The world of retail is undergoing seismic shifts, one of the biggest being the growing importance of direct-to-consumer (DTC) e-commerce. Today, brands are realizing that their direct-to-consumer channel provides the best way to build lasting relationships with consumers and is critical for long-term success and customer loyalty.
At the same time, it is difficult to ignore the rising domination of Amazon. In 2017, the retail giant alone accounted for a staggering 44 percent of the entire U.S. e-commerce market. For many consumers, Amazon is the default starting point when looking to buy products online.
In fact, Amazon is now the most popular product search engine on the web, surpassing even Google. Amazon has roughly three times as much volume for product searches.
This growing omnipresence means many brands selling direct-to-consumer may want to consider Amazon as a marketing tool for their brand, by leveraging the giantâs massive reach to drive awareness about their products. By looking at Amazon as a tool to promote their storefront, rather than just another sales channel, retailers can place their products in front of millions of shoppers on Amazon, while still prioritizing their DTC channel.
Amazon has finally allowed brands to have a bigger presence on its platform by creating brand-specific landing pages called Amazon Stores.
A brandâs website is often the most powerful tool for building a loyal customer base, but when done correctly, brands can use Amazonâs massive marketplace to increase brand awareness and drive ready-to-buy consumers to their own website.
Even customer-focused mega brand Nike decided that they need to have exposure on Amazonâs marketplace in order to stay competitive.
Brands can take advantage of Amazonâs reach to drive traffic to their DTC channels while maintaining control over pricing, brand equity and brand polish. Remember, the goal is to prioritize DTC to stay close to the consumer, but to use Amazon to market to and connect with potential new buyers. Via a set of tactics, the brand can encourage those consumers to visit their website for a wider set of options, special offers or discounts. Here are four ways to do that:
Use Amazon as a lead-generation tool: Brands can use Amazon as a lead-generating platform by strategically listing only a few products or product variations on the platform, and then directing consumers to their site for a broader selection of choices.
Brands are able to benefit from Amazonâs reach and search traffic in order to drive consumer interest back to their owned-and-operated website. This way, they can directly nurture the customer relationship.
To put this strategy in action, a brand of high-end headphones, for example, might sell only a very limited number of SKUs on Amazonâperhaps its most affordable, basic modelsâbut it would offer a wider array of options (think colors, sizes, etc.) on its website, encouraging consumers to visit the brand-owned site for the best products.
Gain visibility through Amazon search ads: Amazonâs search marketing platform, called Amazon Marketing Services (AMS), has seen rapid growth and is challenging Google for ad revenue dollars. With Amazon being the largest search engine for products, brands should consider taking advantage of its marketing potential.
Sponsored Product Ads and Headline Search Ads are excellent ways for brands to gain visibility on the worldâs largest eCommerce platform when consumers are searching for products like their own.
Create a compelling brand experience with an Amazon Store: Amazon has finally allowed brands to have a bigger presence on its platform by creating brand-specific landing pages called Amazon Stores. These pages allow brands to create a unique profile to showcase their products through large hero images and videos, as well as highlight the companyâs culture and history. Dime Bags, a DTC line of urban backpacks, does an excellent job of showing off its brand functionality and quality on its Amazon Store.
An Amazon Store can be a compelling way to market a select lineup of products and to emphasize your brandâs vision and style.
Think of Amazon as an SEO play: Because of the sheer volume of product searches that happen on its site, Amazon has incredible SEO superpowers. Itâs very likely that Amazonâs product listings will outrank your own pages for any given keyword search on Google. You can cry about this, or you can see it as an opportunity to optimize your brandâs product listings on Amazon to gain more visibility for your brand.
Long-term success and loyal customers come with a solid direct-to-consumer strategy, and brands can make the most of their DTC strategy by leveraging the most effective marketing channels. For many brands today, Amazon should not be seen as a competitor, but as a marketing tool used to pique the interest of consumers, in turn, driving users to their direct-to-consumer site for a superior experience.
Scalefast provides e-commerce technology and services to consumer brands.