In the dynamic world of eCommerce, staying ahead requires more than just a good product and a strong marketing strategy. It demands insights from those who have navigated the complexities of online retail and emerged victorious. We've gathered invaluable advice from industry leaders who have survived and thrived in eCommerce's competitive landscape. From managing your brand on Amazon to understanding the importance of patience and perseverance, these experts share their experiences and tips for success. Whether you're a seasoned seller or just starting out, these insights will guide you toward achieving your e-commerce goals.
Let's dive into each piece of advice.
Have a partner that helps you manage your brand on Amazon
Scott Needham. SmartScout – Founder & CEO
What's so interesting is what I know now versus 10 years ago. I think we could have been a lot more successful at that business. We see a lot of accelerators, people that work with brands ... They're doing pretty well in showcasing what they can offer brands. And some brands don't even like to say they've been burned by their 1P relationship ... They kind of get squeezed a little bit but they don't have the expertise, nor do they want the financial risk of creating their own seller account and just like starting from scratch … They get the same retail relationship where they get to sell the inventory and don't have to worry about it anymore, but they have a little more control and working with a skill.” “Every brand is sitting on an opportunity, and if you just let Amazon do what it's gonna do, you're kind of missing on that opportunity … you kind of have to really get a lot of expertise to be skilled at the Amazon marketplace, and so a brand should have some of that expertise close by .
Be patient and never give up
James McMath. HPE Aruba Networking – Worldwide eCommerce Business Development Manager for SMB
You have to have that patience. And I think it's just very important to make sure you've got all your ducks in the road. Right. If you were starting up, have a look at your competitors, have a look at what they're doing, have a look at what their ASINs look like. Because you want to make sure you've got the best customer buying experience on there. And that comes from getting the images right, getting the descriptions right, including keywords that people may search for in your descriptions, getting the bullet points ... Then moving into things like the review programs that Amazon now they also have like a Q and A aspect where customers can ask questions and you as a vendor can reply in it. And it will tag you as the vendor has replied to that questions as well as other people can reply on there. But you need to keep constantly engaged in that and then you can push on to advertising to help push your ASINs up the Amazon algorithms to go there. But fundamentally, patience and perseverance, like Andy said, is kind of the best advice we could give .
Start small and always determine sell-through expectations
Nikolai Tahmin. Phelps United – VP of eCommerce
In a past life, working for a large apparel brand on Amazon, they were the industry leaders. And when we launched product, we would send up three units under each SKU, no more, no less. And we would wait to see sell-through expectations as product that sells really well on other channels doesn't mean it's going to correlate to Amazon and be your top leader. Where you can see hero's SKUs come through products you never envisioned being your top product on any marketplace. So it's really start small, test your products, cast a wide net, see what sells and then start focusing on those core product that does move and really double down and figure out means to hyper growth those listings .
Be honest, and don't ignore Amazon
Rob Rich. OWYN – Chief Business Officer EVP/GM of E-Commerce
Amazon is a terrific tool. It's a great network. It's the biggest marketplace in the world. It's the global agora. It's where people come to shop, to research, to do their business. So if you're not there, you know, you're not there. But, it doesn't make up for the fact that people are there to buy a quality product. If you don't have it, you don't have the repeat, you don't have the right price, and you don't have the right operational approach to getting the product to Amazon so that they can get it to you, doesn't mean you're gonna succeed." "My advice is, is be be honest. Uh, you know, at all times. Be honest with yourself, uh, and with your partners and with, uh, you know, with respect to every aspect of your business. Sometimes that means that, you know, do you have the right stuff? You have to question yourself all the time. Is the product gonna be, uh, or the, my approach gonna gonna work? Um, and, um, so always question that because, um, it'll make you better for it. .
Walk along a law partner for any trademark registration process
Janet Moreira. Caldera Law – Partner / Trademark Practice Leader
Amazon brand registry is for registered brands. So, while you can gain early access to brand registry through IP Accelerator think of it as sort of a probationary period you ultimately have to get a trademark registration in order to stay in brand registry. While the trademark application is a pretty straightforward process, it is a legal process. So when you're dealing with a legal process, it is important to have someone guide you through that process, because the trademark application has long-term and legal consequences and should be carefully prepared by someone who understands those things." "With any business that's starting out, I like to navigate them away from things that are risky things that are going to be costly, things that are going to be problematic down the line. I mean, when you're starting a brand, you should be starting a brand that's going to carry some weight, that's going to be able to develop goodwill, that's going to be different than your competition." "There are a lot of nuances. It is a legal process and with any legal process there are unforeseen things that come up that only a council can navigate and there are strategic considerations that doing so and considering these things at the beginning of the process may alleviate some of the potential complications later on .
First things first. Have a good product and keep making it better
James Thomson. Equity Value Advisors - Managing Partner
Amazon's a hard place to sell. But if you spend the time and you continue to invest, remain nimble, recognize that none of us have figured it all out because Amazon keeps evolving, invest enough time every week in your business, and play by the rules, there's a lot of opportunity to make good money on Amazon. At the same time, it doesn't matter how big the opportunity is on Amazon If your product is not very good fundamentally ... You've got to go to market with a decent enough product that customers say 'this is great'. I had one colleague who really impressed with the way he thinks about Amazon. Every time you place an order with your manufacturer for product, ask yourself the question: What are the two or three things I could do to make my product just a little bit better?. Maybe the packaging gets improved a little bit?. Maybe the internal parts get improved a little bit?. Maybe the messaging I put on the product detail page gets updated slightly in order to reduce confusion that might exist with customers?. Think about, every month or so, what can you do to make your overall business that much better? Because the reality is you got all these private label brands on Amazon doing exactly the same thing. By the way, they're also pinpointing inefficiencies in your brand and saying we can actually make a much better version of that moustrap. This is no longer grandpa's corner store. .
Consider one more sales channel outside Amazon to build your customer database
Claus Lauter. Ecommerce Coffee Break Podcast - Host & Producer
You should not specifically only focus on one sales channel. There's so many platforms out there, so many sales platforms. If you want to be successful in your business, you need to be on most all of these platforms depending on your business, because there's traffic and traffic is important. There's traffic everywhere on the interwebs. You need to just tap in and find your customers on the platform they are on. Now pretty much everyone is on Amazon. So, you can build up your brand on Shopify. You want to get the customer data and keep the customer data for your marketing on Shopify. I think that's the core goal of every market here and sales person out there is to get the customer data to continue selling to them, lifetime customer value and so on, so forth. So without an email address, you're still lost and you won't get that from Amazon. On the other hand, you want to give the benefit that, once you have this, give the people the chance to check out with Amazon Prime, get the free shipping and so on, so forth. So all of that plays together and in building a brand and I think, basically saying you need to be good on Shopify, you need to be good on Amazon to really make it work, which is a problem for smaller businesses because Amazon is a huge universe. Shopify is on the way there. They're adding more features by the day, so it's not as easy, specifically with Shopify, like it was six, seven years ago, where you could just hop on the platform and throw a product up there and start selling something. You still can do that, but if you want to build a business, not a side hustle, then you need to treat it as a business and tap in every what do you need and every feature they have .
As you embark on your eCommerce journey or seek to enhance your existing strategies, remember that patience, perseverance, and a commitment to improvement are key. By staying informed and adapting to the changing landscape, you can position yourself for sustainable growth and success in the competitive eCommerce space. If you are looking for more personalized advice or support in navigating the world of eCommerce, our team is here to help! Contact us today to discuss how we can assist you in achieving your eCommerce goals.