Amazon Storefronts have been around for a number of years. Until recently though, they’ve been more of a ‘nice to have’, rather than a strategic necessity, especially for smaller brands and sellers.
Whilst larger and more recognisable brands have been using Storefronts to convey the same level of trust through third party marketplaces, as through their own direct-to-consumer sites, the benefits are becoming increasingly relevant to smaller brands.
This is especially true in light of COVID-19 related changes to consumer behaviour.
Now is the time for smaller brands and online sellers to pay more attention to Amazon selling features (such as Storefronts) which can really help to drive business growth.
What are Amazon Storefronts?
Amazon Storefronts are an integrated Amazon selling feature that allows brands to build their own shoppable store through the Amazon platform, in much the same way as Shopify.
While Amazon retains the overall branding of the site – not even coming close to Shopify’s customisation tools – it does offer an easy way to build a personalised ‘home’ for your brand without the need to develop your own ecommerce website.
The store is yours and yours alone. You can display all products that you offer through Amazon Marketplace, along with a whole host of other options such as tailored content that tells your brand story, images and videos, plus deals and promotions.
And perhaps best of all, Amazon Storefronts is free for all sellers that are part of the Brand Registry programme which is making Storefronts an increasingly popular option during this period of uncertainty when brands need to do more with less.
With many advertising budgets having been cut in response to the global pandemic, free promotional options such as Storefronts are proving to be a highly attractive option for many sellers.
In a 2020 MarketingLand survey, it was reported that 67% of Amazon sellers already have a Storefronts page while a further 18% plan to build one over the next 12 months.
Amazon’s Shift to Branding
Storefronts is yet another feature that highlights Amazon’s continuing shift from sales to awareness. Recently, Amazon has been making multiple changes that facilitate brand building and development, such as the ‘follow’ button, along with additions to Storefronts functionality like enriched content support and background video upload options.
Research suggests that, due to these changes, the balance between brands using Amazon to sell, and brands using Amazon to boost awareness, is now almost level.
Why are Storefronts so Important Right Now?
It’s no secret that the pandemic has changed how people buy. Financial uncertainty created by redundancies, furlough and complete business closures has naturally made shoppers more wary of where they’re spending their money.
This is highlighted in the ‘D2C And The New Brand Loyalty Opportunity’ report by commerce news source PYMNTS which shows that digital direct-to-consumer channels typically performed better than third party marketplaces during the outbreak as an increasing number of shoppers showed a preference for interacting with and buying from a brand directly.
Trust undoubtedly plays a significant role in this evolving buyer behaviour, but another factor to take into consideration, according to PYMNTS, is product range.
The report suggests that the majority of consumers cited the ability to see a full range of products on a brand website as the most important factor in making a decision; even more so than cost. This shows just how important it is becoming for consumers to see the bigger picture when they buy; to see a complete overview of products and brand.
Amazon Storefronts is the key to creating a more direct experience for customers, without the need for small businesses to branch out individually into full on ecommerce solutions.
The feature allows for even the smallest of brands to build a direct off-Amazon experience using the Amazon platform. Brands can even create their own URL to show the direct connection to the brand which takes the form of amazon.com/BRAND.
Driving Growth Through Storefronts
Incorporating Storefronts into your Amazon advertising strategy has never been more important given the COVID-19 related shifts in buyer behaviours. However, even without the pandemic, Storefronts can still be a highly valuable tool for small brands, offering a number of massive benefits that can help to drive business growth in the right direction:
- Maintaining Brand Focus
Amazon’s marketplace is a fantastic opportunity for sellers, but it can’t be denied that the ‘noise’ of other brands in the search results can make it difficult to stand out. Storefronts cut through this noise, maintaining focus on your brand’s offerings exclusively and building loyalty amongst those who have been directed to your store.
When shoppers click on your brand name, click a link to your Store, enter your Store’s URL, or are directed to your Store via an ad, they only see your products. This not only helps to build brand awareness, but also helps to retain focus on your brand, ensuring that potential customers are not distracted by the offerings of other similar businesses.
- Increasing Order Value
Unlike Amazon’s search function, Storefronts allows you to display your entire product range, including products that are similar to or related to the item customers are looking for, creating unique cross selling opportunities and keeping them on-site longer. According to McKinsey, cross selling activities could boost sales by as much as 20%.
Amazon’s Market Basket Analysis tool already allows sellers to see what their customers purchase at the same time as one of their products which can show that, while a product may be selected from one brand, an associated item is selected from another. Storefronts allows you to become essentially a ‘one stop shop’, preventing sales loss.
- Driving Traffic from Ads
Many use Sponsored Brands ads to direct to specific products. However, with Storefronts, it’s possible to direct these ads to the store which can create a more broad landing page to improve engagement and conversions. Research suggests that driving Sponsored Brand ads to Storefronts rather than products can increase RoAS by 22%.
And with the ability to create a unique Storefronts URL personalised for your brand, businesses can also direct their off-Amazon advertising efforts directly to the Store to significantly boost traffic. This makes it easy to create that in-demand, direct-to-consumer, experience whilst still benefiting from the simple Amazon interface.
- Optimising Campaigns
Storefronts’ functionality is becoming more and more rich and one of the most interesting features that Amazon has added recently is Stores Insights. This allows you to easily see and track performance data, including store-attributed sales, traffic and traffic sources, and views, making it easier than ever to optimise your ad campaigns.
The Insights feature clearly highlights whether your ad campaigns are directing traffic to your Store as expected, as well as whether your Store itself is succeeding in engaging and converting audiences as you had hoped. The ability to see this, marks a fantastic opportunity to tweak your approach which ensures you get the most from your efforts.
- Going Responsive
For brands that do have their own off-Amazon website, but not a responsive website, Storefronts is a completely free way to offer customers a responsive shopping experience. All templates offered through Storefronts are optimised for desktop, mobile, and app and with 65% of all ecommerce traffic coming from mobile this function is critical.
Today’s shoppers want to be able to browse, search, add, and buy wherever, whenever and for many this means using mobile rather than desktop. Brands must be able to offer a seamless desktop/mobile shopping experience to maintain sales and trust and Storefronts is emerging as one of the easiest (and cheapest) ways to do that.
- Protecting Your Brand
One of the biggest frustrations for today’s sellers is fighting back against counterfeit or lower quality alternatives to your own products. While brands may not be able to do much about the type of products that show up in a search, they can take complete control of what products show up in their Store, helping to protect the growing brand.
Amazon’s counterfeit problem has been hitting the headlines for years. Big brands such as Nike have even stopped selling through Amazon because of an inability to control fake ‘knockoffs’. While Storefronts isn’t a comprehensive solution, it is a way to instill trust and to let your customers know that the products in your Store are real and authentic.
Creating Your Store
One of the main reasons small brands choose Amazon is because it makes ecommerce simple. Storefronts is no different. While it may appear complex, and while it may appear that there’s a need to understand coding and web development, creating your own Store is all done through an easy-to-use drag-and-drop system.
Amazon offers pre-designed templates and a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to add products, images, textual content, and videos into your store, easily. Getting started couldn’t be simpler. Just make sure you’re signed up for Amazon’s Brand Registry programme, design your Storefront and submit for review. It’s that simple!