When your e-commerce store has taken off and started to see some traction, you might think it’s time to scale.
Now how you decide to scale depends entirely on your business model.
Some e-commerce vendors choose to up their ad spend and increase the number of people they get into their sales funnel.
Others, however, decide to diversify their customer base and sell their products on marketplaces.
If you’re in the second group of people, this guide is here to help you.
We’ll look at how you actually go about moving to a marketplace, how to implement social selling as a unique marketplace, pricing considerations you should think about as well as how to keep track of inventory.
So if you’re not yet selling on marketplaces but want to, this post is for you!
Let’s dive in,
Moving from a solo store to Amazon, eBay or Etsy
The first thing you need to decide is which marketplace will you choose.
There are the marketplace giants like Amazon, eBay or Etsy. There are also niche marketplaces where you might be able to sell your products to a targeted audience.
But do you go for niche or mainstream?
It completely depends on your business model, your audience and your inventory.
The great thing about huge mainstream marketplaces is the traffic they bring.
You’ll notice SimilarWeb reports an estimated 481.7 million visitors to Amazon last month.
Sounds like a crazy number right?
But the thing about this traffic is it’s not all tailored to you.
Amazon has 13 top-level categories and within that, many subcategories.
So although they receive loads of traffic, not all of it will be directed to your products.
If you compare that then to True Faucet a jewellery marketplace.
Granted, they receive a lot less traffic each month (215.0k) but what they do have is a targeted audience.
If you produce and sell jewellery, selling on this marketplace is good because you know that everyone coming to the site is looking for jewellery.
If you sell general products – the type of items that could appeal to anyone and everyone (think phone cases) it might be a good idea to focus your efforts on a marketplace with lots of traffic.
However, if you only have enough resource to be present in one marketplace and you sell niche products, think about opting for a niche marketplace where there is less traffic potential, but the traffic that goes there is much more highly targeted.
Social selling makes sense. When we look at the number and demographics, there’s a huge number of people already using these platforms.
What this tells us is that we not only need to get our social media marketing strategy right, but we need to get better at how we use those channels to boost sales.
Although 51% of millennials are likely to make a purchase over social media, this doesn’t mean that you should go in all guns blazing, forcing your products on people. Instead, you need to use social media to build a community.
If you only use your Instagram account to push your products, you’re going to be met with not only pushback, but people won’t follow you or engage in your posts in the first place.
What you should do is use a range of different types of posts and occasionally, where it’s necessary or fits, include sale buttons.
Instagram has developed their own shopping commerce platform within their original photo sharing tool.
If you head to the explore page, you can see images of products you might like based on your own activity.
Follow and like sports brands and apparel? You’re likely to be shown shopping requests for that.
The thing about Instagram is because it has data regarding what you like and dislike and what sorts of images/accounts you interact with, it can build a bigger picture of the types of things you might like to buy.
Get your pricing right
Different channels warrant different pricing. It’s why so many people avoid a multichannel, marketplace strategy because they can’t seem to get their pricing right.
You know as well as any that Amazon typically warrants lower prices.
For many brands (particularly those with multiple cross-sell or upsell products, they treat Amazon as a loss leader and a way to introduce people to their brand.
Others, however, have a strict pricing strategy in place that often sees varying prices from their core e-commerce site to the various marketplaces.
Whatever strategy you decide to adopt, it’s important that you consider your own costs and whether you can afford to be in the marketplace. Remember, although you have ‘free traffic’ in each marketplace, you also have to factor in fees you might incur from using it in the first place.
Let’s look at this example from Stabilo. If you were to buy their pack of 25 pens from their website you’d pay £34.80
However, on Amazon, they only charge £11.10
Why is this?
Well think about it, if you land on Stabilo’s site, you’re likely interested in buying the Stabilo brand.
Because of this, you’re used to the price and it shouldn’t be an issue for you.
Compare that to Amazon where Stabilo has to directly compete with their competitors.
They don’t know if someone found them by searching for ‘Stabilo’ or ‘fine liner’.
If their search request was ‘fine liner’ then Stabilo needs to make sure they’re not pricing themselves out of the market.
For smaller e-commerce stores, this strategy might not work due to.
Keep track of inventory
One thing you need to think about when moving to a marketplace is your inventory. You’re already used to managing inventory for your site.
But what if Joe Bloggs wants to buy your product from Amazon, but you forgot to update it as ‘out of stock’?
You’ve just won yourself a very unhappy customer.
If you do plan to sell on different marketplaces or even just one, make sure you keep track of how many of each product you have left.
Our good friends over at Veeqo
This way, even if you adopt different sales strategies across channels, your inventory will consistently be updated.
Whether you’re struggling to make selling on your marketplace work, or you’re looking to take the leap, there are things you need to consider.
You need to think about whether it’s better for you to go for a niche or broader marketplace.
You need to factor in social selling as a platform and strategy and how this ties in with your overall marketing and sales positioning.
It’s also good to think about your pricing, given that different marketplaces take their own percentage for sales and different marketplaces may warrant or attract different types of shoppers.
Finally, you need to keep track of your inventory.
Managing an e-commerce store that sells products not only on your own site but on marketplaces too can be a minefield.
But with the right strategy and forethought, you’ll be able to generate tonnes of new interest and loads more sales.
Have you had success scaling to different marketplaces? Leave a comment below.