7 Amazon Tips For Large DTC brands

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Many enterprise brands shy away from Amazon or aren’t sure how to sell on the marketplace and miss out on the opportunity to make Amazon part of their omnichannel experience. 

The ecommerce giant has experienced incredible change and growth over the last couple of years. It’s shifted its model largely from 1P to 3P relationships with brands. The acceleration in ecommerce growth fueled by stay-at-home orders during the pandemic has lifted Amazon sales volume, representing two to three years’ worth of growth in half the time.

For enterprise-scale brands currently selling only via DTC, Amazon represents a huge opportunity to reach new audiences and increase market share. It’s also a smart long-term business strategy to diversify brand sales channels.

In this article, I’ll walk through reasons to consider selling on Amazon and tips for large DTC brands to rapidly establish themselves and scale on the marketplace for incremental wins. 

Why Enterprise Brands Should Consider Selling on Amazon

Enterprise brands should examine Amazon as a possible sales channel because of the opportunity for new customer acquisition, the robust set of tools Amazon offers brands, and the resilience you’ll gain from diversification.

Search starts here

The number one reason to sell on Amazon is to reach new customers. Amazon has an enormous ecommerce market share. 63% of online product searches begin on Amazon. Only 21% of searches start on the site of a brand the shopper already knows they wish to purchase from. 

If your brand isn’t on Amazon, shoppers who look to Amazon first are likely to buy from a competitor. Especially if you have an established and recognized brand, you could be winning those sales if your products showed up for those Amazon searches. 

Brand protection

Amazon has built great brand protection tools to help ensure that buyers get your authentic products. You can use unique codes affixed to products to prevent counterfeits from entering your inventory stream, with Amazon’s Transparency or Project Zero program.

Brand-building tools

You’ve got incredible control over your brand story and brand experience when you draw shoppers to your own DTC site. So why would you give that up to sell on Amazon? The answer is, you don’t have to. 

Amazon offers a whole suite of tools designed to grow brand awareness like Sponsored Brands or Sponsored Display, orient shoppers to your larger product catalog with Amazon Stores, and engage with your customers with Amazon Live. From the first search result to the packaging the purchase arrives in, your logo and the look and feel of your brand are all integral to your customers’ experience buying from you on Amazon.

A full funnel of advertising tools

The same characteristic that makes Amazon the first place for so many shoppers to begin their search — the enormous assortment of products available through the marketplace – is also a characteristic that means some work is needed to help guide shoppers through that search to your brand. 

That’s where Amazon’s sophisticated and constantly improving array of ad tools comes into play. In addition to PPC ads on the search page which are a must on the site, Amazon offers a DSP platform like none other in its access to first-party shopper data, helping get your products in front of prospective buyers on and off Amazon. Your brand can also benefit from streaming TV and online video ads on Amazon sites like IMDB and Twitch.

Diversification builds resilience 

Finally, adding Amazon to your portfolio of sales channels adds resilience to your systems. If your DTC site is hit with a DDOS attack, Amazon.com will still be live. When something breaks down in your logistics chain, if you have inventory at Amazon fulfillment centers, you can still fulfill orders.

If you’re not selling through an ecommerce marketplace, it’s a smart business practice to diversify, and Amazon is the obvious giant you probably want to tackle first. 

7 Tips For Enterprise Brands To Win On Amazon

Maybe you’re convinced Amazon is right for your brand, but still worried about how to execute. How do you ensure your investment in Amazon pays off? Here are seven tips to help your enterprise brand reach its potential on Amazon.

1. Register your brand right away

As a large brand, it’s extremely important to register your brand early on in the process of expansion to Amazon. Brand registry is available to those who have an active or pending registered trademark. 

Brand registry unlocks many brand-building and brand protection programs on Amazon, which you’ll need to maintain your brand integrity on the marketplace. This includes the Transparency and Project Zero programs that can stop counterfeiters. It also includes ad types like Sponsored Brands and free brand-building tools like A+content and Amazon Stores.

2. Evaluate FBA for fulfillment

You’ll of course need a plan to fulfill orders from Amazon. This might mean using the same logistics providers you use for DTC sales which Amazon would consider to be Fulfilled By Merchant (FBM). Look also at Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) as a possibility to make your access to Amazon Prime really easy. 

Many brands choose to use FBA and maintain a backup merchant-fulfilled system to retain the most control and flexibility. This has proven to be an especially beneficial tactic during the pandemic as many stress points within storage and fulfillment systems at Amazon and beyond have been pushed to breaking.

3. Optimize listings for Amazon

Don’t assume because you’re a successful DTC brand that you can copy/paste your way onto Amazon. You need to optimize listings for the marketplace. Do this keeping in mind the information Amazon shoppers are looking for as well as Amazon’s unique search algorithm which you’ll need to match with relevant keywords in your listings as well as backend keywords. 

4. Learn Amazon’s rules

Selling on Amazon means playing by Amazon’s rules. There are a lot of rules, produced by a lot of different departments within Amazon. Most of them are published on Amazon’s external sites or within Seller Central. 

It’s really easy to think you can do something you’re used to in your DTC operations – like requesting positive reviews from satisfied customers – that can get you dinged by Amazon. There are many situations where it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission, but selling on Amazon isn’t one of those, because if your account gets suspended for a policy violation it can take weeks or longer to successfully appeal to Amazon and get your account reinstated. Working with trusted advisors who have Amazon-specific expertise can go a long way toward preventing suspensions.

5. Study the competition

You already know your competition on Google and your other marketing channels, but you need to understand the nuances of the competition on Amazon itself because now your products are going to show up side by side on the digital shelf when the intent to buy is high. 

Competitive intelligence data is critical for building advertising strategies to establish your brand on the Amazon marketplace and build incremental growth. You’ll also need it to defend against the competition which will surely come after you when their own competitive research shows you’re gaining on their market share.

6. Utilize Amazon’s brand-building tools

Amazon offers a complete toolkit of brand-building tools specifically for brands like yours. Start immediately with building an Amazon Store. It’s free once you’re selling on Amazon, and a proven way to provide a brand experience and guide shoppers through your catalog.

Sponsored Products ads are critical for reaching shoppers with high purchase intent but you should also be using Sponsored Brands and possibly Sponsored Display to grow brand awareness.

7. Map out a full-funnel approach to ads 

Don’t stop with just the ads that deliver on Amazon itself. Think big and allocate budget across all the ad programs Amazon makes available.

As a larger brand, you’ll want to utilize Amazon’s incredible wealth of first-party shopper data to target (and retarget) on and off Amazon with Amazon’s top-of-funnel ads. DSP and OTT help you build brand awareness across multiple platforms reaching unusually well-understood audiences. 

Closing Thoughts

Amazon is constantly shifting territory. That means regular innovations and updates in the tools Amazon provides to make selling on their marketplace attractive and profitable. It also means a deluge of details and policies to keep up with. 

To ensure you’re sailing with the tide, build a team of trusted advisers and partners, pay attention to communications from Amazon itself, and have systems that constantly collect and analyze data on all aspects of your business’ performance on Amazon so you can continually optimize for incremental growth. 

The opportunity awaits. Are you ready to join the Amazon party?