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Part 2: Who’s Winning on Amazon? Profitero Ranks the Best-Selling Brands in 2016

In analysis previously published on ClickZ, we look at how it’s not always the dominant brands in the brick-and-mortar world who are winning online. 

In Part 1 of this post, we looked at the best sellers on Amazon in key CPG categories between January – May 2016 and noted the importance of unbranded search. In Part 2, we address the importance of customer advocacy at the digital shelf, and we reveal which beauty brand manufacturer is winning on Amazon. 

In the Amazon.com Grocery category, San Francisco Bay Coffee was the #2 best-selling brand at Amazon between January-May 2016 with a staggering 23,696 reviews on average – evidence that in addition to search, ‘social proof’ is also key to winning the digital shelf. 

As Darcy Reifenberger of BzzAgent discusses in a recent Profitero podcast, customer advocacy is pivotal to success in the online channel. “Consumers regularly trust opinions posted online, to guide their own decisions. At the digital shelf, when your family and friends might not be sitting right next to you, it’s really those opinions that are published on the product page that are going to be the online peer group of influences for shoppers. Bazaar voice has noted that there’s about a sweet spot of a 30% conversion lift when you go from having 0 product reviews on a page, to about 50.” 

And with customer reviews clearly so influential in the Beauty category at Amazon, Melissa Menchaca of InstaNatural (a beauty brand that launched exclusively on Amazon in 2013) explains why reviews matter: “Because we’re so Amazon driven, social proof for us relates to reviews. More specifically product reviews from our customers. The reason why that is so important is because that is how we drive as a business. We’re very lean, we’re nimble, we’re fast-acting and this is what really sets us apart from other big name brands out there in the world. We’re able to gauge consumer interest about products and get that product to market faster than our P&G competitors. 

In the battle of the beauty brand manufacturers, who’s winning on Amazon? 

We further analysed the individual products that make up the top 100 best sellers for the Beauty category at Amazon between January-May 2016 to understand which brand manufacturer is winning overall. Our analysis reveals that traditional beauty brands are well positioned. 

Proctor & Gamble (P&G) was the leading beauty manufacturer at Amazon with seven best-selling brands appearing in the top 100 best sellers list (Oral B, Gillette, Crest, Braun, Gillette Venus, Oral-B Power and Olay), while Johnson & Johnson accounted for only four brands (Aveeno, Rogaine, Neutrogena and Nizoral).

When it comes to customer advocacy, P&G products receive, on average, more than double the number of reviews that Johnson & Johnson products receive – 2,240 vs 1,132 – further evidence that reviews do matter. 

According to Patrick Miller of digital agency Flywheel Digital, “Amazon ratings and reviews are the world’s largest unacknowledged social network. These are people who are having conversations about your item, and there’s a Buy Now button right there. Are you engaging with those people? Are you talking with them? It’s so much bigger than just the incremental volume that’s moved on Amazon. This is where your brand lives and dies on the web today.” 

Best-Selling Beauty Manufacturers, Jan-May 2016

Best-Selling Manufacturers #1 P&G #2 Phillips #3 Pure Lux LLC #4 Unilever #5 ArtNaturals #6 Johnson & Johnson
Brands Oral B
Gillette
Crest
Braun
Gillette Venus
Oral-B Power
Olay
Phillips Norelco
Phillips Sonicare
Pure Body Naturals Dove
Q-Tips
ArtNaturals Aveeno
Rogaine
Neutrogena
Nizoral
Average Star Rating 4.5 4.3 4.7 4.7 4.7 4.4
Average of Reviews 2240 2647 5465 679 5512 1132
Average of Images 8.4 8.3 4.6 7.6 8.8 9.0

Amazon: Where Your Brand Lives and Dies on the Web Today

While its clear that upstart brands like ArtNaturals are making their mark on Amazon without having the brick-and-mortar presence of “traditional” beauty brands, it’s also increasingly evident that customer advocacy at Amazon is crucial driver of success. 

With half of all growth in CPG sales between now and 2018 expected to come from eCommerce, and Amazon driving the majority of online growth, having an Amazon strategy needs to be at the heart of your e-commerce strategy. 

Gabrielle Novacek of The Boston Consulting Group advises that “An effective digital strategy has to address Amazon. The e-tailer is not only the biggest US online store, it is also where shoppers in traditional stores go to compare products, deals, and prices. It has outsize influence throughout the consumer goods sector. Amazon also has some 41 million Prime members- 35% of US households. It has become the 800-pound gorilla in the retail room, especially in the US, and the retailer for which every CPG company needs a strategy.” 

What’s your Amazon strategy? 

About Profitero’s FastMovers reports 

At Profitero, we analyze the best-selling brands at Amazon across 45+ categories every month in our FastMover reports, monitoring Amazon’s Best Sellers daily in the US (more than 4.9 million products monitored) and UK (more than 2.1 million products monitored). 

These reports not only rank the best-selling brands at Amazon, but also include critical success factors like average number of reviews and product images – increasingly essential to winning the digital shelf

Sign up to receive your complimentary reports here.