Ensuring Product Performance with Automated Digital Shelf Monitoring

As a brand selling across multiple retail channels, it is crucial that you understand where and how your catalogue is being presented. Incomplete product data can lead to a poor customer experience not only with the retail website in question, but with your brand itself. Inaccurate pricing can directly impact revenue, and missing or incorrect images or product descriptions can lead to unhappy customers, negative reviews, and returns.

Manual monitoring of the above can be extremely time-consuming and costly, especially when it comes to large eCommerce catalogues or multiple retail partners. Digital shelf analytics software helps automate this process, delivering a complete snapshot of your products’ presentation from retailer to retailer – saving you time and money and giving you more control over your brand.

Automating Digital Shelf Monitoring with SKUWITY

That’s why we created SKUWITY – an automated digital shelf monitoring tool that enables real-time reporting, multi-site configuration, easy team management tools, and a user-friendly interface – all in one scalable solution that can grow and change as your catalogue does.

With SKUWITY, brands can track the following key performance indicators for each of their products on each of their retail partners’ sites:

  • Product Availability
  • Product Content Accuracy
  • Customer Reviews
  • Pricing
  • Offers and Promotions
  • Competitor Price Monitoring

Beyond monitoring your own products’ presentation and price, having the ability to track competitor pricing offers even more value. Want to know how other brands or retailers are pricing similar products? A digital shelf monitoring system like SKUWITY gives you an edge when it comes to offering the best price.

How Does it Work?

To get all the benefits of SKUWITY’s digital shelf analytics, simply upload a spreadsheet of product data, including retail URLs. SKUWITY uses this data, presenting a snapshot of how the products appear on each retail site and flagging potential issues. Use this snapshot as you wish – collect, store, monitor and download reports on key product performance data so you can optimize for higher sales. Add team members, measure performance from multiple retail sites, and use insights to craft your eCommerce strategy.

At the present time, SKUWITY monitors eCommerce product data on Walmart Canada, Amazon, Costco, Instacart, Loblaws and Metro. Custom solutions are also available.

Start Selling Online: Shifting from Brick & Mortar to eCommerce

It’s no secret that the world is changing, and businesses are being forced to change along with it. Organizations large and small have felt the impact of COVID-19 and the changes this pandemic has forced upon the retail sector.

The closure of brick-and-mortar shops has highlighted major gaps in existing sales and distribution models for many, and retailers are being forced to either:

  1. Quickly explore eCommerce as a viable new sales strategy
  2. Optimize their existing eCommerce website to make up for lost sales in-store
  3. Launch an eCommerce website to supplement sales made through Amazon or another marketplace

Understanding this, and hearing many questions from within the industry, our team has developed a free webinar for retailers hoping to launch or optimize their eCommerce sales strategies.

Through this webinar, companies will learn:

  • Key Considerations When Exploring eCommerce
  • How Brick & Mortar and eCommerce Compare
  • The eCommerce Ecosystem
  • Marketplaces and Direct-to-Consumer Websites
  • Merchandising Your Products Online
  • Going Mobile
  • How to Get Started Today

You will leave the session with tangible information you can use to launch an eCommerce website or properly optimize your product content for more organic sales.

Join us on Wednesday, April 22nd at 11am EST for this free virtual session.

Prime Time: How Sellers Can Prepare for Amazon Prime Day 2020

With so many event cancellations happening this year due to COVID-19, shoppers and sellers alike can rejoice in Amazon’s announcement that Prime Day 2020 will happen this fall. The massive online sales event is just around the corner, taking place October 13-14.

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon Prime Day is a much-anticipated annual online event in which Amazon sellers and vendors offer deep discounts and exciting promotions on some of their best products. These discounts are available for Amazon Prime members only, leading many people to sign up for the service prior to the event each year. Launched in 2015, Prime Day usually takes place around the month of July, but due to COVID-19, was pushed out to October.

Why is Prime Day Important for Sellers?

According to Amazon, over 175 million products were sold around the globe during Prime Day 2019. This amounts to an estimated $7.16 billion USD in a 48-hour period. Sellers and vendors who take advantage of the event by delivering not only discounted items, but engaging product content to draw in additional shoppers, have a great chance of boosting their sales over the two-day event.

While Amazon did not release the number of new Prime members who subscribed for the 2019 event, it did report that more people signed up on July 15 (the first day of the sale) than any other previous date. This boost in traffic across the marketplace means the potential for not only higher sales, but more awareness for the brands taking advantage of advertising and optimized product content. Visibility is often a goal of Amazon sellers throughout Prime Day, leading to longer term sales growth overall.

What Can Sellers Do to Prepare for Prime Day?

It is not too late to optimize your Amazon product listings for traffic and sales throughout Prime Day. Here are some of the ways you can do just that:

  1. Update your product title, feature bullets and description
Amazon Product Listing by geekspeak Commerce

Take a look at the written content on your Amazon product listing and determine where it could be improved. Are you showcasing all of the most important features and their related benefits within the bullets? Are you building on the product story in the description? Have you woven keywords into the content naturally to improve SEO? These are all critical steps to ensuring your product listing is optimized and engaging for customers.

  1. Add new and engaging photos to your image gallery
amazon infographic by geekspeak commerce

When an Amazon shopper enters a term into the search bar and your product appears among a sea of similar items, does yours stand out? Your hero image is what will determine this. Take a look at your Amazon image gallery to make sure your product photography is professionally shot, eye-catching, and helps tell a shopper everything they need to know through infographics, lifestyle images, video and more.

While SEO-driven copy and engaging product photography will help drive shoppers to your listing on Prime Day, anA+ page is what will capture their attention enough to help them make a purchase. Amazon credits A+content with a 3-10% lift in conversion, so it is an element that is not to be ignored. With great A+ content, you can provide supplemental information to a customer in a visually appealing way while simultaneously building your brand story.

  1. Launch a Storefront

Brand building can also be achieved with the creation of an Amazon Storefront. Similar to an eCommerce website, a Storefront is a dedicated space for all of your products and related content to live on Amazon. It also provides the ability to cross-sell and up-sell, showcasing all of your products to a shopper in one well-designed place.

  1. Advertise your brand and products with a pay-per-click campaign

Your organic traffic will likely see a boost during Prime Day, but if you really want bring your views and impressions to the next level, an Amazon PPC (pay-per-click) campaign can help with just that. Target popular, relevant search terms to bring traffic to either your Storefront or to specific product listings to make the most out of the mass of Prime Day shoppers.

  1. Offer coupons, discounts and promotions

Of course, Prime Day wouldn’t be Prime Day without the incredible deals offered by sellers and vendors across the marketplace. If you really want to make a mark with new customers, create promotions they won’t want to miss. Check out our previous Prime Day blog post for everything you need to know.

Increasing eCommerce Sales with Better Product Taxonomy

Now more than ever, consumers are flocking to the internet to complete their shopping. From grocery essentials to DIY supplies to new casual outfits suitable for a work-from-home environment, many categories are seeing an uptick in direct-to-consumer sales.

Because of this, it’s a critical time for many brands to take a step back and look at the presentation of their eCommerce websites. Does the navigation menu make sense? Are products consistently named and properly categorized? Can shoppers easily fulfill the journey from the first page to the final checkout?

According to Statista, retail websites generated 14.34 billion visits globally in March 2020, an impressive increase from 12.81 billion visits just two months earlier in January 2020. Product taxonomy is a great way to take advantage of this increasing traffic and to ensure your company is on the right track toward higher conversions.

What is Product Taxonomy?

Product taxonomy is the structuring of your website, both from the backend (viewable only to you and/or the team that manages your website) and the frontend (what the shopper sees).

Your collection taxonomy lives in the backend, and helps your team establish a standardized way to collect and store product data.

On the frontend is your presentation taxonomy, which exists to simplify the way your customers find products on your website. This includes product categories, sub-categories, parametric filtering and more.

Your collection taxonomy fuels your presentation taxonomy. When product data is properly collected, standardized, categorized and organized, it is reflected by an eCommerce website that is easy to navigate, with products that are simple to find and buy.

How Does Product Taxonomy Help Increase Sales?

According to Amazon Web Services, 88% of online shoppers would not return to a website after having a poor user experience.

An easy-to-use eCommerce website creates a positive experience for shoppers, who are more likely to return to your online store if they’ve been able to shop it without frustration. If your products are categorized logically, show up in relevant search results, and can be correctly filtered by attributes like colour and size, then the customer journey should be quick and simple.

If your product display pages contain optimized and engaging content including well-written product descriptions, informative feature bullets, high-quality images and accurate specifications, a customer will feel more confident purchasing the item.

All-in-all, a well-built product taxonomy is the foundation of a positive user experience that ensures a customer can easily navigate and purchase from your site – and return to continue doing so.

What Other Services are Related to Product Taxonomy?

  • Product Classification: Assigning products to their correct product categories
  • Data Aggregation: Gathering missing product information to enable a more knowledgeable buying decision
  • Data Cleansing: Standardizing and normalizing product attribute values
  • Product Data Migration: Transitioning product data to a new platform, marketplace, website or product information management system (PIM)

By the Numbers: The State of Retail During The Pandemic

It is no secret that businesses of all sizes, in all industries, have felt the impact of COVID-19. Any sales projections made at the start of 2020 have likely been steamrolled by the pandemic, with sales figures changing much more rapidly and unpredictably than expected.

Everything has changed, from the way we shop and work to the way we interact with our friends and families. For some companies, the pandemic has shut doors permanently. For others, temporarily. And for those who have been able to leverage new ways to stay afloat, the pandemic has shown the kind of creativity and resilience required in uncertain times.

Retail is one of the sectors most obviously hit by COVID-19. Globally, one of the first steps taken to try and curb the spread of the virus was to close all non-essential retail stores and allow only online sales, delivery and curbside pickup. Even now, as restrictions slowly start to lift around the world, retailers must still adapt and adjust to their “new normal.”

Let’s take a look at five ways in which this pandemic has affected retail.

How Retail is Changing During the Pandemic

1. Overall eCommerce Sales Have Increased

During the pandemic, many consumers have turned to the web to shop for both essential and non-essential items – either due to store closures, personal safety preferences or convenience. According to a report by Signifyd Inc., who surveyed 10,000 retailers, eCommerce sales were up 40% at the end of May, compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

This trend has forced many brick-and-mortar retailers to pivot in order to try and keep revenue up during this time, launching or optimizing existing eCommerce websites to account for lost sales in-store. eCommerce platform Shopify saw a 75% increase in new store creations between March and April alone.

With consumers spending more time online and less time in-store, sellers should expect their eCommerce growth to continue rising as shoppers get used to the convenience of online ordering.

2. Customers Are Focusing on Some Items Over Others

Whether in-store or online, shoppers are spending their money in very specific ways. According to a report by Statistics Canada, during the first week of COVID-19 related restrictions, these items saw sky-rocketing sales increases across the country:

  • Hand sanitizer: up 639%
  • Masks and gloves: up 377%
  • Toilet paper: up 241%
  • Dry and non-perishable food items: up 239%

It is easy to assume why these items saw such a spike once COVID-19 came to the forefront of Canadians’ minds.

In more general terms, an Attentive report for the month of May cites increases in categories such as Home (+26%), Apparel (+24%) and Beauty (+19%), and decreases in Electronics (-21%), Luxury Apparel (-9%) and Pets (-1%). Real-time sales figures tracked by Attentive throughout the pandemic have proven to be quite volatile, with consumer behaviour changing rapidly the longer they stay at home.

As time moves on, it is expected that consumers will be less brand loyal and more likely to search for lower prices, especially within the essential categories of grocery, pharmacy and household supplies. This will likely change the way retailers price and promote their products in the near future.

3. Curbside Pick-up Has Become A Household Term

Curbside Pick-up – BOPIS – Click and Collect. Many businesses not able to accommodate shoppers in-store have turned to a BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store) model with curbside pick-up options. From clothing stores to restaurants, we’ve seen many different companies adopt this creative way to continue supplying product to their customers – so much so that “curbside pick-up” seems to have become a new household term for many.

Even as stores begin to reopen, retailers will need to determine if they can continue offering a curbside option for those who are uncomfortable or unable to enter their establishments. Signifyd Inc. reports that BOPIS has seen a 248% increase since before the pandemic – an impressive growth trajectory that is sure to make an impact moving forward.

4. Social Distancing In-Store

For those consumers who have continued to shop in-store for their groceries, outdoor supplies, pharmacy needs and more, social distancing measures have become an expectation. Distancing regulations have forced shoppers to wait in lines outside of retail stores for the first time, to stand six feet apart from other customers and move through one-way aisles, to shop more efficiently, and perhaps even to do so while wearing a mask.

How will these measures change retail post-pandemic? We expect retailers will continue working towards a distanced shopping experience in order to ensure their customers feel safe entering their doors: wider aisles, more frequent sanitation, self-checkouts and contactless payments – and, of course, more promotion of eCommerce options.

5. Customers Are Getting Used to the “New Normal”

According to research performed by PFS Web Inc., 40% of consumers say they shopped a new eCommerce website during COVID-19, and 45% say they would return to this website based on a positive shopping experience. With more consumers exploring eCommerce more frequently, habits are being formed and positive experiences are shaping preferences.

58% of shoppers expect to order more online in the coming months, according to Digital Commerce 360, which means that even as brick-and-mortar stores start to reopen, an eCommerce strategy will continue to push sales for many.

All-in-all, the retailers who have adapted to the pandemic and adopted a multi-channel approach to sales (including brick-and-mortar, direct-to-consumer websites and expanding their eCommerce presence to marketplaces) will be the ones to survive with greater success once things “return to normal.”

Key Takeaways from “Start Selling Online”

On Wednesday, April 22nd, geekspeak Commerce hosted a free webinar titled Start Selling Online: Shifting from Brick & Mortar to eCommerce. The webinar covered everything from current sales data, to top eCommerce platforms and marketplaces, to tangible tips that can help retailers get started today on their shift to an online channel.

Presented by Tricia Williams and Megan Kimmerer, facilitated by Melanie McCabe, and with Isaac Wanzama as a Q&A panelist, the webinar covered a lot of ground and saw great engagement from audience members interested in making the shift.

To view the full webinar, click here.

Here are some key takeaways from the session:

1. It’s not business as usual.

We’ve all had to adjust to life during this pandemic, whether that’s personally or professionally. Because of this, businesses have adapted in order to survive – and they’re doing so creatively, innovating in ways big and small. Online, we’ve actually seen some promising numbers in terms of sales and revenue. According to Digital Commerce 360, during the weeks of March 22nd to April 4th in the USA and Canada:

  • The number of online orders for web-only retailers increased 52% from the same period last year.
  • Revenue for these web-only retailers increased 30%.
  • The number of online orders for primarily brick and mortar retailers increased 56% from the same period last year.
  • Revenue for these brick and mortar retailers increased 43%.

2. What are consumers actually purchasing?

The top 5 fastest growing items:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Bread machines
  • Cough and cold medicine
  • Soups
  • Dried grains and rice

The top 5 fastest declining items:

  • Luggage
  • Briefcases
  • Cameras
  • Men’s swimwear
  • Bridal clothing

These trends, which are provided by Stackline as of March 2020, make sense given what most of us are doing in our new day-to-day lives – staying home, stocking up on non-perishables, and putting weddings and events on hold.

3. eCommerce activities include much more than just selling product online.

 When considering the shift from brick and mortar to eCommerce, companies can explore any of the following:

  • Online auctions
  • Online banking and electronic payments
  • Online ticketing
  • Trip/flight booking (though most of us are not currently doing this)
  • Appointment booking and payment
  • Subscription model
  • Deals, coupons and promotions
  • On-demand services and delivery

4. Why does eCommerce matter?

In the current climate, eCommerce is helping businesses survive and thrive by giving consumers access to the goods and services they cannot otherwise pick up in store. In more general terms, eCommerce allows companies to expand their reach from local foot traffic to international audiences. It’s a long-term sales strategy that should continue to supplement your in-store sales, even as the world goes back to “normal.”

5. What are the key considerations when exploring eCommerce?

What in-store operations can you leverage to help with your online sales?

  • Warehouse space
  • Inventory management
  • Customer service
  • Payment gateways
  • What logistics might your team need help with from a local partner?
    • Shipping/delivery
  • Where will you sell online?
    • On your own direct-to-consumer website, with full control over products, marketing, customer support and more
    • On a marketplace like Amazon, which provides instant access to shoppers as well as logistics support
  • If selling on your own website makes sense for your business, what are your options?
    • Add a plugin to your existing site in order to enable eCommerce capabilities
    • Leverage a hosted platform like Shopify to help you build a new website
    • Create a self-built eCommerce store using your development team or knowledge of web design

6. How to properly merchandise your products online

  • Categorize products online like you would in-store
  • Identify your key customer and target your messaging to them
  • Use great photography and other visuals
  • Make sure your product listings are optimized for a mobile screen

7. Top 5 tips for getting started today

To dig in deeper to each of these areas and find out exactly what was shared during the live webinar, be sure to check out the recording here.

Looking for a Better User Experience and More Sales? RetailTaxonomy.com Can Help Get You There

Imagine this: Your customer is in the market for a new television. They check out your online electronics store to see what you’re currently offering. The website looks great at first, but there’s just one problem – the menu is a mess! The product categories are too vague for the customer to easily decide where to go, or maybe they’re incorrect all together with products like laptops under ‘Office Supplies’ and smartphones under ‘Home Entertainment.’

The shopper’s next step is to try the search function, but when they type in ‘TVs,’ they see hundreds of results – not all of which are televisions. Instead of scrolling through pages and pages of products, the customer gets frustrated and leaves to check out a different retailer’s site.

Unfortunately, this situation is more common than many brands and retailers would like to admit. Product taxonomy can be a difficult undertaking for retailers of any size, and it can be challenging to step outside of your own organization to see how shoppers are experiencing your eCommerce website.

Understanding this, we launched a data services solution that supports a range of needs including Product Taxonomy, Product Classification, Data Cleansing, Data Aggregation, and Product Data Migration. It’s called RetailTaxonomy.com.

“We launched RetailTaxonomy.com to help retailers and brands alike narrow down the critical data services that help drive a better user experience for your shoppers,” says Isaac Wanzama, geekspeak Founder and Chief Strategist.

A better user experience can lead to higher sales when shoppers can intuitively discover and purchase products on a user-friendly website. This is the basis of product taxonomy – the organization of your merchandise into hierarchies and categories that make it easier for customers to search and browse items. This includes drop-down menus, left-hand navigation, filtering and faceted search, related products and more. The goal is to make it as easy as possible for your shopper to get from home page to shopping cart.

  • Are struggling with a growing catalogue and are unsure of how to efficiently onboard and categorize an influx of new products
  • Want to migrate their products to a new website, platform, marketplace or product information management (PIM) system
  • Have seen a dip in sales after a website relaunch or redesign
  • Receive customer complaints about uncategorized, incorrectly categorized or hard-to-find products
  • Receive product data from vendors that is incorrect, incomplete or not up to defined brand standards
  • Know they require a well-developed product taxonomy but do not know where to start

DTC or Bust in 2020: How Manufacturers Are Selling Direct-to-Consumer & Why You Should Too

As professionals and consumers alike, we’re used to technology changing the way we work and live. In product manufacturing and selling, this is no different. Over the years, technology, specifically eCommerce, has enabled selling in ways that were once inaccessible – namely, Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) selling.

DTC is known to help strengthen brands, improve customer experience, and increase profits. It was pioneered by major companies like Dell, who in 1984 became the first computer manufacturer to sell directly to its consumers rather than through a retail channel. Though a much younger brand, Warby Parker is often considered a pioneer of DTC for disrupting the prescription eyeglasses industry in 2010 by selling directly to consumers online and offering the ability to try on different pairs at home before making a purchase.

Traditional Retail vs. DTC: What Are They?

In the traditional retail model, manufacturers sell their products in bulk to retailers or distributors, who then resell the product at a higher price to the consumer. Often unable to take on the cost of maintaining brick-and-mortar stores, to handle order fulfillment and shipping, or to effectively tap into a customer base, manufacturers rely largely on their retail partners to take on those responsibilities. After all, they are conventionally more equipped to do so.

While this traditional retail model is of course still the most common way product is sold today, the rise of eCommerce has simplified each of its steps to the point where manufacturers no longer require the physical retail space or employee base needed to take on the act of selling product to consumers. Recognizing this, there has been a considerable increase in the number of manufacturers who are doing just that – making DTC part of their go-to-market strategy, building eCommerce websites and selling straight to their customers without the need for a retail partner in the middle. For seasoned manufacturers who already have channel partners in place, DTC can become an additional selling avenue.

Direct-to-Consumer selling has been proven successful, even in highly unlikely categories. Casper is perhaps the most well-known DTC brand, often used as a success story when discussing the benefits of selling directly to consumers. By simplifying the act of shopping for a mattress, including offering just one standard bed model in the beginning, Casper was able to open the doors to a massive consumer base online. The company made over $100 million in its first two years. Since then, the brand has grown to become a $1.1-billion company, with its own brick-and-mortar stores now also in the picture. The success of online DTC selling has enabled brands to expand beyond just one selling avenue, often balancing eCommerce with retail stores and wholesalers for even more success.

Why Sell DTC?

There are many positives associated with selling directly to your consumers:

  • Ownership over customer relationships
  • Building brand recognition and loyalty
  • Potential cost savings and higher revenue by removing or supplementing the “middle-man”
  • Stronger control over brand perception
  • Access to customer data and buying patterns
  • Flexibility to sell where and how you want
  • No direct competition with other brands on your own eCommerce store
  • End-to-end control over the manufacturing, merchandising, marketing, logistics, and customer service

The big takeaway for manufacturers is often the end-to-end control, including the control of brand perception. A major part of this comes through in the ownership of content that can be created on a DTC eCommerce store. By running your own online store as a manufacturer, you’re not relying on a retailer to write your product content for you (which can sometimes end in misrepresented or inaccurate information).

Dollar Shave Club, a wildly successful subscription-based DTC brand, launched in 2012 with a funny, tongue-in-cheek YouTube video that quickly went viral. It earned 25-million views and so many orders that the manufacturer’s eCommerce website crashed. While the company was purchased in 2016 by Unilever, Dollar Shave Club’s eCommerce store still features content with the same humorous tone, something the brand and parent company have been able to hold on to by taking control of the selling channel.

By selling DTC, manufacturers take on the responsibility – and control – of crafting engaging and brand-specific content including website copy, product descriptions, buying guides, product photography, video, and even digital advertising. While this may be overwhelming for the manufacturer who is new to the DTC space, there are eCommerce service providers like geekspeak available to produce these assets.

DTC Challenges

Like any new business strategy, there are challenges associated with selling direct-to-consumer that many manufacturers will need to navigate.

  1. Existing retail partnerships: When a brand adds DTC as a selling channel, it becomes a competitor of its existing retailers. Developing a well-thought-out strategy that involves strengthening retailer relationships, being mindful of products, pricing and promotions, and balancing the effort placed on all channels will help lead to success in this area.
  2. Lack of experience: For manufacturers who have never sold directly to consumers, the lack of retail experience can prove to be overwhelming when developing a DTC strategy. From understanding consumer trends to effectively marketing and merchandising a catalogue of products, manufacturers should consider working with experts in the retail field to aid in their transition – or at least be patient and willing to deeply develop a strategy and stick to it.
  3. Taking on the work: By selling DTC, a manufacturer must ensure they have the bandwidth to handle all steps in the selling cycle – or access to services, platforms and tools that can help them. Product design and development, marketing, shipping and logistics, customer service and more will all become work performed by the brand.
  4. Owning relationships and reputations: Taking on all the work also means taking on the responsibility related to customer relationships and brand reputation. While control over perception is considered a positive of DTC selling, it is a component that needs to be nurtured and carefully executed day-to-day.

How to Get Started with DTC

So how does a manufacturer start making the transition into becoming a DTC brand? There are some key steps and considerations to make before diving in head-first:

  1. Do your research: Identify your brand’s direction and define a goal. Determine areas in which your competitors are selling, how and where your audience likes to shop, etc.
  2. Be transparent: If you’re currently selling through retail channels, be transparent with your vendor partners to ensure they’re aware of your move to DTC. If you’re planning on balancing your selling channels by keeping up with both retail commitments and DTC, work with your retailers to avoid channel conflict and strengthen those relationships.
  3. Find a platform: Decide where you want to sell – on a marketplace like Amazon or eBay? On a self-developed eCommerce store? On a website created through a platform like Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento or Volusion? On Instagram? A combination of these? Decide as well if it makes sense for you to sell in your own brick-and-mortar or pop-up shops.
  4. Build an eCommerce website or launch on a marketplace: Once you’ve decided where you’ll be selling, build that eCommerce shop or create that marketplace account and fill it with engaging product content that will drive shoppers there.
  5. Invest in your product content and assets: In order to effectively merchandise your products online, it is important to invest in the creation of high-quality and highly engaging content including product descriptions, product photographyproduct video, and enhanced marketing content.
  6. Market your products: With your DTC channel, you’re no longer relying on retail partners to market and sell your products. Develop a marketing strategy based on where you’re selling and who you’re selling to. Will that include digital advertising? Influencer marketing? Traditional advertising routes like TV and radio? Do what makes sense for your brand and its goals.
  7. Prepare to serve your customers: Now that you’ll be closer to your customers, it’s important to ensure you can serve them well. Put the preparations in place to ensure you can handle customer service inquiries, quick order fulfillment and shipping, returns and refunds, and more.

Need help creating compelling DTC content? Contact geekspeak today to get started.

Amazon News: Introducing A+ for Seller Central

The line between Seller Central and Vendor Central accounts on Amazon is becoming thinner and thinner, with many of the features once exclusive to Vendors being made accessible to Sellers. The latest news in this area has to do with Enhanced Marketing Content and the distinction between Enhanced Brand Content (EBC) and A+ detail pages.

Up until recently, Vendor Central users could enhance their product listings with A+ Pages, while Seller Central users had access to EBC. Both types of enhanced marketing content served the same purpose on Amazon – provide more detailed, visually-appealing information that will help customers make the decision to purchase.

Over the last year, Amazon has been making slight changes to the way Seller Central users view and edit their EBC pages – first, expanding the module offerings to include those available in A+ pages, then renaming the EBC editor to “A+ Content Manager”. Finally, the announcement was made by Amazon that they would do-away with EBC entirely, opening A+ content up to Sellers as it has been to Vendors.

What does this mean for me, as a Seller Central account holder?

Luckily, not much else has changed, other than certain improvements to the platform. According to Amazon:

  • You can preview, edit and create new A+ pages in the same area as you would have created EBC (Seller Central > Advertising > A+ Content Manager)
  • You can now publish A+ content to multiple ASINs, instead of a single SKU
    • This saves time and effort in duplicating A+ pages to child SKUs, allowing entire families to use the same A+ page with one convenient click.
  • You can easily preview your A+ page for mobile flipping between desktop and mobile views
  • You can now house and easily access language variations of your A+ content from the same A+ Content Manager page, or sort your list of A+ pages by language if needed

If you’re a Vendor Central user, you will also benefit from the improvements listed above.

geekspeak Ranks No. 332 on the 2019 Growth 500

The annual Growth 500 is the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fasting-Growing Companies, produced each year by Canada’s premier business and current affairs media brands. Published by Canadian Business and Maclean’s, as well as online at Growth500.ca and CanadianBusiness.com, the Growth 500 ranks Canadian businesses on their five-year revenue growth.

This year, geekspeak made the cut at No. 332 on the list, boasting a five-year revenue growth of 221%. In the ranking of fastest-growing companies in the GTA, geekspeak ranks No. 132. Though not used in the ranking, geekspeak’s nine-year revenue growth is an impressive 410%.

“The companies on the 2019 Growth 500 are truly remarkable. Demonstrating foresight, innovation and smart management, their stories serve as a primer for how to build a successful entrepreneurial business today,” says Beth Fraser, Growth 500 program manager. “As we celebrate over 30 years of the Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies program, it’s encouraging to see that entrepreneurship is healthier than ever in this country.”

Isaac Wanzama, geekspeak Founder and Chief Strategist says, “The geekspeak team is thrilled to be included in this year’s Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. As a company based in downtown Whitby, it’s always exciting to work with national and international clients. Being in the eCommerce industry has allowed us to grow further, faster and we’re eager to see where we go in the next five years and beyond.”

About the Growth 500

For over 30 years, the Growth 500 has been Canada’s most respectable and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Ranking Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by five-year revenue growth, the Growth 500 profiles the country’s most successful growing businesses. The Growth 500 is produced by Canadian Business. Winners are profiled in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at Growth500.ca and CanadianBusiness.com. For more information on the ranking, visit Growth500.ca.

About Canadian Business

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving and most-trusted business publication in the country. It is the country’s premier media brand for executives and senior business leaders. It fuels the success of Canada’s business elite with a focus on the things that matter most: leadership, innovation, business strategy and management tactics. Learn more at CanadianBusiness.com.

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