Updated: Sep 3
The media has been writing up and down about the launch of Amazon here in the Nordic countries - and the launch has not even happened yet (early September 2020)! This seems to overshadow the real challenge: that e-commerce is entering a new phase, where the complexity has moved from setting up a platform and making logistics smooth, to actually getting your products in front of the consumer.
Amazon, Facebook, Zalando, CDON, Google and your own shop are all potentially profitable channels!
We, the consumers, are navigating many websites, market places and social media channels every day. Most of them are free, or at least partly financed by ads, making them the "shopping streets” for the modern consumers. This is where we, as online sellers, can find the consumer and offer our products.
Today Amazon is the "mega-mall" where you can find anything and Zalando is the "fashion district". Instagram is a new upcoming area with high-end brands, and maybe you just learned that all the unique and handmade home decor is to be found on its own street called etsy.com.
The challenge for the future is that things will change. If one street is very popular, the price of having an outlet will go up. This will be too expensive for the new and trendy brands, they will turn to new and less expensive areas and the influencers will join them because "main street" is boring.
How to navigate in this world as a brand owner?
Instead of trying to guess which channel(s) you should sell through the next month, next quarter or next year, it is much more important to create a platform of your own, allowing you to direct your products to new channels tomorrow, if it looks promising, and somewhere else next week, if it is a better idea at that point of time.
To be able to navigate the future of e-commerce you need to have two things.
Your own localized webshops in the countries you sell in. This is the home for your brand, this is where products are sold in your environment and surrounded by the values that you find important. This is also where your loyal customers return to to see new products for themselves or to buy presents for their friends and loved ones. This is also where you can guide traffic from your own channels; newsletters, events, influencers, physical stores etc. Finally, this is where you will turn complaints and bad experiences from all the channels you sell in, into happy endings and loyal customers.
A world-class product feed This is the new SEO. In order to be visible in all the existing and up-coming sales channels, you need to meet the formats and have the elements in your feed, required by these channels. Your product also needs to be valued attractive by the algorithm in order to be presented to the consumers. Is your product a match for the visitor on their platform, are your price and other terms attractive, is the product title length correct, is the language on the landing page the same as the consumers? All these questions are asked in different ways by each channel. Your product feed needs to be compliant and easily adjustable, making it easy for you to move your products to the channels with the attractive customers giving you the best ROI.
If you have these two things in place, you can make your products available to the world on your own terms. You can connect to end-users and you can choose between the sales channels that provide great value for you this week - and change them next week.