Online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Zalando, or ManoMano have become go-to platforms for e-commerce businesses looking to expand their reach. However, launching on a marketplace isn’t as simple as clicking a few buttons. It requires strategic planning and careful execution to make sure your products don’t get lost in a sea of competition. As the world of e-commerce evolves, here at Lengow, we’ve seen businesses trip up in a variety of ways when launching on marketplaces. In this article, we outline 4 common mistakes to avoid when onboarding with marketplaces.
Launching on several marketplaces with an unprepared or incomplete product catalog is akin to opening a physical store with empty shelves – it just doesn’t make sense. Here are some ways to make sure your catalog is up to par:
Poor Product Descriptions and Images
Merely having a product listing is not enough. A persuasive and comprehensive product description paired with high-resolution images is your first line of offense in the competitive digital marketplace. Low-quality, fuzzy images and lackluster, ambiguous product descriptions will not just deter clicks on that “Buy Now” button; they will also dilute your brand’s credibility. Effective product descriptions should go beyond basic features. They must paint a vivid picture that emphasizes the unique selling proposition (USP) of the product. Meanwhile, the title should succinctly encapsulate the essence of the product, supplemented by key details, all tailored to fit the specific requirements of the platform on which you’re selling.
Data Inconsistency and Formatting Errors
Many online marketplaces have rigorous guidelines dictating how product data should be formatted and presented. Errors in formatting can not only result in your products being delisted but also poorly ranked in search results. The devil is in the details—meticulous attention to product attributes like color, size, weight, and more can significantly enhance your visibility and, subsequently, your sales numbers. Because attribute requirements can differ vastly between platforms like eBay, Amazon, or Zalando, it’s imperative to compile a comprehensive checklist of all specifications and requirements for each marketplace prior to launching your catalog.
Absence of Strategic SEO Optimization
Online marketplaces operate much like search engines, relying on algorithms to serve the most relevant search results to users. Without a well-thought-out SEO strategy, your products risk getting lost in the overcrowded abyss of competing listings. For instance, Amazon employs its own sophisticated algorithm known as A9. Similar to Google’s ranking algorithm, A9 takes into account keyword relevance to determine search result placement. However, unlike Google, Amazon’s A9 places significant weight on sales conversions, meaning that how often users actually purchase your product after landing on its page also influences its ranking.
Investing time and resources in catalog preparation isn’t an optional step—it’s a necessity for success. Use visually arresting, high-quality images and craft clear, descriptive, and compelling product text. Implement a robust SEO strategy that not only leverages keywords but also focuses on conversion rates. Furthermore, keep your catalog up-to-date to maintain its appeal and relevance. This involves regularly adding new items, updating product descriptions, and revising images to ensure that your offerings stay fresh, accurate, and engaging. Feed management solutions such as Lengow are an indispensable help in this regard.
Many brands and retailers make the mistake of setting up their stores without first establishing a line of communication with the marketplace. This is a missed opportunity for several reasons:
Understanding the Onboarding Process
Almost every marketplace has its unique onboarding procedure designed to smoothly integrate new sellers into their ecosystem. Ignoring or bypassing this phase can be a costly mistake, as you may miss out on crucial promotional opportunities, training sessions, or valuable resources intended to boost your brand’s presence and sales right from the get-go. These offerings are designed to help you navigate the marketplace more effectively, providing you with tools and tips to gain a competitive edge.
Unfamiliarity with Marketplace Policies and Fee Structures
Each online marketplace has a distinct set of policies, terms and conditions, and fee structures that govern its operations. Lack of awareness of these regulations can not only result in financial repercussions, but it may also expose you to potential legal issues. For example, you might inadvertently violate a listing policy or incur additional charges that you weren’t expecting. This ignorance not only affects your bottom line but can also tarnish your reputation, making it harder to attract and retain customers in the long term.
Initiating contact with the marketplace early on is a fundamental step in laying the groundwork for a successful e-commerce endeavor. Keeping an open and ongoing line of communication allows you to grasp the marketplace’s expectations, operational nuances, and best practices. This proactive approach will empower you to understand the platform’s complexities with greater agility and confidence, setting you up for lasting success.
Your logistical operations should be efficient and robust before you consider launching on a marketplace. Problems often arise when:
Inventory management is a delicate balance. On one end of the spectrum, running out of stock results in lost sales opportunities and can leave potential customers frustrated, pushing them to competitors. On the other end, overstocking brings its own set of headaches, including increased storage costs and potential depreciation of goods. Furthermore, poor stock level management can impact your search ranking within the marketplace, leading to reduced visibility and missed sales.
In the fast-paced world of online shopping, the expectation for quick and hassle-free delivery is higher than ever. Late or damaged deliveries can spell disaster for your reputation, especially in marketplace environments where customer reviews carry significant weight. Inadequate shipping solutions can lead not just to one-time sales losses but to long-term reputational damage, making it difficult to regain consumer trust and earn positive reviews in the future.
Creating a comprehensive logistics plan is a “must-have” for any brand or retailer serious about succeeding in online marketplaces. This should involve a robust inventory management system that dynamically adjusts stock levels based on real-time sales data and forecasting models. Additionally, invest in reliable shipping solutions that prioritize speed, tracking capabilities, and the overall condition of delivered products. Many online marketplaces offer their own fulfillment services, which can be an invaluable asset for newcomers still finding their footing in e-commerce logistics. These services often come with the added benefits of warehouse storage, streamlined shipping procedures, and customer service support, enabling you to focus more on other crucial aspects of your business.
Order management can quickly become overwhelming if not properly planned for. Challenges include:
Ineffectual Customer Service Practices
Providing stellar customer service isn’t just an add-on; it’s a necessity in today’s competitive e-commerce landscape. Substandard customer service can lead to negative ratings and disparaging reviews, which can snowball into larger issues affecting both your sales numbers and overall brand reputation. Quick and competent responses to customer inquiries, problem-solving efficiency, and after-sale follow-up are crucial elements in maintaining a positive marketplace presence.
Disjointed Systems and Manual Reconciliation
In the absence of a seamless integration between your marketplace platform, your own e-commerce site, and any Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems you may be using, you’re setting the stage for operational chaos. You could find yourself in the unenviable position of having to manually reconcile orders, manage inventory, and update customer data. This is not just labor-intensive but also rife with potential for errors, which can further erode customer trust and lead to inefficiencies that impact your bottom line.
Implementing an Order Management System (OMS) that integrates effortlessly with multiple marketplaces can be a game-changer for your online business. Such systems centralize all order-related operations, from inventory management to customer data, thereby automating many of the processes that would otherwise consume considerable time and energy. On the customer service front, it’s imperative to invest in training programs that equip your team to handle customer inquiries, complaints, and other issues both promptly and effectively.
Onboarding with and start selling on marketplaces can be a monumental step for your e-commerce business, opening doors to a broader customer base and increased sales. However, these opportunities come with their own set of challenges. By avoiding these four common mistakes, you can set yourself up for a successful launch and sustainable growth.
Feel free to reach out to Lengow for any questions or additional support in making your marketplace debut a resounding success. Happy selling!
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