Many online traders start by selling on eBay as it provides sellers and a straight forward system for listing items and accepting payment.
However, eBay is only one of a number of sales channels available for your products on the internet. Selling through sites such as Amazon and Kelkoo as well as your own website has the potential to bring your products to new customers and increase sales. They can also help you cut costs and build a brand for your business.
However, selling through multiple channels is more complex as stock, listings and orders must be managed across your sales channels. This article looks at the major online channels and gives some suggestions for next steps.
The Major Online Channels
Selling on a website enables your business to sell directly to consumers without having to pay platform fees and to build an online brand. It also allows your business to take advantage of other sales channels such as Pay Per Click and SEO mentioned below. Despite these obvious benefits many sellers still do not have their own website. At Auctioning4u we recommend that businesses use eBay as a customer acquisition tool, and then encourage customers to visit your website to make additional purchases.
Search Engine Marketing – PPC and SEO
Search engines provide two opportunities for driving traffic to your products, Pay Per Click marketing and Search engine optimisation.
With Pay per click (PPC) the advertiser bids on search terms for which they would like their advert to appear. When the advert appears, the advertiser only pays when it is clicked. PPC is highly targeted and easy to optimise. It also allows advertisers with a limited budget to run small campaigns which nevertheless compete with larger competitors.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is the process of tweaking your website so that it appears high in the unpaid or ‘natural’ search engine listings. This is often referred to as a black art, but in the long run, it has huge potential to provide web traffic and sales for your business.
Shopping Comparison Engines
Shopping comparison sites such as Kelkoo and Shopping.com compare the prices of similar products from a range of retailers. Products here are also listed on a pay per click model (except Google Product Search which is free).
Some online retailers get as much as 40% of their sales through shopping comparison sites.
As well as being an online retailer in their own right, Amazon allows individuals and companies to sell their products alongside Amazon’s own products. Items are sold at a fixed price, chosen by the seller and all payments are handled by Amazon and transferred directly into the sellers bank account.
At Auctioning4u we find that prices on Amazon are higher than eBay for some products such as media items and electronics.
If you are an eBay shop owner, you have access to eBay’s email marketing tool for sending information about your products to eBayers who have added you to their eBay favourites list.
In addition, create an opt-in email list for your customers and email them with new products and special offers. You may also want to consider buying email marketing lists.
Analyse Your Marketplace and Run a Trial
Before entering a marketplace, analyse the competition and establish if it has the potential to increase your sales and profits. For most of the channels mentioned above it is possible to run a small scale trial to establish if the channel works for you.
Get the Right Tools
Managing sales across multiple channels can get complicated as each channel requires uploading of products and management of orders. This can be very time consuming if you do not use the right tools. Products such as Marketworks, ChannelAdvisor and eSellerPro enable sellers to sell on multiple channels from a single inventory enabling sellers to streamline the management of their online business. Typically these products charge 1-2% of the sale price of an item for the use of their system.