Winning online starts with winning on Amazon, with recent research showing 44% of product searches starting on the ecommerce website.

At Clavis Insight we get to work with some of the biggest names in the world of retail, all of whom are looking to dominate on Amazon. One of the most persistent concerns we have seen across product categories is how these brands should combat a third party seller. Third party sellers sell your items to consumers, recognizing the revenue without needing to invest in your brand integrity. Often their primary goal is to sell and to sell fast. However third party product pages often have a higher search rank than brand product pages. One of the main reasons this happens is because third party sellers were first movers, selling items on Amazon months or years before major brands adopted a coherent Amazon strategy. Once these items started selling and gaining reviews, they were boosted upward in Amazon’s search algorithm.

ASIN Merging and Creating Product Variations

There are two important concepts to keep in mind when trying to beat out a third party seller on search position. The first concept is combining your own product variations - different scents, flavors, colors and sizes - onto a single product page at Amazon. Combining product variants on one main page allows consumers to easily browse and purchase multiple derivations of the same product. This maximizes the consumer experience by allowing shopping to be done on one page instead of having to comb through reams of independent search results. It also improves your search performance, since variant sales and product reviews are combined, benefiting the variant product page in Amazon’s search algorithm. But a word of caution: you can still lose the buy box on these pages if the third party seller undercuts you on price, or if you fail to keep the appropriate items in stock.

The second concept is ASIN merging third party items onto your own product pages, combining duplicate product pages onto your own. This removes product pages you do not manage that clutter search results with misleading information and incorrect pictures. Amazon does not like to see duplicate pages in search results, but it is up to brands to report and merge the appropriate ASIN in order to remove them.

"Hide" A Third Party Seller

Once items are merged, customers will be able to find third party sellers on your product page under the “other sellers” link. Third party product sales and product reviews will be combined with your own, improving your product’s search ranking while removing third party items from search results. While you will not be able to stop third parties from selling on Amazon, you can effectively hide their offering. Merging is vital to protecting your brand image and improving the chance that your item is found during a search.

Even when you’ve created the perfect variated and twisted product page, a third party vendor can win the buy box and “take control” of your curated page if your product is out of stock. This is why creating a reliable supply chain is vital to winning online, because there will almost always be someone else waiting to fulfill the order.

Win the Buy Box

Lärabar Uber good example of both variating and twisting at work. You can see that six flavors of the snack bar are listed, each with its price visible. Lower on the page there is an option to view other sellers for the selected product. It is preferable to have the third party sellers listed here, where consumers have to make a conscious choice to buy from them, than in search results.

You will not be able to eliminate every single third party seller via the means mentioned above. The best strategy is to variate and twist product options onto your single product page and to maintain strong performance in search results by carefully guarding availability and nurturing a strong presence of reviews – all of which can positively impact Amazon search results. At Clavis Insight we work with global brands who prioritize tracking and improving their availability, review count, search rank, managing third party seller and then see a notable increase in their online revenues. Regardless if there is third party items for a particular product (and there almost always is), brands need stay on top of these key online metrics to win in the online channel, particularly at Amazon.

by Frank Ulip
Analyst, Marketing Insights

More Blog Posts