Mellanni Fine Linens launched in 2014 on the Amazon marketplace and quickly raked in sales thanks, in part, to many positive customer reviews.

Mellanni Fine Linens has Amazon.com Inc. to thank for its explosive growth.

The bedsheet retailer launched its own ecommerce site Mellanni.com and also became a marketplace seller on Amazon in September 2014. Co-founder Margarita Poluyko realized there was not a dominant bedding brand on Amazon.com and decided to focus on the marketplace as its primary selling channel rather than its own ecommerce site. “We saw a lot of potential and growth opportunity,” she says.

In just the first few months, the brand generated $1.5 million in sales on Amazon, which grew to $8 million in 2015, $25 million in 2017 and $38 million in 2018. (The retailer declined to reveal 2016 sales.) Amazon is still the retailer’s focus as sales continue to roll in for the brand, and it is on track to generate $50 million in 2019, she says. About 95% of its sales are on Amazon.com and the rest come in via its ecommerce site, Poluyko says.

Poluyko has attributed its growth to a few factors:

  • Mellanni has more than 50,000 reviews,  and a large percentage of those are positive reviews. The retailer has over a 4-star average.
  • The retailer offers a 100% money-back guarantee, which gives consumers a sense of security when purchasing a product, knowing that they can return it without hassle.
  • It focuses most of its marketing budget on pay-per-click retargeting ads to keep its products top of mind.

In its first year selling on Amazon, the retailer used to reach out to customers asking them about their experience to ensure it was positive and they had no complaints. It also started to receive positive reviews, which Poluyko says is a result of its customer service. Once the retailer started receiving positive reviews, sales and reviews became a constant cycle, she says. More reviews leads to more sales, which then leads to more reviews, she says. But there is no magic number of reviews that is the tipping point, Poluyko says.

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“While reviews are a big piece of any online customer’s purchase path, there is no set number that makes a brand credible,” Poluyko says. “Brands with as few as 1,000 reviews can be fantastic companies. It’s more about the quality of the reviews, the dedication of our brand supporters and the quality of the product.”

Amazon no longer lets marketplace merchants directly contact shoppers about their experience anymore, but that’s OK, Poluko says, as the retailer already has credibility from its tens of thousands of reviews.

What really kick-started the brand was when Amazon designated the Mellanni Bedsheet set with the “Best Seller” badge in the Sheets & Pillowcases category in 2016. The badge “just appeared one day,” Poluyko says. The retailer did not apply for the badge since it is based on sales compared with other SKUs in the category, she says.

“Of course we were extremely excited, as we worked really hard to get to that point,” she says. She declined to say how much the badge increased sales as there were multiple factors contributing to growth at that time.

Right now, Mellanni does not sell in stores, but it is considering setting up wholesale partnerships sometime this year to help further its growth.

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Next up, the retailer is launching new products, such as new print colors and sizes, as well as silk pillow cases and weighted blankets. Even though bed sheets are not a seasonal product, the holiday season still generates three to four times the retailer’s average sales. For the holiday season, it also plans to launch additional flannel products, silk pillow cases, seasonal colors of products and gift-wrapped products.

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