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!  

Tips for Influencer Marketing

Online shoppers can’t physically inspect your products before buying them on online marketplaces, such as Amazon, Google Shopping, eBay, and Walmart. As such, recommendations are one of the few ways that online shoppers can connect with your products, and influencer endorsements are one of the best forms of recommendation. Influencers spend years gaining the trust and respect of their followersmaking them ideal advocates for your brand.  

Nowadays, many brands run influencer marketing campaigns. That shouldn’t be surprising, as influencer marketing is one of the best forms of social proof. Their followers trust their actions and guidance within their particular niche. This trust is incredibly valuable to growing brands.    

Influencer marketing campaigns can be challenging to manage and execute, but have no fear. In this post, we’re sharing seven tips for how to manage and maximize the results of your influencer marketing campaigns.   

1. Create Goals for Your Marketing Campaigns  

As with any project, a successful influencer campaign starts with clearly defining goals. Your goals should be tailored to your specific brand, as goals will differ depending significantly on your current social media development level. Common goals among brands include brand awareness, brand engagement, driving traffic to your listings or website, driving sales, or increasing followers for their social media. 

2. Clearly Define Your Goals to Your Social Influencers  

Now that you have clearly defined goals, they need to be communicated to your influencers. If your influencers are not on board with your goals, they are not the right fit for your influencer campaign. Additionally, if your primary goal is to drive traffic to your listings, they need to be aware of that so they can be sure to include all relevant links.  

3. Engage with Your Social Influencers  

Engaging with your influencers keeps them excited about your campaign. Before the campaign starts, message your influencers personally and see if they have any unanswered questions. Also, follow their account and like some of their posts. Start engaging with their brand, so they start engaging with yours. During the campaign, continually message them about their efforts, progress, and results. It is your role to keep them in the loop about changes or errors in their posting. After the campaign is over, thank them and discuss their results. Influencers are not Facebook or Instagram Ads; they’re people, and they need to be engaged to maximize efforts.   

4. Allow Your Social Influencers to Be Creative  

Micro-managing influencer’s content is how influencer campaigns turn into advertising campaigns. Influencers know their audience best. Let your influencers play around with styles, messaging, and so on. The best way to ensure they stay aligned with your goals is to give them the freedom to be creative.   

5. But, Give Them the Specifics 

There are a few specific details that do need to be communicated. This type of communication includes giving them a specific link for your listings or website, how many pieces of content they need to produce, whether the product needs to appear in the post, and so on. These communications should be made before you hire an influencer.   

6. Track Post-Performance Metrics 

Like any marketing campaign, you need to have metrics to see how the campaign performed. In the case of influencer marketing, tracking likes, comments, views, click-through rates, and so on can provide insights into overall campaign performance. Knowing the ROI on your influencer marketing campaigns will allow you to identify what is working and what is not working. If promoting products on Amazon, you can use Amazon Attribution links to associate performance metrics with individual influencers.

7. Create A Relationship with Your Highest Performing Influencers 

Now that your influencer campaign is over, identify the highest performing influencers based around your goals and post-performance metrics. These are going to be the influencers you want to create long-term relationships with. You can do this in several manners, such as asking them to join other influencer campaigns, reposting their content, continuing to engage with their brand, and so forth.   

Looking for Help with Your Influencer Marketing Campaigns?  

Kaspien was the first major third-party seller to combine influencer marketing with Amazon marketing. We’ve spent over 4 years running over 150 influencer campaigns for our partners. Learn more about how we can drive traffic to your listings through influencers. 

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Amazon and social media marketing

What is Social Media Marketing? 

Social media marketing is the act of promoting products and brands to consumers on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Triller, TikTok, and Snapchat. In today’s virtual age, social media marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools that brands have at a relatively low cost. 

When done in tandem with other marketing efforts, social media marketing can deliver extraordinary results. A great example of this is Häagen-Dazs’ Instagram and TikTok viral marketing campaign in the United Kingdom. In this campaign, Häagen-Dazs sponsored a weekly home-entertainment series, called “Secret Sofa,” which was promoted by influencers. They had numerous UK creators on TikTok and Instagram create videos around the sponsored series. From this campaign, Häagen-Dazs doubled its Amazon orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic.   

There are two types of social media marketing: organic and paid. 

Organic Social Media Marketing 

Organic social media marketing is any activity that doesn’t require a budget, such as posting, commenting, replying to messages, or interacting with other accounts. Organic marketing is all about growing brand awareness and engaging with your audience. Building relationships and earning customer trust is just as essential for brands online as for brick-and-mortar stores. It’s about striving to achieve the familiarity and service of a locally owned business, but on a much larger scale.

Learn about Kaspien’s organic social media marketing services.

Paid Social Media Marketing 

The second type, paid social media marketing, is about reaching your consumer through paid efforts on social media. These can include influencers, paid advertisements, sponsorships, and much more. Paid marketing is meant to drive traffic and sales on websites or online marketplaces. 

Learn about Kaspien’s paid social media marketing services.

click to enlarge

How to Use Social Media Marketing to Drive Amazon Sales 

Social media marketing can seem like a daunting undertaking for brands new to the space. It can be complicated, but there are a few principles to guide you.  

First off, engage with your audience. Use social platforms to create content, such as images and videos, that display your brand’s values and aesthetic. Do you want your brand to be seen as witty, earnest, fun, no-nonsense, etc.? You can reinforce your branding every time you engage with your audience with copy and visuals alike.  

Second, include a call to action. Suppose your goal is to sell a product, point shoppers to your products and listings. Not every post should include a CTA, as that risks coming across as overwhelming or making the relationship feel shallow. Balance CTAs with organic engagement.   

If you first engage and interact with your social network on the social platforms, directing them to your listing or website will be much easier. In many cases, shoppers need to connect with your brand long before they consider purchasing your products.  

click to enlarge

Promote Products Online: Amazon Marketing 

Amazon is the largest online marketplace and shoppers on Amazon have a higher intent to purchase than those searching via Google. The problem is that Amazon advertising is getting more expensive. In addition to growing brand awareness and building loyalty, social media marketing can help brands grow their Amazon sales. Reaching shoppers off Amazon and directing them back to Amazon allows you to bypass competitors’ Amazon ads. Plus, if they’ve interacted with your brand on social media in the past, you’ve already gained their trust on Amazon. 

Thanks to the Amazon Attribution Program, you can even attribute on-Amazon sales to off-Amazon promotions. If a consumer finds your products through your social media, and you’ve placed a trackable link created via the Amazon Attribution Programyou’ll gain insights such as clicks, Amazon listing views, and purchases. Amazon attribution is a necessary tool to gauge the effectiveness of your social media efforts. 

Run Amazon Giveaways via Social Media 

One great example of how to utilize social media marketing to drive Amazon sales is through product giveaways. Amazon used to run a program called Amazon Giveaways, but Amazon retired giveaways in October 2019. We saw great success in running product giveaways, so the loss of the program was disappointing (BUT, we did create a list of low-cost marketing alternatives to Amazon Giveaways). However, through social media marketing, you can still run giveaways manually through your social media channels. Our partners have seen excellent results promoting their Amazon listings through giveaways held on their social media channels, as it’s a natural way to drum up interest in your products on Amazon. 

More free resources

Amazon Giveaways Alternatives

Amazon Giveaways used to be an affordable and impactful way to increase traffic to Amazon listings and support sales growth. However, in October 2019, Amazon retired the Amazon Giveaways Program. We’ve noticed an uptick in searches for Amazon Giveaways as brands plan their holiday marketing strategy for Amazon.  

Amazon Marketing Services for the Holidays 

The holidays are a crazy time for the eCommerce world. In 2019, online holiday spending in the US totaled $142.5 billion. With the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic, holiday spending is expected to rise on online marketplaces. Since Amazon Giveaways are no longer an option, we’ve put together a list of other cost-effective Amazon marketing services you can use to support Amazon’s sales growth this holiday season.   

Giveaways on Social Media Utilizing the Amazon Attribution Program 

Even without the Amazon Giveaways Program, you can still offer product giveaways. Instead of using Amazon’s program, you can offer giveaways through your brand’s social media channels. This tactic does require more work on your end, as you’re responsible for managing the giveaway from start to finish, but it’s a relatively low effort project and can be a great way to boost your visibility.   

Consider partnering with an influencer to expand the reach of your giveaway on social media. The influencer can post the giveaway on their social channels while you cross-promote on your social channels as well, amplifying your giveaway’s reach while introducing thousands of new potential customers to your brand. 

Thanks to the Amazon Attribution Program, you can track on-Amazon metrics, such as traffic, page views, and sales, generated from this off-Amazon giveaway. These tracking measures allow you to see the effectiveness of your giveaways on Amazon. 

Amazon Coupons 

Amazon Coupons display on the search engine results page (SERP), on the Amazon Coupons page, and the product listing. Coupons are a great way to boost sales, especially on products where the price is differentiating.  

Amazon Coupons

Brands can enroll up to 50 ASINs into a single coupon and offer a dollar amount or percentage off. The coupon cost to the advertiser will equal the discount + $0.60, both of which are subtracted from the coupon budget. Each coupon must have a minimum of $100 for the budget; however, brands will be charged only for redeemed coupons. Within Amazon Coupons, brands get to dictate the duration, the discount, and the product selection. This variety of options makes Amazon Coupons very customizable to your marketing needs.  

Amazon Live 

Back in 2019, Amazon revealed Amazon Live. Amazon Live allows sellers to use the app, Amazon Live Creator, to broadcast live streams where they demonstrate product usage, features, and benefits. Featured products appear directly below the live broadcast. While playing, the videos appear on the brand’s listings, Amazon store, and Amazon.com/Live. The service is currently only available to brand registered brands based in the United States.   

Amazon Live is free and a great way to promote product launches or familiarize viewers with product features. These live events are the best time to allow for frequently asked questions or questions and answers. 

Amazon Stores and A+ Content 

While not an active promotion, Amazon Stores and A+ Content are free tools for brands enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry

Amazon Stores are digital storefronts for brands on the Amazon marketplace. These branded stores allow you to list your entire catalog of products. A+ Content (previously Enhanced Brand Content) provides the opportunity to share more product information through stylized content and additional images.  

A laptop displaying an Amazon Store for brands and sellers

These services are a great way to help your consumer engage with your brand and your products. Creating Amazon Stores and A+ Content is a way to encourage customers to convert once they reach your listings. 

Amazon Marketing is Alive & Well 

Amazon Giveaways may be gone, but your options for cost-effective Amazon seller marketing tools are not. Amazon Coupons, giveaways on social media, Amazon Live, Amazon Stores, and A+ Content are fantastic alternatives to increase sales and conversions. There’s a rich combination of opportunities available that can deliver similar and even better results than Amazon Giveaways, especially when deployed in conjunction with one another. 

Learn more about the current Amazon marketing landscape in our whitepaper, The State of Amazon Marketing. 

Originally published in the Forbes Technology Council. Read the article here.

Despite its incredible growth and undeniable popularity with consumers, I’ve noticed that some brands are hesitant or even outright opposed to the idea of selling their products on Amazon. With major brands like Birkenstocks and Nike having pulled their products off Amazon, these brand owners have reason to feel even more justified in their feelings.

Truth be told, there are likely good reasons for Nike and Birkenstocks to have withdrawn from Amazon, but these brands are the exception to the norm (not to mention the fact that they already had established large and loyal followings before joining Amazon). However, in my experience as a general manager at Amazon and now CEO of a company that helps brands sell online, the overwhelming majority of brands I’ve worked with have seen tremendous benefits from expanding their brand onto Amazon.

So, today, I’m sharing a list of reasons your brand probably should begin selling on Amazon, even if you’re not over the moon about it.

1. If You Don’t, Someone Else Will

Let’s start with the risks of not taking your brand to Amazon. Amazon is an ungated marketplace, which means nearly anyone can create a seller account and begin selling products on the platform. Between retail arbitrage, counterfeits and unauthorized sellers acquiring inventory, your products are likely to end up on Amazon, even if you don’t take them there.

By taking your brand to Amazon yourself, you retain control of your brand’s representation on the largest online marketplace in the world. That’s power you don’t want to relinquish.

2. Shoppers Are Already On Amazon

After that first point, it may feel like you’re being held hostage by Amazon’s ubiquity. To a degree, you are. But Amazon is so much more than that, and it would be a disservice to your brand to not recognize the enormous opportunity Amazon represents.

Now more than ever, consumers are using online marketplaces to purchase essential and discretionary goods. By the end of 2019, Amazon had over 112 million Prime members in the U.S.and over 150 million Prime members globally. By selling on Amazon, you tap into a massive and growing audience, increasing revenue and expanding your customer base.

3. Amazon Is Expected To Remain The E-Commerce Market Share Leader

That growth is expected to continue in 2020, even with the current pandemic. Although Walmart is making strong efforts to capture ecommerce market share, Amazon is indisputably the dominant market share leader. Even during this pandemic, Amazon is expected to not only retain its market share, but actually grow it by another 1%. If you want to expand your brand online, Amazon is the place to do it, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon.

4. Amazon Is Improving Brand Protection Services

Perhaps you’ve resisted selling on Amazon because you’re concerned about retaining brand control after joining the platform. Amazon has earned a reputation for not penalizing unauthorized sellers in the past, but that’s been gradually changing. In recent years, Amazon has introduced several programs designed to help brand owners and their registered agents maintain control, including Brand Registry, Brand Gating, the Transparency Program and Project Zero.

Amazon is also facing increased external pressure to address the issue of counterfeiters on its platform. The department of Homeland Security released a counterfeit report that advised the government to take action against counterfeits appearing on e-commerce platforms that threaten the health and safety of consumers and harm the economy. This report contributed to the progress of the SHOP SAFE Act, which, if passed, could hold online marketplaces responsible for counterfeits sold on its platform.

In short, Amazon is and will continue to improve services for brand control as external pressure mounts.

5. Diversification Makes You Resilient

If all of the above failed to convince you, then consider this final point: eMarketer recently revised its forecast for retail and e-commerce growth in 2020, with consumer spend in e-commerce expected to grow 18%, while spend in brick-and-mortar stores is expected to decrease 14%. The revised forecast indicates that Covid-19 has accelerated the long-anticipated uptick in e-commerce spending as more consumers turn to online shopping.

The change in consumer spend patterns also means that brands that sell in both brick-and-mortar stores and online have been better positioned to weather the economic hardship. Diversification of assets is a tried-and-true means to protect investments, and retail is no different. Expanding to other sales channels can help brands endure unexpected headwinds. Even if you don’t want to list your entire catalog on Amazon at the start, establishing at least some small foothold on the marketplace will keep the door open, should you ever need it in an emergency.

The Benefits Of Starting Late

While in many ways starting earlier is more advantageous, joining Amazon for the first time at this stage does have some benefits. Amazon offers more and better marketing and brand protection tools than ever before, and you have more ways to launch on the channel (1P, 3P, direct to consumer or with an agency). Even now, Amazon is still growing. There’s a lot of competition, but the opportunity for growth remains as high as ever.

1. Dropship Vendor (DSV): A business model where sellers list their products on Walmart.com, but hold the products in their own warehouse or a third-party logistics provider’s warehouse. Walmart appears as the seller in the listing. When a customer orders a seller’s product from Walmart.com, the seller ships it to the buyer. Walmart requires the merchandise to be shipped with a Walmart packing slip. If the customer chooses the “pick up in store” option, the seller must send the product to that Walmart retail location. As a plus, Walmart will cover the shipping cost.  
Learn More >

2. Everyday Low Price (EDLP): A pricing strategy by Walmart that promises customers that Walmart will have consistently lower prices than their competitors. Customers can access these prices without coupons, promotions, or special discounts. Everyday Low Price (EDLP) is one of Walmart’s key customer retention strategies. For sellers, this methodology ties into Walmart’s pricing parity requirement, which says that sellers must ensure that their price is the lowest price on the market or else they risk Buy Box suppression.  
Learn More > 

3. Free & Easy Returns: Walmart allows customers to exchange or return an item within 90 days after purchase. Customers can return their items in-store, by mail, or by pickup at their home. All the customer needs is a receipt. There are some, but not many, expectations to this rule. 
Learn More > 

4. NextDayDelivery: If a customer purchases a product with the NextDay delivery designation, the seller must deliver it by the end of the following day. For the customer, orders over $35 are free. Most products sold on Walmart.com are eligible for the program, but products sold by Walmart Sellers are not.  
Learn More > 

 

5. Order Defect Rate (ODR): The number of orders with a minimum one defect divided by the total number of orders (both within the same period). Defects include cancellations, returns, delivery defects, and customer complaints. Sellers must maintain an ODR of 2% or lower to meet Walmart’s performance standards. 
Learn More > 

6. Pricing Parity/Reasonable Price Not Satisfied: To ensure a great customer experience, Walmart set automated rules that eliminate non-competitive priced items from the Walmart.com marketplace. Walmart enforces this by identifying identical products on other platforms, such as Amazon, and seeing if they are listed at a lower price than listed on Walmart. The Price Parity rules unpublishes products when the offer price is higher than a competing website. The Price Parity rules are slightly different from the Reasonable Price Not Satisfied rule, which unpublishes products if the offer price is drastically higher than competing websites.   

Amazon enforces a similar price parity policy, which is one reason it’s so important to maintain consistent strategy, marketing, promotions, and pricing across all online sales channels. 

7. Referral Fees: Walmart charges a category-based referral fee ranging between 6%-20% (most common is 15%) for selling on their marketplace. 

8. Seller Center/Seller Portal: A Walmart platform,similar to Amazon’s Seller Central, used by Walmart sellers to market and sell products to Walmart customers. 

9. Seller Scorecard: The Seller Scorecard,found in Walmart Seller Center,provides an overview of how well your products are performing under the Walmart Seller Performance Standards.  

10. TwoDay Delivery: If a customer purchases an item with TwoDay delivery designation, then the seller must deliver the product by the end of the following day. For the customer, orders over $35 are free. Most products sold on Walmart.com are eligible for the program, but products sold by Walmart Sellers are not.  
Learn More > 


11. Walmart 3P Merchant: An independent company that sells products on Walmart’s online marketplace.This can be a brand selling its own products directly or a dedicated wholesale retailer selling products to consumers on a manufacturer’s behalf.  

12. Walmart Buy Box: A section on the product page near the “Add to Cart” button that shows from which seller shoppers will be buying. A seller earns sales only when they win the Buy Box. When multiple sellers are in the same listing, each will win the Buy Box for a certain percentage of time. Walmart awards the Buy Box to sellers based on product price, availability, and seller performance.  

 

13. Walmart Enhanced Content: This Walmart.com feature allows sellers to create listings with additional media, such as more images, banners, comparison charts, descriptions, interactive product tours, and videos. These features help capture shopper interest and can lead to higher conversion rates.  
Learn More >

14. Walmart Fulfillment Center: A physical location to which Walmart sellers ship inventory. Inventory is stored in and fulfilled from the fulfillment center.   

15. Walmart Fulfillment Services (WFS): A Walmart service in which third-party vendors keep their product at Walmart’s warehouses. Walmart will pick, sort, pack, ship, track, and handle product returns and refunds for a fee. 
Learn More > 

16. Walmart Marketplace: The official name of Walmart’s online platform.The Walmart Marketplace allows Walmart and approved third parties to sell goods online to Walmart customers. 
Learn More > 

17. Walmart Media Group (WMG): Walmart’s first-party media branch. Brands who sell on Walmart can work with WMG to promote their products rather than hiring a third-party seller, marketing agency, or an internal marketing team to do it for them. 
Learn More > 

18. Walmart Plus: A Walmart subscription-based service similar to Amazon Prime that gives members access to unlimited same-day delivery for eligible items, discounts at Walmart gas stations, and early access to Walmart deals. The current cost is $98/year, which is roughly $20 less than Amazon Prime.  Walmart Plus is expected to officially launch in August 2020. 
Learn More > 

19. Walmart Solution Providers: Third-party providers who offer a wide range of ecommerce services for the Walmart Marketplace. Services can include item setup, inventory, order fulfillment, pricing, marketing, and more. Walmart categorizes Walmart Solution Providers into three categories: Full-Service Solution Providers, Specialty Solution Providers, and Content Solution Providers. Kaspien is a Specialty Solution Provider. 
Learn More > 

20. Walmart Sponsored Products: Similar to Amazon Sponsored Product Ads, these cost-per-click (CPC) ads are used to promote products on com website, mobile platform, and app. 
Learn More > 

Also check out our list of 100 Terms Every Amazon Seller Should Know.

Is your Amazon advertising agency delivering results?

Amazon advertising represents one of the most cost-effective tools to advertise products. Experienced sellers and marketers know that every opportunity you get to optimize your ad spend and keywords is a way to increase your bottom line. This means itextremely important to manage your Amazon ads properly. Due to the time and complexity of ad management, many businesses outsource their Amazon advertising to a third-party, such as a marketing agency, contractor, or freelancer. The amount of third-party Amazon advertisers is growing, and the market is getting crowded. The large number of choices can be overwhelming for anyone, let alone a brand entering the Amazon advertising space for the first time.   

When you’re paying someone to manage your ad campaigns, you should know if they’re worth their price. Unfortunately, too often, they’re not. They may be charging you hundreds of dollars per month when they only check on your campaigns monthly. That’s not okay.  

The problem is, it can be hard for business leaders to assess their agency’s or contractor’s true performance if they’re not versed in Amazon advertising fundamentals. To help, we’ve put together this blog post to help you determine if your Amazon search marketer is worth their salt. 

Watch the video to learn how to create high-performing Amazon Sponsored Product campaigns. 

5 Questions to Ask Your Potential Search Marketer 

1) How Often will Bids, Budgets, and Search Terms be Optimized?  

Is it every day, every week, or every month? Is it every six months? Frequency of optimizations is a critical consideration. Some folks are going to be affordable, but they may only log in to “optimize” your Amazon advertising campaigns once a month. The reality is that’s not optimization. The Amazon landscape fluctuates too greatly and too frequently to implement optimizations that rarely.   

On the other hand, some may say that they will optimize your advertising campaigns every day. At that point, they may be over-responsive and over-managing. Amazon changes frequently, but it takes time to see what effect your previous optimizations are having. The sweet spot is somewhere between these two examples, in many cases being two to three times per week. 

2) What Cadence will We Receive Performance Reports?  

Your Amazon advertising agency or freelancer should provide reports regularly. As with the frequency of optimizations, there’s a sweet spot. Checking reports too rarely can result in poor performance and missed opportunities. Conversely, checking reports too frequently can lead to unnecessary stress and micro-management. Optimizations take time to take effect, so your reports should be spaced far enough apart to provide a true picture of what your last optimizations did. 

Performance reports are like your child’s report card. If you review their report card only once per quarter, it may be too late to implement the changes needed to bring the grade up from a D to an A. Likewise, if you review their report card every day, there won’t be enough of a difference to suggest what, if any, changes are needed. 

To start, we recommend a monthly cadence for performance reports. This prevents overreactions, while still being frequent enough that you can make strategic adjustments.  

3) How Do You Plan to Manage Budget and How Will We Hold You Accountable?  

Your budget may be based on a percentage of sales, or you may have a $10,000/month marketing budget. How is your Amazon advertising agency going to manage and optimize your budget effectively? Are they using an ACoS target? Are they going to try to reduce costs as much as possible? Are they going to be targeting only sales? Your Amazon advertising agency should have well prepared answers backed by data for these questions. 

One type of relationship to watch out for is pay-for-performance oriented relationships. While your sales may increase, you may be increasing your ad spend by an inordinate amount, diminishing efficiency and ROI.   

4) How Much of Our Budget is Spent on Branded Keywords?  

Are there any high-value keywords that you’d like your products to place higher on the SERP for? Is it a branded term, a competitor’s term, an industry-specific term, or a category-term? If so, you should discuss that with your potential Amazon advertising agency or contractor because those types of targeted keywords may have a higher cost or higher conversion rate. 

It’s easy to spend more than 50% of your budget on branded terms, but that can inhibit your advertising campaigns’ ability to reach new shoppers. Ask your partner how they will manage and optimize between your branded terms and non-branded termsUltimately, you’re trying to find consumers who aren’t only searching for your brand because that’s how you reach new people and acquire more customers 

5) What Organic Sales Lift can be Attributed to Your Marketing Efforts?  

When you’re paying someone for a service, you have a right to know what results you can reasonably expect from their work. Excellent Amazon ad management products, used with reasonable effort, proper inventory, good positioning, and excellent logistics, should raise sales by 30%. Some people will claim they can go even higher than that. If they say they can increase organic sales by 35%-40%, thatI’s not too crazy, but if any agency or marketer says they can guarantee 50%, 60%, or 70% organic sales growth, you should be worried. 

Here at Kaspien, we offer AdManager to help businesses optimize their Amazon advertising campaigns. If you want to use it yourself, SaaS is available. If you want us to manage your ad campaigns for you, we can do that too. 

Telling Factors You Can Check On 

Once you have hired an agency or freelance search marketer to manage your Amazon advertising campaigns (or if you already have one currently employed), you should continue to monitor their work. We recommend checking the following 6 factors as a way to assess how well they’re managing your advertising campaigns. 

1) Are All Campaigns Set to Automatic Targeting?  

If they are, that means your search marketer is not actively managing the campaign. They’re letting Amazon’s autopilot handle the work while they collect a paycheck from you, and your campaigns are missing significant optimization opportunities.   

2) Are Automatic Campaigns Greater than 20% of Total Spend without any Search Terms being Added to Other Campaigns?  

You should always be running both automatic and manual campaigns. However, if your automatic campaigns are generating significant parts of your spend, you should be worried because it indicates your manual campaigns are not being properly optimized. (One caveat to this is if it’s a new campaign. For new campaigns, automatic campaigns may account for the majority of spend while they build relevancy.) 

3) Do Automatic Campaigns Have Negated Search Terms?  

Negating search terms in automatic campaigns after migrating them as keywords in manual campaigns is a matter of good hygiene. Negating search terms from automatic campaigns prevents them from competing with your manual campaigns. If your search marketer is not doing this, that should be cause for alarm. Not doing this is bad etiquette and muddies your metrics, making it harder to manage the given manual campaign, your specific ideal customer acquisition rate, and ideal cost-per-click.  

4) Are Small Groups of Products Utilizing the Majority of Spend?  

If a majority of your spend is from a small list of high velocity products, then youre missing opportunities for your other products. Your search marketer should be attempting to spread your ad spend across your whole catalog, rather than focusing it on a small group 

5) Are Branded Keywords Accounting for the Majority of Spend?  

Branded keywords accounting for a majority ad spend is a huge red flag because it indicates your campaigns are not targeting new shoppers. Consumers will never search for your specific brand if they have never interacted with it before. For example, a consumer might search for “dog toy” or “soft dog toy”, but never “ZippyPaws” unless they have interacted with “ZippyPaws” before. Spending your money on branded keywords to attract new customers is wasting money. 

6) What are Your Highest Performing Keywords?  

If you have a high cost-per-click (CPC) but youre winning the bid for your generic competitive keywords, youre in good shape. It does make you a target for competitors, but it’s a good problem to have. 

Find the Right Amazon Advertising Agency 

Don’t let someone take advantage of your trust. If you’re paying someone, make sure you have mechanisms in place to hold them accountable. Ask prudent questions and check on your campaigns. 

While you’re here, here are some other resources you can use to educate yourself on Amazon advertising 

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. 

How to Create Amazon Listings in Seller Central

Setting up listings in Seller Central can be intimidating. Here’s what we’ve learned from creating thousands of Amazon listings over the years.  

When it comes time to creating listings on Amazon, it’s best practice is to have keyword-rich product listing copy already written and optimized. Creating a fully-optimized listing from the start will set you up for success, as it can be difficult to edit your listing post-creation.  

Prior to creating the listing, you should have the following content pieces prepared: product title, key features or bullet points, images, and a standard product description. If you need help writing those, check out our blog post on Amazon listing requirements and best practices. Other content areas in the “backend” of product listings can be more easily modified post-creation, but it doesn’t hurt to have those ready to go from the beginning as well.  

Other details that are required in order to create a new product listing include: a product number (UPC, EAN, etc.), a SKU for internal use, product specifications like dimensions and weight, and pricing information.  

Amazon Listing Content Check List 

The following is a high-level overview of fields you will need to or should fill out when creating an Amazon listing. They are broken out by detail tab in the listing creation page. If you want to make your Amazon listing process as easy as possible, gather these items before you create your listing. 

Amazon Listing Creation Content Checklist

Now let’s walk through the main way to make listings on Amazon. 

Amazon Listing Creation Process 

The process to create a single listing on Amazon is a rather simple and an intuitive one; it’s just a matter of knowing where to go to get started and what fields to fill out. When signed into your Amazon Seller Central, travel to Catalog > Add Products.  

Add a product to Amazon Catalog

On this page, find the “List a new product” box and enter your product name, UPC, EAN, or ISBN to search. If Amazon doesn’t find an existing listing related to your query, you can then click Create a new product listing to start the creation process.  

Add a product to Amazon catalog

The first thing you must determine is the category your product fits into. You can either utilize the search feature to help you narrow down categories, or you can manually click through the product categories to drill down to an appropriate sub-category. Once you find your category, click on that hyperlink to bring you to your listing creation page. This page will display multiple tabs grouping together similar listing fields together, and this is where our content creation process begins. 

 

Create a new product in Amazon

Vital Info 

On the first Vital Info tab, you will need to fill out the Product ID with your UPC, EAN, or ISBN, the product name with your optimized title, your manufacturer, and your brand name. Often times, manufacturer and brand name are the same, but please note that the brand name is what displays just below the title on a product detail page. It is very important the spelling is correct in these two fields from the beginning, as it is one of the harder fields to update post-creation. If you are ever unsure what to input into a field, Amazon provides small information icons next to the fields that can help guide you in the right direction.  

Input vital info into Amazon

 

Offer 

Next, let’s move to the Offer tab. This is where you’ll notate your selling price, create your custom SKU, provide a Condition, and note how this listing’s inventory will be fulfilled. If you do not create a SKU yourself, Amazon will create one for you that is a long alpha-numeric string. If your brand doesn’t already have a SKU naming system, we highly recommend you create a system now before you create any listings. 

Input offer details into Amazon

Compliance 

The Compliance tab is the area where you can provide any battery information (if relevant) to your product, note warnings like Prop 65, and a Safety Data Sheet if that pertains to your product type.  

Add Amazon compliance info

Images 

In the “Images tab, you can submit up to nine images. This is a rather intuitive tab where all you have to do is click “Choose File, navigate to where your images are located on your computer and select to upload. Most categories permit you to upload up to ten images. If you are uploading images to a product that is a variant of a Parent-Child relationship, look for the image slot that is labeled “SWATCH. This will be the image that displays in the variation preview on your listing. Amazon accepts JPEGs, TIFFs, and non-animation GIFs. 

Add images when creating Amazon listing

Description 

The Description tab is what contains the “meat” of your listing; this is where most of your optimized product copy should live. The product description field permits up to 2,000 characters to be submitted. Initiallyyou will only see one Key Product Features field, so you must click the link “Add More” to provide more fields, to a maximum of five. The character permitted in the Key Product Features fields fluctuate between categories, so it is best to hover over the information “i” badge to see what your current category permits. This tab also provides you the opportunity to attach any small parts or choking warnings. 

Add description to Amazon listing

Keywords 

The Keywords tab is full of fields that help improve the discoverability of your product listings, but do not display on your listing anywhere. Similar to the Key Product Features, you can have up to five fields on most of these, but you must click the “Add More” link to make them all appear. Focus on the Search Terms field, as it allows you to add up to 500 characters of keywords you might not have published on the frontend of the listing. 

How to add keywords to an Amazon listing

More Details 

The More Details tab is where all of your nitty-gritty product specifications live. This is a relatively self-explanatory tab, but you will see there could be a lot of fields that do not relate to your product. Amazon generalizes what fields might be needed based on your category, so do not feel pressure to fill out all fields. We recommend screening through all fields and filling out the relatable ones, but below are the minimum requirement fields to create your listing for Fulfillment by Amazon: 

  • Weight 
  • Item Dimensions – Length, Width, Height 
  • Unit Count 
  • Unit Count Type 

Create an Amazon listing with more details

Once you have input all of the above suggested fields, you are now ready to “Save and finish” your new product listing. Once you click this button, Amazon will assign an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) and you can almost immediately see what your new listing looks like. You can either click on the title in your Amazon catalog, or you can navigate to the following URL with your ASIN replacing the tale end, https://www.amazon.com/dp/*ASIN*. 

Learn More About Amazon Listings 

This blog post is just scratching the tip of the iceberg. Download our in-depth whitepaper, The Ultimate Guide to Creating Amazon Listings, to learn even more about creating optimized listings on Amazon 

HOW TO CREATE OPTIMIZED AMAZON LISTINGS

There’s a lot of buzz around Amazon marketing lately, and with good reason. Marketing is a powerful tool for driving traffic back to your listings, but your marketing campaigns will only perform as well as the content of your listing. If a shopper clicks an ad and lands in a listing that lacks information or compelling images, they’re unlikely to convert. 

An optimized Amazon listing is the foundation of your success on Amazon, so it’s of the utmost importance that you take full advantage of this space. With that in mind, here’s how we, a top Amazon retailer for the past 12 years, optimize our listings. 

Product Title 

The product title is one of the most valuable parts of your Amazon product listing. In addition to the photo and price, it is one of the first thing potential customers see on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). The title has a huge impact on the search performance. Putting top performing keywords strings into the title can help the item move up the SERP quicker.  

Below are the best practices for product titles on Amazon listings along with an example: 

Character Maximum: 200 characters 

Character Suggestion: 80-120 characters 

Structure Suggestion: Brand, Product Line, Material/Key Feature, Product Type, Color, Size, Package/Quantity 

Example: JumpOff Jo Rocksteady Balance Stepping Stones for Kids, Promotes Balance & Coordination, Set of 6 Balance Blocks, Low Set 

Key Product Features 

Key product features are commonly seen as the bullet point sentences near the top of Amazon listings. They are one of the first things consumers see when clicking into a product listing. With five bullets, you have five chances to call out key product features.  

One popular strategy used across the Amazon marketplace is called “two-tiered bullets. A majority of consumers gravitate towards bullet point content displayed in this way. The two-tiered method is the practice of beginning each bullet in all caps, then continuing in normal sentence case. The idea is that the consumer can catch a quick fact about the product in all caps part of the bullet point, even when they’re skimming. If it catches their eyethen they can read the rest of the bullet for more details. 

When populating the SERP, Amazon only takes into consideration up to the 500-character mark of the listings bullet points. Due to this, it is very important to get your target keywords into the first 500 characters of your combined key product features. 

Below are the best practices for the key product features on Amazon listings along with an example: 

Character Maximum: 500 characters per bullet 

Character Suggestion: 100-150 characters 

Structure Suggestion: QUICK CALL OUT – Followed by a more detailed explanation providing another opportunity for more keywords 

Example: BUILT FOR STANDARD U.S. CRIB MATTRESS – Measuring 28 inches by 52 inches, the crib sheet’s fitted sides ensure a smooth, snug, and secure fit.  

Media Gallery 

One of the biggest downsides to shopping online is being unable to physically see and hold a product. This is why it is so vital to have high-quality images and even videos within the media gallery on product listings. When you optimize this gallery, it can visually answer questions consumers may have about your product.  

Per Amazon guidelines, the main image must be the product on a true white background. No additional text, badges, or other products can be included. Additional images can have some of these things, so long as they comply with Amazon guidelines. It is also best to upload images that are at least 1,000 pixels on one side, as this will enable Amazon’s zoom feature.  

There are two main types of photos best for Amazon listings: studio and lifestyle. Studio photos include the product on a pure white background from different viewpoints. These are a great opportunity to show close-up details of your product or overlay text to explain certain features of the product. Lifestyle photos show the product in use in a realistic life setting. They help consumers visualize using the product in their daily life. Start with 2-3 studio photos and then complete the gallery with lifestyle images.  

Learn more about creating visually exciting listings in our post, Why Photography & Video Matter on Amazon.

The last thing you can add to the media gallery (if you are enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry) is product videos. The product video occupies the last tile visible in the media gallery and typically has a “Play” button icon to indicate there is a video. Keep these videos to less than two minutes long so consumers can quickly consume the video and move on to make their purchasing decision. If it’s a longer video, they might not spare the time to watch it.  

Below are the best practices for the media gallery on Amazon listings along with an example: 

Image Suggestions: 1:1 aspect ratio, JPEG format, and at least 1,000 pixels on one side 

Media Gallery Order Suggestion: 2-3 studio images followed by lifestyle images 

Example: 

Product Description 

The product description is an opportunity to get into the heavy details of a product or simply expand upon content already mentioned in the title or key product features. It also provides an opportunity to share your brand’s story and values. Plus, it helps build some brand awareness.  

It’s worth noting that the product description area is replaced by A+ Content submitted through Seller Central, so it may not always be visible. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include a quality description though, Amazon indexes the product description instead of the visible A+ Content. 

Amazon permits up to 2,000 characters in the product description area, 4x the amount allowed in key product features section. Thats a lot of text, and, if not formatted properly, it can come across as a large, intimidating paragraph that consumers will not take the time to read. To alleviate this issue, many Amazon sellerutilize Custom HTML to code in paragraphs, line breaks, bolded headlines, bullets, and more. The Amazon system does not expressly permit the use of HTML, but many sellers have successfully used it. Just know that it isn’t always accepted, and Amazon may remove the HTML without notifying you.  

Below are the best practices for the product description on Amazon listings along with an example: 

Character Maximum: 2,000 characters 

Character Suggestion (non-HTML): 500-1,000 characters 

Standard Description Example: 

HTML Description Example:  

A+ Detail Page 

The A+ Detail Page is accessible through the Brand Registry program and provides brand owners the opportunity to share more information about their products through additional content and images. A+ Detail Pages are strictly a conversion tool, providing additional real estate for a branded product description full of additional details, specifications, and imagery.  

Amazon claims A+ content can improve conversion rate by up to 5% but can get closer to 15%, depending on the current state of product listings. This A+ content will replace the existing standard description in an Amazon listing.  

These A+ pages are incredibly customizable, so you will see a variety of best practices across different brands, but one thing that holds true is the value of the comparison chart module. This module enables you to directly link to other product listings. In other words, it provides an opportunity to show consumers that you have other products available or show them other products that would better fit their needs.  

Below are the best practices for the A+ detail page on Amazon listings along with an example: 

Featured Products Max: 6 products 

Comparison Metrics Max: 10 metrics 

Example: 

Looking to Learn More? 

Now that you’ve learned how to create fully-optimized Amazon listings, it’s time to market them! To learn more about the Amazon landscape, strategies, and so much more, download our free whitepaper, The State of Amazon Marketing 

More Free Resources

Common Mistakes Brands Make on Amazon

This article was originally published on Forbes on June 22, 2020.

Selling on Amazon is full of challenges, but some of those challenges are unnecessary. I lead a company that’s helped over 4,000 brands sell on Amazon over the last 12 years, and during that time, we’ve seen a lot of mistakes, some of which are shockingly common. To help remedy this problem, I’ve put together the seven most common mistakes we see brands make on Amazon and how to fix them. 

7 Common Mistakes When Selling on Amazon

1. More Sellers Does Not Equal More Revenue 

When brands first embark on Amazon, many have the belief that having more sellers equates to more sales, which in turn equates to more purchase orders. While brands may receive more purchase orders, we’ve seen this approach lead to unforeseen problems hundreds of times.  

Having too many sellers, especially if you’re not collaborating closely with each, creates the “too many cooks” problem. Since any seller in the listing can edit listing content and set their own price, inconsistencies and inaccuracies can quickly appear. Low-quality images and poor wording misrepresent your brand, and fluctuating prices can make shoppers question product authenticity. Sellers are likely to compete on pricing, risking a race to zero, which hinders their ability to place future purchase orders.

There are also problems for marketing: When multiple sellers run marketing for the same listing, their ads compete, driving up costs without generating more sales.  

To fix this issue, we advise two steps: 1) Work with one or only a few sellers so you maintain control over your brand’s online representation, and 2) ensure that your contracts limit to whom buyers can sell your product, helping mitigate the risk of unauthorized sellers. 

2. Running Marketing Only On Amazon

Running marketing only on Amazon is a tactical error because it leaves opportunities on the table. Running off-Amazon marketing — such as paid search, paid social, and influencer marketing — increases the number of shoppers you can reach and the number of touchpoints guiding them to purchase. By leveraging both on- and off-platform marketing, brands create a feedback loop of more visibility, which leads to more traffic, which leads to more sales, which improves organic product placement, which leads to more visibility…and the cycle continues. 

3. Running Marketing Only During Peak Seasons

This is a much more grievous sin. Halting marketing during the off-season is a serious mistake because Amazon marketing takes months to gain good traction. By turning off marketing during slow sales seasons, brands are essentially surrendering ground to competitors. When their sales season comes back around, they have to claw their way back to where they left off instead of being positioned to capture new market share.

To fix this issue, don’t ever turn off marketing completely. It makes sense to reduce marketing spend during slow seasons when competition isn’t as fierce, but you should never completely fall off the radar. 

4. Not Aligning Amazon Strategy With Brand Strategy

Another common error is failing to align your Amazon strategy with your overall brand strategy. For example, a brand may run promotions off Amazon that are not carried through to Amazon or produce new stunning images and brilliant copy for their website but don’t update their Amazon listings with them. Amazon is a growing marketplace and needs to align and complement your overall strategy if you want to maximize your online sales. 

5. Noncompliant Claims In Listings

It’s never been a good idea to make misleading or inaccurate claims in product listings. Such claims result in suppressed listings and account shutdowns, which can cost a brand thousands in sales. 

This mistake is likely to become an even bigger issue, as Amazon faces increased scrutiny. Before the coronavirus captured our attention, congress was considering the Shop Safe Act, which would hold Amazon responsible for counterfeit or noncompliant products sold on its platform. Based on our own data, we saw the early indications of how Amazon would respond in February when it tripled their requests for proof of product testing.  

If your listings contain unsubstantiated claims or have not passed U.S. safety testing, then you need to fix that.  

6. Not Understanding Amazon Profit Margins 

Selling on Amazon is not like traditional retail, and neither are the profit margins. These three factors are commonly overlooked or misunderstood:  

1. Amazon fees: Amazon collects a sales commission as well as shipping, storage and fulfillment fees. These fees take a large chunk out of profit margins. 

2. Inventory errors: Sometimes, Amazon’s fulfillment centers lose or damage inventory, overcharge fees or underreimburse. While its automatic systems catch most of these errors, it misses some. Those errors add up, eating into profit margin. 

3. Marketing: Marketing costs money. Some brands see that and stop there. But if your marketing is effective, the profits exceed the costs, sometimes dramatically so. If your profit margins are narrow, you should consider investing in marketing to widen them.  

Addressing these issues starts with gathering data. You don’t know what you don’t know, so start by pulling reports and analyzing data. If you discover a red flag, you can seek help. There are many agencies, consultants, and software applications available that help optimize shipments to Amazon, identify reimbursement cases and improve marketing efficiency.

7. Poor Inventory Management

All too often, we see brands sending way too much inventory into Amazon warehouses without realizing that Amazon will charge long-term storage (LTS) fees, especially around peak seasons. On the other side, we also see brands sending in too few units, resulting in out-of-stocks. Running out of stock harms marketing performance and organic product placement, creating a domino effect that can be tough to bounce back from even when stock is replenished. 

To fix these errors, you or your seller needs accurate sales forecasting, which is typically obtained through software. 

Amazon truly is like navigating a jungle, but there are many experts who can help. Alternatively, you can push up your sleeves yourself and dig into the many resources about selling on Amazon. The Amazon opportunity is too great to ignore.

One should be able to infer the mission of a company based on their data infrastructure. By reviewing the data infrastructure, you can see what inputs and outputs matter to a company, who is using the data, and how it’s used.  

At Kaspien, we use data-centric processes to inform our business strategies. These processes, such as ideation, hypotheses testing, or refining operation, all depend on a data platform that is both deep and wide. The depth of our data enables more nuanced and precise insights, while the breadth enables us to understand the big picture and identify trends and anomalies.  

Together, a deep and broad data platform maximizes our insights, empowering us and our partners to grow smart. Leveraging data, we can identify the biggest opportunities and gravest threats early, allowing all our business segments to successfully adapt to ever-changing marketplaces. As a result, we empower our partners and drive success on Amazon, Walmart, and beyond. 

Why do we need a data platform? 

Our teams make decisions based on the best available data. We rely on hourly updates of our data for three things: 

  1. Monitor performance 
  2. Adjust strategies 
  3. Discover new opportunities 

 

To achieve these essential functions, our data infrastructure must be able to collect, transform, and load data into systems where the data can be further tailored to the specific needs of each team.  

For example, our Finance, Data, and Marketing teams all utilize similar data, but each team needs the data structured in very different ways. Our Finance teams ingest 10 million rows of data each day to enable precise capital allocation. Our Data team processes 600 million rows of data to build and refine internal software and algorithms. Our Marketing team pours over 2 million rows of data each day to assess campaign performance and make strategic adjustments. To meet the needs of each team, we pump billions of data points through our platform every day.  

Creating a Data Platform Takes Time

Our data platform has seen meteoric growth over the past few years. Currently, our entire system processes just over 1 billion data points per week, a growth of 40% over the past 2 years. etailz data growth

While we now enjoy countless benefits of a robust data platform, our data operations were not always so streamlined. We had to adapt to the growing number of business initiatives and data requirements. We grew our engineering and data teams to build our platform and continue to invest in our data infrastructure today. The tools we use give us the ability to acquire, update, and distribute data with ease. Our platform is amenable to adding new data sources, managing prioritization queues, and delivering real-time data.

In short, our data platform is the stanchion from which the rest of our services stem.  

Data & Insights Power Our Services

We provide dozens of ecommerce services that cover the full gambit of running and optimizing an online business, including inventory and supply chain management, brand protection, digital marketing, creative services, and tax compliance. We also have developed a suite of software services, including self-service options for ad managementseller & price tracking, and Amazon seller reimbursements. All our software and services are exponentially improved by leveraging our data platform, and those benefits are shared by all of our partners, fueling their success. 

How does Kaspien process and manage mission critical data?  

Our primary analytics data pipeline (and associated workflow) is orchestrated via Apache Airflow. We’ll go into further detail about how we use Airflow in a later blog post (see here and here for some good introduction material). Airflow allows us to build in diagnostics, tests, and monitor the progress for all our systems, which include applications and databases. 

data processing cycle

Our analytics data is largely warehoused in AWS S3 and RDS, Redshift, MongoDB, and Snowflake. We use these various warehouses for the different types of data that we need to collate to be useful for our analytical purposes, which vary from team-to-team. 

Our data pipeline starts with the systems we developed that gather data from marketplace APIs, third-party data sources, and our web-scraping systems. We process 3 million data points per hour from these systems. We then prepare our data to be collated and structured to ensure data integrity and maximum utility for our teams. 

Aggregating disparate data

Many of our experiments and exploratory analysis depend on systematic data collection to ensure high-resolution and high-quality data. Our rich datasets covering pricing, demand, product metadata, among many others, have grown by 15% month-over-month over the past year. 

At this point the data are stored in their final form in warehouses for our ‘end-user’ processes to consume, such as internal dashboards, purchasing applications, or inventory management systems. But for the Data Team, the data in these warehouses are not final. Rather, they are but a collection of staging warehouses to then further transform and load into our own analytics databases. From these databases, we prototype forecasting models, respond to real-time research needs, or explore new aspects of our data. 

Data Benefits Our Partners 

Ultimately, the insights derived from our data platform help our partners and clients grow. Our diverse portfolio of data combined with our partner’s portfolio creates synergies we can harness.  

For example, while our partners may have sales and marketing data for their own portfolio of products, we can use our data to simulate and forecast sales. For marketing efficiencies, we have data related to pay-per-click ads, search engine optimization, and retargeting going back years for hundreds of thousands of products. Our Business Intelligence teams can stand up dashboards for monitoring key performance indicators that we know are important to track, personalized for each partner. Our historical data on shipping lead-times and product warehousing cycles will help our partner manage inventory and capital allocation. And last but certainly not least, our Data Science team uses these data to train AI models for our core business and partners. 

Data is the core of what we do. It enables us to make improvements on the micro and macro levels for our partners, fueling their growth to new heights. If you want to leverage our data, software, or services, get in touch through our contact form.