10 top tips for succeeding on online marketplaces

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Tactics to help you streamline and grow your business.

In 2021, the top online marketplaces in the world sold $3.32 trillion in products. 

These online marketplaces offer consumers quick and efficient shopping experiences with a large selection of options. Combine this with easy site searches and straightforward delivery, they’re quickly becoming the preferred shopping option. So much so, Amazon has now overtaken Google as the preferred product search site

By making the most of this opportunity and implementing a multichannel strategy, you’re extending your products’ reach to new audiences, search engines and potentially across new geographies, which ultimately will have a positive effect on your overall online revenue.

If you’re considering expanding your reach via marketplaces, here are Pimberly’s top tips for  maximizing your success.

1. Central source of truth

There are many advantages to keeping everything central in your multichannel strategy, from product to logistics. 

Data preparation is a vital component in opening up your products to new sales channels. Different marketplaces have varying  product data requirements and adapting your brand’s tone of voice to fit each audience is a key way to ensure success. Without a central hub that enables you to create a single source of truth for all product information, it’s easy to become waylaid with duplications of the same product assets in different places. This can lead to inconsistent branding and an increased chance of errors.

Holding product data variations centrally, before distributing across specific marketplaces will ensure brand consistency, reduce errors, and speed your time to market.

The same thing can also be said for the logistical considerations. Managing stock levels, orders, and fulfillment manually from each individual channel is time-consuming and often error-prone. Overall, bringing this into a central inventory management software enables businesses to prevent overselling, stay on top of stock levels, and maintain happy customers. 

2. Understand your data requirements

With an average of 50 different marketplaces worldwide, there’s a large array of options when selecting the right marketplace(s) for your business. When you’ve chosen the right channel for you, the next step is understanding the specific data requirements. 

For example, Amazon has complex product detail page rules that need to be carefully followed for a successful listing. As such, managing a large volume of complex product data quickly becomes a laborious task. 

Creating specific channel templates adhering to the unique data requirements for each marketplace will hugely streamline this process. Automating this within a PIM and multichannel listing software like Linnworks, massively reduces manpower, errors, and your time to market. 

3. Know your audience

Extending the reach of your products across new marketplaces is a great way to tap into  new audiences. And choosing niche, product-specific options like Etsy, Wayfair, and Lovecrafts really boosts your brand’s discoverability. They provide direct access to a targeted audience and remove the competition of irrelevant product offerings. 

They also make it easier for you to match your brand’s tone of voice to appeal to specific types of consumers. In addition, creating different marketing descriptions for different routes to market is a great way of making your brand voice pop. By specifying your tone for specific audiences on niche marketplaces, you automatically put your product at a competitive advantage. Potential customers are more likely to relate to your carefully marketed products increasing conversion rates. And adapting your keywords for searchability purposes will have a great impact on your discoverability. 

4. Localize

If you’re looking to test out a new geography, online marketplaces are a great option. Save time and resources, all whilst expanding your reach without committing to a whole international operation. 

An important step in appealing to new international customers is ensuring they can browse and purchase in their own language. Also, make sure you use the relevant currencies, and give product details in units of measurement they know and understand. 

Although international marketplaces make it easier to test international channels, it’s important to keep analyzing the online behavior of these new customers. Make sure your brand reputation starts off on a high by speaking their language. 

5. Automate as much as possible

Growing your sales channels doesn’t need to mean task duplication for each new marketplace you expand to. This is why automation is key when growing your digital channels efficiently and effectively.

When it comes to product information, spreadsheets are one of the key culprits in task duplication. Not to mention the large scope for human error, and the time it takes to update or upload new products. 

Automating this process with a fit-for-purpose PIM Platform reduces your time to market, eliminates human error, and gives you more time to concentrate on other important aspects of your listing. 

6. Strategize your listings

If you’re choosing to sell across multiple channels, it’s important to adapt your product range and strategy for each channel. For example, marketplaces are a great way of selling old or excess stock that you no longer want to feature on your main ecommerce store. 

You may sell them at a lower price than your main site, and adapt the product descriptions slightly to match the clientele of the marketplace. You might also consider rebranding your discounted marketplace listings if you’d like to protect your brand reputation. This can be a popular way for luxury retailers to sell excess stock cheaply, without affecting customer loyalty on their main site. 

7. Prioritize your SEO

Marketplaces are competitive, and to be successful it’s important your products rank as high as possible. This is why your SEO must be a priority

To ensure high rankings, two of the main things you can do is ensure your products have an organized and structured product catalog and optimize your product descriptions.

A logical product catalog enables the search engine to easily filter and locate your product. Marketplaces will reward products they can find quickly, without compromising the responsiveness of the site. And detailed, relevant product descriptions are the key factor in making your product stand out from the crowd. 

All in all, the more detailed and relevant your product description can be, the better. Product descriptions including brand names, features, and digital assets should all  contain relevant keywords. 

8. Competitive keyword research

When identifying your keywords for your products and listings, consider using long-tail keywords over short-tail. What’s the difference? Short-tails consist of just one to two words, whereas long-tail keywords are usually between 3-5 words. This gives your listing a higher chance of being found as they’re much less competitive. 

Make sure to look out for those that have a high search volume, but low competition. These will give your products the best chance at appearing at the top of the search list. Using keyword research tools, like SEMrush, Google Keyword Planner or Ahrefs will help you identify the best ones for you. 

Remember, the goal for your keywords is to meet your potential customers’ search needs. So put yourself in their shoes when building your list of potential keywords. By building up a big enough list that means you don’t have to use the same keywords for different products, will also increase the likelihood of your individual products appearing top of the list. 

9. Keep the customer journey in mind

Listing on marketplaces, by nature of selling through a third-party, reduces the amount of control you have over your products and brand image. However, there are still ways you can ensure a positive brand interaction.

Reviews are a vital component of ensuring a successful marketplace strategy. They are held in high regard by the consumer and should be proactively monitored. Negative reviews shouldn’t be shied away from. They can be neutralized quickly by an honest response that rectifies the problem. Often, this can subsequently lead to a positive review if dealt with in a satisfactory way. 

Simple shipping and return policies will also incentivize a potential customer to choose your product. It may also increase the chances of them selecting you again when exchanging an item. This is the final interaction your new customer will experience, so it’s important to make this as positive as possible. It’s also a great way of gaining competitive advantage in a saturated market. Automated fulfillment options like Linnworks can also play a huge part in making this a simple process to manage.

10) Control what you can

Ultimately, success on a marketplace comes from being smart and savvy with your listings. Ensure you have effective processes in place so you are in complete control of areas you can be – fulfillment and product data. And don’t be afraid of testing products, listings, and processes to work out what works best. 

To sum up, online marketplaces are an exciting way of experimenting with new product ranges and opens your brand up to new audiences and geographies. So, don’t be afraid to get started and see your online success boom.