Some merchants avoid marketplaces, believing they compete with their shops’ brands. Others enjoy the extra revenue from selling on marketplaces. In this guide, I will propose an alternative strategy for ecommerce merchants to leverage marketplaces without denying their shops’ brands. […]
Biggest Challenge: Who Owns the Customer?
First thing to realize about selling on Amazon, Sears, along with other big marketplaces is that they control the customer relationship. Their clients likely don’t care about your brand or your online store. They do care about your products, pricing, shipping, and market store rating. However, the fact that you have an extremely successful shop is immaterial to them. They are purchasing from the market. In actuality, in most orders, they’re placing a general order which will be fulfilled by many distinct merchants. Many market customers do not even realize it.
Because of this, many ecommerce sellers don’t have a separate online shop. They just sell on marketplaces. These vendors could be your competitors. Their business model is low margin and higher turnover on hot-selling products. They use automated tools to nourish products to the marketplaces and deal with the pricing. They react immediately to customer requests that come in through the marketplaces. That’s their sales channel and they’re relentlessly good at it.
Entering a market with all of your goods — using your own, existing brand — is a wonderful risk. Your pricing will probably be greater than similar market offers and you won’t likely sell many products. Pricing is extremely dynamic on the Amazon market, particularly. Prices change hourly for popular products. Are you set up to handle that type of volatility with your products?
Secondly, if something goes wrong in the fulfillment process, your brand suddenly is vulnerable. Third, as contributor Scott Smigler described in the above “Third-Party Marketplaces: What Merchants Must Know,” you hazard duplicate content if you exhibit the exact same product descriptions on your site and in marketplaces. I know from experience that you don’t want to do that.
Option Strategy: Use a Different Brand, as a Independent Channel
Here’s an alternate approach to using your current brand, with all of your products.
- Brand. Set up your market stores under a different name. Sometimes, you might choose to prepare a distinct legal entity, also. This will let you continue to advertise your products as possible now in your very own online store. You won’t need to worry about price matching in both areas and you won’t need to worry if you’re in some form of dispute which affects your store.
If you think customers will see your online shop after making a purchase from Amazon, think again. In my experience, it happens infrequently. Customers buy on marketplaces since they’re loyal to them, not to you.
- Products. Start with a small subset of your products which (a) have high margins, (b) are easily available and in stock, (c) have some type of uniqueness (d) are already best sellers in your store, and (e) are ideal for your class on the Market
Do not use the identical title and descriptions on your website. Write original content which is tighter, more bulleted, and comparable to similar things on the market you select. Headlines should leverage strong search engine optimization. Include as much or more descriptive info as your opponents on the market. Ensure that you match the market categories and tags.
As you see success, you can learn from it and include products accordingly. You might end up getting different best vendors in the market than on your shop. In actuality, if you handle this as a separate station, you will probably wind up with various products over time.
- Pricing. Experiment with different pricing from your own shop. You may develop ideas from the market which may be applied in your shop. Prepare yourself to match prices on marketplaces, to create earnings. Sometimes, you might actually be in a position to price unique items higher on marketplaces than in your own shop.
- Customer Care. Be relentless in pursuit of getting the best ratings. Ship fast, respond to queries in an hour or two — even on weekends. Most of all, respect the fact that these aren’t your clients. For those who have a return, take it back without asking questions.
- Infrastructure. Produce a product feed that’s reusable on other marketplaces if possible. You should try and use the identical feed structure and articles for many marketplaces, even on Google’s Product Listing ads. This may simplify your content preparation, though every one will still require slightly different information. Automate these feeds as far as possible.
Do not worry about duplicate content across different marketplaces. That will be their problem, not yours.
For order management, attempt to integrate marketplace sales into your existing procedures as far as possible. That might be difficult, as you’ll need to print packing slips for every market and will have to upgrade the marketplaces themselves unless you’re integrated with them. As you’re not representing your “brand,” you might also have to produce alternative labels and email confirmations.
Conduct a comprehensive analysis prior to dive into marketplaces. They can definitely help diversify your earnings. But use them sensibly.
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