Meeting Sellers Where They Are
By Ruben Amar, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Forum Brands
When Brandon Furhman and Jared Orkin founded the New York Amazon Seller Meetup group in 2016, meetings took place in a bar with four or five of their friends who also worked in this space. Since then, the group has expanded to a community of over two thousand passionate and successful Amazon sellers in the greater NYC area. We were honored to be asked to host the first in-person meetup since the onset of the pandemic at our NYC headquarters.
Friends, colleagues and mentors were able to reconnect, have a drink and share a laugh. Sellers came eager to learn more about how to navigate the shifting ecommerce landscape, and stand out in this increasingly competitive industry. Three industry leaders gave unique presentations, each revealing a new opportunity for growth that many sellers had yet to pursue.
Here’s what I heard:
- Demand Forecasting: Much of the technology in our space is geared toward pricing, inventory management and sales. While all of these capabilities are important, the fundamental objective of a retail business is to get great products to customers as quickly as possible. In order to achieve that successfully, especially in our current supply chain environment, demand forecasting is essential. When my co-founder Alex Kopco asked our audience of sellers if they had implemented a regular demand forecasting practice, only a small fraction raised their hands. Alex discussed technologies available to help close this capability gap and help sellers avoid out-of-stock scenarios, specifically Crystal, our free, automated demand forecasting tool. If all sellers in the room utilized regular demand forecasting, their businesses would experience an incredible level of growth.
- Marketing with TikTok: Sellers must adopt creative, cost efficient solutions to drive traffic to their Amazon stores. Harnessing the power of social media is critical, yet almost none of the sellers in attendance were using TikTok to market their products. Although the platform is expected to reach 755 million monthly users in 2022, TikTok is still an emerging channel for influencers relative to Instagram and Facebook. As a result, sellers can partner with TikTok influencers with tens of thousands of followers, all at a fraction of the cost of other social media platforms. Paul Baron presented TikTok as a highly effective method for sellers to affordably reach consumers that are most relevant to their business.
- Product Innovation and Optimization through A/BTesting: Modifying physical product design and optimizing an Amazon store can significantly increase brand appeal. However, making such changes without proper data can have the opposite effect. Only one-third of the sellers we hosted used A/B testing to inform when and how they make adjustments to their products or store. A/B testing is a user experience research methodology consisting of a randomized experiment with variants A and B, ultimately determining which of the two variants is more effective for consumers. For example, measurable variants can include product imagery, product orientation, packaging, titles, product descriptions and color. This capability has been available for years on Seller Central and through third party providers, yet few take advantage of the power of this data.
As operators, we know that the growth of Forum Brands and our industry as a whole depends on the vitality of communities like the one we hosted a few short weeks ago. There are so many untapped opportunities that sellers can take advantage of, only three of which were discussed at the meetup. If more and more Amazon business owners begin to execute these strategies effectively, we predict an enormous surge in growth.
At Forum, we will continue to meet sellers where they are and offer shared knowledge, resources and technology to support their success at every stage of the business lifecycle. If and when a seller decides to exit, we are well funded and well positioned to add more high quality brands to our portfolio.
We can’t wait to host more events and continue to learn from this community.