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Any benefit of using mini ecommerce sites?

Mini ecomerce sites

     
6:00 pm on Jan 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Hi folks. I am thinking about using some mini ecommerce sites to market our products and wondered if there is any benefits to this strategy. We currently sell about 1000-2000 items in a specific niche. There are several sub niches that make up the majority of our products. What I am thinking about doing is breaking these down and offering. Example (none of this is real):

Jackie's Office Supplies is a our main site. It sells pens, paper, binders, etc.

Jackies has an opportunity to sell on a micro site, such as
PencilWarehouse.com.

Is there any benefit to offering a subset of products on a specific domain? Thanks!
6:07 pm on Jan 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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One element to consider is the dilution of "brand" by breaking the site up into so many pieces. In effect, competing against self.
7:06 pm on Jan 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Jackie, lots of ecom companies are trying this tactic.

There are drawbacks, like the added cost of hosting and managing multiple websites. Confusing the customers. Dilution of branding.
8:40 pm on Jan 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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There would be value in this strategy if the mini-sites offered premium services, and appeared to the shopper as an authority in the genre.

Shoppers at the mini-sites aren't looking to load-up their cart with many items; they are focused on the exact genre that the mini-site offers, and they want it *now*.

For example, make a mini-site offering top-50 pencils that you always have deep stock, and offer them at a premium price with overnight shipping.

That way, if someone is hot for the latest yellow pencil (for example), they find your premium mini-site where they can get it tomorrow. Include the latest pink pencil sharpener for free. You'd capture the customers who don't want to wait a week for the lowest price from Walmart.

The mini-site strategy fails if you're simply trying to multiply your presence. If it's currently You + 20 competitors, I thinks it's unwise to think you'll capture half the market with 20 more sites.
10:11 pm on Jan 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thanks all. Still mulling it over but good food for thought. We have 2 groups of items that make up over 50% of our items. One of them has over 300 skus and we are adding more all the time.
10:05 am on Jan 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Think about the Amazon way of doing it: create speciality stores on your main site. Example is the harry potter store, where you get everything harry potter without any (or few) distractions.
1:20 pm on Jan 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I think it can be a very useful tactic in the right market spaces with the right keyword domains. But if brand is important then I agree with the rest - it will hurt you.

I argue that for some commodities like items where the consumer really doesn't care about brand - it's all about price (total cost, speed, convenience, etc), then it could be very effective. A well built site that sells one thing only and does it extremely well could become very successful. I think the issue here is just what to include.
7:59 pm on Jan 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thanks again folks. Just considering options. The products are brand specific to themselves but not to us. This being the case, I would consider them to be "generic" in that you can purchase from many other online retailers, although our price and service are very competitive. Does that change the equation for anyone?
10:25 pm on Jan 19, 2012 (gmt 0)

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All previous remarks about diluting the site "brand" will doubly apply, else you're just a distribution point for the manufacturer and the buyer won't remember (or care to remember) where the product was obtained.
8:00 pm on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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This being the case, I would consider them to be "generic" in that you can purchase from many other online retailers, although our price and service are very competitive. Does that change the equation for anyone?


Yes, I think that you should be building up YOUR brand, and YOUR brand is based on your competitive prices and services.

And the best way to build up your brand would be all on one domain.

And if your prices and service are better than the others, let EVERYONE know about it. If you have a competitive advantage, then by all means, flaunt it.
11:22 pm on Jan 20, 2012 (gmt 0)

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There would be value in this strategy if the mini-sites offered premium services, and appeared to the shopper as an authority in the genre.


I'm considering doing this with one of the product lines I sell. If I go that route, I'd go factory direct rather than through a distributor for the best possible pricing, and make it the go-to site for Acme Widgets in my niche. I've seen other sites in my niche focus on one product line and do very well in terms of sales as well as SE rankings.

I think the operative word here is "authority". You have to be the one that everyone knows has the products, the knowledge of the products, and has great prices, too.