In Conversation with Ryan Mulvany from Quiverr: How to Be a Sophisticated Seller on Amazon

[Originally published on the Dash Hudson blog]

As it becomes more and more important for brands to meet their customers where they are, new questions and challenges are up for discussion in your daily Zoom meetings that haven’t been on the table before. Even the most well-established brands are re-examining how they should exist on Amazon. From leveling up Amazon content to determining the best selling strategy, brands across industries are asking how to create a successful Amazon marketing strategy.

We went straight to the experts at Quiverr, an Amazon brand management and marketing agency, to get an insider’s take on Amazon in 2020. We sat down with Ryan Mulvany, founder of Quiverr to answer those burning questions, offer a glimpse into what could be coming in the future, and chat everything Amazon.

2020 has been an out-of-the-ordinary year to say the least. What are some of the biggest changes you’ve seen with how brands approach Amazon this year?

The biggest changes that we’ve seen this year are particularly with the brands that were ignoring Amazon up until this point. It’s now impossible to ignore it.

We’re seeing a lot of interest from brick and mortar brands now coming to Amazon. And if they were already on Amazon, they’re not only realizing that this is a pandemic-proof channel, but that it’s also one that there are a lot of intricacies to. Some of these brands were already doing Amazon, but on autopilot. Now they’re realizing that they need to really wrap their head around a strategy to not only be present on Amazon, but a strategy to actually drive sales, which will give them more control on the channel.

To start with the basics, what are the different ways brands can sell on Amazon?

There’s a couple different ways brands can sell on Amazon. The first is selling direct to Amazon, where Amazon would cut the brand purchase orders and they would inventory your product. Your products would show up as sold by Amazon, and they control the price point.

The second option is the third-party side of selling, where the brand takes control over the inventory, sends it to Amazon fulfillment centers, then sells direct to consumers, or teams up with a third party like Quiverr to sell the product to Amazon. There are also scenarios where brands have zero control over their product on Amazon. It’s just randomly being put up there by rogue sellers.

So for a brand who had a presence on Amazon but is now starting to look closer at strategy, what does that transition off autopilot typically look like?

First and foremost, brands need to assess how they want their products sold on Amazon, direct or third party? From there, it’s about content. Your content needs to look on point, whether that be imagery, titles, bullets, or descriptions. Reviews are another factor brands need to consider. What are people saying about your product? It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling direct to Amazon or you’re selling third party. Brands have neglected these aspects of Amazon over the years and they’re very important to building a successful strategy.

The final piece a brand should look at is the advertising component. But before diving into Amazon advertising, brands really need to figure out the other elements first. You don’t want to drive traffic to a half baked product page. Think about being on the other end of that ad-if the visuals and description aren’t up to par and no one has reviewed it, you’re not going to buy that product.

In the last five years Amazon has become more popular and crowded. How has that shifted the marketplace?

The game has completely leveled up and I love it! Everyone’s getting better overall. It’s like everyone was in JV, graduated to varsity, and now we’re in the pros. At some point we’ll get to the world series, but brands have to keep up if they want to stay relevant.

You’ve worked with so many brands on Amazon, and have seen different philosophies and approaches? Do you have a favorite?

I always love brands that are able to bring that social experience to the marketplace. Those ones stand out. They level in that layer of authenticity by having images that speak to their brand story and aesthetic and add video to create a compelling Amazon presence. There are brands that are exploding onto the marketplace without any real Amazon experience, but they really get the bare bones of it and knock it out of the park on social channels. And that just propels them onto the Best Sellers List with Amazon. Brands jump the line because they’re doing things right on the social side of the equation and they’re carrying that momentum onto Amazon.

How do you think a new feature like Amazon Posts fits into all of this?

You know, I’m excited about Posts. I like anything that’s going to make the marketplace more social right now. It’s the same thing that holds true on Amazon Live, but consumer behavior needs to change first. Amazon has the shopping piece perfected but hasn’t been able to integrate that social component into the platform yet. I think over time, there is going to be a blurring of those lines as they continue to put a focus more and more on quality content.

Looking to the future, what are some of the biggest trends you expect to see over the next year on Amazon?

I think we’ll see brands that are doing more things outside of Amazon winning on Amazon. Because that’s what a brand needs to do to convert today’s consumer. I think Amazon’s private label division is going to continue to do well because they’re very smart about how they do product development and they’re not afraid to take chances. And I hope the social component of Amazon continues to grow to drive a different style of shopping on Amazon, in a much more curated way.

What brands are exceling on Amazon right now? Who should people look to as the thought-leaders?

You can go to the Best Sellers List on Amazon and find a specific category, you can very quickly see the brands that are winning and who is missing the mark. You might see brands are winning because they’re beating everybody on price. But the ones that I really like are the brands that might not be the cheapest but are winning because they have enough of a following to do that. It’s those digitally native brands that weren’t necessarily on Amazon to begin with, but are there now because they’re doing all of the right things outside of Amazon.

While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to Amazon, brands need to lay a solid foundation and integrate Amazon into their social channels to craft a winning strategy-and find a spot on the Best Sellers list. And brands are turning to the experts at Quiverr to guide them every step of the way.

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Originally published at on July 31, 2020.

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