Amazon has usurped Google as the place where consumers go to search for products. Nearly 40% of online shoppers start out on Amazon, while only 11% use Google – making it vital for brands to show up at the top of the retailer’s search results. L2’s Insight Report: Amazon Search uses Seventh Generation as a case study to demonstrate how strategic investments can help a brand dramatically boost its search ranking.
As an independent brand with a market share below 1%, Seventh Generation would seem to be in a different league than household names like Tide and Clorox. However, the eco-friendly brand appears in more first-page search results than any other Home Care brand in L2’s Intelligence Report: Amazon 2014. That success came from consistent merchandising investments, like detailed descriptions and on-platform promotions. The brand also joined Amazon’s Vendor Flex program, further demonstrating commitment to the retailer.
However, other brands have recently copied that strategy, eroding Seventh Generation’s first-mover advantage. In the past year, major enterprises like P&G and Church & Dwight ramped up their Amazon investments, boosting the sophistication of product pages and joining programs such as Vendor Flex and Dash. As a result, Seventh Generation’s search performance plunged across most category terms. For example, in July 2014, the brand controlled 19% of first-page search results for “Laundry Detergent.” One year later, its ownership had fallen to 12% as Church & Dwight brand Arm & Hammer climbed in positioning.
Yet even Arm & Hammer isn’t safe. These listings constantly fluctuate: over the six-month observational period of L2’s study, the top three results for “Laundry Detergent” rotated between six brands. Amid such rapid change, brands face a crucial need to monitor their Amazon presence – an area that will be quantified in L2’s new Commerce IQ.