Writing for Business Advice, Paul Watson, CEO of ecommerce service provider Volo Commerce, advises small marketplace retailers, selling on platforms like eBay and Amazon, on driving their sales strategy through the tools available.
As the commerce arena becomes increasingly competitive and customers’ demands are more complex and sophisticated, marketplace retailers have to work harder and harder to stand out from the competition and increase the all important conversion rate.
More and more retailers are now using their multichannel presence to increase their exposure through advertising. And, while we all know that advertising is key to commerce, not all retailers investing in this strategy are successful.
Nowadays, a significant number of online retailers are active on the world’s largest marketplaces – eBay and Amazon.
Both organisations invest large budgets in marketing and advertising themselves, but they have also created very useful tools aimed at helping retailers to promote their products and increase their sales.
eBay’s Promotions manager, for example, is designed to help any eBay seller to create custom offers, attract new buyers and boost sales by giving them the opportunity to merchandise and cross-sell other products domestically, cross-border and via mobile.
The tool itself supports several types of deal; such as Order discounts for minimum thresholds, Sale events where sellers nominate reduced or special price items to be displayed on a sale page, and Accessory discounts for cross-selling items related to the listing browsed by the buyer.
One of the most effective strategies for using this tool is to make your best-selling items boost the low-selling items in your “long tail”
Firstly, you need to analyse your sales performance and shortlist your best-selling items. Then, look at your inventory and identify less successful products that you can price competitively. Then you can pair up best sellers with long tail sellers by creating an accessory discount offer. Your long tail items are then promoted on your best seller listings.
Every single item on eBay has a Cassini Best Match score. A key component of this score is the conversion or sell-through rate. Some of your products will never have sold anything, or perhaps never even had an impression.
If a customer finds your item via an offer and makes a purchase, you’ve technically made a sale without an impression – thus giving your item an artificially high conversion rate and raising your rankings for that item.
Promoted listings is another profitable strategy for driving sales on eBay. This service increases your item’s visibility and the likelihood of a sale.
Promoted listings help with selling more of your successful inventory, converting items that sell moderately well into higher-performing items, kick-starting sales for new listings, and standing out in crowded categories.
The most efficient way to use promoted listing is to promote items that have a good conversion rate from the already existing organic traffic, which is a strong indication that additional traffic will result in more sales.
Once you launch a campaign, make sure that you check the results regularly and adjust your ad rates accordingly. It’s also important to try promoting new inventory to improve its natural search ranking and test which items see the most significant boost in sales as a result of your promotion.
Amazon promotions help sellers create a range of promotions, including discounts, free shipping and free products, as well as external incentives like loyalty points.
Amazon marketplace retailers can also create claim codes that a buyer must enter when they place an order. Amazon displays your promotion on the product detail page only when your offer wins the all-important Amazon Buy Box.
Amazon’s Sponsored products pay per click (PPC) advertising platform is a great opportunity to sell more products online. If properly created and managed, a PPC campaign on Amazon can help you sell more inventory faster, while increasing your organic rankings as well.
The success of an Amazon PPC campaign is very much dependent on the keywords you choose. Make sure you research thoroughly before launching the campaign and identify the most relevant keywords for your items.
Then, you need to keep a close eye on the non-converting keywords and optimise your campaign accordingly.
While there is no doubt that running advertising campaigns on marketplaces can generate significant increase in sales, a lot of retailers find it challenging to stay on top of promotional activities and manage several campaigns on different marketplaces.
Driving a successful ecommerce business means managing a complex ecosystem that covers purchasing, supply, inventory and stock levels, customers’ orders, fulfilment, dispatch, refunds, returns and customer service.
Adding advertising and promotions on top of these might seem overwhelming, even to seasoned marketplace retailers.
Thankfully, technology comes to the rescue and nowadays retailers can use smart ecommerce platforms that automate most of these activities, enabling sellers to save important resources and time and invest them in increasing their business’ profitability.
In conclusion, even if creating and managing advertising campaigns and promotions might seem resource and time intensive, if you put technology to good use and apply some of the above recommendations you’ll soon reap the benefits and see your business thrive.
Paul Watson is CEO of Volo Commerce
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