Handling the Gross Margin of your Ecommerce Business

The gross margin calculation of earnings minus cost of products sold is a basic key performance indicator of any company that sells products. It measures the gain generated from every product you sell. It’s something which lots of small ecommerce merchants overlook when they concentrate exclusively on earnings growth or volume.

There are various things that affect your gross margin. This report examines a few of the ways you can optimize it to fulfill your business objectives. Notice I said”Boost” rather than”improve.” Simply improving your gross profit may lead to reduced overall gains as your sales volume may decrease.

Most ecommerce companies operate with a gross margin of 20 to 50 percent. That range could be higher depending how you price individual goods, what your entire product mix is, what your sales stations are, what you purchase individual products, and other elements.

You can create the same amount of total profits with a 20 percent gross margin which you can with 80 percent by selling a higher volume. Many marketplace sellers are happy with a 20 percent gross margin. Most have a very substantial sales volume and a very lean operation that’s highly efficient.

Conversely, companies with an 80 percent margin are probably niche sellers or manufacturers with reduced volumes that target the high end of a particular sector. They are going to have more margin from product sales to cover different expenses, but the size of the market might be much smaller or restricted by their pricing plans.

It is important to set a goal to your gross margin and handle it carefully. That procedure will enable you to accurately budget to support your organization, infrastructure, and operations.

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Let us examine this in more detail. The key factors that you control are:

  • Products;
  • Pricing;
  • Sourcing;
  • Sales channels;
  • Merchandising and advertising .

Each one is worth further discussion. All are important in creating your best gross margin.

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Key strategies for choosing products to market are (a) determining what your prospects need purchase, and (b) promoting a mixture of goods with a chance of accomplishing your target margin.

Begin with the products your target customer wishes to buy. Low-to-mid range products will have a greater sale possible, but will probably have more competition, which might produce lower margins. Higher-end goods, meanwhile, will cost more and your markup might be less than anticipated.

This brings us to a general product assortment. This is vitally important. According to the larger retailers, take a wide range of similar products. This will attract unique shoppers. Offering a low-priced choice makes the mid-range thing look upscale. Using a much higher-end offering makes the mid-range product resemble a excellent value.

Another approach is private-labeling your own brand. Invest in UPC codes and branding, and package them as your own product. This will offer an exclusive sales opportunity and give a means to increase your margin because you will direct competition.

In my past ecommerce jewelry industry, we attempted to target products that we can buy cheaply and then tag them under our own brand. We targeted the mid market with a 100 to 150 percent markup, to achieve a gross margin in the 60 percent range. This was much superior to branded items that we bought with margins of 30 to 40 percent.


Your pricing plans should support your product choices. Consumers increasingly price store — from within a physical shop, on a mobile device, or on their desktop computers. Consider pricing-automation software to track competitive prices. You don’t necessarily have to match prices because there are different ways to add value.

By way of instance, I recently shopped for cans on Fab.com. I presumed the headphones were an”exclusive supply,” in a very low price. As it was, I might have purchased them through many different stations, such as Amazon, for 25 percent less. I ended up purchasing from a lower-priced choice, not Fab.com.

You might want to adjust pricing to earn your intended products more attractive. You might choose to price a lower-end product marginally higher than the standard so that it is closer to the price of the items you want your shoppers to purchase. That will make them more inclined to see it as a fantastic value and spend a little longer to get it. Or, if your margins are high in your luxury products, you might choose to discount them to bring in more luxury buyers.

You might want to adjust pricing to earn your intended products more attractive. You might choose to price a lower-end product marginally higher than the standard so that it is closer to the price of the items you want your customer to purchase.

Your pricing plans should also consider shipping. A $10 product that’s offered with $5 shipping is certainly a $15 product to today’s consumer. If she can purchase it for $12 with free shipping from Amazon, you will probably lose.


This is another variable that’s underutilized. You want the lowest possible cost of products. Shop relentlessly for lower cost providers. That means having many providers to select from and having the ability to buy at the lowest price. Buy in volume and negotiate a greater discount if possible. Proceed to producers, avoiding the middleman.

Sales Channels and Marketplaces

Producers have many available sales channels: direct sales, online sales, distribution, and marketplaces. Their gross margins have the capacity to be high because their cost of goods sold are comparatively low. This enables them to sell through distribution channels.

Online resellers are likely to have lower margins. This will restrict wholesalers’ sales channels. If you’re selling in a 15 percent commission class on Amazon, that instantly reduces your gross margin. Bear in mind, when you sell through channels, your gross profit margin begins with the revenue you receive from the sale, not from the selling price to the client. Amazon and other marketplaces take their charges off the top; you never see them.

As you expand into new channels such as marketplaces, sell products which satisfy your gross margin goals. Marketplaces typically need more pricing upkeep to remain competitive and get in the Amazon buy box, where you’ll have the best chance of making a sale. Most ecommerce merchants sell just a part of their goods in marketplaces. Intelligent ones select products based on the market itself.

Merchandising and Promotions

The factors here are (a) how you present your unique goods, and (b) the best way to present the total range of products in this category. Make sure, as an instance, to emphasize the qualities that distinguish your products beyond price. Consider reviews and evaluations in your shop so consumers do not sneak off to Amazon to do more study and never return.

Merchandising also includes promotions, categorization, and personalization. You are able to influence buying behaviors by your merchandising tactics. This is increasing in importance, as more online shops use personalization to present products that a given customer is more likely to purchase. Never show a high-end client your low-end things, for example. You could begin with your mid-range products and up-sell to your high-margin merchandise instead.

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