It’s no secret that Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla of eCommerce. The giant claims half of all eCommerce sales in the U.S., has over 100 million Prime members in the U.S. alone, and 54% of U.S. product searches online are now starting on Amazon.
And the list goes on and on.
So why invest precious time and resources into expanding to other domestic marketplaces? Can’t I just master Amazon and call it good?
Why go beyond Amazon?
Well, have no doubt that you should dial in your Amazon offering first—it’s the bread and butter of eCommerce. But after you do, George Hatch, Pattern’s Director of Marketplaces, says there are some other key reasons you might consider pursuing the other half of eCommerce sales that the ‘Zon hasn’t dug its massive, furry hands into just yet: brand integrity and incrementality.
“If you're not selling your product in other domestic marketplaces—if you are not representing your brand—somebody else is, and it may not be up to your standards,” he said in Pattern’s recent webinar on the subject.
Not to mention, taking control of your brand across other U.S. marketplaces can help give you the growth that only comes from meeting buyer demand across the eCommerce spectrum (not just on Amazon). Plus, expanding into other U.S. marketplaces might set you up for success in the international eCommerce arena in the future.
The bottom line here is growth, Hatch said. Having a presence on other eCommerce sites can help you access swaths of new customers and grow your brand—all under your own terms.
So which U.S. marketplaces should I break into?
Hatch and the other experts at Pattern agree that four U.S. marketplaces should be at the top of your list when considering going beyond Amazon: Walmart.com, eBay, Jet, and Google Shopping. Each marketplace has a unique offering that could help you find key growth opportunities you didn’t know you were missing out on.
The stats: Walmart.com grew its U.S. eCommerce sales by 37% in the first quarter of 2019, surpassing Apple to become the third largest online retailer in the U.S. after Amazon and eBay. Plus, it’s expected to capture more than 4% of the online retail market this year in the U.S.
Awesome, tell me more: Unlike Amazon, Walmart only supplies some 8% of its 44 million products. The remainder—a fat 92%—is coming from marketplace sellers. And there’s only 23,000 sellers on Walmart.com (compared to the over 5 billion sellers across the Amazon marketplace). Simply put, “the competition there is not to the same level that is it on Amazon," Hatch said.
Any challenges? Well, some people see Walmart as a discount retailer and brands may be hesitant to sell there so as to not tarnish their brand. But, as Hatch noted, if you aren’t there representing your brand, someone else is. Why not do it on your terms?
Fact or fiction? Many people associate eBay with used, c-to-c goods. In actuality, 79% of items sold on eBay are new. Not to mention, 70% of items on eBay ship for free across the U.S., U.K., and Germany. Oh, and 80% of their GMV last quarter came from fixed-price listings (or buy-it-now instead of auctions).
Opportunities: eBay offers brands the chance to create a custom storefront and really tell their brand message to the consumer. Additionally, they give more of the buyer’s information back so brands can actually engage with that buyer in the marketfront. That way, brands can make sure that their customer service is on par with what they want to offer buyers.
What could go wrong? Counterfeit activity remains a challenge on eBay (and other eCommerce sites, for that matter). eBay has taken some anti-counterfeit measures in the form of their Verified Rights Owner Program. However, Hatch said, the best way to avoid counterfeits is to ensure you have actual listings on a marketplace to begin with. Buyers prefer to buy from the brand rather than third-party sellers anyway, but that can’t happen unless your brand has a presence in the first place.
Worth it in the long run: It’s true that monthly visits to Jet have dropped since Walmart acquired them in 2016 (going from some 35 million to 10 million). But there are still brands that are making significant sales on Jet, Hatch says. Plus, he sees Walmart possibly relaunching the site in the future.
Be where buyers are: Though there’s not too much to say here, the bottom line, Hatch said, is that “it just makes sense to be anywhere where your buyers might want to engage with your brand.”
New blood: Since 60% of shoppers that buy on Google Shopping are new to that brand, Google Shopping offers a unique opportunity to reach customers who might not be searching on Amazon for their needs. With over a billion individual users accessing Google’s services across the board, taking advantage of the scale and reach of Google early on will pay dividends in the future.
Ease and freedom: Plus, Google Shopping offers a similar, universal checkout experience to Amazon, taking care of the customer service for the transaction to reduce the number of clicks for a buyer. Buyers can filter by brands and even search for products on Google Images and other Google services like YouTube. Google also allows you to feed them all of your brand information: brand-approved image stacks, descriptions, and titles, all “ensuring that it’s a great brand experience,” Hatch said.
But, (just as on other marketplaces) content in Google’s catalog can tend to take precedence over other content. Improving your search ranking may be a challenge, but nothing you can’t take on with some effort.
How do I get started?
The logistics of expanding to a new domestic marketplace can be daunting. It takes time—and a plan—to get there. Hatch says the marketplace experts at Pattern are a ready and willing resource to help you decide when is best to consider breaking into other U.S. marketplaces and how to do it best.
Even though other domestic marketplaces may seem to hide in Amazon’s large shadow, it’s no reason to ignore them, Hatch said.
"One of the reasons we feel that omni-channel ecommerce is so important for a brand is that—anywhere a buyer is shopping—we really want our brand partners to make sure that they have their message out there."
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If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.
Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.
At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead.
An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.
A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:
Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance.
Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS.
To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.
A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.
It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.
Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins.
Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.
As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.
Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.
Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.