How Established Brands Can Win Selling on Amazon

Ron Dodby Ron Dod

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How Established Brands Can Win Selling on Amazon

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You don’t have to dig too deep to recognize that Amazon has become a giant in online retail and eCommerce. It’s also a preferred place to shop for the majority of consumers.

In 2015, some 2/3 of consumers did their shopping online monthly, with another third shopping online on a weekly basis, and more than half of consumers fully intended to do their critical holiday shopping on Amazon.

One of the biggest draws of Amazon for sellers of any size is the established brand power. You don’t really need to pay for acquisition campaigns to drive traffic. There’s already plenty of it.

It comes down to a numbers game of offering the best price, solid optimization of content, and a number of other metrics that determine whether or not you’re grabbing the customers, holding the buy box, and sitting at the top of Amazon’s product search results.

That makes it an ideal place for any seller to scale up their business and benefit from the reach. Unfortunately, that also makes Amazon a highly competitive marketplace where even large brands can struggle to move the needle.

The right approach and strategic use of Amazon’s resources can help your listings and your brand stand out.

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Drive Customer Reviews to Amazon

Established brands already have a leg up on new companies trying to launch on Amazon—you have an existing customer base that trusts you, and a fair share of those customers are vocal advocates for your products and your business.

Leverage that by encouraging your customers to leave reviews for the products they love on Amazon’s marketplace.

Amazon customer review

While these reviews won’t show as a verified purchase if the customer bought direct, they can still post legitimate, honest reviews about their experiences with your product.

Those reviews play a significant part in the conversion process for new customers who find your products online. Nielsen research data shows that over 80% of consumers put more trust in peer reviews than brand advertising and promotion.

A recent post from ConversionXL shared data that 50 or more reviews could mean a 4.6% increase in conversion rates and as much as an 18% lift in sales.

And then, of course, reviews (both quality and velocity of review acquisition) also play a part in gaining control of the Buy Box. Providing the best customer service, fast shipping, and competitive performance ensures positive feedback that contributes to getting and maintaining control of the product’s Buy Box when a product listing is shared with other sellers.

Amazon product page

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Get Smart About Product Packaging

You can do the bare minimum with packaging your products, and most customers won’t think anything of it. They expect the product they ordered to come in a box, and nothing more.

So, here’s an opportunity to delight them. Put some extra effort into your packaging and bundle something with the product or within the product packaging.

Coupons in product packaging

It can be anything your customer might find of value and be delighted by:

  • Referral codes for a friend to get a discount on their first/next order
  • A coupon for your next order on Amazon
  • A handwritten thank you note
  • Candy or snacks
  • Promotions to relevant businesses who share the same audience with you
  • Promo items for your brand, such as pens, magnets, stickers, etc.

If you’re selling on multiple channels (your website, Amazon, and other marketplaces) you don’t want to do any kind of packaging insert to drive traffic to those other platforms—that’s a violation of Amazon’s terms—but you can do plenty to delight customers and keep them coming back for more (and bringing their friends and family.)

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Respond to Customer Reviews

Everything that goes into an Amazon product page is made public, right down to the customer reviews.

You don’t have any direct control over those reviews; you can’t hide ‘em, but you can respond to each and every person who leaves you a review.

And you should.

GrooveHQ’s head of marketing, Len Markidan, wrote a spot-on post about how to deal with bad reviews. In that post, he shared the perfect example of how to respond to a negative review with grace.

How to handle a bad review

Every review is an opportunity to build trust and elevate your brand as you answer questions, address concerns, and show prospective customers that you’re not just waiting with your hand out—you legitimately care about their satisfaction.

In many cases, customers who initially leave a neutral or negative review may even update the review to a positive rating because they appreciate that you took the time to work it out with them.

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Let Amazon Do the Heavy Lifting

Brands, especially larger online retailers, have a decision to make when it comes to the Amazon marketplace.

Are you going to sell through Amazon or sell to Amazon?

Selling through Amazon means you handle all the fulfillment as orders come in. The other choice is to pay Amazon to house your products using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Then they handle getting the products to your customer after the order processes.

Major Benefits to FBA

There are major benefits to FBA, including:

  • Freeing up warehouse/storage space
  • Less labor overhead for maintaining direct to consumer shipping
  • Reduced shipping and shipping supply expenses
  • Increased visibility and seller volume (prime-eligible products with FBA)
  • Faster delivery and order processing to customers

Of course, you also need to weigh the cons, such as reduced margins and challenges with reconciling inventory. If the margins are solid, it could be the smart route for your brand.

Just look at how it has grown from 2001 to 2016 by Amazon’s fulfillment expenses alone.

Fulfilment expenses chart

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Wow Them with Customer Service

If you’re managing your customer service by responding to queries as they come in via email or your help desk platform, then you’re going to struggle with growth on Amazon.

The most successful brands know to implement a multi-channel customer service strategy that includes the product page itself.

Customers want more ways to keep communicating with brands.

Customer behavior infographic

That shopping experience is the start of their customer journey with you and the launch point for customer service interactions.

Customer Service

But don’t stop there:

  • Build your social media into customer service channels so customers can reach you there with questions and help requests.
  • Implement online chat on your site.
  • Make your phone and email accessible to customers, and speak with them directly when possible.
  • Comment on all reviews, especially negative ones, right away.
  • Answer questions in the Q&A section first, especially on shared listings.
  • Respond to email requests within minutes, not hours or days.

Most importantly, make it easy for your customers to buy from you over someone else. Make it easy for them to be your customer so they want to stay your customer.

Be generous and wow them with your service.

Being proactive with customer service creates an experience the customer won’t soon forget

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Pack Product Pages with Value

Optimizing your product pages is important, but it’s not just done to improve the visibility of your products on Amazon.

It improves the shopping experience for the customer and increases the likelihood that they’ll buy from you.

According to a Reuters/Ipsos survey, 51% of shoppers planned to do the bulk of their shopping on Amazon (especially around the holidays.)—and the holiday spends continue to grow every year.

Online shopping chart for 2016

Think about that. A majority of your customers going first to Amazon to find the products they want. During that shopping experience, they’re bound to have questions and will want more information to make sure they make the right purchase.

This is where having a value-packed product page gives you the upper hand.

Create better product descriptions that are rich with benefit statements, imparting the value of the product onto the customer.

Kindle benefits list

Detailed descriptions beyond general fluff answer common questions, but they’re also an opportunity to paint a picture of what life is like without the product, so they know what they’re missing out on.

Most importantly, go big with visuals:

  • Provide lots of high-quality professional pictures.
  • Show the products from multiple angles.
  • Include videos featuring the product in use, as well as basic tutorial and explainer videos.

Here’s a great example shared by Junglescout with more than just product photos; the listing has action shots showing the product in action and highlighting its functionality:

Multiple product photos

Give everything the customer needs to make a decision right on that page. Pack it with value so they never have to leave.

Keep in mind that if your product is already being sold on Amazon, you can’t create a duplicate listing. You’ll either need to come up with a way to make your product a unique offer to get its own listing or step up your game to take control of the Buy Box.

BigCommerce has a thorough guide on how to master and win the Amazon Buy Box for your listings.

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Don’t Rest on Branding Alone

You already have an advantage as an established brand—your customers know you. When they find your products and see your name associated with it, they’re far more likely to make a purchase.

But that’s if they find you and the product you’re selling. Brand power isn’t always enough to succeed. Amazon is a sizeable marketplace, and it’s easy to get lost in the mix.

You may find it difficult to grab the share of sales you’re hoping for unless your audience is specifically searching for your brand or they happen to catch your brand as a query suggestion.

Brand name that also includes product info

It’s best to actively drive traffic to your product listings. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Promote your products with organic social media posts.
  • Build an email list with an incentivized opt-in; provide something of value to get their email, then market your products to that list.
  • Place targeted Facebook ads.
  • Optimize your product listings, if possible, to improve their visibility in search.
  • Create informative, entertaining, or educational content that can drive traffic to your product pages (maintenance tips, how-to videos, comparison blogs, etc.).
  • Share customer reviews and testimonials—especially video-based user-generated content—across social channels.
  • Run targeted sponsored product ads on Amazon.
  • Take part in promotions on Amazon like Lightning Deals.
  • Work with influencers to create branded content or sponsored posts.

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Conclusion

Even for established brands, Amazon can be a highly competitive marketplace. Not only is it important to drive traffic from external sources, you also need to optimize your listing and strategically price your products to improve visibility.

Optimizing Amazon Quote

Remember, the product page isn’t the end of the shopping experience. Optimize your listings and fight for the Buy Box to ensure you grab the dominant share of customer orders for your products.

Summary

 How Established Brands Can Win Selling on Amazon

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