The Premium Beauty Playbook: Winning Big on Amazon


In this episode, Renee Parker, the Co-Founder Director of Strategy together with Maria Dane, Partner and Head of North America of Invinci joined Paul Sonneveld and discussed their insights and strategies on how to succeed in premium beauty on Amazon.


Amazon offers premium beauty options.

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Amazon has recognized the significance of the beauty industry and has introduced platforms catering to premium beauty brands. These platforms, known as 1P (Premium Beauty) and 3P (3P Premium), offer distinct advantages. The 1P platform provides premium services, including the removal of unauthorized sellers and specialized account management. Premium Beauty sellers can create brand stores on Amazon, which showcase their logo prominently, offer larger images, and provide detailed product descriptions for a high-end shopping experience. Advertising is also limited, enhancing exclusivity.

For brands seeking more pricing control, Amazon's 3P Premium platform is a viable option. It grants most benefits available on the 1P platform while allowing brands to retain seller status and pricing autonomy. This platform has gained popularity in the United States, the UK, and Europe. Furthermore, Amazon has introduced luxury stores, a 3P platform focused on high-end fashion and beauty brands. Luxury store detail pages prioritize aesthetics and exclude advertising, creating a more exclusive shopping atmosphere.

"So from a premium beauty perspective… So we would really look to that brand's existing distribution. So beyond, I think it's one factor that they look at beyond that they're going to be looking at price point and some of that feeds into the positioning of the brand, but it also speaks to the margins that that category commands. So a brand needs to be able to play with it within that scope. 
…In terms of luxury stores, that is really some of the skincare brands that play in luxury store are ReVive, Dr. Barbara Sturm. So these are definitely going to be brands that are super, super high-end, sometimes independent…” -Renee Parker, Co-Founder/Director of Strategy, Invinci

It's essential to understand that Amazon assesses a brand's eligibility for premium or luxury status based on various criteria, including pricing, brand positioning, and competitors. This evolving definition guides brands in choosing the right platform to align with their products and objectives, ensuring they make the most of Amazon's diverse offerings.

Take product listings seriously.

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Optimizing product listings on Amazon is paramount for the success of beauty brands, as emphasized in a podcast transcript. Approximately 70% of customers never venture beyond the first page of search results, underscoring the importance of enhancing discoverability. This process isn't a one-time task but a continuous effort. Brands should regularly review and update titles based on keyword trends and customer search behavior, taking seasonality into account.

“So making sure that you understand the whys, the why, why do you optimize lists? It's why do you work on improving conversion? And what are some of the levers that we'll probably discuss today to that accelerate that performance? Once the basics are best in class, I think that's incredibly, incredibly important. So the takeaway here is take your product listings very, very seriously.” -Maria Dane, Partner/Head of North America, Invinci

The podcast underscores the significance of product display pages, emphasizing the use of high-quality images and lifestyle photography. As customers often rely on visual cues, compelling primary images that showcase the brand's unique selling points are essential. Highlighting features and benefits through images can help differentiate the brand from competitors.

Understanding a brand's uniqueness and integrating it into product listings is vital. Collaborating closely with brands and delving into their marketing and product development departments helps convey what sets the brand apart. This understanding enables brands to present information in a way that resonates with consumers and enhances their overall experience.

Additionally, the podcast discusses the value of brand stores and A-plus pages on Amazon. A-plus pages offer an opportunity to educate consumers about the brand and its products, akin to the experience of luxury retail with knowledgeable sales associates. Utilizing A-plus pages can lead to sales increases of approximately three to 10% and address concerns about the availability of information for luxury or premium brands.

“…making sure that your features and benefits that are baked into your images showcase the brand that you are versus just putting in some information that can apply to a lot of different brands. That's incredibly important. ” -Maria Dane, Partner/Head of North America, Invinci

Moreover, the podcast emphasizes the importance of highlighting key product benefits and using lifestyle photos. Emphasizing these benefits not only differentiates the brand but also justifies premium pricing. Lifestyle photos, meanwhile, allow consumers to visualize using the product and evoke a sense of desire and aspiration.

Importance of brand story.

Brand story, encompassing the narrative and values that a brand conveys, is essential for beauty brands aiming to distinguish themselves from competitors and forge connections with consumers. The effective communication of this brand story on Amazon can create excitement and foster a meaningful relationship with the target audience.

“So that goes back to our initial conversations with the brand owners because we want to get excited. There's a reason why the brand is alive…make sure that your modules includes the brand story.” -Maria Dane, Partner/Head of North America, Invinci

To convey the brand story effectively, the podcast suggests integrating it into the modules of product listings. The brand story is essentially the essence of why a brand exists, and it's vital for customers and consumers to be aware of and comprehend it. By incorporating the brand story into product listings, brands can generate enthusiasm and establish a deeper connection with their intended consumer base.

Amazon requires full commitment.

The podcast underscores that achieving success on Amazon necessitates unwavering commitment from brands. The speakers emphasize that brands fully immersed in the Amazon ecosystem tend to perform better than those who approach it half-heartedly. Amazon, they stress, should not be taken lightly, and brands should either be fully committed or wait until they are adequately prepared.

“I think that Amazon is not a game to take lightly, it is all in.” -Renee Parker, Co-Founder/Director of Strategy, Invinci 

Complexity and cost are recognized as significant challenges when operating on Amazon. Navigating the platform, its myriad tools, and features can be demanding and costly. Therefore, brands must be ready to allocate the required time, resources, and budget to effectively utilize Amazon's capabilities. 

Moreover, the podcast underscores the need for all stakeholders to be completely on board with Amazon's potential and offerings. Brands that feel it's too early or whose stakeholders aren't fully committed should exercise patience before venturing into the Amazon ecosystem. This highlights the importance of brands having a well-defined understanding of their objectives and ensuring alignment and support from all involved parties. 

Furthermore, the podcast advocates for the removal of emotion and preconceived notions when approaching Amazon. There can be apprehension and hesitation, especially among premium brands, but the speakers advise brands to remain objective and base decisions on sound business principles rather than being guided by emotions or preconceptions.

Amazon is a long-term strategy.

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The podcast underscores that Amazon should not be viewed as a quick fix or a short-term solution for brands. Instead, it's emphasized as a long-term strategy that requires significant time, effort, and resources to succeed. Maria and Renee, the podcast guests, stress the need for brands to understand this and to give Amazon the attention and investment it deserves as a sales channel.

“…the brands that do really well understand that Amazon is not a lifeline. It's a long-term strategy and it's a long time strategy. So knowing and giving the resources to ensure that that success is going to essentially happen.”-Maria Dane, Partner/Head of North America, Invinci

One key point discussed is the fear of cannibalization, where brands are concerned that Amazon might overshadow their own websites. This fear can deter some founders from fully committing to Amazon as a sales channel. However, the podcast suggests that this fear should be overcome, and brands should embrace the opportunities that Amazon offers rather than viewing it as a threat.

Setting realistic expectations is another important aspect highlighted in the podcast. Success on Amazon demands both time and financial investment, including investments in content and advertising. Brands are advised not to expect instant results but to approach Amazon with a long-term perspective. Additionally, the podcast underscores the pivotal role of offering a great product, particularly in the beauty industry. While effective traffic-driving strategies and content can attract customers, the quality of the product itself is crucial in retaining customers and encouraging repeat purchases. 

Lastly, the podcast emphasizes the significance of having the right personnel involved in a brand's Amazon strategy. It's stressed that assigning the responsibility to a team member without an e-commerce and strategy background might not yield the desired results. Instead, a qualified individual with deep knowledge of the platform should lead the Amazon efforts, making informed decisions to drive success.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the podcast underscores the critical role of unwavering commitment when venturing into Amazon's marketplace. Brands that fully embrace the platform, navigate its intricacies, and have aligned and supportive stakeholders tend to thrive. It is imperative for brands to approach Amazon with a clear understanding of their goals, dispel emotional biases, and make decisions rooted in sound business practices. By doing so, brands can maximize their chances of success and harness the opportunities that Amazon offers.


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