GUEST BLOG. How a traditional catalog plant retailer adapted to the digital era and conquered European marketplaces with online plant delivery

GUEST BLOG. How a traditional catalog plant retailer adapted to the digital era and conquered European marketplaces with online plant delivery

Making European households more green and sustainable through Dutch-quality plants sold on marketplaces

Consumers purchase their items more and more through marketplaces like Bol.com or Amazon. Since brands have to be where their consumers are, offering your products through these channels is crucial. It is the case of Bakker.com who sells plants online.

Bakker.com is the biggest online retailer for plants in Europe, founded in 1945. The company grew by distributing gardening products like flower bulbs, flower seeds, indoor and outdoor plants via a catalog. Today, they sell the products directly to the consumer online through their own webshop. Later, they decided to start on marketplaces in 2019.

Search trends on marketplaces show an increasing demand for this kind of green products. Analyzing the search volume of the keyword "planten" on bol.com, we see a continuous growth trend over the last three years. The most significant growth was noticed in April 2020 (+1.500% growth compared to the same month the previous year).

The search volume of the keyword

Figure 1. The search volume of the keyword "planten" on bol.com over the last three years

Bakker.com has anticipated new developments in online shopping. Their primary focus for 2020 has been the expansion on European marketplaces. With an ambitious target, a huge portfolio to list, but no marketplace expertise or team in the organization, this is quite challenging. Within six months, they managed to have listed more than 1.000 SKUs on bol.com, Amazon Germany, Amazon France, Amazon Italy, and Amazon UK. Do you want to find out how they did it? Keep reading!

Main challenge

To realize the big ambitions, Bakker.com partnered with Newcraft, an external agency that supported them, creating and executing a strategy for marketplaces through a hybrid team and capability development.

Solution

1. Develop and execute an expansion strategy on European marketplaces

The first step to launch on marketplaces is to have a clear goal and develop a solid strategy that allows you to grow fast and measure your results. Bakker.com's goal is to become the number one plant's retailer on European marketplaces and build brand awareness on those channels.

With the solid base of its logistics and content from its webshop, together, we developed a strategy to launch on several marketplaces prioritizing by market size and search volume.

The roadmap looks as follows: amazon.de, amazon.fr, bol.com, amazon.co.uk., amazon.it, amazon.nl, ManoMano, CDiscount, eBay, and many more.

2. Integrator setup

To make this happen, you need an integrator that allows you to manage all your content, offer, and price for the different marketplaces at once, such as ChannelEngine. It enables global distributed e-commerce, managed through a powerful suite of tools and partner-ecosystem, to maximize sales and profit. ChannelEngine bridges any gap between current ERP/PIM/WMS/e-commerce platforms and external sales channels. Further, it ensures that the product information and stock levels are synchronized across marketplaces. This way, Bakker.com just has to write content in one single interface, and ChannelEngine sends it automatically to the different channels.

3. Brand awareness and content optimization

Having content optimized for the different requirements of marketplaces is vital for the success of your products. The more you align with the platform's best practices, the higher your organic visibility will be. Therefore, it is smart to review the content guideline for your category to create good listings. Particular attention should be given to keyword research, titles, descriptions, and variations.

Besides, some marketplaces like Amazon allow you to create branded content if you register your brand on the channel. This way, you can create enhanced brand content and your own brand store on shop-in-shop on Amazon.

Brand awareness and content optimization

4. Paid ads

Once the content and offer are live, it is time to increase your products' visibility through advertising. Consumers usually look for products directly on marketplaces, so it is extremely important to boost your products' visibility through ads to make sure your product appears on the first page of results.

Each marketplace offers different types of ads and promotions. For instance, sponsored products, sponsored ads, coupons, deals, different types of creation of campaigns, and various types of bidding. Creating a modular and scalable ads structure for your portfolio is the first step to have a healthy ad account. However, understanding the campaigns and analyzing the data for a later optimization is critical to make the most out of your marketing budget.

If you have the resources in-house or have an affordable portfolio and channels, you can do it yourself. Otherwise, it can be beneficial to consider hiring an external partner that optimizes it for you.

5. Capability development

With the help of Newcraft, Bakker.com was able to launch and grow fast on multiple international marketplaces. In the last couple of months, Bakker.com hired a team that takes over most of the tasks. With active, hands-on support and education on multiple topics, we make sure they will continue growing the marketplace performance.

Results

As a result of the partnership between Bakker.com, ChannelEngine, and Newcraft, Bakker.com has launched more than 1.000 SKU's in 5 different countries and two marketplaces within 6 months and increased its revenue by +900%.

Conclusion

Consumer behavior is shifting towards marketplaces. Research shows that 80% of online customers start looking for products on marketplaces before Google in the customer journey's purchase phase. It is also the case for categories like plants where search volume is growing with 1500% compared to last year.

With the help of Newcraft, Bakker.com was able to scale up very fast to multiple marketplaces in multiple countries. After setting up the basics and getting the desired results, we started the capability building. Because of this, the internal team started well educated and with a decent setup to continue growing Bakker's results on marketplaces.

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