Ten steps to scaling your marketplace presence

International growth: be aware of the financial rules (Image: AdobeStock)

International growth: be aware of the financial rules (Image: AdobeStock)

The RetailX Growth 2000 Marketplace: 2021 Report investigates how growth 3000 retailers are using marketplaces to reach new customers and increase product visibility.

Drawing on bespoke research of the sector, anecdotal advice from industry experts and case study evidence from a range of retailers and marketplaces, we came up with the following practical steps to scaling your marketplace presence.

1. Choose the right marketplace

Everyone knows Amazon and eBay these days. The two global marketplaces are on everyone’s lips and are indeed leaders in many categories. But there are numerous other marketplaces across the UK and Europe (e.g., Bol.com, Allegro, Cdiscount, AliExpress, OnBuy) that are much better in some areas and categories than the ecommerce giants from the USA. It would be a mistake to limit yourself only to Amazon. Some are more fashion-oriented, others are more pertinent for the realms of furniture or electronics. So choose the marketplaces that best fit your product categories or are best known nationally. In the Netherlands or Poland, for example, Amazon has little to no relevance. In this context, it comes down to country-specific general marketplaces like Bol.com or Allegro. Moreover, consider the services offered by the marketplace (e.g. logistics service). Finally, pay close attention to the entry conditions of each marketplace as you will need to be able to meet these expectations in order to avoid your account being suspended.

2. Choose the right products

First of all, it is better and more skilful to start with a smaller selection of products on marketplaces than to make the entire product catalogue available immediately. Preferably, choose products that sell well and are easily recognisable to consumers. Ideally, these initial products should also have good margins and relatively low return rates.

3. List products correctly

Upload your product catalogue and make sure that each product is in the right category of the marketplace. The category is essential as it allows e-shoppers to find your products in a targeted manner as well. This is where a feed manager like Lengow can help.

4. Build good logistics

Functioning logistics is at the heart of marketplace success. You can choose to manage logistics yourself to keep costs down or work with an external partner to free up more time for other activities. Some marketplaces also offer their own logistics service that you can use. This usually gets you listed higher in search results.

5. Optimise product data

Optimizing your product data and content on marketplaces is crucial and quite different from creating content for your online store. On marketplaces, you are in direct competition with other brands or sellers, hence the need to stand out as soon as possible. Categorise your products so that they are easy to find and enter all your attributes correctly. Think about images, titles, descriptions and keywords that will capture your customers’ attention.

6. Collect reviews

Once you start selling, it is important to collect customer reviews. 15 reviews per product is a goal you should set. Reviews help persuade other consumers and allow your products to show up better in search results. Don’t forget to address negative reviews that could hurt your reputation.

7. Use campaigns

Marketplaces offer different promotion and advertising tools to help merchants increase the visibility of their products. Analyse them carefully and choose the tools that you can easily use for your products and brand. Discounts, for instance, work well for new products. The goal with marketing tools is to make initial sales and get reviews. After that, it will be much easier to launch future promotional campaigns.

8. Analyse results

The analysis of collected data, reviews and feedback is absolutely necessary. This will help you learn from your mistakes or your successes and improve the delivery service, optimise content or think about new advertising campaigns.

9. Experiment with new products

Once you have gained initial experience and are satisfied, you can test new product groups on the marketplace. The process should always be the same: experiment, learn, improve and optimise.

10. Choose new marketplaces

After you have successfully launched on the first marketplaces, it is time to think about new channels. In competitive online commerce, you should never rest. For example, launching on marketplaces in neighbouring countries can be a good way to expand your e-business. Or go for more domestic marketplaces after all? Remember to start again at step 1 with every new marketplace.

This article was originally published in the Growth 2000 Marketplaces 2021 report. Download the full version here for further actionable insight into selling on marketplaces, with real examples from Growth 2000 retailers.

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