Amazon Brand Registry Roles

The Amazon ecosystem is getting more competitive and complex each day. Counterfeit goods slipping into listings and rising marketing costs are just two of the many issues brands face when selling on Amazon. Luckily, one tool brands can use to overcome some of these issues is Amazon Brand Registry.

What is Amazon Brand Registry?  

Amazon Brand Registry is an Amazon program that provides brands additional protection and access to other marketing services, including: 

Enrollment in Brand Registry is free but requires a trademark registration number with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Learn more about all the benefits in our Always Up-to-Date List of Amazon Brand Registry Benefits. 

What are Amazon Brand Registry Roles? 

One big issue for unregistered brands is the lack of control over their listings. When your brand is not part of the Amazon Brand Registry, unauthorized sellers can come into your listing and change content. As brand trust becomes more important to consumers, it is crucial to maintain control of your listings.    

When brands are brand registered with Amazon, only authorized accounts can change listings. Authorized accounts can include your employees or another account to which you have assigned a role, such as an authorized agency. There are currently three types of Amazon Brand Registry roles: Administrator, Rights Owner, and Registered Agent. Each comes with a different level of permissions.   

  1. Administrator: An individual who has full permission to assign roles to user accounts.   
  2. Rights Owner: An individual who is the rights owner or an employee of the rights owner who is authorized to report violations.   
  3. Registered Agent: A third party who is authorized by the rights owner to report violations.   

 

If you wish to give a seller the authority to report violations on your behalf and have extra authority within your listings, you must add them as a Registered Agent, Rights Owner, or Administrator. 

How to Assign Brand Registry Roles 

To assign roles for Amazon Brand Registry, follow these steps: 

1 – On the Amazon Brand Registry platform, click on Brand Registry Support. 

Welcome to the Brand Registry

2 – Click through Update your brand profile > Update role or add new user to account 

Amazon Brand Registry Support

3 – Follow the on-screen form to submit the seller’s email as the role you desire them to have. 

Apply for Amazon Brand Registry 

Learn how to apply to Amazon Brand Registry.

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

Why Is Optimized Content So Important? 

Brand owners and retailers alike know that in order to be successful in the commerce world, you must be active on online marketplaces. Now more than ever, consumers are choosing convenience over buying in person from brick and mortar locations. eMarketer forecasts that consumer spend on ecommerce sites will increase by 18% during 2020, while spend in brick and mortars will decrease 14%.  

Instant gratification is perhaps the greatest perk of buying inperson, but marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart are replicating that factor by offering sameday delivery and even 2hour delivery in some areas. With consumer spending patterns shifting to online marketplaces at an increased rate, it’s never been more important for brand owners to curate a strong presence on Amazon,  Walmart.com, and other growing platforms.  

But having a presence alone isn’t enoughsellers must ensure that product detail pages are not only created correctly, but also fully optimized to stand out in the oversaturated world of ecommerce. Any seller can quickly throw together a product listing, but unless you already have an exceptionally loyal audience, that won’t be enough.  

Download our Complete Guide to Creating Optimized Amazon Listings.

The Amazon Algorithm: Finding the Happy Middle 

Many people use search engines every day of their life, whether they realize it or not. Google is obviously the most popular in the industry, and it boasts one of the most sophisticated algorithms to this day. The algorithm uses keyword strings within website content to determine page rankings and placement on their search engine results page (SERP). 

Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and all other ecommerce websites have their own search engines powered by unique algorithms, and brand owners need to take these into consideration when creating product detail pages. Sellers must optimize these pages to strike the perfect balance of discoverability for search engines and buyability for shoppers, but walking that tightrope is a difficult endeavor. 

How to Write Product Detail Pages for Amazon's Algorithm

Discoverability: Optimize for the Amazon Algorithm 

When we talk about discoverability, this is almost always directly referencing the algorithm being able to “read” the content on detail pageswhich it uses to determine relevant keywords and place listings high on the SERP for those keyword searches.  There are numerous ways to optimize your product listings for the algorithm, but the number one thing you need to do is understand the rules of the platform you are working on. If you violate any structural or compliance guidelines, your listing could immediately be removed from the SERP.  

Keyword stuffing is another common optimization strategy for websites and marketplaces alike. Even an untrained eye can easily recognize this tactic: a series of keywords clumped together in a paragraph or listed in an unnatural way. Keyword stuffing is an outdated tactic used to manipulate a page’s rankings in search results by including a plethora of keywords. 

Because it doesn’t guarantee helpful or relevant content, many search engine algorithms have begun penalizing pages for this tactic, so that now, keyword stuffing can actually damage the performance and ranking of your page or listing. It’s also crucial to consider how keyword stuffing affects your potential customer’s experience when they read this content, which directly ties into the buyability portion of optimization strategies.  

Amazon search bar

Buyability: Optimize for the Consumer 

After consumers discover your product, their next action is opening and skimming the product detail pageIf the listing content hasn’t been optimized for the end consumer, then the chances of a conversion are slim. The content should be easy to read and the listing should include high-resolution images, both of which build trust and confidence with the potential customer. 

Referring back to the keyword stuffing strategy, if a consumer can’t easily read the content on a detail page because it’s a nonsensical line of keywords, they’ll have a poor user experience and are far more likely to bounce from the listing. The copy must be compelling, containing practical information while highlighting tangle and intangible benefits. 

Learn more in our blog post, Survey Results: Most Important Listing Features for Amazon Shoppers.

The Best Amazon Listing Strategy

When it comes to optimizing your listing, you can’t focus on just discoverability for the Amazon algorithm or just buyability for the end consumer. Content creators’ ultimate goal is to find that happy medium of optimization for both the given marketplace’s algorithm as well as the end consumer. If you focus on one more than the other, then you risk either not getting any traffic to your listing or, if you do get traffic to your listing, they may not convert.  

By working to achieve a balance of both of these aspects, your marketing copy will bring more traffic to your listings and improve your overall conversion rate.  

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

More Free Resources

 

The Ultimate Guide to Prepare for Q4 on Amazon

Remember the days when Q4 was the focal point of the year for retailers? 2020 has certainly stolen that spotlight and pushed any semblance of normalcy to the back seat. But thankfully, the familiar panic of Amazon Q4 prep is slowly creeping back, and it’s go time.  

Year over year, restrictions on Amazon continue to increase, so it’s imperative that you start planning no later than late June. Which is now, folks! That’s why we’ve put together this prep guide. This guide will help you put Amazon Q4 prep back on the roadmap for 2020 and set yourself up for success. (Here’s hoping 2020 doesn’t throw us all another curveball – like locusts, that would be very bad.) 

Designate Leaders to Guide Strategy 

Your future success ties back to your team and partners. You need to start with a look at your internal teams. Who within your organization is taking ownership of Amazon? Does that person need additional support? Who are your warehouse and shipping partners? Do you have SLA’s in place that you can count on? Many brands turn to an expert partner to help fill those gaps, leaning on Amazon-focused digital agencies or retail partners that conveniently come with a fully stocked tool belt of standard operating practices and resources.  

Regardless of what your team looks like, you need to finesse and develop an org-chart that explicitly designates working procedures, growth targets, demand forecasting, warehousing solutions, and marketing per person. Your success is tied to those KPI’s, and your team should have them top of mind as well.  

If you don’t already, begin scheduling quarterly business reviews to allow for pivot time if the KPI’s are not lining up with targeted goals. Take inventory of segmented portions of your operation: What do stock levels look like? Have we heard of sourcing issues? What are our customers saying? Are there any product issues noted from reviews? What does your Amazon presence look like? How are advertising budgets performing? The answers to those questions will drive the strategic implementation and changes for the upcoming quarter and help position you well heading into Q4 on Amazon and beyond. 

Conduct a Content Audit 

In line with the basics, commence an audit of your catalog and corresponding creative assets. As Kaspien says, “People remember 80% of what they’ve seen and just 20% of what they read, which is an important reminder. At minimum, the top 20% of your product catalog should have Amazon-compliant and visually exciting A+ Content to boost shopper buying confidence. Then stroll on over to your Storefront – have you organized your product categories in a logical fashion? Is your brand story being portrayed to meet customers at an emotional level?  

Check out our video that deep dives into 12 Amazon marketing services

A+ Content and Branded Storeare one of the simplest ways to communicate who you are as a brand and reduce negative reviews. If you can write a big green check mark next to that advice, then take it one step further. Determine which products could use a ‘seasonal facelift’ and find ways to incorporate holiday themes into the gallery of your product detail pages. If you are a manufacturer of photo frames, could you photoshop a snowflake into the frame? Small changes to your organic marketing efforts can make a big difference when customers are scrolling through hundreds of products trying to find a gift. Simple images that naturally connect dots in our brain are a surefire way to stand out from the crowd. 

A+ Content Page on Amazon

AMAZON Q4 TIMELINE 

Determine Q4 Stock & Lead Times 

Do your due diligence hereThis is one of those tasks that will be critical for a brand to take ownership of. You need to know what your expected lead times will be, based on where your product is manufactured. And if that’s proving difficult due to the Coronavirus affecting predicted ship windows, you’ll need to be ready to invest in more expensive options. Air freight is the most expensive option, but it delivers results. Costs range greatly by product and day, and fees are based on “dimensional weight,” so cost also varies greatly by the volume you ship. Due to COVID-19, the costs of air freight have increased dramatically from where they were a year ago, so this should be a last resort.  

Get creative with your strategy and think outside the box. If you have sourcing issues with your manufacturer, look for unique ways to fill in the gaps. Are portions of the product or packaging not sustainable? Could you find a U.S. based manufacturer that can make the product out of recycled materials instead? Invest in new partnerships right now to ensure you don’t reach 10x growth without inventory to continue the trend.  

Some sellers have learned a hard lesson about tardiness in past years, and we’ve all learned from those mistakes. Amazon implemented key FBA holiday selling dates for Amazon.com that can act as a guide right now (given Amazon hasn’t realized 2020 dates quite yet) 

Amazon Seller Q4 Timeline with Key Dates

Apply to Applicable Categories ASAP 

New brands and products have an increased hurdle this year, as Amazon continues to increase its barrier of entry for some categories. Recently, our brands have experienced issues in gaining access to the Personal Safety and Household & Medical Supplies and Equipment categories, requiring them to apply and, in some cases, wait over a month for any response.  

Start this process immediately to ensure you gain access prior to using expensive shipping methods to get your product here in time. On this note, it never hurts to have a marketplace back-up plan. Is Walmart a good fit for your products? If so, begin the process of either finding a partner to help you launch there or apply on your own. For more information about Walmart, read our blog here.  

Use Prime Day to Inform Amazon Q4 Strategy 

While certainly not its primary purpose, Amazon does provide a convenient holiday that is a perfect opportunity to analyze sales, brand visibility, and advertising performance – Prime Day! Prime Day is a phenomenal opportunity to get a peek into the future and collect data points that should be used to develop a Q4 strategy. The increased volume of shoppers, increased ad spend, and heightened opportunity to rope in new loyal customers creates a similar landscape to what Q4 looks like on Amazon – namely, weeks prior to Black Friday and up until December 15th. Check out our top 5 tips for how to maximize Prime Day sales.

There are whispers that Prime Day will be moved to September, given the current situation, which is considerably later than past years July dates. While that reduces the time you have to use Prime Day stats to your Q4 advantage, don’t cut it short. Sources say there could be a ‘Summer Sale’ that can act as a great segue into Prime Day and thus provide two pools of data from which you can develop strategy 

Meltables Will be Accepted Starting October 15th 

There are a few additional key dates that are certainly worth sharing for the world of meltable products. Per a notice Kaspien received in April 2020, “[…] meltable inventory will not be fulfilled or accepted by Amazon fulfillment centers starting May 1, 2020. Meltable inventory will be accepted again starting October 15, 2020. ‘Meltable’ refers to heat-sensitive grocery, health, and personal care products that are eaten or swallowed, including chocolate, gummies, and probiotics.” Brands that fall into this category should work backwards, using their lead time, to understand when inventory should be prepped and ready to send back into FBA. 

AMAZON MARKETING FOR Q4 

Create a Product-Level Advertising Strategy 

If ever there was a secret sauce for Amazon, advertising is it. Amazon Advertising is one of the most profitable areas of Amazon, and Pivotal Research reported that, Amazon is expected to reach $38 billion in advertising sales by 2023.” If something is making Amazon money, you need to pay attention to it, because you can guarantee they are.  

Many brands find this planning metric quite difficult, given the variety of aspects that span budget constraints, inability to see into the landscape future, and catalog size. To avoid a drinking from the firehose situation, go back to your basic target planning. If you have a partner, sit down with them and discuss what your high-level goals are. Use resources around you to understand target ACoS, ROI, ROAS, and budgets. Spend some time doing the math to understand your per product margin, and work backwards to figure out how much you’re willing to spend on customer acquisition. 

Watch our webinar for an in-depth overview of how to create high performing Amazon ad campaigns

Many brands fall victim to assigning one target for their entire catalog, but if you have multiple products with varying price points, then you should be developing an advertising strategy at the product-levelA product that’s 5% over the target ACoS needs to be optimized differently than a product that’s 20% over the target ACoSEven if your target ACoS is the same across the board, varying price points necessitate a product-level strategy. A $10 product with a 10% target ACoS needs to be optimized differently than a $100 product with a 10% target ACoS. 

Amazon PPC Management Software Can Help

This is no small feat, so find time and cost saving tools to help you do this. We’ve even built one: Kaspien AdManager. Our 30-day trial allows brands to test our strategies and see results before committing to a subscription. Explore your resources and network with others in the industry to help yourself.  

Request a demo

Work Backwards from Goals 

To understand performance and refine strategy, you’ll need to track advertising KPI’s. Start with goals: Define when you will bid up and bid down, how you’ll mine high-converting search terms and at what frequencyin what ways you will identify low converting keywords to be added as negative keywords, and finally, what your daily spend budgets need to be in order to work within your product level marginRemember, Amazon only gives you advertising data for about two months, so find a way to store this insight and lean on the findings once Q4 rolls around. 

Use Amazon Promotions Before Q4 

Seemingly overshadowed by the power of Amazon Advertising are evergreen marketing tactics that deserve a fighting chance: Promotions! Start running promotions now, collect the data, store it, and analyze it. Lean on a combination of tactics, including coupons, Deals, BOGOs. While each targets a different subgroup of shoppers, you’re gaining insight into what lowered price points increase sales and which promotion types yield successful results and should be used during Q4. Hot tip: Today’s Deals during Q4 are about as crowded as B&M stores on Black Friday, so think about using other promotions, like coupons, to help carve out a space for your products in the rush.  

beauty products with a bow

Advertise Beyond Amazon 

Additionally, one of the most successful tools Kaspien has used to circumnavigate the crowded Deals section during Q4 is off-Amazon advertising. Inventory your visibility on other platforms, like Facebook, Instagram, Google, etc., and start A/B testing ad types on those platforms. While some categories are better fit for social advertising, don’t be afraid to get creative here. Who would have thought that a face shield would be a prized holiday gift? Use that to your advantage and sync up with partners in the space to help build content and advertise your product in ways that you hadn’t previously 

Social media marketing for Amazon

Influencers are another incredible way to call out to both niche and major segments of the population and get eyes on your brand. Many brands halt at the thought, thinking their products just aren’t a great fit – but you’d be surprised. And you don’t have to spend a fortune, tapping into micro influencers can be a powerful option.  

Take this example:
Watchmaker Daniel Wellington is known for collaborations with fashion and travel influencers, but the brand also frequently works with CanadianBros (@CanadianBros), an Instagram account for two dogs named Jasper and Louie. Though dog lovers isn’t an obvious audience for a watch company, the fact that the account has featured Daniel Wellington on more than one occasion indicates it’s working. In one post, Louie gazes up at his owner who just happens to be wearing a Daniel Wellington watch. Like many of the account’s other posts, the caption is from the pup’s point of view.  

The big bonus here is most influencers allow brands to have rights to the content they develop which can be used on your direct sites, social pages and even Amazon. 

More free resources

Q4 Planning Starts Now 

We are living in a different time, and while nothing is certain, being a brand on Amazon puts you at an advantage during the holidays. Customers can shop from the safety of their couch, and you can help put a smile on the face of recipients around the country. 

Think of the extra time you have as an opportunity to really give Q4 2020 the planning it deserves. Sit down with your teams, cultivate your goals, develop new relationships, and talk reality with your suppliers. Look at your products through a new lens, play around with organic marketing tactics, and take the time to implement an advertising strategy that spans both marketplace and beyond. The time is now. And if you need support, you can always reach outWe’d love to chat about your goals and the tools and services we have to help you reach them. 

Happy Q4 planning! 

A powerful marketing tool that has previously been neglected is finally getting the attention it deserves.  On May 19th, we started seeing Amazon place a greater emphasis on Amazon Brand Store visibility within product listings, and we are all for it.  On product detail pages that are linked to a Brand Store, there is now a direct link to the store that says, “Visit the *Brand Name* Store”, making it much more obvious to consumers that these digital storefronts exist. 

Amazon Brand Store Link

Prior to this update, product listings simply featured the brand name below the product title.  When clicked, the hyperlinked brand name would take users to a search engine results page for that brand name. The results on this page weren’t always the best representation of a brand’s catalog.  This issue was partially fixed by the introduction of Brand Stores through Amazon Brand Registry, which instead linked the brand name on the listing to their Brand Store.  However, not everyone knew this was a way to reach the Brand Store, so the feature received less than ideal use. 

Amazon Brand Stores are and have been an all-around great marketing tool for brand integrity on the Amazon marketplace, as well as a great boon for inbound marketing efforts.  They allow brand owners to create a customized landing page that matches their branding and voice, and now brands can showcase their product catalog all in one place.  The downfall has always been that organic traffic could not always find them.  This latest hyperlink update has been proven to fix that!

While this change has only been in effect for just over 2 weeks at the time of this publication, we are seeing drastic improvements in Brand Store performance.  We pulled organic traffic data to a handful of our Brand Stores, and we’ve seen the below improvements:  

  • Increase in Visits: 63.58% 
  • Increase in Orders: 67.27% 
  • Increase in Sales: 99.90%  

Brand Store Traffic Trend Line

This is only the beginning.  As consumers adapt to this change, they will come to expect brands to have these stores.  If your brand does not have a storefront, or would simply like a revamp, connect with Kaspien through our contact page or our live chat to see what we can do for you. 

Not seeing this change on your computer?  Amazon will often roll out structural changes in phases to note the impact and determine whether a full implementation is necessary.  Sit tight, we expect to see a full roll-out soon. 

Benefits of Amazon Brand Registry

This post will be updated regularly as the offerings through Amazon Brand Registry platform change.

Latest update: November 2019

If you are selling your own products on Amazon, the next best thing you can do for your brand is apply for Amazon Brand Registry. Anyone with an active registered trademark can apply, and once you do, it opens the door to a vast amount of benefits and marketing tools that far too few brand owners are taking advantage of. After your application has been accepted, you’ll gain access to a few immediate benefits, as well as an ever-growing list of powerful marketing and research tools.

Learn How to Enroll in Brand Registry

Benefits of Amazon Brand Registry

Brand Integrity Protection

One of the more common struggles brands encounter while selling on Amazon is keeping their content on the listing detail page accurate and looking as they desire. The fact is that anybody, authorized seller or not, can come into an Amazon listing and publish unauthorized content changes. Sometimes, these listing edits are innocent; other times, they’re malicious and indicate an attempted hijacking.

When your brand is registered with Amazon, only authorized accounts can make changes to your listings. Authorized accounts include your own brand’s account or any other account to which you’ve assigned a role.

There are three tiers of roles you can assign to other Amazon accounts, and each has their own level of permissions. If an account holds any of these roles, they are permitted to make listing edits. If anybody else attempts to edit through a ticket with Amazon, they will immediately receive a rejection notice. The three available roles are:

  1. Administrator: An individual who has full permission to assign roles to user accounts
  2. Rights Owner: An individual who is the rights owner or an employee of the rights owner who is authorized to report violations
  3. Registered Agent: A third party who is authorized by the rights owner to report violations

 

Infringement Reporting Tool/IPR Violations

Amazon will use all the information you provide during your application process to protect your brand on the Amazon market. This tool can alert you when products are incorrectly using your trademarked terms or logos and when product listings are being created with your brand name after you have already listed your full catalog on Amazon. It can even notify you when sellers are shipping products from countries you do not manufacture or distribute to.

There is also a manual search tool you can use to proactively find infringement violations. Whether you are using the global, image, or bulk ASIN search, once you find violators, Amazon will guide you through the steps to submit reports of potential infringement. Once these have been reported, Amazon will investigate the accusations on your behalf and take appropriate action on the potential violators.

Amazon Brand Registry Self-Service Marketing Tools

Now, here’s the fun part of Amazon Brand Registry: You gain access to more marketing tools! These services are ever changing; many services are released through Brand Registry, such as Brand Stores and Enhanced Brand Content, but occasionally, Amazon will phase out services that are either outdated or are no longer of value.

Amazon Attribution Program

Digital marketers have always struggled with attributing sales to their off-Amazon marketing efforts, so the announcement of the Amazon Attribution Program beta was like Christmas for US Amazon sellers. Very similar to building unique campaign tags and URLs for Google Analytics tracking, sellers can now provide unique tags to social media posts, their influencers, and any other off-Amazon digital marketing strategies. Advertisements will receive the attribution if the purchase happens within the 14-day window. If multiple advertisements are engaged by a shopper, only the final ad will be credited. This program is necessary for the data-driven marketer, enabling more strategic adjustments to services and budget.

Amazon Live

This free US-only service allows brands to broadcast live or live-like videos to Amazon consumers. These livestreams can showcase product usage, features, or act almost like an infomercial on the Amazon marketplace. These videos will display on the Amazon Live page and beyond. We’ve even seen livestreams appear in competing product listings. To get the most out of your Amazon Live efforts, it’s best to pair them with promo codes since it provides a clear CTA. And the best part? Amazon Live is currently free.

Brand Dashboard

The Brand Dashboard was one of the more exciting releases in 2019 for registered brands. This dashboard offers a variety of insights that helps brands keep tabs on their brand’s health, monitor new reviews, and check the quality of newly launched ASINs. The main dashboard provides a good snapshot of performance rates as well as conversion and traffic recommendations. The snapshot includes many valuable metrics you may have already been monitoring, but the ability to view them all in one convenient place can help brands better understand the overall state of their Amazon business. Price competitiveness, detail page completion rates, and search terms optimizations are just a few of the metrics hosted on this page.

Brand Analytics

Possibly the best tool Amazon has provided for researching search terms, this reporting platform gives you insight into how your products compare to others in the market. Compare your products to top competitors, see top-performing search terms across the entire channel, or dig into the demographics of your customer base during any given time period. The competitive intelligence offered in this reporting is like none other. This free tool empowers brands to make strategic decisions with their search term and marketing strategies. Just keep in mind that there is a 3-4 day lag in the reported data.

Video Uploads

Videos have been available in the listing media gallery for quite some time, but how to get videos there was an unsolved mystery. Unless you were a large, reputable brand or had a special contact with Amazon, you were out of luck. Amazon now offers a Video Upload Manager under the Inventory tab in seller central. Videos submitted through here must be a .mp4 or .mov format under 500MB and cannot include any website URLs or other marketing materials. When you upload, you must submit a video title, related ASINs, and a video thumbnail. Once submitted, Amazon will review, and it could take up to 72 hours before publishing. Additionally, if your media gallery has more than six images, we’ve seen videos replace the sixth media gallery slot.

Brand Stores

Amazon Brand Stores allow brand owners to create a customized landing page within the Amazon marketplace. It looks like a branded website within Amazon and can be customized with your own images, videos, product listing links, and much more. You can even create a navigation bar to improve the consumer’s experience as they browse through your catalog by category, product line, or in whatever structure makes the most sense for your catalog. Amazon provides a handful of store metrics like number of visitors, views, top performing pages, and any sales that were attributed to the store. Your Amazon store will also have a custom URL that you can use for inbound marketing efforts, and it can work very well with the Amazon Attribution program in helping determine where traffic is coming from.

A+ Content Manager

Registered brands have access to the A+ Content Manager, formerly called Enhanced Brand Content in Seller Central and A+ Detail Pages in Vendor Central. A+ Content is the section of the Amazon listing that appears in either the Product Description (Seller Central) or the From the Manufacturer (Vendor Central) areas of the listing. It is an opportunity for brands to utilize additional image assets and formatted content to help persuade consumers to make their buying decision. Amazon makes claims that A+ Content will improve conversion rate by up to 11%. This is a great opportunity for higher priced items where consumers will need more convincing, or for very technical products that need a lot of details explained.

Brand Registry is an Obvious Choice

I think we can all agree the Amazon marketplace is such an incredible opportunity for brands and manufacturers around the world, but if you aren’t being protective and proactive with your brand, it can also be detrimental. Adapting to the new “normal” in commerce means you will be selling on Amazon, and if you don’t set yourself up for success with Amazon’s Brand Registry program, you could be setting yourself up for failure. Get a trademark, register your brand, and take advantage of these tools to perfect your brand integrity and watch your customer retention and sales grow.

Learn about each of these services and more in our free whitepaper, The State of Amazon Marketing

Launch new products on Amazon

Jack-o-lanterns and candy corn already line the shelves of grocery stores, heralding the arrival of fall and the holiday season. But even as the busiest shopping time of the year grows near, some brands are looking further aheadplanning for the launch of new products in the coming year. 

If you’re among that group, you’re well aware that creating and releasing new products is an exciting but complicated process. After spending months researching product opportunity, target audiences, competitive landscape, and developing the product, you hope that all your time and energy will pay off after launch day, but that’s far from a guarantee. 

Markets are increasingly saturated as retailing and direct selling become more accessible, with Amazon occupying the forefront of that trendAmazon is only one marketplace, but it accounts for a significant portion of ecommerce sales, with estimates ranging from a third to half of online sales in the US. Its predominance makes it a key player in any product launch strategy. 

To position your product for a successful launch, you need to enter the game with a holistic strategy for marketing, inventory management, and customer service. 

Launch New Products with Kaspien’s FTM Program

To help with that effort, Kaspien has introduced our First-to-Market (FTM) Program, comprehensive package wherein Kaspien provides marketing, logistic, and account support for a set monthly rate. 

Learn More 

Services include: 

  • Marketplace competitive analysis 
  • Product compliance assessment 
  • Dedicated account manager to consult with on an outcome-oriented strategy 
  • Inventory management support 
  • Brand protection software 
  • Listing creation and optimization 
  • Paid Amazon advertising 
  • Complimentary use of Kaspien’s bid optimization software 
  • Amazon coupons 
  • Amazon giveaways 
  • Customer feedback emails 
  • Access to social media marketing 
  • Access to influencer marketing 
  • And more!  

Over our 11 years on Amazon, Kaspien has helped launch hundreds of new products, establishing and refining best practices. This program draws those insights together into a convenient, comprehensive services package. 

Proven Results 

We’ve deployed our strategies to successfully launch new products on Amazon for leading brands, including 3M and ZippyPaws, rapidly increasing visibility and driving sales for new product lines. 

Alongside established brands, we’ve also seen fantastic results for entirely new brands, including: 

  • 30,000+ brand name searches on Amazon per month within one year of launching 
  • More than 1,000 followers on social media within one year of launching  
  • 43% increase in sponsored ad ROAS and a 37% increase in channel sales thanks to Kaspien’s bid optimization software, AdManager 

Now, we’ve introduced the FTM Program to help your new products succeed too 

What It Costs 

The FTM Program starts at $4,000/month retainer, which pays for labor and up to $1,500 of monthly marketing services. The program transitions to a wholesale retailer partnership when revenue reaches a sustainable rate, typically occurring within six months of product launch. 

Get Started 

Enroll in the Kaspien’s FTM Program by reaching out to your Kaspien account manager and filling out our contact form 

Amazon survey results

Kaspien recently conducted an anonymous survey of Amazon shoppers evaluating which listing features affect their browsing and purchasing decisions. The survey gathered more than 150 responses to 11 questions.  

If you want help auditing and optimizing your Amazon channel, reach out to Kaspien 

Survey Highlights 

Customer Reviews are the Most Influential Factor 

  • 70% of respondents named customer reviews (40%) and product price (30%) as the most important factors for their purchasing decision. 
  • Respondents nearly always read product reviews to make their purchasing decision. 
  • 24% of shoppers will not buy a product if it doesn’t have any reviews, and 22% report not buying a product due to bad reviews. 

Shoppers Assess Listings Holistically 

While customer reviews are king, the survey results indicate that shoppers view product detail pages holistically. When asked to rank the importance of listing features for their purchasing decision on a scale of 1-5, all options were ranked above a 3, suggesting that shoppers consider all features. 

 Importance of Listing Features

This trend was also represented elsewhere in the survey results:  

  • Shoppers report viewing a Brand Store at least half the time. 
  • Respondents nearly always scroll down the product detail page to read the description or look for additional content. 
  • 20% of respondents said they are unlikely to buy a product if it lacks quality images. 
  • 18% of respondents said they have opted not to purchase a product because there was not enough information in the listing.
  • Shoppers ranked lifestyle images (images of the product in use) as the most useful type of image, followed closely by size charts and studio images (images of the product on a white background). 

Read about other marketing insights in our free whitepaper, The State of Amazon Marketing.

How to Act on These Insights 

Enroll in the Early Reviewer Program 

Brands may not fabricate customer reviews (though some certainly do – you can use Review Meta to spot fakes). However, brands can enroll products in Amazon’s Early Reviewer Program 

The Early Reviewer Program offers buyers a small credit to their Amazon account in exchange for writing an honest customer review. Amazon facilitates the program and charges brands $60/ASIN. The program lasts for one year or until 5 new reviews are generated, whichever comes first.  

Optimize Listings to Set Accurate Expectations 

Our survey found that the two most common reasons that shoppers leave product reviews are because the product was really good or really bad.  

Both of these responses are subjective, to a degree, which means that marketers can influence them. Whether a product is “good” or “bad” is often a matter of how closely expectations and reality align. If marketers set accurate expectations, they can significantly reduce the chance of negative customer reviews.  

The survey results show that shoppers assess listings holistically, evaluating the title, bullets, enhanced content, and images alongside customer reviews. Marketers should use the listing copy and images to provide clear product info and set accurate expectations.  

Learn how to craft great copy. 

Take a Comprehensive Approach 

Comprehensive listing optimization is critical for sales success. Shoppers view a listing as the sum of its parts. Missing information like pictures, product dimensions, and detailed information can dissuade potential customers.  

More Free Resources

The Secret to Great marketing is Great Storytelling

Traditional marketing theory tells us that when consumers shop, they prioritize rational over emotional decision making, considering factors such as function, quality, and price before anything else. But behavioral economics – the theory that consumers’ purchasing behavior is linked to psychological, cognitive, emotional, social, and cultural factors – tells another story 

According to Gallup, buying decisions may be weighted in favor of emotional thinking as drastically as 70% emotional and 30% rational. They also found in a study of 10 companies that those who applied behavioral economics in their business strategies outperformed peers by 85% in sales growth and more than 25% in gross margin during a one-year period.  

As sellers near the busiest time of year for retail, it can be incredibly impactful to take a moment to reassess your marketing collateral. Are you appealing to emotional thinking on your product detail pages and banner ads? Do your social ads come across as personable and relatable?  

Drawing on emotional factors to influence shoppers’ decisions doesn’t mean that marketers should ignore pragmatic factors. They are top buying considerations. Rather, it means that marketers should enhance theianswers to pragmatically-minded questions by delivering them within an appeal to emotional decision making.  

Tying Emotion into Marketing 

Incorporating an appeal to emotional thinking in marketing can be done in your visuals and images.  

Visuals 

In visuals, it involves showing positive emotions, such as joy, relief, or pride. It highlights the experiences enjoyed because of a product.  

This image from JumpOff Jo’s Blanket Fort is a prime example. In this image, the product is part of the background, and the focus is instead on the experience: The kids are bonding, enjoying spending time together in their blanket fort.  

 A Lifestyle Image that Highlights Emotional Value

This image is great for use on a website, social media, and the Amazon listing page. It appeals to our emotions and helps us visualize using it with our own families. To complete their pitch and also appeal to rational thinking, JumpOff Jo includes studio images as well, which highlight product features.  

Reach out to Kaspien’s Creative Services team to produce custom photos, videos, or graphics. 

Copy 

In copy, appealing to emotion relies on the writer’s principle of “show, don’t tell.” Instead of writing, “your child will love riding their new bike,” you can write, “Watch your little one whoop and laugh, eyes wide, as they race down the road by themselves for the first time.” The former tells; the latter shows.  

This approach to copy and visuals can and should done in any media representing your brand, from your packaging to your Amazon listings.  

One brand that executes this well is Big Betty, a brand that makes oversized glassware and novelty items, including Pinot Protector, an elastic wine stopper. 

 Big-Betty-Pinot-ProtectorExample of excellent branding copy

They utilize the same personality and humor from the product in the listing copy, without sacrificing keyword density. Their branding is consistent across media, and their appeal to emotion (in this case, an admittedly crass sense of humor) is woven together with pragmatic factors, such as the airtight seal and reusability.  

The Secret to Great Marketing is Great Storytelling  

Marketing to rational thinking comes easily, but it can be tricky to consistently market to emotional thinking as well. The most effective way to ensure that you consistently appeal to emotional thinking is to incorporate it into your branding. 

To create effective branding, it should be framed as a story. All good stories have distinct characters, which means your brand needs to have a distinct look and feel. This includes your imagery and copy across all channels, offline and online.  

Impactful Marketing Spans Channels

Offline and online marketing impact each other, especially when they’re coordinated to work in tandem. If you’re memorable in one place, you’re memorable elsewhere. That’s what makes cross-channel marketing one of the most effect tactics in the industry. Shaping a good story across your brand outlets can provide a significant advantage across channels, especially on the highly saturated marketplace that is Amazon. 

Great Stories Have Heroes

Our favorite stories consist of protagonists to root for, sympathize with, and relate to. They share our values, inspire us, make us laugh, or provide something else of tangible or intangible value. A marketer’s job is to make that protagonist your brand, there to help your customers overcome problems and achieve goals. 

By creating a distinct, personable, relatable, and truthful brand persona, you make your brand memorable, invite increased engagement, and earn customer trust 

Telling Your Story 

Branding is multifaceted and varies greatly by industry, but here are a few universal tips for how to get started: 

  • Who is your target audience? What are their interests? What are their pain points? The more information you have, the better. Create a persona that represents the ideal customer for your brand and think about how you’d approach them. 
  • What is your brand’s origin story? Why’d you enter the business? What problem or need did you see that your product addresses? Your brand’s origin story can be a tale of innovation, perseverance, or ambition that you can draw inspiration from when crafting your branding. 
  • What are your brand’s goals? Think beyond profitability. Your goals (often represented in a mission statement) should be clear, actionable, and inspirational. It’s a tall order, but it will provide direction for your marketing, your employees, and your customers. Dedicate serious thought and attention to this. 
  • Can you tie your brand to a larger cause? Why does that cause matter to your brand? How are you contributing to it? Linking your brand to a greater issue or movement can increase your visibility and engagement with your target audience, although you must be prepared to back up words with actions. 
  • How will you align visuals with copy? Your imagery, packaging, and writing should to work together to represent your brand.  

More Free Resources

Amazon-Holiday-Marketing-Guide

Last year, Kaspien’s Q4 marketing efforts yielded a 24% MoM increase in sales from October to November, as well as a 17% MoM increase in sales from November to December! 

But the work that went into delivering those results began much earlier. Even though it’s only August, now is the time to start finalizing your Amazon holiday strategyThe work behind Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions begins in earnest during September, and things only escalate from there.  

This year, Black Friday falls on November 29th this year, with Cyber Monday following on December 2nd. In preparation for these major shopping events and the holiday season, we’ve prepared a month-by-month guide of what brands can do to maximize their Q4 sales.  

SEPTEMBER 

Submit Holiday Lightning Deals 

Note that Amazon tends to favor high volume SKUs for the best placement, so most brands will be better served by investing more in their Amazon search marketing rather than investing in Lightning Deals. 

If you do have high volume SKUs, Lightning Deals can be a powerful marketing tool. Last year, the deadline for submitting Black Friday and Cyber Monday Lightning Deals was September 21st. To participate this year, you should be considering options in August and finalizing decisions by mid-September.  

To be eligible for Cyber Week Lightning Deals, products must: 

  • Be Prime eligible 
  • Be listed as New 
  • Have 3+ starrating 
  • Have FBA or SFP fulfillment 
  • Include at least 60% of all variations if the ASIN is part of a variation listing 

Verify Inventory Levels 

With a practically guaranteed increase in traffic and sales during Q4, brands need to confirm they have enough inventory stocked. Running out of stock during holiday sales is an entirely avoidable headache, so long as you prepare. 

Amazon has delayed receiving times at its distribution centers as the holiday season approaches because inbound inventory exponentially increases as sellers prepare for increased traffic. If you haven’t already, you should begin increasing your inventory shipments immediately.  

Brands should also reach out to their manufacturers to ensure they can produce the necessary inventory, and work with sellers to verify they are well supplied. If you use Seller Fulfilled Prime or third-party fulfillment services, you may need to plan on hiring seasonal workers. 

OCTOBER 

Plan Amazon Coupons & Giveaways 

Along with Lightning Deals, brands should also start planning for coupons and giveaways. These promotions increase visibility by placing your products on Amazon’s coupons and giveaways pages, which are among the most visited pages on Amazon. During major shopping events, those popular pages see even more traffic as more shoppers seek out great deals. 

Partner with Influencers on Holiday Gift Guides 

Influencers are content creators who have amassed large followings on social media, blogs, YouTube, and other sites. During the holidays, many shoppers turn to social influencers for gift ideas. Brands can partner with influencers, placing their products in wide-reaching holiday gift guides.  

Seek an influencer who’s already engaged with your target audience, guaranteeing that your product is seen by relevant shoppers.  Influencers’ gift guides reach thousands of shoppers every year, making them incredibly powerful tools for brand awareness and driving sales. 

Add Seasonal Search Terms 

Officially, Amazon prohibits the use of holiday imagery and copy, including keywords such as “gift or “Christmas.” However, brands can use those and similar search terms in their ad campaigns to target seasonal traffic. Adding holiday search terms to campaigns early allows brands to start building traction early, gaining a competitive advantage.  

NOVEMBER 

Promote Your Deals Through Social Media Ads 

In the weeks leading up to and through Cyber Week, start promoting your deals, coupons, and giveaways with paid social ads. These targeted ads raise your brand to top-of-mind as consumers head into Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Interested shoppers will seek your products directly, bypassing much of the competition.  

Intensify Sponsored Product Campaigns 

Sponsored Product Ads and Sponsored Brand Ads remain some of the most effective tools for Amazon marketing. Which, of course, means that nearly every brand that advertises on Amazon uses them. 

To make sure that your products continue to gain top placement, you’ll need to put some extra budget behind them during November and December. The increased expenditure can be a tough pill to swallow, but it’s a worthwhile investment: 

Last year, Kaspien generated a 24% month-over-month increase in sales from October to November, as well as a 17% month-over-month increase in sales from November to December!

We were able to achieve those stellar results in part thanks to AdManager, our proprietary bid optimization software. It automates several key optimizations, ensuring sponsored ads are always running at top performance. 

Utilize Amazon Livestream  

During Cyber Week, run branded videos on Amazon livestream. These videos can be played on repeat for hours while a brand represent answers questions submitted in the chat.  

Kaspien has been testing Amazon’s new livestream service throughout 2019, and we’ve seen increasingly positive results. During Prime Day, our livestreams garnered 36,000 views and more than 500 clicks to listings! 

For a complimentary and relatively new service, Amazon livestream provides an incredible amount of brand exposure.  

DECEMBER 

Maintain Heightened Marketing Efforts 

Your marketing efforts should have built to a crescendo in November. Now in December, those efforts should largely be maintained. Sponsored Product and Sponsored Brand ads will still need larger budgets to remain competitive, coupons and giveaways will continue to improve your visibility and capture traffic, and social media marketing and influencer campaigns will drive shoppers to Amazon for conversion.  

Want Help Strategizing?  

Reach out to your Kaspien account manager or drop us a line on our Contact page to collaborate with Kaspien on your holiday marketing strategy.  

Selling CBD on Amazon

Here at Kaspien, we receive regular inquiries from existing partners and new brands wanting us to help them launch their CBD products on Amazon. One of the most common questions we get is, if CBD is so widely available why can’t I sell it on Amazon? Isn’t CBD just like hemp oil that been around for a long time?  

What is CBD?

Unlike hemp oil, CBD is one of 113 identified Cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant that accounts for 40% of the overall plant extract and is normally extracted as an oil from hemp. Additionally, CBD is purported to have many of the same properties of marijuana without the psychoactive effects of THC.

As a result, CBD related products are trending as supplements, food additives, and oils. The trend has even been addressed directly by the head of the FDA and was the subject of a recent FDA Public Panel.

There are many competing messages about the current legality of CBD, the numerous health claims being made, and the marketplace rules surrounding CBD’s sale. This blog post will try to concisely explain the 2018 Farm Bill, the current Federal and state regulatory issues with CBD, and the current marketplace prohibitions on CBD products.

CBD’s Legal Status

The 2018 Farm Bill

With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the Federal ban on the growing and sale of hemp and hemp-derived products was repealed. While the Federal ban has been removed, the 2018 Farm Bill did not “legalize” the sale of CBD oil as some brands have claimed.

Instead, the 2018 Farm Bill removed CBD’s classification as a Class I Drug (no known benefit) but left the legality of its use to the FDA and the states. Furthermore, Congress strictly defined hemp and hemp-derived products as containing less than 0.3% THC. In practical terms, this means CBD derived from hemp is no longer Classified like marijuana (a Class I drug) and instead became classified as a Class V drug.

Prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, the FDA approved the use of CBD oil as a prescription drug to treat a rare form of Childhood Epilepsy, under the brand name Epidiolex™. However, because CBD has been approved as a drug administrable only with a prescription, all other CBD products that cross state Lines are regulated the same way, as Class V drugs requiring FDA approval before being sold.

The FDA’s Stance

What this means, according to FDA Principle Associate Commissioner Lowell Schiller, is that “it is currently illegal to put into interstate commerce a food to which CBD has been added, or to market CBD as, or in, a dietary supplement.” While the FDA is engaging industry groups and conducting additional safety reviews of CBD, the FDA is enforcing this rule against brands that market CBD products as treatments for diseases.

Most recently, the FDA sent a warning letter to Curaleaf Inc™, giving them 15 days to respond with plan to correct their violations or face additional injunctions and seizures. The main reasons given for the Warning Letter were the advertising claims, including treating Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Pain Relief, using CBD in supplements in violation of FDA rules and creating “Unapproved Animal Drugs” because the products contain CBD.

The FDA is still working through its review of CBD and may issue additional guidelines allowing its use. However, until the FDA rules change, it is currently not legal to enter into interstate commerce any food, dietary supplements, or new drug that contains CBD.

States Still Have Jurisdiction

Although the 2018 Farm Bill allows the FDA to regulate CBD for interstate commerce, it specifically did not pre-empt state law in regulating hemp and CBD.

By not pre-empting state law, states are given free rein to regulate the use of CBD within state boundaries. Even prior to the 2018 Farm Bill, states were regulating CBD with everything from outright prohibitions, like Idaho, South Dakota, and Kansas, to no meaningful restrictions, like Washington State and Oregon, creating a number of issues for brands looking to sell their CBD products.

Like marijuana, CBD regulations vary state by state, and so long as the products are completely manufactured and sold within a specific state, never entering into interstate commerce, and are not prohibited under that state’s laws there may be no issues.

These state-specific rules and boundaries pose significant sourcing, logistical, and growth challenges for brands looking to sell their CBD products. However, given the state specific controls, it is theoretically possible to have no legal issues building a product line that contains CBD. Furthermore, the provision for States’ Rights helps to explain why there hasn’t been a stronger crackdown on CBD products despite the previous Federal ban and current FDA restrictions.

CBD in Ecommerce

Online Marketplaces Prohibit Selling CBDs

Given the regulations that vary by state and the restrictions on CBD from the FDA, it is no surprise that most marketplaces prohibit the sale of CBD products on their sites.

For Amazon, the largest marketplace in the US, the restriction is directly related to CBD’s current classification as a Class I drug (Amazon still hasn’t updated its policy to reflect the changes of the 2018 Farm Bill). Amazon’s restricted products page states: Drug listings must not be for controlled substances or products containing controlled substances, such as: Products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a Schedule I Controlled Substance.”

Not only are products containing CBD banned but the use of euphemisms for CBD products like “Rich hemp Oil,” Full Spectrum hemp Oil” etc. are prohibited. Trying to sell a product containing CBD on Amazon is a pretty sure recipe for getting your listing restricted. 

Similarly, Walmart, Google Express, and eBay have restricted sellers from selling CBD products. These other marketplaces almost always cite the restriction of sales of prescription drugs in their reasons for not allowing the sale of products that contain CBD. For marketplaces, the very model of facilitating the sale of products across state borders means that all products they sell fall under the jurisdiction of the FDA. While it is not difficult to find listings for the CBD products on marketplaces, it’s only a matter of time until each of those listings is taken down for violating a marketplace policy.

The Future of CBD Sales in Online Marketplaces

Consumer demand for CBD doesn’t show any signs of weakening, and the FDA is continuing its exploration of how best to regulate CBD. The FDA is not known for moving quickly, but we will continue to monitor the regulatory developments and advise if things change.

The FDA is focused on gathering additional data on the safety, possible adverse interactions, and risks of long-term exposure to CBD as it considers issuing new guidance. For now, the Federal and state restrictions have led to prohibitions on the sale of products containing CBD on all the major marketplaces. Listing products containing CBD will get your products and potentially your selling account restricted. That being said, as long as brands are only sourcing and selling within a state, and that state allows the sale of CBD, they may be able to build their brands while awaiting further developments at the Federal level.

While many brands are excited to jump on the demand for CBD products, the ability to grow the brands online is limited by FDA restrictions and prohibitions on all the major marketplaces.