Monthly Archives: February 2017

RE-ENGAGING YOUR DORMANT CUSTOMER BASE

In the current marketing scenario, customer retention and re-engagement are in the spotlight. Apart from other essential activities, it is no doubt that customer re-engagement should occupy a significant position. Lead generation and lead nurturing occupy the topmost places in the marketing funnel in terms of position, time and cost. Following this theory, customer acquisition has always been one of the difficult stages in the whole marketing process. You have to win over the customer’s confidence and educate him/her applicably about your company and products/services.

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Getting in touch with your former customer base relieves you off all these stresses by facilitating the lead generation and nurturing process. In addition, your old clients know you and have interacted with you. They are well aware of your company’s strategies and services. Looking back to prior customer lists proves to be effective both in terms of time and cost. You need not start from scratch when considering your older clients. Let us look a few steps that you may take to reactivate your former clients to touch your base again.

Phone calls and emails are the most obvious methods that are used for professional communication today. If your customer had a personal communication method with you, you may directly give him a call and discuss on other matters before you gradually raise the topic of your business alliance. Try to tackle him informally into a comfort zone and then discuss business issues, this will allow him to open up to you about the exact reason of why he dropped out initially. On the other hand, if your relation was not personal, try contacting an old client together with another high level management in conference. Have a professional starting and try to get the reason of him exiting from the business. Remember, that your first contact for re-engagement should not be in order to persuade him to come back but rather to first get a clear picture of the precise reason of him/her leaving.

Getting in touch with a simple email is far too rough to get any response from a client who has stopped working with you. You are not of much importance to the customer at this point in time therefore it is advisable to make your emails a bit different. You may send a personal mail to send the customer a greeting or a wish, probably on a birthday, anniversary or the likes. Getting in touch through personal aspects are likely to get more attention than just a regular day. Another way of getting in touch through emails is to send a short and precise survey form. This will enable the customer to pour out his reasons on a single platform and you can get to know them easily. Do not make the forms large and difficult to handle.

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Once you gather the explanations as to why your customers were obliged to step out of the business with you, put up your strategy to combat these reasons. For example, if a client is having financial problems, you may offer flexible payment facilities or a small discount or an extra added service/product for a free trial. If they had to leave because of a low customer satisfaction, show them your revised policies and introduce them to your new team. You may also share some other testimonials with them which you have attained during their absence. This might re-inforce their trust in you. When you are in contact with them again and they reveal to you a severe mistake, it is worthwhile to offer a discount to cover up for the same. It may be painful in the beginning, but this approach gives huge results.

When you are planning to reach out to your former clients, prioritize your list. Put the important clients on the top of the list – those who can give you substantial business. Apart from this, it is very important to be in a continuous research mode for your company. There is always space for improvement and it should not be ignored in business. Having a system which monitors customer engagement (both current and past) helps a lot in maintaining and improving business and business relationships.

Amazon Metrics That Affect Product Buyability – Part I

There are numerous factors that eventually end up influencing a particular product’s buyability. We shall deal these in two sections, this article covering the first section.

Fulfillment

Although a seller has a total control over parameters such as efficiency of his services, fulfilment is one factor that highly impacts the buy box share. Sellers have two options for fulfilment:

  1. FBM – fulfilling all products by themselves
  2. FBA – Fulfilment by Amazon, whereby the whole product catalogue is dealt by Amazon

Usually, sellers end up with a mix of these two methods as it provides real strategic management. Fulfilment by Amazon significantly affects your buy box ownership and for those sellers who do not yet have their products in the buy box, it helps them to have a speedy acquisition. But, it is important to identify products that actually show a good improvement in buy box ownership through FBA (some products may perform well through FBM itself).

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Fulfilment latency is also an important factor that impacts the product buy box. Latency is basically the shipping time – time taken for the seller to ship out the product after receiving an order. Sellers are required to enter their estimated shipping time in the product specific feed entry. Remember NOT to leave it blank as Amazon picks up a default value of 1-2 days which might not be realistic for you. If your shipping time does not match with the one entered, it will negatively affect your seller rating. For obvious reasons, lower latency times hike up the chances of buy box ownership.

 Landed Price

Landed price is the total cost that needs to be paid by the customer; the product price and shipping cost added together. Fulfilment and landed price happen to be the most prominent factors for the buy box ownership.

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The lower the landed price, the higher chances of winning the buy box. Amazon strategies highly depend on pricing, so sellers have to be ready for certain amounts of sacrifices or use innovative price listing ideas. Repricing solutions are also available for sellers for a closer monitoring. For example, considering the same product above, other sellers have the following criteria:

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There are two sellers that have a free delivery option but the landed price is high and that is why Amazon gives the buy box to the seller above, who has a lower landed price than others.

There are many Amazon metrics for the buy box that are dependent on the customer but landed price is one factor that is complete control of the seller. One point that may be utilised by sellers is to embed the shipping costs into the product price. Free shipping tends to attract more customers. At the same time, you have to make sure that your landed price is not rising up; it’s a game of optimising for the best solution.

Seller rating

Seller rating is an Amazon automated overall assessment given to sellers based on their performance on the marketplace and it reflects how well you are handling your inventory management, order management, fulfilment and customer service. Here is how the account health looks like in a nutshell:

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This criterion is judged by a number of metrics. We shall look into each one in detail.

  1. Oder defect rate

ODR is the percentage of orders that have been reported with any type of issue divided by the total number of orders for a particular product.

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Amazon recommendation for the above metric is less than 1%. There are three components that constitute the overall ODR:

             i.       Negative Feedback

Negative feedback rate is the number of negative feedbacks that you receive from all the orders you fulfil.

        ii.          A-to-Z claims

This is claim from a customer to receive back funds in case of repeated order defects or likes

       iii.          Service chargebacks

This is similar to A-to-Z claims but in perspective of card payments and bank issues.

  1. Recent Customer Metrics Data

This metric compiles your performance with respect to the customers on Amazon. It is also governed by three components.

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i. Late shipment rate

Failure to send a shipment confirmation through Amazon within 3 days of your expected shipment timeframe adds on a late shipment.

ii. Pre-fulfilment cancel rate

This is the rate at which a cancellation of an order occurs from the seller, before shipment confirmation through Amazon. This usually occurs due to stock issues.

iii. Refund rate

A refunded order is one that you refund for the customer post a shipping confirmation. This does not always end up negative.

  1. On-time delivery score

On-time delivery is a direct and close measure of how well you manage your inventory and efficiency in fulfilment areas. Amazon recommendations for this metric are on the higher side and this is comprises of 2 components.

i. On-time delivery rate

This is the percentage of the orders you have shipped that have been received on or before time.

ii. Tracked delivery rate

This is the percentage of your orders that have the facility of order tracking.

  1. Buyer-seller contact response time

This is one of the metrics that related to customer service quality. A late response is considered as a reply sent to buyer post 24 hours of customer message or inquiry. Amazon research proves that orders that have efficient communication receive 50% less negative feedback. Once a communication has been completed, a seller can mark it as ‘no response needed’ so that he is not penalized for a ‘no response’.

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Seller feedback

Although this metric does not match in weight when it comes to buy box share influence, it is directly related to it. Amazon works on a customer oriented process and therefore sellers with a high positive feedback are likely to win the buy box share.

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 There are 2 factors that are included in this metric:

i. Seller feedback score

The total of your 1 to 5 star rating are translated to calculate the total positive ratings using the following rules:

  • 1 – 2 stars: negative
  • 3 stars: neutral
  • 4 – 5 stars: positive

These details are not displayed on the product page, you need to scroll through all offeres to view this score for the sellers.

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ii. Seller feedback volume

This refers to your total customer feedback received in the past 12 months. The final score is calculated as the total number of positive feedbacks divided by the total number of feedbacks. Having large volumes of feedback increases customer confident in buying from you and thus accelerates the purchase decision. The general score in this category is 7 – 9 %, and not usually less than this.

Product discoverability and buyability are the key concepts of increasing sales on the Amazon marketplace. Some of the factors that are related to these concepts have been described above herewith. There are other factors also that affect the buyability which will be discussed in part II of this topic. For further information, you may log on to www.bmconsulting.co.

An Overview of improving sales probability on Amazon

Selling, maintaining and advertising on the Amazon platform demands a distinctive approach to success. Ranging from the application of varied resources to sophisticated strategies; it necessitates a holistic approach towards upholding a prosperous position on this marketplace. Adding on to the stress and strain, the marketplace is absolutely competitive, resulting in the optimization to be a complete challenge. Central concepts of contesting these challenges happen to be Product dicoverability and Product Buyability.

Let’s start off by defining these concepts:

Discoverability – A product’s discoverability is its ability to be found on the Amazon platform from the consumer’s point of view. It is important to remember that Amazon SERPs are product oriented and sellers have limited entitlement of increasing product sessions. Therefore, overall it is the product which needs to be focussed on. Increasing the discoverability can be related to driving traffic in terms of traditional marketing.

The following is an example of an Amazon SERP for the keywords ‘chandeliers for living room’:Untitled

As seen from the results, the product ‘Prop It Up Antique Design Brass Chandelier – 5 Lamps’ is listed among the best sellers and is also the first product on the result page. Amazon shows the product price range and the number of other offers (other sellers) on the SERP itself, which further promotes the purchase decision in any consumer. In a product like chandeliers, the product design plays an extremely vital role and probably that is the reason why the display of the SERP is in the tiled format clearly showing all designs. Motivating discoverability is dependent on many factors that are portrayed on the SERP including:

  • Image quality
  • Discount rates and offers
  • Reviews rating
  • Any tags that have been achieved (e.g. best seller)
  • Payment information

All these factors together can be well dealt with in the optimization process and as we will see later on, all marketing activities eventually form a cycle whereby each process is inter-dependent and linked with the others.

Buyability – Product buyability is based on two metrics:

  1. A seller’s percentage of total buy box ownership
  2. Traffic conversion on a product page

To better understand this, let’s take an example of a corner table. Suppose this corner table received a total of 100 orders in a month. The first metric of buyability focusses on having the highest share of the total 100 orders. The second metric of buyability is highly driven by discoverability and and overall optimization practices.

Taking a closer look at the SERP for chandeliers:

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The SERP itself shows options for other sellers as well, but at this point, the buy box is with Prop it up. Looking from the perspective of this seller, buyability will be to continue having the buy box.

Discoverability is directly related to Amazon SERPs and buyability is most relevant on the product detail pages. Both these concepts are inter-related and form a cycle – sustaining a high position of sales for a particular product.

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The major goal of all marketing optimizations on the Amazon platform is to increase the conversions from all the sessions on a product i.e. receiving a higher conversion fraction from total number of sessions. Two prime ways to do so are based on the metrics of product buyability.

  1. Buy box ownership: Getting a higher number of orders is directly related to your buy box share. The higher your buy box ownership percentage, the more orders you get and as a result more revenue is generated.
  2. Product Page Optimization: Conversion rate optimization (CRO) needs to be brushed up with minute practices and best strategies such that once a customer has landed on the product page, nothing convinces him/her to leave without ordering. Robust tactics should be implemented in describing the product page content – title, description, image quality and placement, etc. Take a look at the product page of the best seller for the chandeliers:

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 Each aspect of the product detail page has been well explained on this product. Images have been provided in good resolution from various angles. The title of the page is complete including the brand name, product name, product type and product size. Good number of reviews and ratings are highlighted. The price and delivery details are also appropriately listed. Bullet points have been all utilised giving all the information that would answer the questions arising in any consumer’s mind regarding purchase. Detailed information on designing a product page can be found here.

Before investing ample time and resources on product page design and optimisation, it makes absolute sense to first grab a good share of the buy box ownership. Otherwise all these efforts will be directed towards a competitor’s offer. The question is when to start strategizing buyability according to metric 2 – conversion rate optimisation?

To start off the process, you must first dig into your sales performance reports and pick up your top performing products based on the following criteria:

  • Number of orders: Identify the products that have got the highest number of orders and then analyse on the reasons – which may include high number of sessions/page views or a higher buy box share.
  • Sessions: Look at the ASINs that have been receiving the highest number of sessions and analyse the buy box share for them. Marginal changes in the buy box share for ASINs with high sessions can result in a good number of orders.
  • Revenue: Again, working on minute changes for the buy box with products generating revenue in the higher range make pay off with significant results.

On performing this analysis, you might find quite a number of your products overlapping in all the above categories. These are the products that you should focus on performing the maximum CRO techniques, followed by the products falling individually on the top of each category. Select these products for optimisation processes.

The overall process can be summarised as a two stage process:

  1. Win the buy box
  2. Improve conversion rate

Elaborated work on these two basics are sure to drive your sales at good speeds and heights!