Claire O’Donnell of Amazon: Serving to SMB sellers prolong attain past their native space gives blueprint to future success

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Final week BizSugar held its first ever SmallBizFluence occasion, with specialists sharing their information and experience on constructing profitable on-line small companies.  And as a part of the convention I had the pleasure of moderating a “fireplace chat” with Claire O’Donnell, who leads the Promoting Associate Communities and Small Enterprise Empowerment organizations for Amazon. 

Claire shared quite a lot of methods Amazon is trying to help small enterprise sellers to extend their potential to promote extra and develop their companies whereas utilizing the Amazon platform, particularly throughout unsure occasions dwell we’ve been going through the previous couple of years.  

Beneath is an edited transcript of a portion of our dialog.  Click on on the embedded SoundClound participant to listen to the whole dialog, and should you’d like to take a look at the remainder of the recordings from the SmallBizFluence occasion by changing into a member of the free BizSugar Mastermind group right here. 

Claire O’Donnell:  I feel the pandemic was simply devastating in a whole lot of methods for lots of small companies, notably those that had been primarily bodily. And Amazon ended up being a little bit of a lifeline for a few of these small companies to attach with a a lot wider attain of consumers than they’d’ve ever been in a position to with their bodily areas. However within the pandemic, when everybody was sitting at residence, purchasing on-line grew to become actually necessary. And so there’s a complete bunch of sellers who actually discovered that lifeline through the pandemic.

I feel a terrific instance was BlueZone Sports activities. They really shut down a bunch of their bodily shops, began promoting on Amazon, and now they’ve extra workers and extra bodily shops than ever. And so when small companies promote on Amazon, they get to unlock this big buyer attain and all these instruments and companies which might be designed to assist them achieve success. That’s actually highly effective and generally is a nice augmentation to your present enterprise, even now we’re beginning to get again to extra bodily and in individual interplay.

New Sellers Getting Began on Amazon

Brent Leary: A smaller enterprise, perhaps the oldsters which might be even beginning to promote, what are a number of the issues that they want to concentrate on, and the way may they get began utilizing a platform like Amazon?

Claire O’Donnell:  We get this query lots. And really, final 12 months we had 200,000 new sellers begin promoting on Amazon. So there’s a whole lot of alternative there, and we’d love you to turn out to be one in all them. 

Now we have a few instruments and assets. Now we have our Amazon Small Enterprise Academy, and that’s actually targeted on these small companies who’re perhaps fascinated with eCommerce, however don’t know fairly the way to get began. And so the Amazon Small Enterprise Academy has a bunch of instruments and assets to assist with that. We even have a structured instructional program known as Pathways that you would be able to undergo, as properly.

After which when you attain the purpose the place you’re prepared to enroll and promote on Amazon, now we have a whole lot of instructional supplies to get you began. Now we have one thing known as Vendor College, which has a complete bunch of instructional materials, after which instruments and companies that can actually make it easier to ramp up shortly and get that attain to the couple of hundred million clients which might be purchasing on Amazon. Issues like A+ content material, sponsored manufacturers, like our model shops, all of this stuff are designed that will help you optimize your model and assist attain clients.

Brent Leary: When you consider all that’s going through not simply the brand new sellers, however the of us which were round, you’ve bought these headwinds with provide chain and another issues that they’ve to consider. What sort of steering are you able to give of us as they begin to constitution this vacation season? 

Claire O’Donnell:  I feel it’s going to be a difficult vacation season, no two methods about it. And I feel we’re all figuring it out as we go. We don’t know precisely what the world goes to appear to be. I feel a few issues that I might be occupied with, and that we’re occupied with for small companies, is attempting to tug ahead buyer purchasing. I’m beginning to see a whole lot of manufacturers run promotions now and encourage clients to get that vacation purchasing in early. And I feel that’s good for the enterprise as a result of you’ll be able to stage your gross sales doubtlessly, in order that they’re much less peaky than you would possibly usually see throughout that vacation season. It’s good for patrons, too. Who doesn’t wish to be performed with their vacation purchasing earlier, particularly in the event that they’re getting nice offers?

Brent Leary: That’s proper.

Claire O’Donnell:  The opposite factor is simply pay a whole lot of consideration to your provide chain. I feel that’s the place we’re all trying. That’s the place we’re all involved. We’re it carefully at Amazon, as properly, however it’s a little little bit of an unknown. And I do know everybody’s working across the clock. Our achievement employees are working across the clock to make it possible for we’re receiving stock and getting packages out to clients. And I do know of us on the ports and so forth are, as properly.

Constructing a model to face out from the pack

Brent Leary:  It’s nice that there’s been, what, 200,000 or so new sellers added, however how do you stand out? What are a number of the ways in which sellers can begin to sort of stand aside, set themselves aside, to have the ability to benefit from these many hundreds of thousands of consumers shopping for? 

Claire O’Donnell:  I feel it begins with having a very compelling product and a very robust model. And I feel clients are more and more trying to do extra values primarily based purchasing, they usually actually wish to join with manufacturers on a extra private stage than maybe they felt previously. And so actually being intentional about your merchandise and your branding and having that mission that ties all through the purchasing expertise, after which ensuring that story comes out to clients.

What we see is a whole lot of clients will do analysis on Amazon, in addition to making their buy there. And so ensuring you may have actually wealthy content material on the product element pages, ensuring you’re constructing out your model retailer pages. Signing up for achievement by Amazon also can improve your gross sales. I feel we see about 20 to 25% improve on gross sales when issues are in Achievement by Amazon and get that Amazon Prime badging. And so these are a number of the issues that I feel that you would be able to take a look at to ensure you are telling your story to clients, and that they’re additionally in a position to get merchandise shortly, the best way they need them.

Specializing in the vendor expertise

Brent Leary: You touched on Achievement by Amazon. There are specific items to the promoting puzzle that don’t initially stand out. You concentrate on advertising the product and promoting the product. However typically we don’t take into consideration all that goes into it as soon as they click on on the purchase button, how does it get to them? In order that complete achievement by Amazon piece is extremely necessary. What are the opposite sort of issues which might be behind the scenes? 

Claire O’Donnell:  I feel Amazon has nice customer support. You’ve in all probability skilled it as a buyer. We even have a ton of workers who’re devoted to sellers and their success. I’m simply one in all over 24,000 workers who’re targeted on how can we make sellers’ expertise higher daily. After which we make investments a ton yearly. I feel final 12 months we invested 18 billion in logistics, instruments, companies, packages, and other people, to assist sellers and small companies achieve success.

Black Enterprise Accelerator

We’ve talked about quite a lot of these totally different instruments. We even have a number of particular investments. We simply launched our Black Enterprise Accelerator in June of this 12 months, which is designed to assist Black owned companies be extra profitable on Amazon. And it’s backed by a 150 million greenback dedication over the subsequent 4 years. And we’re actually enthusiastic about that as a result of, once more, I feel it’s nice for sellers, for small companies. It’s additionally nice for our clients, who’re additionally , as we’ve talked somewhat bit about on this presentation, like purchasing their values.

Serving to Rural Small Companies Attain Extra Clients

Fascinated with these American sellers, they’re unfold out everywhere in the US and there’s a terrific story right here round small, rural primarily based sellers who’re in a position to unlock entry to this big set of consumers, a whole bunch of hundreds of thousands of consumers. And Palouse Manufacturers I feel is only a nice instance of that, the place they shifted to promoting on-line additionally through the pandemic, they usually employed about 50 new workers of their new, small rural city. I feel that’s the tremendous thrilling story that we contact on within the report.

Prime Day

I feel one thing else that we haven’t touched on that got here out on the report is small companies had their most profitable Prime Day ever this 12 months. And hopefully you’re all aware of Prime Day, however it’s kind of our large purchasing occasion for patrons. We noticed small companies’ gross sales nearly double 12 months on 12 months. And we ran a small enterprise promotion this 12 months, invested a few hundred million {dollars} in serving to join clients with small enterprise and drive these small companies’ gross sales. That was actually thrilling for us.


That is a part of the One-on-One Interview sequence with thought leaders. The transcript has been edited for publication. If it is an audio or video interview, click on on the embedded participant above, or subscribe through iTunes or through Stitcher.

Claire O’Donnell of Amazon: Helping SMB sellers extend reach beyond their local area provides blueprint to future success