Online Marketplaces are booming. From Etsy to Amazon anything where multiple brands and products can be shopped for and found in one place, is considered a Marketplace.
In 2020 Marketplaces undertook their largest growth phase to date - with 93% of consumers having shopped on a marketplace, and within the top 10 marketplaces in the US alone there was a whopping 552.73 billion USD worth of goods sold.
Leveraging a Marketplace is now the ideal supplement to any brand's eCommerce strategy - working across platforms gives you more exposure - and helps get your products in front of more customers primed to buy.
We’ve put together some top tips for ensuring success on eCommerce marketplaces.
Seems a little obvious right? But it’s an important thing to consider. Some marketplaces can be cluttered with goods; which can make it a challenge to get your brand noticed. Whereas some marketplaces really focus on a niche, targeting a demographic. Depending on what your product actually is, you should consider both options and see what makes the most sense for your target customer. Placing your goods in the right place can make or break your online marketplace experience - and effect your brand either negatively or positively. Be thoughtful, do your research and make sure your products fit seamlessly.
Utilizing marketplaces can mean spreading your goods across multiple, to leverage different customer bases or tapped audiences. However don’t neglect your own eCommerce store as well. A rule of thumb many brands go by is to not put their best selling or most sought after goods in a marketplace, keep them exclusive to your own eCommerce store, and instead leverage the larger customer bases in marketplaces to get brand recognition and sell your other products. Keeping a diverse offering also helps to ensure you’re not in a price competition with yourself.
Automation comes in multiple forms from pricing, fulfilment to managing products across multiple channels. With plenty of tools and algorithms to make your life easier, utilizing them can really help boost your sales and customer retention. A PIM tool (Product Information Management) makes it easier to open new sales channels, and manage them all from one place. This adds AI to gather, edit, update and manage products across channels from one product catalogue. Pairing this with automatic pricing adjustments based on sales and competition, keeps your products front and centre and up to date, without you having to manually edit, check and reprice items on multiple platforms. Automated pricing helps you keep ahead of the game and ensure no delays that could mean you miss out on a sale. You can also apply automation to shipping and dispatch, automatically routing to the most effective supplier or delivery partner based on location and order. If used well the world of automation can make your life much easier, ensuring your product keeps moving and your customers stay happy - choosing you over the competition.
SEO is even more important in a marketplace, to get your products in front of the most relevant searches. Making sure your descriptions include as much detail as possible and your product names are apt and clear. Research key words and use the right ones, seed them into your metadata and consider how to include different and unique information on your product pages to set yourself apart from the rest - organically. Getting too bogged down in paid advertisement strategies can be a discursive to your bottom line, especially when a well used SEO strategy on a marketplace could actually help you stand out to the right customers, looking for your type of product.
Like any marketing strategy, diversifying and hitting multiple avenues is the best way for success. Many marketplaces offer their own version of paid advertising, to put your products in front of those already browsing the site. These are great tools to get involved with, especially if your product is easily complemented by other items on the site. Be clever with these and make sure you’re targeting the right audience and with the right content offering, be thoughtful and consider how best to approach the small things like copy and imagery to attract your customers to buy from you instead of the competition within the given marketplace.
Delivery is one the main hindrances for buyers. If it’s too slow, too expensive or not flexible, buyers will look to other avenues. Most marketplaces leverage the use of their own warehousing and dispatch, alongside having partners in place. Consider a multi-structured system where you have the option to ship from more than one location and in a variety of forms. This way the customer gets a say on their preferred supplier, and you can probably get their order to them sooner. This is not only applicable for your Marketplace presence, but keep it in mind for your own eCommerce platform as well, dispatch and delivery is still a part of your customer’s journey, and can make or break an experience.
When competing in a marketplace don’t forget to engage with your customers on it, alongside your own channels. Whether it's through responding to reviews, product enquiries or simply engaging on your own channels to let customers know that regardless of where they are purchasing from, you as a brand are still there to help them through any product or purchasing enquiries. Having direct line with consumers and truly great customer service is one thing that ensures loyalty and longevity - wherever you’re selling.