While selling products on your website is the first-step to building your company’s e-commerce footprint, you can’t stop there. The next step in maximizing your revenues is featuring your products in e-commerce channels. A few examples of these channels to get you started are: comparison shopping engines, marketplaces, and affiliate networks. The following is a short summary of three channels:
Comparison Shopping Engines
Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs) allow consumers to search for products while comparing prices that retailers offer for that product. Once a purchase decision is reached, the user will be led to the seller’s website to conduct the transaction. CSEs offer free postings, a pay-per-click model, or a combination of both. Some of the most popular CSEs are: Google Product Search (soon to be Google Shopping), Nextag, PriceGrabber, and Shopzilla.
Marketplaces are third party systems that allow companies to showcase inventory to visitors. The final transaction is conducted on the marketplace and the payment and fulfillment information is transferred to the seller. Companies can list their products in an auction or fixed-price format. Some of the most popular marketplaces include: Amazon, Buy.com, and eBay.
Affiliate networks are composed of a vast number of publishers of online content. Companies will pay affiliates to mention their products and/or display advertisements on their sites via several different cost structures. The most common cost structures are either cost-per-click or cost-per-transaction with the payment being a percentage of the sale amount. Leading affiliate networks include: Commission Junction, Google Affiliate Network, and ShareASale.
Traditional digital marketing efforts such as SEO and PPC are certainly good places to start, but in order to truly have a chance at being successful in the ever-changing world of e-commerce, your products need to be where the consumers are online. Expanding you presence in the digital space can have similar effects on sales as opening a new brick & mortar location. Think of every new channel as more real estate online while still being mindful of where you’re target audience shops, and how much each channel may help to reach your brand’s goals.
[Contributed by Daniel Carcara, project manager]