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The virtual storefront provides access to an entire planet of consumers for even the smallest startups. As any company evolves in this ever changing and expanding e-marketplace, it will need to decipher lots of data for many reasons, including allocation of resources and company health.

Apex re-tailer Amazon has two different interfaces for vendors. Both provide rigid, canned outputs that are often fragmented. Vendor Central is better designed for interaction within the Brand Analytics feature. From an analysis standpoint, Seller Central is clunkier but has intriguing nuggets that can be useful. Seeds from either interface can be harvested into superior tools.

Write Your Story

Data tells your story from past to present to future. If your company does not have internal analytics for your ecommerce data, shop around. Our team recommends people over systems. Software packages are often expensive and/or limited in scope, forcing new clients into pre-built modules that aren’t a perfect fit. This can be especially frustrating for niche companies that will compete with bigger, demanding key accounts for attention from software companies. A data team can create reports in a format you can understand and use.

No matter what you use, your data should provide three main parts of your company story: past, present and future.

PAST: HOW WELL ARE WE DOING?

This question may seem banal but it is important. Whether you have a small startup or an internal account team in a larger company, everyone needs this information at their fingertips. Vendor Central and Seller Central have quick answers, but they fall short on flexibility and ease of consumption. 

Let’s face it, we aren’t all numbers people. Visualizing success and risk through dynamic graphs is a game changer. Having regularly delivered reports keeps management informed and the team focused. It can help to point to a graph and see an obvious change to help pinpoint which actions to continue or cease.

PRESENT: WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TODAY?

Vendor Central provides an adequate solution for your present sales. A 26-week forecast is available for active items in your inventory. The shortcomings here are too many columns and not enough math. 

Seller Central does not provide a single-output solution. Combining two reports (weeks-of-supply and point-of-sale) and a sumifs formula in Excel is a decent substitute for forecasts on evergreen items. Items with greater seasonality may need a historical pattern to shadow. Forecast reports are not as flashy as status reports due to the sheer number of rows and columns. Conditional formatting can draw the eye to the correct tree within the forest. 

FUTURE: WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

Examine year over year trends. There is a real world impact on buying habits, as seen in 2020 with the impact of COVID-19. 

It’s also worthwhile to look over your catalog. Evaluate elements of an item page like photography, video, and content. Check out top selling categories, items, and items within categories. Look at repeat customers. Curiosity and creativity open paths forward for new products, packaging, and additional marketplaces. 

Vendor Central Brand Analytics has some handy canned tables. They can be flushed into graphs, exception formatting within Excel, or more powerful tools quickly. Seller Central takes more planning for visual interpretations of data. If Vendor Central is data mining, Seller Central is data spelunking and looking for gold. The important thing is that there is gold to be found.

Data does not have to be hard or expensive. It needs to be relevant to you. The best tools to fulfill your destiny are reports that are organized, flexible, consumable, and actionable. Organize them with your terminology of product groups, not Amazon’s broad groupings. They need to be flexible enough to zoom in and out of item(s) or timeframe(s). Keep them quick to digest for each member of the team with clear action laid out to leverage success and mitigate risk.

If you need help understanding your marketplace data, speak with your account manager or reach out to us.