Ecommerce has ushered in an age of data for product companies. It lowered the barrier for companies to measure their customers’ actions and increase engagement by adding the website as a touch point alongside the company-owned retail store. Now, online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay offer an additional opportunity for product companies to collect data from a major retail channel..
Data is only as useful as the insights it produces so here are ten ideas for leveraging marketplaces data in incredibly valuable ways.
When you sell on a third party marketplace customers are buying directly from you. That creates a feed of orders containing the exact time and location of the purchaser.
1. Orders > Advertising Attribution
If your run a lot of TV ads, you probably also run an expensive media attribution platform to measure the effect of each ad spot. These systems typically rely on orders from your website or phone number included in the ad spot. Here’s the thing: consumers don’t always use the sales channel specified by your ad. They’ll go check their favorite retail and online stores to see if your product is offered in their preferred channel. For an increasing number of consumers, that channel is marketplaces.
Your media attribution platform is only as good as the data coming into it so integrate your feed of orders from marketplaces into your media platform (If you use DNA Response to manage marketplace sales, we’ll set this up for free). Adding orders from marketplaces will improve your software’s ability to analyze ads and enable your ad production and media buying teams to cut out non-performing ad spots and increase revenues.
2. Orders > PR Attribution
Your PR team is doing great work getting your product featured in magazines, TV shows, and blog articles. It’s a great tactic for driving brand awareness and increasing sales. With PR placements you can’t always tell consumers where to purchase so a visible web presence is critical. In our experience with many types of product companies, each sales channel sees drastically varying impacts from successful PR placements.
With one placement, the product was featured on Good Morning America. Sales on marketplaces increased six hundred percent during the following three days compared to a one hundred percent increase on the brand’s own website. Without access to the marketplaces order data, that company would have severely undervalued the GMA placement.
3. Orders on Marketplaces During a Sale on Your Website
More than ever, consumers interact with a product in multiple channels before purchasing. So, when you offer a discount in one channel, it may increases revenue in that channel, but may also decrease revenue elsewhere. To accurately evaluate a sale, you need to measure its affect across all channels. In online channels, this is especially important since it is so easy to compare prices from multiple websites at the time of purchase.
One of our clients ran a three-day sale on their website. During the sale, revenue on marketplaces fell 70% then increased to normal levels after the sale ended. The true economic value of the sale was much lower than they originally thought because the additional revenue generated on their website was offset by lost revenue on marketplaces.
4. Order Volume by Variation or Kit > Retail Packaging
When rolling out a new product line to retail, a common issue is forecasting the correct quantities of each variation (size, color, pack size) to ship to stores. Brick-and-mortar retailers have limited shelf space so ordering the correct amounts of each variation will significantly improve revenues.
On the other hand, shelf space in ecommerce is virtually unlimited. To get a good sense for how popular each variation will be in retail, offer your full product line on your website and marketplaces for several weeks before distributing to retail. You can even slice the data by location to determine regional differences. Your retailers will be thrilled to receive the proper quantities of each variation and will reorder more quickly since they avoid overstocking on unpopular variations.
As the largest product search engine, you should pay attention to the keywords consumers use in Amazon. The only way to get Amazon’s published keyword volume is to sell to Amazon retail and pay extra for the data in Amazon Retail Analytics. In addition to the many drawbacks of selling through Amazon retail, you will lose the sweet, sweet order data and insights from the last section.
Luckily, you can have the best of both worlds by selling through Amazon’s third party marketplace and leveraging Amazon Sponsored Products. Sponsored Products is a keyword-driven PPC platform that serves ads within Amazon.com and drives traffic to your listings on Amazon.com. Third party merchants can use it to measure keyword performance metrics like units, sales, click through rate, conversion rate, and average cost of sale.
To approximate search volume for keywords in Amazon, look at the number of impressions your ads receive by keyword. Take this with a grain of salt because you would need to know what share of all impressions your ads receive to calculate actual search volume from impressions.
5. Keywords in Amazon PPC > Google PPC
Running PPC in Amazon is a great way to generate some extra revenue but it’s also a great way to optimize your PPC campaigns on platforms like Google Adwords. Combining data from multiple PPC channels is especially valuable for long-tail searches but can take a lot of time to generate significant data. Combining data from multiple PPC platforms allows you to optimize your campaigns more quickly.
Amazon also offers an auto-targeting program where their system picks the keywords that it thinks are most relevant to your products. This can help a PPC specialist discover new keywords to bid on in other channels.
6. Keywords in Amazon PPC > Product Descriptions
PPC has always been closely tied to organic SEO work. In an era where organic keyword data is not provided, PPC is the only source of accurate keyword performance data. Provide your merchandising and copywriting teams with the top performing keywords from Amazon Sponsored Products and they can turn it into more revenue from organic search channels.
Assign great importance to keywords performing well in Amazon compared to other channels. Searches in Amazon have a very clear buying intent so the conversion data is more descriptive of prospective buyers than it would be for the same data coming from a source such as Google Adwords.
Customer Feedback Data
There are three ways to collect customer feedback through marketplaces: customer reviews, product questions, and order feedback. Collecting customer feedback from these sources is an easier and more structured source of customer sentiment than social media, and is cheaper than running focus groups and customer surveys.
7. All Feedback > Product Development
To quickly generate some ideas for improving the quality and features of your product, read the product reviews and questions your customers are writing on marketplaces. Amazon is usually the largest source of product reviews and eBay users typically ask the most questions before purchasing.
To see if customers really enjoy or hate features on your competitors’ products, read their reviews as well.
One of our clients used to experience a poor return rate. After investigating customer feedback, our client found that the most commonly cited problem in product feedback was poor quality in the stitching. Over the next few months the client improved the quality of stitching and their return rate improved as well.
8. Questions > Product Descriptions
In many cases, your customers have a burning question about your product that they dearly wish could be answered before purchasing. In many cases, those customers will put off a purchase or not purchase at all. In some cases, they’ll reach out and ask a question.
Most marketplaces have a system for collecting and answering customer questions before and after purchases. On Amazon, the questions are published for anyone to answer. On eBay, they get emailed directly to the seller and can be published after the seller answers the question.
This customer needs a sizing chart:
These customers have specific dishes that they like to prepare and need to know if the Wolfgang Puck Pressure Oven is the right tool for the job:
An offer is the price a seller sets for a product. Monitoring all the offers for your products on marketplaces can tell you a lot about the health of your distribution channels.
9. Unauthorized Offers > Distribution Enforcement
Does your company have a proactive strategy for controlling distribution? Do you care where your consumers buy your product and what experience they have while purchasing? Is pricing important to your product strategy?
If you answered, “Yes,” to any of these questions, Amazon is the first place you should monitor for distribution and pricing violations. Anyone is allowed to sell on Amazon if they have a product and it’s one of the first places companies will create a listing online. Monitor your products’ offers for alerts that a problem happened somewhere in your distribution chain.
This product is being sold for almost half of the intended price by 64 different people:
10. Crazy Low Prices > Counterfeit Enforcement
Amazon is also a great place to find sellers who could be hawking counterfeit versions of your product. Let’s say you sell a product for $6 at wholesale and someone is selling it on Amazon for $6.50, including shipping. With the cost of fulfillment and a 15% fee taken by Amazon, that seller is either losing money on every sale or they sourced counterfeit product.
What Is Your Data Telling You?
I hope these ideas for using data from marketplaces has given you some valuable ideas. What are some ways you’ve improved your business with data from marketplaces?