News & Insights
Finding the Right Amazon Optimization Partner
Amazon’s competitive environment presents a challenge for sellers on the platform. In pursuit of winning the Buy Box and climbing to the top of the site’s organic ranking, they often need to become an expert in building brand awareness, designing Amazon advertising campaigns and managing customer fulfillment.
However, some brands have discovered there is a viable alternative to do-it-yourself Amazon product listing optimization and management. A full-service Amazon agency or qualified partner can allow them to eliminate the learning curve by shifting specialized, time-consuming responsibilities to a capable third party. But finding an Amazon optimization partner that can actually help you reach your goals requires a deliberate approach.
Identify your deficiencies
The first step is to identify the deficiencies in your Amazon business that must be addressed. This can vary significantly between 1P (Seller Central) and 3P (Vendor Central) sellers. Service providers may also have different strengths. For example, some may focus on high-visibility components such as an Amazon listing or Amazon Store, while others support backend operations like logistics management or data analysis. Regardless, there is likely to be an opportunity for improvement.
Warehousing & Logistics
Amazon seller success hinges on a company’s ability to get its products to customers quickly. Whether a brand is shipping to Amazon as a vendor, supplying Amazon FBA inventory, or fulfilling customer orders directly, the storage, packing, labeling and shipping of a product need to be expertly managed. Long-term growth is unlikely if your products don’t arrive on time, show up damaged or don’t match what a customer ordered.
In addition, poorly-managed inventory can negatively affect a company’s bottom line. Customers who find the products they are shopping for are out-of-stock often turn to alternatives, while companies can end up paying extremely high prices for storage fees and penalties if their inventory is not managed correctly. Brands struggling with warehousing and logistics are ideal candidates to partner with a company experienced with overcoming these hurdles for an Amazon seller.
As the dominant e-commerce platform, selling on Amazon is a high-stakes undertaking for any business. Getting started is relatively simple, but finding success and maintaining it is much harder. Many Amazon sellers have trouble setting up listings correctly, identifying or removing unauthorized sellers, responding to customer inquiries and reacting to negative reviews. An Amazon optimization consultant can help brands establish and maintain a healthy Amazon Seller Central account, taking many of these fundamental but time-consuming tasks off your plate.
Listing Optimization & Marketing
The competition on Amazon is fierce. And although listing products for sale on the site is a critical first step, it is by no means the end of the effort. Regardless of how many shoppers land on a listing, the most successful Amazon sellers know that a high-quality Amazon listing is necessary to lead to sales. A failure to understand the platform’s search algorithm or make adjustments based on the preferences and behaviors of customers makes it nearly impossible to succeed on the platform. Unfortunately, it’s also a common weakness among Amazon sellers.
In addition to Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO), thriving businesses also need a data-driven marketing strategy to get products in front of their ideal online customers, even beyond the Amazon platform. Integrating a paid digital marketing plan with Amazon optimization ensures the best possible return on investment. Due to the complexities of Amazon PPC services, a results-oriented Amazon marketing partner can be well worth the investment when internal efforts are not meeting expectations or are being neglected completely.
Analysis & Strategy
Whether from Amazon or elsewhere, one of the advantages of e-commerce is the incredible amount of data sellers can access. There’s often an overwhelming number of reports available regarding inventory, shoppers, advertising, buyers and more. As a result, even long-time business owners can struggle with the intricacies of selling on Amazon and benefit from a strategic plan aimed at growth on the platform.
Brands that aren’t capitalizing on this data and using it to develop an informed and well-defined strategy specifically for Amazon are missing a huge opportunity. However, they can often correct this with an Amazon consultant that can take a deep dive into the data and build a plan to reach the company’s marketplace goals.
Evaluate experience carefully
Judging experience may seem straightforward, but examining a prospective agency’s claims closely is helpful. Focus on more than just how long the agency has existed. A newer Amazon consulting service may have a talented team with decades of relevant experience. In contrast, an established agency could have had lots of turnover resulting in leadership or specialists who have spent minimal time in the industry.
Remember to also pay close attention to an agency’s current roster of clients and past results. Any reputable agency should be able to provide detailed case studies that shed light on their capabilities and tactics. Ask for examples that have parallels to your company’s challenges and will reveal whether the agency would be a good fit as an Amazon consulting expert. As important as who they have been able to assist is when their seller support took place. Amazon’s tools and policies are constantly evolving, and a service provider needs to be able to adjust accordingly. An agency with continuous success over time is more likely to be effective regardless of what lies ahead for the platform.
You should also inquire how the resume of those managing your Amazon account matches your company’s goals. An agency with direct experience in your product category may seem ideal, but sellers are often better served by comparing an agency’s strengths with the brand’s goals.
Seek a partner with broad alignment
Unfortunately, experience alone is not enough to guarantee that a service provider will be a good fit for your company. It’s also critical that any Amazon partner aligns with your brand’s goals, team and budget.
The Amazon marketplace is an $800 billion business. The services needed by the largest companies on the platform vary drastically compared to smaller brands. Finding an Amazon seller consultant that aligns with your brand’s business model, sales level and service requirements is crucial.
Providers usually break down into those serving brands with less than $500k in annual sales, agencies specializing in mid-sized sellers with $500k-$2 million of annual sales, and partners targeting companies with more than $2 million in sales each year. Your brand should align with the size the provider focuses on to limit the risk of low-quality service, overly-high costs, or the possibility of not being a priority for the provider.
Amazon consulting services are typically split between firms that help brands following a 1P Vendor Central model (selling products to Amazon) and those pursuing growth on the 3P Seller Central marketplace (selling products on the Amazon marketplace). Therefore, picking a provider that focuses on your brand’s business model is best. If a provider says they do everything, you may find they are not good at either.
In your search for an optimization partner, consider creating a list of the functions necessary to run your Amazon business. Then, when comparing proposals from partners, confirm who will be responsible for each of those tasks. It’s a common mistake to overlook the specific services offered and simply choose the lowest-priced provider before realizing that some responsibilities will still need to be done internally and for an additional cost.
It is easy for firms to claim to be Amazon Buy Box experts, but what differentiates most providers is their ability to deliver the quality level that a brand expects at a reasonable cost. The number one reason brands leave Amazon seller consulting services is a misalignment of the quality of the team they are working with. By asking to meet the team upfront, a brand will quickly see if there is an appropriate alignment.
Sometimes, a service provider consists of five people in a townhouse claiming to offer expert Amazon marketing services. These smaller providers have difficulty providing the consistency and breadth of the service many brands require. Larger, established companies have learned from their mistakes with previous clients and can likely provide a higher quality of consistent service. In addition, understaffed providers that rely heavily on contractors usually have difficulty delivering high-quality work.
A brand should look at the provider’s client roster to determine if they match up well in size and product category. If the brands that a prospective Amazon consultant is currently working with have similarities to your business, the likelihood of success is much higher.
Amazon claims it is easy to run a brand on its platform. In reality, it requires a lot of expertise in various areas ranging from graphic design and customer service to copywriting and advertising strategy. All of these specialties cost money and need to work together flawlessly. It is easy for a brand to underestimate how much work is involved and focus on price rather than quality.
Low-cost Amazon consulting is more likely to rely on offshore teams with less quality control, while the most expensive Amazon consulting experts will often provide your brand with director-level staff capable of accelerating growth.
People with valuable Amazon marketing experience are expensive to hire, and it’s important to remember you get what you pay for. A common rule of thumb is that it requires one employee for each $1 to $2 million of Amazon revenue.
Amazon is a huge opportunity, but it is also very competitive. It will take a brand many months or years to reach its potential on Amazon. Brands that expect huge success in the short term will usually be disappointed by the results, regardless of which agency they choose.
Start your search with Amify
Don’t spend any more of your valuable time trying to optimize your product page or searching for an internal staff member who can add keyword research to their existing duties. Instead, let Amify do the heavy lifting on Amazon SEO services and your quest to reach new potential customers. We already have the experts to help you dominate the buy box and keep your company on track for its growth goals. Contact us today to learn more.