Weekly Loop #07: Independent Online Shops

 

Weekly Loop #07

INDEPENDENT ONLINE SHOPS

According to Datanyze, the top 10 ecommerce platform power over 2.3 million shops*. As Amazon continues to grow it’s share of the US ecommerce market and the number of independent online shops continues to grow, there’s a squeeze as to how much is left for independent online shops.

*Interestingly, Datanyze finds ~270k Shopify domains, while the platform reported powering over 500k businesses last August, with over 1.2 million active backend users (presumably 700k of those are inactive shops). So the total number of shops may be way off, or Shopify is measuring much differently than Datanyze. 

While many consumers profess to prefer small brands, many shop for the most convenient item on Amazon. When shopping for household or office staples, random hard to find parts, or other relatively everyday items, Amazon typically is the best choice.

However, there are times when Amazon is not the right place to shop. Gifts personalized items, customized products, limited edition artwork, keepsakes and other products purchased for meaning beyond the physical good are better are not meant to come via Amazon Prime. Nothing says thoughtful quite like “it was Amazon Recommended“. Those purchased should be made from shops that create and curate products in a way that convey a greater meaning.

At one time, there were quirky shops in downtowns everywhere. Many of these shops have died as spending has gone online. Amazon is often viewed as one of the causes of the death of retail. They’ve certainly played a role, as have changes in consumers’ shopping patterns, faster supply chains, rising commercial real estate rents, and a number of other factors that often go overlooked.

Despite those challenges, there are thousands of independent online shops thriving. The best shops have given consumers a reason to shop at their shops. In nearly all cases, consumers have an alternative solution yes chose the independent shop.

It’s up to merchants to improve their shops and give consumers a reason to shop with them. The best already do it, and we’ll be looking at some of our favorites in future blogs posts.

If you have any recommendations of great independent online shops, leave a comment or contact us.

 

Recommended Links

Each week, we read and watch articles, blog posts, videos, infographics, books and more related to ecommerce. We share some of our favorites links on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

In our weekly updates, we pare the links down to our favorite seven links from the past week.

Have a suggestion of something to include? Get in touch.

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“Do what’s best for [your customers] and you won’t have to deal with Google’s ever-changing algorithm.”

How to Get Around Google’s Latest Algorithm Change
Neil Patel Blog – Neil Patel

“If you don’t follow the tips above, you’ll save time in the short run, but you’ll find yourself playing a game of cat and mouse in the long run. That just seems exhausting to me.
I don’t pay too much attention to algorithm updates and you shouldn’t either. Instead, focus on providing an amazing user experience. That’s what will cause you to win in the long run.
Now, there will be times where your traffic will drop, but don’t freak out. You can eventually come out on top by focusing on your users.
And if you got to the top of Google by optimizing your site for search engines instead of people, you will eventually get caught up in an update. When that happens, check out this algorithm tracker as it will help you determine what’s changed, what you did wrong, and what you need to fix.
It’s just tedious, which is why I get ahead, focus on the user, so that way I don’t have to focus on Google as much.
So, do you pay attention to every algorithm update Google does?”1

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“If you’ve only been doing prints, branching out to embroidery might seem a little daunting”

Fashion Trends: Getting Started with Embroidery
Ilze Folkmane Blog – Printful

“Here’s what you should know about embroidery before you get started on the designs:

Embroidery files have their own requirements, and we have detailed guidelines under each embroidery product that you need to follow to create the perfect file.
If you’re not sure whether embroidery’s for you, don’t be afraid to order some samples for yourself.
Don’t have the designs yet? Our design services team have created some pretty sweet sample graphics that are yours to use however you wish. You can test them out for yourself, or even add the graphics to your store with or without making any changes.”2

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“Of about 50 million Alexa users, only about 100,000 reportedly bought something via voice interface more than once”

Surprise, no one buys things via Alexa
Devin Coldewey eCommerce – TechCrunch

“The other stat The Information mentions is that a million people have tried buying stuff but only 100,000 continued. It may be that this side of e-commerce is merely not “mature,” that catch-all term that could mean so many things. But it may also just be that it’s not something people want to do.”3

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“Use this guide as a reference to enhance your ecommerce SEO strategy.”

How to Use SEO Tactics to Drive Ecommerce Sales
Neil Patel Quick Sprout

“To generate new leads and maximize the reach of your ecommerce website, you need to focus on your SEO strategy.
Ultimately, this will help you drive sales.
Conduct keyword research. Add long-tail keywords to your product descriptions and titles. Start blogging, and add keywords to your posts.
Simplify your website architecture and the design of your pages.
Use tools to help you identify site errors so you can fix them as fast as possible.
Focus on your page loading speed, and optimize your site for mobile devices. This will not only improve your search ranking but also help you increase conversions.
Add actionable meta descriptions to your pages that encourage consumers to click on your site over other options in the search results.”4

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“But how do you grow your opt-ins by 400% or more? And what mistakes should you avoid along the way?”

3 Quick Tips To Grow Your Email Opt-Ins By 400%
Mike Kamo The BigCommerce Blog

” 96% of consumers who land on a website aren’t yet ready to buy.

Capturing those leads’ email addresses allows you to nurture them toward a future purchase. If you don’t bother to collect email opt-ins, those consumers might buy from a competitor instead.”5

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“Bezos did not just make his $150 billion. In some ways, we gave it to him, perhaps to the detriment of all of us.”

Jeff Bezos’s $150 Billion Fortune Is a Policy Failure
Annie Lowrey Business | The Atlantic

“Moreover, Amazon itself paid no federal corporate income taxes last year, despite making billions of dollars in profits. It has fought tooth-and-nail against state and local taxes, and has successfully cajoled cities into promising it billions and billions and billions in write-offs and investment incentives in exchange for placing jobs there. (Given that Bezos is a major Amazon shareholder, such tax-dodging redounds directly to his benefit.)”6

“Tune in to hear…the criteria he used to find [a] niche, and how he generated $300k of sales in his first year”

294: How to Start an Online Store with No Ideas and No Inventory (and still sell $300k in your first year)
Nick Loper Side Hustle Nation

“He’s already started scaling his business on the success of his bounce house store. Rene has now outsourced the day-to-day operations of this store and started a new drop shipping store that has already turned over double what his bounce house did in its first year.
There’s no luck here. “It’s hard work,” Rene said. That and some careful planning and execution.”7

  1. https://neilpatel.com/blog/google-algorithm-change/
  2. https://www.printful.com/blog/fashion-trends-getting-started-with-custom-embroidery/
  3. https://techcrunch.com/2018/08/06/surprise-no-one-buys-things-via-alexa/
  4. https://www.quicksprout.com/2018/08/06/how-to-use-seo-tactics-to-drive-ecommerce-sales/
  5. https://www.bigcommerce.com/blog/email-opt-ins/
  6. https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/08/the-problem-with-bezos-billions/566552/?utm_source=feed
  7. https://www.sidehustlenation.com/how-to-start-an-online-store-with-no-ideas-and-no-inventory/

Andrew @ EcomLoop
EcomLoop founder. I've worked in ecommerce since 2005, beginning with my own ebay store. I've run multiple independent ecommerce businesses on Magento, Joomla, and more recently, Shopify and WooCommerce. I believe marketplaces should be looked at as a sales channel and that all independent businesses should strive to build a direct connection with their audience for long-term success.

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