Whether you advertise on Amazon or not, you probably hear about it on the news every day.
How many other advertising or marketplace channels get that much press?
In Q3 2017, about 50% of Amazon sales were driven through the Amazon marketplace, and there are millions of sellers jockeying to get in the top two spots.
As a marketplace seller or even a vendor considering expanding to 3P, you know competition is fierce.
The winners will be defined by their ability to focus on their overall business goals while adapting to changes on the platform.
The failures will waste their time blindly optimizing product descriptions and modifying bids until their business gets choked out (by the winners, of course).
But there’s a secret weapon a lot of winners rely on: An Amazon agency or consultant they trust.
Here are a few ways to tell if it’s time for you to do the same.
1. You Don’t Have Time to Optimize and Manage Ads
At CPC, we try to treat each ASIN like it’s a single business. We look at the big picture, considering price, weight, and sales to determine the right bid for a product.
How do we do it? Well it’s not by staying up all hours of the day and night manually adjusting bids. We determine the best solutions and then make them at scale using in-house technology.
One of our clients, a reseller representing 70+ brands, was manually optimizing over 10,000 different SKUs before we collaborated with them.
Needless to say, they needed an at-scale solution to improve and optimize their Sponsored Products advertising efforts. We implemented the use of Sponsored Products Bulk Operations, which allowed Designer Living to have all of their products live in campaigns while also giving them the ability to apply product-level bids throughout the entire catalog.
The bottom line: It’s difficult to grow and expand your Amazon efforts if you’re spending hours on tedious tasks. Spend less time there, and you’ll be able to spend more time growing your brand.
2. You Haven’t Invested in Branding (But You Know You Should)
If you’ve been putting off seemingly “fluffy” investments in your branded content, whether it’s A+ Content, Enhanced Brand Content, and even Stores–you’re making a big mistake.
More and more companies are taking the time to invest in these additional branding pieces with information and engaging images, and consumers will soon grow to expect them. They really do make your products stand out.
And when it comes to Amazon, the more you stand out, the better.
The results prove it. Take Verilux, a 35-year-old specialty lighting company and client of CPC.
We collaborated with them to modify the product description fields and build out custom creative including their brand story, enhanced images, and text placements.
Enhanced Brand Content also gave Verilux the additional space within their detail pages to answer common customer questions and provide relevant product details about their light technology.
Those “fluffy” changes resulted in a sales increase of +186%.
3. You’re Unsure How to Optimize Product Listings to Rank
Organic rank on Amazon–aka Amazon SEO–is a whole other headache for a lot of 3P sellers, whether they have 10 or 10K ASINs.
Product content quality is a significant factor in influencing both organic rank and detail page conversion rates.
The hard truth is that it’s an uphill battle, especially for sellers that don’t have a lot of experience understanding Amazon’s A9 algorithm. Well, it just so happens, we wrote an entire guide about it.
Unfortunately, most business owners and marketing directors don’t usually have time to sit down and study Amazon ranking, much less make the optimizations at scale.
Knowing which keywords to focus content around and having the resources to write out copy for individual ASINs are two challenges a great Amazon agency can handle.
A great agency can also handle technical listing issues.
Take Air & Water, one of our Amazon clients. Their alpha SKU drove a significant amount of revenue from their company catalog each week.
Unfortunately, two of the same product (just different color variations in red and black) were struggling due to the fact none of the product detail pages were linked together.
By creating a Parent SKU and linking all three together as child variations, Air & Water was able to raise revenue for the Red and Black product variations by 495%.
4. You’re Always the Last to Know About Amazon’s Policy Changes
Amazon has changed a lot in 10 years. But those changes have accelerated–and as the company grows in size, they’ve been scary for a lot of business owners.
Whether it’s incentivized review bans or suspension policies, you have to stay ahead of the game. Unfortunately, although a blog might be able to keep you informed on the most recent changes, a blog can’t do the work required to help you navigate that change.
At CPC Strategy, we happen to have a research and development team that never rests. They’re responsible for keeping the team informed on trends and platform changes to make sure our clients are ahead of the curve (and competition).
And not all change is bad, right? A great agency will have a close relationship with Amazon so they’ll be able to test APIs and betas for their clients before anyone else.
(Psst…If you haven’t subscribed to our blog yet and want to stay on the cutting edge, it’s time to subscribe.)
5. Tedious Daily Operations are Eating Up Your Time
We’ve mentioned this one a few times.
We’ve all heard the phrase “time is money” more than a few times. Business owners feel this more keenly than almost anyone else (except maybe parking enforcement officers).
Outsourcing tedious daily operations to an agency allows you to focus on overall business growth, product development, and other advertising channels.
Dream Water is one brand that started selling on Amazon about three years ago, and now operates on both the Vendor and 3P side.
Before working with CPC Strategy, the biggest obstacle for their team was a lack of bandwidth. With two product launches on the horizon, their team could not dedicate the time and focus required to improve their advertising efforts.
Our team jumped in to help take care of those advertising efforts so they could focus on building up their brand (and promoting their new products)
6. You Can’t Seem to Get in Touch With Amazon Support
Both vendors and 3P sellers deal with this issue.
As a vendor, you may find that your Amazon rep is responsive or the first five or six months, and then they go silent and you don’t hear from them as often. After all, they’re also working with other vendors and their goals probably change.
As a 3P seller, it might be hard for you to get in touch with anyone at all. After all, the Amazon buyers and reps are probably busier than you are–they’re working in what may soon be a trillion dollar company.
In addition, while having direct access to Amazon is great, their reps still work for Amazon, not for your company. It’s not that they don’t want you to succeed, it’s just that their top priority is growing Amazon’s bottom line, not necessarily yours.
An agency, on the other hand, will always see your business as the top priority–because if they don’t, you’re not going to stick around for long.
In an ideal world, you work with an agency that has cultivated a strong relationship with Amazon reps and teams that can really make a difference for you, whether it’s putting out a fire quickly or gaining access to a brand new Sponsored Products API.
7. You’re Relying on Tools and Apps to Get By
Tools are great…until they’re not.
We don’t want to start a debate about robots vs. humans–but we do have one thing to say about this.
Tools are just that–tools.
Just like a hammer or jigsaw, tools frequently work better if they’re powered by humans. They’re not gurus that will dispense strategic advice, and they won’t understand how your Amazon operations impact your overall business.
In addition, tools don’t always adapt quickly to Amazon’s changes. They require reprogramming, and frequently run into bugs.
Now that we’ve made that clear, we do think tools in conjunction with human strategies are indispensable.
When you work with an agency that has both, and is able to suggest and utilize other helpful tools based on your needs and specific products, stick with them.
8. You’re Worried About Giving Up Control to An Agency or Consultant
If you’re already a vendor selling on Amazon, you’ve probably struggled with giving up that control already. Essentially, you ship your products to Amazon and they take it from there.
As a 3P brand, you probably value the ability you have to control your product descriptions, content, and more.
If you work in both spaces, you’ve seen the differences.
It can be even more risky to open up your account to a third party agency. However, the benefits of a solid trustworthy agency can outweigh the benefits. Here’s a sample of what we provide for our Amazon vendors:
- An Executive Dashboard to view weekly and monthly ASIN-level performance, demand forecasts, and inventory statuses
- Fee analysis and vendor chargeback monitoring with recommended actions to avoid future fees
- Stewardship over key Vendor Operational Performance metrics
Agencies can save you time, money, and most importantly, they can prove it in reports.
Take the time to investigate the other clients that an agency has worked with (Are they especially experienced in your vertical? Are the businesses name brands?) and the client testimonials and case studies.
If you choose well, your agency rep will feel like a trusted extension of your own team.
9. You’re Successful in Brick and Mortar Stores, but are Just Starting Out on Amazon
When you’ve always sold products via brick and mortar, digital can be a little unnerving.
There are a lot of channels and marketplaces you could choose to invest in, and Amazon is definitely one of the most complex and competitive investments out there.
It’s not something you do on the side. So essentially, you have three options:
- Hire an in-house team of Amazon experts
- Try to figure it out by yourself
- Hire an expert agency to handle it
We’re a little biased, but the answer here seems like a no-brainer for many brick-and-mortar brands.
The choice to go with an agency requires less money (onboarding an entire team in #1) and less time (#2 trying to learn it all yourself).
WHOOSH is a brand that sells wipes and disinfectants for electronics. Before partnering with CPC Strategy, they gained the majority of their revenue from brick and mortar store sales.
Our team built up Amazon advertising campaigns to increase product discoverability and drive conversions, and WHOOSH saw a +170.40% lift in Amazon sales in just three months.
Seventh Generation is another well known brand that teamed up with CPC Strategy to scale their Amazon Vendor operations.
Since joining, Seventh Generation was able to increase Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) sales by +441.41%.
10. You Know You’re Losing Money Somewhere, and You’re Not Sure Where
This might be the most fatal mistake on this list–the money drain. When you can’t identify a problem, you can’t generate a solution.
We had one client, for instance, that wasn’t aware one of their products was costing them a significant amount in FBA fees.
Once we were able to identify the “leak”, we were able to work with them to implement improvements to their process, and identify new ad investments.
After we dealt with the problem, we were able to scale traffic from Sponsored Products by +264%.
It all started from a lack of knowledge about how FBA works. But again, not all business owners have time to study how Amazon works.
Fortunately, an Amazon agency does. They not only have the knowledge and experience to identify problems, they should also have a solution in place to monitor your account and to ensure things are moving up and to the right.
The Bottom Line
In the past, many sellers considered Amazon another eBay. They’d resell products on the side, or sell cheap products without paying much attention to their product copy, content, or ads.
Things have changed.
With every policy change, Amazon pushes out more of those sellers (and resellers) looking to make a quick buck, and makes room for more brands and professional sellers who will uphold their reputation.
With the help of an agency, you could be the latter.
Looking for an agency you can trust? Learn about our Amazon Sales Acceleration program for sellers and vendors.