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Gabriella NeskeGabriella Neske is the Senior Account Manager at Buy Box Experts, where she supports large brands on first-party and third-party Amazon marketplace issues. Prior to joining Buy Box Experts, Gabriella spent more than five years at Amazon as a vendor manager and buyer. She has also worked at Nordstrom Direct and Groupon.

 

Scott OhsmanScott Ohsman is a Partner at Buy Box Experts, where he is involved with business development and people management. Before this, Scott was the owner and CEO of The Cairn Company and Frontier Group Inc. He has over 20 years of experience in retail and e-commerce and has helped dozens of brands with their Amazon 1P relationships.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • Gabriella Neske’s advice to brands that are invited to sign up with Amazon as first-party sellers
  • Scott Ohsman explains how working with Amazon compares to working with other big-box retailers
  • How Amazon vets the brands they intend to work with
  • The costs and expenses brands incur by doing business with Amazon
  • What brands need to know about advertising on Amazon in order to avoid making costly mistakes
  • How Gabriella helps brands estimate what they will get paid by Amazon
  • The best ways to avoid stockout problems caused by Amazon’s forecasting algorithms and seasonal purchases
  • What does the Amazon Born to Run program help brands accomplish?
  • How brands should prepare themselves for Amazon’s sophisticated price-matching capabilities
  • Gabriella and Scott discuss how brands can manage their sales on different online channels
  • Why brands should not be entirely reliant on Amazon for their business

In this episode…

Many brands are thrilled to receive a call from one of Amazon’s vendor managers inviting them to sign up as a first-party seller. While the Vendor Central program is a great place for brands to sell their products, it does come with its own unique set of challenges.

For instance, there are many costs and expenses incurred throughout the program, as well as an increased demand for marketing and advertising. Because of this, it’s imperative that brands know what they are getting themselves into before signing up.

In this week’s episode of the Buy Box Experts podcast, host James Thomson interviews Gabriella Neske and Scott Ohsman, both from Buy Box Experts, about some of the major challenges that brands face in the Amazon Vendor Central program. They discuss the common costs associated with being a first-party seller, the importance of increased advertising on the marketplace, and the best ways to avoid stockout problems as your popularity grows. Stay tuned.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode

Buy Box Experts applies decades of e-commerce experience to successfully manage their clients’ marketplace accounts. The Buy Box account managers specialize in combining an understanding of their clients’ business fundamentals and their in-depth expertise in the Amazon Marketplace.

The team works with marketplace technicians using a system of processes, proprietary software, and extensive channel experience to ensure your Amazon presence captures the opportunity in the marketplace–not only producing greater revenue and profits but also reducing or eliminating your business’ workload.

Buy Box Experts prides itself on being one of the few agencies with an SMB (small to medium-sized business) division and an Enterprise division. Buy Box does not commingle clients among divisions as each has unique needs and requirements for proper account management.

Learn more about Buy Box Experts at BuyBoxExperts.com.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:09
Welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast we bring to light the unique opportunities brands face in today’s e commerce world.

James Thomson 0:18
Hi, I’m James Thomson, one of the hosts of the Buy Box Experts podcast. I’m a partner with Buy Box Experts and the former business head of the selling on Amazon team at Amazon, as well as the first account manager for the Fulfillment by Amazon program. I’m co author of the book Controlling Your Brand in the Age of Amazon, as well as co founder of the Prosper Show, one of the largest continuing education conferences for sellers on Amazon in North America. Today’s episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. When you hire Buy Box Experts you receive the strategy optimization and marketing performance to succeed on Amazon. Buy Box Experts combined executive level advisory services with expert performance management and execution of your Amazon channel strategy. Go to buyboxexperts.com to learn more. Before I introduce our guests today, I’d like to do a big send out to our partners at Disruptive Media. For off Amazon advertising Disruptive Advertising offers the highest level of service in the digital marketing industry, focusing on driving traffic, converting traffic and enterprise analytics. Disruptive helps their clients to increase their bottom line, month to month.

Alright, our guests today are Gabrielle Neske and Scott Ohsman, both of Buy Box Experts. Gabriella Neske is a senior account manager at Buy Box Experts supporting large brands on first party and third party Amazon Marketplace issues. Gabriella previously spent more than five years at Amazon as a vendor manager and buyer and has also worked at Nordstrom Direct and Groupon. Scott Ohsman is a partner at Buy Box Experts. Prior to Buy Box Experts, Scott founded the Cairn Company and the Frontier Group where he was a manufacturer rep for dozens of outdoor brands helping them with their Amazon 1P relationships. I’ve invited Gabriella and Scott today to join me on the Buy Box Experts podcast so we can discuss many of the confusing aspects that some brands face with the Amazon vendor central or 1P program. Gabriella and Scott, welcome and thank you for joining us today on the Buy Box Experts podcast.

Unknown Speaker 2:35
Thank you for having us. So

James Thomson 2:37
I want to I want to start with a situation I often run into where you both worked with dozens of brands that have sold on the Amazon 1P portal. For many brands. Their first interaction with Amazon is they get a call from a vendor manager. The vendor manager says we love your brand. We want to do business with you. Why don’t you sign up with us For many brands, that’s an exciting call because Gosh, Amazon’s a big channel. And sure enough, you know, the brand to like to sell a lot of product through that channel. We’re going to talk about some of the issues that brands face when they sell as a first party brand. But what would be your words of advice to that brand person who’s getting that call from Amazon for the first time asking them about potentially wholesaling to the 1P 1P side of the house?

Unknown Speaker 3:29
Scott, you want to take that one?

Scott Ohsman 3:30
No, I was just pointing to you.

Gabriella Neske 3:32
To me. Oh, that’s there we go. Well, I would first say that you’re absolutely right, James. This is an exciting time for brands to be invited to Amazon. It sounds great. Everyone wants to get on the platform because they believe that means automatic sales and automatic dollars coming into into their business. The greatest advice is really to get to know what you’re getting into understand the terms of what you’re getting into relative to that can be anything from Co Op agreements. To how you’re going to work with your vendor manager, you know, these are all things that you know people learn in hindsight, you know, you as you mentioned before vendor managers change seats very often, the agreement you may have made verbally with a vendor manager three months ago may not be valid, come review and switch out. So it’s really important to understand what you’re getting into relative to your co op agreements, some of the basics, and then how you think you are as a brand equipped to manage things like inventory, just all of the Self Service components of the vendor central side, and it really is self service, even with the best vendor manager behind you, if you are able, if you’re big enough, and you’re able to get that audience with your vendor manager and you have a great relationship, you’ll probably continue to have that and you’ll probably have continued to have contact with them. The biggest thing is having that inside contact with a vendor manager to help you with some real day to day things. I mean, outside of hiring experts that manage with Amazon, it’s really, really important to understand that this is a self service type of arrangement, you’re going to understand how to ship into Amazon, all the protocols, everything from labeling your boxes, and you need to get it right the first time. So it’s, you can create a, you can create a big mess for yourself. If you don’t have the right data. You aren’t clean about it. It’s not just content piece, but the catalog and the back end. So some of the real you know, basic legs and stool if you will,

James Thomson 5:28
Scott, let’s say I’m a brand and I already sell to other brick and mortar retailers, including big box, Amazon comes along and says we want to do business with you. What can a brand expect to find that’s very different about that Amazon relationship relative to other big-box retailers?

Scott Ohsman 5:46
Yeah, in concept it’s very similar. It’s a retail relationship. Like you just said what is very different with Gabriella kind of spoke to is the terminology that they use is very different than any other national retailer. How they count the money. As far as your discounts, the product counts all the all the intricacies their freight allowance or damage is somewhat alike now to most retailers, so in you need that’s why you need a translator to basically take Amazon internal acronyms and things that they come up with that nobody else uses. Yeah, and an ability to translate to Oh yes, that’s actually just a product discount, or that’s MDF, or that’s this and the other part of the world, this is how it works. And then to the Self Service. The routing guides are basically very similar, but the the intricacies and the complexities of their distribution and fulfillment center and how they send purchase orders in and how they’re processed, is different than many national retailers or any retailers, for that matter. So and then the bigger picture too, just to add on one thing as far as the Gabriella spoke about was when they call you and you can About you are selling you have other sales channels, you have to understand product segmentation like what what is going to be there? Because what we talk about all the time with our clients is price and brand integrity. Yes, they rule everything. So when you set up the Amazon channel, you have to be very careful and thoughtful of what effects that’s going to have on your other channels.

James Thomson 7:22
So often, when that call comes from the vendor manager, there, there may already be some of your product being sold on Amazon by various third party sellers, be them authorized or unauthorized sellers. How does Amazon vet a brand to get to the point that they’re ready to potentially do business with that brand?

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