Online marketplaces provide instant access to untapped audiences and enable you to introduce your product to billions of global customers. With Amazon and eBay receiving more traffic than the websites of individual businesses, online marketplaces offer the opportunity for sole traders, large-scale manufactures and anyone in between to rapidly grow their business. In partnership with The Department for International Trade (DIT) and Infinity Blue Marketplaces, we’ve compiled a list of five things to consider when setting up on marketplaces for global success.
1. Not all marketplaces are created equal
You should consider the ease of setting up on your chosen platform and any time constraints it may bring. Some platforms you can simply register for, whilst others you must apply to join. Once you have set up on Sears Marketplace you must be reviewed and approved before gaining access to sell your products. Other online marketplaces, like Walmart, you must be invited to. Conducting thorough research is key to understanding which platforms will work best for your product or brand. DIT’s Selling Online Overseas tool will help you to identify and compare marketplaces to reach international customers. DIT also negotiates special deals for eligible UK businesses from a wide range of online marketplaces. Find out more.
2. Clever listings convert
Ensure when listing your products that you include as much relevant detail as possible to make it quick and easy for customers to find your products. Your listings should be optimised so that they match customer searches so ensure to use common terminology to describe your products e.g. ‘personalised necklace’ as appose to ‘gifts for her’. International customers are more likely to buy from a brand that has made efforts to translate listings and offer customer service in their local language, so it’s wise to invest in professional translation. DIT’s International e-Commerce Advisers can help you to source a translation company to do this. You should also tailor your messaging to appeal to customers in your new market and familiarise yourself with the level of service they expect such as the ability to purchase goods in their local currency.
3. Quality makes all the difference
Invest in good quality photos that show your product clearly. Most online marketplaces allow you to upload multiple images of your product in various angles to give potential customers a comprehensive overview. A high-quality image is representative of your brand and can be the difference between conversion or lost interest. Chinese buyers want high-quality goods and so if China is your target market, this is particularly important to spark interest in them to buy.
4.Trust is key to a successful relationship
Clearly outlining your policies for shipping, returns and customer service will instil confidence in your customers that they can trust you and their buying experience will be effortless. This will in turn improve conversions, particularly if you can offer a local returns address. Some platforms such as Kaola specify a local address to handle returns as a requirement. Similarly, Fnac stipulates sellers must provide after-sales support in French and respond within 24 hours to any customer enquiries. The level of service you’re required, or able to offer your customers will depend on the marketplace you choose to use.
5. Keep the brand pirates at bay
Counterfeit products are an increasing problem for online marketplaces. Pirate sellers can offer similar goods to originals but of a much lower quality and price, something than can have a damaging impact on a company’s brand. Check that your chosen platform has measures in place to protect your brand. They may just have basic IP legislation or they may have put in place additional procedures. Alibaba recently formed an alliance with international brands such as Louis Vuitton and Samsung to ensure their industry knowledge can be used to keep the marketplace free of counterfeit goods. Meanwhile, Amazon have introduced brand gating, an approval process which authorises businesses to sell a brand and blocks illegitimate retailers.
To find out more about exporting via online marketplaces, view the recording of the Department for International Trade’s How To Set Up and Sell Successfully on Global Marketplaces webinar, featuring expert insight from Infinity Blue Marketplaces.
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