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6 Amazon + Ecommerce Trends We’re Tracking in 2021

SupplyKick
Feb 16, 2021 5:06:50 PM

The Ultimate Marketing Playbook: 2021 Edition

2021 Amazon Marketing Strategy

When Amazon’s been your business since 2013 like it has at SupplyKick, you become all-too-accustomed to the constant changes and challenges that emerge in the marketplace. Add working with 100+ brands across consumer categories on said marketplace, and we tend to see similar patterns across a variety of industries—what’s working, what’s not, what’s just buzz, what’s effectively driving platform sales and engagement, and what levers brands must pull in order to build a robust ecommerce plan.

The team compiled a list of the most impactful trends, tools, and predictions we’ve been following closely in 2021 for your marketing, advertising, logistics, and platform branding strategy. Here are the top six worth noting (and testing or implementing if you haven’t already) for Amazon sellers and brands this year:

  

1. Ongoing stock restrictions and limited Amazon fulfillment space

One of the biggest inventory management debacles of 2020 for FBA sellers will continue in 2021: stock restrictions are here to stay. Currently for any category on the marketplace, Amazon limits stock to a three-month supply, and for new products, Amazon limits it to 200 units. This is incredibly restricting for sellers of popular, seasonal, or volatile products—as these items grow in demand, there are less items actually available at Amazon warehouses to fulfill those orders, making stock outs a harsh reality for many.

Unfortunately, we’re not going to see stock limitations change much this year. As brands continue to rush to the marketplace to capitalize on soaring Amazon sales, and online shopping becomes more appealing to consumers due to the pandemic (U.S. ecommerce sales grew 32% in 2020, reaching nearly $800 billion), we’ll continue to see an increased product demand—but Amazon fulfillment space won’t increase with it anymore than it already has. This leaves FBA sellers with only a few options: stock out or raise your prices, hope to just increase sales for the units you do have in stock, or use third-party logistics.

So, how do brands and sellers improve their supply chain strategy, combat warehouse restrictions, and prevent stock outs this year? Here are a few ideas:

  • Know when to ideally send in your stock, especially for important holidays.
  • Take time to accurately forecast inventory (yes, it can be done during a pandemic).
  • Diversify your product line and consider selling bundles of similar products so that consumers still have an option to purchase within your variation, even if the main product is out of stock. For example, consider selling single units, 2-packs, 4-packs, etc.
  • Speaking of variations, direct sales to a product that isn’t selling as quickly in a variation by dropping the price of that specific product.
  • Reduce or eliminate advertising or promotional spending for products where you're short on inventory in order to maximize margin on the inventory you do have available. Don't push items that you can't replenish.

  

2. Organic video and Sponsored Video Ads will thrive

2021 will be the year that video becomes essential on Amazon—both organically within your product listings, Storefront, and A+ Content, as well as within your Sponsored Ads. According to marketplace data, customers who watch videos on Amazon are 3.6x more likely to purchase the product, and “shoppers spend more and visit fewer detail pages when a video is available.”

At SupplyKick, we’ve tested organic video (watch ciao! baby and Probonix) and have seen these results in action. We placed video content in photo progressions on product listings for 76 ASINs across five partner brands, resulting in an overall 29.4% conversion rate (CVR) increase from video. We found that 40% of customers watched the video in the progression, and a whopping 79% actually watched a video all the way to the end. Type of video matters, too: animated videos saw a 10.8% average CVR increase, while lifestyle/live action videos saw a 21.3% average CVR increase.

To summarize, we found that:

  • Video does in fact improve conversion rate.
  • A significant number of customers engage with video on Amazon.
  • Lifestyle video performed better than animated video.

Now onto Sponsored Brands Video. This newer way to advertise allows brands to create Sponsored Brand videos that are keyword-targeted based on a user’s search term on Amazon. They appear to the user on mobile and desktop devices while they scroll Amazon shopping results. We’ve tested these video ads for various partners and saw significant increases in performance for revenue per click (RPC), click-through rate (CTR), and conversion rate (CVR). If you’re looking to both attract and convert more customers on the platform—and also see a great return on your investment—be sure to test and invest in video this year.

  

3. The necessity for marketplace expansion and diversification

Savvy Amazon brands and sellers will realize the importance of marketplace expansion and diversification this year. For many brands, it’s no longer enough to be on just one platform— especially as online marketplaces (Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Facebook, Target, etc.) continue to compete over product assortment, pricing, shipping, subscription options, shopper insights, loyalty programs, promos, customer service, and overall ease of experience for both sellers and shoppers.

Amazon is still king of course, and we advise making sure you’re on Amazon first before exploring other marketplaces and options. But once you’re on Amazon, why not grow your revenue stream elsewhere? When you close an Amazon customer, you could also be closing a Walmart customer or an Amazon EU customer, too, with the same product assortment. There’s a huge opportunity out there to grow your volume on other marketplaces and replicate the success you’re having with Amazon elsewhere.

SupplyKick helps our partners expand their marketplace strategy to eBay, Walmart, Amazon Canada, and more. Walmart is especially appealing right now since referral fees cost less than Amazon. And since the Walmart Marketplace is essentially in the stage that Amazon was 5-10 years ago, the market is not nearly as saturated or as competitive—so if you get your products listed on there now when market share is low, you could be giving yourself a competitive edge and setting your brand up for success and growth for years to come.

  

4. Influencer marketing and social campaigns become critical

Amazon influencer marketing has been buzzed about for a few years now, and it continues to be a growing and highly successful strategy. In general, influencer marketing has taken the ecommerce world by storm—brands are set to spend up to $15B on influencer marketing by 2022.

This year, your off-platform promotion and advertising strategy (Sponsored Display, social media, influencer marketing) will be just as important as on-platform advertising. Leveraging influencers, micro-influencers, and social media campaigns to drive direct traffic and sales to your Amazon listings and Storefront can seriously boost revenue and brand presence. Plus, with recently improved Amazon Attribution capabilities giving sellers conversion tracking across social platforms—you’ll have more and more insight on customer behavior and interests to help guide future marketing, inventory, and advertising decisions on the marketplace.

  

5. Continued growth in Home Improvement, Gardening, Self-care categories

It’s no secret that some Amazon categories flourished during the pandemic last year, and we’ll continue to see popularity in those categories climb. At SupplyKick, we’re seeing significant growth with partners in the Home & Kitchen; Tools & Home Improvement;  Patio, Lawn, & Garden; and self-care categories like Beauty & Personal Care and Health & Household. All of these categories make sense as cooped-up consumers look to improve many aspects of their at-home situation, as well as their personal routines and lifestyle goals, right now.

A few other categories to keep on your radar this year:

  • Pet Supplies: The pandemic drove many people to seek pet companionship and humanize or spoil their furriest family members. Total sales of pet supplies on Amazon US grew 38.2% YoY in the first half of 2020, and by 2024, industry analysts forecast that ecommerce will become the top retail sales channel for pet products.
  • Baby: While the predicted pandemic baby boom turned out to be a bust, the Baby category continues to grow on Amazon, so it’s a good idea for brands and sellers in this category to brush up on the top marketing strategies for selling baby supplies.

  

6. Well-crafted and cohesive A+ Content and Storefront design is key

Along with category trends, the pandemic has changed the way consumers shop and trust brands on Amazon. Gone are the days where a minimally optimized listing, or even simple A+ Content, will give them the information and reassurance they need to make the purchase. Amazon customers now crave authenticity and complete transparency from the brands they buy from. With millions of sellers and over 350 million products now on the marketplace, the chance is even greater for your listings to get lost and for you to lose those customers completely.

This year, you’ll see brands step up their A+ Content and Storefront game—both elements boast the most significant opportunity for brands to share their unique story, highlight key features, expand on product specifications, and display a consistent brand identity that will capture and convert new and repeat customers.

  • For A+ Content, when using Seller Central, sellers now have up to 7 modules with set dimensions to utilize (for those using Vendor Central you have 5 modules). The basic templates that Amazon provides may be easy to use, but are visually uncompelling and look like the majority of other A+ Content that exists on Amazon, so be sure to put significant thought, research, and professional resources into yours to make it stand out.
  • A seller’s Storefront operates as a mini website for your brand on the Amazon platform allowing you to showcase your full product assortment, customize with personalized branding and logos, and use it as a landing page for ads. Though Amazon Stores have been around for some time now, they’ve been drastically underutilized by brands, so you’ll be one step ahead of the competition if you create and/or optimize yours this year.

Both are essential to your 2021 marketing and advertising strategy and should be taken seriously—especially because they can have a big impact on Amazon sales. With well-executed platform branding, SupplyKick partners have seen up to a 25% conversion rate increase from A+ Content alone, and up to a 30% increase in sales per visitor on their Storefronts. Get inspiration from top brands and best practices for A+ Content and Storefront here.

Amazon Brand Marketing Lookbook

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Need help testing or implementing any of the trends above? Don’t have enough team members, budget, or time to devote to executing a solid Amazon strategy? Not happy with your current Amazon sales, advertising performance, or [fill in the blank here]? That’s exactly why brands team up with SupplyKick. Don’t let 2021 pass by without making ecommerce a priority this year.

Learn more about our Wholesale and Agency partnerships (or find out which option is best for you here), or reach out to get a conversation started with our team. To stay connected with the latest Amazon news, trends, results, and insights, be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.