Shopify or Amazon: Which Is Right For You?

Shopify or Amazon: Which Is Right For You?

Whether you want to sell through an online marketplace or sell on a hosted or self-hosted platform, there’s no shortage of options.  But there’s no universal fit when it comes to the best ecommerce platform.

Which is the best ecommerce platform for you: Shopify? Or Amazon?

Amazon Success Guide: 8 Things To Boost Your Sales

Amazon Success Guide: 8 Things To Boost Your Sales

Amazon is a titan in the world of ecommerce.  With so many people turning to this giant of an online marketplace to sell their goods, Amazon breeds an arena ripe with competition and profitability.

Here are 8 tips you can use to increase your own profits on Amazon and pave the way to success!

Benefits Of Multi-Channel Sales

muti-channel sales ecommerce tips

There are so many options available to use in the world of ecommerce, from hosted and self-hosted platforms to online marketplaces.  

But you don’t have to limit yourself to choosing just one option.

In fact, it’s perfectly viable and even beneficial to jump into multi-channel sales across more than one ecommerce platform!  

Here are 5 benefits that come with multi-channel ecommerce.

1.)  Better Marketing

Each platform has its own customer base and market to work with and appeal to.  

If you’re having trouble reaching your target consumers on your current platform, then expanding into multiple channels can exponentially broaden your audience.  

Each platform and marketplace also has their own exclusive base of customers (ie: Amazon Prime members) that otherwise may not be reached through other platforms.

2.)  Better Portfolio

Having a more diverse portfolio can keep you save and protect you from greater risks as well as appeal to a broader customer base.  

A sales slump on eBay can be detrimental to your business if that’s your only platform, but having more than one channel open can make up for that slump and cover you.

3.)  Higher Efficiency

Learning to run your business across multiple channels and platforms can seem daunting at first.  

But with the proper tools, it can become a much easier task and benefit your business tremendously in the long run.  

Having an ecommerce consultant on the scene can help save you a lot of time and stress and get you set up and selling fast!

4.)  Scalability

Expanding into multiple channels makes your business infinitely more scalable as well!  

As your business grows, it’s important that you not only be able to keep up with it, but keep customers happy while doing so, and expanding into multi-channel sales is a fantastic way to update the policies, procedures, and systems of your business to ensure that it can handle any future growth that occurs.

5.)  Sales!

Probably the most obvious, yet most important aspect of multi-channel expansion is the increase in sales volume.  

Appealing to the new audiences that come with each platform broadens your customer base and results in increased sales.  

Who wouldn’t want that?

Why Wait?

Ecommerce multi-channel expansion is a great opportunity for your business to grow.  

Increased sales, better scalability and efficiency, and a more diverse market all make for fantastic reasons to start expanding your business today!

eBay Seller Startup Guide

ebay seller startup tips ecommerce Cleveland

Whether your a first-time seller looking to make some profit online, or an already established ecommerce business looking to expand into multiple channels, there are plenty of options for you and your business.  

Here’s a quick setup guide to effectively help you get on your feet on eBay so you can start selling sooner rather than later!

eBay Set Up

The first and main thing you’re going to want to do to establish yourself on eBay is Set Up Your Seller Account.  

You’ll have to put in your contact info as well as payment info, which has several options for you to choose from.  

You can go with Paypal, credit card, or even direct pay; whatever best suits the needs of your business (eBay itself recommends Paypal).

Now you can jump straight to selling by Listing Products!  

eBay offers several options with regards to how you can sell your goods: their infamous Auction option is available, as well as a “Buy-It-Now” option that lets you sell your goods at a fixed price.

Auction

The Auction format allows you to set the starting bid for the item as well as the end time and date for the auction.  

Then, you sit back and watch buyers bid on your item! While this can create a driving sense of competition and franticness among the competing buyers that could potentially drive the price to satisfying shores, you could end up getting a lower price for your item than you initially anticipated.

Buy-It-Now

That’s where the assurance of the Buy-It-Now format comes in handy.  

Here, you list the item at a fixed price.

This ensures you get the price you want for your item, albeit at the loss of customers’ control over the price.  

However, you can add a bit of leeway to the pricing by letting customers submit their best offer using the feature sharing the same name.

Whichever format you end up choosing for your item(s), you’d do well to still remember some things that apply regardless of the format.

  • Use your best pictures for the product listings

  • Write the best descriptions you can to draw customers to your product

Fees

Using eBay does not come without its costs.  

The first 50 items listed each month are free; beyond those, each item lands itself a $0.30 Insertion Fee.  

There’s also a Final Value Fee: once the item sells, this fee is calculated with the final price plus shipping costs.

Shipping

There are a few different options when it comes to shipping through eBay.  

You can handle the shipping yourself, but keep in mind that everything still needs to be ran through eBay anyways so that the buyer can track their package.  

That’s why using eBay’s own shipping labels is the more popular option, which automatically track everything along the way.

Selling on eBay is a relatively straightforward progress, and a great arena to expand into if you’re considering multi-channel sales.  

But as great as eBay is, it isn’t the only option when it comes to selling your products online!

We have setup guides for Walmart and Shopify, as well as several helpful articles dealing with selling on Amazon.  See which one works best for your business!

Mini Guide To Selling On Jet

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Since its introduction to the ecommerce world in 2015, Jet has quickly risen in fame and proven itself to be quite the competitor, even earning enough interest and reputation to be acquired by Walmart.  Jet offers a rather unique buying experience in that its entire schtick is giving its customers the best possible deal. This is achieved with a few different factors:

  • Your distance from the nearest warehouse

  • The amount if items purchased

  • Waiving the right to returns

Jet’s algorithm takes all of these factors into consideration when you do a search for an item and will list you the best deals.  The only ‘catch’ being that you don’t see the sellers, but Jet does this to ensure you get the best deals every time you shop with them.  So when you take the three factors above and work them to your advantage, you’ll get a better price in the end. For example, buying from a warehouse that’s closer to you will lower the price.  Buying a larger quantity from the same seller also works to lower your price.

How To Get Setup On Jet

There’s only a few qualifications to meet in order to become a Jet Retail Partner: good, quality products, competitive pricing, and quick shipping fulfillment.  Once you qualify, you just need to provide your Tax ID, number, annual online revenue, and any shipping details upon sign-up. Selling on Jet is pretty similar to selling on Amazon, but instead of the monthly fees Amazon throws your way, you’ll have around a 15% fee for most of the items you’ll sell.  However, Jet has no admin panel, so you’ll have to use an external inventory management program or software. That’s where having an ecommerce consultant comes in handy!

Jet is a great option when it comes to expanding your ecommerce business into new marketplaces or multi-channel sales.  Check out our page detailing online marketplace expansion for more info on Jet or to see if any other online marketplaces may be of benefit to you!

Amazon's Buy Box Overview

Amazon Buy Box ecommerce consultant

Amazon offers many ingenious methods and incentives to bring your best as an ecommerce seller.  

Whether you’re trying to qualify for Fulfillment By Amazon or win the coveted Amazon’s Choice label, there’s no shortage of opportunities for you to shine as a seller and build yourself a cut above the rest.  

The Amazon Buy Box is another one of these methods. It gives a seller a lot of visibility on Amazon when it comes to specific products.

What Exactly Is the Amazon Buy Box?

Third-party merchants make up the second most of Amazon’s income. With all the competition going on between these merchants to gain priority for their products, the Buy Box serves as a great opportunity to outshine the competition and gain some major recognition and sales.  

When you click on a product on Amazon, it will prominently only feature one seller for the product (the very best seller for that product). Off to the right in the little box with the “Add To Cart” button is where you’ll find the name of that seller, along with a link to a page showing other merchants who also sell this item.  

Seeing as how most buyers don’t dig that deep, the prominently displayed first seller typically gets the win.

This is why winning the Amazon Buy Box is a big deal if you want exposure and high sales.

How To Win The Buy Box

Amazon has criteria it looks for when it decides who wins the Buy Box spot.

  • Firstly, you need to have plenty of inventory available for your item, otherwise the box will go to someone else.

  • Your item condition matters.  New items will be given priority over Used or Like New.

  • Professional Merchant Accounts qualify for the Buy Box.  An Individual Merchant account won’t be eligible.

  • When determining your seller ranking, Amazon also looks at your Fulfillment Service.  Amazon will trust its own over anything else.

  • Your Shipping Time and Landed Price are two more important stats Amazon looks at.  Fast, free shipping are the keys here.

You can always check your status on the Seller Central Amazon page, but having these criteria met doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a spot on the Buy Box.

The good news, however, is that the Buy Box is never set in stone: the spot is always shifting.  From day to day, or even hourly, the seller in the Buy Box constantly fluctuates based on the above qualifications.  This creates healthy competition between sellers and keeps businesses on Amazon in top shape for customers.

Maintain the areas touched on above, and a spot in the Amazon Buy Box could yet be yours!

Walmart Seller Setup Mini-Guide

Walmart marketplace Cleveland website SEO

Whether you’re just deciding to expand into an online marketplace or you’re expanding into multi-channel selling, Walmart.com is a great platform to establish a presence for yourself.  

Walmart is one of the largest retailers in the world and offers a huge audience for potential customers, bringing in around 110 million visitors a month. It also has many other benefits, including no monthly subscription fees, no minimum or maximum limit on SKUs, the ability to set your own prices as a seller, and a convenient shopping experience for customers.

But just how can you become a seller on the Walmart Marketplace and take advantage of all these benefits?  

Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of what you need to do.

Qualify

The first - and most important - step is to qualify as a seller.  Walmart approves sellers based on a number of factors including, but not limited, to:

  • Reputation

  • Product Assortment

  • Customer service

  • Pricing

  • Fulfillment ability

The approval process can take up to two weeks.  Not everyone makes the cut, however. If you don’t, no worries!  There’s plenty of other options out there when it comes to selling your goods online.  

Our blog post on Online Marketplaces highlights some of those options as well as tips for success to help you make the best decision for you and your business.  You can check it out here!

Seller Profile Setup

After you’ve been approved to sell on Walmart’s marketplace, the next step in the process would be to complete your seller profile.  You’ll need to add your logo, contact info, shipping details, and anything else they deem necessary to complete your profile.

Financial Setup

The next two steps will get you financially set.

First, Walmart will deposit a penny into your account to test and make sure everything’s set up properly and will work fine so you can get paid from your sales.  

After that, you’ll have to set up your tax obligations to ensure customers pay proper tax at checkout.

Upload Your Products

Once all that’s done, then you finally get to upload your products!  You can edit their info all you want until you get it where you like and feel they’re ready to be sold.

Confirm & Go!

After you’ve completed all of the above, all that’s left for you to do is to give Walmart the green-light and they’ll make you live!  

As your products get sold, you’ll get the revenue deposited directly into your account, minus any referral fees.

That’s all folks!

Walmart’s marketplace is a great place to sell your products on.  If you find yourself unsure about the setup process, or want your presence established in the best possible way, then hiring an ecommerce consultant would be your best option.

Gapstow Design Company in Cleveland, Ohio can save you valuable time and energy and help your business tremendously in the long run!  

The world of ecommerce can be tricky to navigate, and we’d love to help you.

The Walmart Marketplace logo is the property of Walmart.

Amazon's FBA Overview

Amazon FBA blog GapStow Design Cleveland e-commerce website designers

Amazon offers a ton of nifty features for sellers using their marketplace.

Amazon Prime eligibility, the coveted Amazon’s Choice label, and FBA, or ‘Fulfilled By Amazon.’  FBA can be an incredibly valuable tool, so we’ll use this post to focus on exactly what FBA is and how you can qualify for it.

What Is Amazon’s FBA?

In short, it means Amazon stores and ships your products for you in their warehouses.  Instead of your products and shipping them taking up your resources, Amazon can take that off your hands and ultimately get your products out faster and make things more pleasant for everyone.  

But only if you qualify!

How Do You Qualify?

Qualifying for FBA can be broken down into a few different areas that are mainly common sense.  

You’ll need to have an Amazon Seller account.  

To do that, you’ll have to create one.  Decide on what you’re selling and whether or not you’ll need an individual or professional account.  

Which account type you’ll choose depends on the size of your business and sales revenue.

  • Individual would be best for very small or individual businesses - as the name name implies.  

  • Professional is better suited for larger businesses with larger sales volumes.

The next thing you want to check is that your products match up to Amazon’s product restriction guidelines.  

These are mainly common sense, like if it isn’t legal in the U.S., then it doesn’t qualify for FBA.  

Beer (both regular and non-alcoholic) also doesn’t qualify for FBA, and the same holds true for paper lanterns, loose batteries, tires, gift cards, and some others.

The last thing to look out for is your inventory packaging.  

As stated earlier, FBA means that Amazon stores your inventory in one of Amazon’s warehouses.  In order for that to happen, your product packaging has to actually meet their inventory packaging and labelling standards.  

While the requirements are specific from category to category, there are a few points in common.

For example, every packaged item must have a barcode, either from the manufacturer or from Amazon, in an accessible, readable position. Otherwise, Amazon won’t take it.

Packaging should be tight and in a standard 6-sided box so that there’s no sliding around or breaking during shipping. Also, nothing requiring assembly in order to ship will qualify for FBA.

While this isn’t an in-depth view of all the qualifications for Amazon’s FBA tool, this overview will give you enough of a general idea to be able to start prepping your inventory to qualify for FBA and get you one step farther in the process of selling on Amazon!

Amazon's Choice Overview

Amazon Choice overview e-commerce tips Cleveland

The ‘Amazon’s Choice’ label has been a coveted spot among sellers ever since its introduction in 2015.

Only one product gets that prestigious label per specific search on Amazon.

But exactly how one can go about getting that title for their product has remained quite the mystery. Amazon has released very little details thus far on how the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ algorithm operates.  

But using the pieces of info that Amazon has made available, you can get a good picture of what’s looked for and optimize your products and business accordingly.  

What You Need To Know

‘Amazon’s Choice’ tends to take a number of factors into consideration when choosing what product gets the label.  

Its whole purpose, after all, is to streamline your shopping experience to keep you from spending so much time sorting and sifting through countless products to find the best one.  

In essence, it does some of your shopping for you.

What are the factors it looks for?

A lot of the same ones that you and I look for when shopping as well:

  • Low prices & return rates

  • Prime availability

  • High Customer ratings

  • Shipped by Amazon

However, this doesn’t mean that having all of these criteria met by your product is guaranteed to win you the label.  

As stated earlier, Amazon hasn’t released much information on the algorithms.

When you visit a product bearing the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ label, it simply states that “Amazon's Choice recommends highly rated, well-priced products available to ship immediately.”  

While Amazon may shed more light on things in the future, for now there are far more factors going on behind the scenes than we know about, and this makes it difficult to peg exactly what can be done to net you the spot.

This has proved to be a discouraging idea for some stores. In fact, a lot of sellers are even choosing not to focus on trying to win the Amazon’s Choice label due to its relative unpredictability.

But while improving your products and store as a whole using the factors listed above isn’t guaranteed to get you the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ label, it can certainly act as a great way to boost your business by increasing customer satisfaction and traffic into your store.  

So whether you win it or not, the ‘Amazon’s Choice’ label has provided an ingenious marketing strategy and a great incentive for businesses to work hard to improve and maximize their metrics.

If you are trying to win the label, then it can really help to have someone who specializes in Search Engine Optimization and E-commerce on the scene to navigate and work everything into the best shape possible.

Gapstow Design specializes in both.

We have the know-how to optimize your Amazon product listings for greatest success, which can get you one step closer to achieving that coveted ‘Amazon’s Choice’ label.  

Contact us today if you’re interested in taking your business to the next level!

8 Online Marketplaces you might want to sell your products on

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1. Amazon Marketplace

I think at this point it’s safe to say that Amazon is “THE” online marketplace on which online retailers can sell their products online.

Founded in 1994, Amazon now boasts over 300 Million active monthly users and over 8 Million daily users! Last year, Amazon spent something like $3.4 Billion on advertising.

The marketplace features millions of products encompassing categories like decor, fashion, kitchen, appliances, pet care, and everything else that you can think of.

So, whether you’re a brand new company looking to launch a new product and hoping to sell it online, or an existing business who is looking to expand your e-commerce footprint - Amazon NEEDS to be on your list.

The benefits of selling on Amazon:

  • 75% of shoppers shop on Amazon “Most of the time“

  • International Reach - Easily expand to other countries

  • Low marketing cost - Amazon wants shoppers to buy through their online marketplace. They advertise for you!

  • Sponsored ads put your products in front of your ideal customer

How to be successful on Amazon:

  • Optimizing your Amazon listings is important (here’s a blog post about this)

  • Maintain positive ranks and get lots of positive reviews

  • Customer service is KEY. Amazon expects their sellers to be 100% Customer-focused and even requires a 24 hour response window from all of it’s online sellers.

  • Strategically using Amazon PPC advertising can help a lot when used correctly

  • NEVER underestimate the power of Amazon FBA - if this model works for your product/company - utilize it.

2. Etsy Marketplace

Founded in June 2005, in Brooklyn, New York - Etsy has marked its presence in probably every country around the globe.

What sets the marketplace different from the others is that it attracts the artists, craftsmen who generally deal in homemade jewelry, crafts, housewares and more.

The Benefits of selling on Etsy:

  • The customer base is targeted

  • You can create custom orders

  • The marketplace facilitates wholesale business

  • Fee structure is more conducive to small startups and home-based creatives

How to be successful on Etsy:

  • Be Unique - offer products, designs, and options that your competitors don’t/can’t

  • Make a personal connection with your buyers

  • High-quality images of your crafts. can make a huge difference!

3. E-Bay Marketplace

Like Amazon, e-Bay is another of the pioneers in online shopping. This online marketplace boasts about 160+ million active monthly shoppers.

e-Bay allows online retailers to sell both new and used products. (Amazon also does this, but most shoppers associate Amazon with new products and e-Bay with used products - See our Amazon Vs. e-Bay Blog)

Benefits of selling on e-Bay:

  • Generally shoppers who prefer e-Bay, tend to avoid Amazon - coupled with selling your products on Amazon, this expands your brand’s reach

  • e-Bay utilizes Google Shopping fantastically on behalf of it’s sellers

How to be successful on e-Bay:

  • Know your products well - be specific and honest about the condition of your products

  • Make sure to use SEO-friendly phrases on the product pages

  • Keep customers happy and reviews positive

4. Jet Marketplace

Jet online marketplace is one of the “youngest” in the industry (established as a marketplace in 2015). However, they’ve quickly grown to be the 4th largest online marketplace internationally.

Jet offers the ability to sell almost anything, makes the process super-easy, and integrates with most major e-commerce shopping platforms (like Shopify and BigCommerce).

The benefits of selling on Jet:

  • 4th Largest Online marketplace on the internet

  • Less competition than on Amazon and e-Bay

  • Owned by Walmart

How to be successful at Jet:

  • Listing SEO is SUPER Important. Optimize your listings to make sure the right people find them

  • Customer service and product rating/reviews are king here

5. Walmart Marketplace

You may have already heard of a little company called Walmart. They had a big year last year, posting revenue of just over $5.3 Billion (about 3 times more than Amazon).

Although thriving in the brick-and-mortar retail space, Walmart opened up their online marketplace to allow online-only sellers to join and utilize their e-commerce power.

Items appear in search results on Walmart.com alongside other items - putting your products in front of the massive market that Walmart has command over.

The benefits of selling on Walmart.com:

  • A solid base of over 300,000,000 visitors every month

  • Excellent Customer Service

  • Built in credibility

  • Easy to use once you’re through the setup process (we’d recommend hiring a consultant to help w/ Setup)

How to be successful at Walmart:

  • Walmart requires specific revenue statistics of all it’s sellers- Don’t lie, they know!

  • Your product data should be accurate - again, they know!

  • Focus on building a good and clean track record, and most importantly (on all marketplaces)

  • Keep the prices reasonable - that’s how Walmart got to be so successful

6. Newegg Marketplace

Newegg was the second largest online retail store. Eventually it turned into a marketplace. With more than 10.5 million products and an award-winning website, Newegg is focused on providing tech-savvy gadgets for the shoppers.

While Newegg does sell other product categories, if the product that you hope to sell is technical in any way, you’ll do well to make sure your products are available on Newegg.

The benefits of selling on Newegg:

  • Access to the US Tech-Friendly market - Geeks and Nerds alike LOVE Newegg

How to be successful on Newegg:

  • Take advantage of the Newegg seller programs to increase your audience size.

  • Utilize the built in advertising options offered

7. Bonanza Marketplace

Bonanza is an alternative marketplace, Sellers create online booths for their items, which are listed at fixed rates. With no cost for listing your products on the marketplace, the sellers have to pay 3.5% closing fee on sales under $500.

While most of our clients don’t see a whole lot of additional revenue, the added search engine optimization and brand awareness that comes with listing your products on marketplaces like Bonanza.

The benefits of selling on Bonanza:

  • Free listing of the products

  • Automatic Amazon / e-Bay / Etsy / Shopify / CSV import or sync

  • Free SEO for your products - that will direct potential customers to your site.

How to be successful at Bonanza?

  • Abide by their rules

  • Optimize your listings with Search Engine Optimization

8. Alibaba Marketplace

Established in 1999, Alibaba has carved out a MASSIVE niche in the online marketplace industry - catering largely to manufacturers looking to sell their products to companies all over the world.

While we suggest this online marketplace to our clients who are manufacturers and are able to mass-produce product, many of our clients who use Alibaba in their everyday business practices are actually customers.

Many, MANY businesses worldwide use Alibaba to facilitate arbitrage businesses (buying products and selling them for a profit).

The benefits of selling on Alibaba:

  • Largest worldwide market

  • High-dollar, high quantity wholesale orders

  • Sell low priced item as well as high dollar items easily

How to be successful at Alibaba?

  • Low prices are the key to success at Alibaba. (wholesale pricing)

  • Competitor research is ridiculously important to make sure you’re competitive

Conclusion

There are SO MANY marketplaces out there - and there is no “one size fits all” option for every business. Some e-commerce businesses may benefit from listing and selling their products on all marketplaces, while other businesses may find it best to focus primarily on one.

Enlisting the help of an E-commerce consultant can save you countless hours and thousands of dollars in the learning process. Of course, we’d love to help in your endeavors.

SEO AND AMAZON: OPTIMIZING YOUR LISTINGS FOR SUCCESS

Amazon SEO optimizing listings e-commerce tips

Amazon is a great place to sell your products and reach as many consumers as possible, given that it’s one of, if not the biggest Online Marketplace.  But to truly be successful with selling on Amazon, you need to understand how the system works and play to it.  

While we’ve already discussed how to avoid trouble on Amazon in a previous post, more is required for you to truly flourish than to simply play nice.  

That’s where SEO comes into play.

Proper SEO is critical to success, whether you’re using your own platform or an online marketplace like Amazon. Your goods aren’t going to sell very well at all if your listings aren’t optimized for Amazon’s ever-changing algorithm.

We’ve got some tips to help make your Amazon listing worthy of good recognition to get you on the front page and rack up those ever-crucial conversions!

TITLE

The Title of your listing is the first thing Amazon looks at and will have the most most impact on your listing’s ranking.  

Keywords are the key to a strong title; as we’ve mentioned before, they need to be used to the proper degree. If you use too many keywords, Amazon will penalize you.  

You can scope out the competition for some good keywords, or use tools like Google AdWords. When assembling your listing’s title, make sure to put the more important keywords to the front, as Amazon looks there first and places more relevance on those.  

The suggested order and content for a title is as follows: Brand, Product Line, Material/Key Features, Type, Color, Size, and Packing/Quantity.

IMAGES & ALT TEXT

Quality, optimized images are an important thing to have no matter what platform you’re using.  

But when it comes to Amazon, having alt text attached to your image is another piece you’ll need for a truly successful listing.  Alt text simply tells a search engine the nature of the image. Choose the most important and relevant keyword to use for the alt text.  

While its absence won’t completely ruin your chances, having it there will give you a big bonus, as the algorithm does look at and place more of a priority on alt text when looking for what to plaster on the front page.


BACKEND SEARCH TERMS

While the title and image attributes will and should hold all of the most important keywords, the less important keywords shouldn’t be forgotten!

These can become backend search terms, which search engines still look at and use to rank you. These can include extra keywords and common misspellings that can still benefit your listing, but didn’t make the cut.

Using the guidelines above to optimize your Amazon listing will result in a better ranking during Amazon searches, meaning more conversions and sales for you!  

Not sure exactly how you can do that?

Experts like Gapstow Design can help you navigate the world of e-commerce for maximum success and help your e-commerce business thrive.  We offer a variety of SEO packages to suit your business’ needs!

AVOIDING A Q4 AMAZON ACCOUNT SUSPENSION

Amazon account suspension help e-commerce tips

As beneficial as selling in an online marketplace like Amazon may be, a factor to keep in mind is that you have to play by their rules and regulations.  If you choose not to, then you’ll find yourself ousted.

An Amazon account suspension is no laughing matter, and it can prove to be a difficult task to get yourself reinstated.  Having a good plan in case of suspension can make the process a little easier, as well as knowing who to consult on the matter.

We’ll talk about some tips on how you can avoid an Amazon suspension in the first place, including discussing some common causes of account suspension in Q4 and some practical ways to get to reinstatement quicker and easier.

Listing Violations

The first thing to look out for is the misuse of ASIN variations and other listing violations.  

There’s a few different reasons people do this: some want to get their products listed in as many possible places, and since many people seem to be doing this, they doubt that the violation will actually be enforced; or they simply have no clue about the violation or left the matter to someone equally as unaware.  

But whether you’re aware of it or not isn’t the issue for Amazon, they really only care that it’s there.

If you’re unsure about ASIN’s, when to use or not use a child ASIN, talk to an expert who really understands the ins-and-outs of Amazon’s policies and procedures and can help you list your items in the most effective way.

Sales Ranks & Reviews Manipulation

Another thing to watch out for and avoid is the manipulation of sales ranks and reviews.  

Amazon takes this kind of stuff very seriously, and really cracks down on it to the point where even wording an email to a customer in the wrong way could count against you.  And if Amazon catches up with you and takes action against you, it will be quite a challenge to get reinstated here, especially with more severe violations.

But if you do get suspended over a more mild violation or even a misunderstanding, then a thorough Plan Of Action will work well to get you back on track.

Owners ‘Rights” Infringements

Abuse of reporting owners’ rights’ infringements is the third violation to avoid.  

While it is encouraged to defend your business from hijackers or counterfeiters as a small, private label seller, it becomes a different story when you’re trying to file a bad claim for items you’re trying to resell or report other third-party sellers under poorly-guised pretenses.  

This kind of cheap tactic can get turned right back around on your head; it creates a huge headache for Amazon, and they’ll come after you hard once they get to you.

Performance Metrics

Performance metrics are a big factor to look out for, especially come the holiday season.  

It’s highly advised to be at top level performance: ship your items and respond to customers promptly.  If not, you will take some serious damage to your metrics and bring the customer service department after you as well.  

Cancelling batches orders because of stock outages, pricing errors, or other reasons will also do some serious damage to your metrics and bring your dangerously close to suspension.  

When it comes to metrics, Amazon will round up all the sellers flagged for low performance metrics and will either manually suspend them after a quick look around, or simply automatically suspend you.  

Keep your metrics in as good shape as you can! And if some technical glitch is the cause of your poor performance metrics, then take it to seller performance as soon as possible!

Ignoring Performance Notifications

The final thing you want to avoid is ignoring performance notifications.  

If you’re getting notifications about poor item quality or condition complaints, then the best possible thing you can do is to look into and fix them. Ignoring these notifications is a surefire way of getting yourself suspended. Once you’ve seen to it, contact Amazon and show them exactly what you’ve done to rectify the problem.

If you do get suspended though, that doesn’t necessarily mean the end for your business.  You can take steps to get yourself reinstated!

The first thing you need to do is to give an honest assessment of the situation.  If you’ve dealt with a similar situation before, wrote up a solid Plan Of Action, and got yourself reinstated with minimal fuss, then it’s worth a go to try to get yourself back in the game.  

But if Amazon hasn’t given you as much information as you need or requires more expertise than you currently have, then a different method may be called for in this instance.

Discern which of these two paths is open to you before you decide to actually take any sort of action.  

If you’re doing this yourself, make sure you work according to their rules and system, and not your own bias or expectations. And if you’re going to have someone else help you out, make sure they know what they’re doing.

If this problem is legal based, will it benefit you to have a lawyer handle the matter, or are you honestly and realistically capable of solving it yourself?

If you’re unsure about how to tackle any of these issues or want to do your utmost to avoid an Amazon account suspension, then people who specialize in e-commerce consulting, like Gapstow Design, can work with you to help you keep your Amazon business safe and flourishing.  

Contact us to see how we can help your e-commerce business and exactly how we can offer our services to best suit your needs!

E-Commerce Consulting: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SELLING YOUR PRODUCTS ONLINE

e-commerce consulting Cleveland

Today’s world is becoming more and more digital.  

Buying and selling products has extended from a merely physical transaction, and now selling goods online has become the principal way to reach more people and expand your business like never before.  

But if it’s your first venture into this realm, things can get very overwhelming very quickly.

This guide will give an overview of some of the different channels and options that are open to you, whether you’re a small business preparing to venture into the digital world for the first time, or a seasoned e-commerce veteran looking to expand into fresh territory.

One of the first things you have to think about is whether or not you want to go with a hosted or self-hosted e-commerce platform, if you want to sell your goods through a marketplace like Amazon or eBay, or if you’d like to build a hybrid of both.

A hosted/self-hosted platform would allow you to build your own site and show customers your product alone. While the focus on your product alone and minimal immediate attention to the competition is great, that kind of solution won’t necessarily appeal to or reach as broad of an audience as selling Amazon or eBay.

HOSTED OR SELF-HOSTED: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Using a hosted platform means… well, that someone else is hosting you: you’re subject to their rules and wishes more so than your own.  But they cover a lot of expenses that you’d otherwise have to cover yourself, and are typically more straightforward and easier to use.  

A self-hosted platform, however, gives you a lot more freedom to do what you want, how you want it. But without experience with coding, that typically ends up being more costly and difficult to understand. 

In short, hosted is easier and less of a hassle, but limited in areas, whereas self-hosted grants way more freedom, but requires more knowledge and know-how to use.

For the record, we DEFINITELY suggest a hosted site, and we’re happy to make a suggestion for you based on your business and e-commerce goals.

We’ll go more in depth and look at a couple of the top hosted e-commerce platforms and see the pros and cons of each to help you make the best choice for your business!

E-Commerce: HOSTED PLATFORMS

1. )  SHOPIFY

One of the most popular hosting platforms, Shopify is a Canadian ecommerce platform that makes setting up a website a relatively simple task, with a wide variety of features and designs available.

POINTS TO CONSIDER:

  • Shopify comes with tons of themes and designs to determine the look of your website, all of which are generally mobile responsive - meaning they react and adjust to whatever device your viewing from (This is SUPER Important to organic SEO on Google and other search engines).  This makes for a smoother, more enjoyable buyer experience and makes purchasing from your site very convenient.

  • A basic Shopify package is just $29, which allows you get your site up and running with unlimited support. The only catch here though is that some of the necessary features you’ll need for your store will be charged as add-ons to that initial cost. Generally, a good e-commerce consultant can help navigate the 1000’s of apps and make suggestions on which is best.

  • Shopify also offers great support to its customers through many different means, including phone, email, live chat, and forums. In addition, they have other resources to help even the most inexperienced learn the ins and outs of e-commerce more quickly, such as their E-commerce University.

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is ridiculously important in any e-commerce venture. The beautiful thing about Shopify is that your theme can easily be coded by your e-commerce consultant to automatically build in any of the aspects of good SEO practices that will be helpful to your store.

  • Shopify also offers great security, as all transactions are processed with 256-bit SSL encryption and, not to mention, are level-1 PCI compliant. While this might seem like boring mumbo-jumbo, it’s important to note that this stuff keeps you and your customers safe.

  • Shopify also has an offline version with a point-of-sale credit card reader, allowing you make sales on the go, as well as manage your business almost anywhere.

2. ) BigCommerce

Bigcommerce is an online shopping platform that started out as a self-hosted platform, but has evolved into a popular hosted platform, typically used for medium-to-small sized businesses. This is the option that we generally suggest to clients based on advanced needs that store like Shopify might not be equipped to meet.

POINTS TO CONSIDER:

  • Like Shopify, BigCommerce has a large selection of website designs and formats available for free, some of which are also mobile responsive.  However, the amount of mobile responsive sites is only 2 out of the 16 free, which is less than what Shopify offers.

  • While BigCommerce’s basic plan also starts at $29.95 a month, it’s free trial offers a lot more features than even something like Shopify does.  In addition, a lot of add-ons that are necessary that you end up having to pay for with other platforms come free with BigCommerce, like built-in shipping dates, 24-hour support, and some email marketing tools

  • Bigcommerce, like Shopify, also has some strong game in the SEO department. They also have a ton of apps to add on to integrate your entire e-commerce infrastructure into one platform.

  • Bigcommerce is also level-1 PCI compliant, in addition to having the option of sharing an SSL certificate or having your own. (again, for the safety of both you and your customers)

  • Bigcommerce does charge a transaction fee of 1.5%, although this can be dropped if you upgrade to a higher plan.


E-Commerce : Sell on Online Marketplaces

Hosted and self-hosted platforms aren’t the only way you can sell your goods online.  

Online Marketplaces (such as Amazon and eBay) can also be great options to expand your reach and get your product more exposure.  Click here to read our article on Online Marketplaces and see which option might be best for you!

In addition to those online marketplaces, as your e-commerce business grows, you’ll qualify to list your products on marketplaces like Sears, Walmart, etc. Again, this is something your e-commerce consultant can help you with.


Whether you choose to use a hosted platform, a self-hosted platform, to sell your goods through an Online Marketplace, or to tackle a far-reaching hybrid plan,
the decision comes down to what would really be best for your product, your customers, and what would allow you to build your business to wherever you see fit.  

Gapstow Design specializes in e-commerce consulting - helping you make that decision and figure out what direction and options are best suited for the wants and needs of both you and your e-commerce business.  

Click here to see how we can help you navigate the world of e-commerce!





E-Commerce Consulting: AMAZON OR EBAY: DECIDING WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU

Amazon or eBay e-commerce selling Cleveland

Amazon and eBay are two of the most popular online marketplaces in existence today.  

Most anything can be bought from them, which makes them very appealing to consumers.

And this prospect may also seem mutually beneficial for e-commerce store owners as well, since their products gain more exposure while the marketplace gets to expand its product range without the hassle of also expanding its inventory.

But if you look closer, you’ll find that the above still holds true, but some cons also begin to appear that could definitely impact your e-commerce business.  

So is it worth it to expand into selling your products on these marketplaces?

That depends on your business: some e-commerce businesses benefit from such a course, and others do not. Factors to consider include the products you sell, the amount of competition you deal with in that category, and the fees and restrictions of the marketplace you’ll be using.

We’ll talk about a few of the pros and cons that can apply in most general circumstances to help you make the best decision for your e-commerce business.


PROS OF SELLING ON ONLINE MARKETPLACES

Higher Traffic, More Sales

Online markets such as Amazon and eBay have a massive online presence, with Amazon drawing roughly 184 million visitors a month and eBay hosting about 164 million buyers.  

That kind of traffic can be extremely beneficial to an e-commerce business, because the higher the traffic, the better the conversion rates get!

Drawing New Customers

Amazon and eBay are both great places for people to find your products, which they may not have found otherwise.  And once they do find you here, you have a great chance to win some repeat business!

With good customer service and fulfillment, you can grab business that would’ve otherwise gone to your competitors on this market.  And this is especially potent with products that will need to be replenished, like hobby supplies, fishing gear, etc.

Consumers Prefer The Convenience of Online Marketplaces

People are drawn to online marketplaces for the same reason they’re drawn to shopping malls and farmer’s markets: the all-in-one package is something many people enjoy and prefer.  Online marketplaces also come with the extra-added convenience of a single-stream, seamless buying experience.


CONS OF ONLINE MARKETPLACES

FEES

One of the things about selling in an online marketplace that could end up costing you are the marketplace fees.  They’re typically deducted as a certain percentage of each sale, which varies from category to category.

Having a good sense about your margins and the marketplace’s fee structure can keep you from making a costly mistake or getting in over your head.

CONTROL

One crucial thing to remember about online marketplaces is that they exist to help themselves.  

The focus is on the products in their case, not the sellers, so to that end, they could limit the amount of control you have over things on your end, such as communicating with customers, branding your presence, or even what you can and cannot sell.  In addition, there’s the possibility that they could completely bypass third-party sellers and stock up on the popular good themselves.

INVENTORY

It can be very hard to keep your inventory in sync with the marketplace without lots of manual work on your end, which could lead to consumer frustration, something no-one wants.


While considering these pros and cons, it would also be wise to think about exactly which online marketplace you’ll be using.  

Two of the biggest and most popular are Amazon and eBay, and while it may initially seem like a great idea to just hop straight into using both, the reality is that both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.  

You ultimately need to consider which one would be best for your e-commerce business’ needs.


SELLING ON AMAZON

Amazon is a great option for retailers, seeing as that’s what it specializes in, and offers tons of tools to make consumer shopping easy and convenient!

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELLING ON AMAZON:

  • Amazon has their “Fulfillment By Amazon” program, which allows Amazon to handle the shipping and fulfillment of your products by sending them inventory in bulk.

  • Amazon offers an “Amazon Prime Membership,” which grants consumers free 2-day shipping and reputable service and fulfillment.

  • Amazon has built in comparison shopping, pitting you against your competition, which can be beneficial or do your business harm, depending on your margins

  • Monthly fees are another thing to take into consideration; monthly fees for listing your products and referral fees are also charged when a sale is made, with the exact amount varying by category, averaging at about 15%

SELLING ON eBAY

eBay has their infamous auction system, allowing you to sell your goods to the highest bidder or at a fixed price!  

Where Amazon’s focus is on the shopping experience, eBay focuses more on letting your brand be featured.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELLING ON eBAY

  • While eBay’s auctioning system does allow you to sell things to the highest bidder (which does attract a lot of customers), you can also put things up for a fixed price.  In fact, about 86% of eBay’s merchandise volume is from items sold in that way.

  • Shipping and fulfillment are something you’ll have to figure out for yourself, whether through a third party or simply on your own.

  • There is an insertion fee per listing per category, but some seller account types get a certain number of free listings per month.

Making the decision about what online marketplace to sell to really relies on a lot of factors, the primary one being the size and scale of your business.  You also don’t have to limit yourself to either JUST selling on your e-commerce site or JUST through an online marketplace. You can totally take advantage of and benefit from both, but the wisest thing to do is to calculate first and figure out the best move for your business.  

Gapstow Design specializes in the listing and managing of your e-commerce business projects, including Amazon and eBay stores.  We’d love to help and make your e-commerce business as effective as it can possibly be.

Click here to see how we can meet your needs and take your business’ effectiveness to the next level!

WALMART IMAGE REQUIREMENT CHANGES AND WHAT THEY MEAN FOR YOU

walmart ecommerce image changes

Walmart recently decided to make some changes to their image requirements for the fashion category of their online store, setting their required aspect ratio to 3:4, or “Portrait Mode.”  

While they haven’t explicitly stated the reason for this change, one possible explanation could be the increased focused on mobile adaptability in the e-commerce world; a 3:4 aspect ratio is significantly more mobile friendly than other aspect ratios, which would make for a more user-friendly experience when shopping from your phone.

If you have any products in Walmart’s fashion category, you’ll need to replace any images that aren’t in the proper scale or aspect ratio.  If you don’t, you’ll be running the risk of your products’ images being distorted or even not being published on Walmart’s site at all.

Any products within the following categories are affected by this change:

  • Apparel (Men’s, Women’s, Children’s, Baby’s)

  • Jewelry

  • Watches

  • Shoes

  • Accessories

  • Travel/Luggage

Gapstow Design can help you meet these new requirements and implement any other changes needed to keep your e-commerce business in the best possible shape.  

From e-commerce consulting and analytics to website design and product photography, we offer tons of services to help you make your e-commerce business successful!  

Check out our e-commerce consulting page to see just how we can help you take your business to the next level!


A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO SELLING ONLINE

guide to selling online ecommerce

Today’s world is becoming more and more digital.  

Buying and selling products has extended from a merely physical transaction, and now selling goods online has become a chief way to reach more people and expand your business like never before.  

But if it’s your first venture into this realm, things can get very overwhelming very quickly.

This guide will give an overview of some of the different channels and options that are open to you, whether you’re a small business preparing to venture into the digital world for the first time, or a seasoned e-commerce veteran looking to expand into fresh territory.

One of the first things you have to think about is whether or not you want to go with a hosted or self-hosted e-commerce platform,  or if you want to sell your goods through a marketplace like Amazon or eBay.

A hosted/self-hosted platform would allow you to build your own site and show customers your product alone.  

While the focus on your product alone and minimal immediate attention to the competition is great, that kind of solution won’t necessarily appeal to or reach as broad of an audience as Amazon or eBay.


HOSTED OR SELF-HOSTED: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

Using a hosted platform means… well, that someone else is hosting you: you’re subject to their rules and wishes more so than your own.  But they cover a lot of expenses that you’d otherwise have to cover yourself, and are typically more straightforward and easier to use.  

A self-hosted platform, however, gives you a lot more freedom to do what you want, how you want it.

But without experience with coding, that typically ends up being more costly and difficult to understand.  

In short, hosted is easier and less of a hassle, but limited in areas, whereas self-hosted grants way more freedom, but requires more knowledge and know-how to use.

We’ll go more in depth and look at a few of the top hosted and self-hosted e-commerce platforms and see the pros and cons of each to help you make the best choice for your business!



HOSTED PLATFORMS


1. )  SHOPIFY

One of the most popular hosting platforms, Shopify is a Canadian e-commerce platform that makes setting up a website a relatively simple task, with a wide variety of features and designs available.



POINTS TO CONSIDER:

  • Shopify comes with tons of themes and designs to determine the look of your website, a sizeable amount of which are mobile responsive (meaning they react and adjust to whatever device your viewing from, be it a phone, tablet, or desktop computer).  This makes for a smoother, more enjoyable buyer experience and makes purchasing from your site very convenient.

  • A basic Shopify package is just $29, which allows you get your site up and running with unlimited support.  The only catch here though is that some of the necessary features you’ll need for your store will be charged as add-ons to that initial cost.’

  • Shopify also offers great support to its customers through many different means, including phone, email, live chat, and forums.  In addition, they have other resources to help even the most inexperienced learn the ins and outs of e-commerce more quickly, such as their e-commerce University.

  • Shopify also has sites strongly optimized for SEO, which brings in more customers.  Optimization for quick page speed and great snippets are just a few of the features it offers in this area.

  • Shopify also offers great security, as all transactions are processed with 256-bit SSL encryption and, not to mention, are level-1 PCI compliant.

  • Shopify also has an offline version with a point-of-sale credit card reader, allowing you make sales on the go, as well as manage your business almost anywhere.

  • While Shopify has a lot of strengths, one of its downsides is that if you decide to switch platforms, it doesn’t extend the option of downloading everything to another system, meaning you could lose all of your hard work.



2. ) Bigcommerce

Bigcommerce is an online shopping platform that started out as a self-hosted platform, but has evolved into a popular hosted platform, typically used for medium-to-small sized businesses.



POINTS TO CONSIDER:

  • Like Shopify, Bigcommerce has a large selection of website designs and formats available for free, some of which are also mobile responsive.  However, the amount of mobile responsive sites is only 2 out of the 16 free, which is less than what Shopify offers.

  • While Bigcommerce’s basic plan starts at $29.95 a month, it’s free version offers a lot more features than even something like Shopify does.  In addition, a lot of add-ons that are necessary that you end up having to pay for with other platforms come free with Bigcommerce, like built-in shipping dates, 24-hour support, and some email marketing tools.

  • Bigcommerce, like Shopify, also has some strong game in the SEO department, with good page speed, integration with Google Shopping, and access to third-party apps like Mailchimp to help with marketing channels you may need to access.

  • Bigcommerce is also level-1 PCI compliant, in addition to having the option of sharing an SSL certificate or having your own.

  • Bigcommerce does charge a transaction fee of 1.5%, although this can be dropped if you upgrade to a higher plan.



SELF-HOSTED PLATFORMS


1.) WooCommerce

WooCommerce is a fairly new self-hosted platform.  With relatively easy integration with WordPress, WooCommerce has become a very popular platform, claiming to run about 30% of all e-commerce sites.



POINTS TO CONSIDER:

  • WooCommerce is more cost effective, considering it can be installed as a free plugin for WordPress and support is free.

  • It takes up less server space than other apps.

  • The setup isn’t much more complicated than anything else you’d find in WordPress.

  • It’s free to download and comes with a good amount of attractive themes right off the bat.

  • WooCommerce has a ton of tools and options to extend your channel with email marketing and coupon codes.

  • It is somewhat lacking in features, which is why it’s suited for smaller businesses.

  • You are tied to WordPress if you decide you want to use it.


2.) MAGENTO

As far as self-hosted platforms go, Magento is the current leader.  The fact that it was acquired by eBay in 2011 says a lot for its popularity and success.

POINTS TO CONSIDER:

  • A user friendly admin panel let’s you get your shop up and running faster, even if you don’t necessarily have an extensive knowledge of coding.

  • It’s scalability allows room for your business to grow.

  • Issues you’ll have in complex systems aren’t an issue in Magento, especially with an ever-growing panel of developers.  However, what issues that do arise can be rather expensive to get the necessary support with, given the complexity of the platform.

  • Offers strong SEO promotions to draw more traffic.

  • While it does offer some shared-hosting options, if you scale up in the future, you would probably need to buy your own dedicated server, and while that can be a costly investment, Magento can run slow if you can’t afford that option.


3. ) osCommerce

osCommerce’s big plus is a great (free!) support network of talented developers and experienced users.

POINTS TO CONSIDER:

  • It’s simplicity and detailed catalogue management makes it a great choice for those selling ‘one offs’.

  • Its large support network and forums offer great assistance anytime you need it.  The system is prone to bugs though, making that support network even more valuable.

  • It has over 7,000 plugins, allowing for growth far outside its basic starting features.  However, it does not allow for much growth for your business, and forcing such may result in technical problems.

  • It’s light and takes up less server space.


Hosted and self-hosted platforms aren’t the only way you can sell your goods online.  

Online Marketplaces (such as Amazon and eBay) can also be great options to expand your reach and get your product more exposure.  

Click here to read our article on Online Marketplaces and see which option might be best for you!

Whether you choose to use a hosted platform, a self-hosted platform, or to sell your goods through an Online Marketplace, the decision comes down to what would really be best for your product, your customers, and what would allow you to build your business to wherever you see fit.  

Gapstow Design specializes in e-commerce consulting, helping you make that decision and figure out what direction and options are best suited for the wants and needs of both you and your e-commerce business.  

Click here to see how we can help you navigate the world of e-commerce!



AMAZON VS. EBAY: DECIDING WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU

selling on amazon vs selling on ebay.png

Amazon and eBay are two of the most popular online marketplaces in existence today.  

Most anything can be bought from them, which makes them very appealing to consumers.

And this prospect may also seem mutually beneficial for e-commerce store owners as well, since their products gain more exposure while the marketplace gets to expand its product range without the hassle of also expanding its inventory.

But if you look closer, you’ll find that the above still holds true, but some cons also begin to appear that could definitely impact your e-commerce business.  

So is it worth it to expand into selling your products on these marketplaces?

That depends on your business: some e-commerce businesses benefit from such a course, and others do not.  

Factors to consider include the products you sell, the amount of competition you deal with in that category, and the fees and restrictions of the marketplace you’ll be using.

We’ll talk about a few of the pros and cons that can apply in most general circumstances to help you make the best decision for your e-commerce business.


PROS OF SELLING ON ONLINE MARKETPLACES

Higher Traffic, More Sales

Online markets such as Amazon and eBay have a massive online presence, with Amazon drawing roughly 184 million visitors a month and eBay hosting about 164 million buyers.  

That kind of traffic can be extremely beneficial to an e-commerce business, because the higher the traffic, the better the conversion rates get!

Drawing New Customers

Amazon and eBay are both great places for people to find your products, which they may not have found otherwise.  

And once they do find you here, you have a great chance to win some repeat business!

With good customer service and fulfillment, you can grab business that would’ve otherwise gone to your competitors on this market.  And this is especially potent with products that will need to be replenished, like hobby supplies, fishing gear, etc.

Consumers Prefer The Convenience of Online Marketplaces

People are drawn to online marketplaces for the same reason they’re drawn to shopping malls and farmer’s markets: the all-in-one package is something many people enjoy and prefer.  

Online marketplaces also come with the extra-added convenience of a single-stream, seamless buying experience.


CONS OF Selling ON ONLINE MARKETPLACES

Fees

One of the things about selling in an online marketplace that could end up costing you are the marketplace fees.  

They’re typically deducted as a certain percentage of each sale, which varies from category to category.

Having a good sense about your margins and the marketplace’s fee structure can keep you from making a costly mistake or getting in over your head.

Control

One crucial thing to remember about online marketplaces is that they exist to help themselves.  

The focus is on the products in their case, not the sellers, so to that end, they could limit the amount of control you have over things on your end, such as communicating with customers, branding your presence, or even what you can and cannot sell.  

In addition, there’s the possibility that they could completely bypass third-party sellers and stock up on the popular good themselves.

Inventory

It can be very hard to keep your inventory in sync with the marketplace without lots of manual work on your end, which could lead to consumer frustration, something no-one wants.

While considering these pros and cons, it would also be wise to think about exactly which online marketplace you’ll be using.  

Two of the biggest and most popular are Amazon and eBay, and while it may initially seem like a great idea to just hop straight into using both, the reality is that both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages.  

You ultimately need to consider which one would be best for your e-commerce business’ needs.

SELLING ON AMAZON

Amazon is a great option for retailers, seeing as that’s what it specializes in, and offers tons of tools to make consumer shopping easy and convenient!

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELLING ON AMAZON:

  • Amazon has their “Fulfillment By Amazon” program, which allows Amazon to handle the shipping and fulfillment of your products by sending them inventory in bulk.

  • Amazon offers an “Amazon Prime Membership,” which grants consumers free 2-day shipping and reputable service and fulfillment.

  • Amazon has built in comparison shopping, pitting you against your competition, which can be beneficial or do your business harm, depending on your margins

  • Monthly fees are another thing to take into consideration; monthly fees for listing your products and referral fees are also charged when a sale is made, with the exact amount varying by category, averaging at about 15%.

Selling on eBAY

eBay has their infamous auction system, allowing you to sell your goods to the highest bidder or at a fixed price!  

Where Amazon’s focus is on the shopping experience, eBay focuses more on letting your brand be featured.

FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN SELLING ON eBAY

  • While eBay’s auctioning system does allow you to sell things to the highest bidder (which does attract a lot of customers), you can also put things up for a fixed price.  In fact, about 86% of eBay’s merchandise volume is from items sold in that way.

  • Shipping and fulfillment are something you’ll have to figure out for yourself, whether through a third party or simply on your own.

  • There is an insertion fee per listing per category, but some seller account types get a certain number of free listings per month.

Making the decision about what online marketplace to sell to really relies on a lot of factors, the primary one being the size and scale of your business.  

You also don’t have to limit yourself to either JUST selling on your e-commerce site or JUST through an online marketplace.

You can totally take advantage of and benefit from both, but the wisest thing to do is to calculate first and figure out the best move for your business.  

Gapstow Design specializes in the listing and managing of your e-commerce business projects, including Amazon and eBay stores.  We’d love to help and make your e-commerce business as effective as it can possibly be.

Click here to see how we can meet your needs and take your business’ effectiveness to the next level!

Learn how to sell on Amazon, Contact us today!


IMPROVING YOUR PRODUCT LISTING’S SEO ON WAL-MART.COM

SEO is an absolutely vital part of a successful e-commerce business.

Whether you’re using a search engine like Google or Bing, or an online marketplace like Amazon, eBay, or Walmart.com, which will be the focus of this post.  

In fact, SEO plays a major part in making sure that your products rank highly and successfully.

The key to successful SEO with Walmart.com lies in a few key areas in your product listing: the product name or title, description, attributes, images, and key features or highlights.  

We’ll break down how you can successfully optimize each of these individually and achieve the most success with your Walmart.com product listing!

SEO for Walmart Marketplace.png


PRODUCT NAME/TITLE

The ideal title length for best SEO is in between 50-75 characters.  

Go for something unique that wouldn’t be used on any other sites or any other products.  The format to follow would is: Brand + Clothing Size & Group + Defining Quality + Item Name + Style + Pack Count.  


DESCRIPTION

Here’s where you get to go into detail and show some expertise on the item you’re trying to sell and highlight its benefits.  

The key is to make sure that what you say here is, again, unique and not copied from other sites or products.

Go for in between 1,000-4,000 characters (the longer the better).  

Also, this is a great place to make good use of keywords. Use a tool like Google Keyword Planner to figure out the best and most relevant keywords for your product and try to pepper them discreetly throughout your description.  

Balance is key here because if you use too many keywords indiscriminately, your product will lose credibility; but if you use too little, you’re not going to get the attention or traffic you need.

ATTRIBUTES

Well-defined attributes will really help draw traffic to your product when consumers do searches on Walmart.com.  

They’re the categories on the left-hand side that you can click on to restrict or filter your search.

Treat attributes with the same discretion you would keywords and only pick the most relevant ones for your product.  

A good suggestion to help find the best attributes is to do a search on Walmart.com for your item and see what attributes appear on the left-hand side.


IMAGES

Quality images are really important.  

Customers should be able to see your product from many different angles, as well as show any relevant packaging or any other details that would be of importance to your product.  

Zoom-enabled images are another really important thing to have, because they allow consumers to inspect things closer as they would in person, which can ultimately build a trust with the product.



KEY FEATURES/HIGHLIGHTS

Here’s another great opportunity to use keywords to tag your item.

Pick in between 3-10 of the most valuable and relevant keywords for your item and list them here, comma separated, starting with the most important and descending in relevance.  

Remember to be specific, informative, and unique with your keywords.


If you follow the tips and advice above, then your product should have a much improved listing on Walmart.com.  

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or don’t know where to start, we can help! Gapstow Design specializes in E-commerce Consulting and helping navigate you and your e-commerce business to success.  

Check out our blog for a variety of topics and areas where we can assist, whether it’s with improving your SEO, website design, or helping you branch out and establish yourself in an online marketplace.