5 Tips for Brand Optimization
by Irina Balyurko, on March 1, 2017
Thriving in a competitive Amazon marketplace can be challenging. For brand owners, increasing brand value to withstand competition and time is most likely a top business concern. Here we offer five tips to optimize your brand presence on the Amazon marketplace.
Listening to Customers
Good or bad, customers do "say it as it is." Buyer feedback and purchasing patterns are a reflection of how your brand is perceived (whether all of it is intended by you or not.) And, of course, modern shopping behaviors are also very review-driven, so today’s buyers have a big impact on potential future buyers. Whether it is in the area of product development, user experience, packaging or customer service, customer input is an invaluable way to improve brand’s performance across multiple categories. Listen to what they say.
Less is More
Simplifying in order to grow can be counter-intuitive. However, many iconic brands (Apple is a classic example, but Dollar Shave Club is a great newcomer to illustrate this point) have made simplicity in products, branding, marketing and delivery their unique strength. Being concise and clear on the brand’s value proposition makes the customer’s decision to buy less stressful. In today’s world of constant decision fatigue, simplicity of choice is more and more appreciated by shoppers. Even if we take Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon") itself as an example, at its core the main mission of the company is simple: make the customer buying experience simple, convenient and stress-free.
Often brands want to expand product lines in the ongoing quest to acquire new customers by giving more choices. However, that can potentially create brand confusion and overwhelm customers. If you have a lot of similar products, there is a benefit in looking at lackluster performers to assess if it’s better to eliminate slow-moving products in order to focus on growing stronger-performing products. This can be very applicable for products with many variations, sizes, or feature options.
Customer Experience is Still King
We know that Amazon has fairly strict rules around building relationship with customers. And Amazon’s strength as a shopping platform is of transactional nature, not relational. However, that does not mean that third-party sellers cannot create repeat customers and strengthen overall brand presence without delivering superior customer experience. One way to assess customer experience is to use Amazon Account Performance metrics in the Seller Central dashboard to look at factors such as shipment and delivery times (if not using FBA), response to customers' messages, any A-to-Z claims or any poor seller feedback. Another qualitative method is to think through the customer experience journey. Consider the experience from the moment they see a product listing and decide to buy, to when product is received, to any follow up email sequence from your company not only asking for a review, but also offering support for any questions or any issues.
The importance of well-optimized content cannot be over-emphasized. Often content optimization is discussed in the context of increasing product visibility via the Amazon search algorithm. But it is also important to step back and look at the overall representation of your brand through product listings by asking a simple question: If the Amazon product listing page were the only touchpoint for customers to learn about your brand and products, would you feel confident about the growth of your business? Discussions around optimized content can get technical. However, fundamentally the approach to it does not have to be. What makes your products different? What is your brand’s "why" and possibly the story behind it? What benefits do customers receive through using your products?
If you are selling on multiple platforms, applying insights learned across various channels is a great leverage to grow your brand. Access to customer-related data is limited on the Amazon marketplace. But if you have your own website, you most likely have analytics gathered from customer purchases and profiles. And more likely than not, your Amazon buyer profile is very similar to that of a buyer on your other channels. Additionally, if any of your email or marketing campaigns through other channels worked well, consider applying elements of that in product listings or email feedback series copy for your Amazon store.
It can be challenging to build brand equity and keep repeat customers in a competitive Amazon landscape, especially considering strict rules placed by the company on third-party sellers. Nurturing your reputation, delivering excellent products and connecting with customers in an open and genuine way is imperative for a brand owner to succeed in the crowded eCommerce space.