If you have ever been a fan of YouTubers and vlogging culture, then you’ll probably be aware that they love collaboration and do it all the time. Watch almost any vlogger for any length of timeand sooner or later a crossover episode will be released, or the You Tuber will invite some other YouTuber as a guest on their channel. It happens constantly, and it’s not just vloggers that do it.
The value of collaborating online is first and foremost a result of the ease of doing it. If we can say the internet has made one fundamental change to business and society, then it is undoubtedly the era of interconnectivity it has ushered in.
In fact, every other development that we attribute to the internet revolution grows from this one fundamental change. Everything from viral marketing to virtual events and email marketing lists to collaborative videos – it is all made possible by the interconnectivity the internet has created.
Seen like this then, it is no surprise that ecommerce companies often collaborate too. The internet has definitely created this strange situation whereby competing businesses work together.
It wasn’t really like this in the past. Yes, companies may have been represented together in things like sponsorship deals, and there may have been one or two crossover products, but this phenomenon of competing businesses actively working together is a result of the internet age.
If you run an ecommerce venture, then this might be something you are thinking of. For small business, it can be almost cynically viewed as an attempt to ride on the coattails of a more successful business. For sure, it is rare that two collaborating businesses are just as successful as each other – there will usually be one business that benefits more. But here’s the thing – even if the benefit derived is not exactly equal, successful collaborations are always mutually beneficial. Both companies are the better off for having done it.
Keeping Off Each Other’s Toes
So, if we can say that all collaborations need to be mutually beneficial, it follows then that it’s important that neither of collaborators harm the other’s business in any way. Two different vacuum cleaner brands are not going to collaborate, for example. Much more often, the two businesses are related, but offer different things.
Plurawl are a clothing company producing T-shirts and hoodies aimed at the American Latino community. When they invite guests or other business people on their Hispanic podcast, it is the Latino connection that unites them – not that they both offer the same thing!
Partnering With Brands
So, for ecommerce companies, the way to collaboration is to partner with other brands. Here follows a couple of ways to do that:
Collaborate on a Product
What better way to avoid any direct competition between collaborators then to jointly produce a product? This is marvelous idea when it works well because in one fell swoop you can almost double both your customer base and marketing reach (if you are the larger company) and you can more than double it if you’re the smaller one!
Brand and Retailer Collaboration
With this model, a retailer sells the products of a different brand. This is actually the most common type of ecommerce collaboration. For it to work, it needs to be truly symbiotic.The retailer provides a greater reach to customers, and the brand provides a product that expands the retailer’s sales.
With these two examples, it is clear to see how collaborations are easier and more mutually beneficial online. At heart though, it’s nothing more complicated than the value of two heads instead of one.