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Commerce & Sales Channels

How to Sell on Multiple Marketplaces

Commerce & Sales Channels
January 12, 2022
10 min read
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Everything you need to know about managing sales across multiple marketplaces from product fit to fulfillment.

Selling on multiple marketplaces is often a merchant’s first step towards adopting a multichannel or omnichannel selling strategy. And the evidence shows that branching out to multiple marketplaces increases brand awareness and overall sales. According to multi-channel selling software, Sellbrite, merchants who are listed on 3 or more marketplaces see an average of 156% higher sales compared to those listed on only one.

If you’re thinking of listing your products on multiple marketplaces to expand your reach, we’ve laid out some important considerations that will help you take full advantage of your multiple listings. Read on to understand how to find the best marketplaces for your products and best practices for managing sales across multiple marketplaces.

Drive Exposure with Multiple Platform Listings

Each marketplace is unique and has its own advantages and disadvantages. Selling on multiple marketplaces will allow you to reap the best benefits of each platform you choose, creating a multi-threaded sales strategy that allows you to learn more about your product’s market fit through exposure to diverse audiences. Also, while some shoppers will compare prices on multiple marketplaces before making a purchase, many are loyal to a particular platform. Getting your products in front of those more loyal shoppers will open you up to a new customer base that may not have taken the time to seek your products out otherwise.

Leverage the Marketplace Community

To varying degrees, all marketplaces act as online communities with their own personalities, cultures, and brands. Consumer preferences or loyalties to particular marketplaces determine demographics and customer personas that will likely vary from one marketplace to the next. Your brand won’t be able to maintain a presence on every single marketplace, so it’s important to research the platforms and communities that will be the best fit for your products. Begin by answering a these questions about your target customers to determine which marketplaces you’ll be most likely to find them in:

  • What drives your customers’ purchase decisions? Do they place the highest value on price, quality, uniqueness of your products, or having a wide variety of choices?
  • What kinds of product photos and descriptions are your customers most drawn to? Are there similar brands in the marketplace that will attract the type of “window shoppers” who are likely to convert?
  • How important is meaningful engagement to your customers? Do they want to feel like your brand is a trusted friend or simply a reliable vendor?
  • Are you looking to build a stream of repeat business or is your product a one-time purchase for most of your customers?
  • Does your product fit into a specific industry category that has an established marketplace?

Understanding the unique aspects of each of these communities and how your products fit into the marketplace ecosystem will help you build brand equity with the right customer base.

Six Best Practices for Selling on Multiple Marketplaces

While most marketplaces are easy to launch, growing each platform into a profitable channel is a challenge on its own. Managing multiple platforms at once adds another layer of complexity. Below are our seven best practices for managing and succeeding on multiple marketplaces.

1. Automation

Selling on multiple marketplaces is nearly impossible without some degree of automation. Investing in a multi-channel selling software to automate listings and pricing will give you a centralized location and dashboard for all of your marketplaces so you’re not left hopping from one platform to another to manage your listings.

A good multi-channel selling software will allow for bulk uploads to simultaneously create listings across multiple platforms and will automatically update content to ensure that all listings are compliant with each marketplace’s unique requirements. Additionally, many sellers will change their prices daily, either in response to a change in demand or as a tactic to gain algorithmic advantage for their listings, therefore many multi-channel selling softwares offer automatic repricing strategies to help you stay one step ahead of your competitors.

2. Targeted Advertising

Amazon has set the standard for marketplaces as unique advertising platforms. Amazon ads now account for more than 10% of the U.S. digital advertising market, third only to Google and Facebook. Seeing their success, other online marketplaces like Walmart and Best Buy are following suit.

It’s important to get to know the in’s and outs of each marketplace’s advertising platform and tailor your ad strategy to their particular algorithm. As the leader in the market, Amazon’s algorithm and digital ad platform is usually the best place to start to gain an understanding of the in’s and outs of paid vs. organic search, sponsored ads, and influencer marketing. Many brands looking to build a more effective multichannel advertising strategy will work with an ecommerce agency to hone in on their best keywords, optimize their content, and boost sales. 

3. Optimized Content

Especially on Amazon, content plays heavily into ad performance. That’s because your conversion rate is an important factor in ranking for search terms. If too many shoppers land on your product listing without actually purchasing, Amazon will start to see your listing as irrelevant to search terms

4. Customer Engagement

It’s also important to be an active and engaged community member in every marketplace your brand is actively selling on. This includes responding quickly and meaningfully to customer inquiries and regularly monitoring your reviews and feedback. A few negative reviews can be the death of any merchant’s marketplace listings and should be resolved quickly and empathetically. 

Of course you can reduce your number of negative reviews by having a clear understanding of each marketplace’s terms and conditions and regularly monitoring your KPI’s. Same-day fulfillment, order tracking, and fast shipping are common expectations for online marketplace shoppers, and failing to meet these expectations leads to customer dissatisfaction and poor reviews. In competitive marketplaces, customers have endless options, and a few bad reviews will quickly cause your listings to stagnate.

5. Inventory Management

A solid inventory management strategy is an important part of any business to avoid stockouts while minimizing inventory carry costs. Managing inventory across multiple platforms can become complex quickly, especially when each marketplace carries a different profit margin and may have a different customer base.

One key to simplifying inventory management across multiple marketplaces is to partner with a logistics provider with the tools and data to monitor inventory levels across multiple platforms and the flexibility to easily move inventory between platforms when necessary.

6. Streamline Fulfillment

Streamlining your logistics is another key component to successfully managing multiple marketplaces. Outsourcing your logistics will help you to stay competitive with affordable 1-2 day shipping and help you manage and maintain accurate inventory levels across multiple marketplaces. Many merchants are turning to an on-demand warehousing partner to help them get their inventory closer to their end customers and extend their 1-2 day delivery footprint.

Customer demand has made speed of delivery a major sales driver and conversion tool for online shoppers and will not only help you win the buy box on many marketplaces but will give you a competitive edge that will drive consumer preference for your brand and drive up your top line revenue. 

Many marketplaces, including Google Shopping, have begun to recognize the importance of fast shipping to their customers and are rewarding merchants with fast shipping guarantees with a badge highlighting their products. These badges are proven to capture more shoppers’ attention at the top of the funnel and improve overall conversion rates by up to 9%.

Managing inventory across multiple warehouses and online marketplaces may sound like a headache, but a high-quality logistics partner will offer a software solution that fully integrates with your multi-channel selling software to simplify your sales and fulfillment end-to-end. This software will automatically update inventory levels across multiple platforms to avoid selling out and having to cancel orders, which is one of the quickest ways to lose customers and garner yourself some negative reviews. Having clear and accurate visibility into inventory levels will also be a significant cost savings for your business, as both overstocking and under-stocking could potentially cost the equivalent of nearly 12% of sales for your business every year.

Multi-Platform Success

Online marketplace sales continue to grow, and more and more retailers are expanding their sales channels to include one or more of these platforms in their growth strategies. As marketplaces become more crowded, it will be imperative to have dynamic and nimble operations in order to compete. 

Focusing your efforts on the best-fit marketplaces for your business, automating whenever possible, and building a 1-2 day delivery network will make your listings stand out and drive sales across all platforms. To learn more about how Ware2Go is helping businesses of all sizes compete in a crowded market, take a look at our solutions or reach out to one of our in-house experts.

FAQ’s:

What can I sell on the marketplace?

Each marketplace has its own product requirements and niche market segment. General marketplaces like Amazon allow a wide range of product categories, while more focused marketplaces like Overstock have limited product categories.

Are marketplaces profitable?

Marketplaces can be profitable, but between listing fees, advertising costs, and fulfillment, a merchant can easily sell themselves out of business. It’s important to have a complete picture of Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) at the SKU level to monitor the profitability of marketplace sales.

How do marketplaces create value?

Marketplaces are often easy to launch, build trust with consumers, and include advertising and analytics tools to monitor sales and profitability. Overwhelmingly the evidence shows that merchants who sell on multiple marketplaces at once will generate more sales.

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