How your business can benefit from an online marketplace partner

By Dominic Portman, above, founder of marketplace super-seller, Boulevard

The phenomenal rise of online marketplaces in the last several years has seen eCommerce become a key strategic consideration for practically every retail business. Those wishing to launch, grow and reach new audiences need look no further than huge online marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and many more.

This is unsurprising, given that online marketplaces are leading the global boom in eCommerce, with Amazon alone receiving 407 million unique visits per month in the UK, and marketplaces accounting for 62% of all online sales.

However, so many brands find marketplace selling and order fulfilment both technical and time consuming, with these issues being compounded by many first-party sellers, like Amazon Retail, growing slowly and being rather difficult to work with. Retail brands are faced with a host of challenges associated with marketplace selling, such as the cost of storage and fulfilment often making trade non-viable, stymying a promising eCommerce strategy before it has even begun.

In response to these pain points, a new model has emerged, with bigger and more specialist marketplace retailers partnering with brands, manufacturers and distributors to allow businesses of all sizes to continue expanding their audience and their influence. These expert partners take the pressure off retail businesses, handling key marketplace functions such as compliance, product listings, orders and logistics, so they can focus on strategic decisions that promote growth.

So, how can partnering with a marketplace expert help you to scale your brand, and take your eCommerce strategy to the next level?

Launching your brand

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The initial stages of launching a new product or product line, and bringing it to market can pose many new and unforeseen challenges. In these circumstances, the expertise and insight that an expert marketplace partner can provide is invaluable.

Using the vast amounts of experience within these platforms at their disposal, they can provide an accurate appraisal of the product backed by real data, ensuring a market fit for each product line.

Access to this insight and expertise is particularly valuable, and with a specialist background in selling in online marketplaces, you can be confident that decisions will be properly backed by data-led insights. Many of these decisions can be crucial for new brands and products, such as deciding where marketplace price points should be set to meet target audience expectations for optimal sales.

Product listings and curation

In nearly every online marketplace, there are detailed and complex guidelines on how items should be represented. These product listings can make or break your reputation, reach and, ultimately, success.

Skilfully crafted listings and carefully curated product collections give your products and brand the best possible chance of success within these highly competitive platforms, while staying firmly on the right side of marketplace guidelines. This last point is of particular importance, as ensuring your products rise to the top of the results while also building a positive brand awareness that instils trust within your audience, requires listings that are honest, accurate and compliant with all marketplace regulations.

Expert marketplace sellers, with insight into these areas, are easily able to craft listings and curate product collections that possess real marketplace appeal.

Boosting brand image

Many online marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay offer protection tools that help to defend against counterfeit products and unregistered suppliers. The downside is that using these tools to the best effect also comes with a significant time investment from brands that may not have the time and resources to carry out this function in-house.

Expert marketplace sellers can essentially do this heavy listing on behalf of your brand, and the same quality sellers will also be able to offer additional support services that can advise you on how to best to leverage these tools to protect your online reputation.

Brand image is incredibly important, and inexperienced sellers that provide sub-par customer service, or display products in ads and listings in a way that violates your agreement with them, all contribute to a negative brand image that can be very difficult to correct. Working with an experienced partner allows you to reap the benefits of their insight and experience on these platforms, while being confident that your brand is being portrayed in the best possible light.

Final thoughts

Online marketplaces present immense opportunity for businesses, whether you are looking to launch a new product or product line, clear stagnating product lines, or simply grow your sales and brand awareness.

However, navigating these platforms can often be time-consuming and complex, and many businesses simply lack the in-house resources to realise the full potential of their eCommerce strategy.

Working with an expert marketplace partner is invaluable to brand looking to maximise the potential of a platform like Amazon, helping to alleviate the pain points of marketplace selling, protect your brand image, and assist you in scaling in a low-risk way.

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024