Selling on marketplaces: Get started in 12 key steps

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Succeeding on marketplaces is much more complex than simply distributing your product catalogue. This is where many retailers and brands make the mistake of underestimating the involvement required to succeed. We have played witness to the many blunders made by sellers on these platforms.

In this article, we look at some of the most common mistakes made on these platforms and provide the 12 key steps to get started on marketplaces. Find further tips in our white paper “Successfully develop internationally with marketplaces”, co-written with Wunderman Thompson Commerce.

Mistakes to avoid

  • Setting unclear objectives

Many retailers start selling on the marketplaces without having defined a strategy beforehand. They open an account, draw up a random list of products and end up running into many obstacles. So think about the “how”’ and “why” before getting started.

  • Lack of alignment within the company

We often witness the “one-man show”. One person in the company “manages” marketplaces. But many skills are needed on this type of platform. Marketplaces must be centralised within the organisation to ensure success.

  • Pushing the wrong product assortment

The common approach is to instantly list all products on a marketplace. However, some of your products may not be suitable for the marketplace. Marketplaces may be specialised in certain categories, or your products may not stand a chance against the competition already in place. So carefully choose the range of products you publish on a marketplace.

  • Inconsistency between the different channels

In large companies, the different channels are often managed by different departments. This results in inconsistency in the quality of product content, brand image and pricing. Pricing is a particularly sensitive issue. Your prices on the marketplace should not differ too much from the prices on your other channels.

You risk cannibalising your own business. You have to bear in mind that the customer journey is fluid nowadays and consumers move from one channel to another for inspiration, browsing or buying.

Be well-prepared

Objectives are essential for making the right choices of marketplaces and product assortment. They will also allow you to measure your success.

It all starts with the goals you want to set for yourself:

  • To increase distribution: offer a wide range of products for the general public.
  • To increase brand awareness: offer a limited selection from your collection.
  • To access new customer segments: push a specific product category.
  • To sell your stocks: highlight out of season products or products with a low turnover.

The second step is to develop a clear plan. Many elements need to be taken into account. You need to have a strong vision of how you are going to manage product content, prices and orders for example. You also need to anticipate how you are going to deal with customer questions, negative feedback, returns, etc. Think about how to handle customer questions, negative opinions, returns, etc. Finally, think about issues such as processes, automations, finance and legal issues.

Once you have this plan in place, you can begin to develop your marketplace practice. Put together a team combining marketing, sales, logistics, IT, customer service, finance and legal talents. This team is now responsible for marketplace success!

By following the next 12 steps, your team will be able to start on a small scale and then quickly move on to the next level!

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The 12 steps to success

  1. Choose the right marketplace

Although Amazon is the leader in many markets, there are several other equally interesting marketplaces in various countries, such as AliExpress, Cdiscount, Allegro, Bol.com, etc. Some are more fashion-oriented, others are more pertinent for the realms of furniture or electronics. According to the categories that these platforms specialise in, select the most relevant products from your catalogue. The services offered by a marketplace must also be taken into account (e.g. logistics service) to meet your needs. Finally, pay close attention to the entry conditions of each marketplace as you will need to be able to meet these expectations in order to avoid your account being suspended.

2. Select the products

To get started, it is better to start with a sample of products rather than sending your entire catalogue. It is preferable to select products that are easily identifiable to consumers that sell well. Ideally, these first products should also have a good margin and relatively low return rates.

3. Create an account

Create an account on the chosen marketplace, and check out the settings or dashboards at your disposal. If you are a brand, let the marketplace know and they can then decide to give you more control over your content.

Créez votre compte sur la marketplace choisie puis prenez connaissance de celui-ci et des paramètres ou dashboards dont vous disposez. Si vous êtes une marque, faites-le savoir à la marketplace qui peut alors décider de vous octroyer plus de contrôle au niveau de votre contenu. 

4. List your products

Upload your product details and make sure it is in the right category. The category is essential as it will allow consumers to find your products.

5. Set up logistics

Choose whether to manage the logistics yourself to keep costs down, work with a partner to simplify your life, or outsource this service to the marketplace to stand out in the search results. 

6. Optimise your content

This is a crucial step and different from creating content for your site. On marketplaces, you are in direct competition with other brands or suppliers, which is why it is important to stand out as quickly as possible. Categorise your products so that they are easy to find and enter all your attributes correctly. Think about images, titles, descriptions, and keywords that speak to your customers. 

7. Start selling

You’re live, congratulations! Celebrate this victory, but now it’s time to really get to work. 

8. Collect reviews

As soon as you start making sales, it is important to get reviews. Be wary of falsified reviews, all reviews must be original and verified. 15 reviews per product is a good target to set. Reviews help to convince other consumers and allow your products to move up in the results. Don’t forget to respond to negative comments that could damage your reputation. 

9. Launch advertising campaigns

Your products won’t necessarily stand out to begin with and might not have very good conversion rates. Each marketplace offers different promotional and advertising tools for this reason. Study their proposals carefully and choose the one that you can easily deploy for your products and brand. Special offers work well for new products since the aim is to make your first sales and get reviews. After that, it will be much easier to launch advertising campaigns.

10. Review the results

Thanks to the reviews and data collected and everything that you’ve learned, you can improve your delivery service, optimise your content and think about new advertising campaigns.

11. Add new products

Once everything is under control, go to the next step and add new products. From there you can repeat the process: experiment, learn, improve and optimise.

12. Choose a new marketplace

Now that you have mastered selling on marketplaces it is time to consider new marketplaces to expand on! Remember to start from step 1 for each new marketplace.

 

Find out everything you need to know about marketplaces and your international development in our white paper, co-written by Wunderman Thompson Commerce!

Successfully develop internationally with marketplaces

Whether you are a retailer or a brand, optimize your presence on marke…

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Naomi Botting

Communications Manager - UK/NORDICS