One of the reasons the physical  'Shopping Mall' was seen as a great place to be alongside the retail High Street is because it leveraged the power of the brand collective and was/is a 'social experience' e.g. you might want to go and shop for certain items but will get drawn into other stores because of their physical presence, along with the tempting offers you never knew about until you made the trip with friends or family.

The so called 'Christmas Market's are a really great modern day example of this behaviour, especially during the festive period.

Then came the internet, and with it the promise of eCommerce which could level the playing field for big and small retailers alike.

If your internet footprint is miniscule in comparison to some of those big name retailers, how on earth could you ever hope to grow and compete? 

For many brands choosing to list on 'Amazon' it has definitely proven to be a way to drive those sales, but not necessarily a relationship with it's customer.

So, as 'Amazon' look to continue to increase its own margin (again) at the expense of squeezing the brand or retailer utilising the affiliate model to drive traffic to their own products on the platform it seems the big guys/gals at Amazon are not looking to curtail this activity as well.

Amazon appears to be tightening up this business model to keep more profits from its sales, especially as consumers search the platform for new products after clicking links from external sources. By cutting off these third-party affiliates, Amazon could increase its own profit margins and potentially increase returns for publishers that send traffic directly to the e-commerce giant.

All sizeable online 'Marketplaces' have been a must for the smaller guy or girl to gain access to much bigger numbers of customers than they could garner on their own, so it's a logical assumption that the mighty 'Amazon, eBay' and others are an attractive place to get your product/service in front of millions of people that will spend, spend, spend and help to grow your business. 

However, it's worthwhile considering that 'Marketplaces' are indeed a great place to grow your revenues, but at what cost?

Here's some of the trade off that you may or may not be aware of;

  • You will pay a regular fee to list on the platforms.
  • You will pay for your product listing via a commission, this can be 10% - 15% of the sale - great, I only pay when I make a 'Sale'.
  • That customer belongs to the 'Marketplace' not you - so how do you create brand loyalty with your company?
  • You don't have the ability to place any 'promotional' literature in any product parcels you send out - because this is an 'Amazon' customer, not yours.
  • You cannot make any future direct contact with the customer, even though you may have delivered the item directly.
  • There is a very strict criteria for operating on these 'Marketplaces' and if you don't adhere to them you will suddenly find your product/brand relegated to a page where no-one can find them - depending on the size of your revenues this could close you down - within days.
  • When it goes wrong you don't have a 'personal account manager' looking after you - unless your a major global trading brand that is
  • There is very little brand control by 'Marketplaces' for counterfeit goods - you are no longer in control of your brand reputation.

All in all, there are many pro's and con's to being on a Marketplace, but if your entire business revenues are reliant on a third party then you're business is operating in extremely turbulent waters.

Maybe it's time to take a look at 'Social Commerce' instead of 'Marketplaces' - with over 60% of the world's population on various social platforms around the globe, shouldn't you be thinking of ways to go cold turkey from 'Amazon'?