Your Route to E-Commerce Success in 2016: Start Here!

February 2, 2016

Now that we’ve firmly closed the door on 2015, it’s time to take a fresh look at your marketing strategy for the year ahead. Maybe 2016 is your year to expand overseas by listing on new marketplaces. Or maybe it’s time to assess whether you’re missing out on any important digital channels, including social media. But whatever else you do, ensure your listings are 100% accurate and optimised – ready to attract and convert a host of new online shoppers.

In this post, we’ll look at a few key areas that should be on your radar for 2016 and beyond.

Keep on Top of Marketplace Listings

Online marketplaces give you access to audiences of consumers that might otherwise be out of your reach. And these platforms offer numerous programmes centred on helping retailers get the most from their listings. For example, there’s the option to offer same-day delivery on Amazon, or Click & Collect on eBay —services that are often too expensive to set up on your own.

Once you’re on a marketplace, maximise your presence by making sure your product listings are accurate. Include as many product details as possible by filling in all requested item specifics. Note that eBay now requires sellers in certain categories to include product identifiers in listings – making it easier for your items to be found via on-site searches and external search engines.

Review your listings regularly to ensure they show up in the right categories, and always use a variety of high-quality images. According to eBay, this alone can boost conversions by 5%.

Watch your order defect rate (ODR) on Amazon if you want to win the Buy Box. Make it a priority to resolve issues before they escalate. And make sure you perform well in eBay’s new delivery metrics so that your listings keep their privileges.


Learn More: Essential Checklist for Selling on Online Marketplaces Make sure your titles, descriptions, categories and images are hitting the right mark by checking out this essential checklist for selling on marketplaces.

Step Up Your Social Game

The power of social networking is strong — and growing fast. The number of worldwide users is expected to reach some 2.5 billion by 2018, around a third of the world’s population.

By putting the right messages in front of the right consumers, you can use social media to make the customer journey more personalised. Consider running competitions and posting compelling, shareable content that links back to your website.

Social networks are increasingly turning into online marketplaces, too, with more advertising opportunities than ever.

Last year Facebook revealed that 1.4 billion people log on to the site each month. What does that mean for you? You could consider using Facebook dynamic product ads, which target your shoppers based on actions they’ve taken (or not taken) with a product on your website. The ads are driven by product data feeds and show up in a user’s Facebook news feed on both desktop and mobile devices. Pinterest allows you to use rich pins to show off your items in detail and alert users if a product they’ve pinned goes down in price. Twitter has 302 million monthly active users and offers advertising in the form of product cards. They attach to tweets to showcase your products and can be helpful in driving traffic to your site. Other sites to put on your radar include Wanelo, Polyvore and Houzz, which are all growing in the US but have yet to become well known in the UK.

us-bridging-ecom-social-media-gap-eb-LP (1)Learn More: #WhatsTrending on Social In the past decade, we’ve gone from solely sharing on social channels to selling as well. But the lines between e-commerce and social media are blurring quickly. Where does your online business currently stand?

Improve Performance on Google Shopping

When it comes to Google Shopping campaigns, think about your content, campaign structure, bidding and analytics. Make use of Merchant Promotions, which allow you to list special offers, e.g., buy one get one free. This can increase your Google PLA performance and get you better click-through rates.  

Think carefully about product groups and remember that Google Shopping data feeds can use product attributes down to the smallest details, including SKUs, so use all the data you have. Apply custom labels and use the Bid Simulator Tool to give you a sense of direction when it comes to bidding.  Keep testing to see what works for you.

uk-conquering-google-eb-LPLearn More: Conquering Google: SEO and PPC for Retailers Want to ensure your business rises to the top of Google’s results page? These tips will help you conquer SEO, PPC and PLAs on Google.

Venture to New Regions

If 2015 was anything to go by, consumers are becoming increasingly confident about buying online from overseas sellers. Faster shipping and more transparent delivery charges are likely to boost this even further this year.

The figures support this – global B2C cross-border e-commerce trade is set to increase to $1 trillion in 2020 (up from $230 million in 2014), according to global consulting firm Accenture and AliResearch. That’s an annual growth of 27.4% over the next five years, double the rate of worldwide B2C shopping as a whole.

Marketplaces are a sensible place to start your overseas expansion, offering a far less risky option than going it alone. You get access to their loyal audience of shoppers and can sell under a trusted global brand. Amazon and eBay offer fulfilment programmes (FBA Global and the Global Shipping Programme, respectively) to help you expand overseas.

Some other marketplaces you may want to consider listing on:

  • Rakuten has an engaged audience of 103 million buyers. The platform gives you free rein to design your own shop and actively encourages you to directly interact with your customers.
  • Cdiscount is one of the best recognised marketplaces in France, with 900,000 visitors a day and 13.5 million customers.
  • German fashion-oriented marketplace Zalando currently has 16.5 million customers, with plans to increase reach across Europe.
  • Newegg is a top US tech site with a range of products from sporting supplies to automotive products — and more than 25 million registered users.
  • MercadoLibre has 121 million users, making it the top e-commerce site in Latin America. The marketplace has a cross-border trade program that can help with the logistical challenges of selling there.
  • Trade Me is New Zealand’s premier online marketplace, with 3,794,551 member accounts and 848,131 unique visitors per day.
  • Tmall Global offers an opportunity to tap into China, which is predicted to become the largest cross-border market: 200 million Chinese consumers may be cross-border shopping in five years.

When listing on overseas marketplaces, localise language and optimise your checkout processes for international orders. You’ll also need to be aware of the legal requirements of selling into each market.

ecom-across-borders-LPLearn More: How to Take Your E-Commerce Business Across Borders: Want to learn the steps to success when expanding internationally? This eBook will walk you through the journey from start to finish.


Whether your aim is to scale your success on your current channels, expand to new regions or list on additional marketplaces, there is vast potential to take your sales to the next level in 2016. You can stay up to date with the latest industry trends and best practices for the year by subscribing to our blog.