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For consumer goods businesses, Amazon has become an essential sales platform. But Miele also realised that customers value and trust the product information they find there. We talked to Daniele Belloni, the Head of Channel Management (Amazon) about how Miele is leveraging Amazon not only to drive sales, but also as a branding tool. Daniele, originally from Milan, moved to Amsterdam in 2017 and previously worked for HP, AVM and Omron.
The move to online shopping and the dramatic change in customer behaviour has been driven by the rise of global platforms such as Amazon. And the role of Amazon itself is also changing, as customers around the world use it not only for shopping, but also for researching products. For Daniele, this makes Amazon a key platform for Miele: “Google is the place to research which is the best product, particularly as a solution to a problem,” he explains. “But once people have found the solution, they turn to Amazon for more information and to buy.”
Research shows that people trust the views and opinions of others. And they trust the imagery, data and product reviews they find on Amazon more than any other. Amazon also has a strong history of delivering good service, especially in electrical consumer goods. As Daniele points out: “Amazon’s more than a sales platform – it’s a branding platform.” This is why Miele has started to treat Amazon as a key platform for maximising the company’s presence, building its brand and developing consumer relationships.
Using Amazon to raise Miele’s profile and reach key consumers
Traditionally vendors see Amazon as a sales channel where they invest a certain amount of budget to gain returns in terms of sales. Daniele points out that Amazon has evolved from being a sales platform into a communications channel that offers vendors more opportunities to reach consumers through increasingly sophisticated methods.
As an example, he explains that Miele has recognised that more customers are researching products on Amazon and then buying them in high street stores. This means Amazon Advertising offers the very best engagement experience between consumer and vendor. “We’re using sponsored positions to give our products premium positioning on the page, and also taking advantage of Amazon’s ‘A-plus premium’ features,” he says. “This enables us to offer a better insight into our products for potential customers, using the very best images, videos and product descriptions.”
Miele are also leveraging Amazon's display advertising platform to ensure that they offer the right products to the consumers who really need them. This opens up the possibility of delivering adverts for specific washing machines, for example, to users with children who want to do large washing loads, or specialised vacuum cleaners to those with pets, which are particularly good at removing animal hair. Daniele thinks this has the potential to reach new customers, too. "We’re starting to see Amazon as a key part of our multi-channel approach to retail.”
Understanding the bigger branding picture
This change in Amazon’s status to more of a communications channel means companies like Miele need to recognise that they won’t necessarily see immediate returns. Daniele explains that this is why the business is altering its approach to measuring return on investment. As well as sales, they now look at positive impact on brand recognition and engagement with new or future customers. “It’s about influencing people’s perceptions of Miele, so they become customers the next time they’re looking to buy premium household electrical products,” he says.
A mutually beneficial global partnership
Miele want to build on their presence in Europe, but also see a huge potential in the US, as well as other markets such as Canada and Australia. Daniele thinks Amazon will play a major role in this and he’s been influential in building a strong partnership between the two companies at board level.
He sees this as a mutually beneficial partnership. For Miele, Amazon is one the most important point of reference in the ecommerce market. And for Amazon, Miele is the kind of high-ticket premium brand that benefits their business model. As Daniele puts it: “They would much rather be selling and shipping one high ticket product as opposed to ten lower ticket products, because the storage and shipping costs are much lower and have less impact on their margin.”
Looking to the future shape of the market
To continue growing, Daniele says Miele need ambitious business partners like Amazon. That’s why they’re keeping an eye on phenomenon like Social Commerce. “It’s incredible how quickly the market can shift,” he says, pointing out the Impact that the Covid pandemic had on shopping behaviours. “We need to watch current, emerging or future trends, so we can react quickly to any changes.”
While Amazon is important to Miele, the company still has very strong links to traditional stores and resellers. And Daniele recognises that some of these partners see Amazon as a threat. But he’s keen to point out that the company’s increasing focus on Amazon doesn’t mean they’re ignoring these traditional partners. “We’re not – but we do have to be where our customers are. And Amazon as a platform offers levels of insight that allow us to build both short-term transactional relationships and long-term brand relationships. Nowhere else offers this.”
Why not join Daniele and his team in making sure that we get the very best out of our strategic partnerships like Amazon? As we work together to create a new digital heritage for one of the world’s best-loved brands.
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