How brands are using Amazon Market Basket to drive sales

Marcus Startzel, CEO, Whitebox

Amazon is having a banner year. Its sales grew 44.1% in 2020 to $318.41 billion, per eMarketer. Amazon sales eclipsed the competition, with Walmart in a distant second place with 7.1% of all e-commerce sales and $64.62 billion. 

Brands selling on Amazon enjoy the reach and profitability that the world’s largest marketplace affords but are less than thrilled with other returns — namely data. Modern Retail research reported a 9% satisfaction rate with the “level, quality and amount of data on [the] customer” that Amazon provides.

What’s a brand to do? First, understand what Amazon does provide and where to find that data. Next, the tactics below can help brands mine data, increasing sales and improving overall business strategy.

Solving the data equation: Tactics for Amazon Market Basket 

Amazon Market Basket, located in the platform’s Brand Analytics section, reveals two important data points. Brands can see which products in their line were paired at purchase, and they can see the frequency of that coupling. In addition, brands have visibility onto items in a consumer’s cart outside their own product line. 

If these data points don’t seem like much, the reality is that product pairing and frequency data can unlock enormous opportunities for brands. Here are some ways to mine Amazon Market Basket data to grow business:

  • Look for the relationships between products and purchase behaviors

    Although Amazon can’t help brands read consumers’ minds, Market Basket data does reveal how consumers think about products. If consumers regularly purchase two products separately, there is a high likelihood that those same buyers will purchase a bundle. Some consumers may see two items in a cart as a bigger purchase, even if it comes down to a few cents difference; psychologically, bundling those two products helps consumers clear the hurdle of a “large” cart. Brands can get consumers even closer to checkout with a bundle discount: i.e., two items purchased separately for $10 or together for $9.75. Everyone likes a deal, especially on products they love.
  • Discover unlikely pairings for new approaches to the customer

    Amazon Market Basket data is telling brands something important that they cannot afford to ignore — what consumers want. Purchasing a high-sugar cereal alongside an organic option might be a choice that stumps some marketers, but consumers may be purchasing for a family with very different tastes and needs. Or consumers may buy both products and use the high-sugar option as a treat. A household vacuum cleaner brand is a recent example of a brand learning what the customer wants from their Market Basket data. They were selling their device on Amazon and realized it was being purchased with a competitor’s cleaning solution. At the time the brand did not offer a cleaning solution in the market. They produced a cleaning solution that sold as a bundle with the wet vacuum. Sales increased. Amazon Market Basket data is uncovering those pairings on which brands can capitalize.  
  • Testing bundles before moving to the shelf unlocks low-cost insights

    Among e-commerce’s many advantages is endless shelf space. Unlike traditional retail, brands can test any number of bundles without spending a lot of money on the actual product configuration — until it sells, of course. Sellers can use Amazon Market Basket to try out a few bundles across their catalog to see what attracts consumer attention and purchase. That information can also inform release of a limited time offer for a special flavor of coffee, candy or other product. Brands may find increased interest and movement for these exclusive bundles that they wouldn’t in a physical location. The reverse is also true. Bundles that perform well on Amazon and other channels can translate to increased sales in physical retail. Ten bundles tested on Amazon may surface with only one standout performer and that’s the winning combo to bring to retail shelves. 
  • Experimenting with bundles on the brand’s own site is highlighting demand

    This may sound counterintuitive, but Amazon Market Basket data can grow sales on a brand’s own site. Amazon data reveals consumer product pairings that can be tested as bundles on a brand’s own site where margins are higher. Brands can then drive even higher revenue for that in-demand bundle by making it exclusive to a single channel — sacrificing some margin may benefit the bottom line when considering Amazon’s reach and traffic. However, some consumers will only buy on a particular channel; it remains essential not to alienate them by forcing them outside their purchase comfort zone. 
  • The bundle is driving incremental sales

    Bundled products tend to have higher repeat purchase and upsell potential than individual products. If the data reveals that shampoo and conditioner are often bought together, they can retarget that shampoo buyer with an ad for a “shampoo plus conditioner” bundle. The goal is to increase scale and awareness of the combination. Brands can help sellers to further measure incremental sales by comparing the individual product purchases to the bundle buy. For example, last month the brand drove $10,000 in individual shampoo sales compared to the current month’s $20,000 in sales from the newly created bundle promotion. Brands can also increase awareness of bundles offline by placing an insert inside the individual product packaging that advertises the bundle with a special discount.

Analyzing Market Basket data monthly can help brands get closer to customers, improve product strategy, inform promotions and increase sales both online and offline. 

Brands can experiment online without driving up costs and then take those learnings to traditional retail. Another added benefit is the relationship building that can emerge within an organization between marketing and logistics. Marketers will be armed with data to collaborate with logistics on what consumers actually want rather than utilizing guesswork. This data-driven relationship can create synergy across the organization and unite teams under the common goal of driving sales. Amazon Market Basket’s data points can be extremely powerful in the right marketer’s hands.