Rather than splitting her team’s efforts between its own e-Commerce site and the Amazon Marketplace, Teacher Peach Founder and Chief Creative Officer Randi Brill decided to focus exclusively on the marketplace in 2017 — and she saw sales increase 114%. Founded in 2012, Teacher Peach is an online-only retailer of teacher gifts and classroom products.
“While I understand that focusing exclusively on the Amazon Marketplace is not for every business, it certainly was a very smart strategy for our business,” Brill explained in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.
“We realized that the amount time and investment we were putting into our own store was equal to or slightly higher than our investment in the Amazon site, but the rate of return on Amazon was significantly higher,” said Brill. “Our focus is on teachers, our customers, and we made the commitment to move to Amazon because our teachers were shopping there. The ability to become discovered so much more quickly in the Amazon Marketplace is an outstanding advantage for us.
“As consumers, we have certain habits and patterns,” Brill added. “Amazon has done an amazing job of anticipating and responding to those behaviors in a way that companies that are smaller than Amazon, like us, can’t possibly compete with as effectively.”
Teacher Peach did not shift its entire e-Commerce business to Amazon without carefully weighing the decision. “You have to do your homework and validate your hunches,” she said. “Then you have to work your way towards it, making sure that the infrastructure of your company and your team is prepared.”
Making The Most Of Amazon Seller Services
For many of its products, Teacher Peach leverages Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), which allows marketplace sellers to hand over the picking, packing and shipping of products, as well as customer service, to Amazon for a fee.
The retailer doesn’t use FBA for every product, though. “We have a system we utilize internally to determine when we feel a product is ready for FBA,” she explained. “Our job is to balance the fees, the amount of inventory, the price and the customer demand to decide whether or not a product goes to FBA. It’s a business decision.”
Teacher Peach leverages Amazon’s logistics and shipping, along with the two-day shipping promise of Amazon Prime, because it has won the trust of consumers. “Initially I thought that it was extremely important for customers to see a Teacher Peach box arrive on their doorstep,” Brill said. “When our customers receive materials from Amazon, they could be receiving our fabulous Teacher Peach products along with a book or laundry detergent. It took me a while to recognize that my customer’s experience with our products could begin outside the carton.”
Teacher Peach uses many of Amazon’s advertising and marketing tools, “depending on the season and the products we’re focusing on at any given time,” Brill said. “Teaching is a cyclical process, and we know what our users need at particular times of the year. We have a lot of data, history and strategy around understanding what is important to our customers.”
Teacher Peach Maintains Control Of Brand Identity
With Amazon handling the logistics of e-Commerce, Brill is able to focus on using the Teacher Peach web site to advance the brand. “We want people to understand that our commitment is to teachers and raising confident kids,” she asserted. To that end, Teacher Peach has set up a nonprofit fund, teacherpeachseeds.org, that receives 10% of the profits from all product sales to support “initiatives designed to help raise confident and creative kids.”
Teacher Peach also has a home page on Amazon where it can control its branding message. “We pay a lot of attention to our own web site and our Teacher Peach page on Amazon so that people can find out whatever they want to know about us — and they do,” Brill said.
Teacher Peach will continue to evolve and evaluate whether the Amazon-only strategy will always be the best option. “Amazon is working beautifully for us, but we are exploring quite a few other marketplaces because that model works very well for us,” she said. “As we grow, we would be remiss if we did not continue to research and do our homework to make the best decisions for the business.”