Long Island Watch owner Mark made a surprising announcement one day on his YouTube channel:
“Today I will share a short story with you; after being a watch merchant on Amazon for over 14 years, my store has been suspended and I do not think I will fight to get it back. In fact, I’m relieved.”
In this video, Mark reveals that Amazon charges a 16% royalty on each watch sold, and, at one point 35% of his revenue stream was Amazon-driven. He clearly understands that Amazon analyzes sales data from third-party vendors to identify which products to start selling itself (at a lower price). As he pragmatically states, “Over the years, we used each other to grow our businesses.”
Success Beyond Amazon: Building a Strong Brand to Sell Commodity Products
In Mark’s update video, he reveals how Amazon wasn’t necessary for his success– that building a brand on his passion for watches and engineering, along with his history in retail was all he needed to give up the ecommerce giant.
Amazon seems a required channel for small retailers to sell commodity products online (a Seiko Samurai Prospex watch is the same product in all stores, for instance). But small businesses that identify factors that matter to customers and deliver on them will build a brand beyond the commodity– and can seek success in greener ecommerce pastures.
If you’re a small business online retailer who is feeling the squeeze from Amazon, take inspiration from Long Island Watch and start planning your exit strategy.