WHAT'S NEW UNDER THE CANOPY

Amazon sellers…Prosper Show Las Vegas 2021…if you know…you KNOW…right?

Anyone that made it to the biggest Amazon seller-centric event knows how incredible it was.

Incredible booth displays. Incredible content. Incredible people. (*whispers* Incredible parties!)

If you didn’t make it this past year, no worries. Prosper Show is likely to continue on yearly for the foreseeable future. Even if you DID make it, but it’s all a blur, then this is the post for you.

I’m going to recap the event top to bottom; from the show floor to the sessions, the conversations in between, and even the after-events. So strap in…it’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

I’ve segmented this recap into what I think are the most important sections to separate from one another. I’ll go over:

  1. The Showroom floor
  2. The Networking
  3. The Sessions
  4. The After-Parties

The Prosper Showroom Floor

The showroom is where all of the service providers and vendors had booths to show off their wares and talk to potential customers and partners.

While most sellers don’t attend Prosper Show for the sole purpose of browsing the showroom booths, this is where a lot of the action happened this year.

In the showroom is where catered lunch was served (kudos Prosper), and directly in front of the food were tables for people to eat and enjoy each other’s company. Lunches were allotted 90 minute time slots, so there was plenty of time to eat and network.

Just beyond the eating tables were the stand-up networking high top tables. These tables were numbered and gave attendees a designated place to meet and chat. This was further facilitated by an app that allowed people to choose a numbered table and set up meetings beforehand.

The only downside to this was that the networking tables were most often used to accommodate meals as well (*note for Prosper…more eating space).

The booths really did steal the show in here though. There were fancy glass booths, comfy booths with couches, and even a giant booth who’s banner spanned a significant portion of the ceiling.

Service providers and aggregators really went all out to get attention at their stations. There was even a booth with a massage table at one point!

In fact, you can see all of that here (sorry for the shaky video):

Prosper Show Networking

Networking at the event was definitely a big focus. As mentioned above, there was an app specifically for people to set up meetings and network in the designated area on the showroom floor.

This was a GREAT feature for service providers that were looking for new clients. It was mentioned by a couple of attendees, however, that it felt like there was less of a focus on sellers. There seemed to be less emphasis on education (sessions) and more on the networking with service providers.

It is true if you look at the attendance roster, service providers appeared to be represented as much as sellers were (*note for Prosper…more education sessions).

Overall, though, many attendees claimed that one of the highlights of the event was the networking, with several seeking to primarily take advantage of this opportunity.

Here are some photos of networking in action:

Brian Johnson at Prosper Show 2021

Blake at Prosper Show 2021

Canopy Party at the Strat Vegas Prosper Show

Canopy at the Strat 2021

The Education Sessions

And now we get to the good stuff.

I did attend as many of the sessions as possible and took thorough notes at each one.

I’ll give you a rundown here:

Optimization Panel hosted by Bradley Sutton of Helium 10

In this optimization deep dive, a panel of experts gave some of their best tips for ensuring your Amazon listing really stands out.

First, Shrone Hardeman talked about optimizing from the perspective of the search page. When you set up your listing, you should look at it from the search page on a PC and mobile device to see what buyers will see.

  • Is it obvious what your product is?
  • Is the main benefit easy to find?
  • Is the main image large enough?

He explained that you need to use photos that are in “portrait mode.” This is because Amazon’s algorithm will shrink landscape photos. So you want either perfectly square or portrait layout images to maximize the size.

Shrone spoke on the importance of A+ content (I’ve reported on conversations in Clubhouse with an Amazon employee that A+ adds a 5% lift to conversion across all categories). 

Liz La Vallee talked about the effectiveness of A/B testing main image inside of managed experiments. 

She also spoke on testing all other images to see what might impact conversion rate, and even incorporating user generated content in the listing imagery.

Liz talked about reading critical reviews to inform how to better set customer expectations on the listing and followup material, and overall using data to make better decisions.

Bradley Sutton talked about the importance of keeping certain relevant phrases in the title intact (as in, keep it in phrase form). This is critical to what he calls the “Maldives Honeymoon.”

He also explains that the second image and second bullet in a listing are great places to appeal to emotion (though, I’d argue the entire listing should be used for that). A great way to do this would be to mine competitor reviews for common phrases and then use those in the copy or in infographics.

Lastly, Emma Tamir really dove into differentiation by way of considering your offer from the perspective of a buyers needs. Using empathy in this manner can be a powerful tool.

She also advised to keep your Amazon listing skimmable, organized, and benefit-forward. This will make consuming the information in it much easier.

And finally, Emma gave great tips for finding inspiration or doing market research by diving into your niche on websites like Quora, Reddit, or niche-influencer content on IG and other social platforms.

Tim Jordon’s Presentation on Selling on Walmart.com

Next we have Tim Jordan of Private Label Legion who spoke about the massive opportunity in expanding to Walmart.com.

For anyone unaware, Walmart has opened their online marketplace to the public in the same manner that Amazon has. Now, of course your typical Amazon seller would explain that Amazon’s sales are twice that of all other marketplaces combined in the US.

However, Tim brought up a compelling argument for considering Walmart.com.

First, Walmart.com is the second largest online marketplace in North America. That’s nothing to sneeze at. This means, it has surpassed Ebay!

Next, Walmart.com sales increased 69% in 2020, earning them $560 billion in revenue.

But here’s where it really gets interesting. Tim brought up this nugget:

Amazon only has about 120 fulfillment centers in the US.

Whereas Walmart has over 10,000 stores (with plenty of warehouse space and cold storage).

This suggests that Walmart may be better equipped for fulfillment than even Amazon. Especially considering their locations in the hardest last-mile areas.

Jana Krekic’s Presentation on Listing Translations

When expanding into foreign markets, most Amazon sellers are content to find a fluent person to directly translate the words from their listing into the language of the marketplace.

Jana Krekic of YLT Translations, however, explained why there should be more thought into it than that.

She explained why jargon and culture are critical components of an effective translation. She even regaled us in a story about Starbucks’ expansion into Australia. They encountered challenges at first because the language used in names and the marketing were all in the standard wording of their other English stores.

However, deeper analysis revealed that coffee culture in Australia more closely resembles that of Italy, which would make everything from the way they refer to coffee sizes and beans to the way they consume it and the environments they consume it in, very different.

Jana then talked about the stark contrast in the way Germans respond to marketing and listing copy. How the culture is different to such a degree that certain common words and adjectives that prove effective in America would have the opposite effect in Germany.

Black-Hat Tactics Panel

In a panel on what to watch out for from black-hat competitors, Brandon Young of Seller Systems shared a time that category changes stopped sales. Later, he also discovered that his shady competitors were making listing contributions using prohibited keywords.

The tips he shared to combat this were:

  • Make sure you fill in EVERY section of your listing with a flat file. Even if you only use a single word in some sections. If every section is full, then most sellers will not be able to make contributions to the listing.
  • If someone manages to attack you still, delete the listing and then re-upload. This will then delete their changes. If you stay on top of it, the attacker will likely lose interest over time.
  • If you need help from Seller Central, you want to talk to the captive team. However, if you ask for them you will not get them. So, you need to ask for the “Spanish team.” This will transfer you to the Costa Rica team which is also one of the captive teams.

Paul Baron’s Presentation on Leveraging Nano-Influencers

Paul Baron, from Chat Marketing University, creates some of the most actionable content in this space. His presentation was full of how-to steps on building a brand using influencer marketing.

First Paul defined a nano-influencer, and a super nano-influencer, which are essentially regular people active on social media that are fans of your brand.

He shared that in a survey he discovered the number one reason people became an influencer or “ambassador” for his brand was because they had a positive experience with it in the past (meaning they were buyers).

The second reason was because they were recruited. This meant that most of his brand ambassadors were users and users who referred his brand.

Paul then explained how the most effective way to grow a loyal base of brand ambassadors is within a post-purchase funnel that leads to a chatbot flow.

He then showed the next step to be to incentivize and activate that group of ambassadors to create and share user generated content featuring products from the brand.

By doing this, Paul explained that his brand now gets thousands of content submissions per month, has been featured on shows and news sites across the country, and ranks top of search for multiple terms on Google. Not to mention this all drives massive sales.

The After Parties

Prosper wouldn’t be an Amazon seller event in Vegas without insane parties.

Typically, these parties are thrown as an indirect way to market to sellers. It takes the concept of “wining and dining” to the next level.

Service providers will often band together, rent out lavish venues and plan over-the-top entertainment, then invite “influencers” in the space. Those influencers then do all the advertising for them.

This results in multiple Facebook and Instagram posts, TikTok videos and more, creating more FOMO for the parties than for the event itself even.

In fact, that’s precisely how I experienced it. I had the amazing opportunity to be invited to incredible exclusive events, and sure enough I told all my friends about it.

I got bottle service at a night club, danced in a cabana by a massive pool with an incredible dj, went to a speakeasy and listened to live flapper music, danced the night away in the VIP section of a crazy show, and more.

Here are some photos from the craziness:

Amazon influencers at Prosper

bottle service at XS Vegas Prosper Show

Amazon influencers at Prosper Show

more bottle service at Prosper after party

H10 Prosper Show Party

It wasn’t all debauchery, however.

Many friendships were made, and existing relationships solidified. Undoubtedly deals were sealed and ideas were hatched.

All while having a blast.

Final Thoughts and Future Predictions

Ok, so aggregators were the Belle of the Ball at this year’s Prosper Show, so I think we’ll see more of their presence in the future. I predict it is possible more will gobble up the tradeshow space and Prosper may have to expand the area.

There is an insane amount of money flying around, and sometimes it even feels like more of a show of who can throw the bigger party, which may make some lose track of why they went to an event like Prosper in the first place.

But this is the way Amazon seller-centered events appear to go at the moment. Who this structure benefits most may be up for debate (though personally, I think we “influencers” make out like bandits) but ultimately it seems to end with comradery, education, and sales, for everyone.

Whether you’re a seller looking to find your next business partner, a service provider looking for new clients, or an aggregator looking for an acquisition, these things can and will happen at Prosper Show.

Hope to see you there next year.