How To Grow Your E-Commerce Sales Outside of Amazon
Amazon has experienced some unprecedented growth in 2020, and it’s expected to only extend its e-commerce domination over the global marketplace.
However, as every savvy e-commerce brand knows, once you devote some time and energy to understanding the strengths and weaknesses of selling on Amazon, you will come to one inevitable conclusion: Having your own e-commerce marketplace outside of Amazon can lead to even better results.
That does not mean you should stop using Amazon as a means to make a sale – just that investing in a marketplace that you personally have more control over and leveraging an integrated strategy (that will also include your Amazon pages) can prove to be the more lucrative option.
Here’s what you need to do to grow sales on your own website.
Win at One Source of Traffic
A lot of business owners who are just looking to get into digital marketing and creating their own website are daunted by the sheer amount of work they fear awaits them.
However, the truth of the matter is, you only need to win at one source of traffic to see results, and once the results are there, you will have the resources needed to invest in another.
Here are some traffic sources to think about:
While SEO is a long-term investment, there is a way to win at it that is more straightforward than others.
It involves locating keywords that have a decent amount of monthly search traffic but that don’t have the amount of competition you can’t hope to outrank. This will often mean that the top-ranking pages don’t have too many backlinks.
You may end up discovering a whole field of untapped keywords for which you can position yourself well.
Content marketing is also a long-term strategy, but you can become successful with just one piece of top content.
The thing about content marketing is that it can be leveraged in more ways than one. You can use your content for backlink-building purposes, as a landing page from an ad; it can be promoted via email or social media, and if it picks up some traction, it can start earning its own keep.
A good example of the kind of content you want to be working with is the Transparent Labs blog, which features genuinely useful posts, checked and verified by experts. If positioned to rank well, these posts have the potential to drive organic traffic. They are also proof of authority and expertise, which is vital to strengthening the brand.
One of the best ways to tap into someone’s attention is email. After all, everyone checks their email at least several times a day, and email marketing is often viewed as less obtrusive than other marketing channels.
Building a list of leads for your emails can be efficiently and effectively done with a lead magnet that will attract the right attention. This strategy works especially well for high-end and B2B e-commerce companies whose conversions are more valuable, as they don’t require a large volume of leads.
A great way to attract targeted traffic, especially when you’re just starting out, Facebook ads are affordable, intelligent, and easy to work with.
If you get your product in front of an interested set of eyes, chances are you will inspire a click. After all, people spend a lot of time scrolling through their feed, and when they come across an offer they like, they want to learn more about it.
Another form of ad you might want to check out is Google ads.
Bear in mind that you might be entering into an arena where clicks and impressions come at a higher price, so make sure you do your research before you commit to this strategy.
On the other hand, Google ads are a great way to get your brand some traction and to boost your initial reach. They should not be dismissed lightly.
Invest in UX
When you run your own little e-commerce marketplace, the one thing you should absolutely be investing in is excellent UX. You don’t have to do anything extremely “out there” – the smallest of basic boxes ticked can go a long way:
- Start by ensuring the website loads quickly across all devices.
- While you’re at it, make sure scrolling is pleasant across all devices and that all of your copy, visuals, menus, and other elements are properly featured on mobile devices as well.
- Ease of navigation is incredibly important, so a menu that is easy to understand is also a must.
Once you have these basics down, focus on including some trust elements and social proof, which will help the visitors who land on your pages make purchasing decisions.
As opposed to selling on Amazon, where everyone trusts the website and can read your reviews to determine if they want to make a purchase, your website might not inspire the same kind of trust and loyalty without some added signals on your part.
Reviews are a great way to start, of course. Take a look at how Gili does it: they have plenty of user reviews (with images), and they have four great trust-inspiring badges, listing things like guarantees and warranties. Consider something similar for your own website.
Have a Robust Brand
Your branding needs to be on point. A user should be able to tell they are on your page just by landing on it.
To achieve this, choose your color scheme carefully and go for a unique website design that is in line with your branding – and stick to said branding across all of your marketing channels. Doing one thing on the website and another thing on social media does not work well in terms of brand uniformity.
A good example of a robust brand and brand cohesion is LMNT, which uses strong colors across all of their channels. More importantly, they exhibit an authentic voice that speaks to fitness and martial arts enthusiasts – a message that is perfectly on-brand.
Consider each element you are using very carefully. Assess how it is going to fit into the larger picture of your brand as a whole and how it can contribute to the story.
Growing your own e-commerce space is challenging. However, you don’t have to remain hung up on the idea that you can’t establish this space for yourself. After all, only by utilizing all sales and marketing channels available to you (that is, including both Amazon and your own website) will you truly be able to say you are dominating your own market segment.
Karl Kangur is CEO of Result Compass.