Once, Amazon was seen as a platform for small businesses without the means to obtain retail space. Those days are long gone. It has evolved into an essential part of SME success online.
Many businesses have thrived on Amazon, and as a result, the marketplace has become saturated and fiercely competitive. Over 295,000 online businesses have signed up so far in 2021; a figure expected to grow by a staggering 1.4 million by the end of the year. Sellers who may once have held a monopoly for products in a specific Amazon category or niche group need to prepar for tough competition, as more and more brands try to overtake them in the product listings.
SMEs striving to be the first choice on Amazon need a deeper understanding of both consumers and their competitors, while also using Amazon advertising to further optimise their campaigns by discovering new search terms they are being found for.
Here are six key strategies we believe can deliver success for SMEs on Amazon:
1. Optimise your content
With just a small window of opportunity to attract the attention of potential customers, SMEs must take full advantage of the imagery and content slots offered in their product listings to make their products stand out and prevent customers clicking through to competitor products.
Tell a story with A+ rich media. Use video in your product thumbnails to inform customers how a product is used. Imagery of how the product looks in a home environment will win over traditional imagery of the product in its packaging. Use images or iconography to showcase product features or answer potential questions. Some users never make it to the product description, so using your images to show your product at its best is really important.
For copy, above the fold bullet points should highlight key features and benefits. Bring your product to life for customers so they are reassured they’ve found exactly what they were looking for. Below the fold copy can go into more detail and showcase your brand as well as your product. Many people search on Amazon rather than Google, so throughout all of your copy development, you need to make sure it is optimised for SEO. Think about what keywords shoppers would use to search for your product.
2. Grow your success with testing
SMEs on tight margins could be wary of allocating too much spend on advertising. But an understanding of where established competitors are placed on key listings like best-sellers and suggestions offers a head-start in where you should be focusing your advertising efforts.
Researching a competitor’s keywords will help you create a list of keywords to optimise your own campaigns with, ensuring your products get seen in searches too. Competitors enjoying success on Amazon are likely to be optimising their product listings with keywords that have high impressions. This information is invaluable and can be used to your advantage.
You can then use Amazon’s auto-campaign feature, which uses keyword insight to place ads in relevant listings and pages. This testing feature provides you with analysis on which words are most effective in reaching your target audience and which will drive sales.
3. Aid growth
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to find success on Amazon. Different strategies need to be implemented, working together to ensure your brand reaches as many eyes as possible. You need a solid strategy, one that will deliver against your specific business needs. An established brand in an over-saturated category will have a very different strategy to a newcomer in a more niche category.
Incentivising new customers to leave reviews will improve your organic ranking on listings. Personalised thank you notes, or first-class customer service are simple ways to encourage positive feedback. An alchemy of algorithmic work through advertising and first-class service generates greater visibility across the platform and also ensures loyalty from customers.
4. Use the popularity of established brands for visibility
On Amazon, customers are more likely to search for products rather than brands, likely because they are after the best deals and don’t therefore have brand loyalty. With that in mind, SME brands shouldn’t worry about being overshadowed by household names that sell on Amazon. In fact, they should use it to their advantage.
While competitively-priced products with unique functionalities can certainly win over iconic brands, the bottleneck online has always been visibility. But Amazon’s ASIN Targeting allows sellers to place advertisements directly onto competitor product pages, filtering out the risk of showcasing products on an irrelevant listing. It also helps to start a relationship with a customer already interested in the category and help sway their loyalty to you.
5. Use all of the advertising features
Amazon is awash with simple yet understated advertising tricks – and it’s not just exclusive to one platform. Products can travel far and wide with its offsite retargeting ads, which displays products a user has searched for on third-party platforms for up to 28 days. A distracted shopper browsing online can soon finds themselves back at the listing when persuaded by a targeted ad.
Sponsored display ads are also an effective tool in building broader awareness across the different corners of Amazon: product detail pages, search results, and even the main home page. This tool piques the interest of shoppers on a targeted search and those exploring wider categories.
But an SME’s personality is the best form of advertising. Amazon Stores allow sellers to engage with shoppers just like bricks and mortar stores by showcasing hallmark holiday ranges, discounted offerings, and new product launches.
Businesses can simultaneously curate landing pages with its A+ add-on; integrating banners, text boxes, and enhanced imagery that mirrors a traditional website.
SMEs also have the opportunity to build bespoke Amazon profiles – something that really matters to consumers. Those with curated storefronts and landing pages tell a brand story while also reassuring shoppers wary of counterfeits. No matter how competitive your prices and how fast your delivery, consumers need to feel like your brand is trustworthy and that their order will arrive as they expect.
6. Use the right tools
Fast-growing SMEs operating on Amazon need to track precise metrics: monitoring which products gain the most impressions, how long a customer stays on a landing page, and which ones convert into sales.
But an insight-led strategy on Amazon will only have benefits if activity is optimised 24/7 and you understand the data that you are being presented with.
Those willing to invest in platforms that digest and make sense of the data will succeed in an acute targeting of their key audience while simultaneously attracting new visitors. It’s also invaluable in making informed decisions on where a budget is best allocated. Without this data to guide you on where your budget is best spent, you could be wasting budget on keywords or placements that don’t fit your target profile.
A monster platform like Amazon is both an obvious and scary place to launch, but SMEs are best positioned to grow here. Advertising on Amazon takes away the difficulties and cost of investing in a bricks and mortar store. Those once scratching their heads on how to rival the bigger players are given a clear funnel on how to increase their listing positions and the number of pages their products land on.
However, your strategy should also not simply rely on Amazon as your only advertising channel as many SMEs are now investing in social media advertising to drive brand and product awareness and drive traffic through to their Amazon listings or website. Brands can avoid the expensive overheads of traditional bricks & mortar stores, without worrying about being devoured by the marketplace and their products never reaching page 1 of the search results.
The right content, storefronts and A+ add-ons allow brands to carve their own suites that build trust with consumers – all while taking advantage of the wider Amazon ecosystem.
If you’d like some advice on how best to advertise on Amazon and support with optimising your Amazon product listings then get in touch now on +44 (0)203 923 4750.
This article was written by Matthew Howes, Ecommerce Director at Melody.
Image courtesy of John Schnobrich @ Unsplash.com.