Amazon Is Not A Typical Retailer
Amazon is arguably the most inventive and disruptive retailer of the past 20 years. Partnering with them can be a daunting, confusing, and at times, frustrating experience. Their core tenants and business practices seem at odds with brands. Everything is self-service. Brands are unable to talk to humans when they have a question. They use acronyms, metrics and terminology that most people do not understand and makes no sense to most. They have outrageous asks. The only constant is change, which includes their staff. It is too complicated or too much work to do business with them. This list is not fully inclusive, but highlights the issues most brands experience when working with Amazon.
Customer Obsession is Amazon’s number one Leadership Principle. This means that Amazon obsesses about the customer and that the customer always comes first. Why does this matter to brands? It matters because this is the basis for all of their decisions. Many of Amazon’s asks or business practices may not make sense to brands, which is fine with them. Amazon believes those decisions somehow benefit the customer, and therefore, are the right thing to do.
In order to effectively work with Amazon, it is essential that brands understand what motives them and their decisions. This may seem rudimentary or somehow off topic, but is vital to understand. In fact most brands overlook this and try to force Amazon to behave like a traditional retailer or run their Amazon business the way they run all of their other retail businesses. This leads to frustration and causes unnecessary friction for both parties and can be likened to trying to shove a square peg into a round hole. More importantly, it results in missed sales for both the brand and Amazon.
Metrics, Metrics, Metrics
In addition to obsessing about the customer, Amazon is a data driven company. Decisions are not haphazardly made or based on emotions; they are founded in, and supported by data. Amazon has what would seem like endless data available to them, yet is not that forthcoming when providing information and data to brand partners. This becomes a trap for most brands. They want Amazon to share information that they want or believe to be essential to their business, when Amazon is providing data and metrics that they want the brands to focus on and that they think are most important.
As discussed above, Amazon obsesses about the customer; so much so that their most important metrics – the ones they use to measure both internal and brand partner performance – were created to measure how well they are servicing the customer. These metrics are unique to Amazon and are complex. Often brands do not take the time to truly understand these metrics or say that they do when they really do not. The end result is poor vendor metrics and missed sales.
What We Offer
Brands that want to succeed on the Amazon platform need to have the proper internal processes, the right people in place and be willing to put in the effort. Clean Channel Consulting helps with all this. We can help with the following: Teach the basics of Amazon (understanding Vendor Central, terminology, metrics, etc.), evaluate the business to see where improvements can be made, make sure the brand has the proper internal processes in place to maximize success, advise on negotiations, help understand how a meeting went or what Amazon is really asking for, ensure a brand is focused on the right things, turn metrics and data into impactful actions, provide input and recommendations on marketing spend and advise where to push back. There are many ways we work with brands from project-based engagements to monthly services to the occasional call. We will be the liaison to create a successful partnership for your brand and Amazon.