon, Walmart, or Target, then build from there.  

Understanding the Advertising Funnel 

Advertising is like an inverted pyramid. At the bottom is the 3% of your intended market that is ready to buy right now. They are problem-aware, they are solution-aware, and they are searching for the best price on that solution. These are the people who buy on Amazon, and it’s why advertising on Amazon is always a winning strategy.  The problem is brands are paying more and more for this prime advertising opportunity, and the competition is getting more aggressive. “Advertising on Amazon is good if you’re good at Amazon advertising,” says Reid. “But not so good if you’re struggling to keep your head above water.” 

Funneling and Nurturing Customers  

If you go all the way up to the top of the advertising funnel, it’s much cheaper to acquire clicks and emails. The customer at the top of the funnel is neither problem-aware nor solution-aware. Focus on pulling them into the funnel by launching advertisements that tell the consumer what their problem is and offering solutions.   For example, if your ideal customer is someone who has gained weight during Covid lockdowns, run social ads promoting ways to “Get Rid of Lockdown Gut,” or “How to Get Healthy Post-Lockdown.”  Once you have the customer’s email, send content that educates and provides value so they want to interact with the brand. “Building up a relationship and affinity for the brand is what pushes them down the funnel,” says Reid. “When someone finally becomes problem-aware and they are looking for a solution, they’ll remember your emails.”   This process might be slow and take many years, but it is effective.  

Achieving Sustainable Amazon Success More Quickly  

Use lead nurturing to improve your amazon ranking. “A lot of brands just put out a Facebook ad that links straight to the Amazon page,” says Reid. “When that customer goes to make a purchase, the Amazon algorithm gives you a little boost because you made a sale, but there are so many other ways to make that sale much more valuable.”   Reid explains that by conditioning the customer through emails and advertising to search Amazon for a specific product, you create a more organic process. This in turn tells the algorithm that the customer has searched for and found your product, pushing you further up the ranks than if they simply bought from a Facebook ad.   Repeat this process over and over again, and you leverage the traffic you send to Amazon to get higher rankings for your product and build better, more sustainable success.  

Knowing Your Customer is Key 

The ultimate foundation for sustainable success is a solid understanding of your customer. Where are your customers hanging out online? What sort of platforms do they use? Are they a Facebook group user?   As Reid explains, you could either split your efforts across Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tik Tok, LinkedIn, and see which one takes off. Or, as he recommends in his courses, you can use what you know about your customer to take a more strategic approach. If your customer is a mom interested in redesigning her home, she might be spending a lot of time on Pinterest. In this scenario, Reid recommends doubling down on Pinterest ads.   “It all comes down to understanding your customer,” says Reid. You need to understand who your customer is and how to get your brand, products, and ads in front of them. This is how brands achieve sustainable success.  

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Heather Eastman
Latest posts by Heather Eastman (see all)