Love it or hate it, Amazon is an eCommerce reality. In fact, as big of a phenomenon as it was before March 2020, COVID made it indispensable for consumers and for many brands.
That said, if you’re selling direct-to-consumer (DTC) and you’re not selling directly on Amazon, you probably have a perfectly good reason. Here’s what some consumer brands have shared with us:
“Amazon is a race to the bottom and that’s just not our brand.”
“Our brand values are at odds with Amazon’s ‘fastest’ and ‘cheapest’ differentiators.”
“We prize a direct relationship with the consumer.”
“Our product doesn’t deliver well through Amazon’s fulfillment centers.”
“Our DTC eCommerce channel has better margins”
If any of these resonate with you, fair enough. We’re not here to convince you to transform your go-to-market strategy by developing Amazon as a primary or even a key DTC channel. We ARE here to explain why it is extremely critical to your brand to have and manage an Amazon Seller Central account.
Let’s put it this way: Amazon is the largest online marketplace in the world. It’s like Google for online consumer shopping. In fact, consumers are more likely to start a product search on Amazon than Google.
Your customers and future customers have searched and will continue to search for your brand on Amazon. When they do, what will they find? If you don’t have an Amazon Seller Central account, they will (at best) find every product and company bidding on your brand name or (at worst) counterfeiters posing as your brand.
Here are the top 5 reasons your brand needs a Seller Central account.
1. Online Brand Protection
How can being on Amazon protect your brand, particularly if you’re at odds with Amazon’s digital box-store zeitgeist? As you probably know, brand protection is complex and includes elements related to quality control, competition, and customer engagement. Amazon can help with these; let’s tackle how.
Amazon selling (counterintuitively) helps protect against counterfeiting and the perception of poor brand quality.
A few years ago, Birkenstock publicly abandoned Amazon as its primary DTC eCommerce channel. However in a more recent interview, David Kahan, CEO of Birkenstock Americas, explained that, since Amazon is the “default search engine for consumerism,” they still allow some sellers to sell select products on the marketplace as a strategy to prevent Amazon from getting completely overrun with suspect sellers.
Said simply, Birkenstock controls counterfeiting by maintaining a limited presence on Amazon.
2. Competitive Bidding on the Default Consumer Search Engine
The vast majority of SMB brands can’t afford to give up Amazon’s relatively inexpensive way to advertise to 300 million+ consumers.
In order to take advantage of this, you don’t have to sell all your products on Amazon, but you will have to select a few. Once you do this, you can follow our guide to boost sales using sponsored products ads. Doing this will also give you access to ad data about your consumers, which we will discuss more below.
3. Reconnect with Lost Customers
Being on Amazon will also resurface your brand to lost customers, especially as you become more sophisticated with your sponsored ads and competitive bidding.
Once you have an Amazon Seller Central account, you will have another DTC eCommerce channel (the largest in the world) serving up data on consumer behavior on a regular basis.
If you’re not on the inside actually making Amazon sales, you have to make sure you’re monitoring the channel anyway — and it’s less straightforward to do so from the outside. The simplest way to acquire more data about your customers is to start selling something, advertise, and watch.
4. Access to an Unbeatable Logistics Infrastructure
Consider the online shopping challenges of 2020. While Amazon struggled in early lockdown days, its rates bounced back by May.
Later in the year, during the crush of online holiday shopping, the US Postal Service and other carriers struggled to fulfill orders on time. UPS and Fedex even placed volume limits during this time, most impacting small retailers. Anyone selling through or shopping at Amazon benefited from this with relatively timely holiday deliveries.
5. It’s Easy to Set Up an Amazon Seller Account
If we’ve convinced you it might be worth having an Amazon Seller Central account, you might be thinking, “we don’t have the time, skills, or personnel to manage an Amazon Seller Account.
If this is the case, we’ve got you covered.
We have an entire set of procedures with detailed instructions for setting up and managing an Amazon Seller account. Our Amazon Seller Playbook (ASP) will help you manage and maximize the efficacy of your (new) Amazon channel. These workflows are also specifically designed to allow you to delegate work to your team or virtual assistants.