Corey Gary is Viral Launches amazing Demand Generation Strategist and Advertising Manager. This guest post written by Corey highlights the importance of E-commerce and Advertising in how they go hand in hand.
I started my career in Digital Marketing as an Analyst at an agency located in New York City. I joined an account with separate teams for programmatic, paid social, and E-comm. Since we rarely communicated with each other, I felt siloed and inefficient.
A few years and a few clients later, I’ve worked across almost all facets of Digital Marketing. I’ve run Display & Video as well as Search & Social ads. There have also been opportunities to buy programmatic podcast ads and CTV (connected TV ads). I also purchased a programmatic Digital-Out-Of-Home campaign where the vendor claimed they could change ads at a bus stop based on the interests of the people walking by. We ran this campaign before iOS 14.5 and increased privacy regulations.
Working on a channel-agnostic team of digital marketers not only rounded out my Working on a channel-Agnostic team of digital marketers not only rounded out my skill set but was best for the client’s expanding needs. Having multiple types of marketers on one team helped us own all stages of the digital marketing funnel.
Awareness campaigns matter for E-commerce and Advertising.
Awareness campaigns are excellent for large brands, but how about those small Amazon start-ups who don’t have millions of dollars to spend on billboards that connect to the Metaverse? That’s where e-commerce advertising is essential. Buying for conversions is where marketers can gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns. E-commerce advertising becomes essential once a consumer is familiar with a brand. As a consumer, if I allocate myself $150 for a new pair of running shoes, I can choose between big brands such as Nike or Adidas and Asics. Or, I can shop with up-and-comers like On and Hoka. These two shoe brands are agile and efficient in their digital marketing. Both On and HOKA have extensive running shoe digital marketing campaigns while the big brands are nonexistent on the SERP (Search Engine Landing Page).
As a consumer during the evaluation process of the marketing funnel: I decided to allocate my $150 depending on a wide range of criteria such as cost after taxes & shipping, quality of the product, reviews, merchant (Amazon or EastBay), and color. For the digital marketer on the other end of the purchase, yes, people buy running shoes based on color, guilty as charged.
The seller can optimize their ads to account for all these criteria to meet the customer when they’ve allocated time to research and budget. It takes time for the Digital Marketer to A/B test which ads perform best on a specific channel. Here’s one example.
On Amazon, an ad for the keyword [running shoe] could perform vastly different than an ad for the keyword [racing running shoe]. The first keyword is for buyers who want a running shoe but aren’t necessarily intense runners. However, [racing running shoe] clarifies that the buyer could be participating in this year’s New York City Marathon in addition to their local Turkey Trot. Viral Launch has expert-level keyword analysis software to help e-commerce marketers discover the best keywords to target for their online advertisement.
Conversions mean results.
So, why is it essential that all Digital Marketers learn E-commerce Advertising? Conversions drive business results, and ultimately the purpose of marketing is to have a positive return on investment. Marketers can spend all day ideating grand awareness campaigns. Still, conversion marketing is where CMO’s can go to stakeholders exclaiming, “look at how my campaigns drove an increase in sales with a positive.
Cash flow is the backbone of any eCommerce company. It is crucial to keep cash flow moving smoothly. If it becomes too much of a pinch point, it can kill the business. Cash flow is defined by the amount of cash available to your business throughout its operations. It is usually measured every month, and the primary source of promote cash flow for eCommerce businesses comes through selling product.
Cash flow is crucial for businesses and shows how much money passes through the operations. Yet, it is not the same as a profit. The funds received from customers are collected under the term cash flow. Businesses still need to pay for expenses like rent, labor, utilities, taxes, and other fees. Every company has a constant fluctuation of cash flow. The amount of cash received (and when) depends on supply and demand and the business’s monthly expenses. With proper data management, a company’s ever-changing cash flow can still be predictable and manageable and enable sound business decisions.
Why Is Cash Flow Important
Cash flow is the backbone of a business, so if it fails, the company fails. A recent study from CB Insights found that a third of companies failed because they ran out of cash. One-third of businesses also fail due to an insufficient market for the product they are selling. Which then leads to a lack of cash flow. Improperly managed cash flow streams can lead to poor decision-making, a misunderstanding of how a company’s money is spent, and ultimately be the downfall of a business.
Companies need to prioritize their cash flow to ensure that their business will stay afloat and reap more benefits from adequately managed cash flow. As businesses manage their cash flow, they pay close attention to how their money is spent and control their finances. When a company has a positive cash flow, it improves the relationships with its partners and customers and promotes brand loyalty. It can also help businesses find their strengths and weaknesses, and how best they can expand.
What Promotes Cash Flow
There are a few ways that businesses can promote cash flow and ensure that they will thrive. The first step in promoting cash flow is planning and forecasting. In order to spend money correctly, businesses need to know how much money will be coming in and when. With a better idea of how money flows through a business, there will be less overspending and fewer mistakes when judging how much money the company has.
With planning comes a strategy of what businesses should spend money on and when. Companies should plan when their cash flow is coming in and the best allocation of that money. If there is a low demand for a particular product, there is no need to spend cash flow on an abundance of inventory. Companies should find what is a priority for spending and what needs the most attention. Pay close attention to what needs fixing. This will promote more cash flow and allow attention to shift to minor issues.
Cash flow improves when companies receive money faster and hang onto it longer. Speeding up the process of obtaining cash can incentivize customers to choose a faster form of payment. Companies can hold on to money for longer by buying inventory, earning interest, and elongating the amount of time before paying expenses. This sales cycle gives control over when costs pay off and how much money is in the business at one time.
What Challenges Cash Flow
Many daily challenges come along with maintaining cash flow. Businesses that forecast their finances consistently can learn how to work around everyday challenges. Conversely, companies that do not find solutions to these problems end up with cash flow as a bigger pinch point, which can negatively impact the entire operation.
Some common challenges with cash flow include delayed payments from customers. Sometimes, purchases can happen pretty quickly. Businesses may not reap the benefits of the purchase and experience a time with a shortage of cash. Less cash flow is caused by bank deposits holding money. Or if a large sum of cash flow to buy equipment or machines, leading to businesses waiting for new revenue. Companies unaware of their total cash flow, or spend their cash flow before secure income experience negative cash flow. The life of the business is then solely dependent on the speed of its recovery.
How Payability Can Help
Payability recognizes the difficulties that eCommerce businesses face with cash flow. The funding programs are built for eCommerce businesses that need assistance filling the gap between paying expenses and receiving revenue. eCommerce businesses no longer have to worry about the risk of cash flow with the help of Payability. To see if your company qualifies for Instant Access to your marketplace payouts, visit Payability.com and apply now.
Thank you Payability for your guest post. For more information on Payability, head to their site. To better your selling business and software tools, head to Viral Launches main page.
As the world recovers from the global pandemic, eCommerce businesses are adjusting yet again to the modern landscape. We’ve seen some interesting Amazon selling trends in 2021, as merchants find new ways to stay ahead of their competition and leverage Amazon’s expanding offerings.
Now, as we near the end of 2021, let’s take a look at some key tips for selling on amazon to keep in mind for 2022.
Inspect Sample Goods Before Switching Manufacturers
Poor product reviews break listings. 89% of buyers read product reviews as part of their customer journey; you can’t afford to lose consumer trust by accumulating bad reviews. If your products have a bad reputation, you will have trouble selling them to just break even.
So, be sure to order and inspect samples from manufacturers beforehand. If you’ve been using a supplier for a while, don’t drop the ball by compromising your vetting process; it takes one wrong delivery to ultimately tank your customer reviews. Another thing to learn for selling on Amazon in 2022.
Take Advantage of Amazon’s Expanding Branding Features
Amazon’s Brand Registry gives sellers more control over their products and brand representation. The program is easy to join, and here are a few reasons why you might want to consider it (other than the fact that it’s free):
Increase product sales and conversions
While you may not notice an immediate change in your bottom line, Amazon’s Brand Registry actively works to remove fraudulent listings and delist third parties that are fraudulently using your brand’s name.
Reducing fraud is vital to building trust in your brand and driving conversions. Otherwise, if buyers unknowingly purchase a knockoff, it may reflect poorly on your brand’s image. You can use the registry to report any perceived violations and have infringements removed.
Take back control over your product’s information
Sharing accurate, valuable product information is vital to building customer loyalty. It’s essential to avoid misleading prospects and help them understand precisely how your product can benefit them.
Unfortunately, third-party sellers may not honor your core values and alter your descriptions, spreading misinformation. You can’t avoid third-party sellers either, because they make up for more than 50% of Amazon sales.
Fortunately, Amazon’s Brand Registry gives sellers more control over how products are described in the listing. After submitting your product and company information, Amazon will regulate any third-party attempts to alter them, preserving the key information.
Beyond these measures, the Brand Register protects brands against more complex fraudulent efforts as well. For example, some third parties may use your company logo or information to sell their own knock-off products. Amazon’s Brand Registry combats these malicious activities by:
Removing listings that use your company logo or trademark on products that aren’t yours.
Images need to be removed with trademarked information/items that don’t represent your company.
Removing fraudulent listings that use your brand’s information.
Learn and implement this for 2022.
Access the Sponsored Brands Feature
The Brand Registry unlocks your access to Amazon’s Sponsored Brands Feature, which is an ad format that lets businesses promote up to three products. It also allows you to include your company logo and brand name, which is great for raising brand awareness if you’re selling on Amazon.
A big draw for using the Sponsored Brands feature is that your ad will appear at the top of search results, even above “Sponsored Products.”
Stay on Top of Amazon’s Evolving SEO Algorithms
Paying attention to Amazon SEO is vital to increasing your listing’s visibility and ensuring prospects can easily find you. In a nutshell, Amazon SEO’s purpose is to help consumers buy, so the algorithm works to meet this goal.
When a consumer searches on Amazon, the algorithm quickly determines which product listing has the highest likelihood of fulfilling the searcher’s needs. In other words, Amazon’s SEO algorithm needs to figure out which listing has the highest ‘purchase likelihood’.
Similar to Google on-page SEO practices, there are technical steps you can use to improve your product ranking, including the use of keywords, images, and optimized titles and descriptions. But, to beat out the rigorous competition and rank at the top of Amazon search results, you need to convince the algorithm that consumers are ready to buy your product.
That’s where the A10 (formerly known as A9) algorithm comes in. Amazon’s algorithm undergoes continuous updates, with the ranking factors adjusting slightly every six months or so. Thus, staying current with the evolving algorithm is important to keep your product listing at the top. Keep this up for things to learn for 2022.
Amazon’s A10 algorithm, in general, prioritizes two core criteria for ranking:
The number of customer reviews
Your sales rank, which includes details like how many customers are searching for your product and buying it
It’s important not to get bogged down by the algorithm’s technicalities. Sure, it’s updated regularly, but its core working and objective remains the same: to help customers buy what they need. This intention means sellers should focus on optimizing their offerings for customers.
True to Amazon’s MO, you’ll notice that the two core criteria behind the A10 algorithm are geared towards customers. The algorithm reflects Amazon’s commitment to delivering the best customer experience. By sharing this commitment i.e., keeping customers happy and meeting market needs, you can drive your search ranking up.
Have Both a Vendor and Seller Account
Many growing businesses struggle to decide between having a vendor or a seller account, because each offers unique pros and cons. But what if you could combine the best of both worlds? Turns out you can—Amazon doesn’t restrict sellers from having both accounts.
By having both a vendor and seller account, you can complement sales efforts and mitigate restrictions. For example, seller accounts usually get fewer sales because they lack the “sold by Amazon” endorsement, so having an additional vendor account can increase your bottom line.
Retailers can also leverage the advanced analytics and flexibility of a seller account to help launch new products. Generally, Amazon is hesitant to promote new vendor products because they lack performance information. So, you can do the initial heavy-lifting and sales testing from your seller account and eventually use the analytics to encourage Amazon to endorse the item from your vendor account.
Invest in Good Customer Service Mechanisms
Amazon’s commitment to customer service and delivering the best customer experience is a critical driving factor behind the eCommerce giant’s success. Amazon sellers can take a page out of the Megacorp’s book and improve sales by committing to good customer service.
Ecommerce gives merchants access to a full suite of data, analytics, and meaningful insights to tailor marketing efforts and optimize the customer experience. However, without the right systems in place, your support team won’t be able to leverage the data to your brand’s benefit.
Thus, it’s important to invest in good customer service software solutions. For example, you might want to consider using email automation to deliver automated updates, like shipping notifications or order verification.
Additionally, it’s vital to invest in tools to centralize information to maintain customer satisfaction. If customers receive unsatisfactory answers or varying responses across channels, they become frustrated and confused, reducing your FCR (First Contact Resolution) rates. With a centralized knowledge base, you can resolve customer support requests faster and more accurately. Learn this for 2022.
The core best practices for selling on Amazon don’t change. Whether you look at 2010 or 2021, successful sellers prioritize customer-first experiences, strive to deliver value, take feedback seriously, and leverage tools to optimize their operations.
As we break into 2022, it’s important to remember that these objectives won’t change, but the means to achieve them might. For example, SEO algorithms are continuously evolving, and new technological developments help businesses optimize their operations in new ways. Therefore, staying up to date with these advancements and trends is vital to keep your brand relevant and successful.
To sum things up to learn for selling on Amazon in 2022, don’t forget to:
Weigh your options out with Seller and Vendor accounts, and see if it’s beneficial to use both.
Invest in centralized knowledge and automation to deliver better customer service.
Leverage Amazon’s robust branding features.
Keep up with the latest Amazon SEO updates.
Inspect your products as they arrive.
And don’t forget to put your customers first!
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an e-commerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of e-commerce. He has years of experience in e-commerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.
The truth is: You should not scale up or aggressively run PPC before you are retail ready.
A majority of advice that comes down the line on selling is focused on Amazon PPC campaigns. You are able to find hundreds of articles conveying “The best PPC campaign” or “Do this to build sales” for your business. Yet, not many articles go over when you should focus on PPC campaigns and start investing in those areas.
Retail Ready comes first
You and your business need to be retail ready in order to successfully run Amazon Advertising. Set yourself up correctly with reviews, correct SEO and keywords, product photos, etc. It is okay to not immediately jump into PPC, it is the safer route. A majority of sellers want to quickly scale up and aggressively run PPC in order to get ahead and set the curve. The truth is, if you are starting out right now, you are going to have to slow down.
Most of the differentiating ad types on Amazon simply use your existing listing as the ad itself. Sponsored brand ads that are largely designed to drive awareness even include the listing elements such as product photography and reviews.
Don’t pay before you are ready.
You are paying Amazon to show your listing to more shoppers. If you start paying for more people to see your listing before it is ‘retail ready’ you are bound to get low click through rates and low sales. Regardless, Amazon will still happily take your advertising budget.
There are millions of sellers out there all running PPC as well. Before getting your feet wet, have all of your ducks in a row. Join Amazon seller community groups and ask questions in the forums, learn all there is to know about PPC while still building the business. Once your business is running smoothly and is retail ready, then create the PPC strategy and implement it.
Doing this will save you time, energy, and a lot of money at the backend. Save your reserves and don’t jump the gun. If you need resources on Amazon PPC specifically, this guide will give you more insight into how Amazon runs their programs. Viral Launch has their own guide as well utilizing the Ad Manager tool and Kinetic.
How you can make the most of the newest Amazon keyword: Squid Game.
As most of the world knows, Squid Game was released by Netflix on September 17th, 2021. Not even a month into its release, it is the number one watched show on Netflix. Plus, it is the streaming platform’s most watched tv show in its history. What once was a keyword no one has heard of before just 3 weeks ago is now one of the largest Amazon keywords.
As you can see in the image below, “Squid Game’s” keyword phrases dominate halloween costumes and costumes in general. It is on trend to be the halloween outfit of the year. Similar to the Harley Quinn costume in 2016 with Suicide Squad. It is fascinating to see how quickly keyword trends and phrases pop up. This verifies again that it is vital for Amazon sellers to stay up to speed on social trends. If you are able to get involved with selling early, you can make thousands of dollars quickly and efficiently with not much competition.
Squid Game reaches beyond Netflix
Alongside costumes becoming a trending search on Amazon, Vans saw a 7,800% increase in sales of white slip on vans. They’re the TV show’s premier shoe with an increase in sales across the globe. Netflix, Vans, and those selling track suits are on par to make big bucks in 2021.
The trend continues.
According to our Keyword Manager and Research tools, Squid Game Costume has over 500,000 searches starting in October. In September, it only had around 50,000 searches. Those who were in the selling game that early were the first to make big bucks on those searches. It is still not too late. Our data shows that the search volume will most likely continue to trend upwards till about October 31st. After halloween, search volume will more than likely drop off.
What is next after Squid Game?
As the movies Marvel’s Eternals, new episodes of Netflix’s Bridgerton, and Spiderman: No Way Home are coming out later this year, it is important to keep in mind that these will open up avenues for more selling opportunities. Try to get involved in these early before they skyrocket in keyword trends like Squid Game.
With data research going back over 4 years, Viral Launch provides their users with the largest library of Amazon keywords. The Keyword Manager tool is the most popular among users. Especially for its ability to quickly compare and contrast specific Amazon keywords and how it compares to similar ones. Users can optimize the best SEO for their products to hit the number one spot on Amazon.