Many retailers understand the necessity of branching out to multiple sales channels and meeting consumers where they are with a Business to Everyone mindset. Taking your business multi-channel is a viable strategy for either building a customer base and driving them to your new eCommerce store or accelerating growth for an already established brand. In either case, many retailers begin their multi-channel strategy with online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, or Walmart Marketplace. And overwhelmingly, the evidence suggests that simply listing on one marketplace is not enough. 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.
Marketplace listings are highly attractive to SMB’s in particular because they are simple to set up and require little to no upfront investment. They also offer significant SEO and SEM advantages and attract high-intent shoppers. 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.
Diversify for Maximum Exposure
Each marketplace is unique and has its own advantages and disadvantages. Listing 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 multiple 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.
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 make better use of your time with higher ROI’s and will help you build your brand with the right customer base. It’s also important to be a good community member by 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 cut down on 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.
Automate to Increase Efficiency and Profitability
Managing and staying competitive in 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.
Streamline Fulfillment to Drive Revenue
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.
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.