Diversify Your Online Business: Thinking Past Amazon
How to Think Beyond the Amazon Marketplace
It’s no secret that Amazon offers tons of perks for eCommerce business owners. With an Amazon store, your product has the potential to reach a huge number of new customers and, if you opt for the Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program, you also get to benefit from Amazon’s renowned customer service and quick shipping.
The problem isn’t selling your product on Amazon. The problem is getting so comfortable with being an Amazon seller, that you neglect to diversify your business. It’s important to remember that while Amazon is great, it’s not the only game in town, and by sticking with only one platform you risk limiting your business in major ways.
Here are some things to consider when looking into expanding your online business to sell on additional platforms:
Sell Through Your Own Branded Site
Having your own branded website doesn’t have to detract from your efforts on Amazon. Instead, your own site can enhance and complement what you’re already doing as an eCommerce seller. When you limit yourself to just Amazon, the experience your customer receives is fairly generic. Everything from the site design to the packaging is familiar and routine, and totally indistinguishable from that of any other Amazon seller.
When you sell through your own site, on the other hand, you can create a completely unique buyer experience that matches the “feel” of your brand and your product. Your site can provide powerful branding that Amazon doesn’t. Plus, if you use SEO successfully, you can drive prospective customers searching for similar products to your site. Creating your site doesn’t have to be super involved. Tools like Squarespace are designed to let you have your own branded site, with minimal energy required.
Reach a Broader Audience through a Variety of Platforms
The more platforms you sell on, the more customers will see your product. While a whopping 44% of customers start their product search directly on Amazon, that leaves more than half of customers who search through other channels. You shouldn’t neglect your Amazon store, but instead, begin to complement your Amazon efforts with other platforms.
Depending on your product, you may wish to start an Etsy shop, sell through Shopify, have an eBay presence, utilize Yahoo! Small Business, and maybe even sell on popular international sites like Alibaba. Sales growth may not be as dramatic on other platforms as when you first started selling on Amazon, but steady, incremental growth may be more sustainable.
Sticking with Only Amazon is Risky
While it makes sense to feel comfortable with Amazon and afraid of branching out, the truth is that limiting your business to Amazon is risky. It’s not uncommon for risk to become stagnant and customer reach to become limited. You’re also taking a gamble by being dependent on Amazon’s often frustrating methods of listing and ranking products and sellers, especially if you are selling a product that is being sold by many other sellers.
Plus, Amazon has a plethora of seller policies and regulations to follow, and if you mistakenly violate these policies you may find your products abruptly delisted. While you work with Amazon to resolve any issues, wouldn’t it be comforting to know your products are still being sold and you’re still bringing in income from other channels?
What’s Your Value?
It’s important to keep the value you offer your customer in mind when deciding whether or not to diversify. Amazon offers the value of inexpensive, fast shipping and great customer service. Other platforms may or may not offer these exact perks to your customers. (When selling through your own site, you may find that you need to charge more for shipping, for example.) But perhaps you can make up for this by providing your customers value in other ways, like more reasonable prices or a personalized, unique shopping experience.
Once you decide to diversify, remember that the barrier to entry is low in most online selling platforms, which can empower you to expand with minimal risk of time or money. As long as you are able to keep up with sales without sacrificing customer service, diversifying could be just the thing you need to take your business to the next level.
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