Andrew Hamada of Reason Automation: 4 KPIs Sellers Should Focus On for an Amazon Strategy and More
Written by: Carrie Dagenhard
"We cannot emphasize enough that being priced well doesn't matter if your detail page is terrible and contains no content." — Andrew Hamada, CEO and co-founder of Reason Automation and former marketing leader for Amazon
Over the past couple of decades, Amazon has rapidly grown into a complex and multi-faceted ecosystem rife with opportunities for brands of all sizes. It disrupted the retail market and created a space where, suddenly, massive name brands are forced to compete with smaller brand manufacturers they previously beat with ease.
Amazon hasn’t just leveled the playing field for vendors and sellers — it is the playing field.
Part of what makes any Amazon strategy so successful is its treasure trove of rich data, which vendor managers can use to fine-tune performance and drive negotiations with brand manufacturer partners. And while brand manufacturers have access to some of this data through tools like Vendor Central and Seller Central, there are limitations. Sometimes it’s challenging to connect the dots.
But a team of former Amazon employees is hoping to change that and better support ecommerce sellers in making smarter, more data-driven business decisions.
"The types of data — and especially the user interface — that Amazon provides are surprisingly limiting,” says Andrew Hamada, CEO and co-founder of Reason Automation and former marketing leader for Amazon. "We knew exactly the pipeline that we wanted to build based on our internal experience at Amazon."
But what data should sellers be leveraging to gain an edge? And what sort of outcomes can you expect to achieve when you have access to this data?
Hamada appeared on a recent episode of Unpacking the Digital Shelf podcast, “Manage Your Amazon Business the Same Way Amazon Does,” to delve into all things Amazon data, including the four ecommerce key performance indicators (KPIs) sellers should be paying attention to and why.
What Can You Achieve With Access to Better Data?
Unless you’ve worked on an Amazon strategy like Hamada and his team, you can only presume to know what sorts of information the company is collecting and leveraging to improve experiences, foster competition between sellers, and keep users returning day after day.
"It was everything that you're probably imagining," says Hamada. “They're tracking everything from customer activities on the website — mouse clicks, mouse movements, and dwell time on a page, all the way down to things like add-to-carts, what items get purchased, and then all of their strong machine learning and artificial intelligence that powers things like ‘customers bought also bought.’"
Plus, Amazon data also includes financial and accounting level performance metrics of various sections of the business. But, according to Hamada, the most valuable aspect of Amazon’s internal data isn’t just the information itself, but the fact that you can combine disparate data sets with ease.
That means Amazonians can aggregate data and connect that intel to financial performance data, gather direct insight into accounting level profit and loss, and access one dashboard for at-a-glance data-powered decision-making.
Hamada shares that when Amazon employees leave for another brand, they’re faced with the reality that they no longer have access to things like raw click data. And while the Amazon strategy provides vendors and sellers a subset of data, there’s a gap.
By connecting that gap, vendors and sellers can have a more holistic picture. And with a tool like Reason Automation, organizations can plug this enhanced Amazon data directly into their enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution to combine it with other insights, like shipping data.
Having this level of insight into their business helps organizations to improve their decisions on everything from pricing and inventory to profit (P) and loss (L) as a whole.
4 Ecommerce KPIs All Sellers Should Pay Attention To (On and Off Amazon)
As a decision-maker with access to robust data sets, it can be challenging to decide which KPIs are most important.
"There are four main levers that we generally recommend that customers pay attention to," Hamada says, drawing on his Amazon background and experience working with his own customers.
The four main levers are pricing, catalog, in stock, and traffic.
It’s essential you gain insight into your price-related metrics. And this isn’t one single data point, but several insights together, such as:
Your average selling price;
The relationship between your average selling price and the volume you've sold in that period; and
How you benchmark against top competitors.
Hamada recommends using KPIs that allow you to calculate your average sale price in as many different ways as possible. For example, you might:
Track your total business in a given time period;
Track that movement over time; or
Track price movements for specific SKUs.
All of this will help you glean insight into how a marketplace like Amazon is pricing your products.
"We cannot emphasize enough that being priced well doesn't matter if your detail page is terrible and contains no content," Hamada says. "A lot of folks get concerned about what we mean by ‘content,’ but, for the most part, we just mean having it there and having it complete."
In other words, you should be:
Uploading the maximum number of images;
Writing and optimizing feature bullets;
Creating high-quality expanded content; and
Unifying your catalog data across platforms.
It seems simple, but it’s critical your products are in stock and available. If not, Amazon may punish you by dropping your position in search results. For most brands, this means keeping a close eye on inventory data and how quickly each item moves.
"Even if you're priced correctly, and your detailed page content is great. If they get there and you're out of stock, then nobody is going to purchase." — Andrew Hamada, CEO and co-founder of Reason Automation and former marketing leader for Amazon
Finally, it’s vital you understand traffic as a whole.
"How are you managing the cost of that traffic, and how are you monitoring the success of that traffic as it converts into products?" Hamada says. "The more detailed and more specific you can get about that, the better."
He points out that, at a fundamental level, brands understand the return on ad spend (ROAS) but can’t or don’t connect the impact of individual campaigns or ad types to individual products. And the only way to do that, he says, is with hyper granular data.
Don’t Neglect Connecting Your Data’s Dots
For many brands and brand manufacturers, achieving sustainable success on Amazon — or any other ecommerce platform — can seem a bit like cracking a complex equation or hitting the jackpot through sheer luck.
But, the truth is, with a little extra data and effort connecting the dots, you can glean all the insight you need to make better decisions and achieve that seemingly elusive success.
Listen to the full podcast episode to learn more about how Amazon uses data to drive its decisions and how Reason Automation clients use insights to reach their goals.