Product information, prices, product range, product images, brand identity and organizational changes. All of these factors need to be considered if or when you decide to expand your reach and start selling on an online marketplace.
Marketplaces and product information
If structured and correct product information has not been your top priority before, it will definitely be when you start selling on marketplaces. Your success on a marketplace depends on your visibility in filters and categories, making search key words in your product descriptions crucial. You need to know, and communicate the USPs of your products clearly, because you will be letting someone else, sell them for you, so HOW to sell them is up to you.
If you need translations of product texts you are adding another dimension, make sure you have the system support for handling multiple variants of texts.
Marketplaces and product images
Product information is hard currency on a marketplace, and your products pictures are so precious that you should handle them separately. Flashy and detailed product images are important, but remember that they are not all that counts. User generated photos and videos have proved important for sales AND they generate brand loyalty, better distribution and visibility. Make sure you have both types of pictures available for your audience. Make sure that your images meet the requirements from the marketplace in terms of angles, background colors and number of pictures per product. In addition you should be able to offer catwalk videos or instruction videos, in order to further lower the threshold for the consumer to click the Buy button. Or add the product to Favorites which is a trigger for your marketplace operator to continue, and hopefully complete the Buyer's journey in a near future.
Marketplaces and prices
When selling on online marketplaces - let go of your inner control freak regarding pricing. Price transparency is hygiene in order to show up in searches and price comparisons. When you sell your products on marketplaces you cannot expect to keep track of every ongoing campaign. Yes, it is possible that your goods will be sold at a lower, or higher price to different consumers, and you will not always be able to control it. The playing rules have changed - you cannot control the reseller and cannot expect to always sell with high margin.
Marketplaces and product range
On an international market, can you compete with products from other brands than your own? Frankly, it is hard to compete with Levi's jean jackets against Levi's themselves on a marketplace like Farfetch.com. So before you start selling everything you have in your e-commerce on a marketplace, think twice. Evaluate if your private label assortment is good enough to become a standalone brand. Then you can sell your own brand at a higher margin and don't have to compete with others about pricing.
Marketplaces and brand credibility
Many marketplaces offer the possibility to have your own brand page or seller page, as well as numerous ads and links in several directions. You really should evaluate the maturity of your own brand and see if it could work on its own, because marketplaces don't really allow for piggybacking on the other products on the shelf.
If you are selling your own brand, make sure that you can provide information about brand identity and promises. Sometimes you nead a digital home for that, either on the marketplace or a separate page. This depends on the target group. If you are selling products that require a lot of engagement to buy, or with a higher price, you really should consider your own page, in order to convey values, stir emotions, or be transparent about production processes, company values etc.
Adjusting to marketplace sales - processes, tech and legal issues.
This article does not touch upon the required adjustments in terms of work processes and tech support. The extent of the adjustments depends on the where you started. If you are a e-commerce company and your stock and distribution operations are well-functioning, the changes does not have to be extensive in that area, but your organization and your processes will have to change more.
There are also legal requirements and agreements regarding delivery time etc that you need to consider early, but as soon as you have those details in order, you are well on your way towards marketplace sales.
The commerce experts and advisors at Avensia have helped several companies start selling in different digital channels, including marketplaces, and we are happy to help you with strategies for expansion, product line, pricing and launch planning as well as technical implementations, including project management, product enrichment, advertising and analysis, and much more.
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