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Peter PhillipsPeter Phillips is the Sales Director of Ecommerce at Kenshoo, where he oversees the development and expansion of strategic e-commerce accounts that use Kenshoo to manage their Amazon campaigns. Peter has a background in e-commerce services, software business development, client management, campaign optimization, and more. Before Kenshoo, Peter was the Director of Business Development at Marketplace Ignition.

 

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

  • Peter Phillips reveals the critical timelines for Prime Day, and how brands can stay prepared
  • The best ways to get in touch and communicate with vendor managers
  • Peter’s advice to brands concerned about advertising costs going up on Prime Day
  • Peter discusses whether or not brands should discount their products in order to generate more leads
  • The metrics brands should look at when deciding which products to promote in their marketing campaigns
  • The value of Amazon’s Best Seller badges on Prime Day and how to get them for your products
  • Where to get in touch with Kenshoo

In this episode…

Although Amazon Prime Day 2020 has not yet been announced, it is critical for brands to prepare in advance if they want to make the most out of the annual deal event. Most importantly, they need to start getting their inventory and budgeting in order to avoid missing out on the sales.

However, many sellers are concerned about an increase in Amazon advertising costs during this period, and therefore may choose not to get involved. Others may be reluctant to offer discounts on their products due to fears about loss in revenue. So what is the best way to prepare for Prime Day in order to maximize your profits without going over budget?

In this episode of Buy Box Experts, Eric Stopper is joined by Peter Phillips, the Sales Director of Ecommerce at Kenshoo, to talk about what brands on Amazon should be doing to prepare for this year’s Prime Day. Peter shares his advice on the metrics to consider when promoting products, the best ways to cultivate good relationships with vendor managers, and the benefits of Best Seller badges. 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 ecommerce world.

Eric Stopper  0:18  

Hey and welcome to the Buy Box Experts podcast. This is Eric Stopper. Today’s episode is brought to you by Buy Box Experts. Buy Box Experts takes ambitious brands and makes them unbeatable. We’ve got a team of consultants, I am one of them. And to be completely honest, everybody at least needs to bounce ideas off of someone else if you’re working remotely right now, and you’re not really super engaged with your marketing team and you just need some insight for Amazon. Seriously come and talk to us like this is what we’re doing all day. We’re keenly dialed into Amazon. And we have insight about all the different international platforms as well as us. And we’ve been doing a lot with Walmart recently. Thanks, actually, to our partners that can do this episode, I am pleased to bring Peter Phillips, Sales Director of Ecommerce at Kenshoo, onto the show to talk about Prime Day 2020. Peter, welcome to the show.

Peter Phillips  1:14  

Thanks, sir. Good to be here.

Eric Stopper  1:17  

So the first thing that I want to talk about is, is the kind of timing around all of this. Because a lot of the brands that come to me I think in like, Okay, we got to be ready for prime day. And they’ve been asking themselves that question since like last Prime Day. And so Prime Day in India has already happened. So we know it’s rolling out. But what are some of the critical timelines that you would suggest to brands and when is it too late for somebody to actually, like, be ready for prime day and have all the boxes checked?

Peter Phillips  1:57  

Yeah, good question. And, you know, I think Everybody’s sort of been guessing this. And there’s obviously been a few leaks out of Amazon around different dates, and it’s been rescheduled and pushed back a couple times. But I think at this point, we’re pretty confident it’s going to be in the first week of October, likely the fifth or the sixth. So in terms of timing to prepare for Prime Day, I mean, it’s now i think that you know, we’ve been hearing you need to get your inventory in by, you know, the end of September. And in talking with you and some of our partners, we’ve heard that, you know, there’s already some delays in getting FBA shipments processed. So I think right now, if you’re a seller, you need to be pushing your inventory into FBA for Prime Day. And get ready not only for that, but you know, Prime Day looks like it’s just going to be an extension of the holiday shopping season at this point. So, you know, it’s not going to stop after Prime Day. That’s just the beginning. And then cyber five is going to be coming right on its heels. So get ready Now get your inventory in. Now if you’re a vendor, you know, bug your vendor manager to get those pieces cut. Because it’s got to get in there and get processed, especially when you think about the backlogs they’ve had from the pandemic and everything else that’s happening. Sure.

Eric Stopper  3:23  

So it’s interesting that you bring up these relationships with vendor managers. I have found them to be fickle creatures, right? These are folks at Amazon. I’ve also done a little bit of research and I found that some of the vendor managers are like, they’re, they’re like, MBA students at Yale, and Harvard and Carnegie Mellon and they’re the churn is just crazy. I’m wondering from your experience, dealing with vendor managers, right, what is the best way to like, get in touch with them and to have that communication so that you don’t have Any of these weird breakdowns that cause issues like your, your customer experience and your customer journey and your inventory?

Peter Phillips  4:08  

Yeah, it’s a tricky question. And I’ll say you know it Kenshoo where I’ve been for the last year and a half plus, I don’t have a whole lot of contact with the vendor managers, but previously in a different role. At another company, I did have some work that involves dealing with operations and vendor managers. And I think that the squeaky wheel gets the grease sometimes at Amazon, I mean, the hands off the wheel on initiative, if you’re not big enough, it’s going to be an uphill battle regardless, but if you have their contact information, I mean, get with them and having just a solid strong relationship overall is going to be helpful but at the same time to your point, you know, they’re in the job 12 to 18 months and then they either move on from Amazon or they move up in the ranks and you know, the the Soft skills set for that job is not something that is leveraged very much on the Amazon side, because they’re just looking at a spreadsheet that is calculating contribution margin from, you know, each individual Ace and each individual product that you sell them. So I think if you want to have a good relationship with them, one, you gotta have products that are profitable for them to sell. And that can be challenging sometimes, because they’re always asking for, you know, additional funding in their vendor terms across, you know, all the different aspects that go into that. And so, I think that in building that relationship, try to stay profitable. And then when you have a question or you have a need, see if you can align that with their incentives, which are going to be to sell more products profitably. And if you can do that, then I think you’ll get some help and get some attention and if you can’t, then You know, by and large, they’re just gonna put a line through that. That item on the spreadsheet. And, you know, you might not get a whole lot of help. But I don’t know if you’ve had different experiences and have other tactics.

Eric Stopper  6:15  

I think I think the thing that I would point to as the biggest breakdown with vendor managers is that is the transition between them. Right? If we know that they’re going to be 12 to 18 months apart from each other, and that’s, that’s just kind of a general rule of thumb. I’ve seen vendor managers last like two months, right? They just quit Amazon because they realize like, screw this, like, this is awful. But being able to nail the communication between when the person likes tells you that they’re leaving, and establishing a good relationship so that they feel comfortable in telling you that even stating that, saying, hey, like I’m really excited to work with you right the first time that you meet your new vendor manager. Or you’re maybe you step into a new role and you meet the vendor manager just saying, like, Look, I know that you’re an ambitious person, you’re probably going to be out of this role. So when you leave, right, I would, I would love to just get an email introduction making a really smooth transition, because we can’t afford to, like, have any balls dropped. And I’m really I’m really putting a lot of trust in you. And the human side of these vendor managers I think is going to kick in. And that’s the other thing too, is to realize that these people just like the customer service team, that everybody despairs about human beings. And the more you treat them as equals, that have value, the more willing they’re going to be to try to rush your products on Friday, right? Like if you need to get a p o on the books and they think that you’re, you know, mean, they’re not going to be particularly willing to pick up the phone for you. So it’s just like a few little things there. At the end of the day, though. You’re at their mercy. And sometimes they’ll miss it. You know, and it could, it could be rough for you. But that’s that’s what I would add to that. So that actually gives me kind of a good transition. Because if their incentives are profitability, a lot of sellers and vendors that come to me are worried that if they, you know, use the Lightning Deals and the Prime Day deals, and they advertise really heavy, they’re worried about two things, number one, that their cost of acquisition is going to go way up, because everybody is dumping their money into Amazon advertising. And the second thing is that they’re discounting so much that they’re not, they’re not going to get any margin. They’re just not going to make any money on those sales. And so let’s talk about that. First, let’s let’s talk about the advertising thing. What would you say to sellers, what would you say to sellers who are a little reluctant to maybe get involved with Prime Day who are worried about their acquisition costs going up?

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