Today’s Talking Shop is in a bit of a different format this time. With being in lockdown and the office currently being shut this time it’s myself and Alison on today’s Talking Shop episode.
Free Google Shopping?
When online retail was in its early stages, you could upload your products and get listed and get sales from Google for free. Over the years, things have changed and it’s now developed into paid advertising as we all know it today, has had an effect on a lot of our customers as time has passed.
You used to be able to list your products on Frugal, completely for free and your listing would then come up in Google searches and this meant that Google was your primary place to search for products online. Back then we would submit our customers’ shops to Frugal and you could pretty much guarantee some level of traffic to their shops.
However, when they switched it over to paid advertising in 2012, not everyone wanted to pay to advertise on Google. This meant that the traffic customers were getting before, just disappeared and from a consumers perspective, rather than just going onto Google to search for a product, due to the decrease in the number of listings, the quality declined and people ended up using services like Amazon as their default search engine.
While this is still the case today, we think that Google is trying to get that search traffic back to its platform rather than a site like Amazon. They’re doing this because when you advertise with Google, Google will never compete with what you’re trying to sell however businesses like Amazon will and have done in the past.
For example, they saw that USB cables and chargers were selling well on their platform so they decided to take a slice of that market by offering identical products as Amazon Basics products.
People always wonder, “If I build an online shop, how am I going to get people to my website?” and the reality is that building an online shop is like being in the wild west. If you’ve got to get people to come to your site and the only way to do that is through paid advertising initially as well as organic traffic over time.
And, or, you list on somewhere like Amazon, eBay, Etsy and this is where people can get confused as they will compare their listing on these sites to their own online shop and wonder why traffic is lower on their own site. This is because sites like Amazon already have a large amount of traffic searching for products on their platform so when a customer comes across your product listing on Amazon, they won’t remember your brand whereas building up your brand via your own website and pushing traffic there will help you to build your brand.
An example of how sites like Amazon cannibalise on merchant products is buying batteries on Amazon. They saw that items like batteries, charging cables etc sold well, so they wanted a chunk of that market and created Amazon Basics. Marketplaces like these may always find a way to compete with you, but if you have your own site, and are driving traffic via paid Google Ads, Google will never compete with you.
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we’ve seen a massive boom in ecommerce shopping across many retailers. Some industries have suffered but others have been able to triple their revenue over the past few weeks.
For the first time ever in the history of ecommerce, online retailers don’t have to compete with the high street retailers. Currently, the high street retailers have taken a hit due to not being able to open their doors, which means that ecommerce is the only game in town. Some retailers who don’t sell online have had a massive wake up call, for instance, big companies like Primark who don’t sell online are now suffering massively.
Simply because they don’t sell online, Primark now has zero sales coming in. In the past, they have defended their choice not to sell online due to the cost of production as well as their demographic but now have shot themselves in the foot.
Shopping online will most likely become the new normal and placing orders online isn’t just going to be something we do while social distancing, but will be something we do for years to come.
Companies, large or small need to adapt to selling online and we’ve seen that smaller independent businesses have been amazing at this and are continuing to sell to their customers. Now is a really great time to get your business online as you have the public behind you, wanting to support small businesses, so make the most of it.
Amazon has now relaxed their rules on shipping essential products after being quite strict in the first few weeks of lockdown, however, there was some confusion on what was classed as an essential product for merchants and consumers.
Some merchants who sell on Amazon have their orders fulfilled by Amazon, which means they ship their stock to store in an Amazon warehouse and fulfil an order when someone purchases an item from you. Other merchants fulfil orders themselves but still sell through Amazon, so when the restrictions were in place, weren’t able to take orders on non-essential items. Fundamentally if you rely on someone else to run your business, they will end up prioritising their business over yours in a crisis. A lot of people will send all their products to be fulfilled by Amazon and if they aren’t treating your business a priority, you have no way to reach your stock and Amazon will not be sending your products out.
The key is to always have a backup plan, your own brand, your own online shop and your own online brand reputation. Keep some stock accessible to you so that in the future you can access it to ensure that you’re still able to take orders on your site and keep your business running.
Your business must be able to adapt and change to any situation so let us know if you have any comments or questions down below.