In some ways, marketplaces represent a perfect microcosm of the entire e-commerce space. Endless choices. Low, competitive prices. Easy checkout. Fast, free delivery.
So when e-commerce marketplaces evolve, you can bet consumer expectations are going to change right along with them.
And they’ve been evolving a lot.
First, Amazon Advertising became the third-largest digital marketing platform in the US (and the UK is expanding rapidly). Then Google started allowing direct purchases through Google Shopping. And now, consumers can even make in-app purchases with Checkout on Instagram in the US, again we can expect this to make the jump across the pond. And the list goes on.
What do all these changes mean for you? Put simply: The lines between traditional search, social and shopping channels are blurring, and it’s important for brands and retailers to experiment with new strategies everywhere they can. If you aren’t taking steps to understand what’ll turn browsing into buying across marketplaces, you’re probably falling behind.
To help, here are three best practices to help you reach more modern consumers, everywhere you sell.
1. Expand your advertising
For a long time, just listing products on e-commerce marketplaces was enough to drive revenue. That’s no longer the case.
As search result real estate started to become flooded with ads, brands and retailers began to rethink their strategies.
Now, everyone is advertising on marketplaces. And rightly so.
There are millions of sellers fighting for decreasing consumer attention spans on an increasingly limited screen space. Without the right ads, your listings may never rise to the top of search results or reach the right shoppers at the right time.
No matter which marketplaces you sell on, make sure you’re taking advantage of the full suite of advertising options available to you. On Amazon, that means not only building campaigns for Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands and Product Display Ads, but also using your search term reports to mine new keywords, experiment with bidding and target your competitors’ ASINs. On eBay, you should make the most of Promotions Manager and Promoted Listings to create offers that grab the attention of buyers and encourage them to spend more.
Every seller is different, so the key is to experiment, develop and measure targeted ad strategies that work for you and your products.
2. Make your prices smart
Now that shoppers are acutely aware of the wide range of options for purchasing the same product at different prices, it’s no longer your item details and imagery alone that capture attention. Developing a dynamic pricing strategy is essential to marketplace success. Two key areas to consider include:
- Automated repricing, which will automatically adjust pricing based on the current competitive landscape. The key is to use a system or tool that aligns your competitive prices across channels — think Amazon and eBay as well as Zalando and Google — so you can keep your pricing consistent across marketplaces.
- Velocity pricing, which makes real-time adjustments in product prices based on sales trends. Whether you want to extract more margin on fast-selling products or lower prices when sales start to slow, this type of technology will make it easier to meet your goals.
3. Automate fulfilment
To truly excel on e-commerce marketplaces, fast and affordable fulfilment is critical. But in the era of same-day deliveries, it can also be incredibly costly and time-consuming to provide. That’s where automation comes in.
If your fulfilment operations still involve a lot of spreadsheets and manual tasks, it’s time to put things on autopilot. The more you automate, the better equipped you’ll be to speed up delivery times and cut down on shipping costs.
For example, successful sellers often use:
- Intelligent order routing to select the quickest, most affordable delivery method for each and every order.
- Automated inventory management to ensure levels stay up-to-date with each order, across multiple marketplaces.
- Automated shipment tracking to have packages marked “shipped” as soon as delivery is initiated.
Of course, there are plenty of other strategies that can have a big impact on profits: optimising product content, engaging with consumers and more. For more details on each of these areas, be sure to download our newly updated eBook: 7 Best Practices for Selling on E-Commerce Marketplaces.
Editor’s note: This blog post was originally published on April 4, 2019, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.