In a way, a fantastic Amazon consultant is a growth marketer — a deep generalist who has a knack for data analysis and finding measurable solutions to existing problems.
But instead of working across a brand’s entire marketing funnel, they just work on Amazon.
The Everything Store is complicated (and rewarding!) enough to merit its own specialists. Brittany McCormick, an expert Amazon marketer, notes that selling on Amazon isn’t as easy as it seems.
“It's not black and white on Amazon,” Brittany McCormick, an expert Amazon marketer, told MarketerHire. “If it were, there wouldn't be so many people needing assistance on the channel.”
“It's not black and white on Amazon. If it were, there wouldn't be so many people needing assistance on the channel.”
It’s worth figuring out Amazon's quirks, though.
On average, small and medium-sized businesses located in the U.S. are selling more than 6,500 items per minute on Amazon. In the last year, SMBs earned an average of $160,000 on the platform (up from $100,000 in the year before that).
Like TikTok, Amazon can generate overnight success stories, too. The popular card game Cards Against Humanity used Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) to distribute its product.
It became the #1 game on Amazon so quickly that Amazon itself thought it was a hoax.
Amazon offers a host of services for Amazon sellers, from a Brand Registry to Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) , which can be overwhelming to generalists — so you’ll need an Amazon consulting expert to help you with brand development on one of the largest shopping platforms in the world.
We dug into what these experts do, the must-have skills for the role, and some example kickoff projects they could tackle.
The role of Amazon consulting experts
An Amazon expert or marketer is an experienced marketing professional that knows the ins and outs of everything Amazon. They use that knowledge to come up with strategies that help brands increase sales.
So, Amazon marketers should deeply understand...
- How to sell on Amazon: They should know what sorts of variables — from product titles to customer questions answered — affect listings’ conversion rates.
- How to market on Amazon: They should know how to write copy, run PPC ads, and determine the right marketing channels to attract customers.
- The backend factors that affect Amazon sales. Amazon experts should understand the e-commerce platform’s inner workings — like how its search algorithm indexes and ranks listing, and when joining FBA makes good business sense.
They have their hands in every single aspect of the Amazon sales journey. That means they can tackle...
- Amazon search engine optimization (SEO)
- Product listings and review generation
- Creative asset management
- Amazon marketing and advertising
While many marketers have a background in SEO or PPC advertising, Amazon isn’t a traditional marketing channel — so experience with Google’s SEO guidelines or PPC campaigns won’t completely translate to Amazon’s ecosystem.
Thus, most Amazon sellers need an experienced Amazon specialist to manage their digital storefront. But what are the skills associated with Amazon consulting experts? We asked a panel of experts.
- Jimmy Zona, director of e-commerce and digital marketing at Turbie Twist
- Brittany McCormick, an Amazon consultant at Story Box Management
- Rob Schad, an Amazon expert
9 essential skills for Amazon consultants
With the right skills, an Amazon consultant can grow your revenues from the platform — fast. But what are the right skills? Here are the key ones to look for, according to our experts.
1. Listing management.
Listing management involves optimizing all existing Amazon product listings to match the platform’s SEO requirements. That way, you can increase visibility and boost sales.
“When you're hiring someone, you want them to understand the organic placement of the product listings and how advertising affects that [organic placement],” McCormick told MarketerHire.
That means an Amazon marketer should know Amazon’s listing guidelines like the back of their hand — peculiarities included.
For example, Amazon’s product optimization guide discourages the use of temporary product descriptors, such as “new” or “on sale,” which would be acceptable on other e-commerce websites.
An Amazon marketer who gets subtleties like this can create efficient product listings that cater to Amazon’s proprietary algorithm.
2. PPC advertising expertise.
If you’re selling on Amazon but not advertising on the platform, you’re missing out.
Group M forecasts that Amazon’s digital ad revenue in the US will reach over $16 billion by 2021, with more brands looking at e-commerce avenues amidst the pandemic.
That’s why an Amazon consultant must be proficient in paid-per-click (PPC) advertising — specifically, how PPC advertising campaigns work on Amazon.
"I look for someone that knows how to advertise — do they understand how PPC advertising on Amazon contributes to organic growth? Can they compare the organic lift to what they're doing from an advertising perspective?" said McCormick.
You can run multiple PPC campaigns on Amazon. The Amazon demand-side platform (DSP) can be programmed to buy ads on Amazon and Amazon-owned entities such as IMDb, Amazon Publisher Services (APS), and third-party exchanges.
“You'd want someone to know all of it,” explained Zona. “At first, I thought, oh, it's just sponsored product [ads], but there's so much more, and it can be overwhelming.”
“At first, I thought, oh, it's just sponsored product [ads], but there's so much more, and it can be overwhelming.”
Amazon offers three types of PPC ads:
- Sponsored product ads (formerly product display ads): These are Amazon’s go-to ads because they are available on both Seller and Vendor Central. These ads directly appear in the product results when you enter a keyword.
- Sponsored brand ads (formerly headline search ads): These keyword-targeted banner ads link directly to your store — not to a specific product — and appear at the top of SERPs. These are only available to members of the Amazon Brand Registry.
- Sponsored display ads: These ads target an audience or product category, and look much like sponsored product ads — but can appear on and off Amazon.
An Amazon consulting expert should be able to help your brand figure out a solid and comprehensive PPC advertising strategy. They can assess keyword performance and create retargeting ad campaigns.
A significant part of listing optimization and Amazon marketing involves crafting product copy.
“They should be a great copywriter — writing compelling listings, being able to engage customers, and taking brand potential to new heights are very critical to success,” Schad said of the ideal Amazon consultant.
Unlike the second listing, which gives a sparse description, the Amazon Essentials product listing provides more details — not only specifying that the jeans have “a bit of stretch,” but explaining why that matters.
Your Amazon consultant should be able to write this kind of fleshed out product description, complete with a clicky title. You can’t take clicks for granted on Amazon — the average click-through rate (CTR)was just 0.41% in 2020, according to Ad Badger user data.
4. Visual asset strategy.
Every Amazon listing needs images to back it up. Poorly-taken photos will automatically turn users off.
Amazon consulting experts should know how to curate engaging images that best showcase a brand’s products.
They should also know all the technical elements of Amazon’s detailed image guidelines, which require minimal props and no models — unless the product is apparel, in which case, the model must stand.
Strong Amazon product photography looks like this:
Amazon consultants should know which brand photos you can and can’t repurpose in your Amazon listing, and which quick imagery fixes that can make a huge impact.
“It's a small little low-hanging fruit thing, but many listings don't have... seven images or infographics,” Zona said.
5. Amazon SEO and keyword research.
“How you market on Amazon is significantly different than how you market direct-to-consumer,” Schad told us.
Many marketers are great at SEO and keyword research for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, but their focus is SEO for Google.
Amazon acts as a search engine of its own, and requires SEO tactics tailored to its proprietary algorithm.
An Amazon consulting expert must be “skilled at finding those high volume keywords and crafting your product page in a way that it sells the product, but also feeds the algorithm,” Zona said.
“[An Amazon expert should be] skilled at finding those high volume keywords and crafting your product page in a way that it sells the product, but also feeds the algorithm.”
According to Zona, an Amazon expert can set themselves apart from the others by “finding and targeting little niches within your niche, rather than targeting just the expensive, general keywords.”
6. Amazon immersion.
True Amazon experts focus primarily on the platform, and have for years.
“They really understand how it works, and they have connections to answer my questions,” Zona said of his ideal Amazon consultant.
For example, once he worked with an agency that had already started planning in April for a potential Prime Day sale in June. That gave him a leg up.
A more general-purpose agency may not have known the potential Prime Day day date, and couldn’t have started strategizing before Amazon’s public announcement — which this year happened less than three weeks before the event.
When your Amazon consulting expert can get your marketing or advertising strategy months in advance, it increases your chances of beating out poorly-prepared competitors and boosting sales.
7. Competitive analysis.
There are more than 6 million sellers across all Amazon marketplaces worldwide — a number that has grown steadily for years.
That’s more than 3X Shopify’s 1.7 million sellers.
On Amazon, your brand will need to outsmart hundreds, if not thousands of competitors, all on the same platform.
It's tough, given Amazon’s rigid, bare-bones e-commerce interface. You can’t test different layouts, or experiment with lifestyle photography.
“Everybody's working with the same stuff,” Zona said. “You only have the same bullet points, the same description — you can jazz it up with some A-plus content, but it's a pretty basic website.”
Amazon experts can help you find an edge with competitive analysis, though. When they run competitive analysis, they’ll compare you and your competitor’s target keywords, listing copy, ad strategy and more.
This can give you valuable insights. It might surface a keyword a competitor targets that you want to try, too — or it can help you differentiate yourself from the pack.
8. Operational know-how.
Since your Amazon consultant is likely to be involved with all your listings, they should have the operational skillsets for efficient inventory analysis and management.
It’s critical for market expansion.
“If you're not great at the operational sides, don't know how to manage inventory, or don't know how to unlock new markets, you're going to hinder yourself,” Schad says.
“If you're not great at the operational sides, don't know how to manage inventory, or don't know how to unlock new markets, you're going to hinder yourself.”
Your expert should be able to get your brand set up with one of the two fulfillment programs that let you sell on Amazon Prime:
- The FBA program, wherein Amazon handles the packing, delivery, returns, and customer service for your products.
- The Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP) program, wherein you take care of fulfilment with your own warehouse.
FBA is the lower-lift route, but it’s pricey: about $40/month, with additional referral and fulfilment fees for each unit sold.
Not only should an Amazon expert help you pick the Prime-selling program right for you, they should also understand inventory management — since Amazon sellers have to make quick decisions about what they should or shouldn't keep in stock.
9. A+ content creation.
A+ content can give brands an edge in Amazon’s competitive, homogeneous-looking marketplace.
Formerly known as Enhanced Brand Content (EBC), Amazon’s A+ content lets sellers improve their page listings by modifying product descriptions, uploading high-quality product photos and videos and posting brand content.
The feature is only available for sellers that pass the Amazon Brand Registry process — but your Amazon consulting expert should know how to get you registered.
Amazon has two different types of A+ content:
- Enhanced product descriptions
- A+ brand content
Enhanced product descriptions
This A+ content functionality lets you spruce up with product descriptions with extras like:
- Customizable paragraph headers
- New image and text layout options
- Product comparison charts
A+ brand content
This valuable marketing tool lets you upload brand content to Amazon, which customers can see in the “From the manufacturer” section of a product listing — it appears as a carousel of image and text cards on desktop and mobile, and links to the brand store.
3 kickoff project ideas for Amazon experts
Since many brands are new to Amazon experts and marketing on the platform in general, here are a few example projects that could help kick off a collaboration.
1. Product listings audit.
Listing audits and optimization are the core functions of an Amazon expert.
“I'm looking at it as a holistic picture at first,” McCormick said. “I'll typically run an audit for them across all the different departments to see what leverage that they need to fix if their listings aren't retail-ready."
The most common problem areas she spots in product listings audits: insufficient imagery or reviews. McCormick and her team then work to resolve those issues.
2. Amazon marketing strategy audit.
You can also hire an Amazon consulting expert to analyze and optimize your entire Amazon marketing strategy.
McCormick’s process starts with an audit of a brand’s entire Amazon account. That includes…
- Checking the brand’s performance metrics
- Evaluating how they structure campaigns
- Examining ad groups and keyword targeting
Once all the items are checked, McCormick’s team gives their clients some advice on how to optimize all those aspects of their Amazon approach.
Usually, “we put together a strategy on the advertising and SEO components — those are typically the bigger areas of opportunity,” she said.
“The advertising and SEO components... are typically the bigger areas of opportunity.”
3. Brand identity audit.
Your Amazon expert can ensure your brand identity translates clearly across all your listings — but only if you onboard them strategically.
“It is important to get the tone, brand voice, and product key value propositions across,” Zona said. “If someone's going to do your [Amazon] website and online marketing, you want it to be consistent with the rest of your messaging."
“If someone's going to do your [Amazon] website and online marketing, you want it to be consistent with the rest of your messaging."
Some steps san expert take during a brand audit:
- Assess existing marketing materials and online presence
- Survey customers, employees and potential employees
- Evaluate competitors
Once the Amazon expert has determined the areas the brand needs to improve on, they test potential fixes and monitor results.
How to grow your slice of Amazon’s $100B+ pie
Amazon is the e-commerce platform for sellers and vendors worldwide.
For startups that want to achieve faster growth, hiring an Amazon consulting expert can boost conversion rates and earn you a bigger slice of Amazon’s $100B+ in quarterly revenue — the majority of which goes to third-party sellers.
In other words: It can revolutionize your Amazon experience.
That only works if you hire a true expert, though. Vetting for the nine skills we’ve listed will help you — but you don’t have to do it yourself.