Online marketplaces have taken off in recent years. Shoppers are flocking to sites like Amazon and Walmart.com for more selection, better pricing, and the ease and comfort of shopping from home. If you’re an entrepreneur, selling your products on online marketplaces can lead to incremental sales growth and will get your brand in front of millions of shoppers.
Who are the biggest online marketplaces?
First, let’s define some of the big players where you can sell your products. Here are the top online marketplaces in the United States based on monthly visitors:
Amazon is clearly the dominant player with 2.4 billion visits per month. In addition, an astounding 63% of online consumers start their searches for products with Amazon.
eBay and Walmart are also very large online players, with monthly visits to their sites at 885 million and 410.5 million monthly, respectively. Walmart has been growing quickly, trying to establish itself as a solid alternative to Amazon. This represents an opportunity for diversification for sellers looking to add additional sales channels.
Successfully selling your product in online marketplaces
1. Define your online marketplace strategy
Get started by finding the online marketplaces that are good fits for your product. Your brand strategy should match a marketplace’s customer persona. Selling high-end skin cream? Your brand probably shouldn’t be on eBay or Wish.
Adding only certain products or product lines to marketplaces can generate brand awareness for your business while you keep your best items for your own website. This is a strategy that many brands use to entice customers back to their own sales channels.
You also don’t want to add sales channels that will waste your time and devalue your brand. Adding multiple marketplaces may result in faster growth for your company, but they also can take time for you to master. As you consider sites, conduct market research to understand how your product will be received by shoppers and the impact on your branding.
2. Double down on content and images
It’s important to build out your product content, images, and branding when you list your products on an online marketplace. Compelling product titles, bullet points, and descriptions will provide the keywords that will help your item be found in a search. Consider adding videos and infographics to make your listings stand out.
3. Price it right
Research similar items in your category to understand how competitors are pricing their products. If you are selling items that are already being sold on a marketplace, consider using repricing software that will automatically lower or raise your prices to ensure your items stay in Amazon’s buy box and are price competitive.
Other factors that can complicate marketplace pricing include:
- MAP policies. MAP (minimum advertised price) policies are the agreements that manufacturers or brands have with their authorized sellers. Agreements govern the minimum prices that brands will allow their products to be sold by sellers. The agreements usually extend to websites and marketplaces.
- Marketplace pricing parity. This is a policy by online retailers that the total price for a product on their site (item price, shipping, and discounts) should be either the same or lower than the price being offered on other online sites.
- Item performance due to seasonality or supply chain issues.
4. Invest in marketing and merchandising
When selling your product in online marketplaces, you will need a marketing and promotions budget. Launching a new product or brand requires having a marketing campaign to get your product in front of shoppers. Focus on these key marketing and merchandising opportunities:
- Advertise your items using Amazon Sponsored Products, which are keyword-driven bids that can be either automatically built by Amazon or manually built by the merchant.
- Create coupons with Amazon’s couponing platform, and add a dollar or percentage off coupon which can be “clipped” by the customer.
- Generate discount codes that can be shared on social media using Amazon’s promotions tools.
- Take advantage of Walmart Connect, Walmart’s advertising platform, where sellers can bid on relevant keywords to drive traffic to their products.
5. Social proof your products
Shoppers look for social cues because they want to understand the experiences of other buyers who have purchased and used your products. Ratings, reviews, and social media posts can help validate a customer’s purchase resulting in higher sales; in fact, 50 or more reviews of a product can lead to a 4.6% increase in conversions.
While making sure you are adhering to the marketplace’s Terms of Service, ask your buyers to rate and review your products. Consider using tools like Amazon Vine that can automate outreach to buyers. Also, take advantage of social media channels to gather feedback from customers, and then use that interaction to drive traffic to your marketplace listings.
Online marketplaces offer many benefits to e-commerce businesses
Tapping into an online marketplace can offer your e-commerce business many benefits. They are a great place to sell your products and grow your brand by allowing you to tap into established markets.
Marketplaces also can function as search engines for buyers and can help generate a lot of traffic for your business.
And finally, they provide an excellent platform for launching and testing new product ideas.
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