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Ecommerce where is it going
Seems fighting 2 giants is about going to do it
bwnbwn




msg:4393710
 3:35 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

This news is like a dagger in the heart for small ecommerce stores like me. Amazon is hard enough to fight but what's going to happen when you have these to giants in the same war competing against all of us small shops.
[foxbusiness.com...]

 

jwurunner




msg:4393719
 4:07 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

We are having the same problem and are extremely concerned about this. We were one of the first in our industry to start selling online. Now every one in our industry PLUS many of the big box store such as Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears, Costco, Home Depot and others are competing with us.

Now with Google working with these bigger sites against Amazon, the fallout for the small guys in our industry will be devastating. 90% of the products we sell are involved in a price race to the bottom and can be sold by anybody. Profits have all but disappeared and it is scary.

We knew years ago that eventually the advantages for small businesses would vanish online.

Leosghost




msg:4393729
 4:27 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

The solution is to sell things that the others including all your competitors and Google and Amazon, Wal-Mart, Sears, Costco, Home Depot etc can't get..

Or that they don't want to get involved with, or are so unique / unusual that the others leave the niche* to you..

*One can make great deal of money by being in / manufacturing / selling / providing, "niche" products and or services..

Marshall




msg:4393747
 6:09 am on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

I see by the article who Google is thinking of testing this with GAP, Macy's and Office Max, which I'm sure are just a few they are in discussion with.

I believe this relates directly to a remark I made in another thread: Organic search results on Google are favoring big companies regardless of the relevance and quality of their content. Personally, I see a trend here where Google will only be interested in and favor companies they can make big profits with.

I'm starting to feel like a local brick and mortar does when WalMart opens in the area - screwed.

EDIT - ADD

I just noticed another thread "Google's highly profitable secret war against small businesses" [webmasterworld.com ]

The article referenced from ZDNET [zdnet.com ] states:

"It [Google] wants to be the main affiliate for online sales of branded products and that's why its organic search results heavily favor large companies the brand owners."

It's what I've been saying for quite a while.

jwurunner




msg:4393838
 4:56 pm on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)



The solution is to sell things that the others including all your competitors and Google and Amazon, Wal-Mart, Sears, Costco, Home Depot etc can't get..

Or that they don't want to get involved with, or are so unique / unusual that the others leave the niche* to you..

*One can make great deal of money by being in / manufacturing / selling / providing, "niche" products and or services..


Unfortunately, it isn't as easy as that. There are a limited amount of products in our industry and it has matured to the point where most new innovative products fail. Customers are not looking for new items. The 90% of stuff that everyone carries are sold in support of the 10% that require a well trained staff. Our issue is we get the 10% but then the customer goes and buys the rest from the big box sites.
One of issue that upsets us the most, is we actually do more volume then the some of the big box sites but they pay significantly less cause of who they are. We also need the product more than the supplier needs us and they know it.
Now with Google playing their new game, it is only going to be harder for us smaller guys to survive.

Leosghost




msg:4393851
 5:39 pm on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

There are a limited amount of products in our industry

So, you are in a niche where the big guys have moved in ..change the niche / industry you are in..if the added value you say you bring to the sales of products which the bigger guys can get, does not allow you to beat them ?

You need to find / make a new thing to sell in another niche / industry ..it really is that easy, because if you don't keep at least one step ahead of them , they'll suffocate you and kill you..

When any niche / industry gets saturated and you find that you can't fight the big dogs, it is time to move on..actually the time to jump ship is before it reaches that point, keeping all your eggs in one or two limited baskets is always going to make you vulnerable ..being agile enough to jump before you get squashed or stomped on is the way to be..and having plans b,c,d,e,f, etc thought out and ready to go at short notice..

Nothing is forever..

dpd1




msg:4393888
 8:27 pm on Dec 3, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think there will always be products the big guys don't want to bother with. And also products where people prefer a more personable atmosphere. I think the big guys are already hitting that point where they're starting to mess up. Personally, I've never had anything delivered properly by OnTrac. They're terrible. They just left an expensive item at my door the other day and didn't even bother to ring the buzzer. I just happen to check the status. Otherwise it would have been sitting out there all night. Cheaper and faster usually starts coming at a price, and as everybody knows, it doesn't take much to sour a customer's opinion of you. I say, let the big guys duke it out... Their service will most likely just get worse in the process.

webseo2




msg:4395147
 11:58 am on Dec 7, 2011 (gmt 0)

Thank You all.

dpd1




msg:4397018
 11:45 am on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Amazon's latest snafu with the price check app deal, is a good example of a typical 'big guys' mistake. They've hit that point where they're so big, that they basically think they're bullet proof, and can do anything they want with no repercussions. Whoops... Guess not. This latest idea of theirs seems to be blowing up in their face a bit. It's that sort of corporate arrogance that got MS cut off at the knees by the gov, way back when.

Planet13




msg:4397151
 6:11 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

This latest idea of theirs seems to be blowing up in their face a bit.


Could you explain this further? Was their some recent government action against this?

engine




msg:4397159
 6:42 pm on Dec 12, 2011 (gmt 0)

Surely, the way any smaller business is going to survive is to do things the big players cannot, and that is with extra service. You can't compete on price, so don't try, unless you have very deep pockets.
Add value, and then add more value. Go the extra mile on support.
When was the last time you got back to a recent buyer and thanked them for their purchase, and then asked them for feedback? When was the last time you got back to a recent buyer and offered them a time-limited discount coupon off their next purchase? Bundle products with service: For example, free extended warranty, free 3-months tech support, money-back scheme.
Aim to become the best in your niche. Become more agile, adapt quicker, update you products more frequently, react to events, etc.

Contact your suppliers and see what special deals they will give you.

It's tougher out there for the smaller business, for sure, and the constant growth opportunities have diminished as the market has matured. That, along with the higher cost for new customer acquisition is why i'd indicated looking after your existing customers.

dpd1




msg:4397359
 10:31 am on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Could you explain this further? Was their some recent government action against this?


Not yet, but there's a little talk about it, which is never good. More importantly, the media seemed to generally take the side opposite to Amazon.

[boss.blogs.nytimes.com...]

zeus




msg:4397372
 11:47 am on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Next year we will launch a product, but we will have this policy that no big company will get a cheaper price then a small company, it do not matter what amount is bought, all companies gets the same price. That was very important to me be cause I see how small companies are hurt buy those low prices and internet and I want to give all a fear chance. The sad thing not everyone thinks like that, most just see the big bucks not the family behind a company.

About favoring a brand over a small company in the serps, sorry I just dont believe in that, Im no fan of Google but I dont think they fix there ranking to favor big brands, they simply have more "trust"

bwnbwn




msg:4397406
 2:15 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I took over a site for a company that makes a unique item. They went the way of getting them in the big stores only to find their product compaired to a much cheaper product in these stores. The cheaper item was not even close in usability, workmanship, and safety but the big stores made more on the cheaper one.

They have now quit all sales to stores like Cabelas and the other big names. I have removed the dealer link and our assoication to these stores. Sometimes getting your Brand in these stores isn't all one would think it might be, it's all about the buck to them.

Engine would love to send my customers an email but I have a privacy policy that prohibits this unless they agree and most don't.

engine




msg:4397408
 2:22 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Engine would love to send my customers an email but I have a privacy policy that prohibits this unless they agree and most don't.

But if it's in relation to their previous order, thanking them for the order with a reward, that's not spam. Offer them the opportunity to agree to receiving special offers with that follow up e-mail. If they don't agree, no problem, move on to the ones that have agreed.

Marshall




msg:4397417
 2:53 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Next year we will launch a product, but we will have this policy that no big company will get a cheaper price then a small company,


One of the vendors of the e-commerce site I manage for one of my clients has this policy: You must charge the MSRP, but they don't enforce it and the big names don't abide by it, though my client got a notice for discounting their products 15%. I know my client has complained about this to the manufacturer, but to no avail.

Bottom line, no one is going to bite the hand that feeds them, whether it be Google or the manufacturers.

Marshall

netmeg




msg:4397439
 3:36 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

If you think about it, what's happening with e-commerce is not really all that different than brick & mortar. You *always* have to watch out for competition, both from new upstarts and traditional retail. Amazon moving in on us is not really any different than Walmart moving into a community.

So you have to be agile and nimble, and you have to be adaptable. Get used to the idea that people are always going to be gunning for your niche, and you always have to be a step ahead of them - either by doing what you do so clearly above and beyond everyone, or expanding your niche, or changing your niche, or adding new niches.

Complacency is your enemy here. There are always things the big guys can't do or can't do well, but you have to go out and find them. There's no build and build and build and sitting back and reaping the benefits anymore, because it's always a moving target.

Oh, and people who don't want email are just people who haven't been convinced yet what's in it for them. You have to give them a reason to want the emails, if it's sales and promo codes, or tips and tricks, or industry news, or whatever - and then you have to TELL THEM why they want the emails.

From where I sit, there are still tons of opportunities out there to be plumbed.

Every couple months I try to hit my main e-commerce clients' competitor websites and find five vulnerabilities. I've never found *fewer* than five. That includes Amazon. Heh, I find I now do it on sites where I'm shopping myself, just to keep my practice up. Occasionally I'll email them and tell them - I'm sure they don't appreciate it; I rarely get a response.

Planet13




msg:4397487
 5:32 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Occasionally I'll email them and tell them - I'm sure they don't appreciate it; I rarely get a response.


Personally, I would LOVE to hear that, because I've recently used a few of the paid services that send a "pseudo-shopper" to your site, and I wasn't that impressed with their insights (took a lot of back and forth emailing after the review for them to actually specify what it was they didn't like).

So I think it would be a great idea for us webmasters to make it as easy as possible for shoppers to tell us where we suck. Maybe I will put a graphic saying, "Do You HATE Us? Tell Us Why!"

Probably much better information than relying on paid services, where the reviewers only seem to have time to look at your site during their 5 minute breaks between cranking out ehow articles...

Tonearm




msg:4397500
 6:03 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

This news is like a dagger in the heart for small ecommerce stores like me. Amazon is hard enough to fight but what's going to happen when you have these to giants in the same war competing against all of us small shops.

Maybe I'm missing it but Google's latest involvement here seems to be aimed at getting very large brick and mortar stores with lots of physical locations to ship stuff to customers from the physical location closest to them. I don't think this poses any danger to any of us who aren't competing with very large brick and mortar stores with lots of physical locations. I think it's way overblown to say this affects all of us small shops.

bwnbwn




msg:4397511
 6:23 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Google is looking into retailers and shippers about deploying a new system that would enable online shoppers to have same-day or next-day delivery for a low fee.

If successful, the speedy delivery system could pose a serious threat to Amazon.com the leading seller of online goods.


I can see were this will go. I assume Google Products will be the system that is used so this feature will probably not be free and might even go into the PPC area for placement. This would indeed be an issue for smaller online stores that can't afford the cost of PPC and compete with the bulk shipping reduction. I already take a hit on shipping now anymore and I might as well convert my site to something else.

[edited by: bwnbwn at 7:04 pm (utc) on Dec 13, 2011]

Lenny2




msg:4397515
 6:37 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

The title should read: Ecomerce where is it going when I sell the same exact product as Amazon/Google.

The answer is:

Unless you get a competitive advantage, you are screwed. They have size/organization/funding/brand awareness... they have a huge competitive advantage over you/us.

My answer to the competitive advantage is:

I have ME. If I have a supplier that I want to keep... I can walk over there meet the principles... shoot the #*$!... take out to lunch... and talk about the Amazon problem. Potentially negotiate the good rates... I can produce higher quality content... by focusing my energy on the product... etc.

The days of getting a product and posting it online are numbered.... They always have been. Google/Amazon is WAY more efficient at building crappy web pages than we will ever be.

The way to beat the big guys is to find the weakness and develop the competitive advantage. You don't think there are some complacent suppliers out there that want to diversify their sales from Amazon (alone) to other online merchants? You don't think you can produce better, more succinct web pages?

Best of luck! Stop posting products to the web... and start building AWESOME resources for people to research/buy products @ your store. Drop the suppliers that you don't have time to build that relationship with... etc. etc. etc.

Some day, after Amazon realizes that they don't have YOU... they'll want to BUY you. That is, if you apply yourself and actually build a better store!

MrFewkes




msg:4397553
 9:05 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

Basically - get off the net and do something else, just like the shop owners had to do something else when the big boys moved in.

Noone has the bottle to rebel - so die we will.

bwnbwn




msg:4397577
 10:26 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

I think I am going to take a real hard look at my ROI and see if I can get to the bare bottom of what it takes to make a penny not a dime a penny and cut my prices to the bare bones. Change shipping to real time so there isn't a loss there and see what I can generate in sales. My biggest searches are cheap widgets, cheapest widgets, cheap widgets with free shipping so if I got those I might as well see if I can convert. This will be my new year launch to much going on now.

"if I am going down I will go down fighting" If this doesn't work in a positive direction I will look at my options with the site and see what the wind blows in.

mhansen




msg:4397589
 10:52 pm on Dec 13, 2011 (gmt 0)

In my opinion... this is no different than any other big company having cheaper prices. This is what Capitalism is all about.

Local retail has just as many advantages over online commerce, and if you think the people who are wielding these "find me the lowest cost" apps are going to be lost, shame on the store owners. They were NEVER your customers to begin with. People who shop based on price only are ALWAYS going to shop on price only, whether they do it inside your store, or in front of their own computer.

Big box retailers need to realize their competitive advantage is in their sales staff and in their local presence (bring it home today). If an Amazon app that speaks about saving a few dollars is hurting business, its time to retrain your store staff and teach them WHY you are different than Amazon!

For the edge cases, think outside the box and put in a sales terminal, setup an Amazon affiliate ID, and if the price shoppers come in, ENCOURAGE them to order while standing inside your store, on your affiliate terminal. At least then you can make a few bucks.

CainIV




msg:4397608
 12:12 am on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Same problem happens in every small town in the world. Big brands are winning, reducing the product eco-system, diversity and unfortunately overall reducing chances for the middle class to compete fairly.

bwnbwn




msg:4397631
 1:57 am on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

mhasnsen one of the problems I have in the nitch I have been in for 12+ years is it's a luxury item not a necessity. Just this year there have been 3 price increases and more I hear coming. Not pointing the finger at any country here but what is happening to cause the increase. China is now buying up most of the raw material for there growing economy and middle class. This is the ole supply and demand so with higher demand the raw material has gone up. Since the product is a luxury item fewer people can afford the product less customers well you know the rest.

I feel the exact same way you feel about what "cheap widgets" and have never attempted to go after that. Could I have been making a mistake, should I not try and test the waters, what I am doing now is working but sales have been on a stedy decline for several years. I really don't know.

What I do know is I have the traffic, I have the experience, and I have the knowledge. I might as well test the waters and see. Sure can't hurt.

dpd1




msg:4397645
 3:22 am on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

As I said earlier, big is often not better. I was recently searching for a material I use in our manufacturing. I had ordered it for a good price that I was happy with, from a pretty big chain the last few times. I think it was a privately owned outlet for that chain. Anyway... I went to their site this time and saw it had gone up in price to being more than in stores. I emailed them and politely asked if I could get the old price, if I purchased a certain quantity, since I had purchased hundreds of them in the past from them, and would continue. I got a cryptic email reply today from them, that listed the price on the site and what shipping would be. I have no idea why they would give me that info, since I obviously already knew what it costs on the site. They never addressed my question.

So I used the Google shopping results to try and find a good deal from somebody new. I found most of them either had prices higher than in stores, or prices equal to stores, but bent you over with excessive shipping costs. On the few that were a good price, I found the sites to be sketchy at best. Half of them had terrible reviews. Out of all those, I found one who seemed pretty decent, but the shipping quote was way too low. I had a feeling that their cart system was not calculating for dimensions properly, as these were long items. I emailed them asking if they were sure that was the right shipping fee, because I wanted to avoid a shipping fee surprise. I also said I purchase a lot of this product and would in the future if it works out. No reply. So I guess they don't want my money.

So there's a typical shopping spree for an average person. The results? Terrible. Is there room for a business to improve on what the majority of sellers are doing out there, big or small? Abso-freakin-lutely.

I get people throwing out great recommendations (unsolicited) for my stuff all the time. Probably because I actually answer their emails (without cryptic non answers), have reasonable prices, great products, and I don;t try to screw them with some sort of scam. So if there's ever a time that the public decides they don't want to have anything to do with those qualities, I guess I'll hang it up.

netmeg




msg:4397809
 2:59 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately if you're already of the opinion that you haven't got a chance, then you're probably right. And maybe it's not where you need to be.

JohnRoy




msg:4397819
 3:24 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

My biggest searches are cheap widgets, cheapest widgets, cheap widgets with free shipping so if I got those I might as well see if I can convert. This will be my new year launch to much going on now.

2 options, which would you take?

1. Add markup (net) of $4.95 per item, sell 1,000 pieces
2. Add markup (net) of $0.95 per item, sell 5,500 pieces

If you cannot compete with Google/Amazon for traffic/pricing, become a big box (in your industry) too.

Sgt_Kickaxe




msg:4397837
 3:53 pm on Dec 14, 2011 (gmt 0)

While Google is best known for its leading search service, it has increasingly moved into other areas of the Internet, including in recent years music, cloud computing, mobile pay and mapping.


And many other things that hamper small website owners.

That being said would YOU buy from Google? I wouldn't simply because I have a business relationship with them (adsense/adwords/affiliate) and you don't mix business with other activities (google plus, shopping, email etc) unless you can weather unforseen problems and/or don't mind sharing a WHOLE LOT of personal info that may be used to squeeze you out of the small web property business someday too.

If I wasn't a webmaster/small business owner, getting things faster and cheaper is a good thing BUT there are some things I will pay more for from obscure places and/or mom-pop shops because I know the money is supporting a real family and not a big corporation.

This 36 message thread spans 2 pages: 36 ( [1] 2 > >
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