Is Your Amazon Agency Growing with You at Scale?
Five years ago, Amazon was likely not in the top five largest accounts for a lot of brands. For many it might not have even made the top 10. Today, for many brands, Amazon has rapidly made its way into the top 5 and might even take the #1 spot, depending on the category. Lately, we’ve talked to many brands who feel like their Amazon agencies are not actively growing with them but are simply maintaining the business.
As Amazon plays a key role in an increasingly complex and competitive retail landscape, it is important to have an agency partner who can grow with you. Many brands are experiencing massive growth at Amazon, seeing sales consistently jump 20-40% year over year. But growth can hide sins. What if there is another 20-40% left on the table? What could be unlocked in your business if your agency was proactive, fully integrated into your sales strategy, and could pinpoint the specific unlocks needed to take your business to the next level.
In this blog post, we’ll explore a few different pain points we’ve heard from brands when working with agencies, as well as a few scenarios/case studies to show how Harvest Group has approached these challenges to help scale our clients’ businesses.
Common Amazon Agency Pain Points
1. Heavy Account Manager Workload
Most agencies put 10-30 brands on an Account Manager’s desk. The account manager might be able to identify a couple quick wins and apply a standard “Growth Playbook” to all, but over time they just don’t have the bandwidth to continually unearth opportunities to deliver incremental growth for each individual client.
Harvest goes beyond the day-to-day, putting ourselves in the shoes of the sales manager to establish meaningful connections at Amazon and constantly seek out the next opportunity for our brands to drive growth. Our Amazon team puts strict limits on the number of brands an Account Manager has on their desk to ensure that the Account Manager has the time to proactively explore data, develop a comprehensive understanding of the business, unlock potential growth opportunities, and drive insights that are catered to the client (e.g., B2B, variation strategy, subscribe and save, Amazon Marketing Cloud, etc.).
2. Not Aligning Amazon Advertising Tactics to Overall Business Strategy
Amazon Advertising is a key piece to succeeding on Amazon. There are dozens of different strategies and methods to manage campaigns that, if not done correctly, can lead to inefficient spending and slower growth. Harvest Group is focused on aligning your advertising strategies and driving the most efficient spend.
As Amazon becomes a more complex retailer and key account, advertising strategies need to become more holistic. We do not follow a specific playbook or apply the same KPIs and goals to each client. Harvest Group puts on your jersey and treats the business as if it were our own, employing advertising as a means to grow the business, rather than as a stand-alone area of performance.
3. Lack of Continual A/B Testing
As your business grows, what worked to get you here may not work to get you to the next level. Whether it’s content, assortment, or advertising, it is imperative that brands continually learn how to make the most out of their business and the tools available to them.
Many agencies will do a one-time rehaul of content once the brand is onboarded. They’ll update the content, but then never change it again. Harvest not only does the rehaul during the initial onboarding of the client, but then also comes up with recommendations to run A/B tests to ensure that the content is always delivering the best results.
Many agencies pursue a typical playbook when it comes to advertising – whether padding RoAS with branded spend, putting 60% of spend on 4 key items, or the like. At Harvest, we take a custom approach – ready to throw traditional tactics out the window and try something new to create and capture more demand for our brand’s products.
Many agencies take your all-star products and run with them. While we would never forget to steward the flagship items, Harvest Group takes a proactive approach to innovation – launching new items, identifying product development opportunities, and helping brands break into new categories.
4. Non-Proactive Inventory Management
Whether as a 3rd party seller or 1st party vendor, inventory management can make or break a brand on Amazon. From new item launches to day-to-day replenishment, to many agencies rely on basic inventory flagging systems to let you know you have a problem – often when it is already too late.
At Harvest Group, we take a proactive approach, integrating with our clients’ supply chain and operations teams to ensure everyone is walking in sync. We recommend and build order quantities within FBA and Born to Run, track ongoing performance, and even create demand forecasts to get upstream to mitigate out of stock events. Understanding the ins-and-outs of supply chain is in our blood, and we know it is an integral part of success on Amazon.
5. Not Effectively Managing Price and Costs Increases
Cost and price increases are a main topic for all retailers right now. Implementing a cost increase can lead to difficult conversations. At Harvest Group, our retail expertise runs deep. We partner with brands to understand the root of cost increase, build a story to explain the drivers, and then work with Amazon to analyze the impact of the cost increase and mitigate the impact on the business. Further, we don’t do it in isolation. Retail is now more interconnected than ever. Brands need agency partners who understand the full landscape – not Amazon in a silo.
Harvest Group can simplify the growing complexity of Amazon and deliver customized experiences and results to fit your business. If you feel like you need more out of your agency partner, start a conversation with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Harvest Group Client Success Stories at Amazon
Operations/Growth Case Study
A client had aggressive growth goals but did not have the inventory space and forecasting capabilities to either remain in-stock or have a healthy supply chain pipeline. Harvest Group partnered with the brand’s operation team to develop a stronger and more efficient forecasting method. Harvest also worked with the business to actively improve their IPI score, optimize their catalog, and build a strategy to improve their buy box percentage. These actions lead to a 600% growth on key items, 47% overall business increase in the first four weeks of onboarding with Harvest, 238% YoY YTD increase, and a 5x inventory storage availability at Amazon warehouses.
Market Share Case Study
A client set a goal to grow 35% YoY (year on year) in a highly competitive and saturated market. The client also wanted to capture market share, with a goal of capturing the #1 best seller rank in their category. Harvest partnered with the brand to run a series of advertising, variation, and content tests and strategies. Additionally, we launched two new products through a hybrid inventory model and born-to-run program. After 6 months, the two product launches achieved the #1 product in their subcategory and the brand saw a 9% increase in ROAS (Return on Ad Spend), 10% increase in conversion, 29% increase in new-to-brand sales. All of this culminated in 55% YoY growth (vs. 14% YoY growth prior to Harvest joining), substantially higher than the stated goal of 35%.