The Covid 19 crisis has boosted the global appetite for online purchases as is being witnessed by every major Online Marketplaces across the globe. Like Amazon, eBay, Walmart.com and many more. While this is all good news, the fallout we have witnessed with every marketplace shows their vulnerability to a crisis.
Disrupted supply chain, the failures of third-party sellers, employee disruptions from the threats of disease etc. Post Covid we will witness the Marketplaces making changes to their business- to make them more resilient to a crisis.
So why a Marketplace?
How do you prepare as a Seller ?
What to look out for in the post-Covid marketplace listings?
Of course selling through a Marketplace means that your business has instant access to a huge stream of purchase-ready customers. The access to such a targeted audience makes it very interesting especially for young companies. The Marketplace enjoys trust with customers and it often takes less than a day to list products if information is ready.
Though marketplaces are tempting, it’s essential to understand their new dynamics.
- You might be catering to a recessionary market driven by a discount mindset
- As we witness a digital escalation post-Covid, the market has expanded and so has the audience profile.
- There might be increased competition on a marketplace. Know your competitors by testing waters in small steps
To prepare at a strategic level as a Marketplace Seller :
- Build a business case for listing on a Marketplace.
- Use a data driven model (understanding market demand) to determine business opportunities for your products in any specific Marketplace
- Post-Covid as the audience might have changed, for example with the entry of retirees, be comprehensive in your customer assessment.
- Access the competitive landscape, find what product groups you fit best that might be most successful on a marketplace like Amazon.
While we emerge from this crisis, there is a lot of pressure and expectations in marketplace listings to reinvent offerings in order to survive in the post-coronavirus economy. The operational level to prepare for onboarding a marketplace involves:
- Catalog Review : Find products from catalogues which fit the revised market needs, especially for a wider audience .
- Competitor Benchmarking Review : The market might be bigger with more competitors who have done their homework. You need to do yours.
- Category Selection : Based on the catalog review and competitor benchmarking reviews, find best categories to list your products.
- Product Selection : Find the USP for your products with the review of demand and their match. Prioritise products based on new market information .
- Fulfillments Options : With the learnings from this crisis, decide whether you should handle shipping and customer service in-house, or utilise Marketplace Fulfilment Services (i.e Full-fill by Amazon). You need to keep in mind how certain channels were affected during Covid.
- Profitability review : Check on the commercial viability based on setup and running costs (including marketing spend) with proper risk contingencies in place.
A data-driven approach to uncover business opportunities is recommended. While markets reopen, consumer habits might have undergone changes. The profile of the ideal consumer group might have altered too. Therefore, product portfolio, marketing messages and delivery channels need to be reinvented. This will be needed across all parts of eCommerce. Marketplace selling will be no exception.