In this podcast episode, we discuss what Shopify brands need to conquer Amazon. Our featured guest on the show is Hristo Arakliev, co-founder and COO of hyperzon.io.
On the Show Today You'll Learn:
- How DTC brands can leverage Amazon for business growth.
- Why it is recommended to enter Amazon after establishing a brand.
- The significance of the 'honeymoon period' on Amazon for new sellers.
- The key factors contributing to success on Amazon, from listings to SEO optimization.
- Challenges that brands face during the Amazon registration process.
- Why PPC is only a small part of the Amazon strategy compared to other platforms.
- How having a presence on Amazon enhances a brand's overall credibility.
Links & Resources
About Our Podcast Guest: Hristo Arakliev
Hristo is a co-founder and COO of HYPERZON – a top-tier Amazon marketing agency based in Europe that helps brands worldwide by matching their website sales, but on Amazon and streamlining their sales, as his specialty is in Amazon marketing & E-commerce sales. He is a serial entrepreneur and an Amazon marketing expert with passion. His various business initiatives have varied from brick and mortar establishments to tech start-ups. In the past 7 years he became expert in Amazon and positioned Hyperzon as one of the top Full Scale Amazon Marketing Agencies in the US and Europe.
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Claus Lauter: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the e commerce coffee break podcast. Today, we want to dive into Amazon and a lot of Shopify merchants in the DTC business are not on Amazon yet, but obviously there's a huge opportunity there, but Amazon is a beast on his own. And we want to dive a little bit into the different areas that you need to consider and that you need to dive in when starting with Amazon.
With that, I have Hristo Arakliev with me. He's the co founder and CEO of hyperzon.io. He's a serial entrepreneur and Amazon marketing expert with passion. His various business initiatives have varied from brick and mortar establishments to tech startups. In the past seven years, he became expert in Amazon and positioned hyperzone as one of the top full scale Amazon marketing agency in the US and Europe.
So that's what come on to the show. Hi Hristo. How are you today?
Hristo Arakliev: Hi Claus. Thank you for having me. I'm very, very good. excited for this podcast.
Claus Lauter: Christo, Amazon, a beast on his own. As I mentioned, sometimes a little bit difficult for Shopify merchants to get started in there because there's so many areas that you need to touch on.
, give me a bit of an idea. What you see is the first entry point for a lot of people when they get started with Amazon.
Hristo Arakliev: Yeah, that's a great question. I want to start with the fact that I definitely recommend getting on Amazon after you already have a developed brand, because it's so much easier, you have a lot of upper hands because of all the brand awareness that you've already gathered from being positioned as a good e com brand.
There's a lot of upside, from getting on Amazon because if you compare yourself to all your other brands that are just starting off on Amazon and they count only on Amazon to give them that boost, they count only on Amazon's traffic, but, uh, that already have their Shopify store.
It doesn't really matter which platform they're using, and it doesn't really matter how they're driving their traffic, but they've already established themselves as a brand in the space. So when they come to Amazon, what happens is that, this initial spew over traffic always exists, and it's usually between seven and 13 percent , from experience.
They're going to start getting some Amazon sales right off the bat. Which is very important because Amazon loves outside traffic when they get that outside traffic, they're going to push you for many, many keywords on Amazon that you don't even expect because people are going to search this and that and this and that.
And this is going to help you in this initial phase. They call the honeymoon period in Amazon. Nobody knows exactly how long it is, but it's around between 45 and 60 days. So if you. Make a lot of sales. And if you give indication to Amazon in this period that you are selling well, that your products are selling well, et cetera, Amazon is going to position you better for the next.
Few months down the line. So this is an important period, but, for these guys that are already on Amazon, but they're not doing great, don't worry. I mean, yeah, the honeymoon period is great, but even if you miss it, there are plenty of things you can do position yourself on Amazon., and many of them, people that come from the e commerce space, they don't know about them.
They don't think about it and what people. Asked me the most is like, so can you run our PPC for us on Amazon? Yeah, of course. I mean PPC is an important part on Amazon, compared to other platforms like Facebook and TikTok and Google and whatnot PPC is just a small part And all the things that could be done on Amazon and the other things that I would like to mention is, first of all, you need to have an impeccable listing.
It needs to be SEO optimized. Your brand needs to look great because trust me in 2023, they're amazing looking brands all over Amazon and. The online space overall, so in order to be selected from a customer, you really need to stand out. So this is a good start when you optimize, as soon as you optimize your listing, there are plenty of other things you can do one of them being, rank yourself.
This could be done in various ways, but it works very similar to Google. I'll compare it to Google because Amazon is very keyword oriented. So if you want to be positioned for a specific keyword, you need to be making sales from that keyword. this is where your focus needs to be, to your Amazon journey.
Because if you rank for more keywords, you're going to get more exposure and you're going to get more sales. This is pretty much how it works. But these days amazon are giving you a really hard time even when registering a brand because lot of chinese Brands and companies are trying to exploit amazon and amazon have made their procedure much more difficult these days.
So your documents need to be very mint, they need to match all over the place. So if you have one address or one company or one name, whatever on one of your documents, you need to have the exact same ones on all of your other documents so that Amazon even accepts your registration. Okay.
Which is, crazy. Many people have, issue when registering an account these
Claus Lauter: days. Okay. That's a good overview. Obviously you need to register first and it's relatively difficult. So you need obviously to put some time aside while running your normal business to get started on Amazon.
One thing that I found interesting that you said is that, when you come to Amazon, Amazon is happy to get outside traffic. My impression of all the place was like Amazon has the traffic. People with a buyer intent on there and what I found out and maybe that helps our listeners as well is if you have your own Shopify store, obviously building up trust with a new brand takes some time.
When you're on Amazon, this trust comes basically out of the box because people think if you're on Amazon, you must be a legitimate brand. Once you have your account, once you have settled in, or you can, start selling on Amazon, a couple of pillars there.
There's advertising, you touched on design, content creation. How does that work and which kind of , flow do you need to work your way through
Hristo Arakliev: this? Like everything else, if you've done it, uh, A thousand times. It's one thing. And if you've never done it before, it's different. We've been around the block for a while and, we know what works because we've tested so many things on the image side, on the branding side, on the keyword structure side, on the PPC side.
It's about testing, testing, testing, and seeing what sticks at the end of the day. people actually asked me. Is it better to hire an agency or is it better to do it with an internal team or maybe I should just hire a freelancer, et cetera. So I would answer this the following way.
If you already have an established brand in a sense that you're generating at least a few hundred thousand dollars a month on your Shopify, Why invest the time learning Amazon on your own when you can invest the time becoming better in what you already have invested time, which is driving traffic to your website, which is pushing new products, developing new products, etc.
To break in here, like I would always recommend working with an expert or a channel that you have no idea about because Amazon is the beast of its own. And it takes so much time to become an expert. we've been doing it for the past, 12 years, some of us, and we still face difficulties with Amazon because Amazon treats you really.
Poorly when you're a seller compared to the end client for them, the clients are the people who buy on their website and the sellers are being treated really, really, really poorly. So you need to be prepared. You need to know how to answer. You need to know how to deal with that. And with a team on your side, who's been there, it's much easier.
And to answer your question, if you're just getting started, you need to obviously optimize your listings, select all the right keywords that need to be there for SEO purposes. I recommend sending your stock into FBA because compared to FBM, which is sending from your warehouse, Amazon gives you some initial juice and ranks your products better if they're fulfilling, if they're fulfilling the orders for you from their warehouses.
Then when you select the keywords, make the text sound like a human is going to read it like nice and understandable, rather than putting all the keywords in just for the sake of SEO, which is not a good practice. Then, when people put their images on Amazon, there are a few things I can mention here that work.
So your main image is the most important., one on your listing and is the one that makes the first impression is the one that when people scroll down Amazon, they see this main image and compared to all the other products on Amazon, you need to make your best effort to differentiate yourself there.
So Amazon have very strict terms of services, like put your product on a white background, like people are going to receive it and nothing else. But to be completely honest, play around with that, even put things here and there, test out if Amazon is going to accept it, because, okay, it may not be a hundred percent according to their terms of service, but even a small difference compared to the other.
A product is going to give you a huge upper hand in that and then when people arrive on your listing you need To have a beautiful beautiful looking listing that represents your brand in the best possible way So if you've already done that for your website here, the format is of course slightly Different but you can still incorporate the good practices.
You've already implemented on your website to make it work Name all the good features your products have, how it helps people include UGC videos if you have, because Amazon have that option as long as you have brand registry, which I highly recommend. Register your trademark, go through the brand registry and you have a lot more features unlocked.
And you're much more prepared and secured when somebody's trying to hijack your listing or attack your listing or try to bring your listing down for any reason. If you are the brand owner, you're protected and you can communicate this easily with Amazon. If you don't have that, Amazon just asks, and who are you?
And if you cannot provide proof that you're the brand owner, basically they don't care for them. But yeah, just put your best effort to make things in general look good and make a good impression, on the customers similar to what you've done in your again, landing page, but with its own specifics.
So if you have already artwork and copied and you need to start, you don't need to start from scratch. You can use this also on Amazon. You were touching a little bit on the risks. For instance, somebody's, hijacking your listing and stuff like that.
Claus Lauter: Are there any other risks When I go to Amazon and try to sell there?
Hristo Arakliev: There are many risks when you go on Amazon. One of them is if you don't, comply with the wording that you can use in your product. So basically you cannot have any. Promises and bold statements like this product is going to cure your boldness or whatever issues you might have you cannot claim stuff like that in your listing.
So there's a pretty extensive terms of services that you need to read, if you want to be prepared for that. But we've had issues in the past where, Amazon just brings our listing down for no particular reason. And we started investigating. And we got super lucky because we asked around and somebody had the same issue and we were able to bring the listing up in less than an hour.
And then, Amazon, a week later, they sent a newsletter to everyone sharing that they forbid keywords like bacteria, fungus, and a few others. But they didn't send that newsletter before they send it after they bring all the listings down and trust me You don't want to stay without sales for a week. This is ruining your business It's very important to be super informed in that space because again Amazon does not care About the sellers and they really really do whatever they want
Claus Lauter: let's talk a little bit, not about the risks, but also about the advantages being on Amazon.
What kind of results do you see from DTC brands that are coming from Shopify or WooCommerce or any other platform and going starting to sell on Amazon?
Hristo Arakliev: The advantages are Huge, to be honest, because, we have estimated that and I've spoken also with many other companies, with our advisor from, Trasio as well who has been talented in thousands of brands, going on and off Amazon, but as soon as you bring your brand on Amazon, it brings that trustworthiness with it.
As many people, they don't trust landing pages. You're going to push them down your funnel, they're going to see your product, but many of them are not going to end up buying your product. Let's say some of them are Amazon buyers. And I'd say this is a big number. What these people do is they go and check if the product is on Amazon.
And if it is on Amazon, they would most probably buy it there because they have a prime account. They trust the platform. They know they can return it in the easiest fashion in a couple of days, whatever, as soon as they receive it. And this gives them an ease of mind. So you cannot change. These clients and people.
So you'd rather help them buy your product on a channel they're comfortable with rather than pushing them down your funnel. And there are going to be many people like that. And so first you're going to convert these people that otherwise you would not convert. Second of all, as long as your brand is there, people are going to start noticing it on Amazon.
And also the ones that are checking if the brand exists. Are going to feel more comfortable. So this creates much more sales down the line. So when you open Amazon as a channel, many times your sales within a year, don't just double, they usually quadruple or more just because these channels are helping each other.
People see your brand here. People see your brand there. And in people's minds, they start thinking, Oh, this is a legit, legitimate brand. I can trust them. Because in 2023 people. Rarely buy something as soon as they see They do their research. You're going to think about it, but if they see it on Instagram and on Google and on Amazon and on Facebook and here and there, and then you re market them as much as possible, at some point you convince them that.
They really want to buy a product. But this works in a similar fashion being on Amazon tremendously boosts your brand's credibility. That's what I, that's what I'd say. this is an important factor. And then if you know what you're doing on Amazon, you can definitely. Turn it into a very profitable channel because for example, our promise and high percent of our clients is that in 10 to 12 months, starting to work together with us, we're going to match their website sales.
I'm saying this because it's possible. It's not made up thing. And we achieved that 95 percent of the time and worst case scenario, we get it to 60 percent of their website sales, but we're not only get them to these percentages. And at the same time, their website sales have increased as well. So this is what I was trying to explain their sales at the end of the year haven't doubled they've quadrupled or more.
But it's about focus. It's about focus again if somebody is great running facebook ads They'd rather do that. And if they want to partner up with an agency or hire someone, they'd better do that. So this person or team helps them out, get them to where they want to be. And if some point in time they feel like they've learned so much.
Of Amazon that they don't want, they want to do it themselves, let them do it, but we're getting started. Just the learning curve is years.
Claus Lauter: Yeah, I can imagine. I totally agree on the synergy effect that you get from your own brand, from your own online presence and with Amazon. And then obviously this has a direct impact on your profit, on your revenue.
Now, as you said, Hyperson, you're around for a long time and you're basically on, on the top of what's happening on the Amazon right now. Who's your perfect customer? Do you work specifically with certain verticals, industries, niche?,
Hristo Arakliev: basically any DTC brand that is doing 300, 000 a month or more in sales on their website, no matter how they're driving the traffic, we can help them by matching their website sales.
This is what we do. The thing is that before that, when they're smaller, it's not the best of ideas to spread to thin among other channels, but we think that this is a nice place where they are at making at least 300, 000 a month, they need to have their own brand, not dropshipping, but brand they've built, created, and they're selling it.
And we can definitely, , help these guys the most on Amazon. The only products we're avoiding are CBD and drug related products and clothing and apparel because these niches are very, very specific it could work as well with these niches, but it just takes much more time and much more effort.
Claus Lauter: If you're selling commodities or cheap products from dropshipping stores from China, then obviously it's much more, more difficult. Tell me a little bit about the onboarding process. How can I get started with you guys?
Hristo Arakliev: It's very easy. We get in touch, you get on a call. With me, we go through a really nice conversation where I explain how we work, show you a little bit of our case studies, because we've really been around the block and we have tons of case studies to prove it and happy clients.
And then when we start working together, I connect you with your account manager and most of the communication goes through Slack. You have weekly calls and it's. Just very important for the brand owners to be engaged because I noticed that people who get on these calls and people who, we communicate daily with are much more successful than brands who think, Oh, these guys are going to do everything.
For me, I don't need to move a finger. In a sense we, we do, but if you are more involved or if you hire a person to work with us so that everything could happen much faster and everything happens smooth, going to have much more success.
Claus Lauter: Yeah, it makes total sense. Tell me a little bit about the pricing structure.
How does that work?
Hristo Arakliev: When we're getting started, we start with a fixed fee. So depending on how many products you have, the fixed fee is usually around 3, 500 and 5, 000. This is basically the time and place where we invest in the client. But as long, as soon as we bring them to a certain amount, let's say a hundred thousand a month, if they're just getting started, or if they're already on Amazon and we increase their sales with a hundred thousand a month, we move to a rev share model where we.
Get rid of the fixed fee and we move to 7 percent of the revenue, lowering that number over time with volume until we cap it at around 4%. When we get 1 million a month, as this is absolutely possible.
Claus Lauter: No, that sounds just fair because as you grow you earn more and obviously the client makes much more money.
That's a fair model. Cool before we come to the end of our coffee break today, what's a final thought you want to share with our listeners?
Hristo Arakliev: What I want to share is that multi channel, marketing is the way to go these days. Yes, focus on one channel, become successful there, but then try to test as many channels as possible to see which one's going to stick for you.
Because this way you're going to turn your , hobby brand into a real successful recognizable.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Cool. Where can people find out more about you? They can find
Hristo Arakliev: out more on our website, hyperzone. io and yeah, we have plenty of information there. I can check it out., we're actually, I just want to share something.
We are just launching a new website, in the middle of November. They are going to be able to experience our new website very, very soon, maybe by the time this episode is out, it's already going to be up.
Claus Lauter: I will put the link in the show notes.
So you will be just one click away. Crystal, thanks so much for giving us an overview on how to transfer into Amazon. And I agree a hundred percent with you. It's better to have an expert on your side because it's a complete universe out there. I tried it and I was completely overwhelmed. So having somebody who knows what it is talking about, that definitely makes sense.
Thanks so much for your time today.
Hristo Arakliev: Thank you as well, Klaus. Talk to you soon.
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