There's this story that Seth Godin tells about a meeting he had a few years back with the brand new Internet department at WalMart.
This was back when WalMart was first strategizing about how they were going to bring their store and message online. Oh, and it was substantially after Amazon became dominant as the monster online store that they are.
Seth was meeting with them to discuss WalMart's web strategy.
Just as he walked in the door, up on the wall was a big banner that said…
"You can't Out-Amazon Amazon"
Do you get that?
The biggest retailer in the world, and one of the largest companies in the world by almost any measure, was conceding that they can't outdo Amazon — a relative newcomer — at its own game.
They studied Amazon in depth, and they found that it would be useless to try to do what Amazon does and compete.
There's a lesson there for you, too.
When I reviewed catalog-style web stores for the new section in the Landing Page Cash Machine focusing on this kind of site, one of the recurring themes was that the sites were trying to do what Amazon does.
And that's to be everything to everyone.
The power, though, is to be different, not the same, as your competitors.
The power comes in identifying and really knowing a much more targeted and passionate customer in a narrow niche.
When you identify and target your niche, several things happen.
You can go deeper with your customer and explore all his passions. You can upsell to your customer a series of higher priced, more exclusive products because he knows you understand him, and you've got the products to sell him.
And this third one few people realize…
When you target a niche, you've now identified a whole set of people you DON'T have to advertise to.
Do you get that?
You can now focus your advertising (your banner ads, your PPC advertising, your organic keywords, your article marketing) to a very narrow but passionate group of people all interested and looking for exactly the products you have.
Let's put this another way…
Oil companies find their black gold because they drill a few inches wide and miles deep. They don't make any money if they drill a few inches deep, and miles wide.
That's just one small lesson about catalog sites, but there are more, and they're coming your way soon.
Any comments on this lesson? Do you find yourself trying to out-Amazon the Amazon in your market? Let me know about it by leaving a comment here.
To Your Success,
p.s. Do you have a catalog site, too? Do you sell a few dozen, or a few hundred products on your site?
If you do, there are a number of tactics you can use to improve your site, and avoid the Amazon trap that catalog stores can sometimes fall into. You'll find 21 pages of new information, tactics and strategies exclusively dedicated to Catalog and Store sites in Version 3 of the Landing Page Cash Machine, which will be released in just a few days.