Archive for May, 2019

More Warning Signs For Amazon Small Vendors-Speculation Mounts

Two months ago Amazon caused a tidal wave of concern and endless questions from small vendors when the e-commerce giant canceled weekly purchase orders from small vendors across the board with no notice. The directive was clear: smaller sellers needed to move to Amazon’s third-party marketplace and manage their own direct to consumer sales themselves. Amazon backed off this move a short while later, but now new developments and mounting speculation have vendors confused and concerned once more.

The biggest warning sign that a small vendor shake-up is back on – is this: typically Amazon renegotiates terms with vendors at this time of year, but as yet, that’s not happening. Our team at Channel Key has heard this from several Amazon clients already.

Amazon maintains nothing’s going on but Bloomberg reports there’s a strategy in play to move large numbers of small vendors to the third party marketplace. That’s a win-win for Amazon – refocusing resources on the largest and/or most profitable brands and driving sales of add-ons like enriched analytics and Prime shipping for those smaller vendors forced to move.

What’s all this mean? If you’re a smaller vendor, you’re looking at business upheaval, a switch to managing your own affairs and likely unexpected cost. Talk to one of our Channel Key team members if you need help or more information.


Walmart Doubles Down: Free Next Day Shipping

Walmart Doubles Down: Free Next Day Shipping

What’s It Mean, What’s the Impact?

When Walmart does something, everyone takes notice. Or they should. If you’re a brand or business selling online, it’s critical to watch what’s happening right now – and coming to an internet near you very soon.

What are we talking about? Walmart announced a move to free next-day shipping – a bold, in your face gauntlet to Amazon and Prime membership-paying customers. This after a reported 37 percent sales increase in e-commerce sales in the first quarter alone, as well as a significant doubling down of its online operations over the last 18 months. In 2016, Walmart bought and has been busy adding premium, higher-ticket brands to its online stores as well as a focus on weekly grocery shoppers. You can pick up groceries ordered online at more than 3,000 stores now, and get delivery from 1,600. In short, if you’re a predominantly Amazon marketplace seller, you need to consider adding Walmart’s platform into your strategy.

So given this news, what should online-sellers and brands do in the short-term?

Stay the course with a strategy

There’s a temptation with major sea changes like this, to make your own big strategic shifts. To change assortments that have been performing well. It’s easy to second-guess and doubt an overarching e-commerce strategy that has been delivering against plan. So instead of reinventing the wheel, make sure all of your wheels: operations, inventory management, fulfillment, and marketing are all pointing you in the same, efficient direction.  When the marketplace changes, review first, act second.

Replicate Strategy Across Platforms, Quickly

Walmart’s e-commerce ambitions and rapid-growth isn’t going away, so where we had arguably one e-commerce goliath to think about, now there’s a second approaching fast. And speed for brands is going to be important too. The brands and sellers who plant an early and prominent footprint on Walmart’s developing marketplace will be best placed to ride the growth wave, learn early lessons and build a more successful business and sales portfolio going forward. Take the strategies that you know work on Amazon and replicate them on Walmart’s marketplace where possible. Not everything will translate perfectly but things like perfect creative, thoughtful ads and promotions, optimized pages and other online strategies to drive traffic to your products are essentials wherever you are selling.

Change Loves Company

For many growing companies and brands, or teams stretched thin, it’s tough to pull off one marketplace really well, let alone two. The sheer volume of line items, promotions and to-dos can be crushing. That’s where an expert partner really does makes sense – an agency that can help you assess what’s working and what will translate well, a strategist who can help you navigate the addition of a new marketplace operation and a full-service firm that will focus on the tasks at hand while you do what you do.

For a consultation contact our Channel Key team.

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