3 Things an Online Marketplace Must Offer Retailers
This post was contributed by our partner, Bonanza. Bonanza is an award-winning ecommerce marketplace.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re either considering selling products online, or you’re already doing so. High five! There has never been a better time to participate in the bustling world of ecommerce.
Every year of the last decade has seen an increase in the number of online shoppers. In recent years, this trend has extended beyond desktop computers and laptops, with more buyers searching and completing purchases on mobile devices than ever before.
You might be wondering how to get started selling online. Or you might be a veteran ecommerce retailer looking for a new online marketplace to add to your roster and boost your sales. Or maybe you fit somewhere between those two.
In any case, you already have a few things working in your favor. The internet has never offered more places to sell your products online. And many of these third-party marketplaces have tons of advanced tools to make sellers’ lives easier while increasing sales.
But with so many choices, deciding where to sell online can be a tricky decision. To help narrow it down, let’s discuss what you might want to look for in an online marketplace.
A Focus on Sellers
There are two sides to the online marketplace coin: buyers and sellers. You can’t have one without the other. Of course it’s important a marketplace works well for its buyers. But the focus a marketplace places on its sellers is equally important.
To get a feel for a third-party marketplace’s focus on sellers, ask yourself:
- Does the marketplace encourage you to set your own policies when it comes to returns, refunds, shipping speeds, and so on?
- Are you able to use the marketplace for free, or are there mandatory costs associated?
- Is the website easy to use from a seller’s point of view?
As you research more about each marketplace, keep in mind what you want to see a focus on. This is a personal question each seller must answer for their own business. For example, do you value the ability to build a rapport and brand identity with buyers? Do you want to offer extended customization options to customers?
Think about what features are most important to you. Then research which marketplaces seem like the best fit for those needs.
Tools to Foster Success
Other factors to consider are the tools and resources an online marketplace provides. For all the opportunities the modern world of ecommerce offers, it also comes with a fair degree of complexity.
Managing your inventory and tracking your sales is one thing. But how about advertising your items, both inside and outside of the marketplace? Does the marketplace help you do this? Or is it up to you to navigate the complexities of uploading a product feed to Google Shopping? Some marketplaces offer a variety of advertising options you can tailor to your unique business needs.
If you intend to sell on more than one online marketplace, look for marketplaces that focus on taking the busy work out of multi-channel selling. For instance, at Bonanza, we have ‘importers’ you can use to automatically transfer your inventory from other major marketplaces. You can then keep your inventory up-to-date across platforms when an item sells.
Third-party marketplaces offer lots of unique features. Some marketplaces offer robust image editing tools to help with product photos. Others offer the ability to host your products outside of the marketplace on your own branded site, while enjoying the marketplace’s payment processing partners and item editing functions.
As you evaluate the resources a marketplace offers to its sellers, keep an eye out for which of those features are “extra.” One marketplace may offer a feature for free to all sellers, while another requires you to purchase that feature as part of a membership.
It’s common for marketplaces to charge extra for premium features. But some may be offering more of the features you value, at a lower cost.
Last but not least, it’s important to evaluate how a marketplace treats the relationship between their buyers and their sellers.
Take a look at the tools a marketplace offers sellers to help them build repeat customers. Acquiring new customers is vital to your business. But encouraging one-time customers to buy again is equally as important.
Ideally, you’d be able to review your history with a customer, such as messages and purchases. It’s also a plus to be able to view data like which of your listings are getting clicked on, where shopper traffic is coming from, etc.. With this information, you can better plan your inventory and target demographics.
It’s a big, wide world of ecommerce out there. We hope the points above will help as you research which marketplace to sell on. If you have tips or personal experiences you’d like to share, we’d love to hear them!