This article was originally posted in August 2018. It was updated on May 22 to include information on new features from Amazon and to reflect shopping behavior changes as a result of COVID-19.
Digital marketing and e-commerce strategies have experienced huge changes this year, due to the global crisis. Since the beginning of March, online sales in the United States have risen by 25%. According to the same data from Adobe Digital Economy Index, online sales for groceries and snacks have doubled compared to last year. With COVID-19 keeping people at home and minimizing visits to traditional retail outlets, an effective e-commerce presence is more important than ever.
Demand for our agency to design brand storefronts and enhanced content for Amazon and other e-commerce platforms has gone through the roof, and for good reason. Amazon now makes it easier than ever for brands to have a strategic, engaging e-commerce store.
The Evolution of Amazon E-Commerce
If you were selling via Amazon four or five years ago, you probably noticed a problem – it didn’t offer much to businesses in the way of brand strategy, brand positioning or storytelling. You could list individual products for sale, but when these products were served up to potential customers they looked like exactly that — a list. Basic, bare bones, and barely any opportunity for explaining why your air fryer, or toothpaste, or inflatable canoe would be the best choice among so many others. The only way for a brand to distinguish its product was by lowest price or Amazon customer reviews, both of which were often decided by factors outside a brand’s immediate control.
In 2017, Amazon launched Enhanced Content Pages and Amazon Stores as brand-building tools. These two tools represent a significant evolution in what the Amazon platform is able to offer to brands in terms of branding and storytelling. Now you can do more than just sell on Amazon: You can craft an experience.
Amazon now allows businesses to tell a deeper and more nuanced brand story that incorporates educational content, differentiates products within a brand portfolio, and communicates key product claims and marketing messages — all within a branded shopping experience that’s built on the familiar structure of the Amazon platform.
– Ron Woloshun, BSTRO Creative Director
We’ve helped brands large and small create captivating experiences on Amazon so they can build their brands and ultimately sell more products. We’ve learned what works, what gets in the way of success, and what matters in this fast-changing space. And we can use that knowledge and tactical expertise to build your brand on Amazon.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
What is a Product Detail Page?
What is an Enhanced Content Page?
What is an Amazon Store?
Just how powerful are these tools?
The BSTRO strategy for brand-building on Amazon
How can I build my brand even faster?
BSTRO’s post-launch support
Learn more with a free consultation
But before we go any further, let’s define some key terms.
If you already sell your products on Amazon, you already have a Product Detail Page (PDP). This is the page where you normally find images, basic product information, and of course, the all important customer reviews and ratings.
Enhanced Content Pages (ECPs) take Product Detail Pages a step further. Essentially, an Enhanced Content Page is a Product Detail Page that’s been enhanced with specialized “A+” modules offered by Amazon. These A+ modules are premium Amazon seller modules that brands can take advantage of (for a fee). These modules range from interactive hotspot graphics to video and advanced comparison charts. These module-rich ECPs are also “discoverable,” which means they can be found via search results.
An Amazon Store is a standalone piece of the Amazon platform, usually found by a URL in the form of Amazon.com/YourBrandName. While it can’t be found via search, it can be linked to directly from any other web property — so you could use it as the destination for an important social media or digital ad campaign, for example. An Amazon Store enables you to tout your wares in high-definition detail — with colorful, customizable opportunities for text, video, interactive modules, and more to truly develop your brand strategy on your terms. You can also configure options to allow for “add to cart” buttons, or options to click to learn more on a Product Detail Page or Enhanced Content Page.
Amazon Stores and Enhanced Content Pages have shown phenomenal sales results. Even for brands that want to maintain an owned e-commerce website, an optimized Amazon presence has still been shown to boost on-platform sales by as much as 36% among our clients. And there’s little wonder as to why. With Amazon handling inventory, shipping/fulfillment, returns, and payment methods, creating a branded storefront on their platform makes it easier to capitalize on all those ever-present eyeballs.
So how does BSTRO leverage these sales-augmenting tools in our brand-building work on Amazon? Find out more about our strategy below.
At our digital marketing agency, we can guide you through the complex waters of establishing a brand presence on Amazon. Our extensive experience with the Amazon platform as a brand-building tool has given us the expertise to continually optimize our clients’ brand presence through strategic thinking, UX and UI design, and storytelling. Some of the questions that guide our process are:
- Which information should you include in your story, and what isn’t relevant to the e-commerce experience?
- Which elements of your story are so strong that they should be repeated for emphasis in different parts of the product page?
- What do you really want shoppers to understand about your product?
- Where should you use big, juicy images, and where should you focus on search-friendly text?
- What questions will shoppers have, and how can you help them easily find answers?
- What differentiates you from other brands and products?
- What will entice people to finally click that Buy Now button?
While six photos of your product from six different angles may seem like a good idea, no shot in that set provides shoppers with anything substantially different or more compelling than the others. You need to plan your storefront through the lens of a visual platform like Instagram or Pinterest. Shoppers, especially younger ones, increasingly expect fresh, well-shot, well-curated images that reflect their lifestyle or their aspirations. One BSTRO client found that simply adding enhanced content images and modules to their e-com product pages almost immediately increased conversions by nearly 30%.
And you know what’s even more engaging than a photo? A video. Even a short and sweet 15-second video can have a massive impact on sales.
A common misconception about e-commerce is that it’s all mobile. “Mobile showrooming” is happening. Your customers are seeking out photos, prices, and reviews of similar products to make their purchase decision. So you want them to fall in love with what they see, and immediately understand its relevance to their needs.
But brands often discover that while most of their storefront traffic comes from mobile devices, the majority of their actual sales happen on desktops. Understanding exactly which content to place at which stage of the buyer’s interactions with your storefront — and how to present your story in a way that translates across devices and screen sizes — has a huge impact on sales.
Our team’s expertise in brand storytelling will be an aid to you in determining how best to communicate the key information you’d like to convey. We can also help you understand which pieces of information are most crucial for the Amazon audience. By looking closely at your analytics, we can help you strategically plan your brand presence on Amazon, craft a cohesive story from data points, integrate education about your products or product category, and much more. Our team also excels at creating engaging video from existing brand assets, with no need for the time and expense of a shoot.
Through all our work, we’ll always have an eye on what the end goals of your Amazon brand presence should be. Keeping your end goals in mind allows us to be precise in our decision-making as we elevate your brand voice on the Amazon platform, ensuring that all communications and visuals are clear, consistent, and compelling.
Speaking of communications and messaging, another part of our strategy is ensuring that all content submitted to Amazon meets their rigorous substantiation standards. We’ll guide you through the process of gathering any required substantiation for product or efficacy claims, as well as provide messaging alternatives that won’t violate Amazon’s strict guidelines. Our experience working with Amazon has allowed us to understand the way they think about content review, and we can pass those learnings on to you in our collaboration together.
One more important aspect of our strategy is to fine-tune your Amazon brand presence based on who your audience is, and what they’ll be looking for. For example, if your target audience isn’t yet familiar with your products, we’ll create educational modules outlining product details and benefits. Based on your users’ known behaviors and habits, we’ll categorize products in an organizational structure best suited to their needs. And because we know Amazon’s content architecture so well, we’ll be able to advise you on the best tools to use to engage your target audience, whether that’s an Amazon Store, an ECP (or group of ECPs) or a combination of these tools. No matter what, we’ll make sure that every copy line, interactive element, video or image that you share on Amazon creates an authentic connection with your audience and tells your story strategically, on top of driving sales.
If you have an aggressive timeline for getting your brand presence up and running on Amazon — for example, if you have an upcoming campaign you’d like to coordinate your new brand presence with — we can accommodate you with our Accelerated Sprint service. Although we always work quickly (our agency was born in start-up time), our Accelerated Sprint takes cues from agile software development and rapid prototyping models to allow us to kickstart your Amazon brand presence even faster than we normally could, shaving off time and launching on a greatly accelerated timetable.
Our Accelerated Sprint service requires pre-work and planning on both sides, as well as a commitment of time and people. But it front-loads the process to reduce approval and review cycles, and speeds up the strategic phase of the project that drives the creative execution. The result is a significant time savings: One client estimated that our Accelerated Sprint approach saved her brand nearly 3 months of design and approval time versus their usual workflow process.
BSTRO can guide you through every aspect of creating an Amazon Store or ECP, including its launch and post-launch monitoring. That post-launch monitoring can include sifting through the enormous wealth of data that the Amazon platform offers, and strategizing ongoing updates and tests to further your success with our Amazon Store or ECP. (This data includes information on how many daily visitors your store had, how many views it received, and the quantity of sales and units sold.) We can also help you use Amazon Stores Insights to track traffic from Amazon Headline Search Ads, organic traffic within Amazon, and tagged sources for your own external campaigns, to help you understand where your visitors are coming from and what’s motivating them to click. Then we’ll help you test, repeat, learn, and optimize your Amazon brand presence for better and better results.
We’re here to help! If you’d like to learn more about building your brand on Amazon, request a free consultation today.