Marketplace websites like Amazon are exceptionally powerful tools for online sales. Yet, they are not the final word for many retailers. Savvy sellers wishing to expand their profit margins know that while the tools contained in Amazon can be immensely useful, building a website outside of Amazon will expand sales.
After all, while Amazon is huge, its size can actually limit what it can do as a sales platform. It does not update frequently, its layout is one-size-fits-all, and the sheer volume of products can make it hard for shoppers to find you. Building your own site can fill these service gaps, allow you to improve your customer service, and provide a means of competing with other Amazon sellers.
To develop your own successful e-commerce site and increase your sales both on and off Amazon, follow these four simple steps:
Step One: Choose Unique Products and Become an Expert
Many Amazon sellers make the mistake of selling the same products that dozens of other retailers do. Thus, unless you are coming into Amazon with a new version of that product that is remarkable in some way (lower price, new features, etc.) you will likely become little more than another face in a large crowd.
The better option is to choose a unique product (or line of products) and become an expert in those items. While Amazon will not allow you to share much information about your expertise pertaining to that product, your own site will. Using your personal site in tandem with your Amazon store will make it possible for you to share information about this product, demonstrate your knowledge and expertise on the item, and provide a much deeper insight than Amazon would ever allow. This way, your products will both stand out from the crowd and you can give your customers a deep and thorough understanding of what it is, why they need it, and why they should purchase it through you.
Step Two: Build a Better Site for Your Product than Amazon Can Offer
Amazon may be a retail giant, but anyone who has ever used their site knows it is a victim of its own success. The site is often so expansive that it can be hard for shoppers to find exactly what they are looking for, and there is very little opportunity to research products beyond the most basic of criteria. Plus, it is, to put it plainly, ugly.
This gives you the opportunity to vastly outperform your competitors on Amazon through the use of your own standalone website. As a smaller, leaner, and more efficient website, you can present a visually captivating user experience that ideally meets your customers’ needs and expectations for your line of products. From themes, colors, banners, and fonts to product descriptions and useful articles, your site has a number of ways to greatly outperform Amazon and offer huge advantages to your customers.
Step Three: Structure Your Pricing to Compete or Outperform
With its wide assortment of products, Amazon makes it possible for shoppers to find exceptionally good deals. That can be great for buyers, but not as great for sellers. Selling a unique product—as described in Step One—will help you avoid competitions based solely on price. But, for those instances when direct competition remains unavoidable, you will have to carefully structure your pricing.
Amazon and others who sell through the site have profit margins, just like any retailer. If you can sell for something less than their margin, you can beat them outright on pricing. You will have to be careful not to price the item so low that you completely erode your own profits to nothing, unless you are using a handful of items as “loss leaders” in order to entice customers to buy additional products from you. At the very least, you may be able to match competitor pricing to ensure that nobody else can offer a price that is any better than yours.
With your own site, you have the added advantage of being able to provide extra value to your products, such as free samples of other products or a promotional code for a discount on a future purchase.
Another alternative may be to differentiate your product from similar or identical items selling on Amazon. For example, you might create your own unique brand—even if it is merely a re-branding of a product made by a common manufacturer. By doing so, you suggest that your product is different than those available elsewhere on Amazon. This frees you to set your prices higher, implying that your product is a premium or luxury version and, thus, provides superior value over similar items. Many buyers will be attracted by the notion of purchasing a better quality product, even if the only real differentiation is the price and brand name. Having an outside website supporting that brand makes it possible for you to substantiate that claim and further prove its status as a distinct brand.
Step Four: Provide a Better Overall Customer Experience
Another great way to improve your own sales is to provide customer service through your own website that is superior to that which a customer could expect when dealing with Amazon. Amazon’s size means that it must perform much of its customer service through automated means. Your website’s smaller size means you can provide a personal touch that Amazon is simply too large to offer. You can offer customer service phone numbers with real people attached to them, live chat capabilities related specifically to your sales offerings, and much more. When customers feel they have been given personalized service, they perceive that as a huge added value. This can create repeat customers and positive word of mouth about your operation.
This applies to customers that experience problems with their orders, as well. Being able to reach an actual human being that is helpful and willing and empowered to do whatever it takes to make a situation right is a great way to turn a negative experience into an overwhelmingly positive one. Amazon provides no means to accomplish this level of customer interaction, so providing that through your own outside website can give you a distinct advantage over the competition.
Start Making More Money with Your Own E-Commerce Site Today
While starting your own site to support your Amazon operation may take a little more planning and preparation, the payoff can be immense. You achieve a way to avoid being bound by the limitations of Amazon’s one-size-fits-all system. Instead, you can sell demonstrate your expertise, differentiate your products and brand, offer better value to your customers, and provide an unbeatable customer service experience. Opening your own site can expand your bottom line and help you avoid the limitations of Amazon’s standard seller services.
This guest post was contributed by the Skubana team. Skubana is an all-in-one ERP system that seamlessly integrates with most e-commerce marketplaces, 3PLs, warehouses, provides state-of-the-art profitability and multi-channel inventory management. Skubana compiles all of your marketplaces on a single page to intuitively control and understand your entire business. Try Skubana free for 14 days, or feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!