Marketing

How to Succeed at Selling on Online Marketplaces

Working together to achieve great results.

Amanda Pofahl

Latin American Market Expert
March 23 2018 · 6 min read
   

You might've read a few days ago here on the blog about Online Marketplaces and how it can boost your ecommerce store. Wait, haven't you? Before proceeding, please check out our previous article to understand how online marketplaces work and how they might benefit your business.

Keeping up with this marketplaces series, let's talk business optimisation today. You already know that an online marketplace can boost your conversions rates if you do this job right. Now it's time to study and analyze what is the best way you can do it for your business.

Download the "Ultimate Guide: How to Expand your Ecommerce Globally"

As always, let's break this down in a few interesting steps so you can follow along.

How to choose the best online marketplace to advertise my products?

If you got here, it means you already know that not every online marketplace is a good fit for your business.

Previously, we talked a bit about niche and big marketplaces. This is the first decision you need to make before starting out selling on third party websites. As always, the work starts with a really good research focused on your market.

If you have a niche product, it's always interesting to look for niche marketplaces. The amount of daily users might not be that high, but they're highly interested in what you have to offer. That also doesn't mean that you cannot invest in more than one or two marketplaces – to be honest, you can even make a whole business by just being active in a few of them.

If you prefer to focus your efforts in a big marketplace with thousands of categories, sellers and such, just like Amazon or Mercado Livre, the strategy is different than the niche product market. You must attract the right customers to your store by using a number of strategies we'll cover in this article.

Whatever you decide, make sure that you will be able to stick with it for a few months at least, because investing your money and experience to build a selling machine takes time – and it's sure worth it.

If your main selling strategy relies on growing the name of your brand, keep in mind that some marketplaces will make sure their brand is more important than yours in their own hierarchy, making sure you're gonna be there but not have the spotlight. Also, you must acknowledge their requirements, fees and commissions before starting out. There's nothing worse than investing time and effort in a platform to end up without any results while having to deal with problems and requirements you didn't agree on beforehand.

The rules are out there, and sometimes they're not easy to fulfill. Hoever, the benefits of featuring products among online marketplaces can be extremely profitable to your business. If your goal is to sell more or focused on a niche audience, you could've found a gold mine – you just need to learn how to use it. Even though most of them require little technical knowledge, you must make sure you got the right marketplace for you.

Before committing to any online marketplace, answer these questions:

Before going forward with any online marketplace, you must understand and analyze your own business. To help with that, we selected some questions you might want to think about.

Product:

Are your products handmade? Could you send it abroad? Is your product a one of a kind thing or can someone else find the same online?

Business model:

Are you investing back into your business? Do you want to scale your business in any way? Do you want the name of your brand to shine?

Audience:

Do they spend time/money browsing on a specific marketplace or checking prices on various websites? Could you cover big purchases or would you rather have just small individual customers?

Niche:

Is your product focused on a specific audience? Is there a website where you can focus your efforts on? Do you know where this niche spends their time online?

By answering all those questions, you will be able to understand which business out there can get you covered and most important, where you stand as a business. This way, you're gonna make sure you can both work side by side focusing on the same goals.

Understanding the marketplaces you're interested

Now that you answered the questions above and hopefully selected some interesting marketplaces you might end up work with, it's time to analyse them.

Check the market & competition

Research is always an important part of any strategic planning. Are people selling similar products as yours? For how much? Check those sellers. Are they selling in different platforms or just in this one place? Try to always keep an eye out to spot new trends as soon as possible.

Fees that will not break you

Before committing to any online marketplace make sure you know all their rules and fees.

Do you need to pay a percentage? Is there a fixed fee? Compare the fees between similar platforms and their audience and see if it's worth to stick with one even though they charge more.

Sometimes online marketplaces can provide you with hundreds of other benefits such as customer support and delivery so you need to understand that too and decide what's best for your business.

Try different websites

Do not settle for just one online marketplace. The more websites you're on, optimised for their customers and style, the more opportunities you're gonna have.

How to Increase Sales on Online Marketplaces

Optimise your content

It doesn't matter if you're talking about a product inside a marketplace or anywhere else. Content optimisation is always a must. The internet is full of incredible things, but you need to help services and customers to find you. The same happens with products inside online marketplaces: you must optimise your headlines, give as much details to your product or service as possible, have short descriptions and relevant images to be found by your customers.

Each marketplace has a different form of optimisation. Make sure that when you pick one, you study the channel's optimisation before going all in.

Customer service as its best

At this point, you already know that a great customer support can make your break your business. The same applies to online marketplaces. When it comes to delivery, refund and product exchange, it's their rules and you need to adapt to it.

If there's a beautiful thing about many marketplaces is that Customer Support can be dealt directly through them, leaving your hands free to invest in other parts of your business. Your main concern is to make sure you answer most frequent questions, respect their policies and always be available when needed.

If your product or service is doing great on searches, but you're not meeting with the expectations of your clients, this will come back to you like a boomerang.

Work with Advertising

Advertising is the heart and soul of any business. As much as you can invest on advertising anywhere on the planet, online or offline, you can also invest some of your money into a platform to make sure you'll get greater results.

Sometimes advertising can work amazing to boost the success of your products and gather those first reviews you aim for. Make sure to focus on the right target, have everything optimised before applying and measure its results afterwards.

Some marketplaces will help you a lot with that. They provide clear analytics that will allow you to measure exactly your ROI and help you decide where you should focus your efforts on.

Price offering

Make sure you're offering good prices based on your competitors and analysing the whole market in your chosen marketplace. Monitor prices, take notes and make sure you understand the basics of dynamic pricing if the platform allows it. Some of them will even encourage it

Take care of your inventory

It's completely fine that you want to have your store up and running in different marketplaces. However, what you should always keep in mind is if you're still in control of your inventory. This all goes back to customer support, since might not be able to deliver on time – or at all – in case you sell more than what you can offer.

Work with timing

Keep an eye on the calendar to learn about different holidays that might be important for your audience. When you decide to open stores in different countries, also make sure to check for their holidays and analyse the new possibilities that might open up with that.

Even when there's no obvious reason to offer something extra, sometimes free or upgraded shipping can already make you shine among your competitors. Whenever you can, offer something different to your buyers.

Final thoughts

It's possible that you want to start testing the waters before going all in investing a lot of time and effort in one of the thousands marketplaces out there.

Just keep in mind that you need to work in favour of the marketplace and its results, not against it. Understand the rules, follow the steps they ask you, study the market before starting out and understand if you can work with their demand and policies. If you add a few products in a marketplace without optimising your content, it will most definitely not have the best results you can expect to have.

Do you have any other question when it comes to succeeding on Online Marketplaces? Let me know in the comments section.

Happy selling!

Ultimate Guide: How to Expand your Ecommerce Globally