As online shopping continues to grow, third-party marketplaces are cropping up across the globe. From niche, category-specific marketplaces to international giants — even sites created by fellow retailers — the abundance of online marketplaces can make it difficult for retailers to keep up and know where to fit in.
It’s true, Amazon and eBay take up the largest share of the market. But other, lesser-known marketplaces offer the same benefits for retailers: A built-in base of loyal customers, an established infrastructure and a safe and quick opportunity to expand to new markets — and in many cases, with less competition.
To help retailers sort out this issue, Jayson Humphrey, strategic partnership manager for ChannelAdvisor, offered some key insights on how to create a winning marketplace strategy.
MCM: How do you decide which marketplaces are best for your business?
JH: Your product category and the audience you’re trying to reach should be the key drivers in choosing which marketplaces you sell on. If your products match up well with a marketplace’s strengths, specializations and consumer base, you’re more likely to build a loyal following and generate sales on that channel. There are many niche-specific marketplaces, and your goal should be to meet consumer demand within the channel’s core categories.
Another important factor is your stage of life as an ecommerce seller and where you’re currently listing your products. For instance, if you haven’t created a strong foundation domestically and aren’t maximizing sales potential from all the “low-hanging fruit,” then it may not be the best use of resources to expand internationally. Put the necessary resources behind the marketplace that provides the best opportunity and master it. Once you’ve developed a strong foundation on one marketplace, you’ll be ready to expand as new opportunities arise.
MCM: What are some tips and best practices for selling on a new marketplace?
JH: Product listings are the foundation to success on any marketplace, and developing quality content that resonates with the marketplace’s audience is critical. Descriptive titles, comprehensive product descriptions, high-quality images and accurately updated information across the board can help you captivate the buyer and increase conversions. Tailoring product content to the audience of a particular marketplace can help you stand out from the competition and build customers’ trust.
MCM: What international opportunities do marketplaces offer?
JH: International borders are blurring, and the ecommerce landscape has fewer boundaries. Third-party marketplaces offer a lower-cost and lower-risk gateway to international regions. It takes a significant investment to launch a branded, localized website and build a foundation from the ground up in a new region. Global marketplaces provide retailers with local expertise and a loyal audience to help sellers enter and test the performance of products in a new region.
You can learn more about this important topic during a free webinar hosted by Multichannel Merchant on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 2p ET, “The Five Marketplaces You Need to Be Selling on Now.” In addition to Humphrey, panelists include Drew Rifkin, director of business development for Rakuten.com Shopping, Connie Yiu, marketing manager for Newegg, and Brooke Chambers, account manager for Sears.