Strategic Snapshot: Selling More on Marketplaces

September 21, 2018

Marketplaces By Bradley Hearn

To sell more online, you must have a marketplace presence. Of course, you already know this. Savvy brands and retailers are well aware that competing online means capturing more market share — from Amazon to eBay to Walmart and dozens of others.

What you may not be aware of is the immense array of opportunities that can be leveraged to dominate these and dozens of other marketplaces. From pricing to advertising, the mountain of steps to master gets higher every month. And if you don’t climb them, your competitors will.

If you’re an experienced seller, you know that simply listing your products and trying to ride the popularity of that marketplace isn’t enough. Here are four proven tactics for marketplace success.

1. Optimize your product content.

There are product listings shoppers see, and product listings people buy. The difference? Product content optimization. It’s not just what you list that matters, but how your listings are structured. Product titles, images, descriptions, keywords and categories are often what compels consumers to buy.

The more competitive the marketplace, the more options you have for optimizing content. And the more convincing the content you use to reveal your wares to the world, the more likely a product is to rise to the top of search results and drive more purchases. Add in the fact that more than 44% of online purchases occurring on smartphones, and the need for mobile-friendly titles and descriptions is higher than ever.

2. Focus on your feedback.

For consumers, one of the most enticing aspects of online shopping is the ability to see how buyers have rated sellers on marketplaces. The more positive your feedback, the more likely you are to turn browsers into new buyers and loyal customers.

Savvy brands and retailers know to focus on feedback. High ratings and reviews hold as much value as quality content and outstanding advertising and they often contribute to the marketplace’s algorithm that determines search rankings. There are two key things to remember:

  • Maintain impeccable seller feedback. Generally speaking, your top focus should be on maintaining positive reviews and ratings everywhere you sell. The trust you build in the process will go a long way in connecting with customers across channels.
  • Respond quickly. Replying to complaints and inquiries is so critical that marketplaces have created a term for it: Contact Response Times, or CRTs. According to Amazon, orders with messages that are responded to within 24 hours receive 50% less negative feedback than messages with response times above 24 hours.

3. Compete with pricing strategies

When it comes to beating out the competition on marketplaces, pricing is everything. No amount of targeted advertising or convenient shipping options will land the sale when the price isn’t right. And yet… Remaining competitive on price is one of the biggest challenges faced by even the most successful e-commerce retailers and brands. Between managing errors and fulfilling orders, there’s little time left to scrutinize pricing on hundreds or thousands of SKUs.

  • Pay attention to the details. When selling on marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart, many sellers will have agreements in place that include fine-print pricing clauses. It’s important to pay attention to these. But your marketplace agreements may contain important wording that dictates how you’re permitted to price products across channels. For example, Amazon’s price parity clause — which prevents sellers from listing products at lower prices elsewhere on the web — has been known to include some surprising conditions in the U.S.
  • Determine your promotional goals. Shoppers frequently flock to their favorite sites and apps for well-known deals. And generally speaking, participating in marketplace promotions can be a great revenue generator. But before you jump in with both feet, it’s important to consider the implications of each opportunity and plan accordingly. Do you want to increase the size of your cart or overall order values? Different goals will require different types of promotions, so be sure to opt in to the ones that support your long-term objectives.
  • Stay in compliance on marketplaces. With so many sellers competing on the same SKUs, automated repricing is a must. Price is a big factor in Buy Box and Best Offer positions, and automatic adjustments can make all the difference. However, you still need to be careful that your solution, even when it’s automated, keeps you in compliance across marketplaces.

4. Continue your expansion.

To truly exceed on marketplaces and increase e-commerce sales, expansion is everything. Selling on Marketplaces. Sales in the world’s four biggest online shopping markets (the UK, US, Germany and China) continue to experience major increases every year, and worldwide retail e-commerce sales are projected to top $4 trillion by 2020.

In other words… Your consumers are everywhere — and you should be, too.

The opportunities for growth go far beyond Amazon, eBay, Walmart and Jet, with untapped revenue potential on dozens of marketplaces around the world. In China alone, online sales are reaching $899 billion — nearly half of all e-commerce sales worldwide. According to VoyageOne, which connects American brands and retailers to Chinese marketplaces, some 80% of those purchases are made on marketplaces.

If you’re serious about growing an e-commerce business, marketplace expansion is a must.

For more information on marketplaces or how you can identify where you need help across the e-commerce spectrum – from marketing to selling to fulfilling – check out our eBook: The Story of E-Commerce Success: Marketing, Selling & Fulfilling.

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