How to choose the right marketplace? This is a question a lot of e-commerce owners and managers are asking themselves today, as they look for ways to reach new customers.
Selling on marketplaces is the preferred strategic maneuver for most e-etailers looking to scale up their operations from their original storefronts. Even in a post-Coronavirus world, online sales are taking over a larger and larger share of the overall retail market.
This presents some unprecedented opportunities for brands and e-merchants with established online stores to extend their reach and grow their sales by opening up new channels for selling.
With more than a dozen marketplaces already operating in the U.S. (besides behmoths eBay and Amazon) plus scores of smaller niche or localized ones, the choice is not easy. How should you make your decision? Which criteria should you consider?
Here is a decision framework that will show you how to choose the right marketplace.
General marketplaces versus specialized marketplaces
Selling one’s products on a marketplace is a way of reaching a new clientele,which would otherwise be out of reach. An advantage of general marketplaces – Amazon being the leader – is that they will reach for a much larger customer base, whereas the specialized marketplaces will generate a more distinct traffic.
Combining the two is an option as well. The choice depends on your industry, your products and the knowledge of your customers.
The most important thing is to embrace a global strategy which is aligned with your goals. For instance, make sure that you study the target market (B2C, B2B, C2C), the competition within your category of products, and the consistency of your marketing strategy.
Weigh the requirements and the advantages of each marketplace
The goal here is to understand how your potential partners are working, in order to optimize the operational processes, while offering a great customer experience.
How are the contents of your products managed? Which feed management solutions does the marketplace use? Does it store the products? Does it handle their delivery? It takes time and resources to meet the marketplaces’ requirements, so anticipation is key.
Eventually, analyze their differences:
- How would you rate the customer experience which they provide? Do they offer a 1-click checkout option for enrolled customers? Or a payment processing app that finds them discounts before final checkout?
- Do they have a mobile app? Without a good mobile marketplace app, you won’t be seen by a lot of Millennials and, especially, Gen Z shoppers.
- What do they offer that others don’t? Some marketplaces offer, for instance, support and marketing tools in order to help you increase your sales.
Think about your product & price strategy
In order to diversify your sources of income efficiently, choosing your marketplaces has to be based on a well thought-out strategy.
It is advisable not to offer all your products on all marketplaces: make a selection that matches your goals, but also the target customer base of the marketplace.
The selection must also take into account the competition and the reputation of your store. At first, head towards a narrow selection and/or lower prices in order to stand out and trigger positive reviews.
Keep in mind that your store has to be seen
Your presence on marketplaces must play a part in lowering your acquisition costs. To make sure of it, check their SEO and SEM on Google. Does the quality of traffic look good to you? Is there an investment from the marketplace in customer loyalty?
As a retailer, it is also interesting to take a look at the commercial operations which the platform offers. Sales, promotional campaigns, brand corners, labels and other rewards are precious tools which, free or not, will help you gain visibility.
Choosing the right marketplaces is an important first step. A good strategy is the foundation of a successful launch, and gets you everything you need to ask yourself the right questions.
Tailoring your product feeds to each marketplace or channel you select is made much easier when you have a feed syndication service like Shoppingfeed. We walk you through all the setup for SEO, plus helping you customize product selections and promotions for each marketplace.
My mission at Shoppingfeed is explaining how to leverage e-commerce platforms and SaaS technology to e-merchants who just want to run their business and make more money.
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