I recently talked on James Schramko’s stage about how we made $1M in sales in amazon in our first year…..despite our success using this platform, we also need to think about ‘do we really want to be 100% dependent on one platform’?

The answer is probably no.

So this blog post is about the 4 things you need to balance when building an e-commerce brand.

Winter is Coming - Win Long Term with The eCommerce 4 Leg Stool

When it comes to only building a store on one platform, If you do the right things, there’s not really that much risk of them knocking you off their platform. I have seen it happen to some people, but I think if you keep up to date with your knowledge, your education, and you do the right things, you don’t really have that much of a risk.

But you still don’t want to build a business that’s 100% dependent on Amazon. Which can be tempting because when I look at our success with Amazon, we were making say 20 sales on Amazon, for every one sale we were making on our ecommerce store.  So partway through last year we had to make this decision: (I’ve got the saying that he or she who chases two rabbits catches none) ‘let’s park our e-commerce store for awhile even though we’ll lose on some of the money and let’s double down and really, really get good at Amazon and then we’ll come back to it’ (which is our plan for later in the year).

I’ll get into the 4 essentials we need to balance in a moment, but first, here’s why it’s something you need to consider:

Winter is Coming - Win Long Term with The eCommerce 4 Leg Stool

‘Winter is coming’ from an internet traffic point of view.  (and it doesn’t matter which traffic source you talk about, whether it’s Google, whether it’s Facebook ect) Everyone thinks of the internet as a cash spewing machine, where we put a dollar in and we want to spit $2. And it still does work right now. But due to supply and demand, there’s only so many placements available and the cost of traffic continues to go up. The cost of traffic continues to go up and the cost of goods and services is going down. So you get to the point where after a while, (maybe it might be three years out, four years out) where you can’t profitably buy traffic on day one anymore. So that’s why we need to think in advance as well. Here’s the 4 things you need to balance out for the perfect Winning e-commerce Store:

#1. Authority Blog

So this is talking about building something beyond just Amazon.  We always start with an authority blog. So in this case we have been using a professional content team that have been building out a blog, churning out around 16 blog posts a month in the baby products market.

We’ve been building content and doing good SEO but not monetizing this space. We effectively have an under utilized asset, that we now need to turn that into money. But I remember back to the whole catching rabbits analogy, we couldn’t do everything at once. So did we do a good job on the blog last year? Probably not. But we did a great, job on Amazon so that’s okay. And now we’ve come back and we’ll fill in those other pieces. But you will have heard James Schramko talk about ‘owning the race course’. And this comes back to the ned to have content and the need to publish it on our own platform.

#2. Amazon

Amazon really is a cash spewing machine and it’s really about cash flow, but you don’t own the customer so they don’t share the customer Info with you. You can get that info. But if you want to keep 100% within the rules, you can’t really scrape their customer data and then use that info to go and email them. Some people carry out those kind of tactics, but  I don’t recommend it. And the reason why is because, is it a hobby business for you or are you playing the long game? Either way I look at it, I always play the long game, so I’m doing the right thing. But Amazon is an amazing, amazing cash spewing machine.

#3. e-Commerce Store

Add on an ecommerce store, so you own your own brand, domain and brand terms in search. We recommend Shopify in this regards and then do all the standard ecommerce stuff. But from our experience, it’s easier to get momentum on Amazon and then come back to your own e-commerce store.  If you’ve already got momentum on your own e-commerce store, great! Optimise and build that up first, then add on Amazon.

#4. Audiences

Email used to be the primary audience, but as we all know, it’s becoming less and less effective. It’s not uncommon for 10% and 20% open rates. Newer social Platforms Like Facbook Messenger that can send sequences like a traditional email campaign are so, so important to tap into and get skilled in. For example, lead magnets, we’re now changing over to messenger rather than email list because it’s just so much easier and effective.  90% open rates are possible instead of 10%. Obviously cookies and custom audiences come into play as well, all basically for the goal of using audiences to drive traffic.

Have you had more success with your own e-commerce brand, or with Amazon? Let me know below.