Ecommerce is hard. That is the simple truth. Ecommerce is always evolving, always changing the rules, always experimenting, and always moving faster. Ecommerce was like that one kid we all grew up with. They invited you over to play with the newest toys or try the newest games. Their house was always warm and welcoming. But whenever you played, if at any point you started to win, that is when they would say, “new rule” and change the game so they were winning again. Ecommerce is your friend that you love to be with, but they always get to win.
Our Most Valuable Asset: Time
Before joining Edge by Ascential, I ran an ecommerce team for a natural pet food company. For those of you who don’t know, pet food is one of the three largest online CPG categories (This is when you say, “huh, really?” and I tell you to look at how much Chewy sold for).
While trying to grow the business, do you know the one thing I needed most to grow the business? Time.
1. Yes, I wanted a larger budget.
2. Yes, I wanted more unique products for online.
3. And yes, I wanted realistic and obtainable goals.
4. But more than anything, I needed more time, and the only way to get more time is hire a bigger staff or become more efficient with the time I have.
This is where I first fell in love with the Edge by Ascential platforms. There were so many advantages to having additional knowledge of the marketplace and my digital shelf on Amazon, but the biggest of these was having better use of my time. One thing I always tell my clients: Our tools don’t solve problems. Ecommerce problems are usually too advanced, too complex, with too many variables to automate. That’s why they pay us ecommerce folks the medium bucks! The tool may not solve the problem, but it does focus us on where we should look, and that is endlessly invaluable.
VALUE #1 – Industry Knowledge
When I was a practitioner, Market Share was more than just a series of stats and knowledge about Amazon, it was my to-do list. Market Share gave me direction on where I should spend my time, how to find what was working, learn what consumers were saying, and helped me keep track of those long-tailed SKUs that are often forgotten about. The Market Share dashboard soon became a second home screen. It was a magnifying glass on the pet food online industry; which category was growing fastest, what influence 3P was having, and who was winning. But more than that, it gave me the ASIN-level detail to help me understand HOW these things were being influenced. A brand is rapidly gaining share? Check to see if there were new items launched or a promotion that was successful. 3P digitally native brands showing up in one category but not the other? Look to see what the difference is between them. Sales not growing YoY as fast as you hoped? Validate if the entire industry is struggling or if it is just you. And best of all, did you make a change to your PDP content, run a promotion, invest more in a campaign? Market Share is there to look at the full impact to the market.
VALUE #2 – Directional Knowledge
Market Share soon became more than a tool, it became a sounding board, an extra employee, a confidante. If I was given additional funding to invest in AMS, Market Share gave me direction. Understanding the importance of Amazon search and using modules like Traffic & Conversion, I would see which categories were converting well but not getting enough visibility. When you have 500+ items to assess, who has the time to look individually? Imagine, in a few clicks finding out which ASINs have raw potential waiting to be unleashed, instead of only focusing on a few top sellers. At the same time as figuring out which items need more visibility, I was able to see which weren’t converting well. Two ways to improve my sales in one module.
The more comfortable I got with the tool, the more I continued to find Market Share could make up for the lack of resources I had at my disposal. Again, the goal of Market Share wasn’t to solve my problem, but direct me to the problem. Modules like Top Movers and Top Performers quickly let me know which items had the biggest impacts during the week. Think about how quickly you can assess what might have caused disruption if you know exactly what products to look for. And not just in your own catalog, but across the whole industry. Need to see impact to a specific category? Just a few clicks to filter and away you go. Less time searching for direction, more time finding answers, and even more time finding solutions. Couple that report with the promotional data, and you have a whole array of information to act on.
VALUE #3 – Catalog Knowledge
But the best part of Market Share, for me, was that Market Share also gave you key information about your own catalog. As an industry, ecommerce folks love talking about Ratings & Reviews, but how often do we action on them? It is more than having high ratings with many reviews. It is about finding that insight that consumers are leaving you, FOR FREE, and we ignore because we only care about how many stars show up next to our name. With Market Share, I could easily find when an item became a problem, or see the relationship between ratings, review and sales. That kind of information would have been impossible to get with my team of 2. From there, I knew how to improve content or improve our products.
Though I loved Market Share, I didn’t fully understand the value until I ignored one module, and it put me back months in sales. We were in the middle of rebranding a smaller brand and launching all new ASINs to help win at search on Amazon. As expected, the new items were taking a while to gain traction. As I looked at our sales internally, the brand was soft for the first month. Again, we expected this. But soon one month became two, which became three, and we started to worry. But since the brand was smaller, there wasn’t a lot of time I could devote to it. Finally looking into the Leaks Report on Market Share, I learned that the items weren’t picking up traction because they were out of stock. No one in Order Fulfillment told me Amazon had stopped ordering because we ran out. My team thought sales were stunted, and Amazon just didn’t have the demand. Thanks to the Leaks report, I had the information needed to resolve the problem. Because, again, Market Share doesn’t solve problems, it points us in the direction of the problem. In this case, the problem was smaller items not getting the attention they needed, and miscommunication within the office. Serves me right for neglecting the tool.
So remember, ecommerce is hard, and it should be hard! It is that difficulty that draws us to the profession. We conquer the unknown, we adapt quickly to change, we thrive on beating puzzles and solving riddles that others throw their hands up with. So, yes, Ecommerce is hard, Market Share just makes it a little easier, and a little more fair. So next time ecommerce says, “New rule”, you can smile and be ready.
Click here to learn more about the upcoming release of Market Share 2.0.
Register now for our Market Share 2.0 product reveal webcast on April 9th to see how we can help your Amazon business.
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