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unConference Session: eCommerce Today: Beating the Amazon Powerhouse

In the “Anything and Everything eCommerce” session, we hear from Silva of www.KeepYourPantsOn.com (yes, you’re allowed to laugh.) He specializes in selling fashion forward womens’ belts online. In his five months of business he’s found success. In a world of in-person retail and the “Amazon vortex” as one discussion member terms it, how is this womens’ accessories site doing so well?

It’s an untapped market. Amazon’s got books, Gilt and RueLaLa have daily deal apparel. Where do you go when you want to buy a variety of belts? One young woman in the session notes–even in shops, belts are pushed to the side at the register as a forget-me-not kind of item. So part of the success comes from a niche market. Amazon scares Sivan a little bit, but the truth remains, not that many fashion forward women are buying no-name brands off of Amazon. They are looking for Calvin Klein and other name brands, but not these personalized or original designs.

Really what KeepYourPantsOn is doing is retaining engagement and personalization with their consumer base through Facebook. Consumers are buying from a BELT company, not an Amazon powerhouse.

We talked about the three-tiered system of Amazon. Basically you have three options: 1) Feature your ads on Amazon. 2) Resell Amazon products on your own page. 3) Buy wholesale from Amazon.

So how do you escape the Amazon trap? Do you have to fit into one of these three categories? If you don’t, is your eCommerce business doomed?

We talked about a way out–and it, again, has to do with personalization and engagement. We referenced a seller’s model from ShoeMint.com. Shoppers are shown pictures of celebrities: which celeb’s style do you relate to most? Then magazines–which are you most likely to read: Cosmopolitan, Us Weekly, or Architectural Digest? After a series of questions you’re shown a variety of shoes that are personalized. These shoes are curated for me. This is MY personal selection, not a search query on Amazon.

So something we hit on here was the hyper-personalization of the eCommerce user experience. It’s something a lot of us think is the key to battling the Amazon takeover in the digital space.

Rosalia Cefalu
Associate Product Marketing Manager, Hubspot
Rosalia is a marketer with a special interest in the digital space. She is a creative who spends her free time writing and dreaming about the future of the human-computer connection.

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