In today's overcrowded online marketplace, building and sustaining a profitable e-commerce business has become exponentially more challenging. It’s no longer sufficient to simply sell quality products and deliver exceptional customer service because no matter what you’re selling or serving, there are multiple competitors doing the very same thing. So, how do you stand out from the crowd? Depending on where you stand on your path as a seller, it might be time to bring in some help. Before you reach out to an agency, however, make sure it’s the right next step for you, and that you’re clear on your needs from the very first conversation.
Identify the Gaps
The most successful sellers on Amazon win, in part, because they’ve become experts at spotting the gaps in their business, when to pivot, how to drive sustained momentum with new product launches, and lots more. Let’s start with the fundamental pieces you need to nail before you decide if an agency is right for your business.
Know Your Audience Better Than You Know Yourself
Gone are the strictly transactional store-customer relationships of years ago. Now more than ever, people seek connection and community in every aspect of their lives, whether they’re shopping, or working, or spinning. That said, if you have a solid customer base, make sure you’re up to date on demo- and psychographics, trending sentiments, and behavior, and that you have as much (accurate, real-time) data as possible. On the flip side, If you don’t yet know who your target is or should be, stop reading and get to work; it’s a critical question to answer.
Show Up for Your Customers
Once you’re crystal clear on your target buyer’s needs, it’s time to do everything you can to illustrate the benefits of your brand—why it’s better, why it’s different, and most importantly, how it aligns with the personas of your target audience. The more they know you’re really listening, the more they’ll pay attention.
Understand the Nuances of Your Supply Chain
Even when the global supply chain isn’t in crisis, it’s critical to stay on top of your inventory in real time. Every inefficiency costs money and affects your potential profitability. Keep track of the details, they often reveal the most robust insights.
Start Building Brand Equity
Simply put, brand equity is the value of your brand; it results from the collective consumer experiences and perception of your business. A distinctive brand helps drive awareness, word-of-mouth recommendations and positive reviews, a lasting connection between your brand and your customer, and as a result, strong brand loyalty and customer retention. There are multiple ways to boost and enrich your brand equity, but you can start by making sure your product listings are clear, compelling and engaging, with a unique point of view and content that flows consistently with your established voice and tone. Invest in high-quality product images, be certain the customer experience is as seamless as possible, and you’re off to a great start.
So, Why Isn’t My Business Profitable Already?
There are several answers, depending on the stage of your business, the structure of your revenue model, and how you approach your costs. For many sellers, it's far more effective to focus on bottom-line growth, account for all costs upfront, and work based on the knowledge of the true profit level of your Amazon business. Those sellers who work to lower costs and grow their bottom-line profits YOY (year-over-year) faster than they grow their top-line sales have been shown to fare better. To reap the insights, you’ll need SKU-specific knowledge of product profitability that also includes overhead and other indirect fees.
Even if you’ve created a brand identity that’s destined to become iconic, it won’t help grow your business if nobody has the chance to see it. In addition to paid social and digital marketing, sustaining clear, recognizable brand equity, (a compelling look, voice and aesthetic) will help to differentiate your brand and potentially reach more customers with the power of the image, storytelling and newness. As we mentioned, no matter what you’re selling, someone else is out there selling it, too. We’ll leave you with two key questions to ask yourself about your brand:
- What is unique about it?
- Why does it provide more value than its equally priced counterparts?
Is It Time for a Team?
A full-service agency with a broad range of expertise and skill sets ultimately provides the most value for your money. Be sure to choose an agency that understands all aspects of driving business growth specifically within the online marketplace.
At Fortress, we act as collaborative partners to help accelerate your business to sustained profitability, relying on the collective expertise of our own team, our creative partners at School House, our digital marketing partners at Taylor & Pond, and FINC3, our digital media partners across the pond in Europe. All that to say, If you ever feel like you’re ready to hand off the hard stuff, we’re here. Reach out to us below, or follow along on our Instagram!