An Overview of Amazon Stores for Brand Owners
by Carina McLeod, on December 19, 2017
Over the past few months, I have had lots of clients asking me about Amazon stores and if they are really worth the investment. My response is always "yes!"
While it is too early to truly understanding the real return on investment, this should not be the only deciding factor for creating an Amazon store. Remember that with Amazon.com, Inc. ("Amazon"), the customer comes first. These stores completely focus on the customer shopping experience.
An Amazon store gives the brand owner (whether vendor or seller) a chance to showcase its brand and full range of products. Within the store a brand can promote new lines and key features through videos and lifestyle imagery. They have the freedom to decide what they focus on. By displaying videos, lifestyle images and text, the store can drive customer engagement, build brand trust and help the customer make an informed buying decision, which should ultimately improve conversion and boost sales. It also helps the brand get visibility for the wider product range, including for items that rank lower on the search results page, especially new products.
As a merchant or vendor selling on the Amazon marketplace, you need to be tuned in with Amazon’s customer obsession. Take advantage of any merchandising tools that come your way to enhance the customer experience for your brand. When it comes to competition, you as a brand need to be leading in your product category and not waiting until everyone else has taken the plunge. If you don’t make the investment, your competitor will.
What Exactly is an Amazon Store?
An Amazon store is a brand shop within Amazon. Think of it like a branded section within a department store in a mall. Amazon stores provide a branded shopping experience on the Amazon website, showcasing the brand and its products. These stores are customized by the brand. Sellers and vendors can curate the design of the store according to the needs of their brand, products and audience.
Brand stores can be made up of multiple pages, just as you would typically find on a brand’s own website. They can have a home page and then break the pages down further into category pages. It all depends on the brand’s range: the size and diversity of the product categories. Some brands choose to have a single homepage, and others go for a complete store with multiple pages.
The great thing about these stores is that they are free (at least for now) and they are responsive to desktop and mobile. They also support videos which is a huge plus point!
Are Amazon Stores the Same as Brand Pages?
Amazon stores are a step up and are replacing the brand pages that were previously only available to vendors or those that had access to Amazon Marketing Services (AMS). Just the design of these stores shows how Amazon is making graphical advancements, both with lifestyle imagery and a more sleek, professional look. Brand pages were discontinued on October 31st this year and there will no longer be access to these in AMS, although the brand pages that link from a headline search ad won’t be discontinued until December 31, 2017.
Are Amazon Stores Available to Everyone?
Amazon stores are only available to brand owners on both the vendor and seller sides. To become a brand owner, the seller or vendor must enroll the brand within Brand Registry 2.0. For vendors that already had a brand added in AMS in the past, they will automatically have access to create a store for that brand and will have to set it up in AMS. For new brands, Amazon is now requesting vendors enroll the brand in the brand registry. For sellers, once the the enrollment of the brand has been approved by the brand registry, the store can then be built in Seller Central within the Storefront section.
How Do Customers Find the Store?
When creating a store, the brand will be given a unique brand URL that they can then share externally across social media or via marketing activities such as email to drive external traffic to their Amazon store. This URL can also be used to drive internal traffic, linking headline search ads to the Amazon store. The customer can also access the store by clicking on the brand name beside the title of the product on the detail page, although this is a less obvious route.
Creating an Amazon Store
Amazon Stores are self-service and to create the store the brand needs to navigate their way around the store builder. The store builder has 3 simple templates to use to help create the store, as well as a blank template for those looking for a more specific design.
After selecting the template, the brand needs to decide on the number of pages and levels of those pages. Then, once the template has been chosen and pages created, it’s time to populate those templates.
Each template is made up of a series of tiles; in each of these tiles, the brand can select an image, video, product listing, text or image with text. Also depending on the template chosen, the brand can select a product gallery, product grid, best sellers and recommended products. Once all edits have been made, the brand can then preview the page on both desktop and mobile. To help vendors and sellers create a store, Amazon has created downloadable user guides.
Overall, I am interested to see how Amazon stores will evolve. Currently they are hidden, and for the customer to be able to find them, the brand either needs to share the URL link or create a headline search ad. I wonder if these pages will soon start to surface organically in the search results page for that specific brand and if they will start to appear organically on Google.
What do you think the future holds for Amazon Stores?