Growing a brand on Amazon has historically been very difficult. With Amazon’s early day focus on price combined with the ease of manufacturing in China there was an explosion of commodities. A quick replication of white label, easy-to-manufacture items that no one needed or wanted more of.
As time passed and this no longer became a viable business model, the importance of growing a brand on Amazon (and off it) became apparent.
In response to this (and the desire to attract big brand name products) Amazon has continued the development of more brand-centered tools, of which Stores is now a part. I’d just like to point out that Amazon Stores were previously called Amazon Storefronts to avoid any confusion – they are the same thing, but Stores are what they’re officially called by Amazon.
An Amazon Store is a branded page all to yourself. A place where you get your own piece of real estate to design for whatever you need. A place where no competitors show up and no advertising can (currently) intrude.
And Amazon Storefronts actually solve a number of issues! One of which is helping customers find the other products in your catalog in an easy-to-use and organized way – without having to search around on the usual Amazon marketplace you associate with the eccomerce platform.
The previous method was simply through search which is always full of ads and other products. Not to mention that the search results might not display all of your products.
With a store, you can do a multitude of things such as seasonal promotions, single product landing pages, and more which we’ll dive into in this article as well as give you a sneak peek at some of the backend analytics a storefront provides you.
Table of contents
- What Is an Amazon Store?
- Why Did Amazon Create Them?
- Why and what are the benefits of having an Amazon Store?
- When should you make one?
- How to Set Up an Amazon Store
- How You Can Design an Amazon Storefront Better
- How to maintain one
- How to Measure effectiveness
- Closing Summary/Key Takeaways
What Is an Amazon Store?
It’s a completely free way to build a store on the Amazon Marketplace that customers can either find through each of your individual listings or that you can drive traffic to via promotional links. It’s quickly becoming one of the most powerful tools in Amazon Brand Management for growing brand awareness and increasing sales.
Here we’ll give you a full introduction to everything you need to know about Amazon Stores. We’ll keep this updated as new things come out so bookmark this tab and check back again when you have questions or want a refresher.
Why Did Amazon Create Them?
Beyond just the trend for businesses needing more tools to grow a brand there are other motivating factors for Amazon to provide storefronts.
The big one is competition. While not exactly the same thing, Stores serve as a counterweight to Ebay, Shopify and other platforms that are more small business friendly and already offer these tools.
Ebay, Shopify, Etsy and other online marketplaces all have strong seller-focused cultures as opposed to Amazon’s customer-centric one. This has led sellers to adopt these competitors at a much greater rate as they’re easier to use, have better customer service and allow the seller to build a more sustainable business (and brand).
This is why (I believe) Amazon has really begun to develop not just more tools for brands, but for sellers as well. At some point they realized that their 3rd party sellers are the future and that not only are they just sellers, but customers too.
Why and what are the benefits of having an Amazon Store?
There are many benefits to having an Amazon Storefront. It’s a worthwhile investment that can:
- Build brand awareness
- Promote new products
- Drive offline traffic
- Show off your whole catalog
- Increase average order value
- Increase effectiveness of sponsored brand ads
Building Brand Awareness
As I said previously, Amazon Storefronts are – first and foremost – a branding tool.
They are there for customers to discover you, what you sell and what you believe in. Far more than any listing copy or A+ content can provide. You have a lot more control over your messaging, page design and results. It gives you a way to sell and drive traffic outside of the search and advertising ecosystem.
While it’s a simple point, it’s true. If you want to build a brand on Amazon then a storefront is going to be the key.
Promoting Your Products
An Amazon Storefront is in many ways like a website (with less options). You have your header up top, a home page, navigation and the options to add images, text and links to your pages and products. What this means is that, like any website, you can change your images, text and overall marketing strategy with each passing season, holiday or promotional event.
When combined with the options we will talk more about below, such as driving offline traffic and sponsored brand ads, your storefront becomes a key part of your marketing and growth strategy on Amazon.
Here is a short list of some things you can do:
- Christmas promotion (holidays)
- New Year’s promotion (fitness & health messaging)
- Black Friday / Prime Day Sales
- Raise awareness of a new product you’re launching
- End of Season Sale
- Cross-Sell / bundle promotions or coupons
Despite the simple layout in storefront pages you still have a lot of options for what you can do and are really only limited by the creativity of your marketing and design team.
Driving Offline Traffic
On Amazon, sales beget sales. It doesn’t matter where the sales come from, whether on search or on your storefront. If a product sells, its BSR will increase and its rank with whatever associated searches, keywords & customer profiles will also increase.
This means that while you may receive more money for driving customers to your website (which you should still do), driving sales on Amazon will feed the Amazon flywheel which means that one sale will create more sales down the line.
The Amazon storefront gives you a place to drive that traffic that won’t result in customers stumbling across competitors or getting distracted by an ad. You can link to it from your website, promote the link on social media or even run Facebook ads to special landing pages you’ve designed on your page.
Another upside to having an Amazon store is that you also get your own Amazon.com web address (amazon.com/yourbrand) to use in these types of marketing campaigns.
The fact that you can create a special page to drive traffic for Amazon sales is especially powerful. The hardest part of Amazon is competing with all the other products in search results and on the listing pages. Stores solve this issue, allowing you to design the experience your way and drive conversions and sales.
Displaying Your Whole Catalog
The biggest downside of a search engine like Amazon is that you can only show up once at a time and only for that specific search term the customer is searching for. In addition to that, you can’t control the advertising slots on your page or the listings that will show up. This makes it incredibly hard to market the rest of your product line to customers.
Storefronts solve this issue.
Amazon storefronts allow you to show off your entire catalog on one page, split your catalog into different pages and/or highlight specific products on specific pages all easily seen on the product page tabs.
This means you can adapt your storefront every month based on your business goals.
Need to sell through a product quickly? Run a promotion and highlight it on your storefront’s home page.
Want to bring awareness to your new product? Design some new graphics and put them at the top of your home page with a link to a dedicated page on your store.
With some time and effort, storefronts give you the adaptability of a website on the Amazon marketplace that can help you promote your entire catalog.
Increasing Your Average Order Value
With the ability to design landing pages, show off promotions and display your whole catalog it becomes easy to see how you might raise the average order value of your account.
An Amazon Storefront is an opportunity to build trust with the customer and/or give customers who already trust you the opportunity to try more products from your brand. This is where the branding advantage comes into Amazon stores.
If someone on Amazon is searching out your brand on the search results then they may not know what they’re looking for which likely means a lost sale. If someone has landed on your storefront then they likely clicked through to your brand because they are curious about you.
If they’re going to go through the effort of clicking through to your storefront then it’s very likely that they either already trust you or are very close. Which means you may have a customer with a long customer lifetime value (CLV). A loyal customer that will keep buying from you, seek you out online, and talk about you to their friends & family.
Increasing the Effectiveness of Sponsored Brand Ads
One of the keys to success is a well-structured and organized advertising strategy on Amazon. One that is effective and reaches its goals of not just converting sales but building your brand.
This is the purpose of sponsored brand ads. The most well-known of which is the previously called “headline-search Ad”.
Of course, one of the difficult parts of these ad types was that you had to link your product pages to them.
But now you can link them to your store.
This means that you can drive traffic on Amazon search results directly to your storefront (which is hopefully a well-designed landing page) that does not have competitor listings on it, shows off your whole catalog and is engaging in a way that does not have them immediately clicking off to other search results. Customers can add multiple items straight to the cart from your storefront and check-out. Easy as that.
When should you make one?
There are a couple things you’re going to want to have before creating your Amazon Storefront.
First, you’ll need Brand Registry (Read: Is Brand Registry Right For You?)
Second, you’ll likely want more than 3 SKUs to justify the investment. Storefronts are not cheap, so unless you are specifically building off of the success of a single product and can afford it, you might want to wait until you have a catalog of products that allows you to take full advantage of a storefront.
If you have 3 SKUs then you can display your whole catalog and cross-sell, take full advantage of sponsored brand ads and build out multiple, engaging landing pages on your storefront with products that build real value in someone’s life.
If you have those two above then you’ll still want to have a plan on how to use it as well as a designer that can make you one worth showing off. A store is basically a website, so don’t make one if you can’t afford to get it right. Otherwise it’s a waste of time and money.
How to Set Up an Amazon Store
We won’t go into the full design process here as you can find detailed information on Amazon’s store creation guide but here are the steps you will want to take. We’re assuming you already have a storefront strategy and a designer you are working with to make the right-sized images.
- Go to Advertising>Stores in your ad console, vendor central or seller central dashboard
- Amazon will show you a list of your brand-registered brands. Choose the brand you want to create a storefront for
- Select a template that you want to use (this should already be decided in your design phase)
- Build your home page
- Build out your storefront pages (if needed)
- Double-check that everything is linked properly and that your storefront is easy to navigate
- Preview the store to get a feel for it
- Submit your store for approval
- Wait 1-3 days for approval
How You Can Design an Amazon Storefront Better
If you’re going it alone for setting up a storefront here are some things you should consider:
- Determine your strategy
Are you focusing on driving online traffic, taking advantage of sponsored brands, launching a new product or looking to raise awareness of your whole catalog? Your strategy determines what you will do and how you will implement it.
- Look up great examples of other Amazon Storefronts that you can get inspiration from.
Look at your competitors and consider starting with that as a base model, then tweaking it to fit your brand.
- Make Navigation easy (use easy names and links)
- Take advantage of your top banner to resonate with your target customers’ values
- Consider video if you have it for the top or bottom of the page
- Think about images on your storefront the same way you think about Images for Your Amazon Listing
Start small. Just a homepage is enough to get started as long as you do a great job.
How to maintain one
Amazon states in their documentation that you should keep your storefront updated frequently. Create a process for reviewing the performance (more on that next) and planning out new designs based upon your brand’s strategic objectives in the coming months.
I recommend reviewing and refreshing it every month. There’s always at least a small improvement you can make to increase conversion or test an idea.
In addition to that it will be important to keep an eye on which products in your catalog are on the storefront. Amazon will not remove the listing from your Storefront the same way they do in search results when you are out of stock. That is your responsibility so make sure to take out anything that is not in stock lest you end up giving the customer a bad experience.
Make sure you’re doing at least these 4 things each month:
- Cleaning out SKUs that are not in stock
- Measuring the effectiveness of your current design
- Updating imagery for upcoming seasons & holidays
- Taking out expired promotions
How to Measure effectiveness
One of the coolest features of Amazon storefronts is the ability to see some of the numbers behind it.
You’ll find that store insights are very similar to a website’s ecommerce insights. It’s a basic overview of traffic and sales that you can view over time, break down by specific pages or by specific traffic sources.
You can tell if traffic (and thus sales) is coming from organic traffic on Amazon, via sponsored brand ads or from any of your custom source tags.
Custom source tags are particularly helpful as they allow you to measure your offline traffic. You can use specific tags for specific campaigns to measure their effectiveness both in driving traffic and in driving sales. You can use the link above to learn more about them.
Store insights is something you should be looking at regularly to see the effectiveness of your campaigns. Make sure you are working the available KPIs into your Amazon strategy’s strategic objectives.
Closing Summary/Key Takeaways
Here are some of the key takeaways:
- Amazon Storefronts are for building your brand
- Storefronts are the only place where you have ALL of a customer’s attention
- They’re a great tool for driving offline traffic and promoting sales
- Storefronts are an investment and should be treated like one
- Backend Analytics offer you insights to promotional campaigns and how your pages are doing