Multichannel Selling: Top online marketplaces and why you should use them

The worldwide web has opened many doors to online sellers over the last few years. Online marketplaces and selling platforms have made it possible for these retailers to reach wider and more diverse customer bases and their pockets, but unsurprisingly, not all of these channels are created equal – which makes finding the best place to sell your products over the web an increasingly difficult task.

Whatever your products may be, finding the most suitable sales channels is the first step to making a success of your online business, so it’s worth investing some time and effort into studying all the options available to you. Read on to learn about the top marketplace platforms and what to consider before listing your products.


1.eBay

Considered the granddaddy of the bunch, eBay was a true pioneer of online shopping. Since 1995, eBay has helped shape hobbyists’ pastimes into profitable, at-home businesses.

Currently, eBay boasts 167 million active users across 190 markets. This global enterprise is not only a retail/auction website, but it also has local marketplaces in more than 30 countries around the world. It doesn’t stop there: the company also includes other commerce brands such as eBay Classifieds Group, which helps users find necessary products and services within their local communities, and StubHub, which is the world’s largest platform for online tickets.

Anyone can sell on eBay. Even better, you can sell everything and anything (within reason!) – including collectibles, appliances, clothes, accessories, and so on – at a full, fixed price, or in an auction format. The procedure is pretty standard: you write a description of your product, you add photos, you select a category, you choose from the delivery and return options, and your item is officially listed.

eBay has very few barriers to entry, which makes it a brilliant choice for beginner sellers. However, the site does pose some strict rules that, when violated, can cause account restriction or suspension. So before jumping on and listing all your unwanted graphic t-shirts, it’s a good idea to step back and read their policies first.


2.Amazon

Amazon has come a long way since its early days as an online bookshop that dropshipped much of its inventory. Sure, it was the world’s largest online bookshop even then, but it only sold books.

Fast-forward to the present, and Amazon is one of the world’s most-visited websites and the largest search engine – outperforming even Google as a starting point for product searches. Amazon offers millions of products in an incomprehensibly wide range of categories, from food and kitchen appliances to electronics and art pieces. Recently, it’s even begun to offer cloud infrastructure services (AWS), software, analytics services (Alexa), digital content, and multimedia products.

Like eBay, third-party vendors add product listings on Amazon, which are included into the site’s inventory. When a consumer decides to purchase an item, the vendor is then liable for fulfilling the order.

The range of products that you can find on Amazon makes it one of the best online selling channels for almost anyone, selling almost anything, from almost anywhere. Nevertheless, you really do have to make sure that your prices are competitive enough, but not so much that you sacrifice your profit margin – of course, this can be a tough balancing act for smaller sellers, especially when competing against larger sellers who are occupying this platform and who can afford to sell in high quantities and low prices.


3.Facebook Marketplace

Yes, Facebook. On top of being an online social media and social networking service, Facebook is also an up-and-coming online marketplace that’s fast taking over eBay as the place to flog new and unwanted goods in order to earn some extra cash.

Facebook Marketplace allows you to set up a store, where you can list items with photos and descriptions and tag them to specific locations without having to spend a penny. These listings will then be available for users to search for and browse by location and category.

Why should you sell on Facebook? Well, for starters, Facebook has over 1.94 billion active users every single month, which means your brand can potentially have the exposure to 1,940,000,000 customers here. Granted, only a tiny fraction is going to buy into your brand, but this will still make a pretty meaningful impact on your business! Moreover, the channel is readily available on iOS and Android (in fact, it is only available through the Facebook app and not yet on desktop) and since many of us use the app to stay in touch with friends and family anyway, users have easy access to the marketplace.

For now, the service is operating as an extension of Facebook groups, so Facebook is not actually involved in or responsible for payment or delivery for items listed on Marketplace. Therefore, users need to be aware of the risks when it comes to buying and selling on Facebook (and similar online exchanges).


4.Google Shopping

Google Shopping is a dedicated shopping search engine that is run by Google. It’s the perfect marketplace to present your products to shoppers at the moment when their interest is at its peak.

Unlike regular Google search, there are no organic results in Google Shopping – every product that’s advertised on this marketplace has been paid for by a seller to show up for that query. These search results also show up in the form of image ads in regular search when someone searches for a product, giving your business the opportunity to target people who are after specific products like yours.

To make sure your products show up in search, you need to follow the guidelines provided by Google and input your product information to the Google system – for example, clothing items might need to include size or colour, or both. Some product information, however, is required for every item, including an ID number, a title, and a basic description. Skipping any of these will prevent your items from showing up in Google Shopping, thus limiting your sales opportunities.

While effective selling on Google Shopping may take time, the rewards for sellers who play by the Google rules are massive – the search engine processes over 90 billion search queries every month, and with 35% of all shoppers starting their product search on Google, you can’t afford to not have your products on here.


5.Multichannel Product Listing

As you can see, each marketplace has rules or requirements for how you list your items; they have different categories and require different product details. If you’re selling on multiple marketplaces, it can be easy to lose track of each channel’s requirements. It’s even harder to manage your stocks on all of these channels at once.

The key to successful multichannel product listing lies in integration, which is exactly what our ERP software is designed to achieve. It integrates with all of the third-party marketplaces mentioned above (and many ecommerce platforms beyond those) to help you smoothly streamline your online business – from placing your stock orders to getting products in the hands of your customers

by Gemma Tomlinson on 14/08/2017

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