Supermarkets are known to be competitive spaces as household names tend to get the prime eye-level spots on the shelves, whilst emerging brands - who are still high in quality, and who are often more ethically responsible and competitively priced, still struggle to reach consumers walking through the aisles. This challenge is only going to increase now that in-store sales are on a downwards trajectory since Covid-19 and multiple lockdowns have left people with no other option but to shop online.
In this blog, we discuss why these challenger FMCG brands should head for Amazon's virtual shelves specifically in order to beat their competitors with online sales, whilst also mentioning some of the benefits.
Amazon has changed the game significantly of online retail marketing. Due to the global pandemic, in 2020 alone, 63% of consumers started their online shopping search on Amazon. What's more, the retail giant is also expected to seize 50% of the e-commerce market share just in the United States alone, so the numbers globally are definitely just as significant.
It's currently a crucial time for challenger FMCG brands to consider online sales as one of, if not, their main sales funnel. A rise in footfall won't exactly trump the permanent shift to e-commerce, and shoppers are more willing to use their phones and other devices to explore more FMCG categories. Even Amazon plan on launching their own range as it heads towards becoming the main digital-first grocery retailer, as this is an opportunity they don't want to miss out on.
Whilst some of the biggest FMCG brands are competing for their first-page listings, there are also plenty of opportunities for the smaller brands as Amazon becomes a FMCG shopping go-to. So why would you want to use Amazon if you're a small-medium sized business?
The Benefits Of Amazon's Marketplace:
The Reach - The most compelling reason for any small-medium company to use Amazon to sell their products is simply because of the sheer volume of customers it draws. Its Prime membership program alone has more than 150 million global users and more continue to sign up day by day - and having access to these users is extremely valuable.
The pandemic has only pushed shoppers towards the e-commerce giant, and the company has said that the sellers on their marketplace have been reaping the benefits, so why wouldn't you want to use this to your advantage?
The Incentive To Support Sellers - Since 2017, the sellers on Amazon's marketplace have been responsible for most of the company's product sales. Amazon love to see them sell as much as possible - the more sales they gain, the more money Amazon generate.
In a recent report, Amazon said that over the course of 2019 and 2020, they had invested more than $30 billion in logistics, tools, services, and employees to help small and medium-sized businesses globally. They also provide assistance in technical support, loans and credit for their cloud-computing platform, Amazon Web Services. With continual investment in the tools to support their sellers, it's going to become even easier and more beneficial to the smaller companies. So how can you help your brand succeed through Amazon?
How To Get Help Your Brand Succeed Through Amazon.
Reconsider How Your Content Is Displayed -
Despite how heavily reliant we are on Amazon, a lot of consumers still question the legitimacy of sellers, resulting in genuine sellers suffering. This is often due to a lack of quality content on their pages.
A great way to develop your content through Amazon is to invest in their A+ content, which includes various high quality imagery and videos to tell the brands story - this is a powerful way of convincing consumers to buy from a brand that they don't necessarily know.
FMCG brands should also consider that shoppers aren't always looking for demos or 'how-to' videos, instead, it's probably better to create a bullet-point list that will provide all of its key information - whether that's flavours, ingredients, packaging etc. This will also help to benefit your SEO. This is something that can prove being key to growth, for example, Blood Money Irish Gin - launched on Amazon in Q4 2020, is now known as the second-highest selling Irish Gin on Amazon in the UK.
Use Amazon To Become The Best In Customer Service -
One of that main, immediate benefits of in-store shopping is that consumers have easy access to store associates, who also double as brand ambassadors that recommend products.
If you're wanting to see online growth through Amazon, you should take a similar approach in communicating with buyers and browsers. Responding to your reviews, no matter if they're positive or negative, shows that the company can guarantee customer satisfaction. Answering customer queries is also something that should be expected in order to succeed, as it not only helps a consumer to purchase any products from you, but it also helps to highlight what potential customers would really want to know about the product.
If you're an emerging brand, going that extra mile with your customers can really benefit your business. A lot of second-hand sellers on platforms like Etsy have taken this approach to build closer relationships with their customers, and many have noticed the positive impact that comes with it - whether it's a little delivery/thank you note or freebies, it doesn't go unnoticed.
Out Rank The Competition By Using The Competitors -
One of the biggest challenges that brands face on Amazon is competing on keyword search terms. Amazon's pay-per-click program has emerged as an extremely powerful channel for improving brand visibility, especially for the sellers with big budgets. Well established brands can spend millions on purchasing mainstream search terms that will drive traffic to their listings.
Amazon provide a specific targeting tool called ASIN, this allows a brand to place an ad on the page of a competitor that's got longevity and a loyal following behind it.
As household names continue to appear at the top of listings, having an ad placed directly onto their pages is essentially a shortcut to reach your targeted audience. This is also a chance to demonstrate its value in comparison, whether that's competitive prices, generous returns policy or even unique discounts.
Creating Content That Converts -
Some of the most successful brands embrace Amazon as an extension of their official website. Incorporating elements like custom photography, elevated design, strategic keywords and engaging content is highly important as it's what enables your customers to get to know and love your products. These practices are crucial to help brands rank within the top 10 for higher volume search terms, whilst boosting conversion rates by around 10%-40% in just a number of weeks.
Finding The Amazon Category -
If you feel as though your product or products have potential, but aren't quite getting the attention you think it deserves, try to determine if you have a viable proposition and that a profitable niche exists for it. You need to consider the market leaders in your category or submarket - how does your product compare in terms of its quality and price? Does the content of your product page level up to the market leaders subpar?
Finding the winning niche is also about identifying a small part of Amazon where you can use it to your advantage with specific keywords and phrases. Keywords and other research tools will help you to determine what consumers are searching for, how many other brands you'd be competing with, the keywords your competitors use as well as the quality of their listings and price points.
Once you start selling via Amazon, product page conversion rates and sales volume will impact your rankings. There are plenty of tools like Helium10 and Jungle Scout that can help you to research Amazon's keywords and the sales metrics you'll need in order to achieve and perform well in your category or submarket.
If you're a small-medium sized company looking to take on Amazon's marketplace, it's clear to see that you need to be bold and break away from what's considered as 'the norm' and really focus on what you and other challenger thinkers do best. Understand the markets, gain the leverage in creative marketing strategies that the bigger brands have ignored and think bigger and for longer term.
Challenger FMCG brands that operate through Amazon can reach millions of potential new customers without having the weight of infrastructure costs of getting stock to the supermarkets and paying for a spot on the shelves - so we're definitely going to be seeing more from smaller FMCG companies taking on the market, whilst Amazon continue to reach new highs and investments through the next few years.
It's definitely a competitive landscape, but the emerging brands that have unique offerings are best positioned to grow through using Amazon as a marketplace. Taking advantage of the shortcuts will help you to reach consumers directly and will allow you to become a robust e-commerce player.