Online marketplaces are one of the major trends in the retail sector right now. Amazon Marketplace now accounts for 52 per cent of Amazon’s business, meaning Amazon gets additional e-commerce channels without inventory or logistic constraints and its customers benefit from increased product choice.
But what should smaller retailers look out for when selling via an online marketplace?
Choose your marketplace carefully
There are so many online marketplaces for sellers to consider, including Amazon, high street retailers and specialists such as Etsy (arts & crafts), Farfetch (fashion) or Foodzie (artisan food), where all sales are via a marketplace. A strong and varied product range is important but make sure your products are complimentary to the overall retailer, otherwise you’ll be viewed as an interesting curio, rather than serious seller. Also be mindful to pick marketplaces with a solid technical platform and the right tools to ease catalogue integration and listings management.
Use pricing tools
Price isn’t always the main factor in a purchasing decision, but it stands to reason that a majority of consumers love a bargain. Most good marketplaces will provide a pricing tool which allows sellers to compare their price with the current best price on each product. Prices can then be adjusted accordingly and gives a seller the chance to be positioned in the Buy Box position, the section on a marketplace that highlights the most competitive prices available. Sellers listed in the Buy Box are seen as soon as the shopper clicks through to the product and this can have a great impact on sales.
Ensure your visuals are attention-grabbing
As with your own website, good product imagery is of paramount importance. Choose the best images possible, those that fit in with the overall feel of the site and main retailer brand. High quality visuals can be an important point of differentiation.
Take care when choosing your product titles
Most businesses are now aware of the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and those principals should be applied to listing products on an online marketplace. A seller should ask their marketplace account manager what would be an efficient title on that particular product category, both in terms of grabbing attention and SEO. For example, if selling electronic goods for the house, customers would mostly search for the product by brand, so including the brand at the beginning of the title would be critical in getting picked up in searches.
Have a varied and exhaustive product offering
One of the key benefits of a marketplace is to ensure complementarity and long tail. Seller will be pleasantly surprised at the range of products that they can sell at a given time. Try different products and increase sales opportunities by offering as large a range as possible.
Adrien Nussenbaum is co-founder of Mirakl which supplies its online marketplace software to some of Europe’s biggest retailers including high-end department store Galeries Lafayette.