Amazon’s presence at the top of shoppers’ minds makes it a valuable platform for other e-Commerce retailers; the marketplace’s size and reach helps them reach customers that might otherwise never even hear of their products. Even companies that make the bulk of their sales through their own ecosystems, like VOLT Lighting, can benefit from a presence at the center of the retail universe.
“As we sought to expand our distribution strategy, the world’s largest online retailer had obvious appeal,” said Matt Rehm, E-Commerce Manager at VOLT Lighting in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “But beyond driving sales on Amazon, we firmly believe that building a strong presence there is vital for brand awareness. Consumers are increasingly beginning their shopping journeys on Amazon rather than search engines or brand sites. Growing our visibility on Amazon via advertising has enabled us to reach new customers, including those at the top of the funnel who may ultimately convert on our own site.”
VOLT is a capable e-Commerce player in its own right: the company offers same-day shipping to customers within range of its three regional distribution centers, and two-day shipping to 85% of the U.S. The retailer started selling its professional-grade landscape lighting products through Amazon in early 2018, but the first eight months taught VOLT that “it takes time to get the proverbial flywheel spinning.”
“We learned that as a new seller, we needed to build up a sales history and a critical mass of positive reviews, along with becoming eligible for Seller Fulfilled Prime,” said Rehm. “And particularly for the first few months after we launched on Amazon, we were limited in our ability to spend on advertising because we weren’t winning the Buy Box, which of course is a prerequisite for running Sponsored Products. Then we started winning the Buy Box and building some decent performance metrics, so we could finally start ramping up our advertising.”
Amazon Selling Requires Extra Attention
Even after growing its portfolio of positive reviews and its presence in the Buy Box (the section on the side of product pages where shoppers can add items to their carts), VOLT was still barely hitting its advertising cost of sale goals. Additionally, managing Amazon ads on top of other tasks was straining Rehm’s already limited bandwidth.
VOLT relieved the pressure by expanding its partnership with Sidecar, an e-Commerce marketing platform that had previously worked with the retailer on its Google and Bing Shopping and search campaigns. VOLT was one of the participants in the beta launch of Sidecar for Amazon, which helped the retailer decrease its average cost of sale by 22%, significantly boosted sales and let Rehm shift some of his focus to improving content and expanding the VOLT product catalogue.
The efforts made to improve VOLT’s performance have gone beyond boosting individual campaigns. The retailer and solution provider regularly discuss new product launches, content enhancements and the handling of key promotion periods like Prime Day, in addition to keeping an eye on any issues that may be affecting VOLT’s account.
“We’re now driving far higher sales while focusing more of our internal resources on growing our catalog, improving our A+ content, adding videos and enhancing our storefront,” said Rehm. “Of course, the more we sell on Amazon, the more reviews we get. And because our products are professional-quality and we’re very adept at order fulfillment, our reviews are overwhelmingly positive — which of course translates into more sales, and the cycle perpetuates itself. So, Sidecar has enabled us to rapidly spin up our Amazon flywheel, and I’m excited to see how fast we can get it cranking.”