With the increasing popularity of eCommerce and an unforeseen boom on an unprecedented scale, the importance of online marketplaces is growing rapidly. Rules of social distancing are forcing retailers to increase their presence online to compensate for a loss in offline sales. There is new pressure to offer customers a complete, safe, and satisfying shopping experience on the internet. In line with that, eCommerce marketplaces stand for a comfortable environment that adds value to an online shop and opens the door to new customer groups. Find out what marketplaces have to offer and what it takes to make a profit from selling your items in department stores 2.0.
In 2017, Forbes published an article on the future of marketplaces offering a preview of the year 2020. Fast forward 3 years, nobody could have estimated how fast and important the evolution of online shopping would really become at a time where entire nations are in lockdown. Even pre-pandemic, the rise of eCommerce had been forecasted with an increase in global sales of almost 280% between 2014 and 2023. According to The Growth Tribe, 40% of all eCommerce sales are already happening on online marketplaces in 2020.
Also, more and more online shoppers are using mobile devices and take their product research seriously with a high need for a good market overview. Online sales have become less local and more international with 28% of European online retailers selling their products overseas and even 83% of European customers buying from another European country. Let’s find out what defines eCommerce marketplaces and why they are so important for our economy.
What are online marketplaces and what is their role in eCommerce?
An online marketplace is a website or app that enables its users to buy from a variety of third party businesses in one place. The marketplace (in the vast majority of cases) is not the owner of the products that are displayed and offered but serves as an ‘online department store’ with a defined category range. Data about stock, price, shipping, and any other kinds of product information can be accessed in real-time on an eCommerce marketplace. Therefore, the main challenge for sellers, as well as the platform itself, is the seamless and correct integration of product data into the online marketplace.
Why should I list on marketplaces?
A closer look at the main reasons and motivations for shoppers to use eCommerce marketplaces, offers a great starting point for advertisers to align their online marketing strategy accordingly.
Take-aways as a marketplace seller
- A marketplace is a shared stage. Your products are more accessible than in your own online shop and you get the chance to directly compete on the market.
- If a customer is looking for your product, but also for something that is not part of your own inventory, several purchases can be easily combined in one marketplace shopping cart. This can be a game-changer for clients and mean the extra sale for you.
- You get a hold of what is going on on your market and shed a light on your products by providing high-quality product information such as good pictures and a complete description.
The top eCommerce marketplaces – apart from Amazon
Every marketplace has its own rules, guidelines and best practices. Since Amazon is the global market leader and on everyone’s lips, we dedicated a whole blog on how to successfully sell on Amazon as well as a video about ‘How to make awesome listings on Amazon’ that you should not miss.
- Ebay – With over 170 million users in 190 countries around the world, eBay is truly a global marketplace and one you should use to get your products seen on keywords you can’t compete on. Over 22 billion was bought and sold in Q4 of 2019 alone. With options like auction pricing instead of fixed-pricing and the ability to sell used or new goods, eBay lets you make the most of your in-demand items. Unique items are also no problem with the ability to categorize almost everything.
For a better understanding of the marketplace landscape, we curated a small overview of some of the main players. Maybe you can find some inspiration for your eCommerce marketplace strategy.
Benefits of selling on marketplaces
Next to the huge incentive of increased visibility and exposure to the right target groups, the growing amount of services and offers for retailers who are selling on online marketplaces displays important benefits.
- Seamless payment and shipment processes
Most marketplaces offer a full-service package for their retailers when it comes to post-purchase fulfillment. They team up with the leading payment providers which enable a lot of retailers to sell across the globe and adapt to local payment preferences. Similarly, eCommerce marketplaces assist with or even manage shipping processes, ensuring that standards are met. Often, committing to a fulfillment service also increases your visibility on the marketplace since sellers who adhere to a marketplace service package are preferred by the platform.
- Tools & insights for growth
Internationally operating marketplaces offer tools to localize your listings by translating the product information and tailoring them to the needs and preferences of the respective audience. On top of that, analytical insights about purchasing behavior and product performance on the platform can contribute to a better understanding of your sales strategy. This can save you as a retailer time and resources when it comes to gathering performance insights.
- Stepping stone for internationalization
Next to the localization strategy for payment and content-related topics, often even more services are directly linked between the countries that an eCommerce marketplace is active in. Enabling you to operate from a single seller account instead of setting up a profile per target market and making it seamless and easy for retailers to set a foot into new markets. In Europe, Amazon has linked its sites (United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and Germany), which allows you to create and manage your own offers from a single seller account, make international shipments, and customize your sales plan. However, it’s still necessary to comply with the Amazon seller regulations for each country that you wish to sell in.
Top tips for successful marketplaces listings
Especially when you sell on a variety of platforms and maintain your own online shop, the right product data marketing and order management can be time-consuming and cost-intensive.
Marketing automation can support you in maximizing your success on eCommerce channels such as marketplaces, price comparison sites, affiliate networks, or your search engine marketing. By generating an optimized feed in Channable you match the specifications of any given eCommerce marketplace. The data feed will automatically be updated in line with your needs, with data runs on an hourly to daily basis. Connecting to an eCommerce marketplace with a real-time API connection enables you to push product listings from Channable directly to your sellers account in the eCommerce marketplace. Your product data, such as stock, price, or sizes, will be automatically updated with every sale or change in your store backend.
Channable is also able to retrieve orders from selected eCommerce marketplaces with an API connection, enabling you to handle all orders in one central place.
Here are a few examples of how feed management can offer an answer to the most common questions around online marketplace listings. In addition, here are 5 clever tips to help you sell successfully on marketplaces:
- Find the marketplaces (plural!) that work for you.
The biggest marketplaces are generalists, with Amazon and eBay leading the way. But, depending on your vertical, there is, next to the big players, a growing pool of niche platforms, the so-called specialists. The trend in eCommerce is leading towards a smart combination of several platforms to showcase your products in a multichannel strategy. The most important factor in finding the right marketplaces is identifying their target groups and main product categories. If your catalog matches, don’t be afraid to list on new marketplaces. More channels don’t have to mean more work: With Channable, you can control and create listings for your different marketplaces in one place.
- Map your correct product categories and attributes.
Especially on the generalist marketplaces, the correct categorization of your products is key for ideal visibility and efficiency. Often, the platforms operate with a PPC policy, making you pay for every click on one of your products. Ultimately, you want to perfect your listings in a way that ensures that your items appear exactly where they are demanded and are seen by the target group that is likely to convert into customers. Like this, you avoid a waste of ad spend by paying for useless clicks. In the ‘categorize’ step in your feed optimization process, Channable allows you to generate rule-based categories for every single product from your data feed, based on a field of your choice. Furthermore, with the help of the ‘smart categorization’, offered for a variety of marketplaces, a powerful machine learning algorithm will automatically map your items to the matching product category on the marketplace. Automated product categorization will make your listing set-up both faster and less error-prone!
- Optimize the titles of your products.
A good title for your products is essential when selling on marketplaces. There are two main goals of an ideal title structure that can affect your sales success: 1.) You want to inform your potential customers about your offers and 2.) you want to increase your ranking on distinctive item-related keywords to up your SEO game.Space is limited in product titles, so you need to convince marketplace users at a glance. Try to include as much valuable and identifiable information as possible (e.g., product type, size, color, availability) and make the title readable. Avoid special characters, spelling mistakes, and stick to one language to show your professionalism and reliability.Your products should be ranking high in both the marketplace internal search as well as on Google. Therefore, keywords have to be included in the product title (e.g., brand, model, key product characteristics). Most marketplaces will show the first 20-50 characters in the main search result overview. State the most important keywords at the beginning of the title.
- Filter your relevant products.
Sometimes, less is more. By choosing to only send your top-performing products to marketplaces rather than your whole catalog, you’ll increase your conversion rate and avoid “shelf-warmers”. Focus on those products that have the best chances of selling, and as a result, decrease the amount of ineffective CPCs. Within Channable, automated rules can exclude marginal sizes, less popular variants, or seasonal products that should only be added in a specified time period. Defining the items that really make sense for your marketplace product catalog becomes most insightful when you integrate analytics data into your feed management tool. At a glance, you get user sessions, transactions, conversion rate, bounce rate, and revenue per item. For example, this is how the item-level performance is visualized within Channable:
With the help of rules based on analytics insights, even broad and dynamic product catalogs can be maintained and managed based on item performance. With the knowledge about item performance, you actively integrate your data insights into your business activities. Below you find an example for a revenue-based rule in Channable, adding the static text “Top seller!” into the title of all products with a defined revenue of more than 1000€.
The second example of performance based rule displays how any product with a conversion rate that you define as (too) low, can be easily excluded from your marketplace export.
- Synchronize your data.
Don’t waste time on manual order management and stock updates, but sync order data from many different marketplaces straight to your online shop backend. Shipping information will be automatically updated and real-time stock updates for certain marketplaces and platforms will be pushed. Integrating your eCommerce platform (e.g., Shopify, Magento, Shopware, WooCommerce) into Channable will enable automatic multi-channel inventory management and ensure correct up-to-date product listings on your eCommerce marketplaces. Once your data is optimized, and marketplaces are connected within the feed management tool, all orders can be managed from your eCommerce platform. Say goodbye to copy-pasting, and hello to automatically receiving order information!
Selling online is not a choice anymore but has become a must. If you want to increase your exposure, reach the right target group plus new audiences, and profit from tools and services that make your life as an online retailer easier, marketplaces are your platform. At the same time, selling your products on marketplaces has never been easier than with marketing automation. Through Channable’s deep-integration, direct data exchange and automatic product updates, the feed management, and the PPC tool helps you to boost your online sales and save valuable time that you can invest in your ultimate eCommerce strategy. Learn how the feed management and PPC tool can also be the asset you have been looking for and reach out to us! You can even test Channable’s functionalities in a free trial account until you are ready to activate your first export feed.