What Does Your 2015 E-Commerce Plan Look Like? How to Learn from Last Year’s Missteps: Part 1

January 12, 2015

Marketplaces Laura Lane By Laura Lane

The maelstrom that is the holiday shopping period is over. What a relief! How did your business fare? Did everything run smoothly, or were there a few hiccups? What aspects could you improve?

Whether you’re looking to fix the mistakes of last year or want to ensure continued growth in 2015, we’ve got you covered. In this series, we’ll take you through the pain points we saw retailers experience during the holiday rush and share tips on how to plan ahead to prevent these issues in the year to come.

1. Quantity Mismanagement

You thought you’d beat the numbers game and got your product quantity mix right for the holiday season, but then a swarm of purchases quickly depleted the stock levels of your bestsellers. To make matters worse, other items didn’t fare as well as expected — and you’re now left with a surplus of products that aren’t selling.

It’s an unfortunate reality that even with careful planning, you can never be certain which of your products will prove most popular (especially if you’re regularly introducing new items) or which channel will clock the most sales. You can, however, implement strategies that will minimize the risk and enable you to better manage your quantity:

  • Optimize Your Strategy: With the multitude of available marketplaces, it’s hard to know where your products will perform best. Rather than allotting a specific amount of stock to each marketplace, juggle your quantity across multiple marketplaces and your webstore. For example, if you have 100 burgundy jumpers, you list and sell those 100 through eBay, Trade Me and your webstore, all at the same time. With ChannelAdvisor’s Inventory Juggler, when an item sells, the quantity updates automatically across all channels to avoid risk of overselling – meaning increased product visibility without the extra work.
  • Bundle Excess Inventory: Look at which of your products could be purchased as a set, such as a car charger and a wall charger for new electronics. Bundling products reduces choice overload (an experience that can deter consumers from making a purchase at all). By removing the need for consumers to decide whether to purchase multiple items individually, bundling both facilitates shopping ease and helps you move more excess inventory.
  • Marketplace Deals: Nearly every marketplace has some form of deal program (eBay Deals, Amazon’s Lightning Deals, etc.), and if you’re prepared to reduce your prices, it’s one of the easiest ways to ensure you’re not weighed down by extra stock.

2. Failing to Deal with Negative Feedback

You had the best intentions, but during busy periods it’s easy to deal with the immediate, rather than the important. Receiving poor reviews on your website or on marketplaces can seem like a problem that can wait until tomorrow to solve. Don’t make this mistake. Negative reviews on your website can deter shoppers, and negative feedback on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon will have a still greater deleterious effect: You’ll risk lower seller performance metrics, marketplace suspension or even getting kicked off permanently.

So what’s a retailer to do? Let’s take eBay as an example: First, see if the buyer provided an explanation for the negative rating. This kind of information should act as your guide to determining what parts of your service or offering need improvement. Whether it’s slow dispatch or delivery, inaccurate product listings, or faulty products, listen to your customers and take action. You can contact eBay to request a feedback revision if a seller initially gave negative feedback but you’ve since fixed the problem. And even if you can’t rectify mistakes made with every customer, you can use their reviews to ensure you’re not repeating these errors in the future.

If you receive inaccurate feedback, don’t let it slide. Be sure to report it to eBay, stating why it’s unwarranted and ask that it be removed. EBay doesn’t want to see seller performance ratings negatively affected because of unjust criticism.

However, as the adage advises, prevention is better than a cure. To ensure your seller performance metrics are in good health this year, remember to:

  • Review your listings regularly, making sure they’re accurate and up to date.
  • Let customers know how to contact you directly, which will minimize the risk of buyers leaving negative feedback before you’ve had a chance to rectify the issue.
  • Offer an express delivery service and provide fast standard postage (three to five working days).
  • Work hard to offer exceptional service, at all stages of the customer journey.

ChannelAdvisor Marketplaces can also help optimize your presence on marketplaces. Our Actionable Retail Insights tool, for example, provides selling recommendations to improve the performance of your marketplaces listings and ratings.

Didn’t see some of your holiday issues covered? Looking for more tips on how to boost your e-commerce offering this year? Be sure to check out the second part of this series next week.


Blog post by Shani Flynn, APAC marketing copywriter, ChannelAdvisor 

2015-ecom-calendar-LPIt’s important to know the essential dates, industry events and quick tips that will make your 2015 campaigns the most successful yet. Let this free calendar be your guide to keep you organized and prepped for the coming year.