By Nathan Hirsch
While Amazon is a spectacular platform from which you can grow your business, there are other online marketplaces available if you're looking to increase your consumer base and spread brand awareness. Some people enjoy using only a single or specific online platform, such as eBay or Walmart’s online marketplace, to find their preferred goods and services. However, if you’re running an Amazon store, then you know how multifaceted running it can be. So, why jump into other online markets? By branching out into other online markets, you’ll be able to tap into a new consumer base – and the profits that could follow.
The concept can be called Multichannel marketing, or your ability to interact with customers on multiple platforms. If your Amazon store is one such platform, then adding an eBay store to your core business will make it a multichannel endeavor. It is also one of the most effective ways to advertise a business, because as simple as it sounds, some people will only find your products or services through their favored online retailer or marketplace.
Finding a new platform or channel to sell your goods and services is an investment since you’ll still be operating your Amazon store. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to kill your wallet either. Since you'll be using an existing platform to sell your products and services, you won't have to spend a large pool of money building a service platform from scratch. You'll still have to pay listing fees, as well as a small cut from each successful purchase, but ultimately you'll gain a chance at a broader consumer base, increased profits and higher brand awareness. With that in mind, there's still plenty of work to be done!
To prepare you and your company for success in a multichannel market, consider the following steps:
Choose your markets carefully
What sells on Amazon may not necessary sell on other online markets like eBay, Etsy, Newegg and more. You'll want to make sure that your brand or product has a niche in whatever market you are looking to expand into. You wouldn't sell motorcycle parts on Etsy, would you? Always commit to some research before jumping into a new market.
Take advantage of each markets unique product base. For instance, while Amazon and eBay are known for their ability to find, buy or sell just about anything, other online markets like Etsy (which focuses largely on handmade craft items, accessories and home goods) and Newegg (electronics, computers and software) can give you plenty of options in making your decision and affirming your niche.
Cater to consistency
One of the most critical aspects towards multichannel success is being consistent. Each new market you wish to expand into will have their own set of rules, regulations and policies. On top of that, the information you provide for your products or services should be standardized across the board, or else you’ll risk the chance of confusing customers about what you provide. In essence, try to keep your brand consistent across every market – all products and inventory are counted the same way, item descriptions are familiar and your brand is represented in a consistent manner.
Hire a virtual assistant
Expanding into other markets can quickly become an overwhelming task, especially if you are trying to do everything yourself. Managing your product listings, inventory, collections and more will take plenty of time and energy. Keep in mind that each online market usually enforces their own standard set of rules which you'll have to follow, making each platform require certain care and attention as well.
If you're ready to expand into other online markets, you'll want to head into this with the right support necessary for success. An experienced virtual assistant can help you manage some of your business's more low-key operations. While many of these are vital to running your business's daily services, you'll want a professional hand who can help relieve some of the workload from your shoulders.
Virtual assistants have a variety of skills and experience which can prove exceedingly useful. You can find a professional VA who knows the intricacies of each market, as well as one that has the skills and know-how necessary to master each market of your choice. You don’t have to be an expert with each platform you commit to, but you’d certainly benefit from having an expert hand helping you and your business. Online worker agencies like FreeeUp.com can help offer professional virtual assistants to make any multichannel transition a success.
If you want even more outreach, you can consider selling to an international consumer base. Several popular online markets, such as Alibaba, Rakuten and even eBay are great ways to list products for an international community. Of course, getting a presence there isn’t always easy, especially if you’re not fluent in a new markets language or regulations. Some great services, like Enida, offer professional customer support for anyone wishing to open a European storefront.