Big Retail is Winning Online

Posted by John Healy, CEO of Dydacomp

According to a recent report from Comscore, a research company that tracks a consumer’s online advertising and purchasing patterns, there has been a significant upswing in the last year in overall ecommerce sales to the top 25 retailers.  Check it out:

Some of that number is misleading.  For instance on a ton of small business ecommerce happens through their Seller’s Central channel but gets counted as Amazon sales, the same is true for eBay.  These marketplaces are so important to most of our clients that we have build integrations to Multichannel Order Manager (M.O.M.) to work more efficiently with them.

Expect Amazon to have aggressive, increased competition from the top 25 retailers because other big multichannel players are catching on.  Both Wal Mart and Sears have created marketplaces for small merchants that have unique product lines.  So the good news is you’ll have more channels, but the bad news is you won’t be in control when there is a rule change and these marketplaces will change the rules on you often just like eBay Power Sellers have found out.

Our advice to clients is to take a more balanced marketing approach than ever before.  One potential strategy is to:

1) sell on your website using SEO and PPC tactics to drive inbound traffic (with an appropriate ROI)

2) merchandise certain items on the big marketplaces like Amazon

3) liquidate seasonal/old stock on eBay

4) insert your catalog in the orders shipped to Amazon and eBay customers (all marketplaces actually)

5) email weekly to your customer file and try to segment it as best you can

6) stay in or get back in the mail to distribute a catalog or promotional materials for acquisition, continuity and reactivation

A lot of folks might think I am off base recommending mailings.  It is my heritage so I have a bias, but, you are not going to be on page 4 of a Google search in a mailbox that belongs to a past customer or a high potential prospect.  Plus, “Big Retail” can’t out PPC you on every keyword term imaginable in the mail.  Finally, there is no solution online that lets a consumer look at 300 different items from you in a manner of minutes like a 48 page catalog.  Never mind the fact, that consumers will usually keep your catalog around for a little while and refer back to it more than once.  Yes, in all likelihood they will put the order in online at your SiteLINK store or other shopping cart, but the attention, interest and desire for your product will come from their experience with your catalog.

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