Travis Romine suggests ways to set your business apart and raise the barriers to entry, and make it harder for competitors to copy you
This post is by Travis Romine, an ecommerce growth consultant at Sharp Commerce and previous owner of ParadiseFibers.com. He consults for online retailers throughout the US on building high performance ecommerce businesses, growth strategy and digital marketing.
Why would someone buy from you rather than your competition?
That’s an incredibly tough question even for some of the veteran online retailers that I review.
If you’re new to ecommerce, make sure you determine your differentiator before lifting a finger on your website. Doing this will help keep your business model relevant regardless of marketplace trends and Google algorithm changes.
It’s no coincidence that my most successful clients, who are doing over $25 million a year, all have a solid differentiator.
Carina McLeod explains how brands can get the best of both worlds on Amazon by managing both a vendor and seller relationship
This post is by Carina McLeod. Carina spent over seven years working in Vendor Management at Amazon UK and now has her own consultancy business, eCommerce Nurse, where she helps vendors and sellers grow their business on Amazon.
The hybrid approach is when brands sell on Amazon in two different ways: as a third-party seller on the marketplace and also as a vendor selling direct to Amazon. A business following the hybrid approach will use Seller Central to sell “direct-to-consumer”, and use Vendor Central to sell wholesale to Amazon – who then retail the products to consumers.
This type of approach is not new in brick and mortar retail, as many brands will sell to the main retailers (e.g. Walmart) and also have their own physical store in shopping malls, and their own transactional website.
But now Amazon have changed the dynamics. They have made selling via wholesale a lot easier, and selling direct to the consumer also very attractive, because with FBA only limited infrastructure is required. This means opening up doors to wholesale for rapidly emerging private labels, and offering manufacturers a low-cost solution to trial and expand their direct-to-consumer sales.
There is a lot of information out there as to why a business should adopt a hybrid approach, and the benefits of doing this. It helps maximize sales opportunity, widens customer reach, spreads risk and gives brands access to both the vendor and seller tools.
The real question is: how do you successfully apply the hybrid selling model to your business? It’s easy to list out the benefits in theory, but putting it into practice is a whole different ball game. So, in this post, I’ll set out some practical strategies for using the hybrid model effectively in your business, so you can really reap those rewards.
Third-party services and consultants can give your ecommerce business a helping hand, from outsourcing simple tasks to expert advice
When online sellers start out, their business usually consists of just one or two people who are responsible for doing everything. Over time, they start to hire people to handle some of the tasks that come with an ecommerce business. But, after a while, they find themselves working longer hours than they ever envisaged without getting time to focus on the areas where they add the most value.
This prevents their business from growing, as instead of sourcing or developing products they are dealing with customer queries, putting products in boxes and editing product images.
At this point, you have to consider what your time is worth and either hire more staff or look to outsource some tasks. It may cost $10 an hour to outsource customer support, but if you can spend that time developing new products, the positive impact on your business is going to be worth more.
In this post I’ll walk you through the Outsourcing & Consultants section of the Web Retailer directory. Here, you’ll find outsourcing services specifically for marketplace sellers, and seasoned ecommerce experts who can look at your business with fresh eyes and help you improve.
Managing your finances can be a nightmare. These tools and services reduce headaches, increase accuracy and help find new opportunities.
Very often, marketplace sellers focus on the more exciting parts of their business, like product sourcing, and shy away from areas that they find boring, or difficult, like managing their finances.
This can be counterproductive, because no matter how you feel about getting your finances in order, it’s a necessary part of running any business. It’s a discipline that sellers need to embrace, and become proficient at, so they really understand the numbers that matter.
You don’t have to spend hours in Excel to keep on top of your record keeping and accounts. There are tools and services specifically made to help manage bookkeeping for ecommerce businesses. These help make the process more efficient, while also minimizing the risk of errors.
There are also tools that produce reports to help you see how your business is doing. It’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when you are busy all day dealing with suppliers, listing products and providing customer support. But being able to see how profitable you are, at any time and at any level of detail, is crucial to business success.
Expanding into new product lines, or increasing purchase levels to get better discounts, can also make a big difference to your business. Some sellers choose to take out loans, or use other cash flow solutions, so they can take advantage of new opportunities when they present themselves, or plan for the seasonal ups-and-downs of ecommerce.
In this post I’ll walk you through the Financial Management category of the Web Retailer directory. It covers Cash Flow and Loans, Accounting Connectors, Ecommerce Accounting and Sales Tax and VAT.
Greg Elfrink lays out the blueprint for creating a streamlined business that will sell for the maximum price in the minimum time
This post is by Greg Elfrink, Content Manager at Empire Flippers, a broker specializing in online businesses. Empire Flippers has sold dozens of FBA businesses, and earlier this year completed its largest ever sale: a $1.7 million Amazon FBA business.
It can be an intense, stressful but rewarding process building up your ecommerce store to a level of profitability. However, the reward shouldn’t be focused on the profit you earn every month, as there is a much bigger reward waiting for you: your ecommerce store’s exit plan.
In other words, you could take all of the sweat equity you put into your business and sell it for a large lump sum of money. That capital can be leveraged into all kinds of new projects. You could choose to invest in new ecommerce businesses, buy physical real estate or even pay off debts.
But selling a business takes preparation. Buyers are looking for well-run, streamlined, predictable businesses. If yours is profitable, but chaotic, then it’s going to be much harder to sell.
In this article, you are going to learn exactly how to build your business so it can be sold quickly and at the best price possible. We are going to cover what you need set up right away, how your business should look six months out from being sold, and the final tweaks you need to make in the three months before you sell it.