The Importance of Amazon Brand Registry

The Importance of Amazon Brand Registry

Photo: Lulu Dharma Amazon Brand Store

One of the many challenges brands face in selling on Amazon, whether a 1P vendor or 3P seller, is the complexity of Amazon Brand Registry. But avoiding Brand Registry or misusing the Brand Registry process could hinder your product sales. Brand Registry is required for the creation of an Amazon Brand Store – enabling a brand to showcase its product portfolio as well as drive Sponsored Brand Ad placements to a consolidated listing. As Brand Registry subject matter experts, we are here to help our clients navigate the process and submit requests on their behalf.  

What is Amazon Brand Registry?   

Brand Registry is a global platform where manufacturers can enter and monitor their brands sold in all Amazon markets. It identifies brand owners to Amazon and provides access to a dedicated Brand Registry support team at Amazon who helps protect intellectual property (IP) as well as resolve listing errors and technical problems. Brand Registry is a brand’s main protection from unauthorized parties selling your products. 

Why is Brand Registry Important?    

  • Brand Registry ensures trademarked brands are properly represented on Amazon. Brand Registry Support can fix inaccurate content, images, or item data incorrectly contributed by sellers onto ASINs sold by the manufacturer or registered agents.  
  • Incorrect data can lead to poor customer experience and item suppression  
  • Brand Registry provides access to ‘Report a Violation’ tool where IP infringement complaints can be filed and submission status can be monitored and escalated if needed. 
  • Text and/or image search can be performed to help identify and monitor branded items offered in all Amazon markets from every seller. 
  • Brand Registered selling accounts have access to Brand Analytics, Brand Dashboard, Vine, and enhanced content including  A+, videos, and Brand Stores. 
  • If requested, Brand Registry can enforce Amazon policies and issue the violating sellers with policy warnings. These can result in suspension or account closure of those unauthorized sellers. 

Is Brand Registry Effective? 

Yes, Brand Registry is an essential and effective aspect of producing an optimized Product Detail Page (PDP) with enhanced brand content. It also unlocks the best reporting via Brand Dashboard and Brand Analytics. Additionally, Brand Registry Support will effectively action ASINs listed in the brand owner/registered Agent’s selling account. Proactive and effective brand protection starts with this page on Amazon’s website

Can we utilize Brand Registry as an authorized seller, even if we’re not the manufacturer?  

Both Vendors and Sellers can register for Brand Registry. The manufacturer will register their trademarks and become the brand Owner/Administrator. They will then grant brand roles – Rights Owner or Registered Agent – to authorized sellers.  After brand roles are added, sellers will ‘see’ the brands in their Brand Registry account and can act on behalf of the brand. 

What are the Challenges with Brand Registry?  

There are known difficulties for brands and sellers in setting up Brand Registry. The specific processes involved, as well as connecting the Brand Registry account to Seller Central, can be particularly challenging.  

There are potential technical hiccups with Amazon, which can cause significant delays in setting up and applying Brand Registry to selling accounts. This is where an expert Amazon managed services agency like Ideoclick can offer value in helping brand manufacturers and sellers navigate the process. 

A specific complication arises for brands and manufacturers who sell in both Vendor Central and Seller Central as they can only link the Brand Registry to ONE of the accounts. 

Amazon Brand Registry Capabilities List 

  • Amazon Brand Registry support WILL NOT action content/image updates for ASINs not sold by the brand owner. For these, a brand owner can file IP violations, but the success rate is low. 
  • Amazon Brand Registry WILL NOT action against 3P sellers for any reason 
  • Amazon WILL ONLY action against 3P sellers when the seller lists under an incorrect brand name. If the seller’s ASIN is listed with the trademarked brand name, then Amazon will deny action against it. 
  • Amazon WILL NOT take action against an ASIN sold by the manufacturer, even if the only offer is 3P and the seller has added incorrect content 
  • Amazon WILL NOT police sellers for pricing at any time 
  • Amazon WILL remove 3P ASINs incorrectly added to variations and issue sellers policy warnings 
  • Amazon WILL issue policy warnings to sellers which can jeopardize ability the seller’s ability to sell 
  • Amazon WILL help with counterfeit products through its Project Zero offering 
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Making Brand Registry Successful – Tips to Use and Mistakes to Avoid 

#1 tip:  Regarding support cases for content/image updates, first file in the selling account (either VC or SC, depending on how it’s set up). Then if still unresolved, escalate to Brand Registry. 

#2 tip:  Know the Amazon policies before submitting cases. Provide Amazon with a link to the policy in question and provide evidence of policy abuse. When logged into Seller Central, you can access this link to the Amazon policies.  

#3 tip:  Do not request that Amazon ‘fix’ an unauthorized seller page with correct images or content. However, if you find a policy the seller violates, you can report them for it.  

#1 mistake:  Manufacturer creating a Brand Registry account with the wrong login. The Brand Registry account login must be the same as the Selling Account login in order to have the two accounts link and to unlock the brand features. 

#2 mistake:  Brand Owners granting rights to too many sellers – this renders Brand Registry useless, as contributions from all rights owners hold equal weight. Best Practice = One Brand Owner and One Registered Agent. 

#3 mistake:  Misuse of Report a Violation Tool. This is used for IP violation and only for items listed under an incorrect brand. If an ASIN is listed with the trademarked brand name, do not file IP complaints for images, content, or pricing. Amazon will deny these complaints and potentially restrict the BR account. Again, find a policy violation applicable to the seller and report them for it. 

#4 mistake: Filing too many support requests can result in removed access to the Brand Registry Support channels.  

If your brand needs help optimizing sales on Amazon or specifically with Amazon Brand Registry, we’re here to help.  

Valoree Pittsley is a Lead Merchandiser at Ideoclick, making our clients’ detail pages shine. She has been with the company for 2.5 years. Previously, Valoree worked for 10 years in Vendor Management and Merchandising at Amazon.

Donna Hart is a Merchandising Manager with Ideoclick for the last two years. Prior to that, she was a Home Depot site merchandiser for four years. Donna’s happy place is in her home workshop where she loves building with power tools.

Insights from Ideoclick’s Prime Day Client Webinar

Insights from Ideoclick’s Prime Day Client Webinar

2020 has been a year of firsts, and a lot of learning. Few, if any, knew the full extent of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact back in April or May. While many best practices of selling on Amazon have remained constant throughout, other areas have required significant adjustments. These adjustments are true as it relates to preparing for Prime Day and subsequent Amazon shopping events.

We recently held a panel discussion specific to Amazon Prime Day to discuss how our brand manufacturer clients can optimize the event’s non-traditional occurrence in mid-October as opposed to July. Ideoclick’s Andrea Leigh, Clarke Heyerdahl, Devon Minsk, and Juan Botero all weighed in on the challenges sellers are facing this year, as well as opportunities to best leverage Prime Day 2020, while considering opportunities for the additional upcoming Amazon holiday shopping events.

The Good News

A recent study by McKinsey showed that 75% of U.S. consumers have changed brands during the pandemic—a potential opportunity for upcoming brands to take a larger share within a space predominantly controlled by bigger brands.

An additional benefit this year is that ecommerce has accelerated so rapidly; some say a five-year growth in a matter of months. As a result, this year’s Prime Day is expected to see an increase in both first-time Amazon customers and new-to-brand shoppers.

Prime Day’s proximity to the Black Friday-to-Cyber Monday span of days, or “Turkey 5” (T5), presents favorable circumstances but also a few detriments. It’s important for brands to value the exposure they’re getting on Prime Day and continue targeting consumers, and building brand awareness, all the way through to T5 and beyond. “It’s a really good time to capitalize on the traffic that’s visiting the site and use it not only to promote your items but also to take advantage of that halo effect,” notes Botero.

However, being so close to T5 also requires a creative and thoughtful approach to deals and promotions. Ideally, the discounts given during T5 compared to Prime Day should be noticeable. Another consideration is inventory: Botero advises paying close attention to warehouse inventory (Amazon inventory + off-site company inventory) as well as inbound inventory from manufacturers.

6 Key Areas of Prime Day Focus

Strategies the Ideoclick team set forth surrounded the overarching process of “plan, execute, and analyze,” with the extra factor of adjusting for T5. Specifically, Amazon sellers need to look at:

1) Product Selection. Focus on high-velocity items. Make sure products have a healthy status (financial/retail ready) and that they are relevant to the promotion’s timing. You may also want to consider newer items that missed out on traction with a March or April launch as well as “giftable” products that might be more desirable this close to the holidays.

2) Competitive Analysis. How competitive is the landscape? How often is the competition running promos/deals? Track competitors’ ASINs and their performance during promos. (If you don’t have software to accomplish this, reach out to us.)

3) Budgeting. Set a budget and then review after promotions end. Ensure you allocate enough budget for both Prime Day and T5, and don’t neglect allocating for increased keyword bids. Remember, Prime Day is only 48 hours… Plan your spend on the scale of “I want to play” to “I want to win.”

4) Inventory. Check inventory position 3-4 weeks prior (which now applies to T5 and holiday). Work with VM/ISM to increase inventory position on key items. If you’re positioned to drop ship should Amazon warehouse inventory run low, make sure your warehouse is prepared.

5) Layer AMS & DSP. Increase traffic, awareness, and consideration with ads on and off Amazon, re-targeting consumers that have seen but not purchased your products and/or competitors’ products.

6) Off-channel Support. Amplify the audience using your own managed media, such as emails, social media, influencers, text, etc.

New Promotional Tools Available (for FREE)

Amazon is also testing a few new promotional support tools like Amazon Posts and Amazon Live. While Amazon Live is currently only available in iOS, it likely won’t be long before the service extends to other operating systems.

These programs are currently offered at no cost—a great opportunity for brands to start experimenting with them risk-free. Both platforms allow for more of an “emotional” feel versus the traditionally transactional experience shoppers encounter when browsing. Brands can even duplicate content they’re already posting in other social media channels (like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest).

Ready, Set, Go

Prime Day is less than two weeks away, but there’s still much companies can do to optimize their efforts. The growing pains of the last six months have been, at times, a necessary wake-up call to certain shortcomings. We can all take what we’ve learned to further improve (and monetize) next year’s Prime Day, and the years after that.

At the conclusion of the presentation, the panel opened up the virtual floor for additional questions about strategy. We’ve recapped an “in short” version of the answers, but for more extensive explanations, you can view the panel presentation HERE, with the Q&A portion beginning at minute 31.

Q&A topics included:

  • Q: When should I launch my DSP campaign and how much budget should I put against it?
  • A: Companies that are new to DSP or that are already running campaigns should start this ASAP. Budget really depends on goals and potential audience size.
  • Q: I’ve missed a deadline for a promotion, what can I still do to drive traffic?
  • A: Discounts should still be available. Even if they’re not as visible, you’re leveraging the volume of traffic generated from Prime Day. Ramp up social media exposure. Another tactic for brands that sell via other retailers is to offer discounts in those stores and Amazon will match the price.
  • Q: What would be an appropriate split across paid search versus DSP?
  • A: Monitor the performance of each. If you’re running highly efficient campaigns that don’t run the whole day and they’re not out of budget, ramp up AMS before pivoting dollars to DSP. But, if you’re seeing diminishing returns on AMS, start leaning into DSP where you can do more advanced targeting and also capitalize with remarketing.
  • Q: What kind of CPC increases should clients or advertisers expect to see on Amazon on Prime Day?
  • A: This depends on category (e.g. electronics vs. grocery), as well as what the competition is doing. If companies are tightening budgets and not using Prime Day as a driver, that may lower CPCs; a is a great time to capture market share. It really rests on how aggressive companies decide to be.
  • Q: Should I (and how much) increase my AMS bids before Prime Day starts?
  • A: If you’re looking to build out relevance, capture market share, you’ll want to increase your bids more (e.g. 4x). Alternatively, if you’re just looking to defend your space, you won’t need as much of an increase (maybe double). In this case, competitors aren’t going to be increasing their budgets and bids against your branded terms as they would against category terms.
  • Q: How should I prioritize Prime Day versus [T5]?
  • A: The million dollar question! Brands that are able to test the waters on Prime Day and double down on T5 create an opportunity to see what the T5 volume can be. Of course, it also depends on inventory position.
  • Q: What do I do if I can’t get my inventory to Amazon in time?
  • A: Receiving channels are jammed and all inbound shipments are heavily delayed; it’s just the sign of the times. Consider backup offers as dropship, direct fulfillment—if you are able.

“If there’s anything COVID has taught us, it’s that we need contingency plans for getting our products to customers. Diversification in manufacturer fulfillment models is vital.”

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Advanced Strategies for a Successful 2020 Amazon Prime Day

Advanced Strategies for a Successful 2020 Amazon Prime Day

Why should brands participate in Amazon Prime Day?

Since its inception in 2015, Amazon Prime Day has grown to become one of the biggest eCommerce shopping days of the year; in 2019 nearly 20% of Americans shopping Amazon Prime Day planned to spend over $300. Not only has there been an increase in Amazon shoppers, but also the potential to increase new-to-brand customers by as much as 57%. This creates an opportunity to drive brand awareness and adoption during the annual shopping event, which will be held this year on October 13th and 14th.

Furthermore, while Prime Day deals may create a spike in sales during their promotional period, that spike can extend beyond the deal timeframe through a “halo effect” with some vendors experiencing sales growth the month after running a deal for both the featured product and the rest of their brand catalog.

What’s different about Prime Day This Year?

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven shoppers from traditional brick and mortar buying experiences to eCommerce. As a result, Prime Day 2020 will likely see more first time Amazon customers than in previous years. It’s important that brands make it easy for these new customers to find their products through optimized Detail Pages that drive search relevance on high volume keywords. Conversion to sales can be achieved through concise and informative titles, imagery, bullet points, A+ content, and descriptions.

The transition of customers to eCommerce has brought a willingness to try new brands out of necessity and the sudden availability of alternate options. This has led to 61 % of US consumers having changed brands during the COVID-19 pandemic. With many brands moving to Amazon to replace brick and mortar losses, competition for share of the digital shelf has become fiercer than ever. It’s important for all brands to implement a robust Amazon marketing strategy that focuses on both protecting their own brand keywords and gaining market share through targeting competitive brand keywords.

Throughout Q2 many brands found their products were deemed non-essential by Amazon. This transitioned 2-day Prime delivery promises to up to 30 days. As a result, inventory turnover slowed leading to low capacity in Amazon Fulfillment Centers as we approach Prime Day. In response, Amazon has introduced Q4 inventory restrictions based upon inventory performance. This will limit many brands from sending new inventory to Amazon in preparation of Prime Day deals. Brands facing this challenge should turn to their items currently in Amazon Fulfillment Centers with high volumes of inventory as top candidates for Prime Day Deals. Alternatively, if the infrastructure is in place for Direct Fulfillment brands should consider dual listing in which Amazon will pay shipping costs to fulfill orders directly from the vendor’s warehouse or 3PL.

Prime Day’s proximity to Black Friday and Cyber Monday creates several key considerations for brands. Some may decide not to participate in Prime Day in order to focus more budget and bandwidth on holiday shopping campaigns and promotions. This creates an opportunity for competition to run compelling Prime Day deals and gain market share. However, it is unknown if brands will be allowed to run the same deals for Prime Day and Black Friday or Cyber Monday. It’s important for brands to proactively create backup plans for the holiday shopping season in case they are not able to repeat the same deal or ship inventory to Amazon in time.

Retail has faced many challenges throughout 2020 that make a strong eCommerce presence more important than ever. However, a strong Q4 strategy and flawless execution present the opportunity to recover from Q1-Q3 declines in sales. Consumer conversion will be driven by brands’ focus on value, availability, and convenience.

Tune in here to watch a panel of Ideoclick experts discuss key strategies to win Prime Day and prepare for the fast approaching holiday season.

Jamaal Hackett-Cook is a Sr. eCommerce Strategist at Ideoclick, where he drives the creation of innovative strategies for brands to own more of the digital shelf. A 5 year former employee of Amazon, he worked on the launch of Amazon Home Services, innovations to the Vendor Contact Support Process, and has partnered with dozens of brands to improve their marketing and supply chain strategies.

Amazon Advertising Strategy for Prime Day and Beyond – Targeted Advertising through Amazon DSP

Amazon Advertising Strategy for Prime Day and Beyond – Targeted Advertising through Amazon DSP

With a unique Prime Day landing in early October this year and only a short break before Black Friday and Cyber Monday, preparing for Q4 advertising on Amazon has never been more important. A comprehensive and powerful strategy should now include an Amazon DSP (Demand Side Platform) advertising campaign. 

Sponsored Products and Sponsored Brands, ad types within Amazon Advertising’s Sponsored Ads Console, have traditionally been advertisers’ starting place for Prime Day preparation – and with good reason. These PPC ads are primarily triggered by keyword targeting and appear alongside organic search results on Amazon. By targeting a surge of highly relevant Prime Day shoppers, while they are actively browsing for products in Amazon’s digital shopping aisles, Sponsored Ads are highly effective at driving towards immediate performance advertising goals.  

Sponsored Ads should be the foundation of most Prime Day and Holiday advertising strategies; these ads target the lowest hanging fruit on Amazon and play an important role in defending your brand’s share of search.  

However, Sponsored Ads have a few limitations:  

  • Due to creative constraints, Sponsored Ads have a limited capacity to drive towards upper funnel consideration and awareness goals.  
  • Regardless of your campaign goals, scale can also be a limitation as this ad type is only served on Amazon itself ( and Amazon Mobile App) and shoppers must be searching for the term you are bidding on. 
  • Even when targeting the highest trafficked keywords, advertisers trying to scale their Sponsored Ads campaigns can eventually face diminishing marginal returns as ever-increasing competition drives up CPCs. 

Despite the limitations, successful vendors and sellers alike understand the power of Sponsored Ads. But once your Sponsored Ads are in place, how can you take the next step in your Amazon Advertising strategy for Prime Day and beyond?  

Amazon DSP is the next step in developing a comprehensive, full-funnel advertising strategy on Amazon. Adding display advertising on top of Amazon Sponsored Ads broadens an advertiser’s ability to drive towards goals throughout the shopping journey, from brand awareness to consideration and purchase.  

How Amazon DSP Works 

Amazon DSP ads use Amazon’s first party shopping data to programmatically reach highly relevant shoppers on thousands of websites via Amazon’s owned and operated properties (, Amazon Mobile App, IMDb, etc.), Amazon Publisher Services, and major digital ad exchanges. Depending on your specific campaign goal, you can retarget shoppers that have visited the Amazon detail pages of your products and your competitor’s products, target larger audience that have shown habitual shopping behavior over time, or target a variety of other unique-to-Amazon audiences based on contextual targeting. 

Implementing an Amazon DSP Campaign 

Once you have determined your campaign goal and identified the product that you want to promote with Amazon DSP, it’s important to consider the necessary steps leading up to your campaign launch – especially for a campaign focused around Prime Day.  

Unlike Sponsored Ads, Amazon DSP does not have a self-service console available to your typical vendor or seller. Campaigns are either run internally by Amazon Advertising or by a complete managed services  agency like Ideoclick, so it’s essential to ensure that you have plenty of lead time prior to Prime Day for a successful DSP launch.  

For anyone who is new to DSP, it’s important to understand the additional steps that need to take place prior to getting your campaign off the ground. First, DSP campaigns use a CPM pricing model and require advertisers to have an insertion order in place ahead of launching a campaign. Once an insertion order is signed, there are additional approvals required for creative assets and custom targeting segments. We recommend having a couple of weeks to get all of your ducks in a row prior to your projected campaign launch date.  

Proper Timing for an Amazon DSP Campaign 

When building a DSP campaign around a major tentpole event like Prime Day, we recommend launching the campaign well ahead of the event itself. Amazon DSP’s myriad optimization levers are part of what makes it such a powerful tool for advertisers. Through both machine learning and manual optimizations, everything from the targeting segments, to creative formats, bids, and frequency caps can be adjusted toward better performance through the campaign flight. However, meaningful optimizations require a sufficient amount of data and time. Giving your campaign a few weeks to work out the kinks will ensure that everything is precisely dialed in for the rush of shoppers on Prime Day itself. 

Whether you are launching your first DSP campaign to coincide with Prime Day, or ramping up an existing DSP budget for the event, the increased traffic to Amazon during 2020’s unique Q4 shopping season opens the door to even more opportunities involving Amazon DSP: One of the most effective DSP strategies is in retargeting shoppers that have landed on your product’s detail page. These custom targeting segments can deliver impressive sales and RoAS (return on ad spend) results but rely on shoppers finding their way to your detail page ahead of time, which can limit scale.  

Prime Day, Cyber Monday, and the rest of the Q4 holiday season are great opportunities to leverage increased traffic and larger audiences with DSP retargeting to provide an “always-on” display strategy that can be maintained into 2021 and beyond. 

Preparation is Key 

The busiest season on Amazon is upon us and the competition will be greater than ever. In preparation for Prime Day, make sure that you are retail ready, have your Sponsored Ads ramped up for increased traffic and bids, and set yourself up for a deeper level of success by implementing a comprehensive display advertising strategy starting with Amazon DSP. 

Learn more about how Ideoclick helps clients implement effective Amazon DSP campaigns

About the Author: Grant Arnold is an ex-Amazonian, digital marketer, and e-Commerce expert helping Ideoclick’s clients develop and implement search and display advertising strategies.

Updated Amazon Predictions – 2020 and Beyond with Pandemic Considerations

Updated Amazon Predictions – 2020 and Beyond with Pandemic Considerations

Ideoclick’s VP of Strategy, Andrea Leigh, has recorded her updated Amazon predictions for the near future, with the current and future effects of Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic in mind. Many of the ecommerce expert’s earlier set of predictions have proven to be true, which you can read in this post reviewing the previous Amazon predictions compared to actual Amazon market happenings. Within the updated Amazon predictions video, topics including Amazon healthcare, Amazon fashion, and Amazon supply chain are discussed.

We help our clients navigate the complexities of selling on Amazon to boost brand velocity:

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Three Surprises From COVID-impacted Amazon Earnings Release for Q2 2020

Three Surprises From COVID-impacted Amazon Earnings Release for Q2 2020

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for – Amazon earnings for COVID impacted Q2 2020.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many of us are shopping on Amazon more than ever. My Amazon Echo pings all day with deliveries for my family of five. My kids open the front door several times per day just to see if any cereal or batteries or Legos have arrived. I’ve seen more Amazon delivery trucks on the streets than ever before, and you have to sell your firstborn child in Seattle to get an Amazon Fresh delivery appointment.

In Q1, we know Amazon saw such a demand spike that they had to focus entirely on essential goods and restrict everything else. But how much volume? And at what cost? Read on for three things that surprised me about Amazon’s Q2 2020 earnings release.

Link to the earnings call transcript (registration required) and link to Amazon’s press release about it.

1. Amazon’s inventory strategy is scarily lean

Amazon earnings release reveal that revenue came in at $88.9B, +40% Y/Y (vs +26% the previous quarter), and +18% Q/Q. Categories like fashion and electronics likely saw softer sales, dampening the overall growth rate. However, some categories saw huge spikes. Throughout the end of Q1 and much of Q2, Amazon struggled operationally.

According to Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s CFO, “Online grocery sales tripled year-over-year.”

What’s incredible is that an additional 14 points of sales growth (vs. previous quarter’s run rate) created that much disruption at Amazon. They continued to miss and delay Prime shipping promises and restrict inbound and outbound shipments.

This doesn’t seem like so much extra growth. Could your organization manage an extra 14 points of growth without too much disruption?

The level of disruption made me realize how thin they keep their inventory (typically 2-3 weeks of cover, and often less for tail assortment.) When coronavirus hit, their lean strategy backfired. Not that anyone planed for a global pandemic. However, it shines a spotlight on how lean they run.


Amazon’s lean inventory strategy, and how sensitive their network is to fluctuations in demand underscores the importance of having a hybrid selling strategy, or multiple ways to sell goods on Amazon. At the onset of the pandemic, many of our clients rushed to get a 3P account set up, dropship capabilities, etc. Better to be prepared for future demand fluctuations and have your hybrid strategy ready-to-go.

Also, Amazon’s going to run out of space (for real) in Q4. This comment from Brian O. was shocking:

“Now as we move into Q3, we’re starting to – we need to build the inventory more for Q4, and we’ve run out of space. So we’ve got our hands full on that challenge, but we’ve got a really good team that’s been working very hard probably since late February on this issue.”

Well I’m glad you have a team working on it, Amazon. Manufacturers: better get your goods in now!

2. Where did all of that profit come from? If we believe Amazon’s position, their normal corporate marketing ad spend must be *huge* during non-COVID times.

Amazon earnings release show that net income came in at $5.2B, up 107% Y/Y. Earnings per Share increased 94% Y/Y to $10.30. Even looking at Net Income as a % of Sales, they improved 76% Y/Y to 5.9%. They made more overall profit (which makes sense, because they had more sales), but also a higher profit margin. Yet, they spent over $4B on COVID-related expenses, such as protective equipment, cleaning, safety protocols, additional family care benefits, and a $500M employee thank you bonus, among other things.

I was convinced all the low-profit grocery sales and increased cost of doing business would severely negatively impact profit. Heck, the analysts expected Earnings per Share to be $1.46. However, Amazon earnings show they managed to deliver 7x those expectations! How did they do this?

Apparently, I’m not the only one with this question. Analyst Mark Mahaney of RBC asked,

“…these profit levels are super high now. Is Jeff aware of how profitable the company is becoming? Is he happy about it?”

Sigh. Finance humor.

Osalvsky says it came from a 1/3 reduction in Marketing expenditures. Amazon must have previously spent a LOT on marketing for this to drive EPS up 7x analyst projections.


I guess the great vendor profit claw-back I predicted is not coming after all. Manufacturers, you are safe…for now. You may want to bring up Amazon’s stellar profit performance in your next vendor negotiation. Do they really need that extra 50 bps of co-op improvement?

3. Amazon continues to invest, while other retailers scramble to keep pace

Amazon is continuing to build fulfillment centers. They’re listening to and learning from us using our Alexa. They’re moving forward with international expansion. Their competitive advantage is that it’s always Day One. According to Jeff Bezos in the Amazon earnings press release,

“Lastly, even in this unpredictable time, we injected significant money into the economy this quarter, investing over $9 billion in capital projects, including fulfillment, transportation, and AWS.” 

No one asked Amazon anything about their foray into healthcare, and Amazon didn’t mention it. Amazon has quietly been acquiring all kinds of voice-enabled health technology companies (check out their Alexa Fund). They’ve launched a healthcare system for their employees. They’re doing their own COVID testing. They have like a million Healthcare experiments running, and likely COVID-19 is accelerating the customer need and general interest in all of these. Do you wonder why they’re keeping that under the radar for now?


Amazon will win by continuing to invest while others cannot. This is also how you, brand manufacturers and sellers, will win. Keep focused on your long-term initiatives. Stay strategic. Keep your head up. Finding ways to thrive, versus just survive, will put you ahead of your competitors as we adjust to the New Normal.

Also, the current coronavirus pandemic is crowding out any news about Amazon’s expansion activities. Keep reading, stay curious, and continue to dig. You definitely don’t want Amazon to surprise you!

Andrea K. Leigh Ideoclick

About the author: Andrea K. Leigh is both an e-Commerce strategy enthusiast and expert. She works with suppliers on e-Commerce strategy and execution, and writes, speaks, and teaches on commerce-related topics. She is the VP of Strategy and Insights for Ideoclick, an e-Commerce managed services agency that empowers manufacturers to take charge: e-Commerce without compromise. A 10-year former senior exec at Amazon, she worked on the launch and management of automated pricing, the Prime program, Amazon Fresh, and even Harry Potter book launches.