5 keys to develop a successful marketplace strategy Key 1
Be visible by building your offer One of the key interests for marketplaces is the visibility they provide. By putting your offer on Amazon or eBay, you will benefit from their marketing power, image, and SEO, and gain increased exposure for your products. But being able to propose your offer on marketplaces is one thing; being visible inside the marketplace is another. If you are a reseller, your offer will most likely be gathered with your competitors’, sometimes dozens for the same product. In this kind of situation, your visibility depends mosly on .commercial and service metrics. Marketplaces will promote the merchant who gives customers the best overall experience for their money spent. The only way to put your offer above others is to propose an attractive price with the best quality of service possible. On another hand, if you are the first merchant proposing a product or if you are the only seller, you will have the opportunity and the responsibility to create the product sheet on the marketplace. It will allows you to control the overall aspect of the offer: images, title, description, characteristics.. Remember that each marketplace has its own internal research algorithm; apply the same strategy you would when optimizing your website for Google research. Carefully create your product sheets and you will have the opportunity to make it visible, likable, and salable. Key 2
Meet marketplace requirements As you will soon realize, marketplaces have many requirements, which are often specific to each one. However, some are common to all. 1- The first concerns EAN Code. When a product arrives on the market, it has a unique identification code which must remain the same whether it is sold in a physical shop or online. Marketplaces use this code to organize their catalog and to aggregate all of a product’s sellers around the same advert. When you place your products on a marketplace, they must have the EAN Code. If they don’t, they will be rejected for sale. The only exceptions apply for craft product and for exclusive manufacturers and sellers. So check that you have this information before you start out. If you don’t have it, request it from your supplier or contact the organizations authorized to issue it. 2- The second requirement has to do with product images. Marketplaces have almost all increased their standards in terms of image quality and format. Always check their criteria before starting. 3 – Finally, make sure that your logistics are capable of providing the minimum level of service required in terms of returns, refunds, delivery times and minimum response times… Some marketplaces do not wait for long before banning a merchant who has canceled sales, so be prepared! Key 3
Choose your first marketplaces well When you start out, your first question will probably be, which marketplaces should I choose and what criteria should I base my choice on? There are many marketplaces, and it is tempting to want to sell everywhere. But be careful, there is a compulsory adaptation period for your offer and your logistics which you must not take lightly. Therefore start by deploying your offer on 2-3 marketplaces maximum and maybe give priority to those with lower requirements in terms of responsiveness and customer service. This will allow you to prepare properly to succeed in the largest marketplaces.. Marketplaces do not all have equal visibility. Some will have better SEO than others for your type of product. Do a simple Google search for your flagship items to better identify the platforms which will give you more visibility. Also, remember to include a specialized marketplace in your top choices. They have less favorable SEO than the general marketplaces but have the advantage of offering: Qualified traffic And more comprehensive content adapted to certain product types. Finally, don’t forget your ROI. Most marketplaces are remunerated via commissions on sales and a fixed monthly subscription. Therefore anticipate the impact of these costs on your profit margin when making your choice. Key 4
Deploy and centralize feed management Once you have made your choice and your catalog is in place on the marketplaces, you must optimize the resulting order management. You must be responsive and always keep your catalog up to date to avoid canceled orders as much as possible. To integrate optimal organization, technical assistance may be necessary depending on your business sector and certain criteria. To help you, there are many management solutions that have emerged in recent years. Main one are feed management software. Most often connected to your e-commerce site, it centralizes the management and updates of your catalog, stock and order feeds between your site and the marketplaces. It will simplify daily management as well as integration process. Many other tools exist which enable you to automate and manage various aspects of your marketplace strategy, their purpose is to help you focus your efforts on the long-term development and vision of your business. By lightening the daily management of your marketplaces strategy you will free up time for higher added value activities that will move your business forward. Key 5
Prepare for Internationalization Now that your marketplace strategy is in place in your main market, you can envisage international sales. You can extend your target and offer your products in regions where the competition is less intense. However, before doing this you must : Check that your logistics are in perfect running order and ready to deliver higher quantities in total security, at greater distances, for reasonable lead times and costs. Ensure that you can manage an after-sales service at least in English. Finally, study the different laws and regulations, especially in terms of taxes. You can then adapt your catalog to the target markets. In some cases you’ll be able to distribute a good part of your catalog automatically via your EAN Codes, but if not, you must have it translated. Then, you must choose the most favorable marketplaces for international development. Do a comparison of the offers proposed by each marketplace to determine your choice and don’t forget to use the criteria already defined above but adapt them locally. Finally, start out gradually. Prioritize countries that border your own to facilitate delivery management, communication, and to prepare to launch in more distant countries without decreasing the quality of service.