Multi-channel selling is pitched as the ultimate growth hack for marketplace sellers wanting to expand to their own website. But, what if you already have a good website – do you really need the cost, hassle, and competition of an online marketplace in your business?
It might sound like a backward step, but this article will show you how you can use online marketplaces to strategically expert market dominance and significantly scale your brand.
Why to sell on online marketplaces, according to statistics
The more places you sell, the more sales you make. But, it isn’t until you see the cold, hard stats that you realize how powerful selling on marketplaces can be.
- Retailers selling on two marketplaces generate 190% more revenue than selling on one.
- 82% percent of shoppers shop around before making a purchase.
- Half of product searches start on Amazon, not Google.
Even in our own State of Multi-Channel eCommerce survey, 48% of merchants said they make more than $1M on Amazon alone. Marketplaces certainly have the stats behind them.
The timeless benefits of online marketplaces
Before covering the strategic benefits of selling on marketplaces, there are four timeless benefits that produce outstanding results.
Reach – being everywhere your customers shop
While plenty of people are shopping on your website, the above statistics show plenty shop elsewhere too. Factors such as trust, fast shipping programs, gift vouchers, and ease help online marketplaces attract and retain customers; customer you can’t reach until you join the party.
Reviews – generating significant social proof
Shoppers love posting reviews on marketplaces – so much, that in 2016 Amazon had to limit customers to only five reviews per week. The ease of generating reviews on online marketplaces gives you more social proof to use for driving sales and more insights to use for improving your products.
Promotions – access to big marketing budgets
Online marketplaces promote themselves, heavily. Think Super Bowl commercials, billboard ads, world-renowned sales, big email blasts – you name it, they’re doing it. Selling on an online marketplace allows you to enjoy the substantial traffic that follows from their hard work.
Effort – minimum effort, multiple gains
Selling on marketplaces alongside your eCommerce store requires little extra effort when using the right tools and services. Multi-channel listing tools, inventory management software, and multi-channel fulfillment partners make selling on several channels sometimes easier than selling on just the one.
Tactics for selling on an online marketplace
If, despite these benefits, you’re worried that selling on marketplaces will take traffic away from your website to a platform with more fees, competition, and own-brand dominance – don’t be.
Instead, think of online marketplaces as a strategic move that will increase traffic to your website.
Online dominance: Further establish your brand
Your successful website is likely already ranking high on Google and winning plenty of Google Shopify Ad bids. But your website isn’t the only ad or organic result on Google. Marketplaces can help with this.
Online marketplaces such as Walmart and Amazon use Google Ads and Google Shopping Ads too, and they have pretty big budgets. Use their ad spend to dominate the Google Ad results with your products.
For example, if you sell outdoor chairs on your website, Amazon, and Walmart, you could potentially appear in three of the four ad results – dominating 75% of the ad banner for only 25% of the spend.
Learn more: The category rule to selling on Walmart
Organic search results
The big marketplaces have phenomenal website authority, which helps them rank high for popular and short-tail keywords in the search results and in the image results too.
If you’re struggling to rank for a particular product, chances are they have the top spot. Use this to your benefit by being at the top of the marketplace search results when a shopper clicks through from Google or Bing.
Wish, Walmart, eBay, and Amazon all have their own advertising programs, some of which extend far beyond the search results.
Get your products in front of more people who need them, but don’t yet know it (or you) by appearing on the Walmart product pages, across the Amazon network, and even in Wish’s email marketing campaigns.
If you’re already using retargeting ads to tackle cart abandonment, you’ll know how effective they are. Now, imagine if your ads appeared for shoppers who hadn’t stepped near your website but had been checking out your competitors – suddenly you have a new audience interested in your products.
Learn: Observe what others do well
Who better to learn online selling from than someone who turned an online bookstore into a trillion-dollar company? Selling on online marketplaces gives you unique insights into your products, services, and customers.
For example, you can learn which products sell best on which device, what else your customers are buying, and the keywords shoppers use to find your products. Information that helps you enhance your website and drive more direct sales.
Technology: Optimize with online tools
Marketplaces love tech. eBay has virtual reality, Wish has an AI curated feed, and Amazon uses delivery robots.
One of the fun parts about selling on marketplaces is attracting customers with their technology without investing in it yourself. If something proves popular and successful at converting customers, you know it’s worth investing in for your store.
Testing: Experiment with new strategies while protecting your online reputation
The last thing you want to do is damage the reputation of your eCommerce website, which might mean you’re a little more risk-averse than you used to be. This is the perfect reason to sell on marketplaces.
Use online marketplaces to test the waters with new products, different pricing strategies, unique keywords, outsourced fulfillment, and other ideas. If it works, great, implement it on your website. If it doesn’t work, no big deal, your website is intact, and you can try something else on your marketplace store.
Related reading: How to test the waters in Shopify with outsourced fulfillment
Should you expand to a marketplace?
Most sellers start with online marketplaces in the hope of one day building a website. You bucked the trend and started with a successful website, but is it enough?
If you want to secure your success and even scale it, online marketplaces aren’t the enemy – they’re the facilitator.
Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and Wish not only expose your products to new audiences, but when used right, they boost the ranking, traffic, and sales of your website. You just need to get strategic.