Are you ready to take your brand to the next level on the Amazon Marketplace? Look no further — we’ve got the tips, tricks and systems to elevate your brand. On the latest episode of Owning the Buy Box, we sat down with Mike Penrod, Director of Partner Marketing at Pattern. Mike is a seasoned expert in the field of e-commerce and shares his valuable insights on how to make your brand stand out in the crowded Amazon Marketplace.
From representing your brand effectively to utilizing data analytics and forming ideal reseller contracts, Mike shares his knowledge on protecting and growing your brand on Amazon.
Join us as we discuss:
- Mastering the Amazon Marketplace before expanding
- Building strong contracts to protect your brand
- Navigating the Informed Consumers Act
- Insider advice for up-and-coming brand owners
Mastering Amazon Marketplace before expanding
While there are several avenues for sales in the modern economy, none comes close to Amazon Marketplace in the United States. Despite competition with huge international players like TMALL, who capture more significant portions of the global market, Amazon currently has the highest domestic market share in the US. Establishing a solid hold on your brand on Amazon is paramount to scaling when operating and selling in the US.
Pattern functions on a distribution partner that aims to help businesses master selling across marketplaces. Rather than acquiring brands, Pattern purchases products at wholesale prices, identifies acceleration gaps, and applies its technology and services to push companies forward. This typically includes taking on the brand’s distribution, listing optimization, advertising, and customer care on marketplaces.
“Pattern scrapes over 5 billion rows of data a month. Using that data, we make informed decisions about these brands — about their advertising strategy, growth potential and what they should be doing to reach that potential,” Mike says. “There’s got to be potential on both sides.”
Building strong contracts to protect your brand
According to Mike, who you choose to partner with can truly influence the trajectory of your brand’s future trajectory.
Controlling the sales channel and keeping products out of the hands of gray-market sellers is essential for taking control of the buy box. Creating strong, practical reseller relationships with the right people for your business requires intentional action and negotiation.
Often, protecting your brand also requires saying no to the wrong partners. While turning down a sale results in an immediate loss of potential revenue, it ultimately increases end value by helping brands retain control of their product and reputation.
“Owning the buy box has become a crucial part of our model — it’s necessary for a brand’s success on Amazon,” Mike says.
The Informed Consumers Act — What you need to know
Recently, the US government has taken portions of the Informed Consumers Act and inserted them into Bill S.936, making specific regulatory requirements law. Now, those who sell over $20,000 of products annually must do several additional verifications with the platform.
While this may mean more hoops to jump through, it also provides more protection against unauthorized gray-market sellers.
“Legislation is a very effective tool in moderating marketplaces, helping with competition and providing the best consumer experience,” Mike says. “Many of the brands we represent have been a voice helping to shape some of those policies.”
While there are still gaps in the legislation — such as its requirements not applying to home-based businesses — Bill S.936 is a move in the right direction and has the support of brands and sellers alike.
Finding niche opportunities: Insider advice for up-and-coming brand owners
While Amazon is a busy marketplace with significant competition, there are still a lot of opportunities to be had. According to Mike, a key to success as an up-and-coming brand owner is identifying and leveraging a great niche.
“Look at segments of categories that are highly fragmented where there’s a lot of sellers, but nobody's clearly owning that space,” he says. “Identify products that you could own in that category, and find ways to differentiate yourself.”
Regardless of your niche, owning the buy box will be necessary for cementing your brand on the platform.
While it’s possible to clean up the gray market and counterfeit sellers, it’s best to ensure your channels are clean from the very beginning.
“You have to be very intentional in setting up your distribution,” Mike says. “Create an environment that you can control. And if you need help, make sure you partner with the right people.”
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