When you want to start selling your products online, you usually have two main distribution channels: your own online store or a shopping cart via a third party like Amazon and eBay, to name only the two major players.
If you chose to sell your products solely using your online store and, as a result, you experience little or no sales, perhaps you should consider changing your sales strategy and give a third-party selling website a try.
Think about it: in your “real world” business you would probably invest in newspaper ads, yellow pages or door-to-door flyers. The equivalent to showcase your product in the “virtual” world are Amazon and eBay, as they could bring a lot of traffic and increase your sales (you should also consider taking a look at RedFlagDeals). Why those? Simply put, most people go to these websites looking for a product, usually in order to buy it. Both Amazon and eBay have become over the years tHE leaders in online shopping.
Many online businesses and start-ups wrongly spend thousands of dollars in advertisement that cannot be tracked. Those hard-to-track methods usually rely on traditional printed marketing. Tracking how visitors come to your site can help you determine if your campaign is actually working, and an online shop will let you do just that.
For example, who hasn’t seen an ad promoting a website in public transportation? If this is the only promotion done by a website, one could assume that all the visits come from this promotional campaign. However, what if the website owner is also running ads in magazines, newspapers or yellow pages? How could be measured which campaign is bringing the most visits, which is really beneficial to the business and which should immediately suspended due to poor results? Sadly, you cannot answer any of these questions because you cannot track the origin of the visits. Keep in mind the renowned saying by Francis Bacon: “Knowledge is Power“. Knowing where sales come from will help sellers focus on what brings results.
The main benefit of choosing online over traditional advertisement is that you can clearly see how the money invested is actually helping to grow (or not) your business.
Here are a few tips you should keep in mind for eBay and/or Amazon:
- Think of Amazon and eBay as shopping malls, then question yourself: would you like to have your store in the mall or would you rather have your brand new online store located in the corner of Unknown Sellers Alley and Low-Traffic Avenue?
- Use Amazon and eBay to showcase a selection of what you consider your best-selling items.
- If you don’t have your own eCommerce solution, consider adding all of your products.
- If you have your own shopping cart/online store, consider adding only some of your items on Amazon or eBay to entice customers to visit your site for a broader selection of products.
- Use them as outlet stores; this doesn’t mean that you sell products you don’t want, but products that you would simply sell for less in order to increase sales and visibility.
- Selling your products with rebates is not a loss nor a cost, it is an investment: don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Don’t spend $2000 in traditional marketing where only a fraction of the audience has the intention of buying online. Promote your business in the same environment you expect to have clients and sales.
- Your target market is very important; always prioritize your local area in your ads. For example, Canadian customers would be more likely to buy from a Canadian business in order to avoid the Shipping and Handling charges or delays in customs at the border when the product comes from another country.
Here are a few tips for sellers interested in Groupon and/or RedFlagDeals:
- A nice introductory offer could spice up your sales by allowing a large number of people, who most likely have never heard of you before, try your products.
- Don’t be disappointed if you don’t sell all your deals; remember that the information you gather is your most valuable asset. You will know who buys, from what distribution channel this buyer arrives and for what purpose (a sale on eBay, your regular-priced product in Amazon, promotional coupon or deal). You can later adjust your marketing plan thanks to this new information.
- If we consider Groupon, Redflagdeals and similar sites as gift cards, you should consider that, according to Statistics Canada, this segment represented in average 13% of the whole online sales in Canada for 2010.
The most successful internet companies are not those which sell the most but the ones that sell the most by optimizing spending and getting a higher Return On Investment (ROI).