6 Tips for Selling on Marketplaces (E143)


  • Marketplace Examples
    • Amazon https://sellercentral.amazon.com/
    • eBay https://ebay.com
    • Walmart https://supplier.walmart.com/
  • Category Specific
    • GunBroker – https://www.gunbroker.com/
    • Weapon Depot – https://www.weapondepot.com/

Marketplaces can be jet fuel, a fast way to scale or burn your business if you’re not ready.

  1. Optimize the Product Listing
    1. Today quality wins over quantity
    2. No more ‘spray and pray’
  2. Spend time researching competitive pricing
    1. Factor in all the costs
  3. Monitor where you rank in the listing
    1. Amazon – Search results then Buy Box
    2. eBay – Search results
  4. Over-invest in Customer Service
    1. Seller reviews are prominently displayed
    2. On Amazon, slow customer service response times are used against you
  5. Nail Fulfillment
    1. Use a 3PL
    2. Never ship late (closely monitored on Amazon)
  6. Follow the rules of the marketplace



Charles (00:00):

In this episode of The Businesso eCommerce I talk about tips for selling on marketplaces. This is the Business eCommerce Episode 145.

Charles (00:18):

Welcome to the Business of eCommerce. The show that helps eCommerce retailers start launch and grow the eCommerce business. I’m your host, Charles Palleschi. And I’m here today to talk about some of my tips for selling on marketplaces. So to start off marketplaces, I kind of think of them as jet fuel for any commerce seller, right? A lot of folks are selling on their own Shopify site, their own big commerce, their own Magento site somewhere. And at some point they decide to move their operations over to a marketplace to kind of add that as a way to enhance our augment, the current offering. And this can be done in many different ways. And I see a lot of sellers do this and the ones that do it right, can drastically increase the sales and the ones that kind of aren’t ready for it have issues right out of the gate and can really cause actual problems for their business.

Charles (01:11):

So I want to outline a few tips on some do’s and don’ts and just things that I’ve kind of found over time. So, first few marketplace examples. When we’re saying marketplaces, we’re talking some of the big ones, obviously Amazon, eBay, Walmart, that sort of thing. Also there’s some specific marketplaces you’ll find for different niches. So clothing has theirs, for instance, firearms, aren’t allowed to be sold on some of the larger marketplaces, but there’s folks like gun broker weapons, Depot, they have marketplaces just went bash. So even if you’re selling a product that maybe can’t be sold on Amazon, there usually are other places where it can be sold or just places, for instance, like clothing there’s places where community sold better, right. Where folks are actually looking for that sort of product. So I’d always say first, do your research on what marketplaces are available.

Charles (02:06):

And don’t just jump right to Amazon eBay, the big ones, because there are some specific ones that might actually get, you might be smaller, but might get better sales. So we’ll sit out six steps here to kind of reveal things that I’ve just kind of found from talking to different sellers, different retailers that would be better off knowing from the beginning. So tip number one is be sure to optimize your product listings. The sound may sound obvious, but at the same time, what, I just hear a lot of new sellers saying first time they get on the platform, they always have these aspirations that they want to have 10,000 listing, a hundred thousand, these big 500,000, these big numbers, right? And this actually used to work this back in the day was actually a strategy that did work, right? You just went on Amazon. You just listed as much as you could.

Charles (02:58):

You did the spray and pray. And it worked actually just because there weren’t that many of our listings and you go on eBay, you orthopedic against a few small sellers. So you’ve gone here. Let’s do tie product catalog, a hundred thousand products in you win, right? You would just get, you would just get random cells based on a number of products. And as you increased, you’ll get more right there. Just weren’t that it wasn’t that competitive fast forward, 20, 20, that’s no longer the case. Each listing each search page. Everything is super competitive. Now folks have this dialed in and you can’t just go and do that approach of lets us do more quantity, less quality. You need to really look at quality because people on the other end of the buying, they’re not just clicking on the first result and hitting buy. They’re opening 10 different tabs. They’re looking at, Hey, I want to search for Apple watch bands. They’re not just searching for Apple watch bands. And there’s one seller you searched for that is thousands of listings, different types of bands. Each one of those has then hundreds of sellers. So it just, the numbers have just gotten so large that if they click on yours and there’s no photos, brief descriptions, that sort of thing. Very few details. They’re just going to move to the next one. So always focused on your product listings

Speaker 3 (04:22):

Today’s episode is sponsored by drip, drip it’s of world’s first e-commerce CRM and a tool that I personally use for email marketing and automation. Now, if you’re running an eCommerce store, you need to have drip a try. And here’s why drip offers one click integrations for both Shopify and Magento. There’s robust segmentation, personalization and revenue dashboards. To give you an overview of how your automation emails are performing. One of my favorite features of drip is the visual workflow builder. It gives you a super easy way to build out your automation rules visually and see the entire process. It lets you get started quickly, but also build very complex automation roles. It’s powerful, but also easy to learn. Unlike a lot of email tools that offer the same type of automation to get a demo of drip today, you can go head over to drip.com/boe that’s drip.com/b O E. Now onto the show.

Charles (05:13):

Next you want to bend checkoff pricing, competitive pricing, and understand who else is selling a product who might compete against there. And what is their price? Do you do a lot of research yet? Because it’s not obvious, not just obvious on the competing price, but also competing costs, right? Every marketplace has their own listing fees. It might be in the case of Amazon per category, it’s very common. It might be based on weight based on all sorts of different factors that you need to have a complete understanding before you start selling. Hopefully how much will this cost us? So, you know, your cost of, you know, your cogs, you know, your fees then start looking at where are margin and who can I compete with her? And this case on Amazon, when you do your research and realize there’s no margin, there’s no room even want to factor it down.

Charles (06:07):

Maybe there’s a few points, but not enough love for returns. So it just might not be a game that you want to play. Right? early example, Apple watch bands. It has just been beat down. That’s sort of a product listing. So the margins are so razor thin that you’re going to get any percentage of returns, could just annihilate your profit. So you need to be very careful what sort of listening to your even playing in. And there are many nowadays that are not profitable and it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It just means maybe it’s just not a place where you want to compete and that’s okay. So you don’t want to go and just again, spray and pray and just price things at some sort of margin and they don’t make sense. You want to really do your research. Here’s my listing is my price.

Charles (06:55):

How do I get that dialed in right fence Mike competitors. So next going down the list of patters, you want to start doing your searching, right? So once you get this listing, you to understand a couple different factors first, what are people searching on? Right. So what is the search result look like? And where do you fall in that search result? Are you top listing? Are you on for the long tail Hill? You know, very unique keywords or are you playing in some super competitive space and you’re trying to rank higher up there, right? So where, what is your play? And then once you go further down, you also have to think something like Amazon, someone would be searching for Apple, watch bands. Now I’d be a hundred listings under the, that, but then on each one of those listings, there’s multiple sellers competing for the buy box.

Charles (07:46):

This is more common than Amazon eBay, for example, not so much. But it’s something you just want to keep in mind if you’re selling on Amazon. So you’re competing for both a listing on the search result, but then also where you fall on that list page. So it’s kind of two steps and there are things you can do. There is marketplace SEO, that sort of thing to rank a little higher, get better reviews. What lists, what listing your actually, if it’s an existing listing on Amazon, often the same product could be sold in a multiple Asians, not allowed, but it happens. So if that is the case, you’ll want to know, Hey, which eight, I want to do this such ahead of time. What ASEN do I want to be linked to? Because it’s searching, it’s a higher up in the search page. So you want to have an understanding of where ACN ranks, where each listing ranks, where you’re going to be competitive, dependent those, right? If you’re down on result 100, maybe it’s just too competitive and you want to start off on a little more of a long tail type product where you can actually come in the top three. So always keep that in mind.

Charles (08:59):

Tip number four, this goes without saying, but you need to really over-invest when it comes to a marketplace and customer service. So you’re obviously of customer service. If you’re selling today, customer support, where’s my tracking number, that sort of thing. But when it comes to a marketplace, just is, the bar is so much higher. Part of that is everyone can see your results. If you have a negative review, it’s right out in the open. So you can’t hide from that one negative review. One out of 20 can actually really affect your rankings, the number of stars. However, they kind of rate you on that marketplace. So every review counts that little extra Hill to really go a long way. Maybe you get vesting in longer support hours. If you know, weekends, that sort of thing, having support have more access to certain data so they can get paid.

Charles (09:58):

Where’s my tracking number. And they can get right back to them instead of saying, Oh, well, we’ll wait. Or that sort of thing. When issue arises, you need to be really on top of dealing with Ash on your own site, you might have some delay, but when you were talking in a marketplace, that person, if they kind of sense, this is slow and I’m not being treated fairly very easily. They hit that one star and right there that hurts you in the longterm. And it’s the right thing to do. Because at the end of the day, if you’re investing in customer service in the marketplace, it’s also going to help your main business too. So those same spot reps to work for both. So invest in overinvest, in customer support to get on the marketplace, because what was working on your own site needs to be really ramped up when it comes to a marketplace.

Charles (10:50):

Also what people kind of don’t see some of the time when it comes to pricing, the margins are going to be thinner, but there’s a chance if you’re okay with that, you can still do it. You’re going to get more sales. So just the volume of customer support will also embrace. You’re going to have a tighter margin, but more sales. So you’re going to have to sell a lot more. If you get, you know, every 10 sales, you get one customer service, one customer, take it right now. You might get a thousand sales. So you need to really multiply these numbers and really kind of be prepared to ramp up fifth to fifth. Tip is you gotta nail fulfillment. Again, some folks in our own site are a little lax on this. You know, maybe it’s three days, maybe it’s five. Maybe they give some broad ranges, Hey, we’ll ship between two and seven days.

Charles (11:45):

And their terms of service that no one looks at, but when it comes to a marketplace, this is important. This is super important. And if you do wrong by your users, this will be, especially in the case of Amazon used against you, right? So they monitor when the product is shipped, how long before the tracking number was entered. And that if you start having late to filaments and not meet team up with the times, that’s mending your account. Also your fulfillment times are going to be listed right in your page. So if you say this product can be shipped in two to three days, people are going to see that and you bet someone is going to have their wedding, a christening or a mitzvah. They’re going to have it on the third day, right? So they’re ordering, you need to be very sure you have to meet those fulfillment times because people are basing actual real life events very often on these times.

Charles (12:39):

So you did make sure what you say in that listing is what you’re going to fulfill. And if you do folks who are the other direction I’ve seen, just say, okay, maybe we can’t guarantee free days. Maybe so maybe we’ll just go wait larger. We’re going to go seven to 10 days when I go 10 to 15 to fulfillment times, you can do that. But Hey, you’re going to get less folks buying. And then B one issue that people always run into is no matter what you put there, when it’s the other way, folks will just translate into their head to two to three days. So even if you say, Hey, we’re shipping out from whatever I’m was shipping directly from China, it’s going to take 30 days on that third day, you’re going to email someone saying, where’s my package. So although I said, they’ve read it, people read it when it works for them.

Charles (13:34):

But a lot of folks aren’t reading this and the ones that don’t, they blame you right? As a seller, Hey, I expected again in three days. Where’s my, where’s my package. You ain’t get this a lot. So just understand you can go longer one times, but you have to really be very diligent and you’re gonna get a lot of support requests saying, where’s my package. And I have to explain to them, even once you explain it, they’re going to get up sash, right? They just, people come to expect three days of filming times. So I would always say if possible, figure out how you can do that. Maybe using Amazon fulfillment services, maybe using another three bill, or maybe you’re a drop shipper. And you work with only certain vendors that can really hit fulfillment times because there’s all the ones that maybe can’t and that’s okay.

Charles (14:25):

But you just want to know that up ahead in advance and you want to be prepared for that. Prepare your listings area support team in everyone should know that going into it. So number six, this one obvious to some, but I figured I just should have it. I now need to always follow the rules of the marketplace. Each marketplace has their own set of rules where you can, and can I do how you should interact with users and you can people play fast and loose, right? They kind of go to the edge. Maybe they break the roles. Maybe they do some shady things in the short term, it helps, right? Not gonna lie. You see people get all these fake reviews for example, and it helps it boost the ratings, but in the longterm, the marketplace start to figure this out. And if you are here and you’re trying to build a reputation as a seller, you’re trying to build up your account, doing things like that, getting fake reviews, eventually you’ll get figured out.

Charles (15:24):

They’ll tweak their algorithm. They’ll start to understand. And on that day, all your investment, all your hard work is going to go right down the tube and you’re going to, they can kick you back to start over. Essentially put you on a penalty box. They can, they can just activate your account altogether. There’s many things they can do. And because it’s a marketplace, you’re not in control of this. So always, always, always play by the rules. Make sure you understand the rules. Understand when you’re selling Amazon, how they’re going to rate you, how they’re going to rank you. A lot of this is public and just get a sense of how they’re going to do that because there are rules and they’re not just there to help the buyers, but they’re also there to help you as a seller, understand how to succeed in that marketplace.

Charles (16:09):

So understand the rules and just follow the rules. Don’t, don’t do some short term shady things to boost your rankings. Then a longterm are really going to come back to hurt you. So I hope that helps let’s run through it real quick. First, pick your marketplace that actually suits you. Tip number one, though, optimize your product listings to spend research and time on competitive pricing. Tip number three, monitor where you rank and all those things. Tip number four, overinvest, customer service, number five, nail your fulfillment and number six, play by the rules. So I hope that helps if it does like this, leave a comment. Let me know. I’d love to hear from you. I’ll be back next week to talk about more. Thanks. Have a good one. [inaudible].

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.