The customer journey has shifted dramatically over the past 10 years and product research has become a much longer process. Shoppers will often visit multiple locations – digital and physical – before ultimately making a purchasing decision. Have you ever looked at a product on the Amazon app while shopping in Target? Maybe to price check or read reviews? This research is becoming increasingly multi-faceted and Amazon is taking center stage – becoming just as much a research platform as a purchasing platform.
According to CNBC, 9 out of 10 consumers price check a product on Amazon and 55% begin their online shopping searches there as well (source). This highlights the importance of having a carefully formulated and thought out strategy to approaching Amazon. Unless you are a household brand like Nike, Tide, or Old Spice, a customer will devalue you if you are not on the platform. So, what about the companies who care about their brand value, but decided Amazon is not a channel they want to sell on? They would employ what we call “passively selling” or passive brand management.
If you’ve got a half decent product, chances are pretty good that someone is flipping it on Amazon (likely for a ridiculous markup too). We will call this “flipper” Jane Doe. Does Jane have the marketing strategy, brand insights, or even just the financial means to truly represent your brand on Amazon? Likely, this is a resounding “no.” She just wants to make a quick buck and can cause big problems for your brand that you’ve worked on tirelessly to craft a compelling brand image and gain customer confidence. You have already decided the profit margins are too small to be able to sell directly on Amazon, but you know customers research your products there. Now you are building a “passive” management strategy.
As a “passive” seller, your biggest tool on Amazon will be Brand Registry (link to article). This program allows you to identify yourself as the IP owner for your brand and have increased importance for detail page changes (e.g. pictures, copy, etc.), as well as letting you report IP infringement claims. Enrolling in this program typically takes 24-48 hours, but doesn’t require you to actually sell directly on the platform. It simply gives you control over your brand(s).
Your primary focus in passive brand management is to ensure your content is kept up-to-date, MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) is being adhered to, and distributors/other 3rd party sellers are selling in accordance to your brand guidelines. Product Detail Pages (PDP) frequently are left to suffer, in terms of image quality, by 3P sellers. Keeping PDPs updated can be as simple as adding a workflow item for your marketing team to update Amazon images once a quarter. There are also a variety of tools you can use to monitor who is selling your product and send you alerts if the offer price drops below a certain amount (i.e. MAP monitoring).
“Active” management, on the other hand, is when a brand is fully committed to selling on Amazon and uses all the resources offered to grow their brand. This can come in many forms, including utilizing FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon), running paid ads, customer experience management, Prime Day involvement, or a plethora of other programs. The idea in “active” management is to make Amazon a platform your company invests from a time, marketing, and financial perspective.
Whether your brand chooses to actively or passively manage the Amazon channel, it’s important the decision is made. Pitted Labs works with companies in both categories and can help your brand build a strategy that works best for you. Contact us today!