If you’re a regular blog visitor, you’ll know that 2019 has been a very busy year for the team here at Clear Ads. We have criss-crossed the world attending Amazon conferences and seminars with trips to the US and Europe seemingly each month. In November, we stayed a little closer to home as Clear Ads’ George Meressa and Ronald Katamba received an invitation to visit Amazon’s headquarters in London along with a few agencies and large Amazon Vendors.
The Amazon visit was a great opportunity to learn more about upcoming initiatives and gain some valuable insight and advice straight from the horse’s mouth. The reason we are so active at conferences and expos is that we believe in continuous learning and this invitation certainly promised to help us build our knowledge base.
The day’s agenda looked like this:
- Becoming retail-ready for Q4.
- Amazon DSP and where it’s future is heading.
- Amazon Storefronts and updates recently launched.
- Amazon’s Transparency program.
Session 1: Q4 Becoming retail-ready
In this session, the Amazon expert shared a series of interesting statistics which highlighted the growth year-on-year seen by Amazon sellers. The numbers were astonishing to say the least.
The Amazon data showed that the average sales increase last quarter was 2.9%. Amazon advises advertisers to increase their advertising activities from the 1st of November as this is when a lot of shoppers begin their Christmas research. Earlier and longer is very much the order of the day. Amazon suggested that advertising spend should be scaled up by 200% in this period but, we must say that we take this figure with a pinch of salt and advise caution. It’s always better to make those decision based on your own campaign data.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are arguably the two biggest shopping days of the year and are hotly anticipated by vendors who can almost certainly expect to see a spike in sales. From the data we saw, it appears that the increase in purchases now takes place throughout the entire Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend rather than just on the two nominated shopping days. This means that instead of having two days of increased sales, the uplift continues through the weekend. This data was backed by several case studies.
New to brand was shown to increase by more than 240% which is another reason to ensure that exposure of your products on Sponsored Product Ads is turned up in anticipation of the holiday shopping window in order to maximise sales opportunities. Amazon says bids are typically increased by 2x or 3x to guarantee exposure above the fold on the search result pages. We advise doing this with only the best performing campaigns/products and as always, performance should be watched very carefully to ensure wasted budget is minimised.
Session 2: Amazon DSP (Demand Side Platform)
One of the Amazon DSP specialists was up next and spoke to us about the capabilities of this form of programmatic advertising, giving everyone in the room a basic understanding of Amazon’s platforms. George and Ronald were the only two people present to have any experience on Amazon DSP. It was refreshing to get answers from a DSP specialist on the difference between lifestyle and In-Market segments and how to utilise these two forms of targeting to maximise return through DSP on Amazon O&O (Owned & Operated).
We were also told that contextual targeting is a feature that can be done within Amazon O&O as well as the open exchange. The date in which it will be made available to Amazon DSP self-serve has not been made clear.
Session 3: Amazon Storefronts
According to Amazon, 80% of shoppers who visit Amazon buy a product from a brand they have never purchased from in the past. Storefronts are therefore important as they allow sellers to showcase the variety of products sold and provide a place to share the brand story to engage with this captive audience.
Here are just a few updates made to the Amazon Storefront of late:
- Deal Widgets
Brands can choose to create a list of deals on the deals widget by uploading a specific list of ASINS they want to show. This allows brands to create a deal widget specific to a category/subcategory and decide which order the deals are shown in.
- Product Grids Infinite Scroll
In the past, shoppers needed to click on “show more” to load up more products. This is no longer the case as a never-ending list of ASINS is now presented. This allows shoppers to see the full selection of products in a single grid when it contains a large list of ASINS.
- Out of stock (OOS) Removal Option
Using manual product grids, brands can choose to hide ASINs that are out of stock automatically. This was a huge pain point for brands with a wide variety of products as products would go out of stock on a regular basis. This new feature brought up the question, how long would it take for Amazon to realise a product is out of stock and have it back up on the Storefront?
- Stores Scheduling
You now have the ability to schedule the exact date your new storefront or any updates are published.
In addition, there are now three options with store scheduling:
- Publish as soon as approved.
- Publish on a start date.
- Publish on a start date with an end time and then revert back to the previous design.
- Subscribe & Save and Pantry Program
The Pantry Program and Subscribe & Save have both now been permitted in Amazon Stores worldwide.
The main themed question to come from the subject of storefronts was guidance on how best to optimise a storefront so it organically ranks better on Google. As Storefronts seem to be outranking individual products on the organic Google search results, this was a topic that everyone was interested in. This is a question that kept flying around with no clear answer. Amazon did confirm that they have not produced any guidelines on this so we think it’s a case of watch this space.
Subscribe & Save and Pantry Program
The Pantry Program and Subscribe & Save have now been permitted in Amazon Stores worldwide.
The main themed question to come from the subject of storefronts was guidance on how best to optimise your storefront so it organically ranks better on Google. As Storefronts seem to be outranking individual products on the organic Google search results it was something everyone was interested in. This is a question that kept flying around with no clear answer. Amazon did confirm that they have not produced any guidelines on this.
Session 4: Transparency by Amazon Program
Transparency is an item-level authentication service founded by Amazon that helps vendors protect their brand and customers from counterfeits. This is a program that was rolled out in the US 3 years ago. It has been available in the UK from November 2019. Stefanie Knauer, the partner manager at Transparency by Amazon, flew in from Munich to talk through the benefits of this program for sellers.
We heard that this service proactively prevent counterfeits of transparency enabled products from reaching customers and allows customers to authenticate any transparency enabled products. Since this program has been put in place, there have been 0 incidences of counterfeiting.