Has your organization amped up its e-commerce activities with the establishment of an online marketplace? For a growing number of organizations, doing so is proving to be an extremely smart move. Getting in on the action, as a marketplace owner or seller, is now on the agenda for retail leaders with an eye for the bottom line.
Research shows organizations that establish an online marketplace can expect to increase their revenue between 30 to 50 percent in the first year. That’s far from pocket change. Furthermore, its growth doesn’t call for a capital-intensive increase in inventory or an expanded real estate footprint, given its third-party sellers and not the online marketplace operator that owns, store, and ship the stock.
But reaping those sorts of returns aren’t guaranteed and certainly not in the long term. Businesses whose online marketplace sales remain consistently healthy are those which place a high value on innovation. They’re dedicated to identifying new ways to keep delivering for the customer – figuratively and literally! – and they’re laser-focused on putting those innovations into practice.
Here are five ways to keep your online marketplace fresh, once it’s up and running.
Grow the product range
Adding new lines is a great way to retain customer interest and gain incremental sales. Unless you’re intending to sell anything and everything on your site, it makes sense to focus on complementary products; seasonal and add-on items that will enhance your regular range and help your brand become known as a category killer. Barbeques Galore, for example, recently added Halloween costumes and fresh meat to its offering. Both lines are unexpected but appropriate additions to the company’s traditional outdoor furniture and equipment offering.
Your product range isn’t the only thing that should be re-evaluated regularly. Even if things are humming along smoothly enough, there will always be opportunities to improve your policies and processes. Returns, for example, can be a thorny issue for many customers. Make it as simple and convenient as possible for them to send back faulty and unwanted products and you’ll up the odds of them ordering from your site again. Shipping costs can be another deal maker or breaker for customers, and tweaking your policy could be the key to a higher conversion rate.
Maximize the marketing opportunity
Targeted marketing helps drive website traffic and sales and it makes sense to team up with your sellers to develop a continuous cadence of co-funded campaigns and exclusive deals. If your online marketplace is well established and enjoys a high volume of traffic, you may also be able to earn additional revenue by selling feature spots on your home page, or in your customer EDM.
Keep abreast of technology developments
Evolution in the high-tech world has long occurred at a blistering pace. Just ask Intel co-founder Gordon Moore whose eponymous ‘law’, first described in 1965, stated that the speed of computers would double every two years, while the cost would halve. Fast forward almost six decades and ICT vendors remain as focused as ever on optimizing their offerings, at speed. That’s why it makes sense to review your technology stack regularly. In doing so, you may discover manual processes that can be automated or integrated, via APIs, or new capabilities you can add to improve the efficiency of your online marketplace and the customer experience it delivers to shoppers.
A thriving eco-system of sellers will help your online marketplace go from strength to strength but it’s unlikely you’ll foster one by accident. Setting measurable and achievable service levels, seeking and offering regular feedback, and sharing data-driven insights to help sellers up their earn are some of the ways you can turn your supplier network into a collaborative community of high-caliber partners.
Innovate and prosper
An online marketplace offers an unparalleled opportunity to grow your range and revenue, provided you don’t regard it as a ‘set it and forget it’ asset. Commit to continuous innovation and improvement and you’ll stand a better chance of seeing your sales continue to grow.
Marketplacer is a market-leading platform equipped with all the tools and functionality needed to build successful and scalable online marketplaces, at speed. The Marketplacer platform exists to make growth simple, from implementing marketplace strategies such as shipment from dropship sellers, adding new categories or third-party range extension, to consolidating markets and rolling out modern revenue models such as recurring memberships that allow businesses to grow faster and beyond the constraints of capital inventory.
If you’d like to learn more about Marketplacer and how we can help you expand your product assortment, generate additional revenue, and lower your inventory risk, you can request a demo with us today.