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Growing Your Business Beyond Amazon

Do you go straight to Walmart Marketplace? Or hop on Jet?

The path to successful online retailing does, for many, start with Amazon. But it doesn’t end there. As dominant as the Seattle-based company may be — 92% of online shoppers say they have made at least one purchase on Amazon — there are other online marketplaces with customers you don’t want to ignore as you seek to grow sales and increase revenue.

Let’s talk about the features and quirks of two other major internet shopping destinations.

You’re selling a lot on Amazon. Is it time for Walmart Marketplace?

If there’s any retailer with the clout to take on Amazon, it’s Walmart. In 2016, Walmart was already a major factor in online shopping but it ramped things up by purchasing Jet.com and making Walmart Marketplace a serious opponent of Amazon.

For sellers, Walmart Marketplace offers the chance to reach new customers — there is not as much overlap between Amazon and Walmart customers as you might imagine. What’s more, you’ll have your products in an environment that is still maturing and, as a result, not as cutthroat competitive as Amazon. At least not yet.

Sounds good, right? Now, here are the challenges. First, you don’t just sign up and start selling on Walmart Marketplace. Unless they are invited, suppliers need to be accepted after completing a fairly rigorous application process. You’ll be asked about your history — return rates and policies, your use of FBA for fulfillment, shipping methods, average order value, projected number of SKUs — Walmart is looking for sellers with a proven history of success.

If you’re accepted, Walmart Marketplace puts your products in front of more than 100 million unique visitors every month. What’s more, Walmart seems to be steadily improving the platform, and regularly updating sellers on changes. You will need to be very aggressive with your pricing — Walmart regularly reviews products sold by third-party suppliers and will remove listings with prices it deems uncompetitive.

While there are challenges, the big and largely complementary customer base you’ll gain with Walmart makes it an option you should seriously consider as you expand your channels beyond Amazon.

After Amazon, do you Jet?

At its inception, Jet was going to be a shopping club with a $50 annual fee that would give its members — the Jet Set? — access to millions of products from third party sellers at prices about 15% less than elsewhere.

But things change in business. Jet dropped the membership fee shortly after launching because it was a barrier to attracting customers. Now, Jet takes a variable percentage of the commission fee (15% but with some exceptions). While the discounts aren’t as big as they were under the membership model, shoppers still come to it for deals. And since Jet was purchased by Walmart in 2016, the company has made upgrades that are beneficial to sellers.

If you want to sell on Jet, here’s what you should expect:

  • A lengthy application process. To sell on Jet, you’ll need to apply, and the process can take anywhere from two weeks to more than three months because Jet staff manually reviews applications.

  • The need for integration. You’ll need to integrate with the Jet API. Don’t worry — here at eZCom, we can help you with that. Otherwise, it can be tricky.

  • Lower fees. Many sellers embrace Jet because there are no sign-up fees, no monthly fees, and no fees to list products. The only fees with Jet are commissions on the items fulfilled, a real difference from Amazon.

  • A pipeline for new customers. Customers who are willing to provide an email address earn additional discounts. That lets sellers follow up with personalized messaging.

Another, sometimes overlooked positive for Jet, is that it doesn’t sell its own private label brand. If you’re weary of competing with, say, Amazon Basics, being in a marketplace without needing to compete with an 800-pound gorilla will be refreshing.

In every channel, there are challenges and opportunities.

If you have had success on Amazon, a singular focus on growing this business further could be the right path for you. But don’t discount the value of other marketplaces, including Walmart and Jet. Most online sellers will definitely want to investigate these two but, of course, there are many others. Target.com, Costco, eBay — if you can efficiently manage the demands of more marketplaces, a multichannel strategy is one that should be embraced.