ER 004: More than 50% internet buyers start on Amazon, Outside traffic to AMS landing page, influencer marketing for reviews, Amazon New York Seller Summit Boost with FBA, Amazon Sponsored Products Webinar
Influencer Marketing Links:
Shopify Spinner App: https://apps.shopify.com/spin-a-sale
This is the Ecommerce Roundup Podcast for it’s the week of June 5th 2017, I am your host Bryan coming at you from New York, so you might hear some honking in the background, sorry about that, and here is the roundup for this week.
All right so I saw a survey from a firm called BloomReach, and they surveyed about 2,000 people, and one thing that was very interesting about the survey is that they came to find that over 50% of online shoppers start their search on Amazon. That is starting their search which is really amazing that Amazon now is the default search for shopping, the majority of people will start their search, that’s an amazing thing to think about.
So people are transitioning from Google as the source for information to Amazon for specifically ecommerce. And I saw a different a study or a different survey that said Google was number two when it comes to online shoppers starting their search, and it described Google with about 25% of respondents. EBay was third with 5% and Wal-Mart was fourth with 3%, and the rest are insignificant, Jet I think are like 1%.
It also came back to say that fewer shoppers are looking at a retailer’s website. This is bad news for Wal-Mart and Target and Google and pretty much everybody except for Amazon, but one thing that’s interesting is that since Google was number two with about 25%, PLA ads might become more important. Those are the Google shopping ads you see when you search for something on Google and you see images of products, and Google is going to have to innovate there in order to stay competitive for ecommerce, so it’s going to be really interesting to see what Google will do for this.
I’ve also seen that Google Express is coming out with new ways for retailers to sell on Google Express, so that’s really cool that Google will innovate when it comes to ecommerce and provide a platform so people can sell their products through Google. So it’s probably not such a big problem for Facebook and Google as they will innovate, add products to catch up because Facebook and Google are dependent on advertising. They know that since Amazon is the biggest when it comes to ecommerce, they’re going to want a piece of that pie; they are going to keep innovating.
So what does this all mean? It means that the 80/20 here for what you should be working on is Amazon, if more than half of online shoppers start their search on Amazon, if you’re only on Amazon, you’re doing pretty good, and second to that are Google ads. You should look at Google shopping ads and you should look at other advertising methods on Google as well too. 25% of shoppers is still a pretty good number, so between more than 50% and 25% of people, you are at close to 75 to 80% of online shoppers starting their search who don’t even know anything about you, and you’ve pretty much got your base is covered.
From there you got your own website and building your email list which is critical just so you can communicate with your customers and have a little bit more control over selling online. Listing on eBay is really easy, if you sell on Amazon, you use a product like JoeLister or something else, you can use ShipStation to fulfill and you should be on eBay because it’s pretty much like a set and forget thing, and also Wal-Mart as well too, you can apply to be on the Wal-Mart marketplace. I know that they’re opening it up for more sellers, but eBay, Wal-Mart and everything else really won’t give you much of a bank for your buck, so it’s not something to focus on.
Next let’s talk about keywords ranking on Amazon. There’s still a ton of uncertainty when it comes to keywords that are ranking on Amazon, they are always changing their algorithm. I’m hearing more and more uncertainty about what’s currently ranking, what’s happening, whether it’s in your description or your bullet points or your backend keywords, some things are ranking, some things are not. I think it’s really difficult to stay totally on top of all this unless you’re constantly testing things, which is really tedious and hard.
I think for most people that these fears of being de-indexed by Amazon are largely over blown, and the reason is because Amazon is constantly tweaking and changing and trying to improve their algorithm, so how could we possibly try and keep up and know what’s happening? You’re going to drive yourself crazy, always shifting things in your backend, and changing your listing and that’s just tough.
I mean honestly I just don’t know if that’s the best way to grow your business. I think you’re better off spending your time building funnels, building advertising campaigns, building your email list and just trying to gain more control over your marketing efforts rather than trying to stay on top of Amazon completely. I think if you just focus on writing a great listing with relevant keywords, and the keyword there is actually relevant and don’t break the rules, you’re going to have a great listing that’s going to perform well, Amazon will reward you for that.
So I think you can just stay within the bounds and do everything you’re supposed to be doing, it’s going to work out for you. I’ve been hearing a lot about outside traffic helping Amazon sellers sell more, helping them rank lower which is a better thing to do. One thing that you want to make sure you do is that you send people to a landing page that you made in AMS which is Amazon Marketing Services.
Within that platform, you have to get access to it through Vendor Express which you can definitely do if you have Seller Central, you want to make a landing page through AMS, you don’t want to send people to your product page, why? Because conversion rate is a big deal and if you send a bunch of traffic to your product page, and if people aren’t converting, they aren’t buying, then Amazon is going to think that your product is less valuable and they’re going to drop you in rank organically for a variety of keywords, and that is not a good thing.
So one thing that you sacrifice is that when you send people to a landing page, it’s going to make them click one more time to get to your product itself which might be hard you say because people might fall of the funnel, and if you have to click one more time maybe they won’t buy. I say to that maybe, but I think the upside of watching out for your conversion rate and once they are on your AMS landing page they can see your other products that you sell too, that’s also potentially they may want to buy something else.
So I think it’s a good deal, I think it’s worth it, I think saving your conversion rate and giving them exposure to your other products and your brand too by the way because you could put some brand assets on your AMS landing page, you can put great photos, great imagery, great banners and you can actually include a video too. So giving them exposure to your brand is great because in this Amazon playground it’s really hard for people to get to know your brand, because they think everyone on Amazon is basically just commodity.
So send them to an AMS page, save your conversion rates, don’t worry that people aren’t going to click through, I think the upsides are better than the downsides. Reviews are always difficult to come by, now even harder to come by with more and more people opting out of Amazon’s seller emails, it’s just really getting to be a huge challenge. So what’s to do about this, I think you use influencer marketing as much as you can.
Influencer marketing is a vague term; I think people use it sometimes to talk about serious influencers with millions of followers. But it also encompasses those influencers who have Twitter accounts maybe with 100 people following or just a Mom and Pop. Maybe it’s just a stay-at-home mom or stay-at-home dad who is just a reviewer because they want to get free products. So it doesn’t necessarily mean working with celebrities, it means just working with anybody who is accustomed to receiving and reviewing products.
One thing that’s interesting is when you do this, some people will do Amazon reviews anyway, and even though it’s against terms of service to give a product away for free or at a discount in exchange for a review, I think that if there is no [inaudible 00:07:46] attached to any sort of arrangement you do with an influencer, then it’s fine if they end up doing an Amazon review because you can’t prevent anyone from doing an Amazon review on their own volition, it’s their choice if they want to do it.
So I think if you give out products to influencers and people who want to do reviews because there is still a ton of people out there who want free or discounted products in order to do reviews, they might end up doing it anyway, and that’s one good way to get around this. They also will do reviews on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and while those are less valuable, that’s still okay, and you still might be able to use the images that they post for your own marketing and still get the word out there, but I think it’s better than nothing.
I’m going to include links to influencer marketing websites in the show notes that I found, they are a ton out there, this is by no means an exhaustive list. If you just Google influencer marketing you will see a lot of stuff, I’m seeing new startups popping up all the time. I see that there is also an Amazon Seller summit in New York City, it’s called Boost with FBA, it’s on June 28th, I’m going to include a link to register for that. I’m actually going to be there because I live in New York, that’s awesome, it’s so cool that they are doing a Seller Summit in New York, it’s amazing, and it just shows that Amazon is giving respect to the sellers, that’s cool.
There is also on June 14th an Amazon’s sponsored products webinar on advanced Amazon ads strategies; it’s called Beyond the Basics with Jack Mitchell. I’m also going to include a link for that. Sign up for it and why not, it sounds cool, I’m going to check it out. You have until June 30th to use two factor authentication for your Seller Central account, and if you don’t you’re not going to be able to get into Seller Central.
This is kind of annoying to use two factor authentication, in this day and age you got to do it, it’s a no brainer in terms of protecting your account, just set it up and just do it. Two factor authentication makes your account so much more secure and I use it for Google and any other website I use that offers two factor authentication, I use it. As an Amazon seller you have to do it anyway, so I’m just talking about for your Google account too. Make sure your Google email, your Gmail, everything you do on Google uses two factor authentication, it’s just not worth it if something goes wrong.
I also saw an article that Seattle and some of these West Coast cities are introducing a soda tax. So with this soda tax, it’s actually interesting because it’s actually going to drive even more people to ecommerce. So that’s just good news I think ultimately for ecommerce sellers if the more localities tax certain goods including soda, think about all the repercussions there.
If you no longer go to the store to buy your soda because it costs you so much more money, maybe you’re going to buy in bulk on Amazon, and when you buy it on bulk on Amazon you’re going to check out all the other products you can buy on Amazon too. You’re probably going to buy a few things as long as you are on Amazon, why not, you’re going to see things as long as you check out, Amazon is going to send you related products, they’re going to send you emails.
So ultimately localities that are introducing these taxes on food products and other products too are going to drive buyers to ecommerce. Now what might happen if they start taxing ecommerce sellers or ecommerce purchases similarly to what they’re doing locally? It’s possible, you know it’s possible but for now they are not, so this will just accelerate the trend towards ecommerce and that’s good for all of us.
I also saw that Amazon is introducing Prime for people on government assistance, so I think it’s about half the price of what it is for everybody else, but if you receive government assistance I think specifically food stamps but maybe something else then you can get an Amazon Prime subscription for half the price, I think it was for three years and that also is going to accelerate the trend towards ecommerce.
Google has new enhanced cost per click ads where Google is predicting conversion probability and then they’re going to adjust your bid accordingly, so what this means is that Google is getting more into machine learning for ads, this is very cool, so to try it out. Any time somebody makes a big change with respect to advertising there is always an opportunity there, so I’m going to look into enhance CPC ads and see how they work.
I’ll talk about Shopify for a second. I’ve been seeing more spinners when you go to websites. What these are, are you go to a website and it’s a pop up, but instead of a pop up in the middle of the page, it’s a spinner usually on the left side where it’s a sweepstakes and it gives you the spin wheel and says spin to win, but you have to enter your email address. So first you enter your email address and then you spin to win.
It’s a cool idea because everybody likes to play games and people like sweepstakes and it’s fun, it’s a lot more fun than a pop up. At first I was like, well this is an amazing idea and then the more I’m on the internet and the more sites that I check out, I’m seeing it all over the place and now I’m starting to get annoyed it to be honest with you especially because I have to put my email first. I wish I could spin it and if I win then I can put my email, if I don’t win then I don’t want to.
This is something you might want to consider, I’m sure there’s tons of people out there who haven’t seen these spinners yet, and I’m sure for a short while this is going to be an effective way to get email addresses from people who visit your website. You can adjust the probability of people landing on certain parts of the spinner and you can adjust what rewards they earn for landing on certain parts of the spinner. So that’s pretty cool, you can customize it, you can give some people 15% off discount and some people 5% off, some people don’t win at all.
So you can adjust on how many people are actually going to win there. So there is a Shopify up there for this, I’m going to put that link in the show notes, it’s got good reviews, it looks cool, it’s like five to ten bucks a month, so I’m going to try, I’m still concerned about it, I think it’s because I got annoyed with it really quickly, so I’m not sure I’m going to use it myself.
For the Wall Street segment I want to talk about Amazon, again what else do we ever talk about? Amazon lending is growing, Amazon said in a Bloomberg article that they put out more than a billion dollars in small loans to sellers in the past 12 months compared to more than 1.5 billion it lent from 2011 to 2015. Now I know that they are expanding the platform because in the last 12 months I’ve personally received an invitation to Amazon lending.
I haven’t used it yet, but I saw that in the last 12 months, so that was pretty cool. It seems like they’ve gone from, hey this is kind of experimental to, hey this is a serious business for us and let’s ramp this up. Everybody’s interests are aligned; Amazon wants to give you more money so you can sell more products on Amazon.
It’s just going to make Amazon even bigger; it’s going to also give Amazon another source of revenue since now they’re turning into a little bit of a bank for the entrepreneurs who sell on their platform. They’re going to make interest money, they’re going to make sales commissions, sales fees, and more people are going to be going to go Amazon, it’s just huge. They said that more than 20,000 small businesses have received a loan from Amazon, and more than half of those have taken out a second loan from the company, so that’s really interesting.
The loans range from $1,000 to $750,000 and the interest rates are between 6% and 14%. This program is invitation only, so if you don’t have access to it yet you’ll probably get access to it soon since they’re expanding it so aggressively. You can also send a message to Seller Support to see what they will tell you. One thing I don’t like about it is that you can’t choose how much money you want to lend from them, they just give you a flat sum and they just tell you what the interest rate is.
So that’s not cool, it would be really nice if it was more of customizable because say you don’t need half a million dollars, I mean that’s pretty nerve wrecking to take out a half a million dollar loan even if you’re only paying say a 6% interest rate which is the lowest they give you. That’s still a lot, say you only need $100,000, I mean great, and I guess you could find something to do with the money but it’s a cool program, it’s awesome because I know to scale an Amazon business you need more products, and then it costs money to order these products.
All the big Amazon sellers are in debt, that’s the secret that nobody really talks about but everybody receives loans and that’s just how you grow, that’s part of the business. So that’s it for today, thanks for listening, please subscribe now so that you can be notified of new podcasts coming out. I want to know what you thought about this podcast, please email us at email@example.com, tell us if you need any help with your ecommerce business; we are at azmarketers.com, and until next time, keep selling and keep growing.