Ideoclick Helps Amazon Vendors Increase Profitability with New Operational Compliance Dashboard

Ideoclick Helps Amazon Vendors Increase Profitability with New Operational Compliance Dashboard

Ideoclick Operational Compliance Dashboard helps reduce Amazon non-compliance deductions to sustain profitability

SEATTLE, June 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Ideoclick, the leading e-Commerce Optimization company, today introduces its data-driven Operational Compliance Dashboard to quickly uncover non-compliance issues for vendors selling on Amazon. The Operational Compliance Dashboard helps Amazon vendors identify non-compliance issues and reduce the related deductions to an acceptable threshold, which is typically less than one percent of COGS (Cost of Goods Sold).

Ideoclick previously launched its operational compliance service to enable brands to sell more profitably on Amazon, in recognition of the continual margin pressure brands experience. The service identifies potential recoverable chargebacks and shortages, manages the recovery process and identifies areas for improved operational compliance.

The new Operational Compliance Dashboard provides clients with a graphical summary of the data most relevant to their operational compliance health on Amazon. The dashboard quickly reveals the top three chargeback types, the necessary information for seeking recovery and repairing root cause, and status summaries of submitted and resolved disputes. Additionally, the dashboard features data drilldown for specific inquiries.

“The Operational Compliance Dashboard provides visibility to a powerful cross-section of complex Amazon vendor guidelines and specific Vendor Central data,” explained Shawn Oleson, Ideoclick’s senior operational compliance manager. “It provides us with the ability to advocate for our clients and provide insight into improving operational efficiencies which ultimately can reduce their cost to sell on Amazon.”

Justin Leigh, Ideoclick’s CEO explained, “The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the e-Commerce landscape forever with significant lifts but even tighter operating margins. Our operational compliance service and the new dashboard delivers actionable insights that can create net margin increases and enable brands to realize the full potential of the Amazon shopper audience.”

About Ideoclick
Founded in 2009 by former Amazon executives and harnessing over 200 years of Amazon experience, Ideoclick provides the industry’s leading e-Commerce Optimization Platform, delivering a unique combination of cloud-based software, subject matter expertise and insight to businesses that sell on Amazon. Ideoclick helps hundreds of leading brands achieve transformative results. For more information, please visit www.ideoclick.com.

*The above view of Ideoclick’s Operational Compliance Dashboard displays the type of Amazon Vendor Central chargebacks and the top affiliated purchase orders, fulfillment centers, and ASINs.

Copyright © 2020 Ideoclick. All rights reserved.

New Product Launch on Amazon: How to Determine the Duration of Ad Spend Boost

New Product Launch on Amazon: How to Determine the Duration of Ad Spend Boost

When launching a new product on Amazon, how long must you boost ad spend before organic search begins to take hold? Unfortunately, there is no direct recipe or formula to calculate the necessary length of time for aggressive new product launch ad spend. However, we have some consideration guidelines that can help you determine when you might begin letting your foot off the gas. 

It is important to note that for these suggestions to apply, we are first assuming that you are launching an item with all the winning attributes: it has proper R&D behind it, is produced well, offered at a compelling market price, is an e-commerce aligned product, is desired or needed in the market, and is supported with Amazon-optimized content and images. 

A necessary premise exists here as well, and that is: you understand to launch a product on Amazon, you should budget and plan for a healthy ad spend. This is the stage in which you are building awareness and traffic on Amazon and should plan for sub-optimal ROAS. 

The first element to consider is your existing brand equity. When launching a product with existing strong awareness in your brand and category – for example, you’re launching a product update or variation – then it’s safe to figure that organic search of your new product will take hold faster than an item in a new category or lesser-known brand.  

It’s All About the Amazon Relevancy Score 

When planning for your new product launch ad campaign, the intensity of the program will affect the amount of increased spend-time required. Are you willing to direct traffic to Amazon from other channels? To run a 25% off coupon? To shift ad dollars from other platforms? The more you front-load your campaign with these efforts, intensify the ad-spend and ultimately build the new product’s Amazon Relevancy Score, the quicker your success will be. However, even new products with the best brand equity, strong social presence and robust plans for directing traffic to Amazon will still require a minimum of two months before desired organic results are achieved. 

Next, consider the competitive dynamics. The initial spend to dominate search rankings in a highly specific or niche category will look very different than the spend required in a highly competitive and saturated category. We recommend ample competitive research and set your expectations on timing accordingly.  

Determining Performance Metrics 

When assessing the results of your new product launch campaign, isolate performance metrics from other variables. Understanding the difference between category share and share of search results on Amazon is critical. On Amazon, there are unique ways consumers find your products – unlike typical store categories – so setting realistic expectations to see share of search improvement over category dominance could very likely translate to a winning scenario for your new product. Simply put, your product must be discoverable on Amazon to get sales, so you should not take pressure off your campaign until your product is landing on page one of relevant search results. The ideal goal is to appear in the top 10 search results; top three is better yet.  

Additionally, new product launch ad campaigns require careful monitoring and maintenance. It is not a “one and done” endeavor. Competitors will change their strategies, which will affect your item’s search results. Consumer online shopping behaviors are also changing more quickly and drastically now, with brand loyalty being increasingly up for grabs. Success in new product launch advertising on Amazon depends on strategy in planning, measuring, and adjusting. If all adjustments are made and desired success is still not achieved, you may need to perform a gap analysis to address potential problematic attributes of the product. 

We have multiple proven tips and best practices for new product launch advertising on Amazon, including up-front gap analysis, competitive review, HERO product or brand leverage, and off-channel presence. Contact us to learn more about how our e-Commerce optimization platform works to craft an effective Amazon new product launch plan. 

Operating in the Crosshairs of COVID: Why Retailers Must Reinvent & Reimagine the Customer Experience

Operating in the Crosshairs of COVID: Why Retailers Must Reinvent & Reimagine the Customer Experience

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact the way retail businesses operate, one component in the crosshairs is the customer experience (CX). In our recent virtual leadership summit, “De-Invest to Re-Invest,” Kevin Coupe of Morning News Beat brainstormed this topic with Beth Stiller, CEO of Massage Envy, Gwen Morrison, former CEO of WPP’s Retail Practice—The Store, and Meri Guylan, Executive Experience Strategy Director for Left Field Labs about the future of retail’s CX

From in-store shopping capabilities to the safety concerns of a service industry like Massage Envy, all three provided insightful views into what patrons can expect in the coming months—and potentially years.  

Pivoting Processes, Not Core Values 

One powerful statement made by Stiller was that Massage Envy won’t be reinventing their core service—nor their core values. What will inevitably change is how patrons experience that service.  

Even prior to the pandemic, the company was exploring options like contactless check-ins, virtual intake forms, and the way users paid for their massage services. “There’s nothing like an unprecedented experience such as this to ‘supercharge’ your plans and force you to move quicker—when you already thought you were moving quickly,” she shared. 

Going forward, the company will continue to mitigate challenges of reopening their 1,150 locations, keeping safety the main priority—for both the customers and the therapists and estheticians. As of the summit, approximately half of the locations had opened for business, but all were ready for the green light. 

How Safety Factors into the 3 Pillars of CX 

Left Field Lab’s Guylan weighed in on the issue of safety as well, having worked with several brands that maintain brick and mortar locations. In the context of safety, which she avers is the number-one priority of most retailers, customers will maintain a focus—and ultimately rate their experience—on the three pillars of convenience, value, and communication.  

However, there is an element of “forgiveness,” or patience, that most shoppers are willing to grant as everyone tries to navigate the new normal. “There are some things that changed for the negative, and some areas where there’s an opportunity for us to try new things. Because everybody knows we don’t have the answer. No one has the answer,” stated Guylan. “There’s a forgiveness they’re allowing, and so brands are able to play in a space that they weren’t able to [previously]. Everyone is experimenting and open to new ideas.” 

An Opportunity for Retailers to Spread Their Wings 

An element of experimentation is looking at customer experience from an in-store shopping POV. Will physical associates be needed, or might virtual associates suffice? With advancements in the retailer technology space, there’s ample leeway to play in the sandbox.  

In Morrison’s words, it’s a time for companies to “spread their wings.” Some capabilities won’t work going forward and they’ll have to be left behind. Others will need to be reimagined. The rapidity of innovation, essentially three years’ worth in a span of three months, presents a promising opportunity for retailers.  

Unfortunately, there’s one key CX component that will require ingenuity and creativity: recreating that sensory-stimulating, idea-generating feeling shoppers get when browsing in-store. This typically doesn’t apply to everyday purchases that have long been given over to the online experience (toiletries, groceries, household goods, etc.). But, it is an area that deserves a novel approach given the current circumstances.  

Despite Everything, It All Comes Down to Community Engagement  

When the pandemic started to really take hold, all across the globe, Morrison observed an interesting trend. Businesses started to evaluate and shift their capabilities—not only taking into account the experience of their customers, but more importantly their communities. For example, McDonald’s locations in Australia recognized the opportunity to distribute key essentials such as bread, milk, and flour via the drive-thru.  

“Retail is always at the heart of a community. They’ve touched people. They can see what’s going on in their neighborhoods. That’s just one example of being really ‘nimble’ in shifting and identifying what you have and what you can do differently,” she noted.  

So, Where Can Retail De-Invest (At Least for Now)? 

Given the theme of the summit, each panel member had an idea of what retail, in general, can do to de-invest. Morrison’s idea is one most everyone can get behind in current times: axing the Sunday print circular. “We’ve seen promotional cadence change so much during this pandemic. FMCG brands are hesitant to be promoting certain price points as they usually do because of the risk of being out of stock. Everything is being reconsidered in this particular area.” 

Guylan expressed her opinion of how in-store browsing will shift, with retailers featuring fewer items on shelves, perhaps fewer (or virtual) associates. “The entire browse experience is going to change.” 

Stiller’s input revolved around processes and how the big, complicated pilot of a new idea will need to be simplified—something all four parties wholeheartedly agreed upon. “We’ve learned to be nimble over the last few weeks, and we need to carry that forward.” 

You can view the full panel discussion here.  

Avoiding Out of Stocks with an Efficient Carrier Pick Up Program

Avoiding Out of Stocks with an Efficient Carrier Pick Up Program

With many of Amazon’s categories now completely suppressing out-of-stock items, being in stock is more important than ever. If your items are not in stock on Amazon, they are simply not on the digital shelf and you’ll lose ground to competition. However, getting products picked up from your warehouses and delivered to Amazon in a timely manner is harder than it sounds – especially in a Collect model where Amazon controls the freight carriers. Here are some tips and tricks to ensure your products get picked up on-time and efficiently so you can focus on selling, from one of our resident operations experts, Brian Butts.

Proper Escalation

Please see the linked carrier escalation paths document for detail on how to troubleshoot a pickup or delivery issue with Amazon’s transportation team. We have provided solutions for both Vendors and Sellers to troubleshoot carrier related issues and seek a timely resolution that appeases all parties.

Risk Mitigation

Per Amazon, Collect/WePay Vendors must consolidate all Purchase Orders (POs) that share the same ship/delivery window, origin, and destination into a single routing request while adhering to the parameters provided by Amazon. By consolidating POs, you are effectively increasing the volume of your shipments and hopefully forcing a Less-than-truckload (LTL) or Truckload (TL) tender from Amazon. At the same time, you are also limiting the number of shipments that could potentially result in a pickup or delivery issue. Vendors who consistently submit consolidated and accurate routing requests will be in a strong position to maintain or even lower overall freight costs, which will help with Amazon funding asks during annual vendor negotiations (AVN).

For all Vendors and/or Sellers that have justifiable volume, we recommend following these steps from the North American Vendor Transportation Manual to work with a carrier for arranging a Drop Trailer to alleviate dock congestion.

  • You must initiate communication with the carrier to see if drop capacity can be offered.
    • The carrier will do an analysis of all business lines shipping out of your location to determine if enough consistent volume exists to support drop trailer capacity.
    • You may be required to sign the carriers Shipper Load and Count (SLC) agreement.
    • You may be required to follow the carrier’s PRO sticker guidelines in order to establish drop trailers.
    • Once drop trailer is initiated, you must load Amazon orders first.
    • You are responsible for notifying the carrier that the drop trailer is ready for pick up. The local terminal must be contacted by 10AM local time to schedule a driver for same day pick up. If the carrier is contacted later in the day, driver capacity is limited, and the load may roll to next day.
    • When scheduling a pickup for a drop trailer, the mandatory requirements are to provide trailer number, ARNs/FBA IDs, and pallet count or cube. If there are only a few pallets loaded, the carrier may wait until the vendor/seller has additional freight to load prior to pick up.
    • Upon pick up, have BOLs ready to hand to driver

Ideoclick seeks to provide clients with operational assistance as part of its complete Amazon managed services. Contact us to learn more.

The case of the missing toilet paper: How the coronavirus exposed U.S. supply chain flaws

The case of the missing toilet paper: How the coronavirus exposed U.S. supply chain flaws

This recent article in Fortune Magazine by Jen Wieczner is a deep-dive into the how the TP manufacturing and supply-chain model, combined with the panic buying around COVID-19, created the weeks-long empty shelf situation within digital and brick and mortar retailers alike. Featuring data and insights from industry experts including Ideoclick’s Andrea Leigh, it’s an interesting read that may just inspire you to make some preparatory changes to your own organization.