For years, just selling profitable products and finding a good niche to sell in was enough to make a successful business on Amazon – nowadays, it’s absolutely essential to add branding into the mix. It’s no longer enough to merely have a decent product and a large review moat. As competition from other brands grows across all e-commerce platforms, to develop a sustainable, successful business on Amazon you need to make building a brand around your products a priority. So, how do you go from a few products here and there to a household name and a thriving online brand that customers will trust and search for?
At BRANDED, we work diligently to transform our brands and grow them into household names. Read on for our take on how to best build your brand on Amazon and other 3rd party marketplace.
For a while now, 3rd party marketplaces have been making the move from focusing on nondescript individual products to promoting established brands – marketplaces thrive when brands are a large part of the ecosystem. Customers trust bigger, recognizable brands and this, in turn, trickles down to benefit smaller brands. Generic products just can’t build customer loyalty the way that a brand can, and returning customers mean good sales, reliable business, and scope for expansion.
That’s why brand building is critical for long term success. Although a ‘sell-it-cheap’ reselling e-commerce model may make a quick dollar, it’s nearly always a race to the bottom as competitors drive prices lower and lower. Investing in creating and nurturing a brand is a sustainable way to build a business that lasts – good brands with good products and a strong story behind them are the ones which have staying power and are scalable.
So, if you want more than just short-term financial gain, investing in your brand will not only set you up with a business that could give you a valuable ongoing customer base, but also a potentially profitable exit option. So how do you go about building a brand within marketplace parameters?
Telling your brand’s story is essential to growing your credibility and building your customer base – when customers trust your brand, their clicks are more likely to convert into sales. Have a think about your brand values – these are key to differentiating your brand from the competition as they will be the standards your company will follow and uphold to achieve your brand vision and ambitions. Your core values form a credible foundation for your brand’s storytelling and will help you stick to a firm narrative that your customers can engage with – and remember.
Also think about sharing your company’s origin story or perhaps how you developed your first products and the journey your business has been on since then. Introduce the key members of your business, and present a face behind the brand to help your customers build faith in you as a business and emotionally connect with you and your brand.
When faced with the choice of purchasing from a brand with a personality or an anonymous company, customers are more likely to go with a business they feel they can trust. It could be the difference between purchasing from you or a competitor!
Additionally, as rating performances on Amazon rely so heavily on reviews, it’s also important to consider that customers are more likely to leave a positive comment for a brand they’ve felt a connection with.
Invest in Brand Awareness and Content
Research shows that although e-commerce is still performing strongly, what once was a near-effortless race to get customer attention is becoming more difficult. As more and more products are available online, the costs of paid advertising are also rising, and it’s harder to get your product ads through the noise to get a slice of the action.
This is where strong brand building comes in. Investing in brand building means investing in marketing and advertising without expecting direct conversions or immediate sales. Produce content that breathes life into your brand, upholds those key brand values and allows your customer to connect with your story.
Knowing which is the right channel for your content is another essential consideration. If you know your audience well you can better understand the content they want to see – and tailor your messaging to fit the sphere you’re targeting. Take advantage of platforms outside of Amazon to share your story, reach out on social media, blogs on your own website, product videos on Youtube – the only limit is your imagination!
You won’t see results immediately, but with better brand recognition within your target market, you’ll get more click-throughs from search engine results and your own ads. Additionally, you’re also likely to see better reviews and a more positive reception if you’re conducting off-platform promotions or new product launches.
Your Products are the Key to Success
To build a successful and enduring brand, it’s absolutely essential to focus on your products themselves – and to think about how you can scale these to add profitability. Consider what new products you might carry and how they could fit into your vision, or how your existing products might further develop within your brand umbrella.
Ensure your quality checks are robust and your manufacturing supply chain is reliable and producing high quality products. Quality will always win out and there is little point in spending time or money building a brand when the products you are selling are poor-quality, unfit for purpose or don’t deliver on promises – your customers will soon find you out and nothing hurts a brand more than a bad reputation.
Ensure you regularly review your product claims to make sure you are staying compliant for your customers, and also so you can stay ahead of any new claims made by your competitors. To find out more about why this is so important for your brand, see our recent article on compliance here.
Determine what your product can do that others can’t. Identify and build your USPs so you can shout about them in your content and carve out your brand’s own unique space in the marketplace. If you can identify an interesting key difference in what your products offer; whether that be in features or performance, you’ll have an invaluable way to make your brand stand out from the crowd.
Use the Amazon Toolkit to Give Your Brand a Boost
As an Amazon brand, you have a wide range of tools available to you on Amazon itself, which can be invaluable to any brand wanting to increase their visibility and brand recognition with consumers.
Take advantage of getting good real estate in Amazon search results with ‘sponsored brands’ campaign tool – once you’re getting clicks on these, it’s easier to get customers hooked on your particular brand with engaging, relevant content to describe why your product meets their needs.
The ‘Amazon A+’ content tool allows you to supplement the usual product blurb with additional information to drive customer traffic to your storefront and your other products, allowing them to engage further with your brand. Showcasing that you have other products, bundles, “frequently bought together” products, etc. gives customers the impression of a full brand and builds trust. Another pro tip: spend time on a mobile friendly image so that you can make sure your product images look great, did you know more than 70% of transactions are done through mobile apps?
Good Things Come in Good Packages
Don’t forget that your brand journey continues after purchase and your customer’s brand experience comes in two parts – both the brand journey that converts your customer to a purchase, but then also the end result – when they receive and unwrap their purchase.
This is a perfect opportunity to get across a good brand storytelling experience and hammer home what your business is about. From high-quality packaging to a well written insert giving your customer more of a story about your ethos or background – there are plenty of ways to connect with your consumers. In fact, your packaging and inserts can make as much of an impact as your shopfront or ads, but with one key advantage – you’re already talking to a receptive audience.
Unboxing videos are a perfect example of how customers can have an emotional connection to your brand – using authentic user experience can be a powerful tool to persuade your audience and potential customers.
Boost Your Brand Outside of Amazon
Buyers trust brands that have more than one sales outlet and an established presence outside of Amazon increases your brand reputation and visibility. Having alternative sales and marketing channels also gives you the opportunity to start meaningful brand/customer conversations and interactions. On social media for example, your brand can target a specific audience with promotions and new product launches they’re likely to buy and boost conversions with special offers and discounts.
Hosting your brand across other platforms rather than just Amazon also gives you more protection over your brand – after all, on Amazon, all it takes is a change in rankings or a few negative reviews and you may find yourself firefighting with all your eggs in one basket. Building your brand on platforms like Facebook, Instagram or on your own website means that you can interact with your customers and mount a multi-faceted brand awareness campaign. Start a Facebook page and grow a community with hints and tips around your product or UGC on how your product can be used. For example, a homewares brand might consider posting recipes or other related content with videos of their product being used.
Building a community outside of the Amazon platform also gives you the opportunity to get to know your customers and gain insights into who is buying your products. Amazon makes it very hard for a company to access data into who is buying their product – and many Amazon sellers have very little idea as to who their customers are, and what they want. In today’s competitive marketplaces, brands need to be able to recognize the different subgroups and tribes within their market, and tailor their messaging and content. Through community pages, you have the ability to access more customer data and connect with your buyers – and so gain a more holistic view of where your brand can meet demands.
Invest in Your Brand and Grow
In summary, although there are going to be costs involved with paying more attention to the branding side of the business, the key term here is ‘invest’. By investing wisely in developing a strong and lasting brand, you can be sure that the end result will be worth it for your business, for your brand and ultimately your value for your long-term plans or exit strategy.
BRANDED’s global e-commerce specialists are experts at brand building, transforming brands with potential into loved and successful businesses. Find out more about joining the BRANDED community and see how we can truly scale your business and amplify your brand across a variety of global channels and markets.