Imagine a small pebble that projects a halo of light on the ceiling to help insomniacs relax and set the rhythm of their breathing. “The idea is to create a diversion and chase away the thoughts that prevent you from falling asleep,” explains Pierre-Luc Deniel. This simple little tool, the entrepreneur and his two associates Alexandre Dujoncquoy and Gui Perrier designed and launched it in 2014 as Dodow.
“The first year, sales were catastrophic: 500 copies,” recalls Pierre-Luc Deniel. They contact the press, go to trade fairs… And meet a salesman from Nature & Découverte. Sales take off. But if they want to pay – it will take them, in the end, four years – they must find new marketing channels.
The Amazon Marketplace? The three partners ask themselves the question quickly but hesitate: “We did not find the pages sexy: 5 photos, a description, details the entrepreneur. We needed more room to put forward our arguments.” Then the platform launches Launchpad, a store dedicated to start-ups, which allows them to promote Dodow. Seven years later, the results are there. Today, Dodow has sold a million copies, 50% of which on Amazon. LivLab is now making a turnover of 15 million euros. However, Pierre-Luc Deniel recommends weighing the pros and cons before taking the plunge.
Benefit #1. Increased visibility
LivLab has launched the marketing of Dodow on its own e-commerce site, Petit Poucet among the 200,000 merchant sites counted in 2015 by Fevad. Listing his product on the American marketplace has allowed him to reach millions of Internet users. The same year, Amazon exceeded 18 million unique visitors per month.
Advantage #2. A logistics structure
LivLab has chosen to subscribe to the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or “Fulfilled by Amazon” service. Concretely, the brand has entrusted its logistics to the platform. “We send our products to Amazon, which stores them in its warehouses and then handles the shipment.” FBA cost? A 15% fee. “This service exempts us from finding a logistician and it remains very profitable”, assures Pierre-Luc Deniel.
Advantage #3. A pledge of seriousness
“Being referenced on Amazon reassures consumers, especially for online payment,” explains the entrepreneur. With pre-registered cards, the customer journey is fluid and secure. Another point of customer reassurance, the mention “Sold and shipped by Amazon”. The platform’s customer service is the direct contact of the Internet user in the event of a problem with delivery, product conformity or warranty.
Advantage #4. A springboard for the international
An American company, Amazon has subsidiaries all over the world. All LivLab needs to do is translate the texts and inject the content on the platform to be visible internationally. “All it takes is one click in England, Germany or Italy for Dodow to be shipped internationally. A small company such as ours, which has never raised funds, could not have access to foreign markets in this way”, concedes Pierre-Luc Deniel. LivLab has also crossed the Atlantic where it now makes the majority of its sales.
Disadvantage #1. Remote customer relationship management
But going through the platform does not only have positive sides: on Amazon, LivLab cannot interact with Internet users. “We offer a chat service on our site and a telephone number to reach customer service,” says the entrepreneur. On a product like ours, it is important to be able to answer consumer questions. »
Disadvantage #2. No answer possible
The start-up cannot respond to consumer reviews posted on its page either. “You have to have a very successful product to sell on Amazon, warns the entrepreneur. Because all it takes is a few bad ratings to penalize sales and degrade the image of the product beyond the platform. »
Disadvantage #3. A higher return rate risk
The facilities that Amazon offers to consumers in terms of product returns encourage Internet users to order and test Dodow. Good thing except… “Some people try Dodow for a few nights and return it saying it doesn’t work. However, it takes time to understand how it works and to synchronize with the product,” assures the entrepreneur.
Disadvantage #4. Unfair competition
“Some sellers buy inventory and resell at knockdown prices on Amazon. So the product appears with multiple prices and we lose sales.” The start-up succeeded in obtaining the withdrawal of the platform from a first reseller. But others appeared without her being able to act…