To small business owners around the world, the idea initially sounds great: Sell a product on Amazon, take advantage of its 300 million customers, and wait for the sales to roll in. Except, it doesn’t go down as easily as that.
At the outset, sales might be steady … until a problem occurs as an internal error or glitch occurs. The problem? You may not be able to identify what that error is and even if you did, you may not know how to resolve it. As a result, sales could slow or even stop altogether, then what do you do?
Amazon could help, but it is neither willing nor able to devote the hours required to assist a seller who experiences a singular issue; after all, Amazon has 10M+ sellers.
Arjun Narayan saw this happen again and again when he worked at Amazon in its popular Vendor Program. After he left Amazon in 2018, he immediately set the groundwork for SalesDuo, a technically advanced, problem-solving company.
“I saw several opportunities where we could work with brands and help make their e-commerce initiatives more successful,” he says.
With Narayan’s Amazon experience, SalesDuo can solve an issue, no matter how big or small.
While dozens of Amazon agencies claim to offer something similar, the suite of offerings at SalesDuo goes beyond basic marketing or order management. The company has an insider’s knowledge to help brands avoid pitfalls and resolve the most complex issues that a brand can face.
“When it comes to Amazon or e-commerce, there are several aspects to the story,” Narayan explains, who now serves as CEO of the Seattle-based SalesDuo. “It starts with strategic planning, cataloging, creating content collaterals, handling the day-day operations, advertising, order management, finances, handling of Shortage Claims and Chargebacks, and invoice reconciliations.
“Most agencies handle advertising and creating content, but there is not much Amazon domain experience needed. However, if you were to solve hard problems for brands on the operations front or the finances front — it requires a strong understanding of how Amazon systems work.”
This is where SalesDuo is immeasurably different from the other companies. It brings all of what is needed to run an e-commerce set-up successfully — and provides “all the solutions needed,” Narayan says.
“More importantly,” he adds, “we can solve all of the grueling financial problems.”
The name SalesDuo stems from the two main customer solutions it offers: a team of operational and financial system experts, and a detailed business tracker, and its unique Business Intelligence dashboard that shows the impact of each change the SalesDuo team makes. SalesDuo enables users to track improvements to a client’s category rankings — and its sales performance compared to competitors — in real-time.
Basically, Narayan has created a business model that makes SalesDuo desirable and indispensable. “We are the partner that Amazon brands need to be profitable,” he likes to say.
Unlike buying on Amazon, brands learn early on that selling is much harder.
“New brands do not account for all factors and all additional investments that need to be made to make a brand take off the ground on the e-commerce platform,” Narayan says. “Most feel that Amazon will do most of the work for them, which is not the case. There is significant effort and money that needs to go in to make the Amazon initiative successful and most do not account for all this when they get started.”
California-based Naturally Fresh, one of the largest providers of eco-friendly kitty litter, was the white-label product behind Blue Buffalo, but when that agreement ended, Naturally Fresh it lost its ASIN and ASIN-specific data and metrics on Amazon. Orders went from the truckload to onesie-twosies in a short time, so SalesDuo helped Naturally Fresh create an Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN), restored the sales velocity of the new ASINs to the old ASINs, ensured the proper prerequisites were met in advance, and even spruced up the company’s marketing images and content for a full online re-brand.
In just six months, Naturally Fresh regained 50% of its original sales numbers and by 2019, reported a 300% sales bump. “SalesDuo has been able to restore our sales on Amazon by prompt resolution of a multitude of issues,” Naturally Fresh Director of Sales and Marketing Helen Cantrell says. The brand is also selling on Walmart.com, Chewy, and other pet-centric sites.
FUJI Sports, a martial arts apparel company, had a much more obvious problem. On Amazon, the company and its 4,000 ASINs appeared as FUJIFILM and customers were unable to find the company by name or category. Amazon attempted to resolve the issue, but each time, the name reverted to FUJIFILM.
So SalesDuo stepped in and identified all the FUJI Sports’ products that were affected by the brand normalization error and reached out to the National Account Manager at FUJIFILM to enlist help in unmerging the two brand names. The issue, which plagued FUJI Sport for six months, was resolved by SalesDuo in two months. SalesDuo also streamlined FUJI Sports’ catalog and maximized its online offerings and focus on best-brands.
Naturally Fresh and FUJI Sports are established brands with large followings, but SalesDuo is open to customers of all sizes. Some clients reel in over $200 million annually on Amazon alone, while others are just getting started.
“We do not set any entry barriers. We are only interested to see how committed they want to see their Amazon business grow,” Narayan explains.
Need more proof that an Amazon agency like SalesDuo is a must-have partner for the coming year? In mid-2021, Amazon tweaked its A9 algorithm to “handle items that are variated well to be given more precedence over other items,” Narayan says. Needless to say, this seriously impacted search numbers and sales for thousands of unaware brands.
“Amazon is constantly changing on all fronts. The average seller or buyer may be in the dark about such changes, but we’re fortunate to get the news first-hand, enabling us to start working immediately to ensure the impact, if any, is a positive one for our clients.” Arjun Narayan, CEO, SalesDuo
Even though Amazon has been hosting third-party brands since 2000, a variety of unexpected problems can still haunt them. And it’s not just Amazon. Narayan says many of his clients also sell on Walmart.com, which opened up to sellers in 2009. Target is the one that Narayan is watching closely though, having just opened its online marketplace in late 2019.
“Target is gathering momentum. They could really do well in the next few years,” he predicts.
What’s next for SalesDuo? As Amazon, Walmart, and Target continue to dominate the e-commerce space, Narayan is quietly branching out to an area that retailers are focused on too: warehousing.
“We have our own network of warehouses that we’ll launch in 2022. By offering them along with our entire set of programs, we can provide a complete end-to-end solution for our customers.”
He is also taking SalesDuo’s dashboard technology in new directions with AI. The newest evolution of the dashboard is being designed to diagnose issues with Amazon platforms before the user is even aware of them. “Our goal is to help brands reduce their dependency on people and human error,” he concludes. “That way, employees can focus on improving relationships and user experiences, while the dashboard works to make everything go smoothly behind the screens.”
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