Long Tail: Research Shows it’s a Good Thing

Articles Oct 9, 2013

In the case of business, different can be good. This is particularly true for ecommerce sites.

At present time, ecommerce sites are enjoying stronger sales than brick and mortar businesses – thanks to long tail. Research shows this is a good business concept for ecommerce sites to engage in.

Let’s look at long tail and how research draws this conclusion.

What is Long Tail?

Long tail is a smart, economical retail strategy that online retailers use to defeat brick and mortar stores. To better explain it, online retailers sell products that local stores consider unpopular; thus, making these items hard to find locally.

This is a major mistake on brick and mortar stores’ part. Just because a product is no longer a current trend doesn’t mean it isn’t profitable.

Ecommerce sites understand this. As result, they carry rare items. Some of these items are:

  • Books
  • Music
  • Movies
  • Clothing

Amazon is a prime example of an ecommerce site that conducts business in long tail. Research clearly shows this online retailer is beating major chain stores that have long ruled the consumer industry.

Let’s take a childhood classic as an example for Amazon’s success: Raggedy Ann and Andy.

Did you know that there are still books around about these two lovable, red-headed rag dolls? The books might be old, but the fact that it can be found is amazing!

However, here’s the thing: you don’t know of their existence if you only do your shopping at your local stores. They considered these classic books as unpopular and unprofitable.

Fortunately, online retailers such as Amazon know that there are people who love vintage stuff such as Raggedy Ann and Andy. So, they’d be willing to buy these books; possibly introduce them to a new generation.

This is why ecommerce sites are enjoying soaring sales while local stores are losing profits.

Long Tail: Research and its Conclusion

Long tail research on Amazon’s sales was conducted by Erik Brynjolfsson, Yu (Jeffrey) Hu, and Michael D. Smith. Their research involved Amazon’s sales on books not sold in brick and mortar stores.

They concluded that long tail is a successful strategy for Amazon. As a result, Amazon is reaping huge profits.

Long Tail Success Begins with its Keywords

Now that long tail research has informed us that long tail is a profitable business strategy, adopt this concept for your own ecommerce site. To begin doing so, consider long tail keywords that will drive traffic to your site.

Furthermore, consider using a long tail keyword research tool such as Hittail as your starting point.



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