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Marketplace Best Practices - Staying Ahead of the Competition

Posted by Andrew.Thomas on Sep 10, 2015 3:34:00 PM

The online marketplace can be an ideal place for the new online seller, just as much as it can serve as an alternate sales channel for the larger retailer. With that said, marketplaces are often crowded with competition; to stand out requires a vendor to capitalise on every potential advantage they can find.

Here are a few tips you can use to optimise your offering for online marketplaces.

For Businesses

Seamless Integration With Order System: Ensuring seamless product and order integration between the marketplace and your webstore is crucial. Any manual entering of product information or orders opens you up to errors that lead to delays and unhappy customers, such as incorrect addresses or stock underquoting.

Responding to Customers: It’s also important to have a response procedure in place for customer interaction. Customer inquiries regarding purchases or refunds should be responded to as quickly as possible.

Fast, Direct, Affordable Shipping: Shipping options should be as fast and affordable as possible, ideally free of charge; a fast and free shipping service can mean as much as an 11 percent increase in sales. Anything less may discourage shoppers from either your marketplace presence or webstore. The sort of solid integration between channels mentioned above will serve to minimise errors in shipping, assuring your customers of a correct, direct and timely delivery.

Consider Tracking: Giving tracking information to customers as part of their order confirmation will provide them with valuable extra piece of mind, and negate the need for a number of office calls.

Optimise for Mobile: More than 60 percent of eBay users browse the marketplace by way of a smartphone or tablet device. With that in mind, make sure your marketplace listings can be viewed through a mobile device with minimal hassle.

International Orders: Consider your business’ ability to accept orders from overseas. Can you ship internationally? Will it open up new legal complications? Investigate any potential issues; and if you’re able to do it.

Returns Policy: It’s best to have a reasonable policy for order returns; the generally accepted standard is to offer a full refund within 30 days of the order.

Marketplace Deals: When offered the chance to be involved in marketplace deals, take advantage. A deal can open up your channel to a market that may not otherwise find you, and good policy elsewhere will ensure they become return customers.

For All Sellers

Use What’s On Offer: Rookie sellers should take full advantage of the tools available to them. Marketplace functionality such as Stores will help drive buyers to your featured items and other products in your offering.

Feedback Is Important: Ensure you leave positive feedback for all buyers, and you ensure buyers who haven’t left feedback do leave feedback. The more (positive) feedback you have the better.  Particularly for eBay, where reaching Power Seller status usually results in a dramatic increase in sales, it’s in your best interest to get to that tier as quickly as possible.

Follow The Rules: Ensure you abide by the marketplace’s selling policies and other terms and conditions. Delisting all products for a period of time are not uncommon when not followed, and can cost your business dearly.

Best Practice Product Listings

When composing product listings, the quality of the information you give potential buyers is of utmost importance. The better quality of data you can offer, the better results. Use all the product information at your disposal to populate any fields the marketplace makes available.

Product Attributes: Collect as much information regarding your product as you can. The more granular the attributes you can get for your products, such as colour, brand, size and style, the more detailed the listings, resulting in more searchable products and higher exposure to buyers. A product title with over 60 characters is up to 50 percent more likely to sell.

Additionally, if your product has a Universal Product Code, use it. Adding your product’s UPC opens up the possibility of an eBay-paid for Google Product Listing Ad.

Another important thing to consider is how products with variations are listed.  If you have one product in a variety of colours or sizes, it’s best to list them as such: one item with multiple variations, as opposed to many separate items. This empowers the marketplace to offer users a greater sense of choice over their purchase.

High Quality Content: Ensure your content is high quality and suitable for the marketplace – this includes high pixel imagery, and ensuring descriptions look professional, and ensure you don’t container information that would be specific to your webstore. When in doubt, the best course of action is to enlist the help of HTML designers with experience in making marketplace listings.

Search Optimisation: Ensure your listings are optimised for the search algorithms on the marketplaces.  Keyword optimised titles and correct categorisation of products.  It’s important to have the tools to be able to easily make changes and monitor the impact of changes to maximise visibility and sales. 

Check out our free eBook on product data quality for more tips on how you can start improving your product data and drive real revenue improvements.

 

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Topics: Customer Success, ecommmerce, marketplaces, Multichannel