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Local startup unlocks the power of Amazon


Amazon.com is an unstoppable e-behemoth, ringing up nearly 40 percent of holiday web sales between Thanksgiving and the Monday after Turkey Day alone. As more consumer brands and general manufacturers harness the power of the online giant, a Cleveland startup is aiming to help them realize the powerful platform's nearly limitless potential.
 
Marketplace Strategy (MPS), housed in Tyler Village in Cleveland’s historic Tyler Elevator complex, is a five-person team of experienced digital marketers developing Amazon optimization programs for companies including Powerstep Insoles and Cyalume
 
Where other Amazon-specific agencies may focus on keywords and product page content, MPS takes what vice president of sales and marketing Jeff Walcoff calls an "end-to-end" approach. That means not only maximizing website visitors, but also creating a better user experience, increasing a business's presence on the platform, and optimizing company revenue.
 
MPS's work with Powerstep, in particular, demonstrated the Cleveland service's potential, Walcoff notes. The startup organized the shoe insert provider's sales listings while also fashioning back-end improvements. Powerstep's sales leapt significantly following the makeover.
 
"For us in digital marketing, unless you have some kind of software others don't, you have to offer something that makes you stand out," says Walcoff. "Growth with our clients has been across the board."
 
Walcoff and his colleagues developed the Amazon optimization program as part of a larger agency, but split off last year to launch MPS. 
 
"We saw potential to develop something unique; not just an SEO (search engine optimization) company," Walcoff says. "Right now we want to build a good foundation of clients. We've had conversations with local manufacturing companies big and small, and some national brands."
 
E-commerce will continue to grow, with Amazon leading the way, says the company official. According to a 2016 survey by BloomReach, 55 percent of consumers reported going directly to Amazon when searching for a product, nearly double those who cited search engines and other retailers.
 
MPS can be part of that evolution, considering that many companies—even larger ones—don't have much infrastructure around the Amazon platform.
 
"If you're selling something, Amazon is the epicenter of the internet," says Walcoff. "We love the companies in Cleveland and welcome the chance to work with them."  

Read more articles by Douglas J. Guth.

Douglas J. Guth is a Cleveland Heights-based freelance writer and journalist. In addition to Fresh Water, his work has been published by Midwest Energy News, Kaleidoscope Magazine and Think, the alumni publication of Case Western Reserve University. A die-hard Cleveland sports fan, he also writes for the cynically named (yet humorously written) blog Cleveland Sports Torture.   
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