Why You Need a Multi-marketplace Strategy

By Simon Kelly | 26 Mar 2018

Having a marketplace strategy is more than just listing your products and hoping for the best. Diversification is key and streamlining processes is essential.

With the rapid pace of change in the marketplace landscape, many retailers are having trouble keeping up. But it shouldn’t be a question of whether or not to launch to a marketplace, it should really be about making sure you have a multi-marketplace approach.

Why?

From a consumer perspective, marketplaces allow for a standardised shopping experience with secure payments, consistent customer service, fast shipping, great pricing and access to a huge inventory. Search behaviour is changing and buying behaviour is adapting. Marketplaces allow for a new consumer segment to discover you. Your product or brand can easily become known to someone because you come up in a marketplace search when they may never have found you otherwise. This is why you should be investigating whether Amazon, eBay and Catch are for you at a local level, and also keep in mind cross border options like CatchOfTheDay.co.nz, Trade Me, Tmall or Lazada.

BUT…

Each channel has its own unique customer base and each new marketplace can give you access to a completely new customer demographic who may never have otherwise looked at your website. This is why a multi-marketplace approach is essential. Given that consumers are using marketplaces as a search tool, you need to be where a potential consumer is looking.

Elements of your Strategy

Diversification is key. You need the right reporting and analytics tools to deliver insight so that you can make performance-driven business decisions down to the product level. This will give you feedback in relation to things like pricing which is obviously a huge part of a marketplace strategy. Remaining competitive but profitable at the same time is key PLUS you need to ensure you are ticking all the boxes for customer satisfaction. It is these elements that will give you the best opportunity to win Buy Box placement on Amazon or prominent positioning on other marketplaces.

Each marketplace has its own search algorithm and unique audience (with differing target market based on age, gender and geography). It’s not enough to simply list all your products across the board on multiple marketplaces. It’s ensuring you can be found on each marketplace which will consequently lead to conversions and repeat purchases. Part of your multi-marketplace strategy is to ensure that you’re utilising the data available to know who your target market is on each platform and ensure you’re strategising accordingly.

Also be aware that each marketplace also has its own offering in terms of promoting your products and membership benefits. Know what’s required and the ROI in investing in different marketing options. Above all, know the value of loyal customers when it comes to things like Amazon Prime (coming later this year) and Club Catch.

Also, know what is expected of you. The requirements for each marketplace are different, for example image standards, whether you’re allowed watermarks, background colours, sizing and images per picture. Similarly optimising for each platform is different, in terms of title length, keywords, description and bullet points. There are strict rules in terms of seller requirements when it comes to shipping times, customer service and how you list your products. Be on top of these or risk the consequences.

While getting your head around these requirements sounds complicated, there are ways to automate the process so you can expand over several marketplaces with ease. That means you don’t need to manually repeat the process of launching through each new channel. Streamlining these processes means you can make the most of the opportunities available to you. With the right partner, you can launch, track and automate your inventory across marketplaces from one central platform, eliminating duplicate product data and preventing potential overselling scenarios. If you’re currently trading on more than one marketplace, you’ll understand why this support to streamline your processes is essential.

The most important part of any multi-marketplace strategy is that customer satisfaction is key. No matter the marketplace, your consumer is your best advocate. Ask for feedback to improve your seller ratings. Ensure you processes in place to manage customer queries or complaints. Ensure your stock levels and fulfilment processes are adequate and that your communicate with your buyer when necessary.

We know that keeping on top of all the different marketplace requirements can be daunting. For more about developing a multi-marketplace strategy, sign up to ChannelAdvisor’s exclusive webinar with Power Retail on 28 March 2018.

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