I had an informative conversation with Chris Moe, CEO and founder of Cartograph, a company focused on optimizing results on Amazon’s marketplace. As we all know, Amazon’s become the de facto product search engine of choice, which makes it an essential, often indispensable channel for product marketing.
Chris discusses the origins of Cartograph and how it initially occupied a niche in the food and beverage industry before expanding to work with performance-minded brands, including DTC brands like Magic Spoon Cereal and Kettle & Fire. We discuss common mistakes that brands make on Amazon relating to profitability, channel conflicts, and allowing others to undercut their products. The conversation touches on the challenges of staying in stock, especially during peak times like Q4.
Chris highlights the importance of participating in Prime Day to maintain and improve a brand’s ranking on Amazon. As Chris notes, “what we found over the last few years was if you don’t perform on Prime Day, what happens is your overall ranking tends to go down. And so what Amazon does is they rank all of their products in terms of how much they sell… and then that organic traffic that they give — which usually comes in forms like product recommendations, emails, or appearing on the homepage on the app — things like that are sent out based upon your rank. And so if you don’t participate in Prime Day, what usually happens is your rank decays. And if you’re a decently sized brand, it takes you a month or two to recover back to where you were before Prime Day.”
Chris and I briefly discuss the strategy of offering Amazon as a checkout option on a brand’s own website to leverage the benefits of the Amazon ecosystem, and then delve deeply into different aspects of selling products on Amazon, particularly focusing on advertising and pricing strategies. We address the importance of competitive intelligence and bid management products. Chris mentions that his company uses Perpetua for advertising to help with bid automation, campaign management, and organization.
We talk about the role of pricing and how it is often used by brands to convey quality, both on and off Amazon. Chris explains that while price matters in an efficient marketplace, Amazon’s marketplace is not always efficient. Consumers often rely on product content and reviews to determine value, which allows premium-priced products to maintain their pricing.
The interview also touches on promotional strategies, such as discounts and coupons, which can be effective in specific situations. Chris advises against taking a consistently low-price approach, as it can lead to price wars, which can be very damaging to a business. Instead, he recommends using promotions strategically, an example being offering deals on Prime Day or bundling related products.
If you’re doing any kind of product marketing on Amazon, I’m sure you’ll get a lot out of this interview.