In the dynamic world of e-commerce, where over 70% of all B2C online sales take place on marketplaces by 2024, the prospect of extending one’s reach through various marketplaces is not just attractive but seemingly essential. However, haste of adequate understanding of marketplaces and lack of a marketplace strategy can lead to obstacles that might take considerable time and resources to overcome. This piece seeks to shed light on possible marketplace mistakes and the critical importance of strategic planning before venturing into new marketplaces with a case study of an electronic retailer on Cdiscount who only got live 18% (!) of its products before changing the strategy.
[This article is part of our Marketplace Horror Stories Series.]
Swift and unprepared immersion into new marketplaces can precipitate an array of complications. The unfamiliarity with the distinct marketplace specifications and protocols, such as required attributes and categories, can make adapting your product catalog a complex task, propelling your venture towards unforeseen challenges.
Envisage a situation where the enthusiasm of launching your extensive catalog on a new platform is met with a deluge of unexpected errors. The intricacies of stock management can become convoluted, giving rise to challenges such as outdated stock and product data. The absence of accurate performance data may hamper the implementation of an effective product assortment strategy, leaving you grappling with elusive phantom errors (when no obvious reason can be found for an error) and a significantly diminished live product offering on the marketplace (only 50% or less of your products as shown in the example below and as seen by internal Lengow numbers).
An illustrative case involves a German retailer selling technical products such as cables, accessories and batteries (who remains anonymous here for obvious reasons) eager to tap into the thriving audience of Cdiscount, the biggest marketplace in France after Amazon. The merchant already had some marketplace experience in Germany (Kaufland), but what complications awaited him with Cdiscount he would not have thought possible.
Despite the anticipation of substantial growth and visibility, the journey was far from smooth. Over two years, the retailer struggled to manage marketplace operations independently, resulting in only 2,000 of their 11,000 products being live (which represents only 18% of the catalog, imagine the business impact!). The primary hurdle was the intricate product title nomenclature of Cdiscount, leading to numerous product listing errors. Additionally, the marketplace integration was overseen by only one individual, leading to insufficient time and resources, which hindered its success.
Recognizing the need for specialized assistance, the retailer turned to Lengow, an e-commerce automation platform that plays a crucial role in aiding retailers to seamlessly integrate and optimize their product listings across various marketplaces.
With Lengow’s expert guidance and platform features, the retailer was able to enhance and correctly format product titles in accordance with Cdiscount’s stringent standards (by using the feature “additional sources” and letting Lengow access the BO to track product acceptance and refusal). Lengow’s involvement not only resolved the issues related to product titles but also addressed other critical aspects such as timely stock and data updates, product prioritization, and elimination of phantom errors. Despite these advancements, it took an additional six months (!) to have the entire product catalog of 11,000 items accepted on Cdiscount, highlighting the depth of the initial complications.
Nota bene: Data quality is key. Taking an interest in the conditions and recommendations of a marketplace upstream will make all the difference, both during the creation of product sheets, and for future buyers.
The highlighted journey underscores the risks of hasty entry into new marketplaces without ample preparation. The complexities of this process demand strategic partnership with experienced entities like Lengow. The case in point reiterates the critical need for careful planning, patience, and utilizing expert resources for successful marketplace expansion.
As brands and retailers aim to bolster their marketplace presence, a strategic, well-informed approach is vital to avoid commonplace errors, ensuring a smooth launch and continual growth on new platforms. The journey into new marketplaces should be methodically undertaken, armed with solid tools, in-depth knowledge, and trustworthy partners, protecting your business from the pitfalls of rushed and uninformed decisions.
In the vast world of e-commerce, while speed is significant, the importance of accuracy and thorough preparation holds the foundation for lasting success in the global marketplace.
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