One of the largest distributors of musical instruments and accessories in North America is also the corporate owner of some of the finest musical instrument brands in the world.
In 2020 the company was frustrated by declining business at Amazon, which had accelerated due to Amazon’s requirement that 1P brands be “brand registered.” An Amazon Vendor Manager in the Musical Instruments category referenced that IPM was an experienced agency that specialized in Amazon and could likely help with this and other issues. The Amazon Vendor Manager connected the company’s President and CEO to the IPM team for an initial call. That call led to subsequent calls with the company’s VP of Sales, where the IPM team identified several possible areas of assistance but also discussed an opportunity to launch a new-to-market band and orchestra product line at Amazon.
The IPM team learned that one of the company’s core competencies included the manufacture of high-quality band and orchestra instruments. We also knew that Amazon’s MI team had a desire to partner with additional band and orchestra brands to grow that segment of their business.
Between August 2020 and April 2021, the IPM team embarked on a comprehensive market research project to assists the company in developing and launching an entirely new brand on Amazon. The 8-month research project identified the following:
Recommended initial new product mix and complete “what’s in the box” suggestions
Recommended price points and margin modeling, including Amazon back-end programs
Estimated Amazon sales volume for competitor brands
Forecasted sales per SKU per year & inventory needs by quarter for years 1-5
A strategy to quickly generate initial reviews
Recommended Amazon Sponsored Advertising budget per year
Reviews: The new brand’s positive reviews are a testament to the company’s ability to bring a high-quality product line to market at an affordable price. The IPM team utilized the Vine program to generate reviews that went live within days of product launch. The Vine program generated an average of 12 reviews per product across seven different product families, averaging over 4.5 stars per ASIN.
Initial Stocking Orders: A challenge for a 1P brand when launching new products at Amazon, or in this case an entirely new-to-market brand, is that Amazon’s forecast modeling draws heavily from past results. Therefore, their system sees no need to generate orders for newly-launched brands. To counter this, the IPM team took advantage of access to the “Born to Run” program to generate “vendor initiated” purchase orders in exactly the quantities and timeframe desired.
Content: Content is a critical piece of the puzzle on Amazon and e-commerce in general. Prior to launch the IPM team had designed complete product detail pages. Each product detail page featured multiple-module A+ content at launch as well as best-in-class, above-the-fold content that included high-resolution product and lifestyle carousel images, videos, and title and bullet point copy that was SEO-indexed to fully-researched advertising keywords.
Advertising: A new-to-market brand that is exclusive to Amazon, and has no other external PR or traffic drivers, starts with no traffic and hence no search relevancy. It requires a carefully-planned and meticulously-executed sponsored advertising strategy that not only generates traffic and sales, but aligns with the brand’s budget and ROAS expectations. The IPM team designed comprehensive campaigns that utilized sponsored product ads to drive traffic directly to product detail pages, and sponsored brand ads to generate awareness for the brand by driving traffic to brand store pages that we had designed from scratch. Just one month after launch, the advertising campaigns were already generating 5.3X ROAS
Best New Release and Best Seller Rankings: Within one month of launch Amazon algorithms had detected healthy traffic, sell-through levels, and reviews and was generating not only auto-replenishment orders but had placed “#1 New Release” tags on two families of products! Withing three months of launch four of the brand’s ASINs had already broken into the Top 5 on Amazon’s Best Sellers List in their respective categories.