ER 006: New Market Research Tool, Emojis in Checkout, Australia, Brand Registry, Amazon + Whole Foods and You, Walmart Disappoints
This is The Ecommerce Roundup, Podcast 6, today is June 23, 2017, I’m your host Bryan, and here’s the ecommerce news roundup for this week –
Last Thursday I published episode 5, and as luck would have it, Amazon announced it’s shocking Whole Foods acquisition Friday morning.
This is such major news I thought about doing a podcast on Friday to talk about it, but I figured I’d let the chips call to see what happened, hear the opinions from the other ecommerce gurus first, and then wrap things up for you nicely here and now.
So I’m going to reverse what I usually do and right now we’re going to do the Wall Street segment first. Then get into the ecomm strategy stuff after.
First of all I think it’s incredibly impressive that nobody saw this acquisition coming and just how quickly it all happened. I heard that Amazon and Whole Foods people first started talking about this just 6 weeks before it was announced, and they met on a blind date through a mutual friend.
There’s a funny Business Insider article that quotes the CEO of Whole Foods gushing over Amazon, talking about how it was love at first sight, and how a year and a half ago he had a dream that Amazon bought whole food.
I’ll link the article in the show notes: http://www.businessinsider.com/amazons-deal-for-whole-foods-went-down-2017-6
He also spoke about all the ways they could work together and I think as ecommerce sellers, this also makes us drool with anticipation.
Although ecommerce is growing and the future clearly belongs to ecommerce, brick and mortar retail is still the vast majority of retail sales. And it’ll be that way for a while.
I don’t want to spend much time on this since there are tons of articles and opinion pieces out there now on whether Amazon is a monopoly and or how this is such a game changer for retail.
The reality is we don’t know what’s going to happen. And for all of us, it’s now just a matter of wait and see.
But as an ecommerce and Amazon seller, Amazon just now purchased over 400 Whole Foods stores that can now be used as warehouses for retail shopping and for shipping products to customers. Additionally, they also just purchased Whole Foods’ distribution network.
I think the largest takeaway here for an ecommerce seller is that if you do well on Amazon, it might give you a shot of getting into their new retail locations, which are Whole Foods and the rumored Amazon stores that will open up.
This is what’s happening with books too. I recently went to the Amazon book store in New York. It’s a cool store with some high tech features but what’s most striking is the obvious. They stock books that sell well on Amazon. So similarly, if you sell well on Amazon, then they’ll likely stock you in their retail stores in the future. And that’s pretty amazing.
One other quick thought. Whole Foods has its own private label brand called 365. Amazon has its Amazon basics private label brand as well as others. If you sell a product that competes against one of these should you pack up and close up shop? No. It’s too early to tell. But you should think about ways you can grow your customer loyalty or expand your product line to insulate yourself against this. Which to be honest, isn’t new news anyway because you should always be growing customer loyalty and thinking of ways to expand your product line.
While Amazon bought Whole Foods and disrupted an entire industry, Walmart purchased Bonobos on the same day last week.
Bonobos is like J Crew, except men’s only I think, and also primarily sold online.
This gives us a clue as to the priorities of these two companies. I think Walmart’s purchase of Bonobos makes zero sense. It’s a high end brand. Walmart serves the low end. I get it that Walmart wants to go high end to take Amazon’s customers. But this won’t work. Clothing companies are getting killed by fast fashion right now. Gap, J Crew, all of them are having issues. So Walmart buys a brand that alienates their customers? It’s dumb.
Instead of Walmart investing in their third party marketplace to make it as good as Amazon’s they spend their money on a brand that might not be around in a few years. Their eye is off the ball and they don’t see where the future is headed.
I know sellers who sell on Walmart, and the volumes are lower than they are on eBay. It’s a nothing. Moral of the story? List your products on Walmart if you can but ignore it for now. They’re not interested in you. Amazon will continue to dominate for now.
By the way what if Amazon now bought Walgreens? Where’d they’d have a national drugstore chain. Can you imagine? Then it would be game over.
What’s the reaction to the Amazon Whole Foods love affair?
Grocery stocks tanking in the US and in Europe. Even retail stocks hurting in anticipation of this marriage.
For good reason, competing companies are terrified.
Amazon is the most exciting company in the world right now. They’re always innovating and executing. They move fast. And they don’t care about profit margins! Bezos is famous for saying that your margin is his opportunity.
Presumably he’s going to keep that mantra. And so yes, there is good reason for other companies to worry.
Also, Sears Canada declared bankruptcy. It’s now only a matter of time before Sears in the US does the same.
Sears’ largest shareholder is also one of its largest creditors, so even if the company goes bust the largest shareholder is still making money. That’s sad and interests are misaligned here. Sears missed the move to ecommerce and they don’t innovate. Unless something drastic happens it’s going to be over.
Alright, finally, let’s get into the ecommerce news that affects us this week
Amazon announced Prime wardrobe which lets you try on and return clothes for free. You pick and choose what you want shipped to you, then you only pay for what you keep.
If you sell clothing on Amazon, this is awesome news. I haven’t seen anything that suggests third party sellers can participate in this program, but if it’s a success then I imagine that it’s only a matter of time before third party clothing sellers can participate in this.
This move is just going to encourage more people to buy their clothing on Amazon, which benefits you anyway if you sell clothing on Amazon, because all ships rise with the tide, and Amazon is showing us that they really want to sell more clothing. If you don’t currently sell clothing, then maybe you should start thinking about it!
Clothing is easy to make and the margins can be huge. The problem is that since there are low barriers to entry and you can charge a lot of money, it’s competitive. But as an ecommerce seller, you don’t shy away from competition do you?
The jewelry category is now open for sponsored products. If you sell Jewelry, get into this right now.
Jewelry is also like clothing. Easy to make and high margins. Maybe we should all also start selling jewelry!
Amazon opening up their ad products to jewelry is also good news. More ways to market equals more sales.
Did you know that there are weekly sponsored products webinars to help you? I sat in on one and I didn’t learn that much to be honest, however, these will probably improve with time and Amazon does add new features to sponsored products, so if you’re confused about something it’s a good idea to play one of these webinars in the background when you have some other mindless work going on like checking email or just skimming the news.
I’ll drop a link here in the show notes for you to sign up for it: https://events-na2.adobeconnect.com/content/connect/c1/987868032/en/events/catalog.html
If you’re doing a lot of product research with Jungle Scout or Unicorn Smasher, I suggest you stop and quickly take a look at Viral Launch’s Market Intelligence.
They give you a free trial and then after that it’s $10 a month, which is a no brainer.
Why is this so much better than the others?
The other tools give you data as a snapshot in time when you’re looking for products.
This tool aggregates Amazon data over the course of years and pulls it all together for you. I’m not an affiliate but I’m just telling you straight, this is the most sophisticated product research tool out right now.
The good news is this makes product research super easy.
The bad news is that everything is going to become more competitive because of this.
The link for this product is in the show notes too: https://viral-launch.com/market-intelligence.html
Amazon Australia is coming. Soon you’ll be able to sell your products in Australia. Great, right? Yes, but this is way overhyped. Australia has a smaller population than Canada, and unless Australians are doing a ton of their shopping online, this will barely move the needle for you. Everyone is going to say, be first in Australia and dominate before there’s competition. And while it’s true that it’s easier without competition, Australia is also far away for getting product there and like I said the population is small.
It’s a far better use of your time to get Amazon US, Canada, Germany, UK, Japan, and Europe rolling strong before going to Australia.
If you think I’m wrong and you’re going for Australia as soon as possible before getting your other ducks in a row then have at it. There’s a link in the show notes for a guide on getting it set up: https://importdojo.com/importing-to-australia-guide/
Amazon is now selling Nike shoes directly. This is great. Finally Amazon is taking on fakes and counterfeits.
I hope brand registry 2.0 solves this problem completely.
Brand registry 2.0 is still rolling out. There still isn’t clarity on it. There’s a link in the show notes for reading more about what’s up to date with the new Brand Registry: https://www.sellerlabs.com/blog/amazon-nike-restrictions-brand-registry-2-0/
If you haven’t yet, you can start the brand registry signup process now or you can wait. But know that it’s still murky on details.
The advantage of brand registry, besides brand protection of course, is that you get access to enhanced brand content on your amazon listing, which I believe is always a good idea because it helps you sell your product with images and gives you more space to tell your product story.
I’m going to wrap up with a little hack where you can put emojis in product descriptions and upsell shoppers when they check out.
You do this by making an external benefits promotion.
Here’s how it works if you do this –
Right before the buyer clicks “Place my Order” a popup will show saying “Please Note: An Important Message About Items in Your Cart,” giving you one final chance to make an upsell.
As part of the promotion setup, you can choose what text to display on the detail page, and by including emojis here, they’ll be activated on the results page when people search for your product.
There’s a good article tutorial on how to set this up by CPC Strategy, whcih of course I’ll drop a link for: http://www.cpcstrategy.com/blog/2017/06/emojis-amazon-descriptions/
Here now I’m reading from the article for things to know. It says –
Note: The EXTERNAL BENEFITS promotion, is not an actual promo. There is no discount, no deal, rather it’s a “fake” promo that doesn’t actually do anything, except allow you to display custom messaging. If you intend to run real promotions or sales in conjunction with this messaging, you’ll need to create separate promotions to support that.
So why is this good?
Well, emojis attract attention, so it could attract more eyeballs to your listing rather than to your competitors.
You get another message to the buyer on the checkout page. You can use this opportunity to tell them about your other products, or remind them about a discount code if they buy multiple units, or just thank them for being awesome.
I haven’t seen anything that suggests that this is against Terms of Service, so I’d go ahead and try this out for you to see if it helps you sell more.
So, that’s it for today. Thanks for listing. Please hit subscribe now so you can be notified of new podcasts coming. What did you think about this podcast? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us. And if you need any help with your Ecommerce business, we’re at azmarketers.com.
Until next time, keep selling and keep growing.