(Photo credit CNBC.com)
By Annette DuBois, California Business Journal.
Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, online shopping is soaring and it has reshaped the retail landscape, dominantly tipping the balance of power in Amazon’s favor.
The e-commerce giant has exploded during C-19 as quarantined consumers recognize the necessity of essential goods conveniently and safely delivered to their doorstep. This has resulted in a 9% lift in traffic across the platform and a 45% increase in “New-to-Brand” purchases, as compared to Q4 of 2019.
The demand yields an enormous trend in online sales: AO2 Marketing, a data-driven Amazon marketing agency, has positioned itself brilliantly in this new era. Unlike most digital marketing agencies, AO2 offers a niche in the industry as a software-based Amazon consulting agency. The agency manages more than eight figures of annual Amazon sales by utilizing its eight different proprietary softwares.
“We’re a technology company in marketing clothing,” says Dor Braz, AO2’s Director of Technology.
AO2 manages clients’ Amazon accounts by optimizing listings; creating, auditing, and optimizing advertising campaigns; strategizing on inventory flow and forecasting; executing on review generation; developing search engine optimization techniques; maximizing brand awareness; and facilitating international expansion.
AO2 outperforms others in its space by virtue of its proprietary software and artificial intelligence that channels highly-effective algorithms tailored specifically for each business. Rather than relying solely on software or professional consultation, the agency strikes the symbiotic balance between man and machine – showing quantifiably superior results.
AO2’s software helps make granular data-based decisions: its software is geared towards pay per click advertising, keyword harvesting, sales forecasting, inventory reporting and review garnering.
In startling contrast to the slowed pace of brick-and-mortar retail, sales on Amazon for AO2 Marketing’s clients’ businesses have grown exponentially. This growth has piqued the interest of manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers seeking to diversify their sales channels in a post-COVID-19 world.
This “changing world order,” is how Ray Dalio, the billionaire hedge fund manager, refers to it, clearly augmenting the demand for online shopping.
“With the combination of this e-commerce landscape reaching new heights and our specialized expertise, our clients see an upward trajectory through 2020,” AO2 CEO Nathan Neeley says. “Our vision is aligned with the mantra of Jeff Bezos: ‘Obsess over the customer.’ If you want to obsess over the customer, obsess over technology.”
AO2’s methodology is its secret sauce on Amazon, which currently accounts for a staggering total of about 50% of online sales.
The process of executing on a successful Amazon strategy is obviously complex, yet the goal is simple: “We get your listing to rank organically on page one for as many high-value search phrases as possible while bolting on an effective paid media strategy to take it to the next level,” says Caitlin Alcock, AO2 Creative Director.
Spring Sunrise Natural Foods hired AO2 to increase its sales on Amazon. The result? “Our sales,” says CEO Donald Revolinski, “have gone up by a factor of 10.”
The origins of AO2 began with Justin Rapoport and AmmoniaSport. Rapoport was the first to manufacture, brand, and market smelling salts to professional athletes. By focusing on Amazon, AmmoniaSport became the No. 1 smelling-salt seller in more than 10 countries. He was then inundated with client requests to manage their companies on Amazon.
Finance whiz Jon Fuller approached Rapoport to scale the venture, leading the charge in accounting, tax, and institutionalizing operations while leveraging his background in private equity. Concurrently, Neeley was hired as CEO and brought his own proprietary software. With a background in project management, software development, and institutional Amazon consulting, Neeley delivered key industry partnerships and a series of strategic improvements to take the company to new heights.
Through 2019, two-thirds of AO2’s clients were referrals from existing clientele, a testament to the firm’s “act like an owner” consulting strategy. Clients often ask AO2 to consult on product selection, design, branding, manufacturing and other topics on a project-specific basis.
“Having managed and split tested (A/B) so many products, listings and brands, it has become easier for us to identify the winners early on. As a result, we’ve become much more selective with the companies we take on,” Rapoport says.
Certain moments split history into before and after. When it comes to retail, COVID 19 is that moment. The Amazon Renaissance is now, and AO2 has thrived as the world transitions to e-commerce — with Amazon as its principal beneficiary.
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