Last week, I attended IRCE, Internet Retailer’s Conference and Exhibit. The two-day event was filled with eCommerce industry experts and some of the best solution providers available. It’s a conference that many merchants flock to for insight and answers.
As I talked to retailers, many of them were focusing on expanding their business to more top online marketplaces, like Amazon and eBay. They also wanted to know how we could help them manage it.
This article will cover the top online marketplaces merchants should be considering, and our tips for how to grow your sales on them. It takes more than just throwing a few of your products up on a new site.
Why Expand to Online Marketplaces
Online marketplaces, where consumers can shop online from a variety of merchants in one place, have become an integral part of many eCommerce sellers’ businesses.
Sales by sellers on the two biggest marketplaces, Amazon and eBay, accounted for about 27% of North American online retail sales in 2015, according to Internet Retailer.
Marketplaces represent an easy way for smaller merchants to compete in a competitive retail landscape. But, large retailers can also take advantage of marketplaces. Each can benefit from selling on marketplaces.
Data gathered from the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide shows that, collectively, the 26 retailers that disclosed their sales from online marketplaces brought in 14.4% of their total $3.1 billion in sales in 2015. That’s up 42.9% worth of goods sold through marketplaces in 2014 for the same 26 retailers.
Marketplaces represent an opportunity for sellers to expand their reach to more consumers, both nationally and internationally. With a plethora of online marketplaces available, merchants can choose sites that make the most sense for them.
See a more in-depth article of how you can grow your eCommerce business by selling on online marketplaces.
Choose Your Online Marketplaces Wisely
When you hear the word marketplace, you instantly think of Amazon and eBay. They’re two of the most recognizable in the market, for both sellers and consumers.
However, marketplace popularity has led to the creation of marketplaces that serve specific categories like shoes or electronics. These types of marketplaces give consumers a broad selection of certain product types.
You should be mindful of what marketplaces you sell on. You don’t need to be on all of them. Think about what makes the most sense for your product type and consumers.
For example, I conversed with a merchant at IRCE whose business dealt with medical syringes. This merchant actually did the bulk of their marketplace sales on Newegg because Amazon doesn’t support syringe sales.
Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are dominant. But, that also means that they can be more competitive as more sellers try to sell their products on them. If this is the case for your product type, you might want to find a niche marketplace, like Newegg or Zibbet.
Keep this in mind as you go through our list of top online marketplaces to sell on.
Top Online Marketplaces to Consider
In no particular order, here’s our list of top online marketplaces to sell on:
- Amazon – Books, clothes, furniture, electronics, etc.
- eBay – Automotive, electronics, apparel, and one-of-a-kind collectibles
- Etsy – All things unique and handmade
- Sears – Appliances, automotive, clothing, and electronics
- Newegg – Primarily computer hardware and software
- Walmart – Electronics, home goods, tools, outdoor
- Bonanza – More than 25,000 sellers offering fashion, collectibles, home décor, etc
- Alibaba – Leading Asian marketplace selling all product types for B2B and B2C
- Jet – Grocery, home products, electronics, books, sports, and clothing
- Overstock – Helps liquidate excess inventory for home, furniture, bed & beyond, clothing, jewelry, and electronics
- Rakuten – Japanese computers, electronics, apparel, home, and sporting goods
- 3Tailer – Home & garden, commercial, sporting/wellness, unique items, and luxury items
There are plenty more that serve more niche markets. You just have to do your research.
As stated above, it’s not enough to just post a few of your products on these sites in order to be successful. You’re going to need product listing capabilities and inventory management, if you’re going to grow your sales through marketplace selling.
How to Grow Your Sales on Top Online Marketplaces
Whether you’re just starting on marketplaces, or expanding to new ones, sellers need two crucial capabilities: product information management and inventory management.
Multichannel Product Listing
You’ll find that each marketplace has rules or requirements for how you can list your items. How you list your item on Amazon won’t be the same as eBay. There are going to be different categories and required product details.
If you’re selling on multiple marketplaces, it can be tough to keep up with each marketplace’s requirements. It’s hard to manage and publish the same products, tailored to each marketplace.
Most sellers end up settling for poor product listings. This hurts your product’s chance of being seen and trusted by the buyer. Ultimately, your sales are going to suffer.
Merchants need to consider investing in a product information management application that gives them a centralized location to manage all their product data. From this one location, merchants should have the ability to edit, build, and publish their product listings, according to what marketplace they are for.
See how a Product Information Management application, like nChannel’s can help you manage your marketplace product listings.
Along with product information management, sellers should have a strategy for managing their inventory across multiple marketplaces.
Many sellers end up listing the same products on multiple sites. This presents the opportunity for overselling your products.
You could have a product listed in-stock on two different sites, when you really only have one product left in inventory. A customer from each site can purchase the last product you have. You can imagine the problem explaining to a customer that you can’t actually ship anything to them.
Not only will you have to deal with the customer, but you’ll also have to deal with the marketplace. Online marketplaces like Amazon will suspend sellers who consistently oversell. This is not something you want to mess with.
Real-time inventory updates are the only way to ensure your inventory levels are always correct. Real-time updates ensure that when a purchase happens, the rest of your stock levels are decimated across your sales channels.
If you have a fast selling product listed on multiple sites, you don’t want to rely on manual inventory updates. You need to find a solution that does inventory management automatically for you, like nChannel can.
What to Do Next
There’s a good reason why more sellers are using marketplaces to grow their sales. Use our list to find the right marketplaces for your business.
Don’t forget that it takes more than just posting your products to be successful. You also need a strategy for multichannel listing and real-time inventory updates.