As consumers continue to rely on Amazon for everything from household goods to beauty products, consultancy firm Stella Rising recently held a webinar to discuss the challenges and opportunities for brands on the platform. The webinar came on the heels of the news that Amazon Founder, Jeff Bezos, would be stepping down as CEO in the third quarter and transitioning to the role of Executive Chair, with Andy Jassy, Head of Amazon Web Services as the successor.  Here, a summary of the key insights from the event, which was hosted by hosted by Rina Yashayeva, VP of Marketplace Strategy.

Support for Black Businesses
For Black History Month, Amazon has debuted several initiatives in support of Black-owned businesses, which include: a “Buy Black” landing page; its Meet the Launchers page, highlighting founder stories with links to shop products; a dedicated storefront celebrating Black Makers and artisans on Amazon Handmade; and, Amazon Small Business Academy which will host events help small businesses grow on the platform. Additionally, through February 16 on Amazon Live, customers will be able to connect with business owners, learn about their experiences as Black entrepreneurs and shop their products.

Inventory Constraints
Last year, Amazon began imposing quantity limits on the number of items businesses could ship to its fulfillment centers to avoid having high inventory levels for items that have low demand. This especially impacts new products which are limited to an average of 200 units and can’t be increased until sales performance increases. To stay prepared, brands need to forecast strategically, analyze sales weekly, ship frequently and consistently, and be prepared for shipping and receiving delays.

Display Advertising
Seventy percent of brands are running ads using Amazon’s DSP, which enables businesses to buy display, video and audio ads. Twenty-eight percent are running ads using its Sponsored Display ads feature. Stella Rising suggests combining the two ad opportunities to drive product discovery and conversion.

Amazon Live
Brands looking to generate sales and awareness should consider utilizing Amazon Live for an interactive, shoppable experience. With the free service, brands can host livestreams or tap influencers to help inform and drive connection. If a brand has the budget, Amazon-produced livestreams, such as Deal of the Day, will cost anywhere from $35,000 to $70,000, or more.

Amazon Explore
One of the best ways to achieve success on the platform is to take advantage of new offerings. Amazon Explore is a new service brands can use to host one-on-one virtual tours of physical stores or experiences, ranging from meditation to art classes. Brands can opt for shopping-enabled experiences, and if the viewer makes a purchase, it is handled through Amazon’s secure payment systems.