Season 1, Episode 64
Off-Amazon Strategy for Driving Amazon Sales
[00:00:07] Leah: Hey, Amazon sellers. Welcome to the Seller Performance Solutions podcast. I am Leah McHugh– I am here with Chris McCabe of ecommerceChris and today we are talking to Andrew Maff from BlueTuskr about building your brand off of Amazon to help build your brand on Amazon. So thank you so much for joining us today, Andrew.
[00:00:28] Andrew: Yeah, not a problem. Thanks for having.
[00:00:30] Leah: So this is something we’ve actually been talking about quite a lot this year. After many years of just playing with the data and running ads on Amazon, sellers are starting to kind of circle back to actually building a real brand in order to drive sales on Amazon.
And you guys actually specialize in marketing, just eCommerce marketing in general. So what are the most interesting things that you guys are working on at the moment in terms of branding?
[00:00:54] Andrew: So honestly we get a lot of Amazon sellers that are essentially looking to diversify. You get a lot of people that get suspended for whatever reason, or I’ve had situations where we actually worked with someone for a while that was well into the eight figures, had his credit card was just about to expire, changed his credit card, amazon thought it was fraudulent so they shut his account down for at least a week.
[00:01:17] Leah: Yep.
[00:01:18] Chris: A week?
[00:01:18] Andrew: And that was a majority of his business. He was pretty good. In fact, I think he took a page outta your book, Chris and figured out the best way to respond to Amazon by, you know, cuz like I’ve listened to your podcast so many times– I know like you get a lot of people that just shoot them a support ticket. That’s just like I got suspended and I don’t know why and then they expect them to do anything about it.
[00:01:41] Leah: Right.
[00:01:41] Andrew: But he wrote a pretty decent sized novel explaining and then was able to get out of it.
But, because of that, we help a lot of people kind of figure out like the best way to do things outside of just Amazon being solely reliant on it. We do a lot on Amazon because we obviously need to kind of baby step away from Amazon.
[00:02:00] Leah: Sure.
[00:02:00] Andrew: You find a lot of people that think that, you know, we work with seven and eight figure sellers all the time who are like, all right, let’s make a Shopify site and then launch it and we’re gonna make just as much money.
And it’s not the case at all. So we do a lot with helping sellers kind of ease into starting their own brand on their own site, or even going into other marketplaces and things like that. And kind of focusing on more of like an omnichannel approach.
[00:02:25] Leah: Yeah. It’s interesting because it’s sort of like we’re completing the loop because I mean back in 2011, which is when I got started in e-commerce, Amazon was a sales channel, it wasn’t the entire business and then it kind of went all Amazon all the time and then people are now realizing that’s not really the best position to be in and now it’s circling back to Amazon as a sales channel and an important sales channel, but still a sales channel. And I think the most interesting brands that I see are the ones that are using the different channels to drive traffic to each other. Is that something that you guys are working on a lot?
[00:02:59] Andrew: Yeah, actually even earlier today, I had a call with someone we’re basically game planning, the best approach for us to drive some of their traffic from off Amazon, to Amazon during prime day cause as we’re recording this, prime day is next week.
So we’re kind of looking into different approaches on how to benefit their preexisting audience and send them to Amazon since that’s where a majority of them are going anyway.
[00:03:21] Leah: Yeah, definitely. And actually, we did a whole series on this, leading up to our conference, but I’m gonna ask you as well, just because it’s your wheelhouse. If you’re building a brand this year, what would be your number one tip.
[00:03:35] Andrew: Oh man. Know your audience and know where they’re at. It always really impresses me how many people will find a product and they’ll go through the whole sourcing process and everything, and they’ll be ready to do it, but they have no idea how to contact the right people.
And if you’re in a relatively even minimal competitive space within Amazon, you still gotta do all your paid advertising and you gotta fight your way to the top to be able to stay up there for a while and kind of keep that snowball effect going. So that tends to be the one thing that I always notice you gotta make sure that you know who you’re going after.
Cause the nice thing about Amazon is it’s primarily search, so you’re getting a lot of people that you just target your certain search terms, you can target certain ASINs and things like that. But from an off Amazon perspective, Once you start going in that direction, you gotta find out what channels are they on? How do you talk to them? What creative do you show them? And then it’s a whole different beast.
[00:04:26] Leah: Yeah. And I think that’s where a lot of people struggle. There are a lot more moving parts when you’re selling off of Amazon. And that’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of moving parts on Amazon too. But they do take a lot of the work out of it for you. Getting into stores, selling on your own website, getting people to actually know about and visit your own website are very different skills than just researching keywords for Amazon listing on Amazon and sending in your inventory.
[00:04:52] Andrew: I agree.
[00:04:53] Chris: Why do you think people think they know their audience, but don’t, and then the disconnect, how do you think that starts? What’s the origin of that?
[00:05:00] Andrew: It tends to be that either they start way too broad and sometimes that makes sense, right? Like you wanna start relatively broad, figure out who’s shopping and then you wanna hone in on your certain audience and kind of target your messaging based on them.
But a lot of times you get way too many sellers that are just like, I should be on Facebook ads so I’m gonna start running Facebook ads or I should be running ads on Google, but if you’re an apparel brand, running Google ads is a nightmare because you’re basically going up against anyone that’s charging $20 or less for a t-shirt.
So like there’s certain aspects of that where they kind of go in almost blind. Like they assume that these are the popular channels and thus I should be on them, but in reality, knowing how your customer shops and where they shop and basically the approach that they like to take is very interesting to know. Cause you get a lot of people as well that, one of the things that we always talk about is looking at basically how fluid the customer journey is now. Like we see a lot of times you’ll have sellers, that’ll increase their advertising spend on, let’s say Facebook by 10%, but they’ll look at their revenue on their website and it didn’t go up by 10%.
But if you look at your Amazon and you didn’t touch any major things on Amazon, then you look at that sometimes collectively that’s actually a 10% because you get people who go to a site, have never heard of your brand before and they go, I wanna see if they’re available on Amazon and then I can read some of their reviews and then they end up shopping on Amazon.
And in some cases you actually have the opposite. My wife, for example, one of the reasons I ended up kind of getting into this approach is I kept watching her shop on Amazon. But she was always so worried about, you know, back when it was a lot of fraudulent sellers and just a lot of knockoffs. So she would actually leave Amazon, Google the brand and see if she could find information about them before she went back to Amazon and shopped with them.
[00:06:48] Leah: You know, a secret– I actually, I do the same thing except I don’t shop on Amazon, I just buy it from the brand’s website.
[00:06:55] Andrew: There you go.
[00:06:56] Leah: Sorry, Amazon sellers. But yeah, it’s interesting because the way people are searching for products has changed. And I mean, Amazon has been a driver of a lot of that change, but we’re seeing it shift again to more social media driving and obviously Facebook ads always drove a little bit of e-commerce, but now, you know, there are entire trends that were just started on TikTok by influencers and that’s driving huge amount of product sales that wasn’t something we were seeing a few years ago.
[00:08:07] Leah: Right. And it’s great for Amazon, because they’re now getting a ton more data from your website that they weren’t getting before. So yeah it makes a lot of sense that they would wanna track that customer journey. Yeah. Cool. Well, yeah. Thank you so much for joining us. Was there anything else that you wanted to like final thoughts? Leave our audience with?
[00:08:21] Chris: Pre Q4? Summer has become our like ahead of Q4. Once prime day comes and goes everything we are dealing with is preparing for Q4 being ready for increased competition, anything that could come up for a brand. So pretty much just ahead of September slash August, what would you recommend that people focus on?
[00:08:43] Andrew: Honestly, that’s a really good point, because I’ve been in eCommerce marketing for about 15 years now. And about seven or eight years ago is when I kind of got in the agency side and started to see what it’s like working with a lot of sellers. And I do the same thing. It’s usually. We’ll start talking about it in July. And then we wanna start prepping like campaigns and everything that we’re thinking about running in Q4 in August and it never fails.
They always wait until usually like, Mid October when they’re like, okay, let’s do this.
[00:09:13] Leah: Oh, wow.
[00:09:13] Chris: Yeah.
[00:09:15] Andrew: If there’s anything that I can say to take away, it’s plan it now look at how you did in Q4 last year and then plan it now. And then that way you’re not stressed out because everyone’s in a huge panic from basically November 1st until the end of the year.
And if you can get it out now, whatever happens is what’s gonna happen. So you can’t like sit there in Q4 and making changes all the time and trying to figure out what’s what can I tweak now to make that extra dollar? My side is just prep it now, know what you’re getting yourself into and then just let enjoy the ride for the last few months.
[00:09:47] Leah: Yep. You’re speaking our language.
[00:09:49] Chris: I’m so glad you answered that way. I asked you that question, knowing you were going to answer exactly like that.
[00:09:57] Andrew: So, yeah, well, you were texting me and telling me to say it like that.
[00:10:01] Chris: I know you read from the script. Thanks so much. We’re constantly preaching and, and we know how busy sellers and brand owners are. Right? I mean, it’s not like people are twidling their thumbs, but preparation means everything in the Amazon landscape. So with this, and with things that we work on every day, we’re always pushing people like– God, get ahead of that curve as much as you possibly can so that you’re not scrambling and wasting time in October.
[00:10:26] Andrew: Yeah. Completely agree.
[00:10:27] Leah: And then what is the best way for people to reach you? We’ll link to the BlueTuskr website, but if people wanna reach out to you with question how should they do that?
[00:10:34] Andrew: Yeah. BlueTuskr website, BlueTuskr social or me, Andrew Maff. It’s all the same on social so whichever one, pick your poison and I’m always happy to help.
[00:10:44] Leah: Awesome. Great. Well, thank you so much. It was great talking to you.
[00:10:47] Andrew: Yeah. Thank you. Appreciate it.
[00:10:48] Chris: Thanks Andrew. Bye.
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