Marketplace Best Practice – Five Top Tips
It wasn’t that long ago that marketplaces weren’t something brands and retailers prioritised as part of their overall e-commerce strategy. Some retailers had an eBay presence or some had an international presence on Amazon, but beyond that, marketplaces were ‘just another place to list products’. How times have changed…today, they are a critical part of any sellers go to market strategy.
Retailers are adopting a multi-marketplace approach locally with a presence on Amazon Australia, eBay, Catch, MyDeal and more. Their cross-border strategy might involve everything from Lazada in South East Asia to entry into the US or EU markets through Amazon, eBay or Walmart.
However, in an increasingly competitive environment, it’s no longer an effective strategy to simply list your products and hope for the best. The consumer has adapted to the changing e-commerce landscape and that means marketplaces play an enormous role when it comes to how they search for products and what they expect from you in terms of fulfillment and customer service.
So what do you need to do to ensure you’re not only following marketplace best practice but also leading the pack?
Until you develop a solid marketing strategy, standing out on marketplaces will remain an uphill battle. It’s about having a strategic approach that will ensure your listings are front and centre, at the top of search results and being seen by the right audience. Visibility is key. Make the most of the opportunities available on each platform. For example, look into Amazon Advertising, including Amazon Headline Search ads and Sponsored ads. Ensure eBay promotions Manager and Promoted Listings are being utilised to get your listing in front of consumers. Many marketplaces also offer advertising options through other channels like EDMs. Taking part in these types of promotions can make a big difference to your sales.
Optimised Product Content
How you structure your listings is essential for success. Product titles, images and descriptions are what help consumers see your products in the first place. Convincing copy is essential, but also make sure you’re sticking to the category requirements of each marketplace when you list as well. For example, listing correctly for apparel is different to listings for consumer electronics, and these listings have different requirements again depending on which marketplace you’re selling on. It can be quite complicated, but it is worth the effort to ensure you’re not only complying to the marketplace rules, but also so that you’re fully optimised and stand out from the competition. This is why a growing number of retailers and brands are relying on robust data feeds to ensure product information meets the standards of each marketplace.
Engagement on marketplaces is about developing a relationship with your consumer. When you maintain positive reviews and ratings, your customer will know you are trustworthy. Contact Response Times (CRTs) are also vital for maintaining these relationships. If your customer has a complaint or query, they don’t want to wait. When it comes to Amazon for example, poor CRTs can even lead to account suspensions while good CRTs can increase your chances of winning top selling positions! Exceptional service across the board, including the post-sales experience and even your returns policies, is how you truly engage with your customer on marketplaces.
Structured Pricing Strategies
A rule-based algorithmic repricer is essential for competing on any major marketplace. The key is to use a system or tool that aligns your competitive prices across channels so you don’t breach marketplace policies. You can also use a strategy that leverages business rules to create a dynamic pricing structure that’s automatically adjusted based on sales performance. Automation is key here and you need to ensure you’re balancing all the competing needs – capturing the attention of your consumer without sacrificing revenue or profits.
Delivery is one of the biggest competitive advantages when it comes to e-commerce and consumer expectations are only getting higher! When it comes to marketplaces, it’s essential to ensure that you are able to meet (or exceed) your customers’ expectations. Differentiate yourself by leveraging marketplace offerings when it comes to fulfilment via programs such as Amazon Prime, Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) or eBay Guaranteed Delivery and eBay Plus. Whether you want your marketplace to take care of the picking, packing and shopping for you, or you want to become part of the membership programs which promote free and fast delivery, it’s really about understanding the power of fulfillment. Delivery costs and times impact conversions. Why? Because fulfilment and memberships programs change how people search and the way they shop. Your consumer isn’t just looking for your product, they’re filtering results by delivery options as well.
These are just a few elements that you can introduce into your marketplace strategy almost instantly. Of course, the marketplace space is evolving rapidly and it’s vital to stay on top of all changes so you can fully leverage your offering. Other elements such as growth through cross-border trade and inventory management are also vital to stay ahead in the marketplace game. In fact, as new players enter the scene and consumers become even more comfortable with searching and purchasing through marketplaces, it’s important now more than ever to continue to follow best practice and keep revisiting your strategy to ensure you’re where you need to be.