Starting a business on eBay or Amazon can be a straightforward process. You have stock, you list it, you sell it, and then it’s just a question of rinse and repeat. However, growing your business on eBay or Amazon is a much more complicated affair.
As your business grows, you may experience growing pains. With increased warehouse space, additional staff picking and packing and managing your customer services and support, and ever-larger quantities of stock on order and in transit, those margins that once looked manageable when you were small suddenly start looking wafer-thin.
Business growing pains
It’s inevitable, as your turnover increases, so do your costs. Unfortunately, as a result of this rather inconvenient equation, there are a lot of “busy fools” chasing increasingly elusive profit margins on the online marketplaces.
When retailers on eBay and Amazon experience these growing pains, there are two things they need to do:
- Optimise their eBay and Amazon marketplace operations.
- Look for growth opportunities off of eBay and Amazon.
What does online marketplace optimisation look like?
Online marketplace optimisation comes in two steps: Listing optimisation and business optimisation.
Listing optimisation ensures that your listings are visible in search and compelling enough to encourage shoppers to trust you with their purchase.
It’s tedious, I know, but optimising your listings on a marketplace like eBay often means just following the eBay Seller Updates and tweaking your listings to follow the latest best practice. If you’ve had the same listings running for years without touching them, it’s little wonder your sales aren’t as good as they used to be.
If your listings don’t feature a comprehensive description, aren’t categorised correctly, feature detailed item specifics, include manufacturers part numbers (MPNs) and multiple images, offer convenient shipping options, and are keenly priced, your listings stand very little chance of being found, let alone inspiring a purchase.
Make your eBay listings work harder
In any competitive market, professional branding will always make a business appear more trustworthy, as will high-quality images and video. Dynamic Cross Promotion will also keep buyers on your listings for longer, reducing the chances of losing business to a competitor.
Success will also require a little experimentation.
We thoroughly recommend sellers experiment with eBay’s new Promoted Listings feature to drive sales. You should seek to master this opportunity now while cost-per-click pricing is low. Give it a few more months; as more people adopt this opportunity, the inevitable mistakes you make while testing will be much more expensive.
What about Amazon?
Many sellers have a love/hate relationship with Amazon.
They love the simplicity of adding their products to Amazon’s catalogue and the almost instant flow of sales from the site.
They hate the competitive environment, which can often force a rapid race to the bottom and that Amazon, as a retailer itself, actively competes with its sellers while holding all the data.
While Amazon represents a fantastic opportunity for your business, it also represents an environment where many retailers struggle to feel in complete control of their business. This represents a real risk to your business, especially when you rely exclusively on a single marketplace for the bulk of your sales.
Business optimisation is all about reducing the time and effort you spend in your business doing things that don’t make you money.
Multi-channel eCommerce management software like Linnworks, ChannelAdvisor or SolidCommerce will almost certainly free up hours in your working day.
Warehousing and picking and packing is another great example of a potential unnecessary drain on your resources. You don’t make money by stuffing envelopes, and unless your economies of scale are massive, you probably aren’t getting the best possible rate from your couriers.
Outsourcing your fulfilment to an organisation like Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), Orange Connex or Huboo, will not only potentially reduce your operating costs it may also increase your visibility as products are shipped in a timely fashion.
When you reduce the amount of time and money you spend on aspects of your business that don’t make you any money, you can focus all of your efforts on optimising the things that do.
eBay and Amazon will only ever be acquisition channels
Successful business is all about balancing acquisition and retention.
While online marketplaces like eBay and Amazon have the potential to drive significant sales, it’s important to remember that they will only ever be acquisition channels.
Because sellers DO NOT own the customer relationship with buyers on eBay and Amazon and CANNOT remarket to them, they will always pay acquisition fees every time they make a sale — even when it’s to a repeat customer.
As anyone who has been in business for any length of time will tell you, it’s always more expensive to acquire a customer than to retain an old one, so anything you can do to take ownership of your customer relationship is recommended.
This means it’s time to build your own eCommerce website and take control of your future.
Take control of your business
By selling from your own eCommerce website, you take control of your own business. Not only will you reduce your reliance on those expensive acquisition fees, but you’ll also own the customer relationship. This will mean you can use low-cost retention marketing strategies such as email marketing and social media marketing to drive repeat business and build customer lifetime value.
While there are many challenges in managing your own eCommerce site (you still need to find customers), many of the lessons learned while optimising your eBay and Amazon listings will stand you in good stead.
If you’ve invested in optimising your listings, created a recognisable brand, produced high-quality images, taken the time to shoot conversion enhancing videos, and optimised your business strategies with great software and outsourced services, much of that knowledge and experience can be transferred over to your own store experience.
With more than 15-years of experience in designing and building eCommerce websites, the team at Frooition believe that BigCommerce provides the most flexible and cost-effective eCommerce platform for retailers of all shapes and sizes.
Our clients tell us that their BigCommerce websites help them in terms of functionality and scalability while also helping them to protect their margins.
They also tell us that the road to eCommerce optimisation never ends.
The day your BigCommerce website goes live is the first day on a long journey of testing and optimisation. This should come as no surprise to retailers who have cut their eCommerce teeth on online marketplaces, like eBay and Amazon.
The good news is, when you start winning on BigCommerce, you have the potential to grow on your own terms and potentially bank the proceeds.
Are you ready to go BIG?
Your BigCommerce journey starts with a quick 15-minute phone call with one of our eCommerce experts. To book your initial free consultation, click here, and we’ll call you back at a time that fits your schedule.