Whether you consider behemoth marketplaces like Amazon and Walmart to be retail godsends or the root of small business woes, it’s hard to ignore the power and allure of always-on, always-available, always-at-your-doorstep commerce. It is the elephant in the room. And if you’re in the latter group – a merchant who has yet to carve a path through the marketplace jungle – consider the following:
- 74% of consumers start their product searches on Amazon.
- A whopping 56% of shoppers say if they could shop from only one store it would be (you guessed it) Amazon.
- Shopify reported the U.S. saw 10 years of ecommerce growth in only 90 days last year.
- 51% of online transactions happen on mobile devices—and 90% of time spent on those devices is in apps like Amazon, Walmart, eBay and other marketplaces (aka not your website).
This is only the beginning of a long-tail trend—and one that shows no signs of slowing.
Why should you care about marketplaces now?
The power and breadth of Amazon’s footprint is certainly not a new insight, but in light of recent market events (see: pandemics, political volatility, tech disruptors, government regulations), selling (and the way you sell) on Amazon and popular marketplaces like Walmart and eBay deserves another look.
“There's been a shift in the way people consume and that is unlikely to go away in the near term,” said Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist with Oxford Economics. “We're still in an environment of COVID fear, COVID uncertainty, and that will continue to drive people's purchasing habits.”
According to S&P Global Marketing Intelligence, “U.S. ecommerce sales are on track to exceed $1 trillion for the first time next year.” Plus, Amazon surpassed 200 million Prime subscribers in 2021. These are not small numbers, and they’re only getting bigger. If you’re an entrepreneur with a product, a growing ecommerce brand or a merchant who wants to sell more products online, a marketplace selling strategy can no longer be ignored. Another reason to take marketplaces more seriously in 2022?
The Facebook party is over
From small business merchants to enterprise brands, the ecommerce community has relied on cheap marketing strategies like Facebook ads to reach, convert and analyze customers. But, in the wake of Apple’s new policy to actually ask consumers for consent to track their data, the luck of cheap, highly-effective ecommerce advertising has run out. According to CNBC.com:
“The changes Apple made in iOS 14.5 — asking people if they wanted to opt-out of apps tracking them across the web — is causing tumult for advertisers who rely on Facebook to sustain their businesses. Performance marketers, i.e., those who want you to buy immediately after clicking, are particularly struggling. The masses, they believe, have opted out of letting Facebook track off of Facebook, so they can’t be sure if people are buying their products after seeing their ads. Facebook expects them to spend less money as a result.”
If you’ve been riding the Facebook wave and aren't in a position to double or triple your advertising costs at the drop of a hat, it’s time to rethink your online marketing strategy. Listing and optimizing your product catalog on marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart and eBay is one of the fastest and most affordable ways to start.
Your products are on Amazon … now what?
S&P Global Market Intelligence reported that convenience and price comparison were cited among the top reasons shoppers would look to ecommerce for holiday shopping in 2022. Of course, with the majority of product searches starting on Amazon, it’s imperative that merchants and brands take heed and meet consumers when and where they want to shop. Online, easily, quickly and at a fair price.
But just because massive marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart and eBay have millions of users and seemingly infinite products, it doesn’t mean shoppers will actually see your products there. In the same way that SEO plays a part to ensure a simple Google search returns the answers you’re looking for, marketplace sellers need the same strategic juice to get their products listed in the top results, win the Buy Box and get in front of the customers who are most likely to convert.
That said, much like the mysteries of SEO, most merchants don’t get the insider secrets on how to juice their listings to get top billing, much less how to win the Amazon Buy Box. Not to mention, every marketplace, from Amazon to eBay to Walmart, has its own listing standards, optimization techniques and regulations to meet.
Adhering to marketplace-specific regulations and ensuring your product listings, pricing and placement are optimized on every channel is no easy feat. So how do the most profitable brands and sellers do it?
Multichannel management for the win
That competitor who’s outdoing you on every channel? They’re most likely using a little marketplace magic in the form of multichannel management (MCM) to simplify selling online. MCM allows merchants to build and sync product listings across multiple online marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart and eBay at the same time, from one place. So not only are they automating processes to save massive amounts of time; once their product catalogs are in the system, MCM’s secret sauce optimizes pricing, placement and promotions to capture more customers and more conversions. Fast.
Other than transforming the daunting task of uploading a product catalog to one or many marketplaces and optimizing listings to maximize profits, what’s the number one reason sellers should be using MCM? Diversification.
It’s simple, really. When you increase the number of places your products are sold, you increase the number of people who will see and buy them. And when you’re competing with more than six million other sellers on Amazon alone, adopting an MCM solution now is the epitome of a no-brainer.