NF Imports builds awareness with Sponsored Brands and advertising best practices
NF Imports is the exclusive distributor of U.S. brands Vornado and Marpac in Japan. Vornado, based in Andover, Kansas, designs and manufactures household fans and other small appliances related to air circulation. Yogasleep by Marpac, which is based in North Carolina, manufactures sleep products.
Shifting the retail strategy after a natural disaster
In 2011, the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami impacted the lives of Japanese citizens and businesses, including NF Imports. Previously trading on a self-managed online retail site, NF Imports entered the Amazon Japan marketplace as a seller in 2014. “After the [earthquake], I was made aware of the difficulty of managing inventory between wholesalers and mass retailers. I felt the need to strengthen our online sales and decided to sell on Amazon,” said Yamamoto Daisuke, a sales manager at NF Imports.
Pivoting efforts on brand building
With previous experience running digital ads, NF Imports launched Sponsored Products first in January 2015. While Sponsored Products helped increase visibility for their products, they felt that doubling down on brand recognition among latent customers held the key to the company’s long-term growth. As a result, NF Imports expanded their Amazon Ads portfolio to Sponsored Brands and Sponsored Display.
Of the ad solutions NF Imports leverages, Sponsored Brands holds a special value. The brand operates in the home appliances category with multiple sellers. Branching out to Sponsored Brands in 2018 helped open up more opportunities to re-engage customers.
“We were so excited that [our brand was registered with Amazon Brand Registry] we can now run ads for branding purposes,” recalled Meiko Hattori, E-commerce marketing division manager.
Exploring video ad format with Sponsored Brands
Most recently, the company added Sponsored Brands video ad format to their Amazon Ads portfolio in October 2022. NF Imports started running video ads for their Yogasleep white-noise machines. They created video ads using Amazon Ads new Video Builder, with early access to the feature.1
All we needed to do to create our video ads was to submit one static image and a list of high-performing keywords, and that’s how easy it was.
When it comes to Sponsored Brands video ad format, NF Imports sees their auto-playing videos helping drive impressions for the brand as a whole.
Championing advertising best practices
Today, NF Imports runs Amazon Ads solutions throughout the year, regularly fine-tuning keyword targeting. By running ads continuously, the brand occasionally observes unexpected, short- to long-term trends. For example, they expected a product like the air circulator to have year-round demand. Instead, they discovered the product has a seasonal demand with Japanese customers that depends on factors like the weather.
Hattori uses Amazon Ads learning opportunities to help with the brand’s evergreen advertising initiatives. “I’ve been attending webinars hosted by Amazon Ads for years,” said Hattori. “I try to catch them on demand if I miss them. I also listen back to the sessions I have attended because as I’ve gained more experience with Amazon Ads over time, there are always new learnings and discoveries. Some tips can only sink in when you’re used to the operational side of things.”
Achieving 80% of sales from new-to-brand customers2
NF Imports witnessed success with Amazon Ads in reaching latent customers and building their brand. They observed that 80% of sales from new customers between March 2018 and December 2022, and reported a steady growth of 30% in sales between December 2019 and November 2022.3