Claire Leon

Please describe your job: What do you do?

Acorn-i is a specialist Amazon sales agency that uses proprietary technology to inform and activate strategies for brands and sellers.  As an approved Amazon Marketplace Web Services developer, we take a data-driven approach to increasing sales online for our partners.

My job crosses all elements of the business, but my focus is working closely with internal teams and liaising directly with our partners, as well as expanding Acorn-i’s footprint in the market.

What trends have you seen in the last few weeks in your sector?

I have seen a strong desire from brands to learn faster and understand the bigger ecommerce challenges; an area that comes up a lot is profitability and the impact Amazon has on brands’ DTC strategies. Most interestingly, brands are beginning to recognise the value of Amazon as an acquisition channel that works in conjunction with other channels such as Shopify. We expect to see much more potential here in the coming weeks and months.

What advice would you give a marketer right now?

Make sure your messaging across platforms is in sync. I’ve seen brands silo Amazon off as a supplementary sales channel, which is not the way to get the most value from it. Omnichannel approaches are necessary to understand where a customer begins their shopping journey and the subsequent path they take, which is vital knowledge to have when building out a strong online business. If a brand runs a promotion on its website, it’s going to take a hit on its Amazon business, which necessitates some action to mitigate this. Perhaps it means dialling back on Amazon ads, for example. Whichever course of action a brand takes, it requires an omnichannel view of the ecommerce business to know about the likely impact in the first place before designing an effective strategy to address it.

On the subject of useful knowledge, few data points are as important to get a hold of as the customer lifetime value of each channel. Having this information means brands can allocate appropriate cost per acquisition goals that are realistic and results-driven across channels.

How has your typical day been impacted in the short term by the pandemic?

The blurring of the lines between home and work has brought challenges to the typical day for most of us, and I’m no exception!

Acorn-i has always held the value of flexible working at its core so we’ve been well equipped to cope with change. Although, I do miss visiting clients and having the opportunity to connect face-to-face, and I look forward to having this back in the near future.

What are your favourite tools and techniques to help you get your work done at the moment?

Internally, our teams rely heavily on Slack to keep each other up-to-date; especially as we’re largely working remotely so can’t lean over each other’s desk to check in on things.

Other than that, my go-to tech tool is Ignite, which is the proprietary technology we built to support our managed service business working with ecommerce platforms, and it is fundamental to what I do on a day-to-day basis. Ignite lets us and our partners instantly see the action points that need attention on Amazon accounts, which has been a game-changer for our industry.

Being able to track how shoppers navigate Amazon helps us better understand customers and potential customers and, ultimately, drive incremental sales revenue for our partners. Our recent integrations with other ecommerce platforms such as Shopify mean we also have the added capability to understand the customer lifetime value of each channel.

Which companies have impressed you during the pandemic?

Naturally I’d say Amazon. And whatever you might’ve thought about the business beforehand, its reliable deliveries provided a lifeline of groceries and other basic goods for many during lockdown.

Amazon’s ability to maintain customer trust, increase product selection, and ensure the best prices for their shoppers has meant it is emerging from the pandemic in a powerful position.

What changes are you making to help your company and clients connect with how people are feeling and experiencing the pandemic?

We know the past few months have been isolating and have taken a toll on mental well-being. Therefore, our priority internally is to make sure we’re all talking to each other and feeling connected. This means one-to-one catch ups, troubleshooting sessions and other regular calls so we all feel supported to succeed personally and professionally.

It’s also important to make time for casual team bonding sessions. Every Friday afternoon we run an ‘Acorn-i Arms’ virtual drinks, where work chat is strictly prohibited. This gives us a chance to wind down at the end of the week.

For our partners, we’ve been offering support to teams who have had to navigate new ways of working in difficult circumstances. Some brands we work with are first and foremost bricks and mortar, and have had their Amazon strategies go from the ‘we should sort this out’ category to the ‘we have to sort this out urgently’ category more or less overnight. We have kept a close eye on the changes in purchase behaviour and have adapted our support to partners accordingly to help them address the pain points as they’ve presented themselves.

What does long term planning and strategy look like now at your brand?

At Acorn-i we remain focused on offering best in class services across ecommerce channels, whether that is through our proprietary tech tools, our people-based expertise, or a combination of the two. We’ve responded to the ecommerce explosion by iterating our product very quickly and integrating our platform with additional channels to ensure we’re always well-positioned to help brands sell more online.

Digital Shift Q4 2020 Chapter 2 – Amazon revenues and innovation