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Yes, Retailers Can Build Brand Awareness on Amazon

Mike Perekupka

According to Mission Boat Gear, Amazon Advertising can be a powerful brand-building tool. “A lot of shoppers start their product search on Amazon, and we’re seeing that not all of them end their journey on Amazon,” says Garrett Wilson, manager of e-commerce at Mission Boat Gear, a retailer specializing in boating equipment. “We really took the time to invest in quality content that is optimized for the Amazon platform and quality advertising campaigns.”

In this episode of Retail Uncharted, Sidecar’s Mike Perekupka and Brittany Lerario take a deep dive into Mission Boat Gear’s Amazon Advertising strategy and how it supports the retailers’ marketing efforts on other marketing channels.

Garrett and his team wanted to build brand awareness on Amazon by using better product images and descriptions, while also balancing the need to sell products efficiently with a robust advertising and pricing strategy. “Everything we do is a balancing act,” says Garrett. “We have to price our products in a way that doesn’t irritate our wholesale customers yet is competitive on the marketplace and can actually move some volume.”

During the podcast we asked Garrett:

  • What are Mission Boat Gear’s advertising goals on Amazon?
  • What is your pricing strategy on Amazon?
  • How do you approach winning the Buy Box?
  • Where does Amazon Advertising fit into your multichannel strategy?
  • How does your Amazon Advertising strategy impact other marketing channels?
  • How do you think Amazon Advertising will evolve in the future?

Top Sound Bites

(edited for brevity and clarity)

On Mission Boat Gear’s goals on Amazon:
Garrett Wilson: There’s so much traffic going through Amazon. We saw it as an opportunity to get our products in front of the eyes of all of those consumers. It’s such a massive machine, and whether or not they actually finalize the sale on Amazon is irrelevant. A lot of shoppers start their product search on Amazon, and we’re seeing that not all of them end their journey on Amazon. Many do, but not all. We really took the time to invest in quality content that is optimized for the Amazon platform and quality advertising campaigns.

There are a plethora of other brands tools you can use to enhance your brand presence that helps consumers who are researching your brand be exposed to it in the best possible way from the Amazon platform, and hopefully they end up choosing your brand or whether it’s on Amazon or from one of your retail partners or directly from your sites.

On important mistakes to avoid: 

Brittany Lerario: In addition to the long term storage fees, Amazon takes a cut for each conversion, and so I think retailers really need to take a look at their margins and include all of the Amazon fees into their margins before setting their efficiency goals. We have seen some retailers set their goals in terms of just spend and revenue within ads and not taking into account those fees. They end up actually losing money on sales.

On how to build a robust pricing strategy: 

Garrett Wilson: So our pricing strategy on Amazon is attempt at creating a holistic solution for everybody involved. We’re a multichannel brand. We wholesale our product to various retailers across the country and the world. We also sell direct to consumer. Everything we do is a balancing act. We have to price our products in a way that doesn’t irritate our wholesale customers yet is competitive on the marketplace and can actually move some volume.

The less unique lifestyle products will have a different pricing strategy than the products that we invest a ton of research and development into. So when it comes to Amazon, our primary products are super unique products like Delta, which is that wave shaper I mentioned earlier, or Sentry, which is our boat fender. All of these products have a lot of research and development dollars that we’ve invested into them.

With our unique products, we typically price them higher on the Amazon platform in order to absorb some of those additional fees while simultaneously hoping to divert the customer to either our website directly or to one of our retail partners. And we can get away with that because there is no other product like it on the Amazon marketplace.

However, with our towels and our t-shirts, we typically keep that at our standard minimum advertised price. So it’s the same price on the Amazon platform as it would be on our website or at a retail partner, just because we don’t want to lose out on the potential sales that Amazon has offered in those particular categories.

On the cross-channel benefits of Amazon:

Brittany Lerario: Non-branded keywords that we find on Amazon really help with cross-channel marketing, like with our paid search team on Google, for example. A lot of consumers aren’t necessarily tied to a certain brand on Amazon, but are rather looking for a specific product at a good price. So they don’t necessarily start with a brand name in mind, but just the product title that they’re looking for. A lot of these are longtail keywords because they know specifically what they’re looking for. We found by pulling search word term reports off of Amazon and giving these top converting search terms to our paid search team on Google, it has definitely helped them target additional customers on Google as well. It’s definitely very beneficial to advertise cross-channel.

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