Amazon Retail Analytics: The Go-To Strategy to Improve Your Operations

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Retail Analytics is revolutionizing the e-commerce environment, and Amazon has decided to jump into the analytics game by adding two reporting tools to its Vendor Central portal: ARA Basic and ARA Premium.

This strategy is helping companies worldwide to keep up with consumer needs while providing insights to improve their marketing practices.

The Amazon Retail Analytics dashboard provides its users with reporting tools that allow them to streamline core functions like procurement, revenue, and inventory.

(You can even identify sources of fraud or unusual patterns with these tools.)

If managed correctly, retail analytics can be the solution to a wide range of organizational concerns. Learn how you can increase your conversion rates with the Basic (ARA) and Premium (ARAP) versions of the Amazon Retail Analytics dashboard, and improve your operations in the short run.

ARA Basic and ARA Premium: A Smart Way to Track Data and Make the Most of It

Amazon offers a Retail Analytics strategy to vendors who want to improve their operations through Amazon Vendor Central. This platform allows businesses the opportunity to sell their products to Amazon and avoid the trouble of selling them directly to consumers.

Among other benefits, ARA provides you with performance insights on where your sales are coming from, the competition, your customers’ behavior, and what shoppers seem to be interested in your products. Therefore, knowing all this business intelligence can be a big help in guiding you on what is working, what needs to be improved, and where to start making the necessary changes.

Within the platform, there are two modules in which vendors can get reports with metrics on different topics: Amazon Retail Analytics Basic (ARA) and Amazon Retail Analytics Premium (ARAP).

As a vendor, you can use ARA to track your sales and inventory data. ARA reports are free but limited; therefore, if you’d like to get a more robust and detailed package of analytics reports, you’d probably want to invest in ARAP.

These are the differences between the two tools:

ARA Basic

Amazon Retail Analytics Basic (ARA) is the primary reporting tool available to Amazon Vendors. Even though ARA Basic reports are not as robust as the data you have access to as an Amazon third-party seller, there is valuable data that can be extracted from the ARA Basic reports.

These are some of the reports ARA gives you access to – for free – once you set up your account. They can all be filtered based on Brand, Category, Subcategory, Product group, and Replenishment Code to obtain full particulars:

  1. Amazon Search Terms. Finds and tests the effectiveness of new keywords, along with the ones you already have in your paid search, and analyzes search trends by season and location.
  2. Customer Reviews. Compares customer reviews per item, with average ratings, and lifetime data to report-specific periods.
  3. Fast Track In-stock Report. Gives vendors information about a product ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers) and whether it is eligible for Amazon Fast Track or Prime, based on your performance.
  4. Lead-Time Details. Tracks the time it takes to fulfill a purchase order (from days to confirm a purchase to the number of shipping days); the vendor with the shortest lead time will receive the order.
  5. Operational Metrics. Reflects your performance metrics on a monthly basis. This metric allows the Fulfillment Center (FC) at Amazon to monitor your overall Vendor Lead Time (VLT) goal. The metrics FC uses to assess this output are PO Submit-to-Confirm, Prep Time, Transit Time, and Delivery-to-Receipt Time.
  6. Vendor Catalog Listing. Provides useful insight into inventory metrics and allows you to update listings that are missing images.
  7. Demand Forecast. Estimates the purchase orders you will receive for the next 26 weeks, along with your replenishment needs.

Sales Reports

Although there are several different reports relating to sales, tracking specific sales information becomes easier with these reports:

  • Category Sales and Share
  • Top Items
  • Sales History by Week

These are also part of ARA Basic, and they’ll give you access to the following in-depth data analysis:

  1. Sales and Inventory Dashboard. Provides an overview of your Shipped Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) and on-hand inventory at Amazon. It separates the information into four different time periods: Year-to-date, quarter-to-date, month-to-date, and week-to-date.
  2. Sales and Inventory Monthly Summary Report. Reflects month-to-month data going back 25 periods. It allows you to view your Shipped Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), on-hand inventory values and quantities, and your open purchase order quantities.
  3. Sales and Inventory Product Details. Allows you to view sales and inventory data on a product-by-product basis. This can provide valuable insight into how to grow your overall sales.

You must be aware that, with this version, your ability to use historical data is limited to the prior month. Therefore, it is important to download and save the data you may want to access in the future.

ARA Premium

Unlike ARA Basic, this Vendor Central add-on is available to users for an additional fee. The annual payment for this package runs from a minimum of about 30,000 US dollars.

You can upgrade your ARA Basic account to ARA Premium via Amazon Support. Navigate to Support in your Vendor Central account. After entering your Business group, select the topic Reports > Amazon Retail Analytics and the Specific issue. Finally, Upgrade to ARA Premium.

Once you get your Premium account, you will have access to all of ARA Basic reporting, plus a variety of actionable data and robust features that will allow for more complete and detailed reports. These are some of the reports you’ll have access to:

1) Snapshot

It allows vendors to see their performance on Amazon based on metrics like Ordered Revenue, Ordered Units, Replenishable Out of Stock (OOS), Net Pure Profit Margin (PPM), Lost Buy Box (LBB), and Buy Box (top ASINs winning the Buy Box).

2) Sales Diagnostic

This comprehensive report includes most metrics. It determines relevant factors such as traffic, glance views, price, or out of stock. It also reflects a summary of the timeframe and ASIN level detailed data (including the 6-key metrics from the snapshot) that can be organized by ordered revenue, units, Shipped COGS, Weekly, or Monthly.

3) Sales Performance Trends

Presents an overview of weekly and monthly metrics and compares them against the prior period.

4) Net PPM

Net PPM stands for Net Pure Margin (Product Revenue – Product COGS – Vendor Funded Coop / Product Revenue). This report analyzes and identifies what products are profitable by viewing percentages of the prior period and the previous year.

5) Traffic Diagnostic

Estimates the overall performance to calculate an in-stock position for viewed products by analyzing changes in Glance Views, Conversion, Unique Visitors, and Fast Track Glance views (by prior period or previous year).

6) Real-Time Sales

Targets a specific time frame for a Lightning Deal.

7) Forecast and Inventory Planning

This report is the new version of the ARA Basic Demand Forecast. It includes data such as OOS, Fill Rate, and VLT. Basically, without this report, the vendor wouldn’t be aware of his replenishment needs, which could lead to his purchase orders not being generated.

8) Inventory Health

Tracks the health of the inventory on 30- and 90-day timeframes through weekly updates. It also calculates potential oversupply in an FC (Fulfillment Center).

9) Amazon Search Terms

It allows you to have a clearer view of which products are getting the most clicks and to create strategic campaigns based on this information. This data can be analyzed by search term or by ASIN.

10) Repeat Purchase Behavior

Shows your high-recurring purchase rate. This report is a great tool to assess your campaigns by determining which products tend to be repeated purchases and thus attract new shoppers.

11) Market Basket Analysis

Provides insight on the products your costumers are purchasing and allows you to control the pricing to enhance your profitability. It also notifies you of cross-selling and marketing opportunities.

12) Item Comparison and Alternative Purchase Behavior

It can be used in conjunction with Market Basket Analysis to identify which products were actually purchased instead of yours, and how customers got to your detail page.

13) Demographics

Displays key factors such as sales data by age, household income, education, and gender.

14) Customer Reviews

This report gives you the average of reviews. It targets ASINs with less than 4-star reviews and analyzes them as potential fixes, allowing you to have better control of ASINs performance.

15) Additional Reports

Additional reports – such as Product Catalog, Data Availability, and Scheduled Email – will allow you to classify and find products on your page, consolidate your information, and have access to historical data. Further, you can have your report results emailed to you automatically right after completion.

In addition to this robust reporting package, you can view the reports or download them as .cvs files to browse later.

Net Received is a measure of the units the vendor sent to Amazon. This can also be known as Sell-In in traditional retail. Vendors can look at reports from two different views:

  • Sourcing. Shows the sales and inventory for each specific vendor. It does not aggregate the data for each product across the total units sold.
  • Manufacturing. Aggregates the sales data, and therefore shows vendors what each product in their catalog sold in total.  This view is only available to manufacturers.

These features help manufacturers see the profit that possible distributors make.

Program Drawbacks

  • Terminology. ARA Premium and Basic use different terminology, and Seller Central users may find this issue challenging. For example, Vendor Central measures sales by Shipped COGS, which is the profit that the vendor is making from the products Amazon sold to customers; whereas in Seller Central, they are called Shipped Units.
  • Privacy. Amazon makes use of third-party data providers, including vendors like yourself, to get all of the data together. This can be an issue for some, especially with regard to data privacy.
  • Data Availability.  At the moment, Amazon Retail Analytics is not capable of providing data – on some specific instances – but rather presents trends over time. Some key information is not available on ARA reports, such as traffic sources and visitor paths. Even for vendors who use split testing, there is no way to see which campaign brought in the shoppers.
  • Search Terms. ARA Premium shows the top 100 search terms for each Amazon department but does not show vendors how many sessions or page views they have. The terms ranking are simply presented by popularity.
  • Historical Data. There are questions about the historical data available to vendors. We have noticed that pulling prior month reports can reflect drastically different numbers than the reports that were previously pulled.

Choose Wisely

Like any other platform, Amazon Retail Analytics has its pros and cons, and getting acquainted with its features might not be easy at the beginning.

Although many users find both versions complex, it is important to keep in mind that Amazon is constantly upgrading its features and content and that you can always find alternatives to take advantage of Amazon’s tools to improve your operations and increase your sales.

Also, we recommend vendors using a hybrid approach to selling on Amazon; combining the analytics of Seller Central with that of Amazon Retail Analytics can give much deeper insight into how your brand is performing on the platform.

Don’t be afraid of making big changes.

Relying on Amazon consultants, with experience on both platforms, can help make your analytics process much easier.

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Esteban Muñoz

Esteban Muñoz

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