Many DTC purists are ride-or-die Shopify.
Sure they’ll go brick & mortar eventually when the time’s right. It’s not as sexy, but the scale (and accompanying dollars) is hard to argue with.
But Amazon’s just the ugly cannibal middle-child. It doesn’t give you all the benefits of Shopify - a curated brand experience, owned customer data, strong(-ish) external traffic conversion tracking, etc.
While also taking a bite out of your margins, (almost) forcing you to use their fulfillment solutions, and cannibalizing ecommerce sales that you (probably) could’ve gotten on your own website.
However the truly enlightened in DTC know the truth:
So then what do they know that makes selling on Amazon worth it despite all the downsides?
Here are the 8 main reasons why you absolutely should list your products on Amazon.
Amazon is the single largest ecommerce platform in the US, and it’s not even close.
With 37.8% of the market share there is a massive portion of the population that are Amazon shoppers. They’re not interested in buying from your website - they want to buy on Amazon.
These are people you’re very unlikely to get as your own customers.
Even if they see your Facebook ad they’ll just go to purchase on Amazon.
The lift in Amazon sales as you scale Facebook ads is well known by those who are on both platforms.
And if you’re not there on Amazon when the user comes searching - they’ll just buy your competitor.
That’s right - a big portion of the intent generation you’re doing on social is feeding competitors if you’re not present where a customer wants to buy.
To be fair - by being on Amazon you are going to cannibalize some sales you could’ve otherwise gotten directly on your site. But that’s almost always worth the trade-off.
DTC folks love to preach the importance of organic yet still sleep on Amazon.
Amazon has been dominating Google for a while now when it comes to product-related searches.
It makes sense too given that Amazon is just a massive catalog of products with all the relevant information you need to make a purchase.
Not only does that mean that a majority of people will go to Amazon and begin their purchasing journey there (it’s also often where it ends).
But Amazon often takes up the top spots on Google search too.
On top of that most informational blog posts ranking on Google - like one about the top 10 noise-canceling headphones - will have Amazon affiliate links.
By not being on Amazon you’re basically saying that all these people who have high intent to purchase a product just like what your brand sells - you’re fine staying out of their way.
So maybe you’re thinking “I’d rather not even get those Amazon sales if they’re lower margin”.
Firstly, why would anyone think that? You want to grab up as much contribution margin as you can.
But secondly, in many cases even if you’re not selling your product on Amazon, a reseller might be.
And they’re buying your product at wholesale prices and selling it at retail (or slightly less).
They’re still cannibalizing your Shopify sales. But you’re only getting the wholesale margin from Amazon and the reseller is getting the rest.
All that juicy margin could be all yours!
A reseller has far less incentive to maintain a branded experience.
Many reseller-maintained listings will be poorly maintained or look downright atrocious.
The average user doesn’t realize that a listing isn’t being maintained by your brand, so to them you’re just making a terrible first impression.
Now granted, Amazon doesn’t provide quite the same level of tools that you have on your own Shopify to curate the brand presentation perfectly but they do offer plenty of tools, and they’re always improving.
Of note are the Enhanced Brand Content which allows you to add in a ton of branded content on your product detail page.
As well as the store page which can act as a very flexible landing page with no other competitor products appearing alongside yours.
A product’s reviews is one of the biggest decision factors when a user is buying from Amazon.
If two products are similarly priced, and of similar quality, people just default to the safer option - the one with more social proof.
And this becomes relevant in two main ways.
The first is that like mentioned above, many people start product searches on Amazon.
And I’m sure you yourself have even checked product reviews on Amazon while browsing through a BestBuy just to get an idea of the quality of a product - even if you weren’t planning on buying from Amazon.
So being available on Amazon with good reviews can help with the social proof necessary to give lift to other channels too.
But related to the previous reason, if a reseller is selling your product on Amazon, they’re not going to put in the effort to do everything possible to protect your rating.
For example, a customer buys a product from Amazon being sold by a reseller. There’s a defect with the product, maybe the reseller wasn’t maintaining them well. That customer usually doesn’t know that it wasn’t the brand itself selling the product, so they leave a bad review.
If you’re selling yourself on Amazon you can either reach out to the customer to resolve the issue (which often leads to an improved review).
Or if it was a fulfillment issue, you can ask Amazon to take responsibility for it and remove the review. A reseller won’t bother to do this.
So the net impact is that you can maintain a higher rating on Amazon if you’re handling business yourself.
Related to the previous point about making sure you maintain a high rating - it’s not just about the rating, but the number of ratings too.
Two products might display 4.5 stars - but one that has 10,000 ratings will look far more appealing than one that has 80.
The issue is that accumulating that many ratings takes time.
And there’s a huge snowball effect.
The more ratings you have, the more you sell, which means you gather ratings even faster ☃️
So if your competitor is on Amazon already you’re playing from behind.
They might already have 1,000+ ratings.
If you put your product on Amazon tomorrow, you’re starting from zero. So your first sales are going to be very slow (or come at a high CAC).
Even if your product is twice as good as your competitors, the fact that they have so many more ratings means that all other things being equal in the eyes of a user (price, features, listing quality) - they’re likely going to buy their product instead.
Those Amazon ratings essentially just accumulate ad infinitum.
This is why every day that you wait to get on Amazon you’re falling further and further behind.
It won’t get easier with time. Just harder.
One of the biggest headaches of running an ecommerce store is fulfillment - getting your products to your customers. It can be a real pain to deal with shipping and logistics, especially if you're just starting out.
But when you list your products on Amazon, you can take advantage of their fulfillment services. That means that Amazon will handle the shipping and logistics for you, freeing up your time to focus on other things.
On top of that, Amazon’s Prime brand has an enormous amount of consumer trust. So you can often convert customers who might be reluctant to buy off your “unknown” website.
Amazon provides a wide range of tools to help you advertise your products effectively.
And while they don’t have quite the same level of complexity as Facebook or Google in some ways they can be more effective.
When running keyword campaigns, they don’t hide search terms like Google does.
And because most of the customer journey takes place on Amazon you lose far less conversion data than you would via Facebook.
They do also offer tools to track attribution of traffic sent from outside Amazon - but those are still of questionable effectiveness.
So there you have it - 8 of the top reasons why it’s undeniable that selling on Amazon is worth it.
There’s just too much revenue you could be capturing to ignore the platform. And the longer you wait, the harder it gets. So get on it!
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