If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them: Online Marketplaces

While retailers tend to view online marketplaces such as Amazon or Walmart as threats, the savvier ones are shifting their mindset and starting to look at these conglomerates more as opportunities. This is where the age old saying comes into play, “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

By partnering with these marketplaces, merchants can sell more products, expand their brand and develop a larger customer base all by leveraging the massive recognition and marketing these platforms bring.

Change Your Mindset

Retailers naturally see Amazon, the largest marketplace in the world, as competition to the SMBs who have established themselves in local communities. What many small businesses don’t recognize is that these sites can and should be turned into partners. By using marketplace integrations retailers can increase their reach exponentially.

Marketplaces increase brand awareness, capturing shoppers that otherwise would have never found you. And while a percentage of your sale goes to the marketplace, the potential increase in overall sales (with minimal overhead) should out pay itself and then some. Ecommerce is rapidly becoming the medium of choice for consumers, with comparative marketplaces becoming the norm, so leveraging these sites is an easy way for retailers to be more successful.

Expand Your Brand

In 2016 it was reported that there were more than 310 million active customer accounts on Amazon. That means if you’re able to sell a $1 product to 1% of Amazon’s customer base within the year, you could have $3 million in additional sales. One of our clients sold over $8 million last year through Amazon alone, on top of their more traditional brick-and-mortar and online sales.

Take the Load Off

Some marketplaces like Amazon use their massive infrastructure to take on the burden of fulfillment and services. Retailers participating in FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) send their merchandise to the Amazon warehouse to fulfill, enabling them to make their products Prime eligible by offering free two-day shipping. In today’s world of instant gratification, tapping into tens of millions of Prime members can bring a significant increase in your Amazon orders, without having to coordinate fulfillment efforts or added expenses.

Make Sales While You Sleep

Since these marketplaces are taking on the heavy lifting with their marketing efforts, brand recognition and endless budgets, you can be making sales without doing much of anything. While you’re making your site responsive or having store staff fulfill web orders or strategizing how to get orders out the door faster and cheaper, take advantage of the abundant resources marketplaces can offer. With a  marketplace integration you gain the resources needed to make and manage additional sales with no limits.

Integrate With Your POS System

With a properly integrated platform, retailers are able to easily post products, manage inventory, track marketplace sales and know exactly when and where sales are coming from, all from within their retail management system. While it’s possible to sell on marketplaces without integrating to your POS, it takes time and effort to manually post products and enter orders. Plus with any manual process comes increased risk for errors.

The retail market is changing. As consumers become more independent and their expectations increase, savvy retailers who can shift along with the market – doing things they wouldn’t have considered two years ago – are the ones who will succeed in the long term.

Ian Goldman is CEO of  Celerant Technology Corp.

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