This is a continuation of The MultiChannel Handbook series…
Last week we took a look at The Big Three marketplaces, eBay, Amazon, and Buy.com. This week, we take a high-level view of some other marketplaces that are available channels for your business. Additionally, we will discuss strategic questions related to managing multiple marketplaces.
A list of additional marketplaces your company should consider include:
I have omitted several other sites which cater to specific niches, rather than general merchandise; however, the list above is not exhaustive. The salient point for most retailers should be: there are many more marketplace channels outside of The Big Three to consider.
What’s In It for Me?
So what do these alternative marketplaces offer? First, they offer additional exposure. Take Newegg and Sears, for example; these sites rank 103 and 206 in U.S. web traffic; that’s an enormous pool of potential shoppers for your products. Second, they offer the ability to reach customers who eschew more “mainstream” marketplaces, for whatever reason. By offering your products on these smaller marketplaces, you get the chance to get in front of customers who might be intentionally avoiding e-commerce “big box” marketplaces. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, many of these alternative marketplaces offer something that every retailer wants: LOWER FEES.
In last week’s installment, we saw how eBay, Amazon, and Buy.com had fees which were in the 12% – 15% range. But take a look at Newegg: their fees are 7.5% across the board. That’s a 38% to 50% reduction in selling fees alone! These alternative marketplaces are a chance for your business to earn more money for selling the same product at the same price. That alone should have the reader putting one or more of these marketplaces on the Q2 To Do list.
The Bad News
The downside to selling on newer or lesser-known marketplaces is that integration is not always easy. Perhaps your business is already selling on one of The Big Three marketplaces; if so, do you remember the pain you went through when you had to integrate your system(s) with how those sites require you to do business? Well, you have to expect the same type of learning curve with these marketplaces as well.
What’s included in that learning curve? You will need to get a good understanding of the requirements that each marketplace puts on its merchants; customer service performance standards on the sites; and perhaps most importantly, how to get inventory data to the site.
But the pain doesn’t have to be so bad; many of the sites allow for product upload sheets, or product feeds, etc. That’s good news if you’re willing to invest time to learn how product uploads work for those sites, and even better news if you’re willing to invest a little capital to have those feed submissions automated for you. (Hint: eLance)
Good News: Less Competition
Even better news is the fact that most of your competitors aren’t already selling on these other marketplaces. That’s because going truly multi-channel is challenging, and it’s not completely mainstream either. But that’s great news for you; if you have a popular product, chances are much higher that you’ll be the only seller of that product on a smaller marketplace than on one of The Big Three. Less competition means higher prices and happier selling.
What’s the Bottom Line?
The bottom line is that your company has myriad opportunities to grow into these additional marketplaces. While they don’t necessarily offer the traffic of The Big Three, they nonetheless give you an opportunity to outflank your competitors and generate more revenues in the process.
Do you need help managing multiple marketplaces? Great! We’ll be tackling that in next week’s installment.