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If you’ve been selling on Amazon but aren’t sure it’s a great fit or are wondering what else is out there, you can read here about some Amazon alternatives.
As Amazon likes to boast on its TV commercials, the businesses it has helped to spawn and the jobs they have created number in the millions. Amazon remains the global leader in the e-c0mmerce industry, and it gives smart sellers exposure to even more millions of potential buyers. This isn’t about dissing Amazon. But…
Selling on Amazon has its challenges and grievances.
Selling on Amazon may be where you started your e-commerce business, but it doesn’t mean it has to stay there, especially if you find yourself running into roadblocks or interference. A lot of well-documented problems have occurred in both Seller Central and Vendor Central, causing aggravation among sellers. Some of these include:
Legal issues around branding and copyright infringement
Although Amazon has made laudable efforts at preventing brand and copyright infringements, it can be a constant game of Whack-A-Mole that still leaves the holder of the brand name or copyright having to enforce the violations. Because Amazon is the world’s biggest online marketplace, it also attracts the lion’s share of black-market knockoffs. If you’re selling popular products that attract this kind of theft, you may be spending too much of your valuable time chasing down violators.
Running afoul of opaque selling policies (sometimes with little warning or explanation)
We frequently see sellers complaining of unfair treatment by Amazon when their accounts get suspended, or payments withheld, without the seller having had enough notice or opportunity to troubleshoot the problem. Some account suspensions are actually caused not by human intervention, but by algorithmic decisions made by Amazon’s internal machine-learning software. We’ve written before about ways to avoid removal from Amazon but again, is this how you want to be spending your time as an e-commerce manager?
Amazon private label takeovers
This is probably the number one grievance cited by Amazon sellers. If you’ve introduced a product that turns out to be fantastically popular, then Amazon has its sights on you. With free and easy access to all product and sales data, the company has become notorious for competing against its own vendors with privately labeled “Amazon” brand products. One of the best-known examples of this is the “Amazon Basics” line of lightning cables for mobile devices, which now outsell units from branded competitors like Apple and Anker by a factor of 9 to 1.
You may not have experienced any of these problems and want to remain on Amazon, but just want to expand your horizons. So, here are some Amazon alternatives as well as different selling options to consider.
What are the best choices among the Amazon alternatives?
(1) Sign up to sell on another marketplace like Google Shopping, Walmart.com, or eBay.
The advantage of selling only through marketplaces is that you don’t need an independent e-commerce platform or a storefront. You only need a data source feed like with Amazon– no CMS required, no separate inventory or accounting systems to manage.
Google Shopping is growing fast in popularity, with many vendors signing up to take advantage of Google’s newly introduced no-fee policy for listing products and transaction processing. For full details on the Google Shopping platform, see this article.
Walmart.com has a very selective approach when approving new vendors. Because of its market dominance (second only to Amazon in the U.S.), Walmart has the luxury to be choosy about which sellers they’ll partner with. If your business has solid credentials and you have the patience to wait a few weeks for processing your application, Walmart has the potential to access nearly as many shoppers as Amazon provides. If you’re already doing $60,000 a month or more in your Amazon business, Walmart will be happy to consider you. See more on the battle between Walmart vs. Amazon. Also, unlike Amazon, Walmart has no listing or seller account fees.
eBay is second only to Amazon for estimated monthly traffic. It attracts over 750 million visits (vs Amazon at 2 billion). It’s got an excellent internal search engine that’s categorically organized to sell every kind of product, from auto parts to Zumba videos. eBay ‘s traditional auction pricing is still available, but many B2C vendors use the popular Buy it Now pricing option. There are fees both to list products and also commissions on sales, but they vary by category. For more about selling on eBay, go here.
(2) Create a storefront with a shopping cart platform to enable direct promotions and customer relationships, and retain more profit.
There are plenty of shopping cart platforms to choose from. Shopify is perhaps the most popular, and it offers scalability for larger vendors with its Shopify Plus premium software. Other good choies include Magento or Netsuite (both open-source platforms), BigCommerce, and WooCommerce.
(3) Move to omnichannel selling, with some additions to your tech stack.
If you’ve resolved to build a shopping cart platform or already have one, this can be the starting block for an even more advanced form of online selling. You will need a dedicated PIM (product information management) system and a marketing automation platform to help you push out promotions and manage your digital or social media ad campaigns.
But the real power this arrangement gives you is that it opens the door to selling through multiple channels at once. Not just on marketplaces, but with shopping comparison engines, ad retargeting progams, affiliate marketing partners and more. To do this, you need to sign up with a feed syndication service such as Shoppingfeed. This option gives the flexibility of selling not just through marketplaces but also other kinds of channels, using a single product feed that also comes with enhanced SEO, automated order fulfillment, multi-channel inventory tracking, and other robust capabilities.
Shoppingfeed is also readying its vendors to seize an early advantage in the trend towards voice shopping through digital assistants. Our proprietary software uses fluid product tagging and graphing technology designed to match voice queries from shoppers.
With an industry where technology is driving so many rapid changes, staying ahead of e-c0mmerce trends is essential. And, we’re always looking out to that next horizon to keep our users on the cutting edge of selling innovation.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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