- Lena R. Liberman
- On November 30, 2017
- 0 Comments
This is a replay of our weekly Facebook Live event. This week, Seller Labs’ Tyler Henderson spoke with Solid Commerce’s Erik Simon, VP of Marketing & Business Development. Solid Commerce is an all-in-one platform for managing eCommerce on multiple marketplaces and channels, last year alone handling more than $1.5 billion of online orders. Erik is in charge of Solid Commerce’s relationships with marketplaces, shopping carts, shipping carriers, and other strategic partners. He has more than a decade of experience managing marketing and business development for SaaS and cloud-based services, and he shared some great info for Amazon sellers considering automating elements of their operations for Amazon as well as other marketplaces like Walmart, Jet, eBay, Shopify, and Etsy.
Streamlining operations and growing sales through automation. Join us as we talk to Erik of Solid Commerce about his insights into this process and applying it both on and off Amazon.
Posted by Seller Labs on Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Below are the highlights and key points from Erik’s Facebook Live. Erik also offered a special promo for Seller Labs users: First Month of Solid Commerce Free ($400 value).
Drop Shipping is on the rise because it allows sellers to offer what they haven’t already bought. This is great because there is no warehouse or money tied up in inventory. However, it requires a lot of logistical coordination in terms of procuring and fulfillment; suppliers sending data feeds or spreadsheets; uploading or manually entering between drop shipper, seller, marketplace platform, etc. It’s a lot of moving parts and it’s easy for someone to drop the ball. There’s a high rate of human error, which will hurt a seller’s performance ratings.
Erik suggests automating your dropshipping. Solid Commerce can do it all in a single unified platform for multiple marketplaces. There’s no cut-and-paste. Sellers save time and have a better handle on the supply and delivery chains. There are fewer chances for errors and the resulting bad reviews and suspensions. Automate things that aren’t your core competencies, doing so will help you better run your current operation and grow by being able to scale faster.
Diversification (Not Replacement) Is the Key to Growth
A lot of sellers find Amazon difficult at times because it is so competitive and there are fees and restrictions. But sellers need to be on Amazon, if only because shoppers expect to be able to find EVERYTHING there. Even making small margins on Amazon is better than making nothing and not putting your products and brand in front of people. Erik encourages sellers to diversify and get their brands and products into multiple marketplaces. Amazon is necessary but it’s not the only game in town. Some examples:
- Walmart today gets 100 million unique buyers every month and they have crossover between online and bricks-and-mortar stores. Don’t leave Amazon, but add Walmart to the mix to increase your sales and buyer reach.
- Yes, Walmart acquired Jet but they reach totally different demographics. Walmart relies heavily on stores and older shoppers buying daily products at discounts. Jet is hipper and younger with no physical stores.
- Automotive products should definitely be listed on ebay because they have ebay Motors, which has a great search for parts. (We recently wrote about selling parts on Amazon and the importance of Manufacturer Part Number. The content there is applicable to ebay and other marketplaces as well.)
Many people ask Erik how sellers can recognize when it is time to diversify and expand to other marketplaces. Erik’s answer: Once you feel you’ve mastered Amazon, go ahead and look at other marketplaces. Walmart and Jet both require applications. This means that they are more selective than Amazon but there isn’t really a race to the bottom because there are barriers to entry and fewer other sellers competing. Walmart has higher standards for product quality because it has stores and its name is behind the brand and the product in a way that Amazon’s is not. Walmart will reject an applicant if his/her Amazon seller ratings are low. Walmart approval wait times can be variable. Sometimes it’s days, other times it may be weeks. Amazon has millions of sellers and anyone can be a seller, Walmart has only tens of thousands because of their standards. Both have marketplaces value when used in tandem.
Audience Q&A with Erik
Q: Should I have a different pricing strategies for different platforms?
Erik’s Answer: Yes, test your prices to find your thresholds in each marketplace. Different marketplaces warrant different strategies. If you’re selling on your own website, it may be beneficial to price items there a bit lower than on marketplaces because you aren’t paying fees for things like FBA nor are you sharing commissions. Some marketplaces require that you offer the lowest price on their marketplace. Erik recommends using repricing apps because you just can’t keep up with the changes manually.
Q: Am I cannibalizing my products by selling them at a discount on Amazon as opposed to full retail on my own website?
Erik’s Answer: Not really, you can do both. You have to be on Amazon, it is expected. Amazon has a built-in audience and even if you don’t sell anything there, you’re getting exposure. Putting your products on Amazon helps with getting you brand recognition. Erik suggests trying some of the same products on Amazon and on Walmart, as well as trying different products on each. You will quickly learn what products do best in which marketplace and what the marketplace will tolerate and reward. Also, if a shopper is bouncing between your site and Amazon and Walmart, that’s a good thing! It means that the shopper is likely to buy from one of those places.
Erik’s Tips and Reminders
- If you have your own site, sell there and set your own price knowing that you don’t have to share the commission but you might have to handle the fulfillment yourself AND ALSO sell on Amazon and price accordingly to what Amazon will take in fees. Do both and more even with some of the same merchandise.
- If you’re in fashion or a niche where there are lots of new products or updates, try selling your current latest line on your own site and last season’s fashion or the earlier models on Amazon at discounted prices.
- Remember that people are willing to pay extra for Amazon service and reliability and Prime delivery and perks. They will often choose Amazon even if it is not the lowest price.
- The more you automate, the more you integrate and scale and grow because of the added efficiencies and synchronizations.