Increase your profitability on Amazon

Jeremy Hemmert

Retail Director

When you start on Amazon, the number 1 priority is usually to generate growth without thinking about profitability.

In its pursuit to generate growth a brand will inevitably improve its content, media campaigns, reviews management process… If all growth levers are correctly activated a brand quickly becomes mature on the market and will at some point see its growth stall

On Amazon, with increasing competition, brands need to always be ahead of their competitors. Like any other channel, growth is not infinite, so at a certain level it is vital to start thinking about how to increase your profitability on Amazon.

Calculate your profitability on Amazon

Your profitability depends on your total cost (production, logistics, marketing, Amazon cost…) and sales price. Amazon is not in a position to calculate this metric for you so it is something that a brand must calculate itself. 

For a Vendor on Amazon, the profitability of a product is calculated by deducting the acquisition cost from the product margin.

For example: I have product A with a €30 sell-in. I know that my margin on this product is 20% (€6)On this product A, I have a CPC (cost per click) of €0.5, and a conversion rate of 10%. The acquisition cost for this product is €5 (0.50/0.10). Finally, profitability on Amazon is €1

On the contrary, if I have product B with a sell-in of €40 and a margin of 10%, my gross margin will be €4. At equal acquisition cost (€5) I am losing money. 

By taking the time to evaluate your product profitability you can assess if your media investments are making your brand profitable.

For Sellers, profitability calculation is a little more complex: Pre-tax price – Logistic costs (FBA or MFN) – Amazon fee – Storage costs – CoGS (Cost of Good Sold) – Acquisition Cost = profitability of a product. 

Once you have your profitability on Amazon for each product it’s time to get started! 

Strategies to implement

Once you know which products are profitable on Amazon with the current strategy, a brand must make choices to improve this profitability.There are several areas you can focus on: Focus 1: Increase your conversion rate in order to decrease your acquisition cost. Conversion rate is directly impacted by your product page. (Re)evaluate all the levers at your disposal to improve your product page and conversion rate (text, images, A+ page, reviews…) 

Focus 2: Adapt your media strategy to improve profitability. Invest less on less strategic and profitable products, focus your efforts on profitable or growth generator products. Warning: always keep an eye on your global profitability and the products profitable TO Amazon (Net PPM)

If a product is not particularly profitable for your business but is for Amazon, you might risk decreasing your Net PPM (Net Pure Product Margin), which would be counter productive to your Amazon relations.

Broadly speaking we always recommend disinvesting products that are not profitable to you or Amazon (your profitability and Net PPM are low).

Limits of such strategy

The attribution model used today by Amazon (last paid click) does not allow a clear visibility of the customer journey. We know by which product people enter the journey but we don’t know what they buy in the end. 

The customer lifetime value. Some products are made to be repurchased several times during a given period, for example, a perfume refill, cat or dog food… In the case of a product that does not fit to this category (e.g. pillows) the acquisition cost remains incompressible.For all “repetitive” products, the acquisition cost (which has a direct impact on profitability) can vary according to the number of purchases that will follow. For example, if a customer buys 20 refills of air fresheners a year, the initial acquisition cost of €5 becomes in fact 5/20= €0.25 over one year.

It is therefore necessary to be well aware of the customer’s lifespan (repeat purchase rate available in Brand Analytics for Vendors) in order to manage media investments and profitability.

If a first purchase is not profitable but then leads to 10, 20 or 30 future purchases, then this product is very profitable in the long term. 

Moreover, as we have already mentioned, it is not just a question of taking into account your own profitability but also the Amazon Net PPM. So be careful not to make decisions lightly, it is essential to have the most complete vision possible to succeed in reorienting your media plan in the best possible way. 

As a Client Strategist, I always advise my clients to focus on a strategic scope including bestsellers and customer priorities. Within a few weeks we can already see results and define the next steps.

It’s a very precise job, it requires regular follow-ups, having a complete vision and always evaluating the consequences of the changes made. 

In conclusion, I would say that the exercise is certainly complex but necessary to win the battle on Amazon and maximize growth while remaining as (or even more) profitable than your competitors.