Whether a store owner is preparing to launch a new ecommerce website or has been selling online for years and has an established brand, online marketplaces should always be part of the strategy. Reaching more shoppers and increasing revenue are huge rewards, and marketplaces make it relatively easy to get started. Retailers can launch quickly, attract new customers and take advantage of these built-in audiences to grow their brands and scale their businesses.
Having a native direct-to-consumer (DTC) site is critical for branding and customer engagement, but marketplaces are also invaluable to broaden the reach of consumers. With Amazon, Walmart and eBay alone, sellers can have access to over 3 billion monthly visitors. And international marketplaces such as Mercado Libre, AliExpress and Rakuten make it easy to reach international shoppers without having to upgrade the website for currency or language conversion, making it even easier for sellers to sell and shoppers to buy.
Retailers are mostly privy to how challenging it can be to drive traffic to their online stores, not to mention expensive with dedicated investments in marketing and advertising. By selling on a marketplace as part of the fabric, merchants can list products on Amazon, for example, and further reach potential customers who are already there searching and looking to purchase. In fact, 63% of online shoppers go to Amazon to start searching for products.
Not only do marketplaces offer built-in audiences, they often have established programs to help with marketing, sales and fulfillment. Sellers on Amazon can have access to Amazon Advertising and Fulfillment by Amazon. eBay offers Seller Hub Promotions to help merchants set up special offers to attract more buyers. Google sellers can use a range of advertising and listing tools. These digital marketing programs offer a wide array of tools to help merchants get their products in front of the right customers at the right times. The fulfillment options give merchants the option to have the marketplaces pick, pack and ship inventory for them.
Another big benefit to selling on marketplaces is the ability to start selling quickly. The standards for approval vary, but once a merchant gets the green light, listing products is as quick as uploading the product feed. For new businesses looking for a fast, easy way to get products in front of shoppers, marketplaces are an excellent place to start.
Some marketplaces are more exclusive than others. Walmart, for example, requires merchants to apply in order to sell on its marketplaces. Amazon and eBay let sellers start listing immediately.
While the decision to sell on marketplaces might be relatively easy, choosing which marketplaces to sell on can be trickier because there are so many options to choose from. Some are focused on specific types of products, such as automotive, fashion or beauty, or are targeted to specific geographies or countries. Merchants should prioritize the marketplaces where their customers are likely to go, and shouldn’t try to list on them all at once in order to get the most return on their investment. After gaining some experience and success, merchants should have a better sense of how to successfully sell on marketplaces, and determine which ones are best for their brands and customers.
It’s tempting for merchants to want to sell only through their online DTC storefront where they own the customer relationship and revenue. While that looks better on paper, the reality is much different. As any good retailer knows, they must be where the customers are, and that could be just about anywhere — the brand website, on Facebook, on Instagram, the mall and yes, on marketplaces.
Sharon Gee is VP of Revenue Growth and General Manager of Omnichannel at BigCommerce.