This is a guest post by Andrew Maff, Director of Marketing and Operations for Seller’s Choice, a full-service digital marketing agency for ecommerce sellers. Seller’s Choice provides uniquely personalized marketing and managed services for digital marketplace sellers, ecommerce merchants, and brand builders worldwide.
There comes a time for all ecommerce sellers when diversifying sales channels is the most intelligent and productive way to grow their business. You have heard it said that it is unwise to put all of your eggs in one basket; the same can be said for your online sales.
Amazon is a great place to make money. It is one of the most heavily trafficked sites in the world and with over 300 million users, it only makes sense to list your product in this marketplace! But because Amazon is so popular, it is also extremely competitive. It can be difficult to stay ahead of the competition and make your product stand out to potential buyers. Sure, there are many things you can do to help buyers find your listing, such as create Enhanced Brand Content or start a PPC ad campaign, but there are still great risks to only selling on Amazon.
Because there is such a large volume of sellers, Amazon has created a strict set of rules to ensure that buyers are not being cheated and that all sellers are providing quality products. This makes sense from a consumer perspective but it can be difficult for sellers from time to time. Amazon has also been known to change their terms without much notice and this can create some havoc. Sometimes honest, legitimate sellers can find themselves in violation of these terms, which can lead to a suspension and a loss of revenue. Similarly, Amazon has the power to restrict sales on a particular product at any time, which can leave a seller without any revenue.
These factors, coupled with the fees associated with using Amazon’s most powerful tools, like Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), means creating revenue from other channels is not only smart business, it can save your business.
Once you have made some sales on Amazon and garnered some positive feedback, you know you have something that people want to buy. Now all you have to do is find MORE people who want to buy. Remember, Amazon is a massive piece of the online marketplace, but it is not the only piece of the online marketplace.
Ways To Diversify Your Sales
1) Your Own Website
Selling from your own website just makes sense. In this space you are free to market your products any way that you see fit. You are not bound by strict rules or compliance expectations and you can create a customer experience that perfectly aligns with your brand. You control every aspect from pricing to discounts to the appearance of the site. You do not have to worry about competitors swooping in at the last minute to undersell you, it’s just you. You choose the design and layout of your site and have the final say in what images and videos you post. It is one of the best ways to showcase your product, what it is, and what it can do to improve the lives of potential buyers.
While selling from your own site gives you a great deal of freedom, is not the same as selling on Amazon. Amazon is populated with buyers who are primed and ready to spend their money. You do not have to convince them to buy; you have to convince them to buy from you. Converting sales on your own site will require a little more finesse but there are some things you can do to increase these odds of a sale.
Begin by making sure that people can find your page. The internet is a big place and if you are not able to signal to potential customers that you are out there and open for business, it will be hard to make any sales at all.
Be sure to use keywords. Create as much content as you can that will make use of these keywords. Use them in your product titles and your product descriptions. Consider adding a blog to your page that will not only include keywords but will also educate your visitors about your product or a problem they may be facing that can be solved by your product. Regular blog postings dramatically improve your SEO and increase the likelihood that an interested buyer will find you. Furthermore, well thought out, informative blog posts establish you as a thought leader in your industry or niche. People feel more confident buying from a company that displays expertise in their particular field.
Social media is another powerful way to drive traffic to your website. If you have not done so already, create a Facebook Business Page for yourself. From here, you can utilize the available tools to reach the right audience. You can create ad campaigns that will target your current followers or create a lookalike audience to target people who are similar to your current followers. These ads can link directly to your product or other content on your site. Share your blogs or promote any discounts you may be offering.
Social media also gives you a unique opportunity to interact directly with your audience, which can promote trust in your brand. Every time you respond to a user’s comment or question, you are creating a public record that shows you care and are engaged in your business. This faith in you will go a long way to increasing potential sales.
2) Utilize Other Marketplaces
Amazon may always account for a large portion of your revenues but it is still worth listing your products in other online marketplaces. Sites like eBay and Rakuten provide a selling space that reaches a diverse audience of buyers. These sites are ideal for sellers who have products that appeal to the majority of people. If you sell a niche product, consider selling in a niche marketplace. For handmade, limited run, or artisan products, for example, sites like Etsy are a perfect fit. The buyers in that space are already looking for unique products and are prepared to pay for them.
Make sure you create a specific listing for each site. You do not want to use the same content across all of your sales channels. Use language that speaks to the buyer persona of each space. If you are able to speak more directly to the buyers on each site, you will be more appealing and your listing is more likely to convert a sale.
Switching up your content will also help you appear in search results. Google returns the most popular site first and the others are decreased in rank. This means that your Amazon listing will likely be the first result and the others will be buried. If you differentiate the content used, you increase the odds that the rest of the search results will be populated with your other listings. If you have more than one listing that appears on the first page of results, the chances that someone will buy your product are increased.
Knowing when exactly to diversify can be a tricky thing but it is worth the time and consideration. If you are having a difficult time moving your product on Amazon, selling from your own site can help you better define your target customer and your brand voice, improving your revenues across the board. If you are already successful on Amazon, you may find that FBA fees, increasing competition, and strict terms of service may be eating into your bottom line. Again, selling on your own site and across a multitude of sales channels is the best way to grow your revenues in a sustainable way while boosting brand recognition and establishing yourself as a trusted source. Amazon is big, but it is not everything. Step outside of the box and explore what else may be out there for you!