Archive for April, 2021

Client Success Story: Retail Readiness & Optimized Ad Campaigns Triple Amazon Sales

Client Success Story: Retail Readiness & Optimized Ad Campaigns Triple Amazon Sales

Brighter Blooms Nursery offers a wide variety of ready-to-bloom shrubs, trees, and plants for gardening enthusiasts in every part of the United States. Since launching in 2007, they have become one of the nation’s largest online gardening suppliers. Seeking to continue its growth momentum with a strong presence on Amazon, Brighter Blooms partnered with Channel Key to help drive sales growth.

The Challenge

As an online nursery, the team at Brighter Blooms understood the market potential of offering their products on the Amazon platform. After building their listings themselves, they quickly discovered that many Brighter Blooms products were underperforming despite ranking on Page 1. The challenge was to identify the root of the problem and implement a cost-effective plan that would drive traffic and sales while maintaining a high organic search ranking.

The Solution

Brighter Blooms worked with Amazon channel management agency Channel Key to customize and implement a strategy that would achieve two primary goals: 1) improve the quality of content for the company’s product listings; and 2) drive traffic that would result in higher conversion rates.

Utilizing a proprietary algorithm, Channel Key conducted an in-depth analysis to identify the best keyword opportunities by incorporating numerous critical marketplace factors including competition and search volume. After analyzing the results, Channel Key proposed a two-pronged approach designed to increase sales velocity, maintain page one organic search rankings, and increase marketplace reach by expanding into a broader search. This involved fully optimizing listings to enhance the shopping experience and increasing product visibility through aggressive Sponsored Product Ads.

Channel Key’s Optimized Marketplace Content Listing strategy included enhancing listings with keyword-focused product titles, high-quality images, descriptive bullet points, and A+ Content. In total, Channel Key created 175 optimized product listings and 56 pages of A+ Content.

To drive traffic and higher conversion rates, Channel Key executed a marketing strategy that included 113 customized campaigns focusing on four key areas: 1) Brand Protection; 2) Top Performing Keywords; 3) Category Targeting; and 4) Specific Product Targeting. To maximize performance, each campaign underwent a preliminary CPC launch followed by two weeks of monitoring and adjustments. Once the ad campaigns were fully optimized, Channel Key increased the ad budgets of the highest-performing campaigns to bolster sales and increase the total RoAS, all of which were tracked with detailed data reports.

The Result

Channel Key’s content and marketing plan for Brighter Blooms was fully implemented by the beginning of the gardening season, which typically runs from March until the first frost. In just two months, Brighter Blooms saw a dramatic increase in conversions. Year-over-Year sales from April 2019 to 2020 increased by 268%, while conversion rates increased from 3.02% to 4.94%, respectively. During the summer of 2020, Brighter Blooms experienced such high demand that they paused their Amazon account to replenish inventory. Despite this challenge, year-over sales from March 2020 to 2021 still increased by another 73%. Overall, the success of Channel Key’s Amazon Marketplace strategy more than tripled the company’s Amazon sales over the course of two years, underscoring the importance of utilizing gold standard listings and optimized advertising campaigns to drive traffic and convert sales.


ABOUT CHANNEL KEY

Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate nearly $500M in Amazon sales for brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much more. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business, contact us today for a free consultation.


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How Manufacturing Firms Can Leverage Amazon’s B2B Platform for Scalable Growth

How Manufacturing Firms Can Leverage Amazon’s B2B Platform for Scalable Growth

It’s no secret that Amazon has changed the way businesses reach customers. The e-commerce giant has disrupted virtually every industry. Despite Amazon’s rapid expansion in the retail sector, many businesses are still unaware of how Amazon’s B2B marketplace can unlock the potential for unlimited growth. In particular, manufacturing firms have a unique opportunity to develop a powerful and profitable sales channel by leveraging Amazon’s increasingly robust business-side platform. Read on to learn more about how Amazon Business can help manufacturing firms stay competitive in today’s changing business landscape.

What is Amazon Business?

Whether shopping for home or work, customer’s value Amazon’s retail marketplace for its convenience, selection, and value. Businesses and organizations, however, have different needs. Amazon’s Business platform was created specifically to help B2B companies reach their target customers with the same efficiency and scope as retail brands.

With business-relevant selections, innovative tools, and features like Business Prime, businesses and organizations of any size can simplify buying and selling, and drive toward their next stage of growth. Amazon Business helps leaders reshape the purchasing process to move their organizations forward – and it continues to expand. Millions of business customers from industries around the world currently purchase on Amazon Business, including:

  • 55 of the Fortune 100 companies
  • More than half of the 100 largest U.S. hospital systems
  • Over 40 percent of the 100 most populous local governments in the U.S.

Key Benefits of Amazon Business for Manufacturing Firms

Amazon Business helps leaders digitize and automate procurement with powerful management controls and analytic tools—all within the familiar experience of Amazon. The platform supports manufacturers and distributors across a wide range of product categories such as healthcare, lab and science, industrial, MRO, IT, hospitality and food service, office, breakroom, and more.

As an Amazon Business Seller, you have access to tools and features that can help you effectively sell products on Amazon Business, better distinguish your company from other businesses, and increase your discoverability among business buyers. These features include enhanced seller profiles, ownership and quality certifications, and Business Prime shipping.

Some key features offered in the Amazon Business Seller program include:

  • Business pricing: The ability to offer prices only available to customers on Amazon Business.
  • Quantity Discounts: Access pricing features that make it easier for customers to buy from you in quantities starting at tiers of just two items, and to request special pricing on even larger purchases.
  • Certifications: Claim quality, diversity, and ownership certifications to help your company stand out to business customers who are looking to learn more about their suppliers.
  • Tax exemption: Extend tax exemption on qualified purchases to customers that participate in the Amazon Tax Exemption Program, such as nonprofit organizations.
  • Enhanced seller profile: Showcase your logo, tell buyers more about your company, and display your quality and diversity certifications.

Amazon Business is currently available in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, and India.

SETACC Grants Support Expansion via Amazon Business

The Southeastern Trade Adjustment Assistance Center (SETAAC), operated by the Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute, provides up to $75,000 of matching funds for third-party consultants to help businesses that have experienced declines in monthly net sales and employment as a direct result of import competition. Eligible manufacturing firms contribute a matching share to create and implement their respective recovery plan.

As an approved vendor for SETAAC grants, Channel Key can help import-impacted U.S. manufacturing firms develop and implement a robust Amazon Business marketplace strategy to regain global competitiveness, expand markets, strengthen operations, and increase profitability. This requires the high-level execution and synergy of numerous key business functions, including business operations, supply chain management, data feed management, listing optimization, marketing strategy, and technology integration.

Effectively growing your manufacturing firm on Amazon’s competitive platform also requires a team of experienced professionals who each specialize in a particular area. Partnering with Channel Key puts your Amazon operations in the capable hands of an entire network of professional Amazon sellers, former Amazon insiders, marketing and advertising specialists, graphics and content experts, reporting analysts, and much more. As an acknowledged Amazon partner and Global Advertising Partner Network (GAPD) member, Channel Key has a proven track record of developing winning strategies and maintaining long-term sustainable Amazon businesses.

Channel Key is happy to provide a free, no-commitment marketplace analysis detailing your sales potential on Amazon Business. To learn more about this report or for more information about growing your manufacturing firm on Amazon, please contact Corey Heim via the link below.

Click here to schedule a meeting with Corey

 


ABOUT CHANNEL KEY

Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate nearly $500M in Amazon sales for brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much more. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business, contact us today for a free consultation.


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Amazon FBA Fees Increase for Sellers in June 2021

Amazon FBA Fees Increase for Sellers in June 2021

Amazon has announced several fee changes that will soon affect FBA sellers in the U.S. Among the most impactful to brands will be adjustments to fulfillment fees, which will increase by about 2-3% on average. In addition to these changes, Amazon also announced reductions in certain fees, which the company says reflects feedback received from sellers. To help you better understand these adjustments and how they will impact your brand, we’ve compiled and detailed the most important Amazon FBA fee changes that will take effect on June 1, 2021.

JUMP TO SECTION:

2021 FBA Fulfillment Fee Changes

2021 Amazon Referral and Program Fee Changes

2021 FBA Returns Processing Fee Changes

2021 FBA New Selection Program Changes

2021 FBA Small and Light Fee Changes


2021 FBA Fulfillment Fee Changes

Among the most important upcoming changes will be increases to Amazon’s FBA fulfillment fees, which are divided into Non-Apparel and Apparel via the two tables below.

Core FBA Fulfillment Fees (Non-Apparel):

1Lithium batteries and items that contain or are sold with them incur an additional $0.11 per-unit fulfillment fee.

2Due to removal of the packaging weight adjustments, items previously in the 1+ to 2 lb. size tier ($4.90) now fall in the 12+ to 16 oz tier (small standard – $3.32, large standard – $4.25).

FBA Fulfillment Fees Changes for Apparel:


Amazon Referral and Program Fee Changes

Amazon provides tools and programs to help brands access more customers worldwide through the Amazon store. Amazon referral fees cover some of the costs associated with these programs while reflecting broader industry trends. To help minimize your up-front costs, Amazon charges referral fees only when you make a sale. Referral fees are based on the total sales price, which includes the item price and any shipping or gift wrap charges. Below is the full list of Amazon referral and program fee changes that will take effect June 1, 2021:

Referral Fee Changes

  • Full-Size Appliances
    Starting June 1, 2021, Amazon will split Appliances into Full-Size and Compact categories, and lower the fee for Full-Size Appliances to 8% while keeping the fee for the Compact category unchanged.
  • Personal Computers
    Starting June 1, 2021, Amazon will raise the referral fee for the Personal Computers category from 6% to 8% to align with other electronic device categories.
  • Veterinary Diets
    Starting June 1, 2021, Amazon will implement a supplemental 7% fee increase in the new Veterinary Diets pet food category (see Veterinary Diets FAQs), bringing the new referral fee to 22% for this sub-category of pet products. This fee increase covers the cost of maintaining the veterinarian confirmation process for Veterinary Diets, including the cost for a licensed veterinary service provider. The referral fee percentage will remain at 15% for all other pet products.

Program Fee Changes

  • Renewed Program
    Starting June 1, 2021, in addition to standard category referral fees, products sold within the Amazon Renewed program will be charged a Renewed program fee depending on the category. Renewed cell phone devices and unlocked cell phones will be charged 2% on top of standard category referral fees. All other Renewed products will be charged 1% on top of standard category referral fees.

2021 FBA Returns Processing Fee Changes

Amazon will reduce the returns processing fee for customer-returned products in the Apparel and Shoe categories. Amazon will eliminate the returns processing fee for customer-returned products in the Watches, Jewelry, Luggage, Handbags, and Sunglasses categories. The full list of FBA Returns Processing Fee changes is detailed in the two tables below:

Apparel and Shoes:

 Watches, Jewelry, Luggage, Handbags, and Sunglasses:


FBA New Selection Program

Last April, Amazon announced the FBA New Selection program. Since then, more than 60,000 enrolled sellers have sent over 680,000 new-to-FBA ASINs to fulfillment centers. In response to the feedback Amazon has received, the company announced it is expanding the program for 2021. The new benefits are included below:

  • Oversize Item Eligibility
    On April 1, 2021, for up to 30 units per parent ASIN, Amazon began providing free storage for up to 90 days and free removals for up to 180 days for eligible oversize items.
  • No ASIN Limit
    On April 1, 2021, Amazon removed the 500-ASIN limit, allowing an unlimited amount of eligible, new-to-FBA parent ASINs to qualify for program benefits.
  • Improved Benefits for Apparel and Shoes
    On April 1, 2021, for eligible standard-size ASINs in the Apparel and Shoe categories, Amazon increased the free storage benefit from 50 units to 100 units per parent ASIN and extend the storage fee waiver duration from 90 days to 120 days. In addition, Amazon increased the free removals benefit from 50 units to 100 units per parent ASIN for 180 days. Eligibility for the customer returns processing fee waiver will be extended from 120 days to 180 days, and the waiver will apply to 20 units instead of 50 units per parent ASIN.
  • Sponsored Ads
    On April 1, 2021, Amazon began offering up to $200 in sponsored ads promotional clicks and free advertising campaign creation for new-to-FBA sellers.

*All fee waiver benefits are tracked from the date the ASIN is first received at a fulfillment center.


FBA Small and Light Fee Changes

On June 1, 2021, the following FBA Small and Light program fee changes will take effect, unless otherwise noted:

  • The weight limit for FBA Small and Light will increase from 10 to 12 oz.
  • The size limit of the longest side will increase from 16 to 18 inches, median side from 9 to 14 inches, and shortest side from 4 to 8 inches.
  • Amazon will eliminate the packaging weight adjustment to the rate card calculation.
  • Amazon will align its product size tiers with the upcoming changes to core FBA for standard-size products 12 oz and below, while offering lower fulfillment fees compared to core FBA.
  • Amazon will continue charging $0.10 per unit for the optional FBA Label Service for Small and Light items.
  • Unless otherwise specified, Amazon will continue to charge all other fees (examples include storage fees, removal, and disposal fees) as core FBA.


ABOUT CHANNEL KEY

Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate nearly $500M in Amazon sales for retail brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much more. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business, contact us today for a free consultation.


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How Pet Brands Can Leverage Amazon to Win New Customers and Increase Sales

How Pet Brands Can Leverage Amazon to Win New Customers and Increase Sales

E-Commerce Helps Pet Industry Surpass $100 Billion

Pet brand owners have a good reason to be optimistic. In late March, the American Pet Products Association (APPA) announced the industry had reached a historic milestone. In its 2021 State of the Industry Report, the APPA confirmed that pet industry sales set a record of $103.6 billion in 2020, a 6.7% increase from the previous year.

“We have reached a critical milestone, generating $103.6 billion in sales,” said Steve King, President and CEO of APPA. “We are bullish for the coming year, projecting growth of 5.8% – well above the historical average of 3 to 4%. This past year presented a host of challenges that resulted in consumers across the country turning to their pets for comfort and companionship. Interestingly, the product trends we are seeing in the pet care community mirror those of consumers – a desire for a healthier lifestyle, increased focus on fitness, turning to supplements for improved well-being, and technology playing a larger role in everyday life.”

The APPA reports that the global shift to e-commerce, accelerated by the pandemic, directly impacted the pet industry as people spent more time at home with their pets. As noted by King, the APPA forecasts this growth in pet industry sales to continue to climb, with above-average projections of 5.8% to reach $109.6 billion this year. Additional data from the APPA includes the following insights:

  • 47% of pet owners report they increased the number of times they purchased pet products online in 2020
  • 30% of pet owners spent more on their pet/pet supplies in the past year; only 10% say they spent less
  • Vets experienced a 50% increase in new pets per week from March through August 2020

Channel Key Client Data Coincides with APPA Report Insights

As a full-service channel management marketplace agency with a proven track record of helping brands in the pet category succeed on Amazon, Channel Key can confirm that some of our clients are experiencing changes that align with the APPA report – including the need to both prepare for and adapt to challenges related to the growth of e-commerce.

For example, one of our clients provides all-natural treats for dogs. During Spring of 2020, the number of units sold along with total overall sales increased by more than 30% MoM on Amazon. The sudden spike created inventory issues for our clients as they struggled to keep up with demand. To avoid the risk of running out of stock on these items, Channel Key helped our client pivot their marketing strategy to focus on products that were not bestsellers until inventory for their most popular products could be replenished. Despite challenges in the market, our client saw a 44% total YoY growth in Amazon sales from 2019 to 2020.

The Shift to E-Commerce Provides an Opportunity for Pet Brands to Attract New Customers

According to the APPA’s 2021 forecast, nearly half of all pet owners increased the number of times they purchased pet products online within the past year. This translates to a significant increase in online searches for pet products, which presents a powerful opportunity for brands to win and retain new customers. Brands in the pet industry that embrace this global shift to e-commerce with marketplace strategies and tactics that are proven to drive traffic, increase brand awareness, and convert sales will have a strong advantage over their competitors.

That said, this opportunity may not last long. Online marketplaces are becoming more crowded by the day. There are currently more than six million 3rd party sellers on Amazon, an increase from 2.5 million just two years ago. In other words, each day counts. The longer pet brands wait to establish their presence on platforms like Amazon, the more competitive these marketplaces will grow. At this point, each day is an opportunity to increase your brand awareness online, which will translate into more conversion power behind your ads in the future when they are shown against those of competitors with less awareness.

Fortunately, the shift to online shopping for pet owners is still in its early stages. Channel Key has developed a robust, multipronged strategy designed specifically to help brands in the pet category win new customers. While this information is reserved for Channel Key clients, we are happy to share that certain marketing levers such as Sponsored Brands have improved new customer acquisition by an average of 40%.

How to Measure Success for Winning New-to-Brand Customers in the Pet Industry on Amazon

Implementing a calculated combination of marketing and advertising campaigns is only part of the solution that will help pet brands successfully win new customers. Another is analyzing the results and making appropriate changes to maximize the performance of your campaigns.

One of the most valuable analytics tools that Amazon provides to brand owners is new-to-brand metrics. These analytics determine whether an ad-attributed purchase was made by an existing customer or one buying a brand’s product on Amazon for the first time over the prior year. With new-to-brand, advertisers receive campaign performance metrics such as total new-to-brand purchases and sales, new-to-brand order rate, and cost per new-to-brand customer. This information helps estimate the cost of acquiring new customers on Amazon and identifying the most efficient channels and tactics to achieve their campaign goals. Currently, Amazon provides the following new-to-brand metrics:

  • New-to-brand orders: The number of first-time orders for products within the brand over a one-year look-back window
  • New-to-brand sales: The total sales of new-to-brand orders
  • % of orders new-to-brand: The percentage of total orders that are new-to-brand orders
  • % of sales new-to-brand: The total sales of new-to-brand purchases
  • New-to-brand units: The number of units from first-time orders for products within the brand over a one-year look-back window
  • % of units new-to-brand: The percentage of total units that are units from new-to-brand orders
  • New-to-brand order rate: The number of new-to-brand orders relative to the number of clicks

These analytics tools – along with an effective use of marketing and advertising – will provide a powerful advantage to pet brands that seek to grow their e-commerce channels into a significant source of revenue.

CHANNEL KEY TAKEAWAY

Like most markets, the pet industry is changing. Pet owners are not only forecast to purchase more pet products than ever before, but the APPA also reports these customers will buy more pet food, pet supplies, pet accessories and other related items on e-commerce marketplaces in 2021 and 2021. As the largest online retailer in the world, it should be no surprise that Amazon will fuel the greatest percentage of these purchases. After all, Amazon is now the #1 platform where customers discover new brands, which includes a rapidly growing base of pet owners. Unfortunately, not all brands in the pet category will reap the same rewards. Those that move quickly to embrace the shift toward e-commerce will be better positioned, but that alone will not guarantee success. Selling on Amazon is no easy feat nowadays – especially when you are new to the marketplace or do not have the in-house expertise to compete against larger brands that have more awareness and resources. The good news is, with the right help and guidance, the current e-commerce landscape provides a viable opportunity for any pet brand to compete effectively, gain market share, and grow their customer base.

ABOUT CHANNEL KEY

Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate nearly $500M in Amazon sales for retail brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much more. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business, contact us today for a free consultation.


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