If you sell on an online marketplace, it is very difficult to make your brand and your name recognised.

Most people when asked where they bough an item will say “I got this on eBay” but will not be able to say the vendor’s name.

If you are trying to build a reputation and grow your customer base, you need to find ways to bring your customers to your own website, to your own shop and deal with you direct.

Do you know that if you sell on a marketplace, say eBay or Amazon, the customers are the marketplace’s?

It means you cannot do any marketing activity to them, even once they have bought from you. You are not allowed to use their contact details including email and physical address to promote your other products.

It also means you cannot add them to your newsletter or even send them an email to suggest they follow you on Facebook.


Despite everything you can think, especially since the recession started in 2008, discount stores are not stealing your customers.

Nielsen research shows that 73% of the spend that shifted to the bargain stores came from the four largest supermarkets.

So unless you are one of the four largest supermarkets or unless your competitors are the big supermarkets, you have not a lot to fear from discount stores.

Stop worrying about them and focus on what you are doing better.


If you are selling on Amazon, do you know you are not allowed to sell the same items cheaper elsewhere? Price on Amazon must be at equal to or lower than the price you sell at everywhere else.

If means if you are having a sale on your website, you need to discount the same items on Amazon, regardless of what your competitors are doing!

It also means you cannot use price as a reason for your customers to order direct from you rather than from Amazon.

Our brains are hard-wired to believe the size of the item represents its value.

It means it cannot easily distinguish between visual size and numerical size.

So, if you display your prices in smaller font size, they will be perceived as being smaller in value.

Another way to achieve the same effect is to position large texts and other elements next to the price. The price will look smaller visually in comparison which will translate in them being understood as being smaller in value.

Keith Richards famously said “I do not get paid for the two hours I spend on stage, I get paid for the other 22 hours”.

In the retail world it is the same: ringing up sales or getting the email from your online platform is the easy part. It is everything you do before and after that matters.


When starting out, it is very tempting to use only one online marketplace to trade. This makes sense as a single platform makes it easier to handle on a day to day, the online marketplace takes care of finding the customers and you can deal with the orders in your own time.

However you need to carefully consider the implications of such a move as this may be very scary if something goes wrong.

For instance, if you sell on Amazon, you are bound by the following article of the agreement:

” if we reasonably conclude, based on information available to us, that seller’s  actions and/or performance in connection with the Service may result in disputes, chargebacks or other claims, then we may  in our sole and absolute discretion delay initiating any remittances and  withhold any payments to be made or that are otherwise due to seller in  connection with the Service or this Agreement for the shorter of: (a) a period  of 90 days following the initial date of suspension; or  (b) completion of  any investigation(s) regarding any seller actions and/or performance in  connection with this Agreement. “

What this means is money from your sales may be put on hold for up to 90 days at their sole discretion.

Can you survive for 90 days without receiving any payment from them?

You know what sells in your shop.

However, do you know if you are selling all the items you could? Do you know whether other products would not sell better?

Your suppliers are a well of knowledge.

Ask them for a best seller list of their products and suggest they recoup the information with your orders from the past 12 months.

You will immediately identify which products you should be offering and which items are specific to your shop. You can then research the reasons why and target the customers with extra lines.

Nothing can beat the convenience of browsing the web from the comfort of the living room. However sometimes, once the customer has found what they are looking for they want it now or do not want to pay shipping.

Offer Click & Collect where a customer can simply order and pay online and choose to collect the item from your shop.

This is very easy to setup, requires minimum organisation in terms of logistics if you store already carries most items and is a great way to get the customer into the shop where they may spend more.

If you sell online, and even if you have only a small presence, it it tempting to look at your statistics daily and do everything to improve them.

Follow the latest optimisation tips and Google will love you.

The trouble is Google is not your customer. Google will never buy anything from you.

Pleasing Google is great only if when doing so you please your customers as well.


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