Your guide to leveraging product data to succeed on marketplaces

August 24, 2020

Marketplaces Amelia Erskine By Marine Hardy

The number of marketplaces has increased exponentially in the past two decades. $1.97 trillion was spent globally on the top 100 online marketplaces in 2019, accounting for 57% of global web sales, and their rate of growth shows no sign of slowing down. In addition to earning their reputation as the number one destination for shoppers, marketplaces have proven to be a key channel for brands to sell direct to consumers.

Whilst it’s true that Amazon and eBay tend to be top of the charts for many countries, when it comes to the number of customers or revenue generated, they are by no means the only marketplace platforms to consider. Just like Amazon and eBay, each marketplace has its own set of rules and requirements that sellers need to be aware of if they are to reach consumers effectively and grow sales.

Why should you adopt a tailored strategy for each channel?

A healthy e-commerce strategy that is resilient to changes in the economical or social landscape consists of a wide array of channels. The diversification of channels provides greater exposure and ensures business continuity but it’s not without challenges. As each channel comes with different requirements it can become time-consuming and resource-draining to ensure compliance, let alone have a tailored strategy for each individual channel. The good news is, we’re here to help!

Developing a bespoke strategy, as well as tailored product data for each channel, is not only necessary but key to success. At ChannelAdvisor we have seen a direct correlation between performance and data quality, that is why we optimise the data for each channel individually.

How can you leverage product data to optimise performance?

While there are some similarities between the product data required for all marketplaces (most of them require titles, descriptions, etc.) there are plenty of dissimilarities when it comes to which data points are crucial for visibility or discoverability, and ultimately performance.
The visibility of your products translates into more traffic, and more traffic translates in more sales. It’s simple. If consumers cannot find you, how are they going to buy from you, especially on a marketplace where plenty of other brands are listing their products?

Here are our top product data tips for some of the key marketplaces in Europe:

La Redoute

La Redoute is a multichannel retailer that operates in 26 countries and has more than 10 million active customers. It is the 2nd largest seller of women’s apparel and the 3rd largest seller of linens in France.

So, what are the key data points to help you improve your discoverability on this marketplace to ensure you attract high-intent users?

Your data needs to meet a certain standard for all of your products, but when it comes to the highest impact on discoverability in search, titles are by far the most important.

Plenty of brands looking to sell on marketplaces think that using website product titles is enough. However these titles are missing data points that wouldn’t make sense on a website but are absolutely crucial for a marketplace like La Redoute, where the user is searching for a product rather than a brand. And even if they are looking for your brand, how are they going to find you if the brand name is not included in the title?

By optimising the titles to include key information such as brand name, size, product style (collar type, sleeve length etc.), and other important product attributes — with no additional promotions or discounts — our customers see an increase in traffic and sales.

In conclusion, for La Redoute, make sure you optimise and enhance your titles with product attributes to drive discoverability and improve performance.

Amazon

As one of the most popular marketplaces in the world, Amazon is a name that needs no introduction. We all know how strict Amazon can be when it comes to product data requirements, and this is further complicated by the fact that it is not clear what content in your listing will help you win the Buy Box.

But, that shouldn’t discourage you from paying attention to the quality of your product data, and there are a couple of points that deserve as much attention as they can get.

We’re talking here about titles and bullet points.

The titles help drive both organic and paid discoverability but bullet points are the ones that will either entice the user to add the product to their basket and complete the purchase, or put them off and make them go for the competition.

Compared to the bullet points you might have on your website, which typically have a marketing or sales tone, on Amazon you need to have factual bullet points focused on the features rather than the benefits.

Zalando

Zalando is home to Europe’s largest selection of clothing, shoes and accessories online and a firm favourite with shoppers enticed by their broad catalogue and generous delivery and returns policy. Mainly focused on fashion, Zalando is a leading channel for thousands of brands and an important marketplace in their channel mix.

Zalando employs a similar model to Amazon — placing the brand experience as a top priority. Zalando understands that in order to attract leading brands, the content needs to meet their high standards to provide a seamless experience for consumers, whether they are purchasing from Zalando or a third party seller.

Imagery has to meet the exact requirements of Zalando or the product will automatically be disapproved (although this rule has been temporarily lifted during the pandemic). Next to imagery, the description needs to be composed of certain information about the product depending on the product type. The description is built using the features of the product, rather than a marketing description, and is split into two sections:

1. Material (details about the outside and inside of the product)
2. Care and details

Providing the full information needed for the description section can prove challenging for many brands, as their data is not built with the exact values accepted by Zalando. That is why our teams focus on automating the data transformation process from existing values to the ones that Zalando accepts, saving you time and resources, and optimising your content for sales.

eBay

eBay is one of the most popular marketplaces across Europe. During lockdown, eBay.co.uk saw a substantial spike in the number of new sellers joining the platform, an increase of 256% year on year. If you want to sell successfully on eBay — whether it is refurbished or new items — it is important to optimise the product data to meet eBay’s requirements and improve discoverability.

A study conducted by eBay in 2020 discovered that about 80% of buyers use filtering to narrow their search. Those filters are based on item specifics which are data points you feed to eBay.

While titles are important, without the item specifics you might be overlooked for high-intent searches, and in time, your listings might get drowned out by the eBay Best Match algorithm.

Working on your item specifics is a must for many categories including fashion, home and garden and electronics — and in time most categories may have to adhere to this.

We understand the impact that these data points have on performance and we work to adopt them for all of our customers. We were awarded the eBay Partner Award in 2019 for Best Seller Engagement with Aspect Adoption — with over 80% of listings updated with item specifics to maximise sales for our customers.

Fruugo

Fruugo is a great marketplace to leverage for your cross-border strategy. Not only does this marketplace have a great reach (fully localised in over 43 countries) but it is also able to help you with some of the heavy lifting around product data translations. Fruugo allows you to provide product data in a single language, which it then uses to localise for other languages, minimising the time and resources required to optimise your data for 43 destinations.

Fruugo is a marketplace that is easy to adopt if you are already selling successfully via Google Shopping ads. If you aren’t familiar with best practices around Google Shopping product data, we can help!

Be sure to enhance your product titles with important product details such as attributes (brand name, age group, gender, size, etc.) and put important details at the front of the product title.

Another important data point to get right is product type. When it comes to optimising for Fruugo, the more detailed, the better — ensuring you rank well for high-intent searches.

Key Takeaways

Of course, it’s a challenge to condense all the need-to-knows into a blog post! There are a number of key best practices for each and every marketplace and in order to have an effective channel strategy you need to be savvy about the requirements. If there is one key takeaway from this blog, it is that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to your product data. Our advice is, optimise and enhance your entire product data to each of the marketplaces you are selling on — and always prioritise the key data points that directly impact performance.

We’ve made it our mission to advise and support brands and retailers to ensure they maximise each and every sales opportunity. ChannelAdvisor centralises your marketplace integrations, automates critical tasks, and optimises performance, allowing you to operate more strategically, expand into new channels with ease and beat the competition.

To discover more visit Marketplaces or if you’re ready to learn how we can help you sell more, get in touch.