Successful Brands Sell Direct-to-Consumer on Amazon
Selling Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) on Amazon is one of the best ways to protect your brand from unauthorized gray-market sellers. But when premium brands want to grow from $5 million to $20 million in sales on Amazon, unique skills and expertise are needed — which means calling in the experts.
This week’s guest, Ethan McAfee, Founder and Executive Chairman at Amify, shares how he took the company from a side hustle selling pickleball paddles on Amazon to a full-service top-tier provider for premium brands looking for that next stage of growth.
Join as we discuss:
- How brands can own their online presence
- Helping brands sell direct or through verified third-party on Amazon
- Controlling and enhancing the customer experience
Owning your online presence and why it matters
Amazon is a massive $800 billion marketplace. With such sweeping reach, utilizing the platform to your advantage can reap myriad benefits for your company’s growth.
But to find true success on Amazon, you must control your presence and take any potential control away from unauthorized and gray-market sellers.
More and more, customers want to purchase from brands that they know and trust, whether they are buying through Amazon or the brand’s website. For this reason, Ethan emphasizes the importance of using Amazon as an extension of your website and ensuring your brand is consistent across platforms.
“Make your Amazon presence look and feel as much like your website as possible,” he says. “Have great customer service. Then you can start getting to know and understand your data better.”
While turning down a sizeable wholesale purchase can be challenging, making sure that you retain your brand and the power behind your products can help elevate your business to the next level. Likewise, without carefully considering your sales avenues, the power to influence your brand reputation and customer experience can end up in the wrong hands — costing you revenue and credibility.
Put simply: Successful businesses on Amazon are those who own their online presence and minimize the control granted to unauthorized sellers.
The value of selling D2C or through verified third parties
While selling directly to consumers can require some infrastructure change, it offers substantial, cascading benefits.
Skipping the middleman on Amazon and selling D2C can provide as much as a 20% margin increase, which awards a competitive advantage and, often, greater market share.
Perhaps more importantly, making the move to D2C gives a brand greater agency over its customer experience, reputation and trajectory — that is, if gray-market sellers aren’t controlling the marketplace.
“If you're going to try to sell your product straight to the customer on Amazon, but you have gray-market sellers who are violating price, that means you're doing all this work and getting none of the rewards,” Ethan says. “Gray-market sellers are taking all of your business.”
Selling D2C and through verified third-party sellers can skyrocket your business, but only if you utilize brand protection and take control of your reputation and customer experience. You can't control the market if you lose the buy box to unauthorized sellers. There are tangible impacts of failing to police sales channels.
“There's an economic incentive to clean up unauthorized sellers,” Ethan says. “When you're selling direct on Amazon, you make the margin that was historically going to retailers. If you're letting holes in the bucket go to unauthorized sellers, it means money that should be going to you is going to somebody else.”
Controlling and enhancing customer experience
By taking control of the sales channel on Amazon and enabling proactive brand protection, a brand can gain full agency over the customer experience. When unauthorized sellers control a channel, not only do they take a bigger piece of the pie, but they also interact with your customers.
Unfortunately, a negative experience with an unauthorized seller on Amazon can damage customer relationships beyond repair.
But once you’ve gained control of the channel and taken back power over sales, there are a few things Ethan says you can do to enhance customer experience and strengthen your brand image and reputation:
- Offer great customer support
Regardless of the channel you sell your products, customers must have easy access to assistance. Accessible feedback channels will also help build best practices and enable continuous improvement.
- Create consistency
As a D2C seller on Amazon, ensuring your image on the platform is cohesive with your website is vital in establishing control over the buy box. Customers should experience the seamless support, images and voice across each platform.
- Build world-class content
Ensure that your content on each platform is clear and concise and connects with your buyers. It’s more beneficial to have a handful of high-performing, well-written SKUs than to have extensive catalogs full of SKUs that don’t sell due to haphazard content.
“Most brands will spend millions of dollars on advertising but have a terrible product page,” Ethan says. “They don’t know that using world-class content lowers advertising spend by 10 - 20x and increases conversion rate substantially.”
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