How long before I start seeing results on Amazon?

It’s a good question. A legitimate one that we hear from prospective clients now and then. How long will it take for my brand to start seeing results on Amazon?

If you’ve already launched on Amazon and are struggling to reach your sales goals, or you haven’t launched yet and want to get started off on the right foot, Bobsled can help you reach your goals, and in less time than you might think. How much time, exactly? While we can’t see into the future and predict exactly what is going to happen with each brand we work with, we can use data and experience to give you a good idea.

The majority of brands Bobsled works with will see results, in the form of Amazon sales, in the first 2-3 months after starting to work with us. Some elements (like PPC advertising) will start seeing results sooner, and some harder to reach goals (like a healthy flow of buyer reviews) will take a little longer.

The time it takes to reach your sales goals is partially dependent upon the category your product falls into, but with the right strategy, you can drive towards those goals, potentially faster than you think.



Reaching Sales Goals on Amazon

Brands that Launch on Amazon with Bobsled

Once a brand begins to gain traction on Amazon, growth becomes a little more predictable, but how long does it take to gain that initial traction? Bobsled clients that partner with us to launch on Amazon typically start seeing significant results on Amazon within the first 3 months after launch, with several of our brands reaching halfway to their targeted average monthly sales volumes by that point. 

By the 6-month mark? Many brands can expect to see their sales volume double what it was at the 3-month mark.



Let’s Be Specific

So you want to know what your sales could look like on Amazon? Let’s look at a specific example of a Bobsled client that went from zero to $63,000 in monthly sales in an 8 month period.

By month 2 the brand had reached half its current average sales volume and continued to climb for the following six months to the month 8 average. This brand is positioned well in the sporting goods category, which is a competitive category, but has also seen sales growth of 11% year-over-year.


This brand took advantage of Bobsled’s industry expertise to launch their brand on Amazon with A+ content, optimized product pages, professional images, a comprehensive promotion strategy, and inventory forecasts to make sure their product inventory was meeting demand. The brand continues to see excellent PPC performance with ACoS levels typically less than 2.0%. 

Because of this success, the brand confidently expanded to Canada in month 7 and the United Kingdom and Germany in month 8. Now this brand is bringing in an average of $63k in monthly sales that didn’t exist before they launched on Amazon.

Reaching Sales Goals on Amazon

Brands Already Launched on Amazon that Partner with Bobsled 

Brands that are already established on Amazon may ask, what is it that Bobsled can offer that you are not already doing in your account?  The answer is that we bring our extensive industry expertise to the table, with a team comprised of prior Amazon brand managers and PPC experts. Our full service offerings further develop the front end, back end and all PPC aspects of your account. Below are the results that our clients experience after partnering with Bobsled to optimize and manage their brands on Amazon. 

After partnering with Bobsled, our clients see on average over 100% increase in average monthly sales by months 4-6. 

  *Baseline is average monthly sales in the three months before partnering with Bobsled

*Baseline is average monthly sales in the three months before partnering with Bobsled

The above data includes analysis of 13 account management clients. We exported Amazon sales volumes and first calculated the average client sales during the three months prior to Bobsled partnership (“baseline”). We then calculated the average sales growth we saw of the subsequent three month periods relative to that original baseline value. 

From our analysis we show that Bobsled sees over 10% increase in our brand’s average monthly sales in the first three months and over 110% increase in sales in the four to six month period.  This growth continues throughout the first year of our partnership as we refine our strategies and we learn what works best for you and your brand. By the year and a half mark, we typically see further leaps in growth as our brands succeed in the marketplace.


An Established Brand’s Results After Partnership with Bobsled

Let’s look at a specific example of the monthly sales increase that one client, who was already established on Amazon, saw after partnership with Bobsled.  We will consider the average monthly sales before partnership with Bobsled to be the baseline. Baseline is 1.0. In the one to three month period immediately following our partnership we saw average monthly sales increase by a factor of 1.6x baseline. In the next three months we saw sales increase by a factor of 3.2x baseline.  

How did we do this? Every brand faces different challenges and opportunities within their categories on Amazon and determining exactly where we could add the most value really paid off.  In this example, this brand had operations difficulties related to manufacturing as well as an overall lack of Amazon ‘expertise’ (including challenges with communication with Amazon.) Originally sellers on Vendor Central, we helped this client launch on Seller Central to compete directly with Amazon’s MSRP offer on their original product. 

So, in addition to the critical product page optimization, advertising strategies, inventory management issues, etc., we addressed where this client could specifically make the strongest gains on Amazon. 


The Most Competitive Product Categories on Amazon

While Bobsled prides itself on producing great results for clients, you may be wondering if these numbers are attainable for any type of product. The answer is that there are some categories that tend to be more competitive than others.

If your brand falls into one of these competitive categories it may take you a little longer to reach sales goals, or your ACoS may be higher than that of a brand in a less competitive category, but we still believe you can reach your goals with the right strategy.

Some of the most competitive categories on Amazon are Health & Personal Care, Grocery & Gourmet Food, Beauty, and Sporting Goods.


How much can my brand make by selling on Amazon?

I’m glad you asked. Amazon is a huge marketplace with an even bigger following. Just to give you an idea of the magnitude of the market your brand can reach on Amazon, “Amazon now has 90 million Prime members in the U.S. alone.” This means that 90 million American shoppers are invested enough in buying on Amazon that they pay for an annual membership to make that shopping even easier.

Amazon was responsible for about 44 percent of all U.S. e-commerce sales last year, or about 4 percent of the country's total retail sales figure.” The areas that gained the most of this 44 percent market share were luxury beauty, pantry, grocery and furniture.

There is an increasingly large number of people looking to Amazon to sell and ship them the things that they used to drive to their nearest big box store to purchase. Programs like Amazon Prime and Subscribe & Save are making this easier than ever. The great news here is that a smaller, less established brand can show up in an Amazon search next to a brand that’s been sold in retail stores for ages. This gives smaller brands a leg up when it comes to competing with the big guys.

As a brand, if you compare setting your brand up on SC with selling to retail outlets like Walmart or Target, you can see why Amazon has become such a popular sales platform for brands who want to expand their market. Sales don’t happen by accident on Amazon though, there’s still work to be done, but with a partner like Bobsled you’ll be on your way to reaching your sales goals in no time (i.e. three to six months).


Be the Next Success Story

Here at Bobsled we love seeing our clients reach their sales goals on Amazon. It’s a great avenue for brands, big and small, to reach new markets and create loyal customers. 

We pride ourselves on helping brands navigate Amazon. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of launching your brand on Amazon, but you also feel it could be a huge win for your company, let’s talk! Request a consultation with our team

Selling in the Beauty Category on Amazon

The beauty industry is a behemoth. This $160-billion-a-year industry should be taken note of by any retailer, so it’s no surprise that Amazon is aggressively pursuing beauty brands. Everyone is talking about it too. From Buzzfeed to Bloomberg and Instyle to Refinery 29, the beauty and business worlds are responding to Amazon’s push into the beauty market and taking a stab at predictions of what’s to come.

But how easy is it for a beauty brand to sell on Amazon? Products so deeply connected to image and experience must be difficult to sell online with stores like Sephora and MAC offering value added services, like in-store makeovers and free samples. And these retailers don’t seem to be suffering, regardless of Amazon’s push to overtake a large portion of this market, but with Amazon Prime and the customer service that comes with services such as Fulfilled by Amazon, this could be a great opportunity for brands big and small to grow their customer base.

beauty industry.png

There is a huge amount of variety in this category, as you can tell from Amazon’s 15 best selling beauty products in 2017. The cosmetic, hair care and skin care items all come from different brands, some of which are relatively niche, but luxury, producers. 

Now there’s news on the horizon that Amazon is going after the very high-end brands that would normally be reserved for boutique windows in well visited shopping areas, but some of the most recognizable names in beauty are resisting Amazon’s pull. Giants such as L’oreal and Clinique are still avoiding the platform, despite rumored courting from the ecommerce entity.

While they wait for the giants to come around, Amazon is building out an impressive list of luxury beauty brands. So, how does a beauty brand looking to reach new audiences and new heights make themselves visible to Amazon’s wandering eye? We’ll share some of our thoughts on what it’s going to take.


Beauty Trends for 2018

This is an industry that is being driven by the wants and needs of consumers. Much of the growth is happening in online environments among small players. Crowdsourcing, eco-consciousness and cruelty free policies are front and center for many shoppers and brands in the coming year. Being that these trends were all started by smaller brands, this could be a good opportunity for new players in the industry to stand out by selling their forward-thinking beauty products on Amazon.

Shoppers and brands can also expect to see a shift in focus, leaning towards clay, charcoal and other natural elements in cosmetic products. As well as a transition from creams over to oils, which is, once again, considered the more natural and effective treatment. Natural beauty is here to stay.

What does this mean for beauty brands on Amazon? It means that the consumers are more educated than ever about what’s in their beauty products, so brands should care about what’s in theirs. It also means there are plenty of opportunities to be had for new brands to capture the attention of the market through a platform like Amazon Beauty, with high quality ingredients, an emphasis on natural, and company policies surrounding testing.



What’s next for Amazon Beauty brands?

Amazon has made the beauty category ungated for the first time. Previously, brands needed to go through an approval process before being able to list in the beauty category. So while this news makes it appear like it should be easier than ever for beauty brands to sell on Amazon, they also introduced two new sub-categories that are invite only: Luxury Beauty and Professional Beauty. Brands can’t apply for approval in these categories, so they’ve been made even more exclusive than the beauty category was when it was simply gated.

Beauty brands wanting to be successful on Amazon have quite a few hoops to jump through, but if you have a quality product that gains you rave reviews, we’re optimistic that you can win the beauty buy box!


Get the low-down

At Bobsled Marketing, we’ve worked with many brands in the beauty category. We are compiling our experience and insights into a new White Paper, so don't forget to sign up for our mailing list to receive your copy as son as it goes live.

This guide to selling in Amazon’s beauty category will give you tips on everything from how to properly label and package your product, to avoiding and dealing with hazmat flags. We’ll also dive into how you can optimize your listings and take advantage of advertising opportunities on Amazon.  

And if you are a beauty brand looking to grow your Amazon presence, contact us to learn how Bobsled can help protect your brand and scale your sales in this critical channel. 

Transitioning from a Vendor to Hybrid Selling Model: Avoid These Crippling Mistakes

Amazon provides selling opportunities for all sizes and types of brands, but sometimes a brand feels like they fall somewhere in between the VC (vendor central) and SC (seller central) offerings. In these cases is it recommended and beneficial for a brand to use both? And how do brands keep that all sorted and optimized?

We’ve written extensively before about the hybrid model of selling on Amazon, and how it can help resolve the unique challenges of being a wholesale-only vendor to Amazon. But it’s definitely not as simple as flicking a switch. There are unintended consequences when initiating this transition, which can dramatically affect sales. 

If you are a brand that is already a vendor with Amazon and are considering the switch to SC, or you want to try out a hybrid solution, we have a few recommendations to make the transition completely to SC or a hybrid model go as smoothly as possible. 



Different Platforms for Different Needs

Amazon’s VC platform looks pretty familiar to suppliers. Amazon buys wholesale, sets prices, controls advertising, creates promotions, and deals with shipping and customer service. All the brand has to do is ship the product to Amazon and everything else is taken care of. 

However, some brands can experience downsides to being on VC, such as:

  1. Minimum quantities per wholesale order, making it difficult to test out small amounts of a new product.
  2. A 90-day lead time from the time Amazon puts in an order with a vendor to when that product hits the “shelves”. This is a really long time in comparison to how fast you can get a product up on Amazon in SC.
  3. The brand has no control over advertising, shipping or customer service. For some brands and products this is a good thing, but if you’re experimenting with a new product it’s nice to have a little more control.
  4. Amazon can end their relationship with a vendor whenever they like. 

VC works very much like selling to any big box retailer for them to sell direct to the consumer, but you may have noticed that retailers following this model are not the predictable successes they once were. So what now? How do you stay ahead of the curve when it comes to consumer demand?

Shortening the time from concept to production to sales allows brands to jump onto trends faster and give the consumer what they want, when they want it. One of the biggest benefits of listing on SC is greater control over supply chain, stock levels and advertising customization. Brands don’t have to wait for Purchase Orders - they can list new products and start selling them immediately. 


Why use a Hybrid VC/SC model?

Being a vendor on Amazon can work really well. Especially if your brand has a consistent set of products that you can keep shipping to Amazon in consistent quantities. But what happens when you want to test the market with a new product and don’t want to create a huge number of them? That’s where operating on SC in conjunction with your VC account can be beneficial.

The way manufacturing takes place is getting faster, along with the buying habits of shoppers. Brands are creating and testing products on the market before going ahead full-steam. While it used to take months or even years to bring a new product to market, with focus groups, test pricing, and all, a brand can now bring a new product to market in mere weeks.

The internet is largely responsible for making this possible. Brands can use crowdsourcing, largely via social channels, to determine what’s going to sell and what’s not. This crowdsourcing often determines the direction of a new product and the customers feel more ownership over the product and loyalty to the brand as a result.

The Amazon SC platform makes it easier than ever for brands to be a part of this crowdsourcing movement. If a brand wants to test a variation of an existing product, or something new altogether, it can list it on Amazon with relative ease, test out the market, and make changes to the product. If the product ends up performing well over time and the quantities are increasing the brand can then consider moving that product over to VC.

Further reading: find our previous post on the differences between the two platforms and the pros and cons of using a hybrid method, or listen to our podcast episode on the same topic.


VC to SC Transition Hiccups

Unfortunately, the transition from VC to SC may not be a completely smooth one for brands. SC requires a lot more work from the brand, from pricing, to shipping and customer service, as well as advertising; the brand has a lot more control. This new found control means a brand could potentially drop the ball if they’re accustomed to Amazon dealing with all of this for them.


One other problem that occurs when a product is moved from VC to SC is that the buy box will most likely still be owned by Amazon. This can cause a lag in sales for the product until Amazon runs out of inventory, but sellers can make their way around it by using FBA for the product listed on SC. This allows a brand operating as a seller to take advantage of Amazon’s capabilities in shipping and customer service, while reducing their time to market and quantities, in comparison with products listed on VC.

You do still want shoppers to know that your product listed in SC is the same product as what Amazon may still be selling, so you’ll want to keep the same UPC/ASIN/Sku, but you could help your listings stand out by creating product bundles that will give the products a new ASIN to help differentiate between sellers. You can also give your SC listings a competitive edge by offering strategic pricing to align with the vendor offer created by Amazon. This means, if Amazon’s offer is set at $49, you might set your offer at $48.95.

Navigating the Vendor-Seller Hybrid Model
Requires Skill and Experience

So now that you’re managing pricing for your products, how do you know when to modify pricing? First, there are a few things to consider when adjusting your price: How many units are you moving through? Are you able to get back into stock? What is the Buy Box price? For example, if you are trying to move through inventory you know you won’t be replenishing, it makes sense to price below the Buy Box price to get the sale. If it’s an evergreen item and there are only a few units between competitors, it may be worth riding out the wave and maintaining profitability.
Pricing is such a significant part of your business, it is imperative to regularly manage it. You can manually manage it on a daily or weekly basis. Utilize software tools to automate your price, or set programmed limits in SC. Ultimately, the goal is to maintain a healthy margin but also win the Buy Box, because if you’re not winning the Buy Box, your business is at risk of missing out on potential sales.


Owning Your Brand

If you want to enhance your brand experience on Amazon and bring new products to the market quickly, while still benefiting from the perks of being a vendor, a hybrid model could work really well for you. 

Bobsled can help you navigate both platforms and decide which products fit best on each. We work with clients on both platforms, many of whom employ a hybrid strategy. We can help you to avoid some of these issues and capitalize on the benefits of this strategy. Contact us today to see how we can help your brand. 

6 Ways To Tell if Your Resellers or Distributors are Properly Representing Your Brand on Amazon

Many brands choose to sell their own products on Amazon, but others may choose to allow resellers or distributors sell their products. Allowing another company to sell your products on Amazon opens up another stream of income for you with very little effort, but it isn’t without its potential downsides.

If your brand has authorized a seller or distributor to sell your products on Amazon, you could be faced with a variety of pricing inconsistencies, customer service mishaps, and product misrepresentations, but it doesn’t have to be this way. If you see deficiencies in your seller’s strategies (or lack thereof) it may be time to sell your product directly. But how will you know what to look for?

Unfortunately, a brand who doesn’t sell directly on Amazon does not have access to the data available to sellers, but there are some outward signs you can watch out for to make sure your products are being presented in their best, most saleable light. If you think your product listings are looking a little “meh”, but you’re not sure how they could be optimized, here are a few things you can watch out for.



1. Are the product descriptions and headlines optimized for search engines and shoppers?

This is step number one, because it greatly affects the experience for shoppers and can be detrimental to products being found in the first place. Product titles should be accurate and as descriptive as possible. 

If you sell throw pillows the headline should contain as much information about the product as possible while still being easy to read. For example, instead of the product being named “Yellow Throw Pillow” it could benefit from being called “15” Square Yellow Corduroy Throw Pillow”.

The product description and bullet points should also be optimized to include as much relevant copy as possible. If you read a product description and you find information to be missing, you know that your seller is not presenting your product as best as they could. You know your product better than anyone, so you’re probably the best person to point out holes in the listings and how a product could be described better.


2. Is there a good selection of images?

Images are a very important element of the online shopping experience. Shoppers need to see the overall product, colors, textures, and details, as well as the product in use in a relevant setting.

Amazon has some pretty high standards for seller images, which is a large part of what keeps the quality of the shopping experience consistently high. Unfortunately, Amazon does not always enforce these requirements well and it falls to the seller to make sure they are presenting quality images. 

The shopper needs to see your product in as many ways as possible, in clearly lit, high resolution photographs. This helps to replace the in-store experience with many products. If your product listings only show one or two images you are losing out to more thorough and descriptive listings for similar products. Read more about effective product images in our previous blog post.  



3. Are the products consistently in stock?

If your seller has managed to gain control of the buy box, you’re in a great place to further optimize your product listings. One of the things that can quickly destroy this is when a product is consistently out of stock.

If you’re finding that there is a new level of demand for a product (thanks, buy box) then you need to respond to that demand as quickly as possible to avoid stock shortages. Maybe it’s time to communicate with your seller about the size and/or frequency of their wholesale orders.

4. Are the prices consistent with your brand’s pricing?

Many online shoppers these days are pretty savvy; capable of searching the internet for the best deal once they’ve found the product they want. So, if your Amazon seller is trying to get an extra few dollars out of a product it may be detrimental to sales.

The opposite problem is also possible if your brand sells online through multiple venues. If a seller on Amazon drops the price in order to attract more shoppers (beyond a special promotion period) it may hurt your business on other platforms and lead to ‘channel conflict’ with other retail partners. 

5. Are there a good number of reviews available and is the Question & Answer section being utilized?

Opinions from other humans are one of the most important factors in the buying decision process. Online reviews have gotten a bad rap in recent years, with a lot of them being called out as fake, but thankfully, Amazon has a good handle on the review trolls, by only allowing reviews from verified buyers. This means that brands and sellers need to encourage more real reviews from more real shoppers. In other words, what the review platform was designed for in the first place. 

Sellers should also be responding promptly to negative customer reviews. While some negative product reviews are to be expected, oftentimes a customer can be satisfied if the seller or brand reaches out to make things right. A large number of negative reviews without responses is damaging to your brand. 

The Question & Answer section can also be a really good way to interact with shoppers and bring a personal touch to your brand. If your seller is neglecting either of these elements it could really hurt your listing position and sales.


6. Are the listings optimized for mobile?

From a sampling of 1000 US shoppers in February 2017, 25.4% bought through the Amazon smartphone app and 22.6% bought on the mobile version of That’s almost 50% of shoppers making purchases on their mobile devices, rather than a desktop. 

The shopping experience is different on a smaller screen, therefore product listings need to shrink a little bit, while still being informative and relevant. Product descriptions should be distilled down to their most accurate descriptions and sellers should be sure to feature images that give a clear view of the product on a smaller screen.

The relationship between a brand and a 3rd party seller can be a complicated one when it comes to making the most of an Ecommerce platform like Amazon. More sales benefit both the brand and the seller, but if your reseller seems to be on autopilot, it might be time to take control of your products and start selling them yourself on Amazon.

If you’re considering taking the reins back from your distributors or resellers and you want to optimize your sales, Bobsled can help you do that. We’ll let you know where your resellers were falling short and make sure you avoid the same pitfalls. Contact us for more information.

Could enrolling your products in Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program help your brand sell more?

The early days of online shopping were reserved for specialty items and non-essentials, like say, books, but that’s all changed. Now shoppers are going online for everything from their weekly grocery shop to beauty products and cleaning supplies. If they need it, they can (most likely) get it.

Many ecommerce platforms have already taken it one step further by offering subscription programs. Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program is one of them. Subscribe & Save is a great option for products that need regular replenishing, such as shampoo, supplements, household items, office supplies, and health and personal care items.

Subscribe & Save customers select the product, the quantity, and the frequency of delivery. A 5% discount is given per subscription, but if a customer receives products from 5 or more subscriptions in a given month, the customer will be given a 10% or 15% discount per subscription, depending on the product category. For example, customers receiving 5 or more subscriptions in the Beauty, Grocery or Health and Baby Care will receive 15% off, whereas 5 or more subscriptions in Kitchen, Office Supplies or Outdoor will only receive 10% off. 

  Above: a Subscribe & Save product on Amazon.   

Above: a Subscribe & Save product on Amazon.

Amazon’s Subscribe & Save program facilitates repeat purchases and builds brand loyalty. It allows shoppers to put their essential shopping on autopilot, so they’re never doing a last minute run for diapers or toilet paper. Did you know Amazon even has a subcategory to Subscribe & Save called Family for young families regularly buying items such as diapers and baby food? I’m guessing this program has taken a chunk out of diaper sales at stores like Walmart and Costco.

Subscribe & Save can also be a great convenience option for brands selling in Gourmet & Grocery. It’s a great way to get unique food products in front of a new audience. A shopper is more likely to try a product if they know they can place it on repeat order if they like it, and this encourages them to move away from buying at the supermarket. For loyal consumers who know which brand they want, Subscribe & Save makes it easier for them to stay in stock. On the flipside, it lowers the chances of a consumer shopping around, thus increasing retention rates. 

Some shoppers even put small consumables, like energy drinks, on Subscribe & Save to lower their per unit cost and still get their caffeine fix every day. This blog post also breaks down a few other items that are worth buying with Subscribe & Save, like deodorant and shampoo.

Subscribe & Save Success Stories

Bobsled is working with a few brands that have tried the Amazon Subscribe & Save program, and we’re happy to report that we’ve seen success. The recurring revenue that it brings to brands is undeniably beneficial if they can get a decent uptake among shoppers. Customers who are buying from you on a subscription basis may also be inclined to try other products you have on offer. 

If your brand sells a consumable product that a household could replace their current brand with, Subscribe & Save is a great opportunity to build strong brand loyalty.

One client enabled Subscribe & Save on their whole catalogue of grocery replenishable items in late November 2017 and has seen a steady increase in the number of subscriptions each week. This client started with 299 subscriptions in mid November 2017 and by 12 February 2018, subscriptions were up to 966, an increase of 223% in just 3 months. 

When we translate this to a proportion of revenue, we can see healthy growth. Between 12th December 2017 and 11th January 2018, revenue generated from Subscribe & Save orders represented 11% of total revenue for the period. Between 12th January 2018 and 12th February 2018, Subscribe & Save revenue represented 14% ot total revenue for the period. 



When is the Subscribe & Save program not effective?

For every success story there is not-so-successful story. In fact, some shoppers have become wary of Amazon brands overpricing in order to compensate for the Subscribe & Save discounts. Of course, the convenience aspect of the program (and Amazon in general) cannot be underestimated, but brands need to ask themselves if they have the margin to offer a 5-15% discount to subscribers. Is the shopper loyalty valuable enough to offer attractive discounts? 

Furthermore, if you can determine a high reorder rate for your products and your margins are slim, you may decide it’s not worth losing that 5-15%. In any case, shoppers are smart and are easily turned away if they feel they’ve been overcharged for a deal. Maintaining consistent pricing is an important component in building consumer confidence.  

From our experience, we’ve discovered that luxury products do not sell as well on a subscription basis. Perhaps they are items that shoppers splurge on from time to time, or buy when they’ve gone on sale. Whatever the case, the Amazon Subscribe & Save program can be difficult for luxury products or big ticket items in general. These types of products are better off creating product bundles or limited-time promotions in order to increase market share.

Seasonal products likely won’t do well on this program either, because a good part of the country doesn’t care to receive shipments of sunscreen all year round. Once again, it’s best to make yourself known to shoppers during a time when they’re most likely to buy.


Alexa and Subscribe & Save

Ordering Amazon Prime eligible products through Alexa is pretty easy, as long as you get the name of the product right, but ordering it on a Subscribe & Save membership is not quite as easy.

It makes sense that an order placed through Alexa would not default to Subscribe & Save, because shoppers could very easily order themselves a year’s supply of something they only meant to order one of. So, while ordering through Alexa is possible and convenient, shoppers need to manage their Subscribe & Save orders and settings through a computer or mobile device.

  Image Source:   Amazon  .  com

Image Source:

Amazon Pantry or Subscribe & Save?

Amazon has so many different programs at this point that it’s understandable where shoppers and brands are getting confused. These two different programs serve a slightly different purpose and are not available to all sellers on Amazon.

While Subscribe & Save allows shoppers to put a product on automatic reorder, Pantry allows shoppers to group together a variety of different items from different sellers and brands into one box for easy shipping. Prime Pantry products are shipped and sold by so third party professional sellers are not able to offer their products on Prime Pantry. 

Seller or Vendor

Previously only vendor products were eligible for Subscribe & Save, which makes sense, considering Amazon needs control of shipping and customer service in order to make this program work. 

As a vendor you really have no control over what Amazon adds to the Subscribe & Save program because they choose what gets sold where and for how much. As a seller using FBA you can decide what products to list on Subscribe & Save, create special bundles and offer special discounts. This allows you, as the seller, to test different discounts and product bundles to find your best-selling options.

If your brand is already offering product bundles with FBA, why not give Subscribe & Save a try to see if you can build that automatic brand loyalty?


Optimize your Subscribe & Save Offers

If you’ve decided to give the Amazon Subscribe & Save program a try, you’ll obviously want to know how to create offers that will hook shoppers. You can do that by:

  1. Taking a look at your shoppers’ history. If you have repeat customers, how often do they order and how much? You can also estimate how much an average household would use your product and base your bundles/sizes off of that.
  2. Create bundles that make sense. If you sell laundry detergent and fabric softener, you may benefit from creating bundles with a special discount just for Subscribe & Save orders. Same with shampoo & conditioner, cat food & litter; you get the idea. Listen to our podcast episode about creating product bundles for more tips here.  
  3. Shop your competitors. Take a look at the discounts offered by other brands on Amazon or in retail stores. Track retail store flyers over several months to determine how often your type of product goes on sale and by how much. If shoppers realize that they can just stock up at their local supermarket when something goes on sale instead of subscribing to your product, they’ll be less likely to order from you. This is especially true considering most Subscribe & Save products are non-perishables.
  4. Try gearing some of your non-Amazon advertising towards the convenience of having your products delivered to shoppers’ doors on a regular basis. For busy families, especially those in urban areas with less storage space, the convenience of having a constant supply of something without having to lug it home or store it for months at a time will be worth it regardless of minor price differences. This kind of advertising may bring shoppers from elsewhere on the internet to your products on Amazon, hopefully creating a repeat customer in the process.


Ready to try it?

Before you enable Subscribe & Save on your items, you must have a professional Amazon seller account that is in good standing, has a feedback rating of 4.7 and has been selling with FBA for 3 months or more. You also must maintain an in-stock percentage of at least 85%. If you want to see what Subscribe & Save might do for your brand’s sales you can try it by:

  1. Logging into your Seller Central account, going to Settings > Fulfillment by Amazon > Subscription Settings and enabling Subscribe & Save.
  2. Add your offers.

You can monitor the success of your Subscribe & Save offers by looking at the reports under Reports > Fulfillment and under Sales > Subscribe & Save Performance, or under Inventory > Subscribe & Save Forecasting.

If your brand is unsure of whether the Subscribe & Save program is right for you, the Bobsled team can help you determine if you should give it a try and how you can make the most of it. Contact us to find out more.

How Much to Spend on Amazon PPC in 2018

The verdict is in; Amazon PPC advertising is something that every brand selling on Amazon should be taking advantage of in 2018 (and beyond). But, this isn’t exactly a new revelation. In fact, we already wrote about it here, and here.

So why write about it again? In the world of ecommerce, or digital advertising technology, the world changes very quickly, and 6 months is a long time. If you created your Amazon PPC campaign 6 months ago and haven’t touched it since, now is the time to panic. Your campaign is probably outdated and under-optimized, but keep that panic in check for a minute while I guide you through the here and now of Amazon PPC in 2018. 

So how ARE your campaigns doing? Do you know if they are meeting or exceeding industry averages? How do you tell if they are underperforming? Let’s take a look.


Know Your Costs and Margins Before Spending a Penny


In order to properly optimize a PPC campaign you’ll need to determine your profit margins. Without these numbers you could over-spend on PPC without really realizing it until you take a look at your long term balance sheets. So, start looking at those balance sheets now to determine your unique formula for a successful campaign. 

One of our previous posts discusses 4 different methods for determining your ideal ad spend. If you’re new to this territory, or if you just feel like your methods aren’t working for you, I recommend giving the post a read. Additionally, if you are on SC and taking advantage of FBA, Amazon has a great revenue calculator that will do a lot of the legwork for you.

There’s more to it than averages though. Each brand still needs to consider the competitiveness of their category when determining their ideal ACOS and share of overall sales driven by PPC. Add that to the calculations you did to determine your profit margin and you start to get somewhere.


Know Your Industry and Product

The 25/25 rule and other methods for determining ad spend are great in theory, and often even in practice, but they can sometimes fail to factor in the nuances of various industries and your unique product. 


If you’re regularly over-spending on PPC you could be in a highly competitive category, up against some big brands that don’t mind dropping whatever it takes to get the clicks.

More detailed and niche ads and keywords are generally better than the wider search terms. For example, when you search for “Mascara” on it returns over 700 listings for this single and very identifiable item. Change your search to “Waterproof Mascara” and suddenly the listings number drops down to 270. If your product has a unique identifier you can take advantage of (that is still an accurate product description) you may be able to save yourself some cash on bid prices and reach a more targeted audience.

However, if you take a look at your advertising reports and see that the majority of your sales are coming from the most expensive keywords it wouldn’t be a great idea to abandon those any day soon. Instead, try making small changes to your campaign in order to make your ads and keywords as relevant as possible.

Learn from History

Learning from history is always a good thing, but in order to properly do this we need to be paying attention. Amazon PPC campaigns can be really easy to set up and walk away from, but while it’s possible to do that and still gain sales through PPC, it’s definitely not ideal.

If you’ve been running Amazon PPC campaigns for a little while now it’s worth your time to compile and analyze reports. These reports can then help you shape your new campaigns or optimize your existing ones.

For brands that have been running Amazon PPC campaigns for at least a year it’s beneficial to analyze the entire previous calendar year to help you get the most out of your PPC campaigns in 2018. Looking at the entire year will help you to see seasonal trends or correlate bad performance to a specific ad or product that you were testing over a period of time.When you look at these reports in depth you can better optimize your campaigns from month to month.

Unfortunately, there are some limitations to Amazon’s reporting, where you can only look back at 60 days at a time, so if you were inconsistent in downloading reports in 2017 you should take this opportunity to make sure you have a plan in place to regularly download reports in 2018.


How long should I wait to see results?

Changes in your PPC campaigns won’t work their magic overnight. You need to take into account the habits of shoppers and how buying trends will change over time. 

If you sell outerwear you’re going to see an increase in clicks during an unseasonal snow storm, but those clicks will likely drop off again after the immediate need passes. If you just look at data from that week you won’t get a good overall picture of how the campaign performs outside of a buying trend.


You want to know how your campaigns perform over a larger portion of time, but you don’t want to wait forever before making changes if you feel it could be optimized further. I think that 4-6 weeks is a good amount of time to allow a campaign to run before analyzing results and making changes.

Are there better ways to spend my money?

If you are happy with your ad spend and results, but have a little more budget to allocate for 2018, maybe just hold onto it for a little while longer. Amazon has been investing a lot back into their seller platforms and new entities like Amazon Media Group, so in all likelihood, we can expect to see them bring more advertising offerings to Amazon brands in the near future.

If 2018 is the year your brand is looking to become more profitable on Amazon, Bobsled Marketing is here to help you optimize your Amazon PPC campaigns. Contact us to discuss the options.