Amazon.com Vs. ______.com

5 years ago an online retailer that had their own site but also listed on Amazon would see like 10% of sales come through Amazon. Today that number is more like 60%. Naturally, some retailers have decided it’s not worth competing and taken their focus entirely to Amazon. They either close their site or significantly minimize their attention to it since it’s not driving as much revenue.

I’m not sure if that’s the right call.

Amazon has some disadvantages. The biggest being that Amazon product pages have to be formatted pretty much identically. Product description is basically a list of bullet points. That means you can’t weave a compelling story on your Amazon product page.

Here is what I think is happening. Your potential buyers either discover your site first or are on Amazon, discover your item, check out your branded site, and then buy on Amazon. But the point is that a big percentage of your first-time buyers on Amazon did indeed visit your site. Just because they ultimately purchased the product on Amazon after spending 12 minutes on your brand site doesn’t mean Amazon should get all the credit. Even if they love your site they might prefer to buy from Amazon if they have Amazon Prime (and nearly 50% of American households do).

How can we know for sure that your branded site is influencing Amazon conversions? Glad you asked. One idea is to focus your PPC on a specific city (for example Austin, Texas). Boost your ad spend in this one city for a time period (based on purchase cycle for your product). Then go to Amazon and see if there was a proportional uptick in Austin orders. If there was it proves your site plays an important role in driving Amazon sales.

Think Different

1: Brick and mortar retail is really cost intensive.

2: Brick and mortar retail can’t compete again Amazon.com.

3: With brick and mortar retail one has to sign long-term storefront leases.

4: Enter Bulletin (bulletin.co).

5: Bulletin takes the flexibility of ecommerce and brings it to brick and mortar world.

6: The advantage of a retail store is the idea of unexpected discovery. Online, if people don’t think about searching the product you sell then they’ll likely never find you. Few examples: gelpro.com, skiersedge.com, excaliburdehydrator.com and pitbarrelcooker.com.

7: With Bulletin any of these retailers could rent space at a Bulletin store and allow shoppers to stumble and experience their product.

8: And it’s just like your own online store. If someone buys your pit barrel cooker from a physical store you will get that customer’s info. So you can manage that relationship moving forward.

9: Basically, ideas like Bulletin are helping take brick and mortar from being an inflexible high fixed cost model to highly flexible utility like solution.

10: Expect a lot more innovation in this space.

Why Curiosity Matters

Bob Moesta is a curious person. He was involved in home building and selling condos. His condos were designed based on the stated needs of their target audience (ranch style, 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath, granite countertops, hardwood floor, etc.) But still, a big percentage of interested people didn’t pull the trigger.

Bob wanted to understand why.

He discovered people who were moving into this condo were moving from bigger homes and were anxious about the downsizing process. They simply didn’t know how to pack up 20 to 30 years of stuff that had been collected. Important, nostalgic stuff. They didn’t know how to purge collected memories. So people would say things like, “Boy, we don’t know how we’re going to downsize. We’ll need to cancel on the condo because we need another year to figure out how to downsize”.

Here is what Bob did: he raised the price of the condo and included (in price of condo) moving plus 2 years of storage. Result? Sales went up 17%.

Be more like Bob when thinking about your ecommerce business.

Choreographed User Experiences

We all know how important user experiences are. But what about choreographed user experiences? They’re even more important. Let me explain …

Imagine you’re an author who has written an excellent mystery novel with 12 chapters. Would you let your readers read the chapters in any order they please (chapter 8 followed by chapter 2)? Or would you demand that they read starting in sequence, from chapter 1?

It’s very similar for your ecommerce site. Yes, we want to give our visitors freedom to explore our store as they like but make no mistake about it, the sequence in which potential first-time buyers consume your story has a dramatic impact on their overall conversion rates.

Don’t know what the magic sequence is? Here is a template that can be applied to any site:

— The first content first-time buyers need to see is why your product/service is unique.

— The second content first-time buyers need to see if what makes you unique (your story).

— The third content first-time buyers need to see is why they should trust you.

— The fourth content first-time buyers need to see if what happens if the promise you are making isn’t true (risk reversal).

As marketers, we need to ensure all engaged potential first-time buyers “buy” this content (and in that sequence).


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Navigation Speed

Shoppers who navigate your site at a fast pace are fundamentally different from leisurely movers. Do you treat these 2 groups differently? You should.

Fast browsers are typically in pre-research or post-research pre-commit mode. This means they either have just started their shopping journey or are at the end of it and have a shortlist of options but want to make sure they are making an informed decision. If you have prominent advertisements for things like “Download Buyer’s Guide” or “Schedule an In-person Consultation” and they are being ignored it’s because when shoppers are in pre-research or post-research pre-commit mindset they don’t want to engage with options that are time-consuming.

To serve these people create quick consumption content that doesn’t doesn’t add to mental load but powerfully communicates why YOU are the best option.


If you like ideas to boost your conversion rates you should subscribe. You can either email subscribe (option at bottom right corner of the screen) or follow me on Twitter (https://twitter.com/BetterRetail).

Focus on Just 2 things

Marketing is a boundless playground and you can drive yourself nuts trying every flavor of the moment. So you need to narrow your focus. After nearly 8 years of testing I can tell you the only 2 things that matter are answering these 2 questions:

1: How can we do a better job converting first-time buyers?

2: What caused a first-time buyer to place their first order?

These are the only 2 questions that matter. Period.

First_Time_Buyer.png

The 1st question requires a telescope mindset. We’re looking at a big data set and picking up patterns. You will find a lot of valuable data in your Google Analytics.

The 2nd question requires a microscope mindset. It doesn’t matter if your site generates 2 or 45 first-time purchases in a month. What matters is if you specifically understand why transaction ID #4566 occurred. It’s really important we talk to these brave first-time buyers. They have taken a leap of faith on you and we need to understand what switch happened in their mind that caused them to make that leap. There are many forces that push the ‘almost’ shopper to quit, and it’s our job to understand how transaction ID #4566 overcome those opposing forces to place their first order.

These 2 questions are strongly related. By better understanding Question 2 you can better answer Question 1.