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How Just Water Beat Supply Chain Challenges to Win on Amazon


Kiri Masters, head of retail marketplace strategy at Acadia on the rise of JUST Water and how it managed to fend off its competitors

How Just Water Beat Supply Chain Challenges to Win on Amazon

Kiri Masters is the head of retail marketplace strategy at Acadia. Before its acquisition by Acadia, Kiri was previously the founder and CEO of Bobsled Marketing, a digital agency that helps established consumer brands grow their retail marketplace sales channels. Bobsled was named one of the top 18 Amazon firms by Business Insider and ranks in the Marketplace Pulse Top 100.

Kiri is a contributor to Forbes, where she writes a weekly column about retail marketplaces from a brand’s perspective. She hosts the Ecommerce Braintrust podcast and is the co-author of the books Instacart for CMOs and Amazon For CMOs (ranked one for the top 100 retail books of all time).

Kiri is an Australian national that has lived in the US (off and on) since 2012, most recently becoming an Atlanta transplant.

The Problem

After gaining ground on entrenched competitors like Fiji Water and Flow in the US, relative newcomer JUST Water hit a pandemic supply chain crisis that jeopardised the brand on Amazon. 

JUST Water rose to prominence in 2019 and 2020 with a 360-degree approach to Amazon marketing that included innovations in packaging, inventory management, and real-time advertising adJUSTments. As its agency partner, we used the full suite of Amazon advertising capabilities to to attract prospective customers and grow market share. 

Then in mid-2021, as demand for home delivery peaked, supply chain congestion and delayed receiving times at Amazon fulfilment centres dramatically reduced JUST Water inventory. 

Suddenly, JUST Water’s share of category revenue dropped, while competitors jumped in to take over the high-value advertising placements that had fuelled our growth. 

While our challenge initially seemed to be how to respond to the supply chain issues, what we really needed to address was how to keep our brand visible and fend off competitors.


Rather than stop advertising as some brands do when crisis or down turns occur, we devised a multi-pronged approach to survive the shortages. 

First, we switched to defence mode. Since we couldn’t afford full-out search, product page, and programmatic advertising to attract trial, we focused on keeping existing customers. To keep them from switching to competitors, we showed customers searching for an out-of-stock item our closest product to it. 

We advertised products with the best inventory position as they became available. By using Sponsored Product ads, which have the lowest cost-per-click rates, we were able to target substitutes, loose match terms and complement keywords. 

That allowed us to avoid Amazon automatically shutting off ads, which the platform does as soon as a product is out of stock. It also enabled us to defend our brand terms and prevent competitors from stealing customers with deals or coupons, without hitting our daily spend limit. 

Prototype and Design

Creatively, we experimented relentlessly with new packaging formats, which matched the brand’s DNA. JUST was the first brand advertising on the Amazon channel to show the whole package, not JUST the bottle. We worked together to create distinct offers on what was available by grouping flavours together and creating variety packs of different flavours - something we noticed JUST competitors were being successful with on Amazon. 

We also tested custom creative elements to give customers ads that responded to their real-time searches. And we added content based on the season and managed our Amazon posts to show more life-style situations, which let us gain up to 5,000-8,000 organic impressions per week for free. 


Once inventory flow was restored in December 2021, we rebooted our campaign with bigger budgets, adding a vibrant assortment of new creative in the featured Sponsored Brand ads to boost our visibility. 

The result: JUST Water reclaimed its leadership in category and non-branded keywords on Amazon. We’ve captured a significant paid share of voice in 2022 (nearly 12% for our key search term). What’s more, sales are up over 500% and we’re on track to meet our total sales target.

A key factor in our ability to react to operational challenges is our agency’s focus on retail readiness. To better respond to fast market changes, we look at advertising and operations together in an Inventory Restock Report. For JUST we track selling history, inbound quantity, estimated days of supply, upcoming promotions, and inventory recommendations. We update the tracker weekly and monitor Amazon shipments. 

This provides a check-and-balance to ensure that all inventory has arrived as expected and that the advertising strategy can continue as planned. It also tells us which products to prioritise, enabling us to implement a surgical defence strategy during the supply chain crisis. 

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Categories: Water, Soft Drinks

The Marketing Standard, Wed, 11 Jan 2023 13:47:42 GMT