Two of Amazon’s Greatest Strengths Unpacked by Industry Experts

Article by: Lauren Stair


👉 Is Amazon working on an in-app shopping experience for users? 


00:00:00 Heather Geurkink:

So essentially what I’ve heard is that there’s a new team that’s being built that’s focused on in-video shopping. 


00:00:09 Heather Geurkink:

You remember the X-ray that came out? That’s like, OK, let’s stop and pause the show now. 


00:00:16 Heather Geurkink: 

Now there’s going to be a retail component to it. 


00:00:18 Heather Geurkink:

That’s like the in-video shopability of things, and it’s very interesting because there’s some high-level leadership that’s moved over to this project, but 


00:00:29 Heather Geurkink: 

It really represents an investment there. 


00:00:31 Heather Geurkink:

Yeah, I think part of it is that we saw that through Prime Video, new titles (Lord of The Rings) coming out, which led to prime membership skyrocketing. And we know that Amazon’s always been focused on that long game. 


00:00:44 Heather Geurkink: 

Prime membership is the natural ingress to just like multiple other touch points of building basket and becoming more ingrained in the ecosystem. So it seems like further investment towards that. 


👉 Amazon Top 2 Strengths: Retail and Streaming


00:00:56 John Ghiorso: 

I think that makes a ton of sense. I think if you look at two of Amazon’s biggest assets, you have the retail business. Then you have this massive streaming business which up until I would say pretty recently, the entire justification is you get more people into the prime membership, and then they buy products. 


00:01:16 John Ghiorso:

Which is true, but they also are spending billions and billions of dollars on producing and streaming content. Lord of the Rings was one of, if not the most expensive show ever produced for streaming services.


00:01:27 Heather Geurkink:

It was. I mean most of it was purely to get the title is what’s interesting. 


00:01:33 John Ghiorso: 

Yeah, just the IP itself. You know, that is a justification, but I think there’s gotta be a next thing in terms of how to better connect these two giant assets because they’re really entirely disconnected. 


00:01:49 John Ghiorso: 

I  mean, yes, you have the prime membership that you bought to watch this show. And now you have free shipping, so you’re probably going to buy more things. 


00:01:58 John Ghiorso: 

That works, but otherwise, there’s so much potential connectivity that technical components haven’t been built out yet.


👉 High Funnel Advertising Opportunities


00:02:09 John Ghiorso: 

And then when you layer in the advertising business on top of that, you also have this issue where you have very high-funnel advertising opportunities and you can run, what is essentially a commercial during one of these shows, or on a banner on Fire TV, but that is still, for the most part, a pretty disconnected experience from them going and buying. 


00:02:41 John Ghiorso: 

I think we’re going to see a lot of new initiatives and testing to try to better reintegrate these two things where you get a true full-funnel experience from, “hey I watched this show” to a much more sort of literal connection of, you know this then this then this then purchase product. 


00:02:59 John Ghiorso: 

And by the way, there’s a secondary revenue stream there too, where you’re charging brands to advertise to hold the customer down through the model. 


👉 Performance and Conversions In a Macroeconomic Landscape


00:03:05 Heather Geurkink: 

Well, see that’s what’s interesting is that there’s an advertising component to it that right now, brands are hyper-focused on the performance element and the conversion aspect of advertising. 


00:03:17 Heather Geurkink:

They’re really questioning, is the branding what we want to focus on with limited budgets given the macroeconomic landscape. 


00:03:25 Heather Geurkink:

And so I think this is going to be a very interesting avenue for advertising that sort of brings it t, we’re not just doing this giant OTT banner that’s talking about our brand.


00:03:37 Heather Geurkink: 

How do we get to the performance and the conversion aspect of it, and it’s integrating that as well as.


00:03:44 Heather Geurkink:

I mean, we’ve seen that, yes, retail is plugging along and eCommerce is still doing good, especially compared to brick and mortar stores. 


00:03:53 Heather Geurkink:

There’s definitely a downhill, a decrease there. 


00:03:56 Heather Geurkink:

And we’re seeing steady within eCommerce but steady is not good enough for Amazon. 


00:04:01 John Ghiorso: 

I don’t think they seen massive growth in. 


👉 Bolstering Retail


00:04:03 Heather Geurkink: 

It’s not. Well and what we’re seeing year over year is that,


00:04:07 Heather Geurkink: 

Five years ago: we’re holding strong. We see, you know 28% growth, which is great. We’re beating everyone else. 


00:04:14 Heather Geurkink: 

Then it’s: we have 20% growth we’re doing just as good as everyone else and I think, year after year, they’re seeing that start to decrease. 


00:04:22 Heather Geurkink: 

And so it’s it’s saying how do we bolster other disparate areas of our business to bolster retail and think about how to supplement there. 


00:04:33 Heather Geurkink:

And so it’s bringing retail into the forefront with this new in-shopping experience. 


00:04:37 Heather Geurkink:

And so I think that is completely the idea: support advertising, but with the real goal of bolstering retail. 


00:04:45 John Ghiorso:

Yeah, I mean I think it fits in the flywheel; where they all kind of self reinforce one another. 


👉 Amazon: Upper-Funnel Performance Marketing


00:04:50 John Ghiorso: 

You know, the interesting thing you said though, which is what Amazon is sort of effectively creating here, is upper funnel performance marketing? 


00:05:00 John Ghiorso:

Which seems like a contradiction.  


00:05:03 John Ghiorso:

But I mean that’s basically what it is that might be in return. 


00:05:04 Heather Geurkink: 

That’s a new term. 


00:05:06 John Ghiorso: 

Yeah, because it seems very much a contradiction, but you know, you’re going from someone with no purchase intent. 


00:05:15 John Ghiorso: 

Siitting there bored on a Tuesday night, watching a show. 


00:05:18 John Ghiorso: 

To potentially being able to directly connect their activity all the way down to: they’re picking out the color and size and making a purchase now. Not necessarily in that same moment, but you know, potentially coming back multiple touch points.


00:05:25 Heather Geurkink:



00:05:33 John Ghiorso: 

Or potentially in that moment where they are actually clicking from bored on a Tuesday night all the way down to purchase so. 


👉 Streaming Inspired Purchases: Marvelous Mrs. Maisel 


00:05:40 Heather Geurkink:

This is just like thinking big. 


00:05:42 Heather Geurkink:

But I mean, imagine you’re watching Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and I’m so guilty of catalog shopping like crazy and like circling things. 


00:05:50 Heather Geurkink:

You’re watching Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and say, 


00:05:52 Heather Geurkink:

Oh my, I love that dress and maybe I need a little bit of time to think about it. 


00:05:59 Heather Geurkink:

This is $200.00 dress. It’s a lot of money.


00:06:01 Heather Geurkink:

They’re doing a lot with big brands and luxury stores, especially in Amazon Fashion, but I go down and I like it. 


00:06:07 Heather Geurkink: 

And it adds it to my wish list in my cart and I can go back and think about it. 


00:06:13 Heather Geurkink: 

And then when I’m shopping for my household essentials, I see it. 


00:06:15 Heather Geurkink:

“Oh, I saved this – it’s on my mind but still, like you said within that performance that it’s right around that conversion point. 


00:06:23 Heather Geurkink: 

That it’s right there, it’s in front of me. 


00:06:25 Heather Geurkink: 

I don’t have to research it and re-find it in order to make that purchase.


👉 Amazon Video Product Placement


00:06:30 John Ghiorso: 

Well and did you see the virtual product placement that, I don’t know if they officially announced or double down on it at unBoxed, but it kind of went under the radar.


00:06:38 John Ghiorso: 

And wasn’t talked about much because it’s very much in beta form. 


00:06:42 John Ghiorso: 

So it literally is the ability to, in post-production, take a scene (piece of content), but a scene from a show or a movie.


00:06:54 John Ghiorso: 

Now it has to be contemporary or it won’t make any sense, so it can’t be like Lord of the Rings, but a contemporary show. 


00:07:00 John Ghiorso:

And virtually introduce a product into the shot that looks 100% seamless. 


00:07:09 John Ghiorso:

It’s not like some cartoon you stuck over the top. 


00:07:09 John Ghiorso:

You would never know that that wasn’t a physical object in the production. 


00:07:15 John Ghiorso:

Now that’s interesting as a post-production: 


00:07:19 John Ghiorso: 

You can put a box of Kleenex or a diet coke. 


00:07:21 Heather Geurkink:

That’s an advertising vehicle though, right? 


👉 Product Segmentation By Customer Archetype


00:07:23 John Ghiorso: 

Exactly. Doing that post production is cool, but what it’s really cool is the fact that you now can segment product placement by customer segment. 


00:07:35 John Ghiorso:

So you and I might be watching the same show, but because of you’re in one bucket of customer archetype, you see the Diet Coke. 


00:07:45 John Ghiorso:

I’m in another bucket of customer archetype, so I see a Mountain Dew.


00:07:48 John Ghiorso:

Yeah, and that’s available right now. 


00:07:50 Heather Geurkink:

Totally, it’s wild. 


00:07:55 John Ghiorso:

It’s so kind of, much more like hands-on customized. 


00:07:58 John Ghiorso: 

They’re trying to build a scale solution to this. 


👉 Amazon DSP and Virtual Product Placement Integration


00:08:00 Heather Geurkink:

That should be exciting brands. 


00:08:03 John Ghiorso:

Yeah, and it’s going to plug in the DSP so all in the same targeting you can use the DSP. 


00:08:07 John Ghiorso:

You can now virtually do product placement. By the way, it’s not just items. 


00:08:11 John Ghiorso:

It’s billboards in the background, signage in the background. 


👉 Amazon Advertising for Non-Endemic Brands


00:08:14 John Ghiorso:

I mean so it’s not just like well, what if we’re an airline or a bank? You don’t have a product? 


00:08:19 John Ghiorso:

Well, there’s billboards in lots of shots. 


00:08:22 John Ghiorso: 

All of a sudden you can change the billboard dynamically depending on what customers watching.


00:08:27 John Ghiorso:

That sounds like science fiction. 


00:08:28 John Ghiorso: 

That’s what’s happening right now, and it’s another one of those, turning what would be a very high-funnel, the highest. A billboard is as high funnel as you can get into literally attractable, targetable ad asset on a platform. 


00:08:47 John Ghiorso: 

Where it can be directly attributed to purchase. That’s crazy.


👉 A Change Within The Digital Ecosystem 


00:08:53 Heather Geurkink:

I think that’s what brands need to focus on as they’re thinking about brand awareness strategy.


00:08:57 Heather Geurkink:

Is thinking about those type of innovations in a digital sense. 


00:09:02 Heather Geurkink:

And it really, it’s going to rock the foundations of advertising.


00:09:07 Heather Geurkink:

End up saying hey you know, we thought of upper-funnel in this way; that the physical and thinking about our traditional channels for that upper funnel. 


00:09:17 Heather Geurkink:

No… That is becoming part of the digital ecosystem as well, which is really interesting. 


00:09:22 Heather Geurkink:

Because there’s the messaging. 


00:09:24 Heather Geurkink:

There’s the branding.

👉 Video and Streaming: A Full Funnel Experience


00:09:27 Heather Geurkink:

This demonstrates the ability to get the full funnel through video and streaming services. 


00:09:32 Heather Geurkink:

Which is interesting. 


👉 Who Would Benefit Most? 



OK question: what sort of brand should try this out? 


00:09:42 Heather Geurkink:



00:09:41 John Ghiorso:

Yeah, enterprise, but for some specific reasons because this stuff is quite experimental.


00:09:52 John Ghiorso:

And most brands, most mid-market and smaller brands, just don’t have a big enough budget typically to max out the lower-funnel stuff.


00:10:02 John Ghiorso:

So you need to at least be the type of brand that’s willing to throw some money at stuff to see what works. Not because you’re getting the best ROI, but because you want to be early and you’ve got to have those early opportunities to find that arbitrage of like…


00:10:16 John Ghiorso:

Okay, we tried three things. 


00:10:18 John Ghiorso:

They went OK. 


00:10:19 John Ghiorso: 

We got some learning and then the 4th is like. 


00:10:22 John Ghiorso:

OK, this is huge and no one’s doing it yet, so let’s just like go all in on this for the next six months. 


00:10:28 John Ghiorso:

Where everyone else figures it out. 


00:10:29 Heather Geurkink: 

I think you also have to have a certain level of brand recognition already. 


00:10:33 Heather Geurkink: 

I think that it doesn’t resonate, it’s not going to stand out to someone if they don’t know the brand. 


00:10:40 Heather Geurkink:

Like imagine your scenario that it’s a billboard in the background…  


00:10:42 John Ghiorso:

Because you’re reinforcing the brand versus like, “I’ve never heard of that”


00:10:45 Heather Geurkink: 



00:10:49 John Ghiorso: 

Yeah I think that’s true. I will say, now there’s this virtual product placement thing, which is the idea that you’re taking a totally unconnected, to the product show.


00:10:54 John Ghiorso: 

And you’re just getting the product in front of people in the show.


👉 Real Life Example: Streaming Shopping Experience


00:10:59 John Ghiorso: 

But there’s also examples, and Amazon has done this already, and I think they’re going to do more of it.


00:11:03 John Ghiorso:

Where you’re actually producing a show around a product, or at least a product category with more of a shopping/entertainment hybrid experience. 


00:11:14 John Ghiorso:

Like from pre-production forward. I forgot the name of it but  they did a fashion show. 


00:11:19 John Ghiorso:

I think it’s in multiple seasons now where it’s like one of those fashion reality shows. 


00:11:25 John Ghiorso:

Fashion designer reality shows. 


00:11:26 John Ghiorso: 

I should probably know more about this. 


00:11:29 John Ghiorso: 

But they’re, from the beginning, working with brands to have the products and make it shoppable so it’s a similar idea, but a different kind of execution. That I actually think has the potential to create a brand, right? Where you can say, “this is a cool new dress, you know, kind of upstart fashion brand.”


00:11:50 John Ghiorso: 

And then we’re going to go all in on this show and that’s going to be like our big moment. 


00:11:54 Heather Geurkink: 

Again, it has to be at the mid-level though, because the investment for that…


00:11:56 John Ghiorso: 

It’s just expensive. 


00:11:58 John Ghiorso:

For sure. I mean, yes, that’s a fair point. 


00:12:01 John Ghiorso:

You can’t be like a three person design shop. Like you’ve got to have a serious budget behind you. 


00:12:07 John Ghiorso:

But I still think more of those disruptors, venture backs, they have capital. 


00:12:13 John Ghiorso: 

They’re kind of partway through their life cycle, but still like scrappy or disruptor brands. 


00:12:19 Heather Geurkink: 

This is just on my mind because of the recent news, but it’s not an LG or Samsung of the world, but you know they have some notoriety.


00:12:30 Heather Geurkink: 

And probably some budget being very focused on digital to execute something like that. 


00:12:35 John Ghiorso:

Yeah, yeah. 


00:12:35 Heather Geurkink:

For major brand awareness. 


00:12:37 John Ghiorso:

Yeah, yeah, it’s yeah, that’s a good example. 



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