Featured News and Events (49)

3978350727?profile=RESIZE_710xA recent Yeoman study of over 1,500 items sold on Amazon from a leading US manufacturer found a whopping 70% contained errors or did not follow Amazon’s best practice recommendations for providing product details. This study further showed the same level of inaccuracy on Google and Bing product searches. This is a maddening problem that plagues manufacturers in every industry. Once a product is “out there,” resellers, partners, distributors and reviewers end up shaping and revising the product details that your customers are going to use to make their purchase decision.

 

Products sold by Amazon definitely had better data quality, but less than 4% could be considered 'optimized' with the proven best practices for any item:

  • Descriptive title at least 50 characters long (including brand, purpose, color, and set/quantity info)
  • Multiple images of product
  • Bullet/summary list of product features
  • Complete description that includes product benefits, usage instructions, what's in the box, and
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Brands have a unique challenge with websites. They have to combine sales, operations, marketing, customer service and channel programs into one site. These have to be organized and easy-to-follow for customers as well as partners. Here at Yeoman, we’re rather famous for our website best practices review. In this blog series, we’re going to reveal our carefully honed criteria, so you can make sure your website is engaging and converting customers with the best of them.
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What’s in a Name?

1060766792.png?width=250What’s in a Name? In online merchandising just about everything.

Data quality online is one of the biggest problems manufacturers face. How good your product “looks” online (including not just clean photos, but also well-written product descriptions and titles) impacts everything from SEO rankings to customer preference to channel relations – so getting it right is important.

There’s a lot that goes into data quality. One critical element is the title. This is often the first and only information your prospect is going to see before making that all important decision to click or not to click. This snippet of text is also weighted heavily by the search engines, meaning a good title will get you in front of more prospects.

 

The biggest mistake we see manufacturers make is using their 'own' terms for items, assuming that everyone knows what they mean.  It's call the 'Curse of Knowledge' and can plague everyone from industrial manufacturers to beverage Companies that insist on calling the

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Update 4/27:  Amazon has slightly relaxed some of their FBA and PO restrictions, but we are seeing dramatically lower PO volumes for none essential items. In addition Yeoman estimates that 75% of FBA items have a 'limited stock' restriction placded on them. This means that Amazon will be restricting how many items you can send in.  All brands should do the following:

  1. Check vendor central for any new purchase orders (not just the normal Monday/Wednesday )
  2. For FBA sellers, check the 'inventory planning section of seller central' this is where any prioritized items will appear.  Send in inventory if its an option, we are seeing eligible inventory change daily.
  3. All brands should have a plan to fulfill via their own SFP (Seller Fulfilled Prime) or FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant) programs or work with their existing partners.  

The priority for a brand is to make sure you have stock avaiable on Amazon (either via Amazon, your 3P account, or a partners)

Amazon is seeing unprecendented demand a

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Amazon has dramatically changed its operations in response to the pandemic up ending every single brands Amazon sales model. Every brand needs to review their current Amazon position and take steps to ensure their growth going forward.

Webinar is now available on demand:  https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/recording/7708467521657981441

Not only is Amazon experiencing unprecedented volume and demand related to the pandemic, but they also have to manage this new volume with a newly dispersed workforce and a delivery and supply chain that's breaking under the strain. Their current short-term changes to cope have included some major moves including:

 

  1. Amazon Purchase Orders: Dramatic backs for non-essential products
  2. FBA Sellers: Restriction on all non-essential inbound products
  3. Marketing Programs: Multiple restrictions including ending Coupons and Deals to help control volume
  4. Prime Shipping: 2 Day shipping is unavailable for the majority of products, with the average lead time of 7 days fo
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3565675286?profile=RESIZE_710xUpdate:  The long standing quesiton about whether or not Amazon will be happy collecting taxes on behave of 3rd party sellers is officially over. On January 1st, Amazon started collecting in 4 more states (HI, IL, MI, and WI)  Last October they added 9  (AZ, CA, CO, ME, MD, MA, NV, ND, TX, UT)  Update - Georgia and Alaska have been added as of April 1st.

 

That brings the total to 41 (including DC) states that Amazon collects and remits taxes for 3rd party sellers.  (plus there are 5 states that don't charge sales tax) The leaves Florida, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.  The bulk of the other Marketplaces like Walmart and eBay have also complied with most of the rules, but not as fast as Amazon.  For Amazon, the logic is easy

  • They have a physical nexus in all 50 states already (so they pay taxes on items they sell direct)
  •  They already have an enterprise level merchant collection system that's been running for year
  • Walmart, EBay and other competing marketplace
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3294932462?profile=RESIZE_480x480Hard to believe it's been 4 years since Amazon announced Launchpad a custom program that helps start-ups “launch, market and distribute” new products on Amazon.  The program is really a re-skinned version of Amazon's Vendor Express, but it's goal is to let smaller manufacturers sell directly to Amazon.  The reason for the re-branding?  Simple - it's cooler and let's them position it as an option for business that were funded by Kickstarter, Circle up, or just an old fashion invention.

Their pitch is that you get to tap into Amazon's massive presence to quickly build your brand leveraging their platform to grow. They are correct - Amazon is the largest online retailer with over 1.4 billion sessions last Christmas.  A recent Forrester survey noted that 50% of American's search for product on Amazon regardless of whether or not they're going to buy on the site.

Any Company needs a presence there and Amazon is positioning Launchpad as the way to do it for start-ups. But is it worth it?   H

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3294931990?profile=RESIZE_320x320Yeoman is often asked by clients to help identify 'gaps' in their teams' abilities to be more digitally focused.  Most companies we work with often have great sales teams, a solid marketing group, and good business analysts but they still struggle with the best way to support their sales and distribution efforts online. 
 
Over the years, Yeoman has found most organizations have gaps in 3 key areas:
 

1. Online Product Merchandising:  The actual creation of product details online is often relegated to a junior buyer, marketing associate, (or worse) an intern. The thought of what product details will be often comes last and is rushed out as the product is shipping.  Big mistake.  Building up your internal content skills is one of the best ways to improve your overall footprint.  This includes everything from best practice titles, product details, images, specifications, categorization, etc.  This isn't a one time task; it needs to become part of someone's role for three reasons:

  • Optimi
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How to Empower Staff with Data

3294932885?profile=originalData, data everywhere, and nary a data scientist in sight. Or at least, not one you can afford. It's a classic Catch-22. To thrive, businesses need to pull financial, sales, predictive, social, and other data into a complete view of the customer. But big data practitioners with fancy degrees who can bring sophisticated analytics chops to bear on that effort start in the six figures, if you can even find one.

Academics and consultants pontificate on the crisis. McKinsey & Co. exclaims that advanced big data analytics, driven partly by the Internet of Things, could increase GDP in retailing and manufacturing by up to $325 billion annually and trim nearly as much from the cost of healthcare and government services by 2020. Too bad most organizations will never be able to hire that expertise. Yep, the world's got big data envy bad, and a data scientist is the silver bullet we all need.

Here's an alternative viewpoint: You don't need them. Instead, bring big data analytics down to earth, tr

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Amazon Brand Registry - It's Working

In our recent blog post, Amazon Brand Registry: What You Need to Know Right Now, we covered some of the advantages of signing up for the new Amazon Brand Registry. Of course the main benefit of the brand registry is that once you prove your brand belongs to you, Amazon will help you protect it against counterfeiters and unauthorized resellers. Well, it's working.
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Brands have a unique challenge with websites. They have to combine sales, operations, marketing, customer service and channel programs into one site. These have to be organized and easy-to-follow for customers as well as partners. Here at Yeoman, we’re rather famous for our website best practices review. In this blog series, we’re going to reveal our carefully honed criteria, so you can make sure your website is engaging and converting customers with the best of them.
Read more…

Is Amazon Go a Go?

Amazon opened its first retail storefront on Monday, January 22, 2018. The convenience store is located at 2131 7th Ave. in Seattle, and sells grocery items, ready-to-eat meals, and quick-meal kits – and of course features items from Whole Foods, who Amazon owns.

What makes this store so unique is that there are no checkout lines. You scan the Amazon Go app on your smart phone at the door, which will open the barrier gates to allow you into the store. (No app, no entrance.) Once inside, you shop by taking an item off the shelf and placing it in your bag. The item is automatically added to the cart in your online account.

How? Hundreds of cameras around the store and weight sensors on the shelves can see and identify which products you pick up. And if you decide you do not want an item you picked up, place it back on the shelf and the technology will remove the item from your online cart.

When you’re finished, “Just Walk Out” through the gates and you’re done. Amazon will send an electr

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1434258231?profile=RESIZE_710xName your favorite family rivalry; Hatfield’s vs McCoy’s, North vs South Korea, Cane vs Abel, Serena vs Venus.  Most end poorly but Amazon’s famous Vendor (aka 1P) vs Merchant (aka 3P) divisional competition is one of the core reasons for their amazing online success.  That rivalry has taken a major pivot this month and if your brand isn’t on top of it, you stand to lose out.

Over 10,000 accounts that had been selling to Amazon suddenly saw their PO’s dry up this month.  Many then received an email from the 1P team told them they may not buy from them anymore and recommend they consider selling on the 3P side!  Was this a secret coupe?  A digital détente? 

Many were left scratching their heads as to what was going on.  We’re not. 

The Back Story

As most people know, when you buy an item on Amazon it doesn’t necessarily get shipped by Amazon.  3rd party sellers (3P) make up 55-65% of Amazon orders.

In fact, the majority of items on Amazon have multiple sellers including Amazon and a hos

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The product details page is the most critical component of a website, but it's often overlooked. But as the primary action point for almost every desired goal (offering options to buy direct, find a reseller, become a reseller, and get a quote) it needs to combine all the core content a visitor needs to make a purchase - from any channel. Product details pages can be broken into two core areas.
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Email is dead... long live email!  Here at Yeoman we handle quite a bit of email web operations for our clients as part of our Outsourced Web Operations services.  Part of that means applying our best practices to email newsletters and then tirelessly testing and tweaking our approach to maximize open rates and click-thrus.

That’s why I was tickled pink to find this infographic from Kissmetrics showing that industry research supports our key best practices for email marketing.  Some of the highlights include:

Format your emails for mobile. Not convinced you need to? Over 40% of consumers now open their emails on a device other than their desktop PC—a number that’s been skyrocketing in the last few years.

And if they can’t read it easily on their smart phone or tablet, 89% of them will just delete it, and 27% will unsubscribe from your list. With 39% of marketers saying they do not have a mobile marketing strategy, making a few tweaks to your email marketing plans could yield big compe

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3294932558?profile=RESIZE_320x320According to a recent report put together by the Baymard Institute, an independent web research company, 67% of online shopping carts are abandoned. That means that 67% of web shoppers looked around your site, picked out one or more things they liked enough to save into a cart, and then just...didn't buy them. Why not?

 

The four main reasons online browsers don't make that online purchase include:

1. Taxes and Shipping. Shipping just bumped a $29.99 purchase up to $41.50. The total price is too much. Bye-bye, customer.

2. Buyer’s Remorse. Shopping around and putting things in your cart is a guilt-free pleasure. But once you see everything you picked out, a sense of regret can outweigh the actual enjoyment of potentially using the product. Customers start to ask themselves: Do I really need this product? 67% of them say "no." 

3. It was fun to pretend. I was just browsing or comparison shopping. I never planned to buy the item, or I went somewhere else and got a better price.

4. Proble

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3294931451?profile=RESIZE_320x320Amazon had 900 million visits Christmas 2014,  1.3 Christmas 2015, and have regularly cracked the 1 billion visitor mark every month this year (as of May 2016). Let that number sink in. That’s 3x the population of the United States. The giant of retail, Wal-Mart only has 240 million visits a month. Target? 140 million. Grainger (for you B2B manufacturers)? 7 million. And Amazon visitors are buying. Amazon holiday sales will likely be up 20-25% over Q4 last year. That’s a decade of double digit YoY holiday sales growth (in case anyone’s counting :)  And its not just the US - we see this growth in UK, Europe, and Canada.

What's their secret?  They key for any manufacturer or publisher to understand, is that Amazon’s success IS NOT simply due to the products Amazon buys and sells online. That’s only one part of it.

They succeed because Amazon.com is really a system that pits 4 competing divisions against each other to drive overall sales - Amazon Supply, Amazon Merchant, Amazon Marketing

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