How To Win in Today's Amazon World
There’s an old saying “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”. In today’s Amazon-centric online world, I’ve noticed an ever growing number of ecommerce only sellers folding their tent and walking away.
The common thread? The companies I’ve seen close their doors in the last year or so are those who resell products made by other brands, not brands they own.
So if you’re intent on winning in today’s Amazon world, how do you do it?
The first step to winning is to realize that today’s consumers are loyal to brands, not retailers or sellers, Amazon included. Online resellers make one-off sales. Brands create loyal customers.
Let me share with you a couple of personal examples.
About a year ago, I needed something to clean a new kitchen island, a black granite countertop in my home. Washing it with a kitchen cloth was just leaving too many streaks. So like you may have done, I pulled out my phone and searched my Amazon app for granite cleaners. I found a highly rated granite wipes product made by Weiman. In a moment that product was in my Amazon shopping cart and on the way. Days later, I found that the product worked exceptionally well, the countertop looked amazing. Fast forward, as I’m shopping in Publix, I noticed the Weiman brand on the shelf and picked up some Weiman brand kitchen stainless cleaner. A win -- discovered online, purchased offline -- for Weiman and for my kitchen. I’m now loyal to the Weiman brand.
Recently while speaking at a conference, I worked out in the gym at a massive Atlantic City hotel and casino with an unusual machine for strengthening a specific area of the upper back. I was sore after working out that area so headed straight for the spa. One of the products used by the spa was a massage cream made by Biotone. It was the best product I’d ever experienced during a deep tissue massage. So naturally, I wanted to own it, and purchased this -- discovered offline, purchased online -- on Amazon before I was even 200 feet away from the spa. I’m now loyal to the Biotone brand.
If you don’t own your own consumer product brand, and are simply an online seller of someone else's products, why don’t you begin the journey toward building your own brand? And if you already the owner and developing multiple unique in-house brands, you are one step ahead of the game.
Early last fall, as I was traveling for one of our ecommerce events, I spent time in the warehouses of two different clients. They were in two distinct parts of New Jersey and both sold highly commoditized products in their respective product categories. Both had been selling on the Amazon marketplace for at least five years. Each had independently switched to branding their products so that they were no longer reselling someone else's products; their packaging now carried their respective logos, brand colors, web addresses, and even their phone numbers.
You can have others manufacture your branded products for you, or you can manufacture them yourself. Resist the urge to build your business by only selling someone else’s branded merchandise. If someone else owns the brands you’re selling, Amazon, Walmart or any reseller is -- or eventually will be -- selling them too, in competition with you.
With your own new or emerging brand, you’ll have a greater opportunity to win in today’s Amazon-centric world, and get some of their 310 million customers to discover, and then buy, your brand’s products.