Still wondering if e-commerce marketplaces can have a significant impact on business outcomes? If so, Azura Runway’s story is one you’ll want to hear.
Back when the company was still preparing for launch, its founders were confident in the business model they had devised —and for good reason. It wasn’t just that they’d assembled an exciting array of designer apparel and accessories. By foregoing middlemen to purchase directly from suppliers and manufacturers, Azura Runway was about to offer high-end, high-quality merchandise at lower-than-average prices. Every last item was brand new and ready to be delivered in its original packaging. It was the kind of stock fashionistas dream about and willingly spend cash to collect.
There was just one thing left to do, and it was one of the most critical steps yet: It was time to introduce Azura Runway to the world.
From day one, members of the e-commerce team at Azura Runway knew they would need to list inventory on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Catch.
“We saw that marketplaces were the way of the future,” said Directors Sam Wood & Tim Bloore. “They offered a low cost of entry without having to already have a large database or marketing budget. Marketplaces give you the opportunity to break into new markets like the US and India without hefty startup costs.
“But Bloore & Wood knew this wouldn’t be a small endeavor, and he wanted to get it right from the start. “We needed a tool to bring in over 100,000 SKUs and send them to marketplaces in the right format and structure,” Wood says, adding that they needed an equally reliable system for pushing orders back to the company swiftly and accurately.
In addition, the business needed help identifying which sales channels would hold the most profit potential for its unique catalog. With more than 100 global marketplaces to choose from, it was essential to get the right products in front of the right audiences.
Thankfully, Azura Runway had already learned what not to do. Based on previous experiences with various e-commerce tools at other companies, Wood knew better than to rush into a partnership with the wrong solution provider.
“We used a lot of listing tools that ended up pushing our listings into the wrong category,” Bloore says of the e-commerce technology he’d used for other online businesses. “We found they could not deliver on what they promised.”
So this time, he went straight to a leading marketplace management provider: ChannelAdvisor.
By the time Azura Runway was ready to start listing on marketplaces, Bloore, Wood and their team had been communicating with ChannelAdvisor for more than a year. The decision to enlist the platform’s Managed Service for Marketplaces was an easy one. “With ChannelAdvisor, we’re in a safe pair of hands,” Wood says. “[The specialists] are very detail-oriented and take particular care in ensuring it’s done right the first time. It takes longer but is worth it in the end, because there are fewer mistakes.”
Best of all? Because ChannelAdvisor’s Managed Services team is deeply familiar with worldwide marketplace audiences and options, Azura Runway gets the guidance it needs on not just how to list effectively — but where those listings will generate the most returns, too. That means the company’s marketplace growth strategy is a highly targeted one that began strategically with eBay Australia. The company quickly expanded to eBay US before adding other marketplaces including Ozsale, Catch and TradeMe.
Consumers are attracted to different channels for different products, so having the right marketplace mix was key.
“We’re in a building and scaling phase so we need to choose carefully where we go and make sure we get returns, and that’s where ChannelAdvisor helps advise us on the new markets we could expand to,” Bloore says.
Within a matter of months, Azura Runway’s monthly sales had increased by 1,163%. And while that initial growth has been gratifying, it’s far from done.
“ChannelAdvisor has given us the ability to expand and scale at a global level,” Bloore says. “[Even with] very, very large inventory, we’re at a point where we can switch on any marketplace we want to within a week.”
Moving forward, the team will be leaning on Managed Services for Digital Marketing to get inventory in front of more purchase-ready consumers through paid search and shopping.
“ChannelAdvisor allows us to move quickly because all of the hard work is done,” Wood says. “With the difficulty of the feeds and the complexity of it all — it made sense to use ChannelAdvisor for this as well. As a premium company, they’re going to get it right.”