So you’ve recently set up an online marketplace and are keen to start populating it with products. Your next task is to ensure that each product listing is adequately optimised to maximise sales and click-throughs.
As touched on in our guide to setting up an online marketplace, platforms such as Amazon, Shopify, WooCommerce, ManoMano, eBay and Etsy have exploded in popularity in recent times, and now represent a primary sales channel for many brands. But with this popularity also comes competition, so it’s vital that you do what you can to improve visibility and help your products get noticed.
Optimising your marketplace listings can be a time and resource-intensive process, but the upturn in sales can be really significant. So, to help you improve the success of your listings, we’ve put together some practical tips on optimising marketplace listings – from utilising sponsored product space to improving the layout and content of your pages.
- Optimise the Content of Your Marketplace Listings
- Understand the Importance of Reviews – and Utilise Them to Your Advantage
- Find a Way to Provide Free or Discounted Shipping – and Make Sure It’s Fast
Online marketplaces host thousands of brands, each competing to get their products seen by prospective customers. That means the content of your listings must be exemplary, providing both an attractive showcase and a detailed specification for your individual products and ranges.
With competition fiercer than ever within e-markets, your listings have an important job to do. Remember that customers will see your products alongside dozens of similar alternatives, so creating impactful, detailed product pages is arguably more important for online marketplaces than it is on your own e-commerce site.
So, what on-page content should you look to optimise when creating product listings? We’ve listed some of the factors to audit and update below:
- Product images – are your product images appealing enough to draw a user’s attention? And do they adequately showcase a product and its features? Images are the main draw to get users through to your listings, so they need to be impactful and persuasive, while adhering to the platform’s imagery requirements.
- Listing copy – when it comes to web marketplaces, product descriptions do more than provide information to prospective customers. The platform’s algorithms and database rank, sort, and categorise products based on listing copy, so the information you provide must be accurate, full, up to date, and free from errors and inconsistencies.
- Product specification – on a similar vein to the above, the basic specification of your individual products should provide thorough and accurate information, helping both customers and the platform itself to quickly establish what the product is and if it’s relevant to a specific search. An integrated management solution which utilises product data feeds and updated stock information from your ERP system can be an effective way to ensure the ongoing accuracy and relevance of your marketplace product listings.
- Adjust listings content for different marketplaces – if, like many brands, you’ve established a presence on more than one web market, make sure to adjust the format and content of your listings to suit different platforms. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach here, so pay attention to how other brands differentiate their offering between competing marketplaces. This may involve shortening copy, including more images, or improving complementary product specs. And remember: if managing multiple marketplace listings becomes too much, invest in a management platform to help simplify day-to-day operations.
- Experiment with product titles – along with images, product titles are the first thing prospective customers will see on your listing, so they need to be compelling. Not only that, but many platforms utilise keyword and SEO ranking principles like search engines, so you need to use the appropriate variations that will ensure the best all-round performance.
Typically, an effective marketplace product title should include:
- Your brand name
- The name of the product or its model
- Specification information, like size, colour, pack size, etc.
Be sure to try different variations and monitor click-through rates on different platforms, until you find the format that’s right for you.
Part of the reason online marketplaces are so popular is the ease at which people can leave product reviews, and others can read them. According to recent data, 93% of people read reviews before making a purchase, which explains why they play such a prominent role on sites like Amazon.
If you’re new to marketplace selling, you may be wary of reviews and the impact they could have on your business. But rather than fearing them, it’s much better to embrace reviews – both positive and negative – and recognise them as an integral part of the online marketplace ecosystem.
Of course, positive reviews are among the most powerful attributes you can bring to an individual product page, and the more you accrue, the greater your chances of seeing repeat, long-term custom. But what about negative reviews? How should these be handled to maintain customer trust and sales revenue?
The first thing to note about negative reviews is this: never ignore them, and certainly never manually remove them. Instead, respond in a positive and timely way, addressing the buyer’s concerns while directing them towards an appropriate course of action, all while illustrating that you’re happy to help get the issue resolved.
It’s worth noting that customers expect negative reviews on marketplace listings, and are unlikely to be deterred from making a purchase – provided there are enough positive reviews to balance the good with the bad.
Ideally, you should look to maintain at least a four-star rating across your product ranges. You may need to assess your internal processes and offering should negative reviews start to accumulate for specific products.
With competition high and the margins between making a sale and not incredibly thin, anything you can do to make your proposition more attractive to potential customers can have an impact. And when it comes to marketplace success, offering free delivery is among the best ways of driving increased custom.
Delivery charges play a surprisingly important role on online marketplaces. Remember, with dozens of competitor brands offering similar products at comparable prices, shipping costs can often be the deciding factor when a customer reaches the final decision and transaction phase.
Offering free shipping may sound like something you’d never be able to achieve, but you need to consider the potential revenue gains of doing so. If free or discounted delivery charges guarantee X% more sales each year from marketplace channels, it may be in your interest to take the hit on logistics costs for this guarantee of increased sales revenue.
Remember, too, that there are ways to bring down delivery costs and make it more feasible for you to offer free shipping. Start by exploring different carrier options to find the best deal, and utilise different shipping companies to keep costs to a minimum even as sales volumes increase.
As well as delivery charges, you also need to consider shipping speeds. Customers demand ever-faster shipping rates, and with many sellers already offering free, next-day delivery on platforms like Amazon, it may be difficult to compete if you can’t match this.
There are, of course, several things you can do internally to increase the efficiency of your logistics while keeping costs to a minimum. Investing in modern inventory management software will make it significantly easier to manage and fulfil orders, while advanced stock control will simplify warehousing and ensure faster order turnaround rates.
An ERP system here can really help increase automation, reduce costs, and improve margins – giving you the buffer required to slash delivery costs or provide completely free delivery.
Embracing the latest technologies is key here. Transport scheduling functionality, for instance, can provide your entire team with end-to-end visibility and control of your orders from the point of purchase to the point of delivery.
And with some modern mobile enterprise apps you can have your drivers capturing PODs on their mobiles or taking pictures of delivered goods.
We hope this guide has provided some inspiration and advice for improving your marketplace sales performance. At Intact, we provide management solutions that help you take control of your business, whatever your primary sales channels and objectives. For more information or to learn more about our software offering, visit the homepage or contact us today.