What Brands Should Look For in New Marketplaces and How to Manage Them
Why Marketplaces are Important for Brands
The e-commerce boom has paved the way for an entirely new way of online shopping. Social media, for example, provides shoppable content to entice and engage with new customers who, in the past, may not have had the opportunity to view burgeoning new brands. In a similar way, new sales channels and marketplaces have provided brands and retailers with audiences that they may not normally attract.
Moreover, if a brand associates itself with a large retail marketplace, there is more of a likelihood that a brand will get increased orders. Solely relying on one’s own website can stretch your marketing budget and just isn’t viable in today’s e-commerce world, especially when over half of consumers shop exclusively or often on marketplaces. A brand-forward marketplace, such as Cerqular, which specializes in sustainable retailers, will only help businesses succeed, aiding them in promoting products that align with customer values. Even large conglomerates, like Target, are making more of an effort to appeal to smaller brands and retailers through initiatives such as Target Forward, which helps promote smaller businesses led by BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People of Color). In essence, large companies are enlisting new, innovative ways to elevate more unique brands, so there’s more reason than ever to align your business with an online marketplace.
The downfall of not committing to more sales channels can be detrimental to your visibility. Therefore, knowing how to navigate marketplaces and what to look for when signing up for a new one is key to success.
How Brands Can Optimize Marketplaces
Do your research
One problem brands may run into when researching new marketplaces is the additional fees associated with selling on these channels. Before signing up to promote your brands on a new channel, ensure that the marketplace is giving you a bang for its buck. If it’s an international marketplace, for example, be prepared to ask about logistics partners and any additional taxes you may incur. Moreover, make sure that your new sales channel can support returns and is upfront about who will be in charge of overseeing this aspect of the business.
Consider specialty marketplaces
As described above with Cerqular, niche marketplaces might be a good fit to promote your brand’s individuality. On many of these marketplaces, brands will also have the opportunity to give more information about their products and their story, a missed opportunity on larger sales channels (like Amazon), where there are so many brands that certain businesses can get lost. The downside to this type of niche marketplace, however, is that you will be competing with like-minded brands with similar products.
84% of online shoppers rely on reviews, which is why they’re more important than ever to properly showcase and promote products. On marketplaces where brands might be sitting next to competitors selling similar products, reviews are the best way to let your inventory shine. Ensure that any new marketplace you plan to sell on is transparent and forward with reviews, highlighting your products when there has been an influx of positive responses.
Leverage product pages
As stated, it is important for brands to learn how to stand out in marketplaces, since there is a likelihood that they will be sitting alongside businesses with similar products. One way to mitigate this problem is to leverage your product pages, with the correct information about your company and any vital selling points or policies that might entice customers. Think like your customer when you’re writing product pages: What would make them want to buy your product over another? What makes your items unique? Be sure to state return policies, payment options, and delivery speeds.
Best Practices to Manage Multiple Marketplaces
Omnichannel selling, combining online and in-store shopping for a seamless customer experience, is the best way to succeed as a modern-day retailer. Omnichannel retailing gives brands more ways to reach their customers, increasing sales and traffic, while also connecting different aspects of their business. According to a study, strong omnichannel retailers see a 9.5% increase in their bottom-line year over year, compared to weaker competitors who only see a growth of 3.4%.
To achieve this kind of growth, retailers must be innovative with their omnichannel strategy. This means providing an integrated experience for shoppers that includes a robust physical presence, while also maintaining an online presence with multiple channels. Unfortunately, if brands don’t employ careful omnichannel planning, they risk falling behind in a crowded market. The key to succeeding in an omnichannel landscape lies in utilizing cutting-edge technology.
Robust Integration Management
As you add more sales channels, you will need more integrations. Investing in software that can streamline these connections is key to ensuring vitality across platforms. Not optimizing this software can lead to confusing manual processes, which can unfortunately conclude in customers receiving the incorrect order and other chaos. Essentially, mismanaged integrations will erode your bottom line and cause a day-to-day headache within your operations. Brands looking to manage multiple sales channels will require integrations—which requires the right technology. This would include a supply chain management platform that offers pre-set integrations as well as the ability to build more and your business grows. For example, the Verte Integration Management Hub offers 100+ pre-built integrations to the most common sales channels and marketplaces. With the right technology, businesses can capture customer orders from any channel right away, whether it’s direct-to-consumer, dropship, wholesale, or something else. And if a new channel needs customer integration, we can cover that for you as well.
Good Inventory Management
In addition to integration management, inventory management is also key. When you’re selling on multiple marketplaces, or even one marketplace in addition to your online store, you need complete visibility and control over all avenues. If not, you risk having only an opaque view of your business, which can lead to dissatisfied customers and operational deficiencies. Look for an inventory management system that offers automation, from order routing to managing returns and subscriptions.
Find software that optimizes easy setup and integration of product files, gives product alerts across categories, and helps increase data accuracy across all channels by providing first article inspection. Another key factor to look for is a technology that provides predictive analytics to consolidate data management and determine how much safety stock you need, so you never underestimate or overestimate product launches on any of your channels. An added bonus would be the ability to manage billing all in one place, across sales platforms and fulfillment providers, to make operations run as seamlessly as possible.
Another technology to consider is a digital shelf, which not only allows you to control your product presentation across channels but also ensures good product listing, no matter what sales avenue. A robust digital shelf allows you to automatically procure product details, compare compliance, and ensure that all your listings have the correct information and accompanying photographs. Without this software, you risk losing customers on marketplaces due to listing mistakes.
Omnichannel selling is the future. Brands need to leverage and optimize the visibility marketplaces can give them, while also investing in software to make managing omnichannel retailing as seamless as possible. Therefore, prioritizing technology that provides seamless omnichannel management is vital for future success in this e-commerce market.