Integrating marketplaces: why and how?
At a time when 30% of French commerce is carried out on marketplaces, many e-tailers, from the smallest to the most established, are wondering whether it is worthwhile to embark on the marketplace adventure. Whether it's a controlled customer experience, increased brand awareness and visibility or even a means of growth, the marketplace has serious advantages. However, before you launch, it is necessary to take stock of the challenges and difficulties linked to this sales channel to ensure a launch worthy of the name.
Why integrate a marketplace: the advantages?
The meteoric growth of marketplaces in recent years confirms a definite craze for this sales channel: 40% of global e-commerce transactions should be carried out on them by the end of 2020.
As we have said, the marketplace has undeniable advantages:
- The visibility issue is strong and can be of interest to brands in the launch phase as well as to designer brands,
- by exhibiting on recognised or specialised marketplaces, the brand can reach a wider or more specialised clientele, sometimes inaccessible otherwise,
- Delegating sales and sometimes shipping to experienced marketplaces ensures a consistent quality customer experience,
- integration into the marketplace allows new markets to be entered with limited risk, whether for new products or an international launch.
With this in mind, start by defining why you want to join a marketplace and what the benefits might be for your brand.
Launching on a marketplace: what difficulties?
Launching on marketplaces can be a great opportunity for your brand, but it is not a new Eldorado.
The success of a marketplace launch will depend mainly on one point: your resources. As a direct competitor on the marketplace, your brand will have to stand out even more, which requires a significant investment in terms of costs and time.
Offering a coherent brand image, content that makes people want to buy, and effective referencing is a long-term task. It also requires adapting to the specific requirements of each marketplace, making the management of product information (texts, visuals, customer reviews, etc.) more complex. This can quickly become time-consuming and error-prone when multiplied by the number of sales channels.
Finally, it should not be forgotten that delegating sales to a marketplace means delegating the customer experience. You must therefore ensure that you have the capacity to absorb orders. But it is especially important to note that, once the package has been sent, you will no longer have direct contact with the customer and will not be able to manage the after-sales service. The data will remain the sole property of the marketplace and very often, customers will remain loyal to the marketplace more than to your brand.
How to perform on marketplaces?
After weighing up the pros and cons, you are convinced: you are going to do it.
The first step is to establish a real launch strategy. There are many marketplaces and the competition is fierce. Take the time to define which marketplaces you will invest in, why and how. For a seller of second-hand books, it may for example be relevant to be present on both fnac.com and the Emmaüs site.
Then define an action plan to make you stand out:
- What products will you offer?
- What visual experience will you offer? On the furniture marketplace La Redoute, some retailers choose for example to highlight visuals of their furniture in a room of the house, while others present the furniture on a white background.
- How will you present your products? Some marketplaces offer dedicated corners, to be managed like your own shop.
After reflection, it's time for action! To prepare for the launch and to perform well on this new sales channel, think about equipping yourself. Product information and its distribution on the various marketplaces are crucial: you will need to combine a PIM (Product Information Management) and a unified commerce solution. While the PIM enables better management of product data (in real time), the marketplace solution offers the possibility of adapting product information to the constraints of the different marketplaces and manages the sales cycle (stocks, prices, etc.).
The benefits of this association are multiple. In addition to the gain in productivity and resources, your time-to-market In addition to the gain in productivity and resources, your time-to-market will be considerably optimised, allowing for rapid deployment, including internationally. In addition, you will be ready to deploy in the future on other channels just as quickly.
Choosing to launch on a marketplace must be part of a global and well thought-out sales and marketing strategy. While the advantages of this sales channel are numerous, the difficulties should not be minimised. If you are ready to make this investment, selling on the marketplace can be beneficial for your brand, provided you have prepared the launch and adapted your processes and tools. Happy selling!