How To Reduce Amazon Ecommerce Cannibalism

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Craig Smith  |  Founder & CEO

Image Credit:  Epic Ebike

Amazon is a game-charger in the retail market. Both B2B and B2C brands compete with the tech giant to sell their wares and supply goods to their customers. While most businesses aren’t big enough to challenge the retail giant directly, successful companies will work with Amazon to list their products and attract customers through the marketplace’s brand.

While Amazon certainly offers a boom to sales, the listings can also cannibalize your own marketing efforts. In some cases, your Amazon listings will rank about your eCommerce site, or the duplicate content on both pages will push your pages below where you would like.

With careful planning, Amazon can be a partner, not a competitor. Here’s how you can avoid Amazon eCommerce cannibalism, create space for your brand in the SERPs, and still work with Amazon as a valued marketplace partner.

Most Ecommerce Brands Are Affected by Amazon

Your company isn’t the first to feel overwhelmed by Amazon’s power, and it won’t be the last. In February 2018, Business Insider reported that 30% of Target shoppers had switched their apparel shopping to Amazon. A quarter of Macy’s shoppers say they spend less at the store now than they did three years ago, with 42% of those shoppers saying they’ve switched their spending over to Amazon. Both a brick and mortar and online stores have to contend with Amazon eCommerce cannibalism of their current customers.

Not only does Amazon have more than 100 million visitors per day, it also has a higher conversion rate than most online businesses. Amazon Prime members convert an average of 75% of the time, compared to 13% for non-Prime members. If 13% seems low, consider the fact that the average website’s conversion rate is 3.3%. Most retailers would love a 13% conversion rate.  

User Popularity Boost’s Amazon’s Organic Rankings

High traffic levels, website behavior, and conversion rates signal to Google that listing Amazon pages in the SERPs is the safe bet. The odds are in Google’s favor that customers will find what they want, and trust the search engine to provide the best results.

Some retailers see Amazon as such a threat that they pull their listings from the marketplace, thinking they are knocking out the competition. Unfortunately, this logic isn’t sound. While Amazon listings might cut into your gross margin, they also boost your sales more than you could on your own. These listings also give your products more real estate than they would otherwise have if they were just on your eCommerce site.

The key to success is to develop an SEO strategy that shows your brand alongside Amazon’s listings and convinces people to check out your main website along with Amazon’s marketplace. You can’t fully prevent Amazon eCommerce cannibalism, but you can limit it with a little strategy.

Three Ways to Prevent Amazon Ecommerce Cannibalism

You don’t have to give up your results entirely to Amazon, and you don’t have to pull your products from all marketplaces so you can show up in the SERPs. These three SEO tactics will take more work than simply letting Amazon take over, but can boost your traffic, rankings, and sales in the long run.

Create Unique Product Descriptions

Most retailers are overwhelmed at the idea of creating one set of product descriptions for their items, much less two per product. However, these unique product descriptions can help your brand rank well in the SERPs and give your website listings the attention they deserve. Some brands have reportedly doubled their traffic over the course of a year just by creating unique product descriptions for their products.

You want to optimize for the same keywords in your product descriptions and create high-quality content for both, but provide deeper analyses and information on your main site. This way, customers will turn to your website to better understand the products before they buy it. (This is particularly valuable for more expensive items that customers might research heavily before buying.)

A great example of a website versus marketplace product descriptions is ThinkGeek. The company develops product descriptions based on their brand voice but sends different ones through their eCommerce data feed to match what the average Amazon shopper expects. You can see the differences for their Bag of Holding on their website versus on their Amazon listing.

As you can see below, these efforts are paying off. The ThinkGeek domain is on top, while the Amazon listing is lower on the SERP. The company uses the marketplace to generate sales while preventing Amazon eCommerce cannibalism with unique copy.  

Curate Unique Content on Your Product Pages

A great product description alone won’t push your pages to the top of the SERPs. You need content and need to provide something of value to your customers that Amazon can’t — or at least doesn’t do as well.

One form of content that both Google and your customers will appreciate are reviews and ratings. Roughly 40% of all customers make their purchasing decisions after reading between one and three reviews, and 44% of customers say reviews need to be less than a month old to be considered relevant.

Some companies take online reviews to the next level. Some brands, like JCPenney, encourage customers to share whether the items run large or run small to help buyers make more informed decisions. Other companies actually encourage customers to upload photos wearing the items and describe their measurements so buyers can see how an item fits on a real person (rather than a photoshopped model).

If you carry third-party brands like Nike or Yankee Candle, then you likely can’t compete with reviews left on Amazon or on those websites. However, you can reduce Amazon eCommerce cannibalism with your private label listings. Start by encouraging customers to leave reviews there and build up a collection that provides more value than those left on Amazon.

Don’t Let Your Amazon Listings Outprice You

Amazon has a clear pricing policy that retailers can’t increase the price of items on the marketplace to make them higher than items on their website. This means you can’t bump the listings on your Amazon listings to make up for the gross margin lost selling there. However, this rule can go both ways: there’s no reason to decrease your Amazon listings so they are less than those on your website.

Your customers likely shop around during the buying process. Listing the same items on Amazon as your main website with a higher price confirms to customers that they are making the right choice by buying on Amazon.

There are certainly times when you would want to lower your prices on Amazon — for example if you wanted to compete with a particular brand on a few items. However, you should try to keep the prices as close as possible for most of your items.

It’s Possible for Your Brand to Outrank Amazon

You won’t always beat Amazon in the SERPs, and your customers won’t always choose your brand over one of the top online marketplaces, but you can set yourself up for success by following these steps. Overtime, you should be able to reduce your Amazon eCommerce cannibalism levels as much as any retailer can in 2018 when the ubiquitous Prime logo seems to be on every doorstep.  

Contact Trinity Insight today to improve your product pages and optimize your SEO listings to boost your overall rankings.

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