Which online marketplaces are most effective? In what ways should marketplace sellers be doing more to promote their listings? We checked in with a vendor who works with multi-channel merchants to get some expert advice about selling on Amazon, Walmart, eBay, and other channels.
Solid Commerce surpassed $1.5 billion in orders managed through its cloud-based platform on behalf of its merchant clients. The company provides listing, repricing, shipping, inventory, and order-management for merchants selling on Amazon, Walmart, Jet, eBay, Shopify, Magento and more than 15 other marketplaces and shopping carts.
Solid Commerce has marketplace sellers who range in size from $1,000,000 a year GMV (gross merchandise volume) to $5,000,000 a year GMV to as much as 10,000,000+ a year.
We were curious which were the must-use marketplaces and the most effective forms of marketing for online merchants. Erik Simon, VP of Marketing and Business Development for Solid Commerce (pictured), shared his expertise in the following Q&A.
How many online venues is optimal for an online seller? Is there such a thing as too many or too few?
Erik Simon: The decision as to whether a seller should be on Amazon, vs. eBay vs, Walmart or all 3 is often best determined by the product offering of the seller. Certain marketplaces have varying degrees of strengths in different verticals, such as electronics vs. apparel vs. the automotive space.
When a new seller comes to Solid Commerce, we assign them to a Marketplace Growth Advisor who can advise and recommend a mix of marketplaces that is the best suited for each seller.
Amazon and eBay are names every seller knows. Walmart and Jet are both up and coming marketplaces, and we advise sellers to seriously consider joining these.
What are the "must-use" marketplaces for online merchants?
Erik Simon: Amazon and eBay, as established and well known marketplaces, are invariably included in most sellers' target list of marketplaces.
Walmart & Jet, which are both up and coming, are in my opinion, "must-use" for new sellers. With 100,000,000 monthly buyers and only 10,000 third-party sellers, Walmart represents a unique and unprecedented opportunity for online retailers, for the simple reason that there are 10,000 buyers for every seller on Walmart vs. 100 buyers for every seller on Amazon.
For this reason, I feel that Walmart's marketplace is an absolute "must-use" for marketplace sellers. That is why Solid Commerce has developed a fast-track application process for retailers that want to sell on Walmart.
eBay, on account of its unique ability to match millions of automotive parts to the make and model of each car, has unique strengths in the automotive space. Any seller in the automotive parts and accessories space must be on eBay.
Regarding Walmart, there may be sellers who are wondering if they would make a good fit. Is it only for authorized resellers of brand-new commodity goods? Would there be opportunities on Walmart that might surprise online sellers?
Erik Simon: Walmart does not currently allow used products. I think the real surprise for sellers will be extremely favorable buyer-to-seller ratios offer by Walmart in the range of 10,000 buyers for the seller.
What are the biggest differences between eBay and Amazon from an online seller's point of view?
Erik Simon: Amazon, on account of its catalogue based approach, really helps sellers efficiently compete on price with other sellers of identical products.
eBay, due to its non-catalogue approach, gives sellers the opportunity to draw attention to themselves in many ways other than price.
Each marketplace plays an important role and each enables sellers to generate healthy revenues from their respective buyer communities.
eBay and Amazon both offer advertising opportunities for online sellers. Do you recommend your clients participate in either or both?
Erik Simon: Absolutely. Amazon's Sponsored Products and eBay's Promoted Listings are both powerful ways sellers can attract more buyers to their stores.
What are the "must-use" advertising programs across all platforms (including marketplaces and search engines)?
Erik Simon: Well, I think the first two "must-use" advertising programs are Amazon's Sponsored Products and eBay's Promoted Listings. If a seller intends to get noticed among all the sellers in both marketplaces, each of these programs really are "must-use" programs.
If an online merchant could only participate in one marketing activity (such as email marketing, product listing ads, promoted listings, etc.), which would you tell them to do?
Erik Simon: Both Amazon's Sponsored Products and eBay's Promoted Listings are extremely valuable programs, and we strongly recommend that sellers utilize both of these. Sellers who utilize Amazon's Sponsored Products and eBay's Promoted Listings see a considerable growth in sales and a strong return on their investment.
In the case of Amazon, combining a Sponsored Products campaign with an automatic Amazon repricer ensures a combination of increased visibility for your product and an increased likelihood of winning the Buy Box.
What's the biggest opportunity sellers have to save money that many are missing?
Erik Simon: I think the best way for sellers to save money is by reducing operation overhead and complexity through the use of a single platform. Rather than using separate applications for listing, pricing, inventory, and shipping, sellers who combine all these functions into a single platform see the greatest savings in time, money & manpower.
What's the biggest opportunity sellers have to attract shoppers that many are missing?
Erik Simon: Automating the listing of products to the marketplaces and listing to the top marketplaces are the surest way of attracting the greatest number of shoppers to the greatest number of products.
Sellers who are keeping their listings updated and doing so across multiple marketplaces simultaneously see the greatest product and customer exposure.
You can learn more on the SolidCommerce.com website.
A version of this article appeared in the March 23rd issue of EcommerceBytes 411.