Improving Your Online Marketplace Strategy

There is a constant need to refine and update your ecommerce marketplace strategy due to its ever-developing nature. By finding ways to improve your marketplace strategy your brand can gain a competitive advantage.

Online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay Alibaba, Etsy and many more continue to become the top destinations for today's online shoppers. A report from Geodis Group shows 46% of US companies and 59% of European ones now use these marketplaces to sell their wares.

For brands all over the world getting your online marketplace strategy right is critically important. We have outlined 10ways to improve your online marketplace strategy to ensure you're on the right track!

1. Enable customers to purchase directly from any social channel

With the huge competition between brands fighting to rank at the top of marketplace search engine results pages (SERP) it is important for brands to streamline the consumer path to purchase.

For example a brand should allow consumers to buy their product directly from every social media channel they post or advertise on at the marketplace of their choice.

By doing this brands will be reaching consumers when they're most receptive to new ideas and have the highest potential of converting. Providing your digital content with the ability to drive sales directly gives your sales funnel gives the highest potential for returns with a route that bypasses the marketplace SERP altogether.

The best way to achieve this is with the use of a shoppable media solution.

2. Analyze Campaign Performances and Apply Insights

When eCommerce first started disrupting our idea of how customers find evaluate and buy products it did so via a bunch of new digital touchpoints. Tracking data from websites apps social media online marketplaces and every other outlet gives us a consumer journey that can be targeted.

With the current unsettled economic climate it is important to analyze your data from the past years and leverage it to prepare for the year's eCommerce events. How?

  • Get digestible detailed campaign performance and consumer journey insights.
  • Track conversions and identify specific ads that drove the sale.
  • Discover which content resonates most with your customers.
  • Apply insights to constantly refine your digital marketing campaigns.

If your analytics platform is advanced enough (ours is) you can even track what other products customers bought from every leading marketplace in the world.

Say you know that a piece of content is doing a good job driving people to a marketplace but they're also buying related products from competitors while they're there. That could be a good time to introduce bundle deals to secure more of each cart for yourself.

3. Combine your website and marketplace channels with a Where To Buy Solution

Creating a polished path to purchase for your consumers is essential to any successful eCommerce strategy. A hybrid approach where you keep selling direct to customer (D2C) via your own channels as well as listing on marketplaces is the best way of effectively giving your consumers a synthesized path to purchase. The ChannelSight Where to Buy solution puts a 'Buy Now' button on your site's products. Customers click this and get shown all marketplaces selling their chosen product upturning benefits such as:

  • Cutting down on friction so customers are moved efficiently toward the purchase
  • Minimizing competitive distraction
  • Obtaining valuable data analytics and insights to learn about customers and make better decisions

Ultimately customers expect to be able to buy what they want in the marketplace of their choice. Giving them what they want keeps your business going but also creates a positive rapport between consumer and brand which can be invaluable.

4. Maximizing positive ratings and reviews

There is a clear emphasis put on ratings and reviews demonstrating that they can influence consumers to buy products. Shopify reported that customers are 63% more likely to trust and buy from a company with good reviews. Reviews are trusted 12 times more than other marketing materials making them an integral part of the buying process.

The first step to maximize positive ratingson the marketplaces you sell on is to monitor ratings and reviews to gauge buyer sentiment. With our 'Digital Shelf' solution your brand can:

  • Instantly analyze ratings and reviews across your entire retailer and marketplace network
  • Set alerts to react immediately to major issues and opportunities
  • Drill into the granular product retailer and category-level data
  • Automatically add top ratings to your listings to improve conversion rates

The best way to generate reviews and ratings is by adding a Request a Review button at the end of your path to purchase. Moreover manually request reviews for each of your orders. This is the best way to reach your customers when a positive opinion of the brand is associated.

5. Make consumers your brand advocates

Brand building should form an integral part of your brand's online marketplace strategy.

You may think that you have minimal control over this as you're on another site but there are several ways you can enhance your brand on a marketplace. Here are two of the most important.

The first is through the quality content you should use on each product listing. Beautiful product pages with high-quality photos compelling copy an FAQ section and reviews for each product can really build trust in your brand and see you rise through the ranks quickly.

The second is to include business cards discounts or promotional cards within the package when you're shipping. These cards should be branded with your logo perhaps a message of gratitude and an incentivized offer for your customer to gain a new discount by shopping on your site. They can also incorporate QR codes.

If you want to go one better consider adding a degree of personalization by using their name or listing a related product they might be interested in with a discount on the product. This way you can also re-direct the flow of traffic to your website using the online marketplace of your choice.

Giving consumers the option to move seamlessly from your brand's website to the product page on a marketplace is another great hack for maximizing online sales.

During the consideration stage of the consumer journey a shopper might be browsing the product pages of your website but with the intention to purchase on Amazon. With the use of a 'Where to Buy solution' you give them the option to do this at the touch of a button.

6. Specialize in a niche then branch out

If your brand is just getting started selling on online marketplaces specializing in one niche is a good strategy to begin with. This can mean offering a few related products in one niche or only offering one product.

Besides being better able to control sales and perfect the selling and shipping cycle specializing in one product can allow you to build your reputation one successful sale at a time. From here you can take your reviews and add more products without having to attract completely new customers from scratch.

Starting small and scaling is a marketplace strategy that you can apply to international expansion as well.

Your seller reputation will already be firmly cemented and you can branch out with faster growth learning about your consumer in overseas markets with greater clarity.

7. Grow globally one step at a time

If you're using eCommerce to enhance sales internationally for even further brand reach start small and move one country or region at a time.

Once you've got a handle on how your strategy is progressing in a particular focus region you can add more and move further afield. This will open up a wider pool of customers and help you to boost your revenue.

A huge strategic advantage of marketplace selling is the ability to scale internationally with minimal effort. If you went with a D2C approach instead you would have a lot more logistical challenges on your hands.

8. Choose fulfillment and warehouse partners carefully

This is all about streamlining the operations of your online marketplace strategy. Many of the techniques for improvement here focus on the end customer and the selling experience.

However shipping the actual product and executing all the promises made by your global brand rests in the hands of your shippers warehouse partners and suppliers. After all it's only once the product arrives with the customer that it can delight them right?

International warehouses must be inspected by you or the employees of your company. While onsite you should ask to speak to business owners who have products in a niche similar to yours.

You should also be looking for a process that focuses on the reduction of errors and timely deliveries rather than simply weighing in on price.

Part of a successful process of course is the technical support that they have within the warehouse. Make sure this is flexible and you know how it runs.

9. Set up payment systems according to a region's preference

When you've decided that expanding your brand globally is part of your online marketplace strategy you should use one that supports shipping and payment options that are aligned with the preferences of shoppers in various regions.

For example 'COD' or 'Cash on Delivery' is a popular option in countries or regions where the infrastructure to support digital payments red cards or even gift cards may not exist yet. India the Middle East and Eastern Europe are particularly notable for this.

Does this mean you can't or shouldn't cater to them? Not at all! That's the beauty of using an online marketplace - the platform will define and determine where you can reach customers and what payment and shipping options are open to them.

10. Aim to win 'Buy Box' or 'Lightning Deal' status

To support top sellers meet consumer demands and keep their reputation as a trustworthy online marketplace Amazon puts into place two specific tools to help brands gain visibility.

The first is the 'Lightning Deal' which is a time-sensitive promotional offer where a couple of products are featured on the 'Deals' page of Amazon.

To be eligible your business will have to:

  • Have a professional account
  • Have received a minimum of 5 ratings a month with an overall 3.5-star rating
  • Have products that have a sales history and at least a 3-star rating
  • Have products that are Amazon Prime eligible and are in 'New Condition'
  • Have a deal with multiple product variations (such as style size color etc.)

Buy Boxes on the other hand are a placement of your product in a box on the product detail page. When more than one seller offers the same product they compete to be featured in this prime position.

Performance-based criteria include:

  • A professional account
  • A low Order Defect Rate Cancellation Rate and Late Shipment Rate along with price positive customer feedback and inventory matters
  • Sufficient order volume (which varies among categories).

Final Thoughts

Marketplaces can be a very competitive retail environment however there are ways to optimize your marketplace strategy to get noticed and drive conversions. eCommerce Strategies are a great complement to your brand's own online shopping experience. But to make them work for you a data-driven strategy is necessary. Capitalizing on the current tools and methods to gather data will ensure you have the information you need to understand your customers and make better decisions.

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