There are 5 essentials to consider when looking to invest in putting your products onto an online marketplace. They are a great idea for businesses of all sizes, as their popularity will only increase with consumers.
A lot of businesses are switching to online and direct to consumer and one of the best platforms that they can utilize are online marketplaces to reach their customers. eBay, Catch, Amazon…. They are all amazing platforms to expand your business and sell your products to your target market.
Online marketplaces are becoming such a norm, even large companies such as Myer and Bunnings are capitalising on this trend, creating their own online marketplace and community for people to buy and sell.
Why are producers and creators, especially in the small business space, flocking to online marketplaces?
Consumers love it, because it becomes a one stop shop to see all providers of what they want in one place. These platforms have their own advertising, branding and marketing budget and will use it to get eyes on to their platform. If you list your business and your products and services on to the platform, you’re immediately getting exposure to all the results that are generated through their efforts, which means you now have your product on multiple platforms multiplying the exposure that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
However, when deciding to use an online marketplace, there are five key things you should consider, so you can maximize the investment of time and money.
- Integration Capability
When connecting your store to an online marketplace, the ease of integration should be a key aspect to look out for, when selecting a marketplace.
If your online store is built-in software solutions such as WooCommerce or Shopify or BigCommerce then the integration into the major marketplaces will be quite quite easy.
However, some marketplaces may not have the integration facility where it’s really easy to mock your store in with their platform and will require manual labour to list your products. Also, proper integrations allow for the platform to easily link with your own systems of stock management, picking and packing orders etc. Without proper integrations, the extra and often time-consuming setup work is something you need to be aware. There are some tools that you can use to help companies integrate their stores with marketplaces that don’t have direct integration but there are limitations, so it’s best to evaluate the cost vs benefit of getting on a particular marketplace if there are no integration facilities.
- Invest in Shopify or WooCommerce
If you are yet to build your store, or looking to upgrade, look to invest in Shopify or WooCommerce. As mentioned above, they have integration capabilities which will pretty much link with any platform, and also have additional functions and capabilities which will make life so much easier.
Shopify and WooCommerce act like a central nervous system, where making a change in your store will automatically update the changes on all the online marketplaces you are connected to, saving heaps of time and work.
- Commission Rates
A commission rate is essentially what the percentage of sales an online marketplace platform take from your order. Some marketplaces have a 10% commission, other marketplaces will push it to 30, some even to push it to 40.
Often, marketplaces will give you an introductory commission rate which will allow you to enter that space and be able to dip your toe in the water and see what it’s like. The commission rates will likely increase over time as your popularity in those marketplaces increases, and as the popularity of those marketplaces increase as well.
What most people do not know, is you can negotiate with many of these marketplaces on the commission rate. A lot of our clients actively reach out and ask for reductions in commissions
or entry-level commission rates with success. Asking won’t hurt, and as the old adage goes, ask and you shall receive.
- Shipping & freight cost planning
Shipping is a big thing when it comes to direct to consumer. A lot of marketplaces offer free shipping as part of their deals, often offering free shipping for all their products. Therefore, it is important to focus on looking at your pricing model for the context of the marketplace separately to your normal pricing strategy.
The price of your product needs to factor in the commission rate and the freight costs for that order to go out to consumer. If you do not have those balanced out, you’ll end up making a loss on sale. We find the most successful stores work on their margins and understand their margins really well. Sometimes you may need to adjust those margins slightly to incorporate with online marketplaces to ensure a profit.
- In platform advertising & putting aside a budget
Online marketplaces are platforms which feel and look like little Googles within themselves.
But what determines which business or product appears at the top of a search, or on the front page of the site?
The answer has to do with the platform’s advertising program.
A lot of online marketplaces have advertising models that you can hook into, which include various things like appearing on the top of the page for daily promotions, be featured as a popular product and be first in a search for your product.
They also have promotions that you can do through their networks such as Facebook or Instagram. Some of these online marketplaces have got tens of thousands of followers on their social networks, and they’ll offer you the ability to promote your product or push your product through their advertising on their social accounts. They will also push your products to their mailing list, with many platforms containing hundreds of thousands of subscribers, increasing your exposure and sales conversion.
We recommend putting aside a budget to invest in the advertising and promotion programs within these marketplaces. Costs often depends on the size of their database, and competitiveness of the product, but it will be worth the investment.