Several agencies will tell you partnering with them is the best way to grow your ecommerce brand on Amazon. With a growing number of Amazon agencies competing for your business, finding the best fit can be difficult. Each will position itself differently, blurring the line between what you need from an Amazon partner and what’s nice to have.
Onboarding with an agency and navigating Amazon’s ever-changing environment together takes time, which is why choosing the right partner is critical.
Having confidence in your decision means knowing the qualities of a strong Amazon partner. Below are 3 of the top things to consider when choosing yours.
1 – An agency’s level of expertise
An agency’s level of Amazon expertise is first and foremost.
You’re the expert on your brand. Your Amazon partner should be the expert at selling your products on the marketplace. A key distinction to look for is whether a potential partner is an Amazon-focused agency or a digital marketing agency for ecommerce brands. Their differences are significant. Notable advantages of entering a partnership with an Amazon-focused agency are:
- More familiarity with Amazon’s ins-and-outs, such as policy changes, restricted categories, new or exclusive Beta programs, stock limits, Amazon Launchpad, etc.
- A relationship with Amazon reps across product and marketing, plus (ideally) relationships with the case management team.
- Customer reviews receive the attention they need.
- Customized marketing strategies are built specifically for Amazon.
- A team’s in place to fight and win cases versus Amazon.
- Maximum return on Amazon paid media marketing.
- More accurate inventory forecasts and management.
It’s unrealistic to start living and breathing Amazon while simultaneously running your brand. An Amazon-focused agency’s expertise allows them to grow your brand on Amazon while you continue to focus on its inner workings. That allows both sides to improve what matters most: your bottom line.
2 – An agency’s business model
Every Amazon-focused agency starts somewhere. Greener agencies still finding their footing, like ones dependent on individual contracts and clients to stay afloat, can be in the running for your business. These, however, require a closer look.
An Amazon partner reliant on external investment to support day-to-day operations is a cause for concern. This indicates the agency may not be financially stable and could cut staff anytime.
Investment doesn’t rule out an agency, as long as they use it correctly. A potential Amazon partner investing in building out software, capabilities, etc., is a promising sign. It demonstrates they’re exploring ways to evolve instead of using the investment to function.
Asking an agency to describe their business model and how they ensure profitability is acceptable. After all, transparent communication is a must if they’re going to help grow your brand on Amazon.
3 – Relationships
Here is where you want to remind yourself the agency you choose will become your Amazon partner. Ideally you’ll want to work with them for years to come. So, how can you determine if an agency is worthy of your partnership? By keeping the following in mind before making a decision.
The best partners learn your business
An agency can only create a strategic plan of action if they understand your brand’s goals, needs, and challenges. A qualified Amazon partner will ask questions about your business instead of telling you what you want to hear before ensuring both sides align.
Part of an agency learning about your business is them asking about your financials. Since you’ll be partners, they should treat your money as their money. Treating your money as if it were theirs makes them most vested in growing your brand on Amazon.
Good communication skills
Similar to any other relationship, good communication with your Amazon partner is vital. A qualified agency will provide you with clarity on how they’ll communicate results, updates, etc.
Another indicator of a potential Amazon partner’s communication skills is if they’ll introduce you to the entire team. Various departments’ involvement is necessary to grow your brand’s Amazon presence. Meeting each expert and learning who’s responsible for what helps establish good communication between you and their team.
Not feeling confident about an agency’s communication is likely a sign it’s best to continue your search.
Be wary of promises
Being promised a considerable increase in sales right off the bat is a reason to be skeptical. Without conducting an in-depth discovery and planning process, an agency is only selling you a line. Nothing’s promised in this business, especially when one side hasn’t done their due diligence.
Commission-based agencies likely have shortcomings. One could be not providing you with the necessary support to grow your business on Amazon. Another may be that they offshore all or some responsibilities without overseeing how they’re managed.
On the flip side, an agency charging you hourly produces higher quality work and is more transparent about how they’re growing your brand on Amazon. This payment structure also helps plan your financials. You can set the number of hours your Amazon partner will work on your behalf and know for certain how much you’ll pay them. Financial insight like this allows you to operate your business better.
The relationship between you and your future Amazon partner isn’t the only one that will affect your success on the marketplace. Amazon is its own beast. Specific policies, obstacles, processes, and more require familiarity and insight. An agency can navigate them better when they have an existing relationship with the marketplace. Getting answers and solving problems becomes more efficient when your Amazon partner has an insider.
Selecting an agency should be an informed decision
Your Amazon partner must meet your brand’s unique needs and align with your goals. Properly evaluating the agency you’re in talks with requires confirming their level of expertise, understanding their business model, and feeling confident in building a relationship with them.
Gathering as much information as possible empowers you to make a more informed decision, which can lead to you running a successful brand on Amazon.