For those in the automotive retail space, nothing is more coveted than a J.D. Power award. It has become the auto industry’s Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Receiving it means that your product has gone through the rigors of testing and customer feedback and its nameplate stands apart.
Digital commerce could learn a thing or two from the automotive industry, especially when brands work with Amazon.com and other online marketplaces (e.g., Alibaba, JET.com). While other platforms are trying to out-Amazon Amazon, no one brand or company has created the most ideal formula to sell products on any of them.
My team has measured the successes and failures of hundreds of SKUs/brands selling on digital marketplaces, and have realized that by amplifying specific components of one’s digital presence, a brand or manufacturer can realize unforeseen gains.
Far too many companies believe that selling on an online marketplace such as Amazon is like approaching any other distribution channel. They see the potential of reaching more customers, but they don’t appreciate the numerous departments, relationships and interconnectivity needed for a product to achieve success.
We meet many marketing executives who are improperly equipped to work with each platform because they haven’t taken a step back and soaked in the bigger picture. It’s not just a plug-it-in-and-watch-it-sell approach. We’ve found that if marketers don’t have the right assets at their disposal to not just sell products, but to implement the right distribution and fulfillment, shoppers will move to another company to fulfill their needs.
5 Components Every Brand Must Address — No Matter the Platform
The basis of our approach is helping any brand or product address the five most important asset classes that matter to digital commerce:
- Creative: First and foremost, a brand or SKU must review its product images, lifestyle images and videos that depict a product’s usage. Those wishing to sell digitally must base them on what works and doesn’t work on each platform and (in tandem) address the creative objective of the product being showcased.
- Search Engine Optimization: Many marketers tend to forget that online marketplaces are giant search engines. A consistent analysis of keywords and content goes a long way to ensure one’s success because those keywords are “diagnostic” tools.
- Inventory Management: One of our most important assessments is looking at logistics and supply chain operations to assess the likelihood that a product will have enough inventory in stock, or if it will be out of stock based on projections or seasonal forecasts. Ultimately, our goal is to ensure a 100 percent in-stock rate to maximize sales and ensure positive algorithmic impact.
- Third-Party Sellers: We also measure the number of third-party sellers and the activity they have on direct sales. We’ve surprised many manufacturers when showing them such issues as counterfeiting, sales of discontinued items, and holes in supply chain causing unauthorized reselling, resulting in brand degradation.
- Merchandising: We also review the numerous marketing and merchandising efforts that are available. For example, the Amazon Advertising Platform is a powerful tool to utilize — if you know how to utilize it properly.
Should you wish to put your products on online marketplaces, it pays to know how healthy your brand and its products are. Otherwise, you’ll be sickened by how you’re losing to your competition.
Rami Odeh is vice president of digital commerce at VELOCITY COMMERCE GROUP, a TPN consultancy – solutions to power digital commerce.