What happens at Prosper in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, nor should it.
Amazon sellers from around the world come to the annual conference to meet, mingle, and leave with more e-commerce knowledge and practical tips than they came with.
After a pandemic-induced hiatus in 2020, Prosper Show returned last week. More than 1,800 people came, including several members of the PickFu team. You can bet everyone was ready to get back to business on the show floor.
What stood out this year at Prosper? How can Amazon sellers get an edge in the marketplace? Who’s ready for next year?
We asked around, and talked amongst ourselves, for tips and takeaways from Prosper to help you make the most of this e-commerce conference season.
Setting the scene
Coming back after the yearlong gap, the conference was everything it was supposed to be and more. High energy. Packed schedule. Networking galore!
We’re a 100% remote team at PickFu, so it was also the first time some of us met face to face.
“Prosper 2021 was hands down the best e-commerce conference I’ve ever attended,” said PickFu co-founder John Li. “The high caliber of exhibitors and attendees was a testament to how much the Amazon FBA market has grown and matured during the pandemic.”
“I think Prosper reinforced that we are social creatures. Nothing can replace breaking bread with people, getting to know them on a different level,” said Amazon strategist Norman Farrar, who hosts the “Lunch With Norm” podcast. “Zoom can only go so far.”
Advice for sellers
Sellers are selling smarter these days, and it’s paying off. That’s the impression PickFu co-founder Justin Chen got after three days at Prosper.
“I found the sophistication of selling to be even higher than before. Individual sellers are savvier and selling more products, and now there are aggregators buying and optimizing already successful brands,” Justin said. “We’re witnessing the maturation of a rapidly growing sub-sector of e-commerce, and it’ll be beneficial for everyone involved. Any company that ignores Amazon as a channel will be at a disadvantage.”
To keep up with the competition, sellers need to explore and use every available resource on and off Amazon, said Liran Hirschkorn, CEO and founder of Incrementum Digital, an Amazon marketing agency.
“Sellers who only run on-platform ads are getting squeezed out. Increasing saturation and Amazon advertising platform updates are making it difficult to rank and maintain position. It’s time to implement a diverse, strategic, off-platform source of traffic if you haven’t already,” Liran said. “Seller/brand confusion and misuse around Amazon’s DSP (demand-side platform) is extremely common. Amazon is trying to improve training and education, but it’s not fast enough.
“If you want a better conversion rate on your listing but you’re struggling to generate ideas, crowd-based brainstorming is a good place to start. Also, if you’re not using Amazon’s A/B testing tool, it’s time. It’ll be too late by Q4 this year.”
One trend that’s here to stay
Sustainability is top of mind for many consumers, Liran said. It influences how they shop, what they buy, and who they buy from.
“Prioritize it in your product development and listing content, and you’ll be around for a while,” he said.
Be prepared for more growth
For PickFu CMO Kim Kohatsu and Geoff Bokuniewicz, product marketing manager at PickFu, it was clear from talking with Prosper attendees that e-commerce is poised for even more growth.
“I intellectually already knew how big and broad the realm of e-commerce was, but I think Prosper Show really brought it to life. It was so interesting to see the various products and categories everyone was in, and the fascinating thing is that the pie keeps getting bigger,” said Kim. “It was wonderful to be able to meet in person, hear accents from all over the country and globe, and see where PickFu can help solve problems for sellers.”
Geoff added, “In any market, there’s always a period early in the growth phase where everyone in the industry you talk to is crazy passionate, crazy smart, and crazy committed to success. Prosper 21 was incredible proof of that. I’ve never seen a conference with so many excited, smart, and driven people.”
Leverage the learning
Breakout sessions at Prosper are an educational gold mine, but they’re often overlooked by attendees, who spend a lot of their time networking.
That’s unfortunate, says Anthony Lee of Amazon marketing agency Canopy Management.
“I had a ton of takeaways from Prosper, from learning how to get to the captive team in Seller Central (hint…ask for the Spanish team), to learning how to recruit brand ambassadors (hint…post-purchase follow-up), and even how to optimize listings better (hint…split test),” said Anthony. “The point is, the sessions are packed with valuable information. Sure, after a couple of years we learn most of the tips, tricks, and strategies, but there is always a new perspective you can learn that might give you an edge.”
No such thing as too much networking
Then again, you can’t not schmooze at a major event like Prosper. Networking was the highlight for Prosper first-timer Destaney Wishon of BetterAMS, an Amazon advertising agency.
“It’s not very often you get to stand in the same room as so many powerhouse individuals, brands, and companies,” said Destaney. “Not only did we get the chance to discuss Amazon, but we also got to talk business, mindset, and the future of e-commerce. I couldn’t put a price on the value of those conversations, or the relationships built!
The networking opportunities are “unmatched” at Prosper, says noted copywriter and e-commerce consultant Amy Wees of Amazing At Home.
“Whether catching a talk on the big stage, walking the expo floor’s endless booths and connecting with various service providers and sellers, or attending one of the many networking events after hours, it’s such an immersive and connective experience you can’t miss,” Amy said.
Krystsina Uradzimskaya, CEO and founder of the Amazon Social agency, offered these networking tips:
- Meet new people, but don’t forget the ones you already know. “It’s a good idea to visit some vendors you already know. Reconnect and see what new projects they’re working on,” she said.
- Save energy for the social events at night. You might bump into guest speakers there and get one-on-one time you wouldn’t get in a daytime lecture.
- Bring copies of your sell sheet everywhere. “You could meet an important contact anywhere — in the lobby, at the bar, or even riding the elevator. You never know, so be prepared.”
Sure, we go to Prosper to get more business. But really, it’s about the people.
“At Prosper, there were many times business was never discussed,” Norman Farrar said. “I did not realize how the last 18 months have taken their toll on me. I can’t wait to get to the next event to meet more people.”
“There’s something that seems to link us all together,” said Anthony Cofrancesco, PickFu’s industry liaison. “We’re a big family of people who didn’t quite fit in the ‘regular’ world and decided to do something totally different, not knowing what’s on the other side.”
Kaity Brewer, PickFu’s senior customer success manager, has worked at plenty of conferences in various industries. Nothing quite compares to Prosper and the people who attend it, she said.
“There is so much e-commerce knowledge, passion for product and brand growth, and openness to collaborate,” said Kaity. “As someone who thrives on getting to talk to customers (spoken like a true customer success manager), this was a fantastic experience that opened the doors for our team to work with anyone in any industry to help accomplish their short- and long-term market research goals.”
The best part of Prosper, according to Anthony? The stories.
“There are so many unbelievable personal journeys which usually involve some combination of extreme risk and countless failures along the road to success. The more stories I hear, the more it becomes clear that absolutely anything is possible. It just takes a tremendous amount of hard work mixed with a strong strategy and creative imagination,” he said.
What are your stories and insights from Prosper Show 2021? We’d love to hear them. Drop them in the comments below!