When it comes to buying online, there’s a platform for everything. And with such vastly different product categories on the market, the need for different delivery options and service offerings is required by sellers from across the world as they seek the perfect market on which to make their mark.
So many of the clients we meet think of Amazon as the number one marketplace platform to sell on, largely because it is a more prominent one in the market. However, every country may have a different top selling platform – with a big part of our job being to help sellers uncover the potential that lies ahead when they expand their brand in new directions and encompass different marketplaces in their expansion plan.
What to look for in a good marketplace platform
A good marketplace platform is one which connects your business, brand, and products with an audience of captive potential customers. The first thing you need to know here is who your chosen platform attracts – who uses it, what the core demographic is, how it connects customers and products, and how to differentiate yourself from the competition.
While a marketplace platform or site lets you benefit from the multitude of customers who visit the site every day, cutting through the noise and standing out as the best solution for them is no mean feat – and it’s here that marketing and branding becomes such a core part of your expansion plan. The best marketplaces will help with this and let you learn from the stats, giving you access to a plethora of useful information to help with your long term strategy.
Other things to look out for, and are becoming the norm across some marketplace opportunities, include:
- Human interaction as opposed to automated responses and online support
- Marketing support and featured products or stores
- Whether or not a marketplace is category specific, for example specialising in homeware. While offering a narrower buyer pool in some respects, those who do use the site are likely to be a more captive audience for what you are selling
- Transparency in relation to fees and requirements as a seller on the platform
- User friendly
Working with an agency like GEE can help when it comes to many of these elements, helping you to decipher the requirements of each platform we partner with, and supporting you to make sure you make the most of each marketplace you sell on. However, even with our help, having an awareness of the benefits of each platform you can sell on – and the existence of many more outside of the core Amazon focus – is the key to becoming a successful seller on the global market.
One platform or multi-platform?
With that said, should we be assessing the best marketplace to focus on, or should you be looking at a multichannel approach to marketplace platform selling?
In essence, it depends on what you are selling and where. In the US, Amazon is so big that it is clearly the best platform to sell on and can likely tick all of your boxes in relation to outreach, marketing, and business success.
In other locations, the existence of other popular channels means that you need to think outside the Amazon Prime box and become active in other marketplaces. At the end of the day, the more places you sell, the more people will see your products and consider buying them – and that’s good for business.
This is where it all comes back to those stats we mentioned earlier, which will allow you to track progress across different sites and really decipher, over time, which is the most beneficial for your business. When you can see who is using each marketplace and how responsive they are to your brand and products, you can slim down your strategy to focus on those marketplaces that really work for you – or, indeed, expand further and keep growing.
Then we come to the logistics of a multi-marketplace strategy – because, let’s be honest, managing listings across a multitude of platforms sure does sound like a lot of work. Well, this is where we must consider automation and the existence of software which lets you manage and track sales across all marketplaces in one central location – managing everything from inventory to advertising and more.
This is where an agency like GEE can offer invaluable support – matching you with the software and systems you need to track and keep on top of your products, sales, and marketplace success no matter how big you get.
How to be successful on a marketplace platform
Marketplace success comes from choosing the right platform on which to appeal to the right audience. The more people who see your products, the more the chance of you making sales – but an effective strategy is a lot more than just quantity of views, encompassing the importance of a logistics centre with efficient warehousing and transportation, as well as the crucial area of advertising and marketing.
The way that different marketplaces support marketing and product advertising differs across the board. While Amazon offers a pay-per-click setup which costs you money whenever someone clicks on your ad or product, eBay supports keyword bidding and charges you as the seller when your product actually sells.
Marketing also extends to consider customer interaction and messaging, the way your products are built into your webpages, and even how well you manage stock levels as they appear on your product page – i.e., letting customers know when something is out of stock before they buy it. This circles back to the importance of a central and automated online system, particularly if using a multi-channel marketplace approach, as keeping on top of inventory across different platforms can feel near impossible. Some of our partners offer this kind of service to streamline your online activity, with Linnworks and PlentyMarkets a couple of the main systems partners that compliment the support we offer here at GEE – one of which encompasses 3PL and the importance of third party logistical support in expanding overseas.
Under our 3PL package, we offer a dedicated storage and fulfilment service which handles all the logistical details of your product stores, inventory, and more. And when you know what you have in stock and can update your marketplace stock levels accordingly and accurately, you rank better and achieve greater success – not to mention it makes it much easier to track when new shipments are required to keep up with customer demand.
For more information on marketplaces and on how our team of experts at GEE and our partners can help, check out the full webinar on our Youtube channel or get in touch with the team directly.