For ecommerce, not selling on Amazon is almost unthinkable.
The massive online retail platform has a massive hold on consumers and, by extension, small independent retailers.
When people need to buy something, they'll often go directly to Amazon to find it.
For brands that sell products online, the majority of their traffic can often come from Amazon sales.
Some sell exclusively on Amazon.
But one thing Amazon doesn't want is for its retailers to link their customers to an outside website.
This is strongly discouraged.
You'll also notice that they don't display brand names very prominently.
Plus, due to their search algorithms and related concerns, the product names that succeed aren't exactly catchy and brandable.
For jewelry and apparel retailers, this stuff can be a problem.
For a fashion line, a strong brand is essential.
It's hard to get traction, in many cases, unless you've built a brand that's recognizable, and that resonates with your target audience.
For one couple with a jewelry line, selling only on Amazon wasn't quite working out for them.
So, they opened a secondary Shopify store, with clear branding, and found a clever workaround to direct customers there instead.
“Find me on Amazon” wasn’t working.
By late 2016, “Just find me on Amazon” wasn’t working for Sarah and David anymore.
They decided to look into a Shopify store and launched their branded site using the Amazon Channel a few months later.
[image source: Shopify]
Today, 76.8% of Sarah’s Treats and Treasures orders come from the Amazon Channel each and every month. The channel brings in an average of 72.7% of their monthly gross merchandise volume (GMV).
So why the expansion to Shopify?
“The biggest selling point was seriously the fact that you had the best Amazon linking app. BigCommerce, they have an alright version. It just wasn't what you guys have. It was definitely a lot clunkier in the back end,” says David.
Amazon takes a percentage of every sale (8-20%), depending on your product category.
For Sarah and David in the Jewelry category, that cut is 20%.
Ideally, those customers would buy from their branded storefront where they don’t have to hand over 20%.
But Amazon has strict rules on branding:
“We're not really allowed to brand ourselves as much on Amazon and eBay. They say you are, but the minute you suggest ‘go to my website’ inside of a chat, you're actually in violation of Amazon's policies.”
To get around that pesky rule, Sarah and David began offering a 10% discount with a link to their Shopify store on invoices. 10% is a lot less than 20%, after all.
[image source: Shopify]
Having everything in one place (both for Amazon and your branded store) when you’re managing thousands of SKUs like Sarah and David is a huge plus:
“I use Order Printer on Shopify because then I can customize my invoice. I can give discount codes, I can bold things, I can put little Facebook stuff at the bottom. So it's really kind of neat that you can actually do a lot with Order Printer to get your invoices to look right.
Then at Stamps.com, I set up batch import (for Shopify), so ultimately we do fulfill through Shopify, but via Stamps.
So we buy everything via Stamps then when we print all the labels out, it shoots all the tracking codes to Shopify, which Shopify's excellent Amazon linking shoots straight to Amazon.”
So many apps working together at once allows for greater freedom and control, but also keeps things low maintenance once the initial time investment is up.
Once their Shopify store was launched, the advertising and promotion floodgates opened. Opportunity was everywhere, according to David:
“I put a website address at the very bottom of the Stamps label, so while it's going through the mail people, are like, ‘What's this?’ Mail carriers get interested in it. Anywhere and everywhere, you can advertise your brand or your site. That's why I told [Sarah], ‘You have to get a site.’”
You can check out the full case study over at the Shopify blog.