Online marketplaces – the number one sales channel for online retailers

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Article by Gundel Henke, Rakuten.com

Over 50% of online sales worldwide are generated via marketplaces. Online sales are also growing steadily in the retail sector, already accounting for around 10% of total retail sales – and this figure is rising. Those who wish to sell products via online need a lot of know-how about the latest trends in e-commerce. Online marketplaces offer retailers a large reach and provide many important service tools free of charge. It’s therefore worthwhile to carry out a comparison of the available providers.

Challenge for online merchants: High competition in e-commerce

Online marketplaces offer small and medium-sized merchants the opportunity to exist on the market alongside large online shops. Online merchants profit above all from a large reach and high degree of brand awareness. They meet new customers on the market and follow a marketing strategy that quickly generates more sales. It is worthwhile to compare the prices and precise service advantages of the individual online marketplaces. The high level of competition in e-commerce makes it increasingly difficult for merchants without a virtual marketplace to survive on the market in the long term.

Online marketplaces provide know-how and legal security

Which payment method is best? Who can formulate suitable terms and conditions for my business? And how do you actually make good SEO? In online business, merchants have to take a lot of things into account. This is a big challenge, especially for small or new merchants. For this reason, some online marketplaces offer additional services with which they can support their merchants and at the same time meet the requirements of e-commerce. The online marketplace Rakuten, for example, provides many benefits and free services to online merchants, including professional marketing.

It’s all in the mix – e-marketplace, customer support, top-of-the-range logistics and additional business in physical stores

Marketplaces provide an important advantage – wide reach. They should therefore not be overlooked. In addition, there are three other factors to strengthen a brand in online trading: Measures for customer loyalty, smooth logistics and a physical retail business.

1. Select a suitable online marketplace

When deciding on an online marketplace, it’s worth comparing the general conditions and the free services offered, since not all marketplaces are the same. For e-commerce beginners and online professionals, Rakuten offers very individual solutions to successfully sell on the internet. Above all the personal consultation, the free e-commerce support and a strong partner network distinguish this marketplace.

2. Better customer focus

Customers need a positive experience. Clear performance promises, individual concepts and good service increase customer loyalty and create a clear differentiation from competitors. Many online marketplaces offer attractive loyalty programmes, sales promotions or sponsoring, with which both retailers and their customers identify.

3. Optimisation of logistics processes

Shipping and delivery are the second most important success factors for customer loyalty in online trading. Individual logistics processes increase convenience and security. There must be a good technological basis to optimize the reliability and speed of shipping processes, for example. In order to guarantee quality, it may be advisable to outsource individual tasks in a cost-saving manner.

4. Physical stores – the multi-channel solution

More than half of online retailers are also represented in physical trade. As a multi-channel retailer, you benefit from several sales channels.
A growing trend is the conversion of physical stores for logistics processes. A local store can also serve as a warehouse and logistics centre for online trade. In addition, location advantages can be exploited and creative additional offers made available. A physical business may create basic costs (rent), but it can also lead to savings.

Naomi Botting

Communications Project Manager - UK/NORDICS