Preparing for Amazon’s arrival in South Africa…and what it means for advertising


Rumors that Amazon will enter South Africa next year are prompting retailers to take advantage of the world’s biggest market. However, selling on Amazon is about more than creating a showcase for your product and hoping for the best.

This is according to Russell Ball, managing director of RT7Digital, a specialized agency with more than 10 years of experience in this very specific field.

As Ball explains, advertising on Amazon may well be driven by excellent creativity and a strong brand story, but the real success lies in the rigorous criteria on which its algorithms are based.

“Amazon’s goal is to create the perfect consumer experience, which means your brand is evaluated on factors ranging from inventory, price, quality, content, and conversion rate, among others,” he said.

Brands that fail in any of these areas are penalized with a suppressed list, which is why it’s essential to make sure they know the criteria – especially as they are frequently subject to change.

This is where the assistance of an experienced expert pays off. Since its inception, RT7Digital has worked with over 150 clients across all categories, including Cadburys, Rubix and Peugeot, to get the most out of digital advertising on this complex platform.

The agency experimented and split-tested until its understanding of the benefits of different approaches was unmatched, as evidenced not only by the growth enjoyed by clients, but also by the evolution of the agency itself: since deciding to focus solely on Amazon advertising, four years after it was established as a digital agency in 2012, RT7Digital’s workforce has grown from eight people to a team made up of different departments overseeing marketing , sales, campaigns and operations.

More than that, his hard-earned expertise helped RT7Digital be nominated as a finalist for the 2022 Amazon Ads Partner Awards in Brand Building for his work with British chocolate brand Monty Bojangles. Ball says this special achievement is all the more appreciated as the agency was founded in South Africa, and although it occupies a prominent position on the world stage, it continues to operate from Cape Town, with UK based sales teams. Plus, it’s one of the few local agencies to focus on Amazon.

“Our decision to specialize in this platform will definitely give us an advantage when the brand comes to South Africa, as it takes a long time to learn the nuances that affect advertising in this market and, even more so, to apply them,” comments Ball. .

He adds that RT7Digital has reached a point where it is able to not only advise clients on creative matters – from images that may prove most impactful to keywords that are not allowed in terms of Amazon’s algorithms – the management of “behind the scenes” challenges. which may affect their Amazon seller status.

These challenges range from ensuring that packaging is the right size and that distribution takes place according to Amazon regulations, to advising on tax and import-export requirements. RT7Digital can even help in cases where brands need to recover funds following a penalty imposed by Amazon, perhaps due to late delivery or incorrect packaging. And, meanwhile, RT7Digital is working hard to ensure that at peak times, such as Black Friday or the holiday season, customers’ brands are the first to be noticed by consumers. consumers.

“The diversity of our offering means we don’t offer a one-size-fits-all solution for just one client – we tailor our services to suit their needs and location, because selling in the UK, for example, is very different from selling in the UK Germany,” says Ball. “Essentially our job is to manage the whole ecosystem, and while the quality of your advertising may be part of that job, we are really here to solve your problems. .”

“Tailor” is a key word here: RT7Digital knows perfectly the different requirements of each client and is therefore able to offer a number of models, either by working directly with a brand or by connecting to the services already provided by their agency. existing.

The agency is further designed to help customers find the Amazon model that’s right for them, whether it’s appearing on Amazon as a Sponsored Product or Sponsored Brand, or choosing to take a seller-centric, a consumer-centric approach, or a hybrid of the two.

“There is no doubt that Amazon’s entry into South Africa will revolutionize our markets,” says Ball. “Whether it’s greater choice and variety or same-day delivery, South African consumers are poised to shop like never before. And while this certainly means exciting opportunities for our sellers, they should be aware that this is a long-term strategy that requires a lot of up-front preparation.

His ultimate advice for sellers wanting to explore the platform? Get ready now: Make sure your brand is registered in South Africa and documents such as proof of residency are in order, as you cannot open an Amazon account without them. Once done, seek help from an expert.

Ball said, “We are very excited about this upcoming chapter and look forward to working with brands that have the resources and commitment to make their Amazon journey a success.

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