Even before COVID, ecommerce was going strong (hundreds of billions in revenue), and there was already a big movement toward building more and more custom ecommerce stores.

COVID has led more companies to start new ecommerce stores with platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce.

Even companies that typically only worked through distributors in the past have started their own direct-to-customer efforts. Whether they relied primarily on retail, which has been severely impacted by COVID, or they just aren’t liking their distributors’ sales numbers, they want more control and they want to be more proactive.

And, as usual, if you build it, they actually don’t come. You need marketing.

Some of the biggest questions we get related to new ecomm strategy and marketing are about Amazon vs your own site.

  • Should we sell on Amazon at all?
  • How do we get more sales on Amazon?
  • Does Amazon take too much of our profits?
  • How do we promote our own ecommerce site?

Our general strategic advice is to do both. Use Amazon for its strengths, and your own site for other strategic reasons. Most importantly, get what you can out of Amazon, but don’t become addicted to it or completely reliant upon it. Make sure you’re growing your own ecomm site and customer list, too!

Here are 7 general tips that will help you out.

  • Leverage Amazon: Amazon has a ton of visitors and customers already. Take advantage of that. Going only with your own ecomm site is a recipe for too-slow growth. You can learn a ton from what works on Amazon and apply it to your own site.
  • Run Amazon Ads: Use Amazon ads to drive more sales and discover which of your products are most profitable on Amazon.
  • Double Down: Spend as much as you can profitably on Amazon. Once you find those profitable products, you are basically printing money.
  • Get Contact Info: Insert warranty info and other things into your product packaging that might lead Amazon customers to contact you. When you sell on Amazon, you don’t get any customer info, such as email address, to use to remarket to them. But make sure you don’t violate Amazon’s TOS when you strategize here.
  • Run Facebook Ads: Use Facebook ads (specifically, a combo of reach and conversion ads) to drive sales on your own ecommerce website. COVID has generally lowered Facebook ad prices because it’s decreased competition.
  • Own the Customer: Get more sales on your own site so that you “own” the customer. Once you have bigger retargeting and email lists, your profits will accelerate with things like Facebook retargeting ads.
  • Track Diligently: Make sure whatever ecomm platform you use allows you to place your advertising pixels throughout the entire experience. There are some platform options where you won’t be able to place it in the checkout process, which will hamper all your advertising progress. Ad platforms like Facebook require the purchase data to come back to them directly to help you get more sales.

Brian Carter

An IBM futurist and top expert recommended by LinkedIn, Brian Carter has been a trusted influencer for over a decade. He's built programs and been a keynote speaker for companies like Microsoft, NBC-Universal, Citrix, Marketo, Salesforce as well as small businesses. He delivers motivational keynotes with practical takeaways based his 15 years of cutting-edge work. Brian is a bestselling author you may have seen on Bloomberg TV or in Inc, Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He has over 250,000 online fans and reaches over 3 million people per year.