EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2989 - January 29, 2013     4 of 5

An Interview with Amazon Webstore's GM Scott Pulsipher, Part Two

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In Part One of the EcommerceBytes interview with Amazon Webstore's General Manager, Scott Pulsipher provided an overview of Amazon Webstore, what types of sellers are using it, and how much it cost. Today, he discusses how merchants drive traffic to their Amazon Webstore - including email marketing and paid search - and provides some examples of successful merchants who are using Amazon Webstore.

A big question is, how do you drive traffic to your Amazon Webstore listings. Is there any way that having an Amazon Webstore will attract traffic, or do you have to market your store yourself?

Scott Pulsipher: Great question. Most of the traffic is definitely a challenge the seller will have to face. It is a responsibility that is mostly within their hands.

We've tried to provide all the tools and capabilities necessary for them to be successful in doing that. They can leverage all the traditional marketing channels, whether it's SEO or paid search, email capabilities, display ads, social media, things like that. We do have customers who use a variety of those.

Not every business with Webstore does choose to advertise, but not necessarily all of them need to. With some of these brands, they do have a lot of direct traffic. Where they have a lot of direct traffic we'll see significantly less in terms of paid advertising or paid traffic spending.

We do have a lot of tools built in, a lot customizable capabilities. We do have one-click submission to a variety of comparison shopping engines. The other one unique thing though is that we offer integration with Amazon's ad platform, Amazon Product Ads, which does allow businesses to advertise their products to the millions of customers that are shopping on Amazon.com. So that is something that is available to Amazon Webstore operators as another traffic driving option.

If somebody is a rather small scale merchant and they decide they want to take it to another level, and they open an Amazon Webstore, can you offer some advice on what you see as the most successful ways people are driving traffic to those sites?

Scott Pulsipher: I don't know if I have any specific advice. Mostly I think the ones who are successful in driving traffic are taking advantage of all the different avenues provided to them. They are probably doing their best to optimize the natural traffic through SEO. They will probably have to experiment with the different paid options. That would include Google options, that would include paid advertising options, that would include Amazon Product Ads.

They have to really figure out what's right for them. Email options: I can't really say there's any secret sauce, if you will. I believe there are different sellers who have figured out the right things for them given their product mix and their target customers. I don't really have anything I can share. Even if I did have great data that I could share with you, I probably wouldn't be allowed to share it. I just don't think there's any one silver bullet.

Customers have to figure out what is the best strategy that works for their online business, for their product mix, for their targeted customers.

You mentioned email marketing. Is that something where you offer an email marketing program, or do you offer integration with third-party email marketing services?

Scott Pulsipher: The latter. We do not provide our own email marketing engine. We provide integrations too. They have the flexibility to choose the email marketing provider that is right for them.

And in terms of paid search, in addition to the Amazon Product Ads, is it easy to set up with Google and other paid-search programs?

Scott Pulsipher: Yes, it is. In fact, one of the things we provide is out-of-the-box integration to comparison shopping engines that would include Google Product Search, for example. Those sellers also can establish their own Google merchant account to manage their ad spend, if you will, with Google. But they don't have to do anything in addition to send their feeds to Google.

That's what we provide out-of-the-box integration. They can manage all of their feeds to comparison shopping engines directly within the Webstore tool set.

Is that Google Product Listing Ads and AdWords?

Scott Pulsipher: It is primarily Product Listings, so it is primarily Google Product Search. They separately can do their own Google Merchant Center account, manage their ad-driven traffic.

You mentioned some successful Amazon Webstores, or some big brands. Can you talk about any others? Can you share some examples?

Scott Pulsipher: Samsonite is a great example. They have been a customer of ours for a number of years. Samsonite runs multiple branded websites. You can go to Shop.Samsonite.com. From that environment you'll see two of their brands there. You'll see Samsonite branded luggage as well as American Tourister. They also operate Hartmann luggage on the Webstore as well. It's another one of their brands.

Another good example that I referenced previously is the Marks & Spencer Outlet. On our website there is a video case study around how they launched their outlet store on Webstore. It is one that if you went to Outlet.MarksAndSpencer.com that you would in fact see some of the Amazon branding there. They also leverage Fulfillment by Amazon. There is badging on the site that says "Service Provided by Amazon" and "Fulfillment Provided by Amazon" on the outlet site.

One of the unique things they call out in their video case study is that from start to launch they launched their outlet store in less than 100 days.

Another example is Fruit of the Loom. They are most interesting because you can look across Shop.Fruit.com you can look at their Spalding web site which is one of their brands, you can look at Russell Athletic, which is one of their brands, and it's allowed them to manage a multi-website strategy but all doing it on the Webstore platform.

There are some other unique and interesting, I think you would call them PowerSellers - Stash Tea is an interesting one. They sell tea, just as you would expect. You can go to StashTea.com. Really nicely designed site, very kind of unique. It definitely makes you want to buy tea. I think in some degree it's a very unique site, and you can see how much flexibility sellers in the Webstore have in designing their customer experience and design their home page, their promotions, their categories, etc.

Another example would probably be Alternative Apparel. This is a good example of an apparel brand who is not exactly a direct retailer but who is leveraging Webstore to build more of their direct to consumer online presence.

See Part One of EcommerceBytes' exclusive interview with Amazon Webstore General Manager Scott Pulsipher, and stay tuned for Part Three in the next issue of Newsflash (now available here). And learn more about Amazon Webstore here.


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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