The explosion of the e-commerce industry in recent years has given rise to a number of Amazon agencies that claim to help sellers grow their online businesses. But is there any merit to this claim?
To find out, we spoke to Chris Yeakey, founder of Black Caiman Media, a full-service Amazon agency and consultancy. His firm helps Amazon sellers build their brand by providing the following services:
- Account Management
- FBA Services
- Review Management & Analyses
- Personalized Customer Service
- Pay-Per-Click Ad Campaigns
- Sales and Analytics Reports
- Inventory Management
- New Product or Campaign Launches
- Market and Competitor Reports
In this article, we’ll answer your most pressing questions about Amazon agencies, starting with the advantages of using one vs. doing everything on your own.
Benefits of Using an Amazon Agency
Sure, theoretically, you could perform all of the above services on your own. But ask yourself these two questions:
- Do you have the knowledge, tools, and experience needed to do them well?
- Do you have the time required to allocate to each one?
If the answer to one or both of these questions is “no,” then you already understand much of the benefits to using an agency. As a business owner, there are times when you have to learn how to get out of your own way and let a professional take over.
Of course, you may very well be skilled in one or more areas and only need help with a few select services. In that case, you can still hire an agency like Black Caiman Media and individually select the services you want to outsource. However, it’s not ideal and may limit the results you would get with full, comprehensive service.
“Yes, we are able to help with specific services for Amazon sellers,” says Yeakey, “though we prefer to manage the entire Amazon business for our customers as we find more success that way.”
When Can I Expect To See Results?
Ok, so you’ve hired an Amazon agency and now you’re eager to see how things are progressing. You know results take time, but how long, exactly? One week? Two? A month? Three months?!
“This varies depending on what part of the journey the company is at,” says Yeakey. “If they are already selling on Amazon the results can take place immediately after implementing our strategies. If it’s a brand new company and product launch it can take about one to two months to get everything set up on Amazon and start generating sales.”
How Do I Track My Return on Investment?
As accountants, ROI is always at the top of our minds, and as a business owner it should be at the top of yours too.
Any Amazon agency worth their salt will provide you with regular reporting, whether that be on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. Having this information allows you to track your progress and ensure that the investment you’ve made is worthwhile.
Metrics you’ll want to look at include total number of orders, number of units ordered, total sales, average number of units per order, and the average sales price per order.
Here’s an example of what such a report would look like over a one-month period:
Image courtesy of Black Caiman Media
Here’s an example of what the same report would look like over a year’s time span:
Image courtesy of Black Caiman Media
Once you have these metrics, you can compare them to the figures you were making prior to hiring an agency to see if the investment has paid off.
What Should I Look For in an Amazon Agency?
With so many Amazon agencies floating around, it can be difficult to distinguish the good from the bad. Here are some things you should consider when researching different firms:
How long has the firm been around?
Given how new this sector is, it’s unrealistic to expect any such firm to have been in business for 20+ years. Black Caiman Media, for example, was founded in October 2018. However, the fact that it’s been in business for three years says more than an agency that’s only been around for six months.
Does the agency have first-hand experience selling on Amazon?
It’s one thing to “know” how to run a successful Amazon business, but it’s another thing altogether to have actually done it. In Yeakey’s case, he started selling on Amazon in 2016, two years before he founded Black Caiman Media. To this day, he still runs his own Amazon businesses in addition to having his own agency!
Does the agency have any case studies?
Check to see if the firm in question has any case studies demonstrating their ability to drive growth.
Are there any reviews?
Always check for reviews and read them when available!
Does the agency offer regular reporting?
This is an absolute must! Any agency that does not provide you with measurable data is more than likely a scam.
Do they offer free consultations?
You’re bound to have a lot more questions, particularly those regarding price, cancellation policies, and money-back guarantees. If the agency offers free consultations, take advantage of it! This is your opportunity to ask all the questions you want and see if the firm is a good fit for you.
The right agency can take your business to a whole new level. However, it’s on you, the seller, to perform due diligence ahead of time to ensure that you pick a reputable firm with a proven track record. Smart business decisions always start with research.