Depending solely on Amazon for all your sales is like eating Hot Pockets for every single meal. Yeah, it’s easy and it feels pretty good at first. But eventually it will literally kill you.
Well, maybe it won’t actually kill you. But it will create a bunch of shitty (heh) issues for your future self.
What if Amazon suspended or even banned your seller account? What if they decide your products are hazmat? What if some scammer hijacks all your listings? If you’re only selling on Amazon, you’re boned.
That’s why you need to “diversify,” as the rich people say. Opening a Shopify store is the quickest and easiest way to do that.
But then you have to figure out how to drive customers away from Amazon (one of the most popular and trusted platforms in the world) to your brand new, completely unknown store. Yeah, it’s difficult, but it’s necessary if you want to build a long-lasting business. And it may not be as hard as you think.
Why You Need Customers to Buy from Your Store
The number one reason to shift your customer base from Amazon to your online store is to actually have your own customers. When people buy your stuff on Amazon, they’re not your customers. They’re Amazon’s. You are at the mercy of Amazon’s whims, and if Amazon suddenly decides to cut you off, you’ll be stuck with zero recourse and zero customers.
Selling on your own store also saves you money. You already know that Amazon’s long list of fees take a huge chunk out of your profits.
What you may not know is that when you sell your FBA products on another platform (such as Shopify), Amazon doesn’t charge you their referral fee. That fee ranges from 6% to a whopping 45% depending on what category your products are in. On average it’s about 15%. Who wouldn’t want to save 15% on every single sale?
There are about 38 million more reasons to promote your own ecommerce store over Amazon, but I’ll leave you with just one more. How many times has Amazon accepted a return from a scammer, or worse, offered a refund without even making the customer return the item at all? Too many times.
With your own store, you set your own return policies. Tough luck, scammers.
What Amazon Says About Poaching Customers
Obviously Amazon doesn’t want you directing customers away from their platform. Here’s what they have to say about that:
Any attempt to circumvent the established Amazon sales process or to divert Amazon users to another website or sales process is prohibited. Specifically, any advertisements, marketing messages (special offers) or “calls to action” that lead, prompt, or encourage Amazon users to leave the Amazon website are prohibited.
In plain English: Don’t blatantly redirect customers to your Shopify store. And definitely don’t offer a discount for orders placed on your store instead of on Amazon.
So how do you urge customers to buy directly from your store without violating Amazon’s strict commandments? There are a few loopholes you can take advantage of.
Packaging Inserts for the Win
Amazon allows sellers to place printed marketing materials (like business cards or postcards) in their packages before sending them to customers/fulfillment centers. These inserts can have your brand info, including your website URL, phone number and social media handles.
That means each package you send out has the potential to get your Shopify store info in front of your Amazon customers.
Packaging inserts need to be eye-catching if you don’t want them going straight into the trash. Make sure they are well designed and have one clear call to action. But don’t be overly salesy. Think about how to add value to your customers. We’ve got a few ideas.
1. Customer Service Insert
You obviously want to offer customer support in order to ensure customer satisfaction. Put your customer service info on your inserts and add a note urging customers to get in touch with you (through Amazon, not your website) if they have any questions or problems.
Not only will that help you avoid negative reviews, it will also give you the opportunity to make a positive connection with individual customers and highlight your company and its commitment to customer satisfaction. Train your customer service folks to talk up how many satisfied customers your store has and how easy it is to get in touch with you through Amazon, social media or your website.
Example: Thank you for choosing Joe Bob’s Discount Thingamajigs. We’re committed to doing everything we can to ensure you love our products. So if you have any questions or feedback, please contact us directly via Amazon so that we can resolve any issues for you. Simply go to your order page and send us a message.
2. Product Registration Insert
If you offer a manufacturer’s warranty, you can encourage customers to register their products on your website. But don’t just give them the URL for your Shopify store’s home page. Create a dedicated landing page on your website and give them the URL for that (here’s an example from Samsung).
You can have a link from the landing page to your home page. You can even make that link all bright and shiny to encourage people to click on it. But it’s a bad idea to send people directly to your home page if you don’t want Amazon to shut down your business.
Example: Activate your free 2-year warranty now. Visit joebobsdiscountthingamajigs.com/warranty to register and get 24 full months of peace of mind.
3. Social Media Insert
While you’re not allowed to send Amazon customers to other sales channels, you can encourage them to like, follow and comment on your social media channels. And guess what you’ll be promoting on those channels. Your Shopify store!
Example: Thank you for choosing Joe Bob’s Discount Thingamajigs. We regularly share tips, videos and updates on Instagram to inspire your passion for discount thingamajigs. Follow @joebobsdiscountthingamajigs to join the thingamajig community.
To get more interaction, encourage customers to share photos of themselves using your products.
Example: At Joe Bob’s Discount Thingamajigs, we love sharing our passion for thingamajigs on Instagram. And we extra love it when customers share that same passion. In fact, Joe Bob himself gets so excited when customers tag us on Instagram that he literally does backflips around the office. If you want to make Joe Bob’s day, use hashtag #whatupjoebob and tag @joebobsdiscountthingamajigs.
Bonus: Shopify Exclusives
If you want to be really cool, offer starter sets or bundles for sale on Amazon. Then offer the individual components or refills from the set on your store.
For example, sell your shaving kits on Amazon and your refill blades on Shopify. When someone runs out of blades, they have to buy directly from you.
But how will they know you offer the blades on your store if they can’t find them on Amazon? If your product packaging or inserts were branded with your website and contact info, some customers will go directly to your store, or at least Google your brand name. Others will contact you to ask about buying refills.
If they contact you through your business phone number or email, you can happily direct them to your Shopify store. If they contact you through Amazon, you have to simply tell them you don’t sell the items individually on Amazon. But you can phrase it in a way that implies Amazon isn’t your only sales platform.
It’s not too difficult to start siphoning customers from Amazon and sending them to your Shopify store. And there’s no reason to feel guilty about going behind Amazon’s back. Remember, Amazon is a cold-hearted robot that will gladly cut you off without hesitation.
Plus, Jeff Bezos is worth over $100 billion. He could literally give away a million dollars a day for roughly 300 years and still have money left over. Be like Jeff. Get that cash.
About the Author
Gennifer is the Marketing Manager at ByteStand, where she lives and breathes customer service education while sipping coffee in her pajamas.
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