The Internet is commonly attributed with blurring the impact of the physical world on our buying habits. Still, many of you will recall your Intro to Marketing professor repeat “location, location, location” as the three most important factors in the marketing mix. As the customer’s journey is translated to the virtual world, it is important for your business to thrive to reach customers where they are, and not wait for them to find you, regardless of your business size. Business owners are still figuring out the best practices to their online presence. Appearing as a sensible strategy for most e-merchants, attracting e-customers to your own e-store front might not reveal itself to be as truthful to what your professor taught you about location.
Today, 58% of Americans said they prefer shopping online to making in-store purchases. Europeans could have even become more active online: over 60% shopped online once a month. Canadians might beat all these statistics as 80% shop online. Knowing this, it is no surprise most e-retailers will go above and beyond to attract online shoppers to their own website. However there is more to these statistics, as they haven’t revealed to us just yet the online location where consumers shop when they go online.
Nowadays, close to two-thirds of Americans say they’ve bought something on Amazon, and more than 40% say they make purchases on Amazon on a monthly or more frequent basis. In reality, when Americans shop online, the overwhelming majority starts by visiting an online marketplace. At the same time, Amazon leads online sales growth in the Europe, confirming the trend on the Old Continent.
A great parallel to understand online marketplaces for shoppers, you should think about how you shop for groceries. Once in a while, you may go to a specialty stores for items you love, but you probably visit a supermarket that carries an array of products that meets the demand of the bulk of your grocery purchases. Indeed, to optimize your online presence, it is important to consider adding marketplaces as additional sales avenues. This will allow you to leverage well-established channels to reach a wider audience, and increase your sales.
The preference for online marketplaces comes also from a place of independence; to browse similar products from competitors, to compare prices, to order other things that they need from other businesses in one session, to get better shipping rates, to shop with confidence thanks to user reviews that may be tempered on an official online store.
Now that you understand the potential for e-commerce merchants to sell in online marketplaces, simply listing products on there won’t be enough to drive sales. You will for sure welcome the following few tips on how to make marketplaces work well for your business.
Despite different guidelines for sellers, a few tips apply across all major marketplace platforms that will help you start with optimizing your listings. The more views you generate for your listings, the better your odds of making sales – as long as the viewers you attract are interested in what you are selling. Here are a few tips for driving the right traffic to your listings:
- Share detailed product descriptions; ensuring potential customers know exactly what they are purchasing from you, incrementing their confidence, and your likelihood of making sales. It’s also worth noting that marketplaces take listing completeness into consideration when ranking them.
- Include high-quality pictures and in-context previews of your products, which will have for effect to reduce uncertainty and increase conversion rates.
Your success in an online marketplace will inevitably be tied to the ranking of your listings. To be ranked “top seller”, you’ll want to keep your customers happy across their journey. This will help you acquire new shoppers, and to do so you’ll want to:
- Enable an efficient shopping experience, from their landing on your listing, to checkout, and mostly onwards. This will earn you the positive reviews and ratings. In these terms, fulfillment matters greatly, as efficiently and effectively as possible to make your success in the platform last over the long term.
- Regarding that efficient fulfilment entails drop shipping, a practice of order fulfillment where a manufacturer or distributor ships a product to a consumer on behalf of the retailer. Drop shipping can help to minimize risk in terms of inventory management and cost, while reaching the consumer in record times. This has also become a consumer’s expectation. The advantages to this model have been already proven in print-on-demand, over traditional offset printing, particularly for trendy products based on lifestyle, memories, events, and branding.
If you want to take your business a step further, and assure higher rates of success in selling in online marketplaces, you need to exceed the expectations of your customers. To entice them to pay more for your offerings, featuring the ability to personalize products will allow you to do right about that. Indeed, this ability has become a request of a third of consumers, while 20% would be willing to pay a 20% premium for such option. This number is on the rise with Millennials coming into their prime purchasing years.
Considering the shift in the location where consumers make their purchases, it becomes very apparent that online marketplaces can help you tap into new pools of customers. These best practices will help you broaden your reach, but beyond, you might want to know what kind of technology can help you create efficiencies around order fulfillment and increase revenues through personalization. In practical terms, you will be thrilled to discover the Mediaclip product personalisation ecosystem.
This powerfull software is virtually set to become a marketplace which can easily integrate into any eCommerce platform, but more importantly removes the need for any technical skills with its Shopify App, or for an open source form with its Magento Extension. Mediaclip is dedicated to democratize the customization space, enabling anyone to offer any product on a personalization marketplace.
The Mediaclip ecosystem allows you to provide consumers with the ability to personalize your product selection; sell any category of customizable products online for a premium; experience sales growth rapidly given consumer’s increased willingness to pay for personalization; lower costs of operations thanks to its drop shipping fulfilment. If you are interested to learn more about how to benefit from online product personalization for your business, you can reach Mediaclip here.