Dive into Doug’s Experience Working with Amazon
“October 2011 marked the beginning of my experience with Amazon, as I entered my new position at a global electronics company that was struggling to catch up with the new world of online retail. Although we were selling hundreds of products on Amazon, the 2008 recession and a lack of an effective distribution strategy left the company in need of some change. As I dove into my position, I realized that our company was fulfilling huge orders from unfamiliar distributors. As it turned out, these distributors were selling hundreds of thousands of dollars of our products on Amazon without our knowledge. This led me to our most significant issue: We had no control over our products and our prices were out of control – disrupting every one of our sales channels.
With no real relationship with Amazon, I spearheaded an objective to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with Amazon. Our brand was generating over $10 Million in revenue on Amazon which attracted their personnel to our brand. After two years of Amazon negotiations, we began our vendor relationship – and over the next few years, it damn near killed me.
The time it took to finalize our agreement with Amazon was just the beginning. We thought we were managing the opportunity strategically and methodically, but we were no match for the power of Amazon. The internet was revolutionizing the retail space and leaving the legacy brick and mortar retailers in the dust – and many of them were blaming Amazon.
Eventually, we built an internal Amazon team within the company with members from marketing, shipping, accounting, MARCOM, and policy. I spent a lot of time and money with our lawyers defining and managing our risk. It wasn’t easy. The Amazon machine was in full swing and we were naive enough to think we could have any control over it. Amazon puts together a hypnotizing PowerPoint that will wow any executive team with statistics and opportunities, and I tried everything so I could learn what worked – and what didn’t.
As difficult as it was, I am extremely fortunate to have been able to experience so many aspects of Amazon. Because we had some hot products and a global brand presence, I became part of the first Amazon global team that focused on electronic products. I sat in our Tokyo office with the Amazon category leaders from the US, Japan, China, UK, and Europe. I gained experience working with them on the strategy to promote brands and products on a global level.
By the time I left the company, we had accounted for $50 million in annual revenue on Amazon in the U.S. alone. The experience gave me the skills, confidence, and know-how needed to strategically align your brand with Amazon.”