This year, from June 6-9, the best of all things “retail” for Internet retailers gathered in Chicago at McCormick Place West. We were excited to have this time to meet with many of our customers and partners, as well as hear about the product information “pain” that so many retailers are feeling as they expand their e-commerce efforts.
It was not surprising that Amazon was the “elephant in the exhibition hall.” I was pleased to be able to attend a session hosted by Peeyush Naharm, the Vice President of Amazon Marketplace. He outlined three of the top priorities of Amazon: seller-fulfilled PRIME service, Amazon Lending, and Amazon Business.
Fifty-five percent of sold items on Amazon are now delivered on behalf of sellers. An increasing number of products are being delivered at PRIME speed. Growth in the business is as high as 20%.
Prior to this session, I had not been aware of the scope of Amazon Lending. Amazon has made $3 billion in loans to more than 20,000 small and medium businesses in the US, UK, and elsewhere.
Last, Amazon Business now has 45,000 active business sellers offering more than 400 million products. These sellers now have access to new services that they can offer their customers, such as automated workflows, bulk shopping, and varying payment terms.
It is evident that Amazon is indeed the company to either beat or join!
Regardless of your strategy with respect to Amazon, we here at inRiver believe that it all starts with stellar product information so that you can tell perfect product stories. If you didn’t have a chance to see a demo of Product Marketing Cloud at IRCE, request a demo now!
Thank you to everyone who attended our After Hours parties—hosted by us alone at the award-winning luxury Swissôtel on Thursday, June 8 and in concert with our partner Salesforce CommerceCloud, on June 7 at one of Chicago's most stylish venues, Fremont. We hope you experienced some lovely sunsets and great views of the Chicago skyline. We also hope that you were able to network with other IRCE attendees and exhibitors and learn about all the amazing e-commerce solutions that are available in the ecosystem.
See you at IRCE 2018!
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager, inRiver Inc
A few weeks ago, we published a blog about how to improve your product rankings on Amazon.com. As we mentioned, a large percentage of shoppers—online and offline—start their product search on Amazon. However, we all know that not all shoppers have the same shopping habits. Not only do you need to pay attention to how your product stories are rendering on Amazon, but also you need to monitor your product information on other sites and search engines—and one of these, of course, is Google. A survey by PowerReviews earlier this year concluded that while Amazon, at 38% of respondents, is the preferred online search vehicle for product search, Google is a close second, at 35%.
Many shoppers, especially those that are Amazon Prime Members who enjoy free shipping on many items on the Amazon site, find shopping on Amazon to be convenient. Many products have multiple reviews and there are frequently multiple sellers for a given product, enabling price and shipping comparisons.
However, Amazon may not actually boast the best product or price options, especially for those shoppers without Prime membership. Likewise, product information found on Amazon.com may be inconsistent and limited by keyword search terms. In contrast, Google’s keyword and algorithmic power can provide shoppers with product options from a variety of retailers—a selection that rivals what is found on Amazon. When shoppers limit themselves to just one shopping site, they may be limiting their product knowledge and options.
When shoppers search on Google, they can find the best products and prices more quickly. For example, when shopping for an “ugly Christmas sweater” for my husband, I searched on Amazon and found this one for $29.99:
However, when I searched for this same sweater on Google, I found the same item for $24.50 on another site. Normally, I wouldn’t be so price-sensitive, but in this case, since I was purchasing a “gag” item, I wanted to spend as little as possible!
Not only may Google provide you with lower price options for your product search, but also Google provides local inventory listings from retailers that are physically located near you. Considering that most retail transactions still take place in a physical store, this information is very useful to shoppers. For last minute gift-buying, this information could be a deciding factor.
Another benefit for shoppers is the better product information they will likely find on Google. Since Google Shopping is a “pay to play” service, requiring retailers to purchase Product Listing Ads (PLAs), retailers may be more inclined to ensure that up-to-date and accurate product information—in terms of imagery, pricing, and product descriptions—is being presented. For manufacturers that participate in Google Manufacturer Center, better product information is pretty much guaranteed due to the tools and analysis that Google provides.
The take-away here is that shoppers can be unpredictable with respect to how and when they conduct a product search. We can provide you with behavioral data and statistics all day long, but to reach the individual shopper, you need to monitor all the channels where your products can be found so that you can meet those personalized needs as they arise. Each individual shopper has unique habits and preferences—where they begin their product search (Google versus Amazon versus retailer), what their criteria are (price versus convenience, for example), and what their timeline and delivery preferences are. Therefore, you need to have accurate, complete, and compelling product information available on every channel to ensure that you can be found and considered, each and every time a shopper searches for your product.
As we embark on 2017, check back with inRiver for more on this topic. We will have additional blogs and webinars to help you create great product stories, raise the visibility of your products and your brand, and stay abreast of your competition and the latest tools and trends. In addition, we will share information about our relationship with Google Manufacturer Center and our connector to that helpful portal.
Watch our webinar 2017 Trends to Expect for Retail eCommerce!
Kathryn Zwack, Senior Content Marketing Manager North America, inRiver