How to Grow Your Amazon Business in 2020 (E116)

  • John Ghiorso
  • CEO of Orca Pacific


John Ghiorso is the founder and CEO of Orca Pacific, a Seattle-based agency focused exclusively on helping brands sell on Amazon. He started the agency about 12 years ago and now manages over 100 top brands in a variety of product categories. After 10 years of studying Amazon, Mr. Ghiorso has earned a reputation for approximating industry reaction and forecasting shifts within the Amazon marketplace. His insights have been featured in prestigious publications like The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Vox, Modern Retail, and Digiday.




Charles (00:00):

In this episode of The Business of eCommerce. I talk with John [Ghiorso] about how to grow your Amazon business in 2020 this is the business of e-commerce, episode one 16. Welcome to the business of eCommerce. The show that helps eCommerce retailers start, launch and grow their eCommerce business. I mean host Charles Palleschi and I’m here today with John Ghiorso. John is the founder of Orca Pacific. A Seattle based agency focuses exclusively on helping brands sell on Amazon. You started the agency 12 years ago and is now managing over a hundred top brands and a variety of product categories. I asked John on the show today to chat about how you can optimize your Amazon listings in 2020 so, Hey John, how are you doing today?

John (00:48):

Good, good. How are you

Charles (00:49):

Doing well, thanks for coming on the show. I love the topic. Kind of the all Amazon stuff right now. Lot of retailers are either on Amazon or moving to Amazon, thinking about selling Amazon. So everyone’s, everyone’s kind of somewhere touching on Amazon right now. So I love the kind of top, Whoa, just how to grow that. So do you guys normally work with, so you work with brands, but is this just brand selling their own products or what kind of retail is typically do work most with,

John (01:22):

Yeah, sure. So you know, our, our, our primary client archetype is a branded manufacturer, but we also work with distributors, retailers, direct to consumer brands. So it, it kind of runs the gambit. In terms of folks reselling other brands, products, reselling white label, private label products or you know, sort of traditional national brands. So really, you know, our clients are essentially entities that are trying to increase their sales top line growth on the Amazon platform. And kind of the, the simplest way of saying it.

Charles (01:56):

Okay. So if you’re a white label brand [inaudible] white label retailer you could still get some value out of, basically you should have stopped listening at this point. They can get some value out of these types of things. Yeah. Hopefully. All right. So are we talking when you typically kind of start working with someone, are they already on Amazon? Are they competing for the buy box or are they competing to shop at a search or where’s a good place to focus?

John (02:21):

Yeah, so primarily they’re, they’re going to be competing in, in search. I mean competing to win the buy box is it’s certainly a game that we play, but our primary goal is to drive more demand for a given product. So, you know, then there’s kind of the secondary consideration. Is that demand going to you? Are you the, the seller that winning the buy box? I guess the way we look at the platform primarily is our sort of assumption is that you will be winning the buy box. And then you know, we’re really trying to drive demand for the product. Overall if there’s, if there’s lost by box issues or competitive by box issues, we see that as a problem that needs to be solved, but more of kind of a shorter term consideration. And then longer term macro is, is really how to, how to grow the business in aggregate for a given product, series of products, brand, et cetera. So,

Charles (03:18):

Okay, so you’re trying to drive traffic to a listing. Yeah. It’s up to that, to optimize that listing, optimize how they appear in that listing and optimize that listing themselves.

John (03:26):

Yeah. That, that’s a cause. So if you break our business down into kind of the big, big chunks, it’s, it’s demand driving. So, you know, advertising, merchandising, promotions, et cetera. It’s conversion. That’s primarily gonna come back to content reviews you know, images, video, that type of thing on the product detail page. And then I would put generally kind of the, it’s in, it’s a big bucket, everything else into sort of the retail readiness bucket. So making sure that you’re winning the buy box, the products in stock, it’s, you know, labeled correctly and packaged correctly and you’re not getting and on cords or account suspensions, you know, things like that that essentially maintain an ability to capture that increase demand and conversion.

Charles (04:08):

Yup. Okay. So, but kind of the first step is getting people from that searching that generic keyword term to actually clicking on your listing for that keyword term, right?

John (04:19):

Yeah. Yeah. I mean that’s, that’s obviously a big part of it, whether it’s, whether it’s first, second or third, and frankly depends on where the business is when we get into it. I mean, as you’re setting up a business from scratch, you’re actually much more focused primarily, you know, on the, the listing and kind of the retail ready basics of the business before you start driving demand, you have nothing to drive it to. Oftentimes we get into a business that’s already established, you know, it was already doing 1,000,010 million, 50 million on the platform and then we’re coming in and saying, okay, how do we get from 50 to a hundred million? How do we get from one to 5 million, et cetera. So,

Charles (04:54):

Okay, so let’s say we’re a retailer in that position, so we’re already Amazon already selling, getting some sales, but we’ll just obviously want to do more. What would, how would you start approaching just saying you want a pair on higher up in the search on more searches. Do you, are you going like what direction is the right direction to staff?

John (05:14):

Yeah. So the primary driver of demand at this point is, is Amazon advertising. And within that to further kind of break it down, it’s going to be the search product. So sponsored ads. So this is really fundamental to any strategy on the platform. Amazon has become much more of a pay to play platform than it was even three years ago. You know, for a given search, you search a toothpaste, five out of the top 10 product listings are paid. Now, I mean, you can almost be in a situation where every single listing above the fold is paid. You don’t see any organic listings until you scroll depending on, on what device, you know, you’re, you’re looking at the through. But it’s a village because what it means is that there’s now the opportunity to actually drive demand much faster and much more aggressively than there was before.

John (06:11):

We’re, before the incumbent sort of national brands. It was really their business to lose and you had to really fight over a years to kind of make, make a dent. Now with advertising, you have the ability, if you’re aggressive and have a better strategy, you know, budget, et cetera, you have the ability to come in and disrupt the incumbent brands in a matter of months. The flip side of that, the reason it’s a double edged sword is your competitors are now doing that to you as well. So, you know, the days of saying, well, we’re number one, we just need to sort of defend our turf. I mean you still do, but you know, much more aggressive way. If you’re not out there capturing more demand yourself, your competitors are going to be doing it for you. So it just created a sort of a much more dynamic aggressive posture on the platform in general.

Charles (06:59):

Have you heard anything, and I kind of, I’ve heard this and I always don’t know if it’s true on Amazon. Are the organic listings swayed by the [inaudible] paid search? Like is there some way that like running pay traffic gets you better organic ranks or is that not true at all?

John (07:16):

So, so in a roundabout way, yes, but not directly. So you doing more advertising, we’ll create more things that then lead to a higher rank. So doing advertising doesn’t make your organic listing rank higher, but doing advertising will get you to sell more product, which then gets more reviews. You don’t get, you added to more lists and then you’re in more automated widgets, it’ll get you into more email blasts. So this concept of the Amazon flywheel, which is essentially, you know, it’s momentum driven. Like the more success you have, the more success you will then have because the platform is looking for customer engagement. So you can directly impact customer engagement, which then will impact rank. But it’s a, it’s sort of a two step process. Frankly. It’s, it’s similar to Google. You know, if you do a lot of paid search, you can kind of just generally get more traffic and more customers engaging with your site, coming back frequently searching for you, telling their friends, and then that will cause an increase in organic rank as well. So it’s kind of a similar phenomenon.

Charles (08:27):

Yeah. And it also allows you to, I feel like test a lot quicker. Right. So those learnings, you can then just get it speed where if you stop doing this organic and you’re getting a couple of clicks a month, you can’t really AB test anything, but you can start really AB testing AB tested scale and then that helps boost your organic conversions and everything down the line kind of seems like it just increases it at that point.

John (08:49):

Yeah, for sure. I mean you’re, what you’re basically doing is you’re artificially spinning that flywheel faster than it would sort of tick up on its own.

Charles (08:57):

I love the flywheel turn by the way. Jim Collins just came out with a the in the good to great the flywheel chapter. You’ve got to spun that off as a separate book, which is a fantastic, it’s literally, I think called the flywheel. It’s like a cool 45 page book on just that concept of yeah, it’s really good. Yeah, I will big Jim Collins fan, but, and he, he’s kind of the, the flywheel godfather.

John (09:21):

Yeah. Well I’ve read his other two books and I liked, I think we’re good to great and built to last. Are those, yup. Yup. I think those are, those are classics. Both of them.

Charles (09:28):

Yeah. And the flywheel is such a great concept and what you’re saying it fits into a perfectly, it’s kind of built into a completely separate book. Just interesting. Just because it’s so popular that one can,

John (09:38):

That’s cool. Yeah. Yeah. I mean you know, one just one point on that it’s, it’s interesting cause I think we talked about this concept a lot in our business because it directly relates to Amazon, but I also think it’s, it can be one of those kind of business buzzwordy could things that loses meaning. I think the important thing to understand for people to understand when it comes to Amazon specifically is this is not some, a morphous concept. It is literally built into the functionality of the site. It is programmed into the way the site functions. So it’s not like a, Oh, it’s a first mover advantage. And that sort of means generally you, you know, do a better job cause you were there earlier like no, this is specifically engineered into the platform itself and understanding that phenomenon and investing for future success is frankly the thing that sets apart brands and entities that do really well on the platform and those that basically just kind of hold the line.

Charles (10:35):

Yeah, I think that’s, it has been very buzzwordy right, where everyone wants a flywheel and that’s kind of [inaudible]. But like it really is one of those things where each thing on each item, on the flywheel inevitably like almost if it happens, you must go to the next step of the flywheel. Like there’s no, so if you get more people to your page that’s going to just increase views, that’s going to increase add to cart. It’s like each thing just kind of happens and unless you do something to screw up that step on the flywheel, yes. That’s basically the only way you can break it is to just find one step and screw it up at that point.

John (11:06):

Yeah. Yeah. And I mean honestly a lot of what we do is kind of mitigating those downside impacts. The things that prevent the fly wheel from spinning as fast as it should be. And those classic examples would be like loss by box out of stock. Cause those are killers. Cause the site scene, you know, you have more and more momentum, the product’s doing better and better and then all of a sudden it’s out of stock. It goes to zero for three weeks. It disrupts that entire process. So it’s essentially on the proactive side, spinning the flywheel faster on the kind of preventative side, making sure that those downside impacts don’t prevent it from, from picking up momentum. So

Charles (11:45):

Things like you said, the out of stock issue that will negatively impact your even organic rank as well. Correct?

John (11:51):

Sure. Yup. Yup. Absolutely. Yeah, it, it, I mean cause Amazon for good reason, right? Like the the thing, the other thing to understand about the flywheel on Amazon, the way products are rank, is it all trying to predict how a customer will react to the product. I mean that’s, that’s, and that’s why I think sometimes there’s sort of these conspiracy theories out there about, Oh, Amazon, you know, doing things to sort of artificially impact rank, but really outside of paid cause paid is paid, right? Paid is whatever you want it to be if you’re willing to put up the dollars. But as far as organic goes, it really is genuinely meant to predict a customer’s interaction with the product. And if it’s out of stock, obviously they’re going to have a bad experience.

Charles (12:35):

So yeah, well Amazon sees an indicator, right? Are people coming to your page looking and then bounce and then hitting the background. And anytime you hit the back button on a page, Amazon sees a huge red flag of something just went terribly. Like we got them there. And for some reason they really did not like this. So don’t either not align with that search term or they’re just, something’s not align and that’s not what this person wanted. So let’s just show it less. Yeah, that’s exactly right. Yeah. So what are some paid strategies on? Is it literally just throw money at the problem or is there like some way of actually being a little more strategic about this?

John (13:09):

Yeah. So it’s, it’s very competitive compared to even two or three years ago. So search is, is a demand driven supply and demand. So it’s CPC bid based. So you could throw money at it three or four years ago and probably be pretty successful. I mean, when CPCs are 10 cents, it’s kinda hard to screw that up. They’re not now, you know, they’re, they’re upwards. We see CPCs over $50 in some categories, certain categories.

Charles (13:39):


John (13:40):

So think mattress category, you know, your average ring is probably three, 400 bucks. Yup. A lot of these companies are frankly losing money on their strategies. They’re just trying to gain share cause they’re, you know, they’ve venture capitals, so they’re kind of burning cash and you know, you, yeah, you $50 plus CPC. So throwing money on it, not a good idea anymore. Taking a budget and then coming up with really a well thought out strategy is, is, is still, you know, that’s important. So just a couple of things to throw out that we’ve seen successful. Long tail keyword strategies are really important. If you’re bidding on the term mattress, it might cost you $50. If you’re bidding on the term mattress for hot sleepers, you know, maybe that’s 10 if you’re bidding on a queen whatever, I’m making this up now, you know, queen microfiber or topper mattress for hot sleepers, that might be 50 cents.

John (14:39):

So long tail keyword strategies are really important and in aggregate, that keyword is not gonna move the needle one way or the other most likely. But if you add up thousands of those for given product that in aggregate can lead to a much more sustainable ROI on a paid search strategy versus just going after the, you know, the, the top keyword. If you’re any top keyword, if you’re, if you’re bidding on, you know, iPhone 11 case, you’re going to lose money on that campaign. There’s, it’s impossible to make money on that. And now you may do that because you want to be top of search and there’s strategy there, but you have to offset that with long tail keywords. So I think that’s something we’ve seen a lot of success with. I think it’s really important to have technology that plugs into the Amazon advertising API.

John (15:27):

There’s lots of providers out there now, you know, they all have kind of features, benefits, cost structures that are different. But I think tech has become now table stakes. If you don’t have tech that builds features on top of the kind of native ad tool, then you’re going to be behind. So you need to be able to do things like day partying, time partying different, you know, keyword research strategies bid management strategies essentially to keep up. Now if you have $1,000 a month budget, it’s probably not worth buying tech to, to optimize that. But if you’re doing anything at scale technology now is, is, is really critical as well in terms of accessing some of those new features. And then the last thing I would say, we always think of advertising kind of with this race car analogy. To win a race, you need the best car, but you also need the best driver.

John (16:16):

And you can have a great driver and a bad car or a gray car with a subpar driver and you’re still gonna lose. So for us, the car is the tech, the driver’s, the actual person using the technology. There’s no tech that’s sufficiently good where you can just hit a button and it just runs your advertising for you. You still need a human working on the text. So when it comes to really fully maximizing the, the opportunity with Amazon advertising you really have to have those two pieces. So as far as a person or people out to a thing like Amazon advertising agencies now, like is that an actual thing? Yeah, it is. It is. So advertising, so we’re a full service agency. We do content, we deal with operations stuff, we do strategy, but advertising is a big part of our work.

John (17:05):

I would say there’s probably hundreds of agencies now that either exclusively or as part of their services offer Amazon advertising support. So yeah, it’s become this entire sort of cottage industry. And frankly for good reason because you, you either have to, you know, build this in house to fully optimize it. It, it’s not saying you have to use an agency by any means. You can do it in house, you can do it well in house, but you either have to put the resources to hire someone that knows this space really well. And then by technology just you have to do that in house or you have to hire an agency. To me, those does the only way to really do this right. You can’t have, you know, your, your Google AdWords guy kinda jump in and do it as a, as a part time. It can be somewhat effective, but if you really want to maximize it, you have to have specialists. And so it’s created this interesting kind of, you know, a cottage industry around that, that space. So

Charles (18:00):

Yeah, the hardest part about advertising is platforms. You need a specialist because you need someone to be watching it day to day just because it’s so rapidly iterating. I remember at one point going like a deep dive into Facebook ads and I’m like, I’m a Facebook ad expert. And like, you know, like learn pretty much everything that was to learn. And then four months later you check it again and you’re like, I literally have no idea how to this tool. Everything’s different. They’ve literally to the board game and just dumped it on the floor and changed the roles and you’re like, Oh, I want to play that game. And like, Nope, different game now. So it’s as soon as you as lethal, like any amount of time, it’s very hard to pick back up in these, I had these ad marketplaces now, which is,

John (18:36):

Oh yeah, yeah, for sure. I mean, we, you know, we have a whole team dedicated is I, I have no idea how to do this. I could never do their jobs right. Like, if they’re, they’re doing this all day long, it’s their exclusive job is running Amazon advertising for our clients. But if it’s not your full time, everyday job, you’re just, you’re going to get left behind. There’s so many new betas and features and changes and I mean it’s just a constant series of iterating because you have to think this is new for Amazon in a lot of ways. I mean relatively new. It’s really a couple of years old and Amazon moves very quickly and in a lot of ways they’re in a race against Google and Facebook. They have some fundamental things working to their advantage, but they also are in a race in terms of building out more features, data sets, transparency, et cetera, to capture more ad dollars. So they’re moving really quickly to serve the market. Therefore you have to have someone that’s kind of you know, in tune with that. So

Charles (19:34):

Yeah, they’re probably, where there w Amazon today is where Facebook ads was maybe five plus years ago, where just like the rule, like there were rules, like never use automatic placements and then few years later always use automatic placements. Like it literally like every like, and if you read any kind of information just from last show, it was literally telling you do the exact wrong thing. So is there any place you’d recommend if someone wants to actually learn a little bit about it and actually try to optimize some of the stuff on their own? Is there any UpToDate kind of best in class place to learn about that or where would you say,

John (20:08):

Yeah. So, so first of all, Amazon I know is trying to do a better job of putting out information and resources around this. So I would just check out the Amazon advertising domain. They, they put out training videos. They have now a certification program. I’m not sure if that’s open to the public or just agencies. I know we’re a part of it, but it’s, it’s, I would say at least worth checking out the actual Amazon properties. I mean self-serving, but our blog I think is a good place to learn as well. We try to put out a lot of information. We have a YouTube channel as well. And then just a couple other like do a good job of, of content marketing to nudity is a good one. They put out a lot of good information. I think there’s a couple others. Frankly, Google is a pretty good place just to search for specific things. There’s a lot of thought leadership out there, but to your point, you know, I’d make sure the articles no more than six months old or it may be out of date. So that would be my recommendation.

Charles (21:14):

Yeah, that’s one thing about those articles I always found put the current year and just search like when you search in Google, you’ve got to put, you know, 20, 20 and there’ll be, cause if you just put a generic, you’ll find something from like 2015 that’s just runs you in the wrong direction. So I always put the year at the end when I’m looking for this.

John (21:30):

Yeah. Yeah. It’s a great point. Yep.

Charles (21:32):

[Inaudible] Any other kind of tips you’d say? So let’s say you want to start running ads. Is that kind of the, is that the big lever hair or is it, do you start really looking at on page and get into that a little more? Like is it, what percent would you allocate towards

John (21:48):

Just in terms of effort? Yes, in some ways it depends on where the business is at. But if I was starting from scratch today I would first spend the time to figure out the least sexy but most important stuff to launch a business. You know, how to get your product to Amazon in an effective way, whether it’s third party or first party, you know how to make sure you have a prime offer. The FBA with in network on the one piece side you have seller fulfilled prime. It’s different ways to achieve that. But for most product categories or prime offers, just table stakes. If you don’t have a prime offer, no one’s ever going to see you or convert. So all that retail ready stuff from there I would actually focus on content because content is really critical to conversion. And you know, functionally advertising is directly correlated in terms of its efficacy with conversion rates.

John (22:40):

So you really want to maximize as well as you can conversion rates first. So basic content, a plus content or enhanced brand content, a brand stores, all really important foundational elements of, of success on Amazon. And then the third thing would be Amazon advertising to really drive as much demand as you possibly can to the product. Obviously those things can happen in tandem. It’s not like you have to do completely one and then end in the other. But but content really is critical. I mean there’s, there’s a lot more opportunities for rich content than there used to be on Amazon. Amazon wants to be a product search engine. I mean they are in, in a significant way already a product search engine, but they want to be a place for discovery, for product research, not just to say I want this very specific thing. I’m going to go on Amazon. Cause I know they have the best price. Like they’re going to continue to be that, but they also want to be a place that I say, you know, father’s day is coming up. I have no idea what I want. So instead of, you know, bumbling around the mall, you Bumble around Amazon to make that

Charles (23:46):

Really work, they need a lot of content a lot of rich media. And so that’s something they’re putting a lot of resources into from a perspective of opening up opportunities for brands and sellers to create that content. Amazon’s not going to be creating it themselves. They’re not going to be editorializing, but they’re essentially, they’re, they’re trying to create more structure, more opportunity for brands to take it upon themselves to build that. So I think that’s, that’s a really important piece and it will probably only become more important in the future. Again, as competition gets better and better at this, it means that you have to be relatively even better to, to then have an edge. You know, used to be five years ago, if you had just a plus content at all, which is essentially more enhanced content versus the standard that was like you are ahead of all the competitors now it’s not everyone has a plus content.

Charles (24:37):

So it’s how good is the content? Do you have video on the product? You have three 60 imagery. I mean there’s a lot of stuff now that that can be done. So yeah, they definitely, they’ve made a lot more opportunities on the product pages to actually like customize them and just make them enhanced. Right. Whereas before it was just like disruption and like that was it. Now in like some bullet points, it was like bullet points in the description and that was the end. Now there’s graphics, everything. Yup. But as far as, and I feel I know a lot of folks when they’re kind of doing this on their own, when you start talking conversion rate optimization, a lot of folks have a hard time, Hey, I’m not sure how to, how exactly to measure that on Amazon, if that kind of expose that now. And then B, how do you like your actual, do you have those analytics of when you come to the page, how many people bounce, how many people have converted? Like you have those kind of rod data numbers and then how do you know that yours are good verse, you know the guy next to you? Like I even know that information.

John (25:37):

Yeah. To be honest, it’s a bit of a black box. So Amazon doesn’t deliberately release any of this information. There are some tools where you can kind of back out some, some data. You can back out an estimate of conversion rate, but Amazon’s not providing any, what I would call kind of customer interaction metrics. Like they provide sales data, they provide data on the advertising side of the fence in terms of you know, what advertising specifically was doing. So there’s attribution, but they don’t provide any data around conversion rate, bounce rate, you know, what was the add to cart rate? Didn’t they don’t provide really any of that. So you have to be, you can estimate some of it and then I think correlate whether it’s improving or declining. But

Charles (26:28):

Have you estimate that, like how would you even back into that number?

John (26:31):

Yeah, you can take, if you have a Hybris, this is getting really specific, but if you have a hybrid account, if you have a seller central and vendor central account, if you correlate two data sources in there, you can estimate a conversion rate. Yeah. Yeah. So I, I’m not the data science guy, so I’ll, that’s probably where I’ll stop cause otherwise I’m gonna out over my skis. But but I know it, it is possible.

Charles (26:57):

Sounds like that’d be a good blog article for you guys right there.

John (27:00):

Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, and I mean, even that may change based on some things Amazon’s probably going to roll out next year. But you know, they’ve always been really paranoid about releasing any type of site metrics because then, you know, competitors and wall street can find out a lot of things about kind of where the company’s going and what they’re doing and not doing. Generally though to take a step back, you know, better content is going to improve conversion rate. Right? So like that’s, I mean, I know that that’s not a real scientific way of approaching it, but there’s also a general understanding from a market or from a merchandising perspective that if you give a customer a better experience with the product, more information, et cetera then then you know, that’s going to increase conversion rate. And actually this is an important thing to add in.

John (27:50):

Amazon just launched an AB testing tool for enhanced content. So this is like, this is a big deal because it’s the first time they’ve actually gotten behind a data-driven process to make decisions around content. So we’re just starting to play with that on on our end for our clients. But but I think that’s, that’s a really interesting opportunity now to actually AB test now. It’s all relative, right? So it was just, I, I don’t think it’s going to give you specific numbers, but it’ll say this one’s better than this one basically. But still it’s, it’s, it’s an improvement. So

Charles (28:24):

Yeah, I’ve heard of people even doing that. I know I had Kim from Pikeville on Hill where they can basically show you, you can kind of go to them and basically say, I just want a bunch of males, 18 to 22 that I’ll skateboard or whatever. And you can just say, I need this certain demographic and I want to show them to Amazon listings. And then they literally, you can just basically like they bring the audience, they show you the thing, they run the AB test and then you just get the results and, yeah. And so you could basically use that to almost just build your own. Sure. What do they call those? Where you guys sit behind the glass and kind of watch the watch the thing going on, but in kind of you just get the data and see how, see how the listing dead and use that as analogous to, cause when you refresh that content, as you know, the better client, once you get to a place of better content, right. You could always make the content. No, you, you think you’re making it better, but the user doesn’t agree. So you kind of have to AB test that content. Right?

John (29:20):

Yeah, I agree. Yeah. When, when you’re talking about iterative improvements, that’s where you have to have data or an AB test to, to really to get better. I agree. You know, if you’re going from a way of one image and a sentence description to we’re going to have rich content, like you know, that’s going to be an improvement. You kind of can’t lose. But once you get into, you know, should we put this word above this word or should we make the title a little bit longer or shorter? Those types of very specific changes. Yeah. I mean, if you’re, if you’re doing that without an ability to AB test it or provide conversion data, you’re just going to be running around in circles. There’s really no point. So,

Charles (29:59):

Yeah. And it’s very hard to do it live. Right. Cause you know, if you’re running it a we perfect,

John (30:03):

It’s too dynamic. It’s dynamic, right? Yeah. It’s too dynamic. Yeah. There’s, and there’s just, and that’s like the idea that you could say, well, we made a title change and our sales increased. Well there’s 700 other variables your competitor went out of stock on, on, on a product, your competitor raised the price, they lowered the price. You know, it’s a different time of year. There’s so many different variables. You could never assume that just pulling one out is gonna be directly attributable. So yeah, if you don’t have kind of a, a, a place to actually AB test that or get actual metrics, then yeah, it’s impossible. So, okay.

Charles (30:43):

Yeah. And it’s one of those things, and this is way too Giggy for this conversation, but they talk about like P value and basically you need to have like a really high level of certainty to actually believe that title is better. Right. Because, and like you said, if you know, you just had no images and you add images, I can, I can just tell you it’ll be better. Like without even looking images. Yeah. But yeah, once you, once you start optimizing, that’s when you need, and not just a little bit, you need a lot of data to have any certainty because maybe you’re a little AB test of a hundred users might be one thing, but when you really start scaling this up, it can go pretty drastically and the other direction. So. Yeah, for sure. So any other things? So you’re talking on page, content, run ads, any other kind of big things that people wouldn’t be thinking of when they get into this?

John (31:31):

I mean, you know, the interesting thing with Amazon is, is there’s hundreds of different opportunities. I mean, there’s, there’s literally hundreds of programs, merchandising options, marketing programs. You know, different things. They’re testing and betas and some of those, all of those can work some of the time and they can all not work other times. So what I mean by that is when I have like these conversations or frankly when we talk to clients, I’m really trying to focus on those things that we know are going to move the needle the vast majority of the time. So I don’t want to oversimplify it, but you know, that’s when you talk about content advertising, you know, in stock rates, lost buy box, those types of things, those are almost always going to be important elements of the business to focus on. There are tons of other programs that are interesting.

John (32:29):

One that I would just kind of add in and it’s in the advertising bucket, but it’s the other side of the advertising fence for Amazon is paid display. This is not necessarily like a no brainer program. I mean there’s lots of ways to fail and waste a lot of money with display, but if the circumstances are, are, are right and the goals are in line with what is achievable on the display side of the fence, it can be a very effective incremental tool to a strategy. So couple things to keep in mind. You need to have a decent scale. So if your total ad budget isn’t three, 400 K a year, plus, you probably just don’t have the scale to be doing display and in an effective way. So one, you have to have that too. You have to have realistic goals. It’s higher funnel stuff.

John (33:17):

So you’re probably not going to convert as well with the exception of retargeting compared to search. But if you have, if you’re launching a product, building a brand, trying to create general awareness, going after a customer’s engaging with your competitors going after a specific kind of demographic FIC, behavioral target, it can be really, really effective for those things. So and we’re actually seeing now big brand shift, a huge percentage of their overall overall Amazon ad budget into display. Because of some of the results that we’re seeing. So that’s definitely something to it too. If you’re at a decent scale already as a brand or as a seller to take a look at. You know, other than that there’s a new program is launched every week. We test most of them. They’re all very context specific. What I would say generally is if it seems to play into what you’re good at already, then you should, you should check it out. For example, if you do really well on QVC HSN, then you should be looking at Amazon live video. If you’ve never done a live video production, you’ve no idea how to do it. You’ve know, you’ve know talent and you sell paper towels, probably not good, right? So like, and so there’s so many programs that have, that can be great for a specific use case, but just are going to be more kind of niche in terms of, of what they offer. So

Charles (34:44):

I liked that concept of starting lower in the funnel, right? Kind of starting closest to the money cause that you make an optimization and you see a result. Like it’s almost like it almost like has to happen. Verse display is this like very high level top of the funnel thing where you know it’s like the carpet bombing of advertising where it definitely works but you need a lot of it in when it works. The coolest part is it makes sure a search actually work better because you’ve Cocker bombed everyone already but you need to have the bottom of the funnel basically like working flawlessly before you can even think about going top of the funnel. So that’s definitely a way of looking at it.

John (35:22):

Yeah absolutely. And there’s, you know there can be kind of a, a shiny ball phenomenon with Amazon cause they are doing so many cool new interesting things, buzzy things that it’s easy to frankly to get distracted by those and to kind of lose track of the things that are actually going to move your sales number next month. Yeah. So like once you’re doing all those, maxing that out, then start looking at the shiny next cool thing. Cause those can move the needle. But you know, yeah, I agree. Focused on what’s closest to the money first. Yeah. Awesome. I think that’s a great place to leave it. Focus on what’s close to the money. So if people want to find you, learn more about you, what can they do that? Yeah. So or Capac or CA is our website. I am super active on LinkedIn, so if you want to connect personally, just, you know, feel free to reach out there as well. So, awesome. How long did I have the show notes? So thanks a lot for coming on. Perfect. Thanks so much.

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