It may seem like Amazon reigns supreme for online sales, but alternatives are available for sellers looking to create brand recognition and customer relationships.
There is no denying the sheer dominance of the online retail behemoth Amazon. Today Amazon is the biggest marketplace on the planet, with hundreds of millions of buyers of groceries, furniture, electronics and yes — even books. The convenience of one-stop shopping and delivery is excellent news for consumers. Still, success can be difficult for sellers, which has created a wave of sentiment looking for Amazon alternatives.
Sellers have a good list of concerns with the Amazon solution. The cost to use Amazon is a profit margin percentage that undoubtedly varies but still affects the cost of doing business. Sellers gain access to a sea of potential buyers but must make up the volume to sustain a fruitful profit.
Profit calculation and pricing are massive tasks that can fluctuate daily and change in a matter of hours. Amazon is a competitive marketplace with over two million sellers, meaning every time a buyer searches for your product, there will be competition. Many sellers have been extinguished from the market due to competition from Amazon itself. Then there are the knock-offs or the cheap copies of products that emerge in numerous categories. The competition can make it difficult to stand out.
Sellers have even realized they are wasting their efforts building Amazon’s bottom line and not their own business within the Amazon market ecosystem. Sellers have a minimal relationship with the customer, meaning that even when successful, the seller misses out on the benefits of building their brand.
Platform alternatives set the tone
A culture has emerged from these conditions and has made sellers look for practical alternatives to online sales. One of the turnkey methods that sellers utilize is Shopify, but there are many others like SquareSpace and Wix. These powerful platforms have their advantages that get sellers online quickly with little technical knowledge required.
Unfortunately, these platforms have their share of problems. There is an ecosystem of apps that help sellers carry out their business. A store can use apps that do analytics, email marketing, inventory, scheduling and more. These platforms are built upon a mesh of these applications which can cause data problems, ease-of-use problems and integration issues.
Some choose to establish a WordPress-based solution, which is a compelling option. But the fabric of these applications can quickly become problematic for owners to navigate. In addition, technical challenges such as performance, customer experience and security require advanced technical skills to set up and maintain.
Not all ecommerce systems are the same and alternatives exist to help store owners navigate the complex landscape. These systems can help establish a reliable platform and introduce sellers to the techniques that will work best with their goals for SEO, social marketing, logistics and email marketing. These systems make the operational store experience a service rather than a task and liability.
Finding the customer
Sellers often initially choose the Amazon marketplace because of the perceived access to customers. While the numbers are undeniable, there is a lack of connection to those very clients, even if they’ve bought one of your products.
You can connect an independent ecommerce system to several open marketplaces and channels to customers. This includes Google Shopping, eBay, Google and Bing, marketing networks, social media marketing and more.
An independent ecommerce platform will allow the store owner to engage with their buyers and prospective customer lists more effectively. They can create and distribute offers through email, newsletters, social media posts and advertisements. This allows owners to control their sales on an entirely different level.
Social media use is at an ever-increasing high and mobile marketing through SMS and application updates delivers impressive results. Sellers can not only sell directly through social marketing, but can also drive traffic back to their ecommerce site using content strategy, hashtags, social media ads and all other great marketing ideas designed to find the target audience.
Simplicity is better
The best companies that provide ecommerce solutions are fully integrated with their technology and avoid using a Frankenstack of partners. Sellers find that scaling a verticalized infrastructure is mandatory to achieve their goals efficiently. Essentially, simplifying the selling process so that one company can manage everything in a way that works together seamlessly is the key to ecommerce success. By using these solutions:
- Sellers own their business data
- Sellers benefit from better marketing
- Sellers benefit from sales and eliminating listing and fulfillment fees that are part of the Amazon solution
Choose the best path
If you’re new to the world of ecommerce or looking for another way, many routes can sell your products online. The options are endless, from Amazon’s platform to third-party sites like Etsy and Shopify to building a new website from scratch.
Research what works best before deciding which approach is right for you. Take your time and try out each method thoroughly to find the most success.
This article was originally published on The Entrepreneur website