Selling online is no different than the Roman forum or the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. Highly competitive, noisy, with lots of elbowing and barking. Whether e-commerce is your primary vehicle or not, you have three options for executing it.
- Customers go to you
- You go to customers
- You do both
Setting up a website that supports online purchasing and fulfilment has never been easier. Drag and drop your way to a clean-looking web presence; you can be up and running in a matter of hours. Easy, right?
Now generate some traffic, go bark at—er, engage some potential customers and funnel them into a transaction. That’s not so easy.
In fact, getting attention has never been more difficult if you’re new to the game. Those easy-build sites automate front end web development for you, but driving traffic? That is on you. Trust me, it’s a lot of work.
IMPORTANT: Do not forgo building your own branded site. You need somewhere to park your information and visual assets, and a website is a non-negotiable branding tool. There are other channels to attract additional eyeballs and drive revenue. Your URL is square one.
Why sell online as a marketplace vendor?
Selling third-party at an online market place is the prevailing trend in e-commerce right now. It is good for e-commerce sites to expand their catalog, and good for vendors looking to grow—especially in B2B.
Digital marketing guru Neil Patel characterizes the e-commerce marketplace opportunity:
“If you are new to e-commerce, selling physical products, then you will boost your revenue by using a third-party platform. For maximum revenue boosting power, a third-party platform could be your best choice.”
Success is unlikely, however, without an open dialogue between a site and its vendors. In the absence of such a relationship, onsite user experience suffers and neither of us can afford that.
What should you expect from selling products on a leading e-commerce site?
The whole point of omni-channel selling should supplement brand exposure and revenue. Additional value, like logistics support and warehousing, help you scale up when the time is right.
Now, just like any physical marketplace in history, you as a vendor want to set up where people specifically come to look for products like what you have to sell.
If you have a catalog of office technology products, you’re in the right place—but there are a slew of options, of which we are well aware.
Common pain points for selling online as a third-party vendor
A high-traffic e-commerce site brings with it audience, reach, and competition. Selling there has challenges of its own.
Sites like Amazon, eBay, and even here at Newegg, the immense product catalog means fearsome competition in most categories. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle if vendors aren’t setting up pages the right way.
All sites have a seller content policy for categorizing and characterizing each product offering. The rules vary somewhat, but if you’re not deliberate about positioning your products, you’re back at square one trying to brand yourself on a foreign domain you don’t control. That’s the same problem that brought you to a marketplace site in the first place.
The worst is growing and spending on one of these sites knowing your brand could be erased any minute for reasons unrelated the seller. This occurs as a result of an exclusivity deal, or enforcement of rules unknown. Finding support for this type of situation on big-time sites is troublesome.
Costs hurt as well. In certain categories, per-item fees and commission rates approach 20 percent on the largest sites. Add in extra for logistics services and the overhead adds up fast, beating up your profit margin.
A personal touch puts vendors and customers on the same page
You sign up to ease the burden that online selling entails. There’s no reason to pay for something that adds complexity. You came for relevant site traffic to your products, and that’s what e-commerce should deliver.
From the perspective of the e-commerce site, customers must enjoy the shopping experience. What makes online shoppers happy? Clean, consistent product pages with accurate information and clear images. Categorized navigation features and product finders.
For business-specific retailers, an offline sales team that accommodates the special needs of public/private sector procurement practices adds tremendous value.
A quality online marketplace is selective, and has rules on how vendors conduct themselves. Unscrupulous behaviors by competing vendors—like the stuffing of negative ratings reportedly happening on other marketplaces—is not tolerated. It’s in the interest of the e-commerce site to maintain transparency with product review processes to ensure accuracy. It’s all part of winning the trust of the customer.
Final thoughts: partnering in pursuit of mutual goals
E-commerce is a competitive venture just like any other vertical. For NeweggBusiness, our chosen method of differentiation involves a personal touch added to a competitive pricing model. The marketplace team is selective and hands-on with vendors for the good of the customer. As a result, vendors gain the relevant exposure they pay for.
It’s a partnership dynamic designed so both your brand and ours come correct with the user experience. Working together is the only sensible way to achieve our mutual goal of targeted selling online.