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Walmart of the Internet

 Walmart of the Internet

we started this blog approximately five months ago.  The purpose of this blog is to help small businesses grow their online presence.  Many retailers are now waking up to the fact that Amazon is trying to take over the world.  This is obviously bad for retailers, but Amazon is now down 8% from their high in terms of stock price.  They harness the power of the internet to put companies out of business.  They are becoming less efficient as well.

I have personally had two orders in the last week miss their commitment time from Amazon as well.  One was on a next day shipment, and the second was on a prime shipment.    Amazon is not making any profits according to their last earnings statement released.

Walmart’s new app

Wal-mart has it’s own scan and go app now.  This app allows you to scan items in the store and pay for them on the app without waiting in line.  An attendant checks your receipt on the way out.  This is great news.  The one thing I dislike about Wal-mart is the fact they have 25 check out lines and one checker.  With this app they can have the one checker verifying receipts at a 1/10 of the time.

More on this story can be found:  HERE

 

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Amazon’s private label

Another warning we wanted to get out to the public is Amazon’s private label brands.  When we started this blog the Amazon brand wasn’t widely known, but we have always maintained that Amazon manages your inventory if you are a FBA seller.  If they see your product selling well, then what stops them from copying it?  It turns out they have been doing this a lot with clothing.

More on this story can be found HERE

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Amazon Prime Wardrobe

Amazon Prime Wardrobe is in beta phase currently, but whose clothes do you think they will push when it rolls out?  They have Amazon private brands for men, women and kids now.  This will be a huge detriment to all retailers.  I feel like this should push them over the edge in terms of being a monopoly especially in the retail clothing space.  Over 50% of people shopping on the internet go directly to Amazon.  It is projected that over half of American house holds will be prime members by the end of the year.  This will make all of those households eligible to use Amazon Prime Wardrobe.

Don’t forget that they are also pushing for people on Welfare to sign up at a lesser rate, so they can eventually get the money of the needy by siphoning it out of the welfare system when they buy whole foods.

More on this Story HERE

We will push on

We will continue to keep you informed about what Amazon is doing online, and how they are trying to put people out of business.  They are bigger threat than Wal-mart ever was because of the sheer size and scope of what they are accomplishing.  Keep in mind that they have not yet made a profit, so they are doing this all on borrowed funds from investors.

The small business cannot raise the capital that Amazon raises.  It shouldn’t be a choice between selling on Amazon or not selling at all.  This is essentially the e-commerce environment Amazon has created.

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The Real Reason Amazon Bought Whole Foods

The Real Reason Amazon Bought Whole Foods

In America we have seen many retail stores closing down lately.  I thought it was strange when Amazon would buy a retail store front like Whole Foods when they have been so successful at putting retail stores out of business because of their efficient business model.

I read an article recently that stated that Amazon was part of a pilot program with a few other grocers that will allow for online food delivery using the EBT program.  If you are not familiar with this, it is the welfare program that allows people to buy food and essential goods with a government subsidy.  It is paid monthly to those who qualify.

Welfare Money

There are many arguments about how much money the US government actually spends on welfare.  The Washington Post wrote this article in January 2014 putting the figure of welfare at $75 billion dollars for the EBT benefit:

welfare programs

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The buying of whole foods makes sense when you realize that Amazon was part of the EBT pilot program to take care of the problem of food deserts.  Also remember that Amazon recently gave a discount to people holding the EBT card.  This will give Amazon 400 stores to distribute items that are eligible to purchased through the EBT card.  The delivery fee and premium cost Amazon can make from this is enough to make a retail store profitable in today’s market.

EBT Discount for Prime

so what was the EBT discount for Prime then?  This was a way for Amazon to identify who held the EBT card and start marketing directly to these people.  When the pilot is successful, Amazon will already have a database filled with customer information.  Customers on welfare.  The pilot lasts for two years, for more on the pilot that Amazon is currently in read this story:

Amazon in Pilot Program

The deal with Amazon will most likely take years for the transition to be complete.   At this time, the pilot will be over and the government will need to decide if the EBT card can continue to be used online.  

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Amazon will take away the high cost of Prime Fresh when this rolls out.  The food items will most likely come with a higher price tag when purchasing it online like most other companies like instacart currently do.  I have seen some items on Instacart that are 30% higher than the list price.

Spinning the positives

Amazon will take this opportunity to spin the program in a positive light.  This program was made for the mother who has three kids and has to drag all of them to the store just to buy $40 in groceries.  Amazon accepting EBT allows for people without cars to get food delivered that would spoil on the walk home.  With 400 stores, this will open up a $75 billion dollar market just in government money.  

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This doesn’t include the other things they can do with the stores like run same day distribution out of it.  Amazon may not even need to modernize the Whole Foods stores for this to be profitable. If they just raise the prices online and the government allows the EBT cards to be used online, then it can be profitable.

Meant to be Good

I know the welfare program was meant to be good.  It does help some families there is no doubt.  There is a number of people who abuse the system however.  I have been in line at gas stations where a young 20 something person is in front of me getting a gallon of ice cream, pastries, and other crap.  Things you wouldn’t think to buy at a gas station because the premium on them is astronomical.  Then you see them pull out the EBT card. This is when you realize they obviously don’t value money because someone else is paying for those items.

This is the beauty of the Amazon plan because they can charge premiums online. Some people paying with EBT won’t care.  The Ice Cream and pastries are being delivered on someone else’s dime.   What do they care how much it costs?  If Amazon can take 20 % of the EBT money only that is $15 billion dollars a year.  

Now the $13.7 Billion dollar price tag of Whole Foods seems like a deal right?  

What do you think about this?

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I wanted to take some time out from the normal posts on this small business blog to write this article.  The next article will continue the Facebook Ad series.  Thank you for reading and subscribing.

 

The Effect of Geopolitics

The effects Geopolitics

The effects of Geopolitics on the small business can be enormous.  If you think about the way businesses operate within the United States, then you know doubt realize that many of our manufacturers are in China.  What happens if it is illegal to do business with a Chinese company?  With the tensions rising among North Korea and the United States, this is something you need to be thinking about.  Do you have a back up to your Chinese supplier?

Watch these two youtube videos, and there is a different conflict China may be involved in to worry about:

 

 

India and Chinese conflict

We covered the conference held in China relating the Belt and Road Initiative.  if you recall, during this conference India did not have a representative in attendance.  Now India is actually blocking the road from going forward over disputed territory.  It turns out that the territory China is building the road on, India considers to be part of India making the construction unauthorized.

India has been sending troops to the border this past weekend to show they are not willing to give up their positions on this disputed territory.  Our problem is that if this does turn into anything major like a war or conflict.  It is likely that the USA will back India.  Sanctions might be implemented on Chinese goods making expensive for small businesses to use existing manufacturers.

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Have a Back Up Plan

Have a back up plan.  Start talking to other suppliers.  Look online for suppliers in places like Guatemala or other countries.  For years the Chinese have been the main source of suppliers for companies within the USA.  If this needed to change, what would happen?  Hopefully, cooler heads prevail.  Look at North Korea and the USA as well.  This could turn into an issue which would also involve China.  With so many things happening at once, it is always helpful to have a back up plan.

Depending on your product, the supplier in another country may need time to develop a replacement supply for your product.  Don’t wait until it is too late.

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Obviously the best scenario would be for nothing to happen out of the ordinary.  Given the current situation however, it is also important to have a back up plan for the worst case scenario.

Plan while others are complacent

Right now your competitors may not be thinking about things like this.  If they are sourcing their goods from China as well, then you will have the advantage if something actually does happen to cause the USA to make doing business with China more difficult.

As a small business you do not have the time to waste.  If your suppliers are unavailable then you might be shut down for a long period of time.

This small business blog has always been dedicated to helping you grow your business.  We also want you to protect what you have creative.  In light of the current geopolitical tensions, we wanted to write this post to make you aware of what is happening.  The India/Chinese conflict has not been featured in the US media, but it could turn out to be an important event if it turns into something more.  Geopolitics need to be considered here.

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Times are changing

Times are changing

To say that times are changing is a statement so obvious.  In today’s world we have the ability to buy something and have it show up within hours without ever having to interact with a human being.  If you think back to even thirty years ago, then you can remember how hard it was to find what you wanted.  People had to actually go to a store and walk around to find things they might want.

The malls got foot traffic because certain stores attracted the attention for the smaller stores.  Spending time at the mall was an event people got ready for.  They planned a day of it.  Now malls are dying all around the country.

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Where do we go from here?

Amazon has made the e-commerce world a huge market for everyone.  They have become very efficient at what they do, but the backlash against Amazon is starting to grow louder and louder.  As stores have to shut down, other companies are innovating to keep up with Amazon.  Companies are building better mouse traps.  Amazon has forced everyone to become better.  It is hard to imagine what is next.

 

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Anticipate the next big thing

We are a small business blog.  Escape Amazon cares about the smaller business person trying to sell things online without much capital to back them up.  You must be forward thinking in this position because you do not have a choice.  What trends are beginning to form that will re-shape the future?  Imagine if you invested in Amazon in 1996, you would be wealthy today.

 

 

A few trends that I see becoming part of the future of the world are VR and Robotics.  It is hard to see how we are going to be able to monetize things like drones.  The VR world is going to revolutionize how we interact with each other.  This might be a bad thing, but it doesn’t have to be.

How can you make money off of these trends?  These trends are not the only ones that will become something in the future.  What systems are in place that you can improve on?  Netflix made a better way to rent movies.  Before Netflix, Blockbuster was the king of video rentals.  After Netflix, Blockbuster became bankrupt.  Local music stores are a thing of the past because of itunes.

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Small Business

How can you thrive in this environment?  What are you going to do to make money?  Corporations are getting larger, but they have been forever.  The fact that you are a small business now is not a reason to quit.  Work harder is actually what you need to be doing, but the work has to be on the right things.  Are you researching up coming trends?  You have a great idea, but will it be relevant in ten years?  Because you are small means you do not have time to waste!

This business blog will keep on going.  I hope you find the information useful.  Please let me know if you have any questions!

Share this blog with anyone you think may find this useful.

Keep on working!  You will win in the end.

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Facebook Page Created

Facebook Page Created

we got our Facebook page for the www.escapeamazon.com blog up and running today.  It is very basic at the moment.  We will be looking at ways to improve the page as well as run advertisements on the page.  After we run a few ads on Facebook we can report what works.  The purpose of this will be to drive traffic to our blog.  Facebook does have a store option where you can sell products as well however.  Here is a screen shot of the page so far:

facebook page

 

Click the Picture to be taken directly to the page.  Give us some likes!

Advertising on Facebook

We weren’t able to set up our ads on Facebook.  Still waiting for support to clean up this issue.  Facebook has an audience builder for you to choose your target market:

Facebook ads

 

Here you can run ads on Instagram to target people as well as Facebook.  You can quickly choose your target market and let Facebook’s algorithm do the rest.

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Advertising on a Budget

If you have a limited budget with advertising funds, then you should write your ads to target people on the mobile phones.  Last year 54% of all Facebook users accessed the service only through their mobile phones.  You can bet that this year that number has risen.

Optimize your ads for the people who are going to be viewing it the most, and in this case the mobile users will be viewing it the most.

Influence on Instagram

There is a lot of talk about influence marketing lately.  People with large instagram followings are selling their influence clout to sell products.  If you look into this, make sure the person you want promoting your product is aligned with your brand message.  Also, make sure the person has followers that are engaged with them.  You want someone who’s followers are going to buy the products they are selling.

If a person just does crazy things in You Tube videos that people like to watch, then this person might have a lot of followers but not necessarily followers that will buy the products they are suggesting.  Check the comment sections in their pictures and videos to see what their opinion of the person is.  Also consider the age of the followers they have as well.  A person can buy followers on Facebook and Instagram.  People on these services with high followers but low engagement may have purchased their followers to look like they have more influence than they do.

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Escape Amazon Facebook Page

As always the purpose of this small business blog is to help grow your business.  We will be experimenting ads with our Facebook page.  Hopefully, this will save you from making mistakes and wasting money.  Go and like our page to stay engaged with what we are doing.  Share our page with your social networks so we can help others out as well!

 

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Facebook Advertising continuted

Facebook Advertising

If you have a page on Facebook, but you haven’t explored advertising directly on Facebook I suggest visiting this link for more on Facebook Advertising:

Facebook Advertising

This is a link that will take you directly to set up an ad or set up a page on Facebook.  You should at least have a page for your business on Facebook even if you do not intend to pay for advertising.  From your Facebook page, you can also create a Facebook store to sell your items directly through Facebook.  Facebook has over 2 billion users who are active on a monthly basis.  This is obviously an enormous audience outside of Amazon.

Build a Following

If you can build a following to your business page through Facebook then you have greater access to these users.  Over 50% of shoppers are now going directly to Amazon when they want to make a purchase.   2 billion people checking their Facebook page on a monthly basis does not mean these people are looking to buy something when they log in.

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In fact, 90% of the time they are probably just bored or want to see what their friends have been doing since the last time they checked 5 minutes ago.  This is a good chance for you to market your business in an interesting way.

This is why purchasing ads on Facebook can be an effective way to advertise to people.  Because you can break down the ads to target a specific group, you are able to reach out to your target customer directly.  This was discussed in previous posts within the Facebook category.  Also click these links for more information:

Advertising on Facebook

Who are you Selling?

Same Product, Different Strategy

If your product has more than one use, then you can write ads for each use.  For example, if you are selling a pocket knife that has multiple tools attached to it or Gerber, then you can sell this to a survivalist as an essential tool for survival.  The hunter needs one of these for various reasons.  The mechanic might need one for quick fix situations that only require a screwdriver or small blade.  I wrote out the full definition in front of Gerber because not everyone knows what a Gerber is.

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Personally, I didn’t know a Gerber was called a Gerber until I joined the Army.  If you are selling something that has a term to fully describe it, then do not assume that everyone in the world knows what that term is referring to.

This is important to remember when writing your ad copy as well.

Writing three different ads for three different markets will allow you to test the different strategies.  The most effective group is the one you should pay the most attention to.  If the survivalist are interested in the gerber for example, then set up a page dedicated to the survivalist on your web page.  Write compelling advertisements and product descriptions for that group.

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Check and Test

Facebook will give you the stats on each ad you create.  It is very easy to tell what is working.  Set limits to your daily spending.  For as little as $5 a day you can run an ad.  Do not continue to run ads that aren’t working.  Wasting money marketing to groups that aren’t buying can also be detrimental as well.

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in this small business blog our goal is to help you grow your business.  We want you to be successful, and we are motivated by your success.  Over the next few days we will be setting up our own Facebook page and begin advertisements.  We will update you on our success with our own ads.  This will give us greater insights into this subject.  Subscribe to receive updates on this in the coming days.

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As always, thanks for reading.  Share this with anyone in your social network that might find this post helpful.

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Always Be Testing

Always be Testing

When it comes to marketing there is the old phrase that relates to everything “always be testing.”  You need to test what you are doing to increase visibility.  If your goal is to get more orders, then what are you trying to get more orders?

Once you establish a strategy, you need to test out the strategy to see if it is working.  If you are using certain keywords to gain a better google rank, then you can easily test this using various SEO tools.  Many of the SEO tools are free with a premium option available.

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Google allows you to test your strategy out for free as well by simply checking each week.  You can check the keywords you have chosen using the Google webmaster tools.  In the end continuous testing is important to succeed

Try Different Things

You need to come up with several different strategies and test them out.  This is important especially with the Holiday season coming up.  This winter people will be looking to spend Billions of dollars online.  Test your strategies now to find out what works.

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Your product pages, description and overall content need to match your strategy.  What are you trying to sell?  If you can imagine a perfect customer what would that look like?  How can you write content tailored for that person?

Questions like these are good starting points to help develop a strategy.  Once you have a customer engaged you should be getting information from them through follow up.  Amazon does this a lot now where the store owners will follow up with you to find out how you liked their product.

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This is great because if you get a response, then you have a customer engaged.  Once they are engaged with you it is important to extract as much information as possible.

What to ask your customer?

The information you extract from existing customers can be very important.  Ask them why they bought your product.  What did they like about your product?  Why did they choose your product?  Is there anything that they like to buy with your product? 

If they found you on a site like Amazon, then you should let them know about your web store you have available.  Customers feel a part of a business that operates like this.  If you can do this effectively you will create multiple advocates for your company.  Offer them incentives for giving you information and referrals.

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You can create a referral site for people to send their friends with special referral pricing.  This helps increase engagement as well.

Short and Sweet

This was a short post in today’s Small Business Blog.  This week I will have more time to go in depth on the Facebook ad strategy that can compliment this post.  As a business blog we sometimes struggle with content.  If there is anything you want to know about in particular let us know.

Small Business Blog

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Thank you for Reading, have a great week.  Share this with anyone who will find this information useful.