Building a Foundation Beyond Amazon for Food & Beverage


I recently had a conversation with a prospective food and beverage client that sparked some ideas I thought worth sharing. They started their journey on Amazon several years ago and have been doing incredibly well. Yet, despite their success, they're struggling to figure out the next step for growth. They have an e-commerce presence that makes up a small portion of their business, and they've set their sights on retail.

While growing their e-commerce channel may not be realistic in the short term, or desirable for that matter, it can be an incredible tool for fueling growth across all channels. Even for brands with no e-commerce, their website can serve the same purpose.

In my discussions with this client, I shared some thoughts on building a foundation outside of Amazon to help them grow as a brand and expand into new channels. There's a lot more to this, but it's a good place to start.

1) Deepen Customer Connections

The first opportunity is to transform one-time Amazon buyers into loyal brand advocates. The challenge? Amazon shares no information with you about your customers! A way around this is to create a direct line from unboxing to your website—think inserts or QR codes that offer incentives like a loyalty program, gifts, trials, or future discounts. Sometimes, it can be enough to just ask for feedback!

Whichever path you choose, the path should lead customers to a personalized landing page that mirrors the messaging and imagery of the incentive, provide more content, and prompt them to give you more information (email, of course, but perhaps other questions like, what are your favorite flavors?).

As you build this list of customers, setting up automated email and SMS campaigns can turn a one-time visit into a series of engagements, all while helping you better understand your actual customers beyond demographics.

For brands like the one mentioned above, integrating tools like Buy with Prime—which allows customers to buy with their Prime accounts on other platforms such as Shopify—could simplify direct purchases from your site while providing you valuable customer data that normally isn't available via Amazon.

2) Elevate the Website Experience

As you develop new customer connections, your website traffic will gradually get more traffic. With more insight into your customers, this is a good time to re-assess how your website communicates your brand story, educates customers, and showcases your product.

Improving your website could involve several different initiatives. Some areas we often help clients with are refining UX and design patterns, enhancing product detail pages, improving recipe content, and implementing a store locator for those interested in shopping in person. The goal is to make your website a destination that effectively reflects your brand and appeals to your customer's wants and needs.

3) Looking Ahead: Strategic Growth

With a solid base of loyal customers and an optimized website, you're well-positioned to start thinking about the future. Whether it's investing in paid marketing campaigns that drive retail velocity, launching a subscription service for hassle-free repeat purchases, or designing interactive quizzes that help customers find the perfect product, there are all sorts of possibilities. The key is to keep evolving.

The advantage now is having an engaged audience at your disposal. These folks are a direct market for targeted campaigns but can also be a valuable source of feedback and input for future product development and brand direction.

This ongoing engagement can ensure your brand keeps up with the pace of change and stays ahead in the competitive landscape, continuously adapting to fresh insights, trends, and opportunities.


This post originally appeared in #67 of The E-Commerce Corner. Subscribe here.

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