Commentary

Will One Platform Rule All Brands?

Did you know that Amazon now sells more of its own battery brand than Duracell and almost as many nappies (or diapers as a native Alexa would say) as Pampers or Huggies?

Over the past year, the Seattle-based company has also stealthily launched seven fashion brands in the U.S. and Europe, as well as two further brands exclusive to the UK and Europe – lingerie label Iris & Lily, and men's and womenswear brand, Find.

With this year's Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping extravaganzas, and Prime subscribers topping somewhere in the region of 85 million worldwide, Amazon will expect to shift millions more of its own-branded products in the run-up to Christmas.

Amazon's ecosystem captures large swathes of audience across an ever-expanding range of sectors. And it has the perfect saleswomen (or virtual personal assistant) to help it.

Alexa may be just a few years old, but recent estimates suggest that, this year alone, Amazon has shipped around 10 million Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers, housing the brand-biased intelligent voice recognition service.

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With the popularity of the Alexa service, especially among youth audiences, Amazon is securing an early slice of the future voice search market and currently using her to shift its own products.

Brands are quickly realizing that if they don’t start taking Amazon’s search capabilities seriously and get in on the "Amazon effect" now, they could find Amazon-owned brands overtaking their own market share.

Amazon may not be threatening the dominance of Google and Facebook just yet. But there are sign that a focus on voice and brand partnerships, along with continued efforts to make advertising across Amazon platforms more appealing, is helping to shape the company’s bid to one-day breach the walls of its rival duopoly.

Earlier this year, Amazon opened up its programmatic advertising service so that agencies could self-manage campaigns across Amazon.com.

Amazon Advertising Platform is the company’s proprietary demand-side platform and can incorporate product images from Amazon.com or product review information, so that it can be used for creative.

In June, Amazon also launched Advertiser Audiences, a self-serve platform that lets brands access audience matching. The tool allows brands to build audience segments based on data from the company.

This rich customer data, sourced from further down the purchasing funnel compared with Google or Facebook, arguably makes Amazon a more attractive prospective partner for all global brands.

Drinks giant Diageo seemed to agree when it unveiled a five-part travel series, co-created with Amazon, aimed at "closing the loop" between content and purchase.

Links to various drinks brands are embedded within each 20-minute episode, giving Prime viewers a direct route to purchase and broadening Amazon’s relevance as a key media channel in which content plays an ever-increasingly important role.

While Diageo took a content-focused approach, other brands have chosen to integrate their ‘skills’ onto the Alexa platform.

Just Eat allows you to order food, re-order your most recent meal, and receive voice updates on the progress of your order via the AI system.

Even the beauty and fragrance industry, which has been slow to embrace Amazon’s marketplace, due in part to the test-and-trial nature of cosmetics and perfume, is starting to see how a platform driving the customer experience can complement a sector driven by the in-store experience.

How the sensory nature of beauty products translate from the physical into the digital world remains to be seen, but Amazon's recent strides into augmented reality, with the launch of a mobile feature called AR View, may hold the early nuances of the solution.

I may not be asking Alexa to buy my wife’s fragrance for me this Christmas, but I'm sure it won't be long before my wife is asking Alexa to recommend a perfume, based on her favorite aromas. It's up to all brands to ensure that Alexa doesn't just opt for Eau de Amazon.

1 comment about "Will One Platform Rule All Brands?".
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  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, November 27, 2017 at 7:45 p.m.

    One platform, one conglomerate to sell all brands which parents are merging for consumers to buy their goods and services including the protracted banking and medical categories. The Company store. All indebted to the company store. "Another day older and what 'do ya' get ?" (Tennasee Earnie Ford) What is it called when one company or government owns and controls all commerce ?

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