What’s ahead for Amazon FBA in 2021? How will Amazon change? What will it mean to be an eCommerce entrepreneur?
As the clock winds down on the current year, Follow The Data host Cam Yoder asks a handful of the brightest minds in the Amazon selling space to prognosticate what lies ahead for Amazon FBA in 2021.
As always, staying a step ahead of the competition is the name of the game when it comes to dominating on Amazon and skyrocketing your sales. For example, just think about how knowing how anyone who could see the future would’ve crushed it on Amazon this year.
Of course, 2020 was a year nobody could’ve predicted for unprecedented reasons well outside of Amazon. However, that was 2020. In most years, a glimpse into the future is more realistic, especially when that glimpse comes from Amazon experts who track trends to predict what comes next.
We’ve collected input from a wide range of Amazon & eCommerce experts to give their insight into how we can expect Amazon to change in 2021 & beyond, as well as key strategies and steps we can take to address the up & coming changes.
Amazon 2021 Expert Predictions
Got an Amazon FBA 2021 prediction of your own? Drop it in the comments!
Be sure to like and subscribe to our YouTube channel, as we’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date on all things Amazon with content and conversations with the best minds in the space.
All in all, thank you all for the support. We know that 2020 was rough, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Keep pushing hard and finish the year strong! We’ll see you in 2021.
Lastly, we’re grateful for the expert insight and advice from our panel of guests! Find each of their names, contact info, and full-length show episode below:
On the centennial episode of Follow The Data, host Cam Yoder chats with Amazon ad expert Destaney Wishon from BetterAMS to discuss PPC tactics to crush holiday season and 2021.
Amazon advertising strategy is frequently cited as one of the most challenging aspects of running an FBA business. But this difficulty should be viewed as an opportunity, not a roadblock.
As the importance of advertising grows more consequential, knowing the tips and tricks to turn what is an impediment for many sellers into a sales and growth accelerator for your product catalog.
Not many have a handle on the latest Amazon advertising strategy hacks than Destaney Wishon, CEO and Co-Founder of BetterAMS. Thankfully, Destaney sat down to chat with us to share her extensive knowledge of PPC strategy.
With timely advice on what you should be doing right now, how to handle the holidays, and what the near-future of Amazon advertising may look like, you’re not going to want to miss out on this invaluable information!
3 Key Holiday Season Differences for Amazon Sellers in 2020 (2:25)
On and off Amazon, 2020 has been a year like no other. If you’re an experienced seller, using reports from 2019 can be helpful. However, there are a few major differences to consider when strategizing for the rest of the year and into 2021.
Is your Amazon advertising strategy outdated and in need of a revamp? Destaney gives her valuable insight on why narrow ad spend isn’t enough anymore.
How to steal traffic from big-name players (11:10)
More and more major brands are coming to Amazon, but this doesn’t spell defeat for third-party sellers. On the contrary, it presents strategic opportunities to steal traffic and sales from major retailers.
On using remarketing post-Black Friday for sustained gains (14:20)
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are in the rearview, but you can still capitalize on that traffic! Destaney presents the strategy to boost sales from the exposure supplied by Black Friday and Cyber Monday throughout the holiday season.
Using new headline search policy to attract sales (17:08)
As any experienced seller knows, Amazon is continuously changing and evolving. In the busy day-to-day process of selling on Amazon, some of these changes will be overlooked by the competition. Staying up with the latest Amazon updates gives you an edge over your competition. Destaney explains a recent advertising update, and how you can use it to your benefit.
Over the past year, Amazon has provided even more advertising tools for sellers. As these tools mature, advertising figures to be even more prevalent in the marketing mix. Destaney breaks down a few critical advertising elements that all Amazon sellers should be implementing into their foundational advertising.
A special thanks to Destaney for joining the show and sharing her Amazon advertising strategy expertise! Keep up with BetterAMS on their website or Facebook for even more helpful information and solutions.
On this episode of Follow The Data, host Cam Yoder speaks with Michael Begg, founder of AMZ Advisers. Together, they identify key roadblocks through the rest of the year and discuss the best seller strategies to overcome them.
For Amazon sellers, the grind never stops!
With Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday in the rearview, we look ahead to help you conquer Christmas and New Years. This week’s Follow The Data podcast details strategies to end 2020 on a positive note and pick up momentum for 2021.
Not many people are on top of the Amazon game quite like Michael Begg, founder of AMZ Advisers. AMZ Advisers is a full-service agency that drives remarkable results for Amazon sellers. With years of running a full-service agency under Michael’s belt, he’s seen it all and specializes in staying prepared for every situation.
Amidst a holiday season unlike any other, we appreciate Michael sharing his expertise on the show. Cam and Michael tackle topics such as what roadblocks can sellers expect in the upcoming months, best offensive and defensive strategies, and what to expect in 2021.
If you have any questions for Michael or Cameron from today’s episode, let them know by dropping a comment on the video. Huge shoutout to Michael for coming on the show – let’s crush the rest of the year!
Lastly, be sure to stay in touch, as we’ll continue pumping out content to keep you informed to help you end 2020 with a bang.
On this installment of Follow The Data, Danny Carlson of Kenji ROI walks us through advanced seller strategies that will make this your best Black Friday and Cyber Monday yet!
It’s that time of the year! Black Friday and Cyber Monday are coming up fast, and sellers who position themselves for success will ride a sales wave into 2021. Danny Carlson of Kenji ROI dropped by to chat with Follow The Data host Cam Yoder to provide insights on what tips and tricks Amazon sellers should be using to rise to the top and rake in sales from this holiday season.
With just a few days until Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday, time is running out to set your listing up for success.
While savvy sellers have spent months prepping their product catalog for this holiday season, the days leading into the holidays are crucial. No matter how well you’ve developed your Q4 plan to this point, the week of requires unique strategies both offensively and defensively, that can make a tremendous difference when executed on the precipice of Black Friday.
As CEO of Kenji ROI, Danny has served over 500 Amazon sellers and created photos, video, copywriting, and graphics for over 1,240 listings. Kenji ROI assists sellers with PPC Management, creative services, and review boosting emails.
Danny was gracious enough to share groundbreaking strategies and seller tactics that are sure to give you an edge over the competition when it matters most.
Getting to know Danny, his entrepreneurial journey, and his Amazon experience. (0:00)
Danny Carlson and Kenji ROI have been a force in the Amazon selling space for years. Before he drops groundbreaking tips, take the time to hear about Danny’s success and background.
What will Danny be doing for his clients and what advice would he give to sellers in the week of Black Friday and Cyber Monday? (3:51)
“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” – John Wooden
The importance of proper preparation in this busy time cannot be understated. Your competition understands how valuable a holiday season windfall can be, and they might be more incentivized to participate in black hat tactics. Too many sellers don’t prepare for these instances, and Danny breaks down what your competitors might try and how to defend yourself.
There’s no better time to rank highly through search than the holidays. While it might be late in the game to make a dramatic change, every spot you climb means more sales. How can you ascend the ranks in a short amount of time? Danny breaks it down here.
Amazon Advertising in the week of Black Friday / Cyber Monday: Using Modified Broad Match Ads, An Underutilized but Valuable Tool (9:27)
PPC Advertising is one of the surefire ways your product gets in front of customers, but everyone knows this. What’s the best way to setup PPC without breaking the bank?
Modified Broad Match Ads can be the magic bullet for you. It’s super easy to set up and helps sellers get the most bang for their buck when appropriately created. Danny gives his insight on why this overlooked method of PPC provides the most opportunity.
After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, what should sellers do to prepare for Christmas? (20:35)
Once Black Friday and Cyber Monday pass, there’s nearly a month of increased sales. Not all preparation is created equally, and that’s especially true in these unprecedented times. You better believe Danny has already looked into the possibilities and how you can prepare for them. Tune in to hear what this one-of-a-kind holiday season might look like after Cyber Monday and how it affects your planning.
What strategies should sellers be considering to grow their brand into 2021? (31:39)
As the marketplace continues to evolve, what should Amazon sellers be doing to stay ahead of the game? In Danny’s experience, he’s worked with sellers of all backgrounds and stayed up-to-date on the latest in trends. Danny drops knowledge on what you can do to start 2021 off on the right foot.
Be sure to tune in to the rest of the show for every valuable tip and tidbit so you can have the upper hand over the opposition in your market!
At Viral Launch, we believe the more informed seller wins. And that’s never been truer than now. A special thanks goes out to Danny for talking shop with us, and for sharing these crucial tips and tricks. In what is sure to be one of the busiest holiday seasons ever, these hacks could be all the difference you need to dominate the remainder of 2020.
In this episode of Follow The Data, Britt Englund breaks down the lessons she’s learned consulting and managing enormous brands on Amazon!
Much like Liam Neeson in Taken, successfully selling on Amazon requires a very particular set of skills. Quite often, sellers are short on time, experience, or knowledge to optimize each aspect of their online business.
When your business could use some outside help, hiring an experience brand consultant to develop strategies, establish best practice processes, and develop a network can catapult your Amazon business to the next level.
We spoke with Britt Englund, a noteworthy Amazon seller consultant and brand strategist, to learn more about her expertise in Amazon consulting!
Before we dive deep into the world of starting an Amazon consulting business, get to know about Britt and her vast Amazon experience. With around 10 years on the platform, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone more immersed into Amazon trends, standards and strategies.
Going into 2021 and beyond, why is brand development so important on Amazon? (4:24)
Visibility and brand recognition can make all the difference in eCommerce! Britt breaks down the logic on the latest Amazon branding trends. Should sellers be utilizing the same tactics on Amazon on all eCommerce platforms? Find out here from an expert.
What are the tools sellers can utilize to separate their brand from the competition? (7:30)
The market on Amazon is as competitive as ever. Britt offers insight on what options exist for sellers to elevate their brand past competitors, with a strong focus on how to approach influencer marketing.
Selling cross-platform became more popular in 2020 during the COVID-19. Should sellers be using other eCommerce platforms? (23:40)
Logistical issues meeting increased demand at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic opened the door for eCommerce competitors such as Walmart and Shopify. Was this a one-off instance, or should sellers exclusive to Amazon pursue expanding their online business beyond Amazon?
As Amazon continues to mature, the interest in brand consulting is booming. What’s the process of consulting and what should aspiring consultants be doing to achieve their goals? (26:40)
Amazon brand consulting is an emerging market, with interest and demand rising exponentially. Britt saw the rise of Amazon consulting early and positioned herself as an expert at helping brands reach their potential. She thoughtfully analyzes her path and what should prospective brand consultants be doing to set themselves up for success?
What is the biggest thing sellers should be focusing on for Q4 and beyond? (36:41)
It’s the busiest time of the year! With the wave of sales during the holiday season ahead, sellers need to be on top of their game. As time runs out on 2020, Britt breaks down how sellers can optimize their Q4 and set themselves up for a profitable 2021.
A special thanks to Britt Englund for taking the time to talk shop with us on the show! You can keep up with her on LinkedIn for more.
Follow The Data is a podcast by Viral Launch for Amazon sellers hosted by Cam Yoder, an expert on all things Amazon. Available on iTunes, Spotify, and all your favorite platforms, be sure to like and subscribe to receive exclusive content and updates when new episodes release!
In this episode of Follow The Data, we’re interviewing Michael Sene from Deliverr – one of the top 3PL companies eCommerce sellers are tapping into for explosive growth.
Amazon’s revolutionary two-day Prime shipping changed the logistics game forever and played a sizable role in making it the eCommerce powerhouse it is today. Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) is one of the many pillars that make becoming an Amazon seller appealing and possible.
But it isn’t the only way to store your products and fulfill your orders on time.
Amazon coach and Follow the Data host Cam Yoder sat with Michael Sene from Deliverr to discuss the advantages of Fulfillment By Merchant (FBM) third-party logistics.
Like Amazon Prime, Deliverr boasts fast and affordable shipping options that enable multi-channel logistics to sellers of any size. However, unlike Prime, Deliverr allows for fulfillment on orders outside of Amazon. As a result, they’re simplifying the fulfillment experience and allowing sellers the opportunity to explore omnichannel options.
When COVID-19 hit, Amazon sellers saw their inventory (and profit) freeze. Many started searching for alternative options for fulfillment and researching the growing industry of 3PL companies such as Deliverr.
Alternative fulfillment options allow you to maintain the shipping speed and convenience necessary to continue growing while opening the door to easily host and sell your products on websites like Walmart, Shopify, Wish or eBay (not to mention protecting your eCommerce operations when big events like COVID-19 or the holidays hit).
Check out this installment of the Follow The Data podcast for more information on 3PL companies like Deliverr and if FBM via 3PL is right for your business.
Get to know Michael Sene, Director of Sales and Partnerships at Deliverr. If you haven’t already heard of Deliverr, get up to speed with one of the companies to watch in ecommerce.
On Deliverr’s rise, and why merchants are flocking to their service. (1:45)
Based in San Francisco, Deliverr has skyrocketed since its 2017 inception thanks to its speedy and affordable fulfillment platform. Michael breaks down what solutions they’re offering to innovate the fulfillment space and become a preferred service for sellers.
Fulfillment has made significant strides in recent years. What do the next 2-3 years of fulfillment look like? (16:00)
The appeal of Amazon Prime’s two-day shipping changed eCommerce forever, but it’s not the end of advancements in shipping fulfillment. Is same-day shipping a realistic possibility? Sene gives us a look into what Deliverr is doing to shape the future of fulfillment.
What should sellers be thinking about when considering the migration to a 3PL? (22:41)
For existing Amazon sellers, change can feel like a risky proposition and is easy to put off. But Amazon is continuously evolving, and all avenues to earn a leg up on the competition should be weaponized. Sene provides his expert insight on what aspects should be considered when migrating from FBA to FBM using a 3PL.
What sets Deliverr apart from the competition? (26:45)
Deliverr is at the forefront of transforming logistics as we know it, but they aren’t the only 3PL. Hear from the expert on why Deliverr is the hottest name in logistics with seemingly limitless potential.
For more information on whether Deliverr is right for you, be sure to head to their website. With powerful integrations and shipping options for Amazon, Walmart, Shopify, Wish, and more, Deliverr is an up-and-coming 3PL that is shifting eCommerce as we know it and helping sellers fulfill their dreams.
On this installment of Follow the Data, we chat with Ashley Armstrong on the topic of virtual assistants and how they can explode your Amazon business.
Being an entrepreneur doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. With so many responsibilities while running your own business, certain aspects are best left delegated to others. Enter the virtual assistant. Virtual Assistants can simultaneously make your life easier while helping you grow your business exponentially.
Ashley Armstrong of www.AmazAuthority.com joins Cam Yoder on the Follow the Data podcast to share her savvy experience as an Amazon consultant. Topics we dive into include where to find virtual assistants and best hiring practices, when to start considering adding a virtual assistant, and what tasks should you be delegating to others.
While this may seem like a tactic used only by advanced sellers, it’s not as difficult as you might think! Check in with Cam and Ashley on this episode of Follow the Data for an invaluable discussion on the subject!
There’s plenty to unpack from our in-depth conversation with Ashley. Be sure to listen to the podcast or watch the video to pick up tips and tricks from an accomplished eCommerce consultant. Whether you’re just getting started on Amazon or an established pro, there’s a ton of helpful insights to take your business to the next level.
Trust us, you’ll want to hear Ashley’s fascinating journey. From authoring Amazon best-selling books and creating her own probiotics to her role assisting Amazon businesses reach their full potential.
• Why, when, and how to use virtual assistants to scale your eCommerce business. (7:26)
Being an entrepreneur requires a multitude of skills that don’t necessarily fall under the same umbrella. So how do you ensure all aspects of your business are hitting their potential? In the long run, virtual assistants can take your business to the next level. Ashley breaks down her experience and advice on how to use virtual assistants to maximize your business.
• For beginners, what core tasks should entrepreneurs be delegating to virtual assistants? (16:59)
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” – Jessica Jackley, entrepreneur.
Ashley gives her valuable insight into the specific tasks early-stage sellers should be looking to assign to others. Ultimately, utilizing specialists to perform tasks can do wonders in terms of boosting your efficiency.
• Advice for entrepreneurs who have reservations delegating aspects of their business to others. (40:47)
A huge draw of entrepreneurship in the first place is the allure of controlling your own success through hard work and wise decisions. But that same mentality can cause sellers to have reservations delegating aspects of their business to others. Ashley perfectly states the importance of letting go, and explains the overwhelming benefits of virtual assistants.
• Tips for finding virtual assistants and how to avoid rookie mistakes. (46:27)
Don’t know where to start with connecting with a virtual assistant? No worries! Ashley’s got you covered with a few of her recommendations on where to find top talent to work with across many categories.
Follow the Data is a Viral Launch podcast for eCommerce sellers exploring the depths of the Amazon marketplace. Join your host Cameron Yoder, Amazon Expert, as he leverages the data we’ve accumulated here at Viral Launch from tens of thousands of product launches. Alongside various guests, he will help you understand the big picture when it comes to selling on Amazon and the best practices for how to grow your Amazon business.
For brands and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon, 2018 was a whirlwind of change with increases in competition, old success tactics becoming obsolete, new Amazon programs, and so much more. If history is any indicator, then we can expect even more of these changes in the new year. But what sorts of changes should we expect? How will these changes impact your Amazon business? And what steps should you be taking to prepare for these changes to best get ahead of the competition?
Here at Viral Launch, through helping drive more than $7 billion dollars in Amazon sales, we’re equipped with a vast amount of insight and data. This experience working with thousands of brands (from small private label sellers, to $100m+ 3rd party sellers and world renowned Fortune 100 brands) has enabled us to predict some of the biggest things to come in 2019. And we want to share them with you so that you can prepare for what’s ahead this year.
Not only that, but we teamed up with more than twenty 7, 8, and 9 figure sellers and Amazon thought leaders to get their unique perspectives on what to expect and how to prepare for success in the coming year. So, here are 11 predictions for Amazon in 2019 to inform your business decision making, formulated by Viral Launch and informed by top industry experts.
1. Major Brands Get Smart About Amazon Organic Ranking & Sales
We are predicting there will be more major brands that get smart about Amazon success tactics, putting even more pressure on Amazon sellers!
The reason third-party sellers (the small private label sellers) have had the opportunity to become ecommerce giants (we have a couple private label customers and personal friends that surpassed $100m on Amazon in 2018) is because when Amazon changed the ecommerce game, they changed the necessary tactics that drive success.
In a lot of ways, the primary tactics used in traditional retail – such as paying for shelf space, good in-person packaging, and branding – gave way to lower prices, organic keyword ranking, and pay per click/direct response advertising.
Amazon third-party sellers have been able to drive massive success because their only chance of driving sales among such established players was to become students of the new paradigms of retail success tactics. These sellers have worked diligently to understand the key drivers of Amazon organic keyword ranking and conversions, which has led to significantly greater visibility than their household name competitors.
Major brands continue to use deprecated success techniques, leaving the door wide open for third party sellers to reap the benefits of their Amazon expertise. Major brands typically only pay attention to Amazon PPC as their most impactful lever of driving sales. However, in general, only 15-40% of a product’s sales potential comes from Amazon advertising, while the remaining 60-85% can be found in the organic search results. It’s within this uncontested 60-85% space that third-party sellers have thrived and grown.
We are seeing more of these larger brands realize that there is far more potential beyond just Amazon advertising sales. They are beginning to hire successful Amazon sellers and/or software providers as consultants in order to help them become experts, much like successful third-party sellers. This is causing them to shift their focus from the 15-40% of sales potential to 100% of sales potential.
2. Amazon PPC Becomes Less Profitable But More Important
We are predicting that advertising on Amazon will see an increase in efficiency, significant increases in cost, and a significant increase in importance to success for brands on Amazon.
As Amazon increases their dominance in ecommerce and retail, brands are forced to move more of their budget to Amazon advertising. Significantly increased demand, combined with inefficient spend of untrained brands, will absolutely result in increased CPCs (cost-per-clicks). We’ve been observing this trend for quite some time in many markets, but we expect it to increase in velocity and ubiquity. It’s hard to go more than a week without seeing a new post in the media about Amazon’s advertising platform. With that said, we do think that while costs will increase, efficiency will improve.
Viral Launch still sees significant inefficiencies in general Amazon advertising campaign management, largely due to the limitations of Amazon’s in-house advertising tools and programs as well as a lack of sophisticated ad management and automation alternatives. However, we expect new tools/improved sophistication and functionality in Amazon advertising tools and programs will allow for an improvement in advertising spend efficiency. We also expect Amazon to continue improving their ad targeting technology with new programs and tools which will help brands improve overall spend efficiency.
Additionally, we believe that advertising on Amazon is and will continue to be increasingly more important to being competitive on Amazon. With more ad placements per page, we expect advertising to continue increasing the share of an individual product’s sales potential versus organic sales potential. Advertising can also be an important tool in affecting organic sales. Brands that have been using purely organic traffic to build their business will be forced to become experts at Amazon advertising in order to remain ahead of the competition.
3. The Reign of Building Brands Off Amazon
We are predicting that more Amazon sellers will focus on building brands off of Amazon as the effort/reward ratio continues to improve relative to the ratio of focusing solely on Amazon.
Up until 2018, Viral Launch has been a major advocate for focusing on Amazon and delaying true brand building until you crossed the $10m mark on Amazon. While we had obviously seen a few brands build success using a multi-channel strategy (selling outside of just Amazon), it was extremely rare. Much more frequently, sellers hit 7 and 8 figures ($10,000,000+) while focused almost exclusivelyon selling on Amazon. Opportunity cost is a powerful metric for optimal decision making, and for the vast majority of sellers, the opportunity cost was too high when focusing off of Amazon. The reason was because selling on Amazon still presented a lot of low hanging fruit and provided revenue growth rates you could hardly ever reach anywhere else.
As selling on Amazon has become increasingly competitive, we feel that the scales of opportunity cost are shifting to point to true brand building as the greater opportunity. Now don’t get me wrong, there are more people spending more money than ever on Amazon. The opportunity is greater than ever, but the cost and effort of seizing the opportunity is also greater than ever (in most markets).
4. Successful Brands Will Continue to Grow Significantly
We are predicting successful sellers/brands will see unparalleled sales volume on Amazon!
While it’s true that selling on Amazon has become more difficult than ever, there are more people spending more money on Amazon than ever before. This trend will continue into 2019, meaning those brands that are able to achieve/maintain top organic ranking positions, as well as perform well in advertising, will see sales volumes at unparalleled levels. The stakes are higher than ever! It truly is an exciting time to be selling successfully on Amazon.
5. Fewer New Entrepreneurs Begin Selling On Amazon
We are predicting fewer new Amazon seller accounts will be created in 2019.
According to Marketplace Pulse there were 1,200,000 Amazon seller accounts created in 2018 (a good portion never saw a sale). We are expecting new account creation to slow down quite a bit.
There are three primary reasons we expect this to happen.
Reason 1) Increased Barrier to Entry: the cost and complexity of driving success on Amazon has increased. While we still believe there is a massive amount of opportunity on Amazon still (see Amazon Product Research in 2019), the opportunity generally requires larger budgets and more complex strategy.
Reason 2) Market Fatigue: There are only so many aspiring entrepreneurs and mom and pop shops that are interested in selling on Amazon. We are predicting that the interest peaked in these two demographics in 2018.
Reason 3) While we are not economists or fortune tellers, the possibility of a global/US based financial downturn is looming. In the event of a financial downturn, we expect people to have less “free cash” available to start an Amazon FBA business.
6. Major Changes in Reviews and Rankings
In 2019, we think Amazon will continue to improve the security/integrity around many systems/processes including their coveted reviews.
While we have been expecting Amazon to make a major systemic change to their review system, we are guessing (and hoping) that 2019 is the year we see this change come to fruition. In 2018 we have seen some review changes, specifically around review locks, in which receiving too many reviews will trigger Amazon to put a lock on new review activity.
We expect many unforeseen changes to take place, however our greatest hope/prediction is for Amazon to change the review system to a LinkedIn-style review cap presented on search results. By this, we mean that on search results pages, we expect Amazon to begin showing review quantities over 1,000 reviews as 1,000+ (or some similar number). You can check out our Amazon review podcast covering why we think this is necessary to protecting the quality of products purchased and the integrity of Amazon’s review platform for more on that topic.
In short, sellers are incentivized to achieve the highest review quantity relative to their competitors. A higher review quantity indicates greater popularity to potential buyers. If a product has been selling for 10 years on Amazon, it has a distinct advantage over new, and potentially better, products that have not had as long to generate reviews. Let’s say Product A has been on Amazon for 5 years, has a 4.4 star rating, and 6,000 reviews. While Product B has been on Amazon for 6 months, has a 4.8 star rating with 1,000 reviews and a price point $1.00 cheaper than Product A. While most may think Product B is a better product at a better value, there is very little hope of Product B gaining the sales necessary to acquire the reviews to outperform Product A. Product A could allow the quality of their product to decrease because they have such a large review quantity built up that it will be very difficult for others to catch up. It creates a stale market favoring age over quality and value. Limiting to 1,000 reviews shown in the decision process would allow customers to know that a statistically significant number of other customers have purchased/reviewed the product so that review rating must be legitimate.
While we do not have many specific predictions we feel comfortable sharing, we do expect there to be rather significant shake ups in the key drivers of Amazon’s organic keyword ranking algorithm. As in the past, having access to significant amounts of data around key ranking factors/metrics while constantly testing will be the key to staying ahead of any algorithmic changes. Fortunately, Viral Launch has been able to stay abreast of any changes thanks to our wealth of data and brilliant R&D team.
7. Facebook Begins It’s Path of Becoming The Second Largest Ecommerce Site
We are predicting Facebook begins making big moves in ecommerce by subsidizing sales through their platform for merchants to sell direct through their platform.
For the last couple of years, we’ve consistently considered Facebook to be the entity with the greatest potential to challenge Amazon in the world of retail. We’ve lost quite a bit of hope in Walmart and Google over the years. If you think through the core building blocks to a successful ecommerce platform, attention, data, trust, and web/mobile capabilities/technology are top of the list. With more than a purported 2 billion monthly active users, unparalleled data around it’s users, and significant web and mobile technology, Facebook is more than well equipped to help brands sell their goods directly through their platform at a massive scale.
I’m not talking about Facebook’s peer-to-peer marketplace. I’m expecting a full fledged Amazon competitor, and we’re beginning to see the early stages. In some instances, Facebook is reimbursing merchants $5 for each product sold to cover the cost of shipping with no additional marketplace fees, making Facebook a cheaper place to move product already. We’re expecting Facebook to start making some big moves in the e-commerce world in 2019.
8. International Markets are the New Gold Rush
We are predicting a substantial movement of third-party Amazon.com sellers in offering their products and brands on Amazon’s international marketplaces in 2019.
Selling on Amazon.com (the US marketplace) still poses massive opportunity if played right, but there is no denying that it is certainly more difficult to grasp that opportunity than ever. We expect the real mad rush for low hanging-fruit sales (Amazon “gold”) will come in Amazon’s international marketplaces. Viral Launch has been a strong advocate of sellers expanding internationally for the last two years, which is why we invested in hiring domestic listing optimization specialists in each country containing a major Amazon marketplace, as well as expanding our tools to work internationally. We have seen success after success with minimal effort and marketing budget in Amazon’s international markets over the last couple of years (check out this incredible story of two 21 year olds achieving 8 figures on Amazon in 2 years, while selling internationally).
As creating and expanding a profitable and high-growth Amazon business becomes more difficult to achieve on Amazon.com, we think 2019 will finally be the year that third-party sellers look to international markets in droves! Selling internationally certainly has some drawbacks, but in general, Amazon advertising is significantly cheaper, driving organic keyword ranking is significantly easier, and growing top line revenue are all much less competitive relative to Amazon.com. Experienced Amazon.com sellers are able to use their learned success tactics and easily apply them to their brands in International markets.
9. Seller Fulfilled Prime Comes Into Vogue
We are not denying the importance of 1-hour and same day delivery, but we predict we will see a significant amount of sellers over the $1m mark moving to a hybrid fulfillment model.
Over the last 6-9 months, we’ve started to observe a trend in larger/more experienced Amazon third-party sellers moving to the Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) model using a combination of their own warehouses and 3rd Party Logistics providers (3PLs). The most compelling reason to move from fulfilling through Amazon’s FBA program to a self-regulated SFP model is cost savings.
We are not seeing only sellers with large items such as furniture moving to SFP, but sellers with products of all weights and dimensions. A customer of ours, selling more than $40m/year on Amazon, claims moving to the Seller Fulfilled Prime model has been his single best investment yet!
The second most common reason sellers are taking up SFP is to support fulfillment for other ecommerce channels that may not allow using Amazon’s Multi-Channel Fulfillment program. Having a dedicated 3PL network allows sellers cheaper fulfillment and greater channel flexibility.
10. More Amazon-Owned Brands
We are predicting there will be a significant increase in the number of Amazon owned (not “sold by Amazon”) in 2019.
We have seen a significant push from Amazon in their own private label brands, and we expect to see this trend continue into 2019. Amazon now has over 80 of their own private label brands, and those brands are receiving better placement than ever (Amazon’s “Our Brands” section now shows above organic results for many search terms).
Amazon kicked off a new program near the end of 2018 called their Accelerator Program, which essentially stands as a partnership between third-parties and Amazon to establish new Amazon-owned brands using existing product performance data. This presents the potential for the number of Amazon owned brands to sky rocket! It will be very interesting to see how this progresses in the new year.
The largest threat to Amazon’s private label brands is likely the government presiding over the country in which each marketplace operates. For example, India has banned Amazon from selling any of its own products on Amazon.in.
11. Less Ads Showing on Page 1 of Search Results
We are predicting Amazon reduces the Amount of clutter in Amazon search results which distracts shoppers from the organic search results.
This is not a common opinion, and we’ll admit that there is a decent amount of logic/data pointing to an extremely high probability that this prediction does not come true, however, when we really try to get in the mind of Amazon and Jeff Bezos, this feels right! I (Casey Gauss) want to walk you through my logic on this one.
As I think through what has made Jeff and Amazon so successful, it’s been their relentless focus on the customer experience (think lower prices, faster shipping, return policy, etc.).
In my opinion, in 2018, the actual shopping experience for customers suffered at the expense of Amazon’s advertising revenue and the promotion of their owned products. There are two contributing factors to what I believe is a lower quality shopping experience.
(One key point to understanding my thoughts below is the difference between “organic results” and “sponsored results”. “Organic results” are the items presented to a customer after typing in a given search term that are showing in the results out of merit. Organic results have been selected by Amazon’s A9 ranking algorithm based on performance factors such as conversion rate, number of units sold, etc. “Sponsored results” are items showing with a “sponsored” denotation, and are showing in the results because merchants have paid for the placement. Theoretically, organic results are the best selling products for a given keyword which is why they are showing in the results. The products most likely to best satisfy the customer’s request. While Sponsored results are artificially placed based on how much the merchant is willing to spend.)
1) Overwhelming Information in Results: In general, our data shows that anywhere between 60-85% of a product’s sales potential come from placement in the organic search results. This means the majority of customers’ shopping experience consists of inputting search terms in the search bar (e.g. “fish oil supplement”), sifting through the results, and purchasing a product. In 2018, we saw an increase in the amount of information being shown on the results page which can be confusing, overwhelming, and a barrier to purchasing the products showing organically (the most likely to satisfy the customer’s request based on real buyer behavior).
The shopping experience is overwhelmed with information and creates a barrier to the shopper arriving at the best performing products based on real data from hundreds to millions of real customers. I feel this direct and indirect inhibition to the best customer experience does not align with Amazon’s mission and what has allowed them to be so successful to date.
2) More Sales Through Amazon Ads: There are more advertising placements on Amazon than ever before. Paid media sales are increasing their market share versus organic sales. When customers are purchasing artificially placed products (products presented through ads versus showing based on performance), the probability of the sponsored product being as high quality as an organically ranked product is low. By more sales being driven through advertising, Amazon is selling less of the proven and theoretically higher quality “organic results” to customers for the sake of driving more advertising revenue. More ad sales = more pay to play, versus quality & value to play.
Now, I don’t think that Amazon has nefarious intentions with advertising. They haven’t set out to create a lower quality shopping experience so they can make a few billion dollars more per year. My assumption (with almost no inside Amazon insight) is that this is a classic case of competition priorities between departments (i.e. the Amazon advertising business units are focused on maximizing their top line, without much focus on the overall customer experience).
Either way, I’m predicting that someone in Amazon, perhaps Mr. Bezos himself, will realize that there has been a slight deviation from the company’s overall focus, and will begin to peel back some of the excessive ad placement.
12. Amazon Significantly Outpaces Other Retailers in an Economic Downturn
We are predicting Amazon significantly outpaces competitors if/when there is a downturn in the US economy.
While we are not economists or fortune tellers, there seems a high probability that there will be an economic downturn of some degree at some point in the near future. If the next economic downturn occurs within 2019, we are predicting Amazon will outperform other retailers significantly. With unbeatable low prices, convenience for working families, and an incredibly large catalog of low priced necessities, we expect Amazon to be the go to store when budgets and time are tight.
Amazon changes the way they are indexing and ranking products, which means sellers have to be smart about their sourcing decisions.
As you’ve probably noticed, there was plenty of overlap between Viral Launch’s predictions and those of the included industry experts and thought leaders. I’m not sure if it is fair to say that this indicates the prediction is more likely to come true, but it does indicate that there is likely more data pointing to that assumption.
An underlying commonality throughout these predictions was increased competition, focusing on building traffic off of Amazon, and adapting your Amazon success strategies. There is certainly the opportunity to look at this with a negative outlook on the future, but please do not forget that Amazon is continuing to grow it’s ecommerce footprint significantly.
As the opportunity for incredible degrees of success continue to grow, so does the difficulty of achieving that opportunity. Instead of playing the victim to increased competition and “unfair” changes, the truly successful adapt with the times, play the long game, and focus on solutions.
I want to encourage you to focus on the solutions. How will you diversify your Amazon business? What strategies will you use to guarantee you and your team are staying ahead of the lastest success tactics? How can you drive sales, reviews, and keyword ranking in this new landscape?
While there are many components that comprise a winning strategy for the future, Viral Launch is focused on giving you the data, automation, and thought leadership around topics like driving sales, keyword ranking, and product selection. Now, it’s up to you to use these to stay ahead of the curve and continue growing exponentially on the world’s largest marketplace!
There has been a lot going on with Amazon lately, so join us for a recap of the latest news. Casey discusses Amazon fee changes, Amazon search volume updates, and sponsored ad placement. You won’t believe the data point that influences search volume change!
The Amazon game has changed and will continue to change in the new year. The standard on Amazon has increased significantly, so how are you staying competitive? In this episode, Casey Gauss discusses emerging tactics for success in 2019. Product research, review generation, and micro-niches, oh my!