When are outside Amazon experts better than inside ones?
Walmart “experts” began popping up in the eighties to help brands manage the ups and downs of selling to the discounter. Today, with a wider range of complexities, Amazon experts come in all shapes and sizes.
Some outside firms that support selling on Amazon focus solely on protecting brands from counterfeit selling or MAP (minimum advertised price) violations from third-party sellers. But most focus on optimizing sales.
Given Amazon’s complex, constantly changing algorithms, outside firms have proliferated offering advice on search optimization and boosting product rank. Firms also provide assistance monitoring reviews, planning organic and paid advertising, pricing and promotion, fulfillment and other areas.
Of course, many brands handle these functions in house.
A recent Digiday report noted that some brands are looking to hire internally to gain more control over search and overall advertising on Amazon. Agencies are often still used for execution, such as the ad buy.
In a RetailWire interview, Kiri Masters, founder and CEO of Amazon agency Bobsled Marketing, said one reason brands might want to keep Amazon functions in-house is the perceived cost savings. Brands also retain institutional knowledge. Ms. Masters said, “Amazon is an important platform and many brands want to have their own capability here rather than fully outsourcing to a third party.”
On the other hand, at least with advertising, it generally takes at least six months for a candidate with a pay-per-click (PPC)-background and limited Amazon exposure to become fluent with Amazon, she said. Seemingly irrelevant factors, such as inventory availability, pricing, the presence of competitors and product safety issues, can impact PPC rates.
Ms. Masters added, “A detailed understanding of these factors, and the skills to navigate them, are not commonly found amongst advertising practitioners fluent in other ad platforms.”
She further noted that Amazon’s advertising platform continually changes, and best practices can likewise shift overnight. Reporting and targeting techniques are also still being developed. She said, “Since brands are looking for the full picture of how advertising ties back to actual sales, this requires specialists to understand nuances around Amazon’s attribution windows for sales, and how to bring separate pieces of data together to properly analyze ROI.”
- Brands are hiring specialists to run Amazon campaigns – Digiday
- Relevium Adds Amazon Experts to the Team – Relevium Technologies
- Amazon experts: A guide on why they matter – Business Matters
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What advice would you have for brands on handling advertising and other aspects of their Amazon relationship in-house versus working with outside experts? Is working with Amazon more complicated than with other major retailers?