Jim Hawker, founder of PR agency Threepipe, talks to Ben Smith this week about the ins and outs of having a specialist division focused solely on Amazon.
Ben Smith: Why has Threepipe, a marketing comms consultancy, set up a division completely dedicated to Amazon? What type of skills make up the Amazon team?
Jim Hawker: More of our client conversations were turning to Amazon and how to better work with the platform and we felt there was a gap in the market to build out a bespoke offer. The team is made up of organic and paid media expertise but with a thorough understanding of the platform which is very different from Google and Facebook.
BS: How do you hope to help clients sell more stuff on Amazon?
We improve their product visibility which ensures that they do not lose sales when people are searching for them or for products in their category.
BS: What skills does a retailer need to do well on Amazon? I had assumed it was about selling the right stuff, cheap...
JH: Cheapest doesn’t always win. It’s a combination of great product reviews, well optimised product listings, and more importantly, better availability through improved sales forecasting and stock management.
BS: How does the Amazon algorithm work then? In broad terms I mean.
JH: It is called A9 and requires a holistic approach. Most importantly, it factors in sales velocity which is dependent on a combination of factors including stock availability and product optimisation.
BS: Do retailers need to think of Amazon as a search engine – or is it more complex than that?
JH: More product search starts on Amazon than on Google and with a higher purchase intent. In that sense it is a search engine, but you are also seeing Amazon being used as a branding channel by premium brands because the prime audience is ABC1.
BS: From a PR and comms perspective – does earned media or social media impact Amazon sales much?
JH: Yes it can have an impact. We are working with influencers to drive product recommendation and linking these to Amazon pages and the same with earned media coverage around product reviews.
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