The 'web stores vs marketplaces' battle has been raging on almost as long as the internet has been around.
Amazon and eBay are the two marketplace mammoths but Etsy and other alternatives aren't to be ignored, either.
While these marketplaces allow you to tap into highly engaged traffic, they're expensive and come with their own inherent risks. It doesn't take long for the fees to add up and really start hurting your business. Not to mention, you're listed directly next to your competition.
On your own web store, fees are significantly less and you can shape the buyer's journey in any way you'd like. Not to mention the benefits of email marketing and increasing their lifetime spend.
Today you'll discover a few ways to take that engaged marketplace traffic and drive it to your independent web store - both new buyers and repeat buyers.
First things first, though. Check your current ecommerce conversion rate and be certain your online store isn't leaking sales. If customers are encountering too much friction in your online store's buying process, you're already losing money.
Next, make sure that your current marketplace pages have links to your website if possible. eBay, Etsy and Bonanza allow you to have a link to your webstore. Also ensure that your branding is consistent between your web store and marketplace store.
If you're an Amazon seller, you have access to Amazon product ads. Simply put, these are sponsored ads that have direct links you product pages on your webstore.
Amazon has a staggering 71% conversion rate. That's because Amazon buyers only look at the products when they're ready to commit to a purchase. Amazon product ads are an overlooked way of getting that traffic into your web store.
One of the more simple ways to channel marketplace traffic is to physically include a voucher in someones delivery. If you're using FBA (fulfilment by Amazon) or another fulfilment company, this may not be possible.
For those that are self-fulfilling include a small card with some kind of voucher or discount in their parcel. Make that voucher valid only in your webstore. Quite often, this small incentive is enough to make people seek out your web store and buy from you there.
This method has an added bonus - not only will your physical voucher drive people to your webstore, it makes your brand more memorable.
When you buy something from eBay or Amazon, do you remember the name of the company you bought from?
You remember that you got it on eBay or Amazon. This 'website voucher in your order' trick makes your brand memorable.
The next trick is a little complex, but it uses Amazon's own features against them. Amazon has a few other weaknesses online sellers can leverage, too.
Enter: The giveaway.
Find a product product that you sell on Amazon, and at the bottom of the page, scroll to 'Set up a Giveaway'.
Create a 'random instant win' giveaway and then specify how people can enter (follow you on twitter, vote in a poll, watch a video etc.) In a few steps, you'll be asked to enter your message for both the win page and the lose page.
Enter your messages, but in both messages, employ our previous trick - a voucher code that's valid only in your webstore.
Use bit.ly or Google URL shortener and tell people to copy/paste the link into their browser as Amazon doesn't allow live links.
Everyone wants something for nothing, and a giveaway offers exactly that. Those that don't win are compensated with a discount and you get these Amazon customers directly to your webstore.
This last one has nothing to do with a marketplace, but it's something that we see a lot of ecommerce entrepreneurs doing.
Again, it involves a discount (who doesn't love a discount though!) If you're sick of using discounts, find another way to add value - free shipping, bonus gift, something enticing.
Simply Google the phrase 'submit a deal' and you'll get a list over a few hundred thousand websites that showcase special deals. Submit your coupons to as many of these sites as you'd like and if your deal is absolutely too good to pass up, a steady stream of traffic will start coming in.
Last but not least, customize your packaging. It doesn't sound too original, but your product packaging is the first physical touch point that your customer has with your brand.
By making this touch point memorable, people will remember your brand. By remembering your brand's name, your customer is more likely to put your name into a Google search and go to your website when they want to buy from you again.
Bonus idea: These concepts aren't unique to marketplaces. These are some great ways to bring in traffic from Facebook groups, forums and other engaged communities, too.
These simple ideas won't revolutionize the way that your online store operates. Over time and with regular execution, you can start to channel engaged traffic to your web store, increase your sales and start keeping those marketplace fees in your own back pocket. About the Author: Phil Forbes is a content writer and marketer at multichannel commerce platform Shoplo.