Listing on a Home & Garden Marketplace: Best Practices

March 11, 2020

Marketplaces Amelia Erskine By John Barkle, MyDeal

Whether you’re a pure-play online retailer looking to boost growth or an omnichannel retailer looking to expand your e-commerce side of the business, you’re likely already selling on marketplaces or at least looking to. Marketplaces can offer retailers of all sizes a new revenue stream at minimal risk.

Listing products on a home and garden marketplace such as MyDeal requires special attention. If you sell furniture, homewares, garden products or appliances, then this helpful guide is for you. Purchasing for the home is a uniquely personalised experience that is highly driven by the customers’ own tastes, demographic, and circumstances.

Established brand strength doesn’t necessarily translate into automatic success on home and garden marketplace. Tactical marketing, dynamic pricing, utilisation of integration partners (such as Channel Advisor) and strong informative content are all necessary to winning on a marketplace dedicated to selling furniture, homewares, appliances, and garden products. Following these five steps will help you to win on marketplaces such as MyDeal.com.au:

  1.       GET THE BASICS RIGHT

To win on a home and garden marketplace, your products must promote discoverability and inspiration for customers. The ‘content is king’ mantra is a well-known cliché, but for a home and garden marketplace, content has been elevated to emperor status.

Category Mapping: If your products are not correctly mapped to the most relevant category you’re going to miss out on sales – plain and simple. Customers will logically follow a marketplace’s category taxonomy to find the products they are looking for. If your products are not in that category, customers will not see your products.

Product Titles: Your product titles should be clear and well defined (following the Google Shopping best practices for titles is a great approach).

Product Descriptions: You must remember that customers cannot touch, feel, or see your products before them online. Thus, your product descriptions must attempt to bridge that gap as best possible.

Images: Equally for the same reason, your images must be of high quality and clearly show the product. It is always best practice to display your product against a clean white background. This approach will enhance the product’s quality and enable your potential customers to clearly view your product on the marketplace.

Pricing: Ultimately, a customer’s purchase decision will be heavily influenced by the price you set for your products. ChannelAdvisor is a powerful platform that enables dynamic pricing – this means that you can control your pricing on the fly and adjust it to market conditions. Are you ensuring that your pricing remains competitive against your peers? Have you got RRPs displayed? Have you considered running a temporary price drop to pick up more sales? If you answered ‘no’ to any of these questions, you are potentially missing out on attracting sales.

  1.       BECOME A CAPTAIN OF SHIPPING

Shipping, freight, postage & handling, courier service – whatever you call it, it all means the same thing to your customers. It can also play a big role in the purchase decision of customers when choosing to buy your products. A painful shipping experience (which can include high shipping rates), long dispatch times, long delivery times and the use of underperforming couriers can all inhibit sales success on a marketplace.

Abolish freight quotes: Freight quotes are the antithesis of good e-commerce. A customer will often be ready to make a purchase when they view your product. Forcing them to wait for a shipping quote can reduce sales by up to sixty per cent. Most marketplaces will avoid promoting these products as they offer a poor shopping experience. Some may simply refuse to list these products.

Abolish flat-rate shipping: Good retailing is often founded on an understanding of consumer psychology. If your products are using flat-rate shipping nationwide, why not merge the shipping cost into the product’s price. Studies have confirmed that products that have the shipping cost included in a product’s price (and thus can be advertised as “free shipping”) have higher conversion rates than products with a price + nationwide shipping cost. For example, a pair of headphones sold at $20, plus $5 shipping will likely perform better if the product was promoted at $25 + free shipping.

Use shipping calculators: Big and bulky products will almost always attract variable shipping costs, as they depend on the distance between your warehouse and the customer’s delivery address. Shipping costs on big and bulky products are simply a reality of life and most customers accept them. The most efficient way to generate sales is to enable the customer to get a shipping quote instantaneously using a shipping calculator. The customer can simply enter their postcode and the marketplace will produce a shipping cost. Once again, avoiding freight quotes should be paramount in a winning strategy

  1.       OWN THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Any marketplace strategy which fails to put the customer’s experience at its centre will inevitably fail overall. Online sales in the furniture, home and garden vertical is growing rapidly but continues to represent a small fraction of overall retail sales in this sector in Australia. This means one thing: more and more customers are purchasing furniture, home and garden products online for the very first time. Their experience here will determine whether they will purchase again, either from you or another seller or even the marketplace itself. So, it is paramount that their experience is put first. 

Ensure your stock levels are always accurate: It’s a poor experience for a customer to finally decide to purchase your product only to find out that it was actually out of stock. ChannelAdvisor allows you to easily and accurately manage your stock levels across all of your sales channels and ensure that customers will not be left disappointed.

Respond to customer tickets in a timely manner: If a customer has lodged a ticket, there could be something wrong. To maintain the customer’s confidence, you should always reply to their enquiries within the timeframe set down by the marketplace’s seller SLA policies

Keep an eye on your reviews: Every marketplace will encourage customers to review products. It is an important method of feedback on the quality of your products. You can use this qualitative information for quality assurance purposes to continually improve your products for the customer.

Clearly state your policies: It is absolutely vital that you equip the customer with as much information as possible about your products and policies in the event of a need to refund. Your change of mind and returns policies for your products should be clearly stated so that the customer understands what they are. Your warranty should also be published clearly so that the customer understands their rights in relation to their purchase.

  1.       GIVE YOURSELF AN ADVANTAGE

You’ve got your content perfect. Your pricing is on point and your shipping is seamless. You’ve ensured that all of your processes and policies have put the customer first. What’s next? It’s time to drive exposure to your amazing range of products. Investing in advertising on a marketplace can be a highly cost-effective way of generating sales. Paid advertising has a flow-on effect causing the ranking of your products to appear higher – this, in turn, generates ongoing organic sales. 

Using EDM Advertising: Email advertising is an effective way to communicate with the marketplace’s broad subscriber base quickly. It’s a perfect tool to push a flash sale and generate hype around your product range.

Home Page Advertising: Home page advertising can effectively serve as a branding opportunity to push awareness of your storefront on the marketplace. If you’re a furniture, home or garden seller then using a home and garden marketplace’s home page to promote your store is in perfect alignment.

Event Advertising: Are you promoting your storefront on the marketplace during the big events? You could be missing out on sales during a crucial period. For example, Black Friday sales on MyDeal last November were up a whopping 300 per cent year-over-year.

  1.       GET THE MARKETPLACE TO OPTIMISE YOUR LISTINGS

Many marketplaces offer support for optimising seller’s product listings. MyDeal.com.au offers these in the form of Accelerator Packages. Having your own marketplace optimise your listings with industry best practices can be a cost-efficient way to increase your conversions. The more optimised your catalogue is, the more sales you can acquire through the marketplace.

Using these simple tips is how you can succeed in selling on a home and garden marketplace such as MyDeal.com.au.