Hi again, it has been a while since we last posted and hope everyone is keeping safe in these uncertain times. With that in mind and the surge of people shopping online as a result of Covid we thought an article about increasing online sales for companies with an eCommerce website would be useful and beneficial to boosting sales.
In this article, we are examining online marketplaces and how you could generate more sales by utilizing other websites and online platforms such as Etsy, eBay or Amazon. We will look at the benefits and pitfalls as well as the potential costs of selling your products on other websites.
We also briefly discuss how you can get your products to appear on marketplaces with the minimum of effort and cost.
An online marketplace is a website (or online platform) (very large eCommerce website) that sells products on behalf of other companies, marketplaces may also sell its own product. In short it is possible to add your products to a website such as Amazon to sell on your behalf.
If you have an eCommerce website you potentially add your entire inventory of products so that they appear on one or more online Marketplace(s).
Online marketplaces vary in capabilities and user demographic and their individual business models for example Amazon caters mainly for the general public selling pretty much anything you can think of even , whereas eBay offers you options to auction your products, Etsy however focuses mainly on creative, decorative items such as clothing or household decorations or customised products so choosing the right marketplace(s) to sell your products on is pivotal to any success.
Other online marketplaces include Folksy, onBuy, not on the high street and Jet all of whom specialise in different demographics and product ranges.
- Can vastly increases visibility of your products to a larger number of customers to hopefully purchase your products.
- Using an international online marketplace can make your company trade internationally without updating your existing website.
- Setting up our account and getting started can be very quick.
- They offer your customer a great deal of convenience being able to view, compare and purchase products from multiple companies by visiting a single website.
These marketplaces have become the superstores or supermarkets of the internet allowing people to browse thousands or even millions of products without ever leaving the website they are on. In the same way people used to travel down the Highstreet stopping at the greengrocer then the butcher then the pharmacist etc they tend to go to a supermarket to do the weekly shop.
To further the above analogy, think of a search engine as the high street many people use Google or Bing to search for multiple products, it may be that they end up purchasing several products from different websites. However, there is a growing trend toward people searching for all the products they plan to buy on a single website the most popular of which is Amazon, in this way your website will still be getting visits and selling to customers who still practice the “traditional” search through Google to find a product but others following the “online marketplace (supermarket)” trend are now not even opening a search engine to find products they wish to buy.
Before I go on a lot of people still use Google in the first instance to find a product however this still means that not using online marketplaces could mean you are not reaching as many customers as you potentially could.
An online marketplace is a website or online platform (very large eCommerce website) that may sell its own products but also sells products on behalf other companies, if you have an eCommerce website you potentially add your entire inventory of products so that they can appear on one or more online Marketplace(s) say Amazon and eBay and sold using that platform.
Online marketplaces vary in capabilities and user demographic and their individual business models, for example Amazon caters mainly for the general public for general sales whereas eBay offers you options to auction your products, Etsy however focuses mainly on creative, decorative items such as clothing or household decorations or customised products so choosing the right marketplace(s) to sell your products on is pivotal to any success.
Other online marketplaces include Folksy, onBuy, not on the high street, and Jet all of whom specialise in different demographics and product ranges.
To give an idea on the potential costs let’s have a look at how Amazon currently charges for you to use their marketplace.
Currently, Amazon charge £25 a month should you plan to sell more then 35 items via there platform a month plus additional fees, if you don’t sell that many products you can sign up for a basic account that charges £0.75 per item sold plus the same additional fees.
The additional fees include
- A referral fee which is a percentage of the final price of each item depending on the category of product for example tyres, computers and large appliances, has a 7% referral fee whereas Software and Video Games have a 15% fee.
- Closing fees apply to items such as Books, Video Games, DVD’s, Software, Games console, and other media items and will charge £0.50 per item that falls into this category of products.
Amazon does however pay you for delivering your products i.e. cover some of your delivery costs and pay more for international and larger deliveries.
I would say this information is only correct at the time of writing and is likely to change.
All marketplaces will differ in terms of costs and as you can see these fees can cut into your profits, so caution is advised to ensure you are selling products at a reasonable price to cover your costs and ensure you are making a profit on each item sold.
This means if you want to sell 100 products across 5 market places you will need to add it 6 times, once on your website and 5 more times on each market place, this is a horrendous waste of time and resources that could be better spent doing literally anything else.
The second way to add products is automation, think of your eCommerce website as a database, databases are amazingly useful especially for churning out reports, crunching data and making it available to be manipulated and stored in a new format, this could take the form of a product file that contains all the information about products you wish to sell on an online marketplace. This file can then be imported into the marketplace ready to be sold.
OK that’s a bit technical lets put it in to English, the products stored on your online store can be saved off automatically to a schedule (i.e. every day at 8PM) in to a file, this file can then be either sent to a marketplace or the marketplace can down load the file from your website before reading its contents and adding your products in it on to your account and start displaying them on your website. What’s even better if you make changes to your products these changes can automatically be made on the marketplace next time it receives or downloads your product file.
The cost to implement such a solution varies depending on your current website, the marketplace(s) you wish to sell and in some cases the product you sell. Costs can be any thing from a few hundred pounds to thousands however once set up the data will simply keep getting sent up on a schedule saving you time, effort, sanity and money.
Adding products to a single website is a time-consuming process on average I would say to add a single product with a couple of images takes 3-4 minutes so let’s assume 20 products takes at least 1 hour. Now imagine you also sell on Amazon, eBay and Etsy, essentially you will need to add one product on 4 different systems i.e. 1 hour’s work is now up to 4 hours work.
Also, when products are updated, they will also need to be updated on all marketplaces you sell your products on.
Having this process automated means you only need to add or update a product once, wait a day before the product then appears on each of the marketplaces you subscribe to leaving the door open to subscribe to more marketplaces as your business grows.
Additionally, the same automation techniques can be employed to generate data to send up to Google merchant centre essentially creating a CPC campaign.
The only catch is that each marketplace and merchant centre will require different information possibly presented in a different data format for this development is required to create a scheduled job to create one file for each marketplace or system that you submit your products to.
If you want to sell anything more then a small number of products say 30 on a website automating the process to get the products in to online marketing places is a must, once you start selling a product on your website with in a day or two you will be selling the same product on other platforms that receive millions of visitors a day, they can also be used to work in conjunction with google market place to display your products on google, Bing or yahoo shopping search results.
You need to be aware that you will be charged to sell each item, whilst larger organisations have been known to negotiate lower charges on the promise of making enough sales through a marketplace you need to ensure the products you send across to each market place will still be profitable to you.
Automating the process of sending products to a market place saves you a lot of time, this time can be spent ensuring the quality of the content on your product pages is tip top as some of this content will also appear on each marketplace, this practice can greatly help your natural seo position on Google or other search engines.
Getting this set up and getting it done right means you are now selling to a much wider audience then just your website, if you good content and nice images people will buy your products through the marketplace(s) you subscribe to, depending on what you sell you will notice a larger number of orders coming in after a short amount of time.
Unlike other marketing practices to get people on your website like paying affiliate networks, Google AdWords etc to charge you for people clicking to view a product whilst this charge is potentially smaller there is no guarantee that anyone clicking on a link will buy our product, using marketplaces you may have a monthly or annual fee to use the platform but after that you only pay when someone buys your product. For this reason alone, we believe this is one of the most effective ways to get more customers to buy products from your company.