If you've asked yourself the question "why do I need an Amazon agency to help me make the most of my new Amazon Vendor relationship", I've surfaced below some of the challenges you'll face in your soon to be successful (think positively) relationship with Amazon.
Like the early days of a marriage, blissfully exciting, but fraught with danger, one wrong move and you're staring into the abyss, or two right moves for eternal happiness, your relationship with Amazon as a Vendor needs very, very careful management.
Perhaps you've been an Amazon marketplace seller for a while, had some success, your numbers have attracted someone at Amazon and you've had an invitation to become an Amazon Vendor. Or, you're a recognised brand looking to take advantage of the most successful Ecommerce platform on the planet. Either way, they want you, but strangely, they're not going to do a lot to help you in the early days.
When you start you're presented with a platform that looks like the front end of the Amazon site but more complex, and the Amazon eco-system, if you can call it that, is a hotbed of, well, acronyms. Yes, it's full of Amazon specific acronyms that will have you pulling your hair out before the end of the first day, read our glossary here.
Other than deciphering the opening dashboard, well, there isn't really a dashboard as such just a bunch of menu items that don't make a lot of sense to the uninitiated, another reason you'll need our glossary, to help you get past the first hurdle of clicking on the correct menu item, what do you click first?
Understanding what to do and when to do it is your first challenge, and, as I've mentioned above, can be daunting. But don't get the wrong idea, or disheartened, because it really is a golden opportunity to get your products on the Ecommerce world stage.
Realistically, and from our experience, there will be a number of pain points that you are going to need professional help with, and I'm going to talk about the four main ones below. I don't mean professional in the sense that you're going to need a lawyer or an accountant, because hopefully you've got those already; sharing your bank account amongst other things.
I mean professional Amazon help, an Amazon agency whose focus is exclusively on advice and execution for Amazon Vendors, not marketplace sellers.
Anyway back to the pain points you'll need help with:
Amazon is going to send you purchase orders for no apparent reason at times that may seem very strange at first. These orders will also be for seemingly random amounts of SKU's.
The first thing to understand is that Amazon Vendor is a business run by algorithms. Yes, they were written by humans but the algorithmic beast has been let out of its cage and seems to be running amok. Not really, it's just that until you have some sales data it's impossible to anticipate when purchase orders are going to appear and that you're going to have stock to fulfil those purchase orders.
We analyse sales data for the preceding 180 days from all vendors in your category and can help you be prepared with sufficient stock.
As I've mentioned above, knowing what to do and when to do it are vital in making your store as successful as it can be and our forecasting isn't limited to stock demand forecasting.
There are financial implications to everything you do as an Amazon vendor, from increased profits for you to chargebacks from Amazon, and forecasting is a key tool in managing your stores financial health. We analyse a whole range of data with our Vendor+ Platform including historical purchase orders, Category trends, revenue and margins and fulfilment rates and delivery shortfalls.
Success as an Amazon vendor comes from managing the minutiae of your relationship with Amazon, allowing nothing to slip through that may impact your profitability.
Amazon is the most competitive platform of all, sellers and vendors are jostling for position every minute of every day, looking for an edge to get them ahead of the competition.
One of the most important ways to do this is to optimise your listings so they make the most sense to Amazon. The reward is your listing getting on the first page and starting the inexorable journey to the top, but that's a more complex story, and one you should talk to your newly appointed Amazon agency about.
Optimising a listing on Amazon requires a lot of know-how and research, from knowing what keywords to optimise for (Amazon A9 search algorithm is as powerful as Google), what image formats and styles to use and description styles to use. Am Amazon agency will have access to professional copywriters and data scientists ready and able to make your listings stand out.
Third party sellers
The battle with third party sellers is a nightmare that brands dream about. If you both retail and wholesale your products this kind of competition with yourself is inevitable, but there are ways to defend your hard earned position including, but not limited to, registering your brand on Amazon. Amazon's scheme for brand protection is called 'Brand registry' and consists of a suite of tools that you can access if you've registered your trademark, well worth doing.
So much damage is done by unauthorised sellers that 'brand protection' is one of the main strands of 'Vendor intelligence' our data insights product that monitors over 15 different factors impacting your success. Wrangling this data enables us to pinpoint problem areas that require action. We constantly monitor these areas and provide executable actions that will protect you from the unauthorised and the fake.
If you're not advertising on Amazon you're not on the front page. This is an unfortunate truth; as competition gets fiercer a brand has to wring every last drop of sales equity from the platform. This isn't as easy as it may sound due to the typically complex nature of Amazon advertising programmes, but suffice it to say that the investment you make in advertising, if advised correctly, will pay dividends.
The problem is that unless you target your advertising at a product level you're not going to get any traction. And which product do you target? It's only through deep-dive research that you're going to ascertain the products and programmes that are going to be effective.
Your Amazon agency should have the experience, knowledge and expertise to help you find the exit to the Amazon advertising maze.
Whilst you can manage and operate an Amazon vendor account on your own, you'll need a large number of staff with knowledge acquired over many years who spend their days wrangling with both the platform and hard to get hold of account managers, in fact if you don't turnover more than £10 million you don't even get an account manager, and even then you have to pay for more then the most perfunctory help.
A professional Amazon Agency will have the depth of expertise required help you develop an Amazon success strategy that will enable you to grow your Amazon store effectively.