How to connect your DTC and Amazon shoppers


[Lightning Deal] Blog Post-1

Anyone who operates both a DTC site and an Amazon page has probably wondered how their shoppers overlap across both platforms. Do people who buy from you on your DTC site also buy from you on Amazon? 

Further: Are you cannibalizing your DTC sales by promoting your products on Amazon? Or do the two platforms compliment each other? 

These links are more important than ever. Recently, Marketplace Pulse found that the number of brands that sell on both Amazon and Shopify is growing. And many agencies have reported that, when they increase their ad spend on Amazon, they see a related jump in their DTC sales. 

But these correlations have historically been hard to measure. Amazon and Shopify or BigCommerce are distinct systems, and Amazon continues to make it more difficult to export info like customer emails or home addresses. 

That means it’s nearly impossible to cross-reference your Amazon customers with your Shopify store. 

Amazon, however, has quietly introduced a new way to link together your DTC sales and your Amazon sales. Within Amazon Marketing Cloud (AMC), brands and agencies are now able to upload directly their first-party shopper data, and then map out how those shoppers interact with their products and ads on Amazon. 

In other words, you can now pretty much bridge the customer journey gap between Amazon and your DTC site, in a privacy safe way. 

How does Amazon connect first-party data? 

Before we show you the potential—and the limitations—of this feature, let’s start with the basics. Remember that Amazon Marketing Cloud is built around a series of number strings called user_ids. 

Each user_id represents a unique shopper anonymously, and they are used to connect shopper events. When AMC sees that the same user_id is associated with both a Sponsored Products click and a subsequent Subscribe & Save, for instance, it knows that the same shopper took both actions. 

When you upload your 1P data to AMC, Amazon is essentially connecting your DTC shoppers back to Amazon’s own set of user_ids. Through the user_id, you will be able to tie that Shopify purchaser to all of the events recorded in Amazon Marketing Cloud.

Take the example above, of a shopper who clicked a Sponsored Products ad and then subscribed to you on Amazon. 

If that same shopper’s email is associated with a purchase on your DTC site, AMC can build out a fuller portrait of the customer journey. Maybe the shopper actually first bought from your DTC, then saw the SP ad, then subscribed to you on Amazon. 

Suddenly, that DTC touchpoint will now be available to you within AMC. You’ll just know a lot more about that shopper journey. 

Why does connecting your first-party data matter? 

When you connect your 1P data, all of your queries and audiences in AMC become richer and more holistic. 

Now, whenever you query AMC for New-To-Brand data, shopper path to conversion, and so on, you’ll have information from your DTC to give you deeper context. (See: The most-used queries in Intentwise Explore.)

This lets you find the overlap between DTC and Amazon shoppers. Are a lot of your shoppers first buying from you on your DTC site, then switching to Amazon for all future purchases? That might suggest Amazon is cannibalizing DTC sales. 

But maybe some shoppers are toggling back and forth. Are they buying from your DTC once, then buying from Amazon twice, then going back and buying from your DTC once more? 

If so, which products are they opting to get from your DTC vs. on Amazon? If you’re trying to build out your DTC presence, maybe that can inform what to showcase on your DTC to draw in customers.  

With this connected data, you can answer other questions, too:

  • To what extent do Amazon DSP ads impact sales on your DTC site?
  • What is the Customer Life-Time Value (CLTV) across both Amazon and DTC? Is the CLTV markedly different when you factor in DTC data?
  • Do sponsored ads on Amazon later influence shoppers to buy from you on your DTC site?

In essence, your 1P data gives you a fuller portrait of the links between Amazon and your DTC site.  

The other big benefit of connected 1P data is in audience creation. The custom audiences that you create in AMC, and then push out to your DSP account, can now get even more granular. 

Exclusions are especially powerful here. For instance, you can build an audience of your DTC shoppers, and exclude them from your DSP campaigns. 

That way, you won’t accidentally encourage them to buy from you on Amazon, if they’re already DTC shoppers. 

What counts as 1P data?

The way this all works is simple. If you use a Customer Data Platform (CDP) like Amperity or Lytics, you can now connect it directly to AMC. 

Or, you can upload your 1P data directly into AMC through a .CSV file. The 1P data points that AMC can connect back to user_ids include: 

  • Phone number
  • Home address
  • First and last name

That means you can upload a list of your newsletter subscribers, a list of customers who purchased from you, or a list (if you track it) of shoppers who visited your site and what they did when they visited. 

These are sensitive data points, and they all need to be hashed before they are uploaded to AMC. When you hash the data, AMC can connect your shoppers back to its own data in AMC without directly seeing or leveraging any of your data points. 

Your customer information is kept safe, secure, and private, and it is not visible to Amazon.

The only issue is that you have to hash these according to Amazon’s specifications, which can get time-consuming at scale. 

Luckily, Intentwise Explore, our platform that supercharges AMC, is rolling out a new feature that can do this for you. Just upload your data files into Intentwise Explore, and we’ll automatically connect your 1P data for you. 

We hash your data to keep it private and encrypted by the time Amazon gets it. You won’t have to give it a second thought, thanks to our state-of-the-art privacy and security policies.

What’s the big takeaway here? 

Brands are entering a world in which they’ll be able to better understand interactions between their Amazon and DTC presences, as well as get even more precise in terms of their audience definition. 

Connecting your shopper data is a critical step toward a truly sophisticated multi-channel strategy.


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