Sell your competitors’ products

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If you’re a customer of the shopping behemoth, you can’t have failed to have noticed that Amazon let competitors use their website to sell their products. Known as Marketplace, like many others you’ve probably thought it’s a little odd. A bit counter-intuitive, isn’t it?

I’m just guessing, but I suspect you don’t let your competitors do the same?

Why not?

It’s a calculated move by Amazon and it’s very clever. Whilst it might seem barmy, if done seamlessly it can establish your site as the single place to go to buy your industry’s products.

Why? Well, crucially, it reduces effort on the part of your customers, which will ALWAYS improve your conversion rates. As a consumer I don’t really care where the book comes from as long as it doesn’t require any extra work on my part and I still get the assurance that comes from buying via Amazon.

The Pros and Cons

So how can that help your business?

There are many reasons why you should consider such a bold move:

  • Your customers will stay loyal because you always have the product they need
  • They’ll repeat purchase
  • You’ll establish a reputation as the authority in your industry
  • You’ll receive more referrals as your customer satisfaction increases
  • You can generate a revenue share from competitor sales

So what are the risks to your business?

  • Amazon is successful because the majority of sales come from their own listings, not via Marketplace. So Marketplace is an additional option for the customer, not the main one. If you don’t have many products and a customer frequently views or buys items from competitors on your site, they may begin to question which brand is the authority.

o Tip #1: counteract this by limiting the product listings from each competitor

o Tip #2: Ensure your site features a sufficient number of your own listings

o Tip #3: Place your products first in search listings, ahead of competitor products

o Tip #4: Only pull in competitor listings if you have insufficient listings of your own for that product

  • Be wary of the user experience. Be careful not to compromise it for the sake of making a few more sales.

o Tip #5: Make the process seamless with no (or minimal) variation to your standard user experience (particular the checkout process). Ideally you don’t ask the customer to register again on a second site.

Promoting your competitors’ products is undoubtedly a bold move. You’ll need to balance the pros and cons, but it’s a strategic decision that could fundamentally shift your position within your market.

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Gary Robinson is a UK digital marketer, who fell into this tech world by accident and decided to stay and play. That was 1999. He's still here. His current loves are conversion optimisation, mobile and tinkering with new technology. He also has a fondness for coffee.

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Posted in Business Performance, Customer Experience, Innovation

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