Amazon—the world’s largest online retailer, with 97 million Prime Members in the U.S. as of 2018—continues to dominate e-commerce by allowing sellers to access a massive audience of customers without having a standalone site. Many brands are considering joining forces with Amazon in hopes of growing their business and increasing sales.
While signing up is easy, there are a lot of factors that may affect your brand’s success. In order for your brand to experience all of the platform’s incredible benefits, we have created this guide to help you understand the ins and outs of Amazon. If properly executed, selling on Amazon can be one of the best decisions you ever make.
Amazon Acronyms & Other Jargon
Understanding the language of Amazon is extremely important for new sellers. Learn Amazon jargon and acronyms, what they mean, and why you should know them.
- FBA—FBA means Fulfillment by Amazon. This fulfillment method is used by sellers who pre-ship products to Amazon fulfillment centers, allowing Amazon to manage all shipping and handling when products are purchased on the marketplace.
- FBM—FBM, sometimes also referred to as MF, means Fulfillment by Merchant. This is the fulfillment method used by sellers who manage all shipping and handling in-house or through a different warehousing partner.
- 1P/1st Party/Vendor Central—All of these terms refer to a seller’s relationship with Amazon. If you are a Vendor Central (or 1st Party or 1P) seller, you have a wholesale relationship with Amazon. You sell your products to Amazon in bulk and Amazon sells these products to its customers – managing orders, pricing, shipping and handling, customer service, and more. To become a 1P seller, a Vendor Central invitation from Amazon is required.
- 3P/3rd Party/Seller Central—All of these terms refer to a seller’s relationship with Amazon. In this situation, you are a Seller Central (or 3rd Party or 3P) seller, where you are selling directly to customers via the Amazon platform. You manage orders, pricing, shipping and handling (your choice: FBA or FBM), customer service, and more.
- ASIN—An ASIN is the Amazon Standard Identification Number. Every product sold on Amazon is assigned an ASIN.
- Amazon Spark—Amazon Spark is Amazon’s proprietary social media platform that is available for Prime members. (We will touch more on this feature later in the article.)
- AMS—AMS stands for Amazon Marketing Services. AMS is the tool you or your agency will use to run all of your advertising campaigns within the Amazon marketplace.
- Brand Registry—This may sound like something for engaged couples or expecting parents, but it is far from that! Every business executive should be aware of the Amazon Brand Registry and its perks. If you are a brand owner, you can register as such. This will give you higher control over the content about your products that exists on Amazon, regardless of how many other parties are also selling your brand’s products.
- Buy Box—Winning the Buy Box is the holy grail of Amazon selling. Simply put, Amazon’s Buy Box is the box on any product page where a consumer can click Add to Cart. If you sell a product on Amazon that another person is also selling, you will be competing with them for the Buy Box – and that is a competition you want to win. Winning the Buy Box means your product is in the #1 position on a product page, where an Add to Cart click will result in a sale for you, not your competition.
Amazon A+ Content vs. Enhanced Brand Content
Now that you understand Amazon terminology, let’s talk about content. If you’ve ever considered selling your products on Amazon or currently sell on Amazon, you have likely heard of Amazon A+ Content or Enhanced Brand Content. While the services may sound familiar, do you know what they are, how they can help your business, how to implement them, or what the difference is between the two? Worry not! We have broken down everything you need to know.
Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) is a feature that Amazon sellers can utilize though Seller/Vendor Central. It is free to set up and, according to Amazon, “Adding EBC to your product detail pages can result in higher conversion rates, increased traffic, and increased sales when used effectively.”
The only stipulation: You must be recognized as the brand owner through Amazon’s Brand Registry in order to have access to the EBC tool. Once approved, you can create EBC pages for products that are part of your branded catalog.
Many people refer to A+ Content when it comes to using Vendor Central, which is the case if you are a first party (1P) seller, as this is/was a label in the Amazon backend.
Amazon A+ Content and Enhanced Brand Content are nearly the same in Amazon’s eyes, with the platform quoting, EBC is “commonly referred to as the A+ tool.” When it comes down to basics, both simply allow you to add more content to better guide buyers who are shopping in Amazon.
How exactly does EBC help conversions on Amazon? As its name implies, this tool allows Amazon Sellers to enhance the information that is found on their product detail pages in order to help customers better understand the brand story and the unique benefits of the product. This is especially useful for products that carry a premium price tag, have differentiating features, and/or have a strong brand story.
With EBC, the additional imagery, videos, charts, and text fields can be used to better communicate your product and brand benefits. All of this added content has been linked to increasing sales anywhere from 3 to 10%. When the tools were first introduced, 1P sellers had to pay-to-play, but as of 2018, creating either type of enhanced brand content is free to sellers/vendors who meet Amazon’s criteria.
What is Amazon Spark?
In July 2017, Amazon launched Amazon Spark, a product discovery feed that works as an in-app social media platform. Spark is somewhat exclusive, with capabilities only available to Prime members currently (although non-Prime members can view the feed), and has been slow to make its way to the limelight.
But now, months after the launch, more and more brands are starting to hear about Spark and asking, “How can I use this to my advantage?” Here’s everything you need to know:
The Basics of Amazon Spark
A social feature within the Amazon App for iOS and Android (version 14.2.1 or higher), Amazon Spark is meant to be a product discovery tool for users, where shoppers can both share inspiration and be inspired, connect with other users for product feedback, and shop, all in one personalized feed.
When you first sign up, you will enter a list of interests ranging from travel, to cooking, to reading, and beyond. Your interests are then used to populate a customized feed of posts that range from engaging, such as product polls, to inspirational.
What sets this feed apart from other social networks, though, is that all products that enter your feed are shoppable, right there in the Amazon app. So, if anything inspires you enough to own it, you can get it – and likely within just two days – without ever leaving the app.
On the other end of that spectrum, if you are deciding between two similar items, you can post them on your own feed as a poll, ask your questions, and get answers from like-minded shoppers.
Get there: Amazon App->Menu->Programs and Features->See All Programs->Amazon Spark
Amazon is smart by bringing an engagement platform in-app, instead of letting all engagement that goes on around products happen elsewhere. It is simple. It is convenient. And it is obvious that Amazon headed this way for a reason: it will engage more people, have them spend more time in the app, and encourage higher sales. With higher sales being the key word here, how can brands get in on this action?
Branded Pages on Amazon Spark
You may have heard rumors that brands are not eligible to participate in Amazon Spark. However, that is not the case. We’ve seen brand pages that are very active in Spark, so there is nothing holding your brand back from participating.
The rules are:
You may post content other than Customer Reviews and Questions and Answers regarding products or services for which you have a financial or close personal connection to the brand, seller, author, or artist, but only if you clearly and conspicuously disclose the connection (e.g., “I was paid for this post.”). However, no brand or business may participate in the Community in a way (including by advertising, special offers, or any other “call to action”) that diverts Amazon customers to another non-Amazon website, service, application, or channel for the purpose of conducting marketing or sales transactions. Content posted through brand, seller, author, or artist accounts regarding their own products or services does not require additional labeling.
Consider using Amazon Spark to engage consumers and draw attention to your brand. This simple, effective social platform can position your product front-and-center of new customers. If they like what they see, they’ll have your product in just two days.
While Amazon provides thousands of brands with the ability to sell their product through the platform, over 80 private label brands are exclusive to Amazon. Amazon’s private label offerings had a humble beginning with USB cables and batteries in 2009, and have since flourished into an extensive catalog of Amazon-exclusive brands. The private label products sold by Amazon range from automotive accessories to household essentials and beyond, making Amazon a true one-stop-shop for many consumers.
Considering that half of all US households are subscribed to Amazon’s Prime membership program, it is no surprise that consumers nationwide are taking advantage of the vast product inventory offered through Amazon’s private labels. As if 2-day shipping wasn’t enough, Amazon has extended the convenient nature of its services with a variety of exclusive products that remain dedicated to Amazon’s quality and affordability.
Amazon’s private label initiative only further contributes to the growing loyalty of consumers to the online retailer, especially since Amazon offers consumers a range of products that other retailers cannot. Many private labels offered on Amazon are exclusive to Amazon Prime members, such as Amazon’s Solimo brand. As one of the many Prime-exclusive brands, Solimo is sold via Prime Pantry and provides consumers with the option of low-priced health, beauty, and grocery items.
Amazon’s apparel department has perhaps experienced the largest growth subsequent to the integration of private label offerings. Making up 86% of Amazon’s private label brands, the online retailer offers over 100 apparel, shoes, and accessories brands for the whole family. Although Walmart is currently the largest retailer of clothing in the United States, Amazon is projected to overtake that title this coming year.
Shark Tank Partnership
Furthering Amazon’s initiative to expand its retail potential, the online giant has become the official retailer of “Shark Tank,” the ABC television series that gives entrepreneurs the chance to launch their product with the potential for partnership with business investors. Over 70 products featured on seasons 1-9 of “Shark Tank” are now accessible to shoppers. This unique offering sets Amazon apart from many other online retailers in the sense that Amazon provides consumers with less generic options.
As one of the easiest and most effective ways to leverage your online brand success, Amazon is growing at exponential rates. This platform is welcoming and encouraging to newcomers, so go ahead and take the leap! Consider these tips when creating your Amazon Seller account and discover the transformative benefits this tech giant has to offer.