Marketplace selling is becoming an integral part of ecommerce. It offers growth opportunities for merchants and consumers love the assurance and familiar (yet distinct) shopping experience that each platform offers.
In 2022 ChannelEngine and Bol.com, in collaboration with ShoppingTomorrow, created a ‘bluepaper’ titled ‘Selling Successfully on Marketplaces’.
In this ‘bluepaper’, an Expert Group of nearly 30 ecommerce professionals advises you how to thrive on marketplaces - at each stage of your ecommerce business’ development.
The Expert Group has identified 5 topics for optimizing growth. Each topic is divided into 4 typical growth-stages of marketplace selling:
This approach guarantees you’ll always get the most relevant advice for your growth stage. After all, a Beginner faces far different challenges than an Advanced company.
Each ‘stage’ flows smoothly into the next - often with some overlap - but knowing what you need to do right now ensures you’re addressing the most critical needs at the right time. This approach also helps you start preparing for the next growth stage in advance.
There’s a lot of preparatory work needed before you can begin scaling-up your marketplace sales. Developing a good strategy is a crucial first step.
Marketplace strategy varies immensely in terms of complexity and specific tactics. Each of these depend heavily on the growth-stage your business is in today and where you want your ecommerce business to be in the future.
Like any entity that must contend with ‘survival of the fittest,’ your business must evolve.
Starting from its earliest stages, you need to go from ‘Crawling’ to ‘Flying,’ without tripping up along the way.
This earliest stage is marked by exploration and experimentation. You should start by identifying one key goal, such as generating sales or creating general brand awareness. Next, you’ll research a variety of marketplaces and discover what each of them have to offer.
Now you have a clearer idea of the potential of marketplaces for your business.
Next, you should explore the possibility of connecting to multiple marketplaces, and expanding sales cross-border.
Most selling activities will still be done by yourself, but you must recognize that over time your logistics capacity must grow in step with sales.
With a strong foundation in marketplaces, you have a sharp focus on further optimization.
Marketplaces now make a significant contribution to your turnover and brand awareness. At this stage, you are the marketplace expert within your company - and you can start building a team.
At this stage, your learning-curve starts to level out and you can spread your wings.
Sales will expand through multiple marketplaces and you’ll start to employ strategic collaborations with certain sales channels.
The initial limits to ‘organic growth’ have been reached, but growth is still achievable through diligent work and the development of your ecommerce team.