DTC Sales Growth vs Amazon Sales Growth for Brands – Episode 239

Interview with Jon Pak


In today’s podcast, we are talking with John Pak about the balance of aligning best practices on DTC and Amazon while also being channel-specific. We try to unpack where it’s good to align and where to differentiate the two, given that Amazon is fundamentally different to other channels.

Make sure you tune in to find out more!

John Pak is a Project Manager at Bobsled, an Acadia company, where he manages the marketplace marketing and operations strategies for some of our consumer brand clients. Earlier in his career John opened his own e-commerce boutique in the novelty apparel category, then became an e-commerce consultant for various local businesses in his hometown of Los Angeles. Since 2015 he has helped companies transition into e-commerce and built their stores on platforms like Shopify and Amazon Seller Central. And in 2021 he joined Bobsled.

Bobsled’s latest research suggests a better way to allocate retail media budget - by funnel stage! Sign up for the report and webinar that will be out on May 19th here.

“With all things Amazon or all things business, especially Amazon, [...] the only things consistent or constant are changes.”


Key Takeaways

  • There are different challenges that brands that do DTC versus on Amazon and different marketplaces, e.g. different KPIs they track, different overall goals.

    • The biggest challenge is that the Amazon marketplace is the most consistent in constantly changing and keeping us on our toes. There are often random changes, updates that make no sense.

    • Something like that doesn’t happen on Shopify - there are no dramatic changes, no sweeps. This is one major difference between these 2 platforms - the usability, the interface, and the consistency regarding processes.

    • Shopify’s backend feels clean and easy to use, and there are some pretty cool reporting metrics like a Live View of your traffic/sales that are coming in. Everything feels quite intuitive when using the Shopify platform.

    • Amazon is proud to be focused on being customer-centric, whereas Shopify seems to be more focused on being seller-centric and making it as easy as possible for any business owner to get their products out there on a working website, in front of an audience rather quickly.

    • Digital marketing efforts of  DTC brands are mostly around Google Shopping, display ads, and social like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest, and all of these campaigns are directed towards their website, unless the strategy was different.

  • Harmonizing Amazon and DTC channels is not easy, and we often hear about ”channel conflict.”

    • A good example is the use of Amazon’s Multi-channel Fulfillment service with your Shopify store. Even Amazon-native brands can just create their own DTC or wholesale website and just use Amazon’s MCF to fulfill orders.

    • In terms of product detail pages, creative assets or lifestyle images that are used in your DTC website can also be used in your Amazon PDP and good lifestyle images from your website can easily be integrated within your A+ content or storefront.

  • And conversely, are there some things that brands should be doing to differentiate their channels?

    • There are no limits with DTC websites, especially when it comes down to the design. You may not always be able to tell the same exact story on Amazon, but you can be as creative as possible. The only limitations are your budget and the capacity of your web developer. You create your own A+ content, and you’re not confined to a section - your entire product page IS the A+.

    • One of the advantages of Shopify is how easy it is to use and set up - there are hundreds of themes and templates that you can easily customize or work off of (with no web development experience).

    • For the marketplace side of things, like Amazon and Walmart, make sure the title format, bullets/descriptions, images, etc., actually work for each marketplace.

  • John is excited to see other retail marketplaces like Walmart, Target, and Instacart start to ramp up on advertising within their own platforms and have better creative content spaces. He is also excited to see how Amazon would react to the growth and change of these other marketplaces.

  • John has recently changed his mind about paid social media ads - he used to think that the only thing that mattered were Facebook and Instagram ads, but as with all things business, the only thing constant is change. Expanding PPC into those different and newer platforms and marketplaces can be very beneficial especially during the early stages.

Mentioned in this Episode

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Kiri Masters