Marketplace based businesses can be really exciting. It’s where most entrepreneurs get a taste of what it’s like owning a business. I remember how exciting it was when my parents started their business on Ebay 9 years ago. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to sell products and make money.
But a lot has happened since then, and times have changed.
Marketplaces like Ebay, Etsy, and Amazon have HUGE customer bases. And with these customers there are millions of shop owners selling their goods. Regardless of what you sell, you have a ridiculous amount of competition, and it’s a constant race to the bottom in terms of price. Most likely, someone from China will be selling the exact same thing you have, but much cheaper and at a lower shipping rate. If you’re not careful, they will run you out of business!
But even though there are many obstacles ahead of the eager shop owner, there is still a way to succeed on online marketplaces.
Here are things that the pros do:
Fill out your profile and product listings thoroughly
This is something that is so easily overlooked. Without a complete profile, you aren’t giving yourself the chance to sell your product. And without properly filling out your product listings, you might not be reaching all of your potential customers. Here are some pointers to keep in mind:
- Make sure your product titles are descriptive and use up the maximum character limit.
- Use as many tags and categories as possible related to your product.
- Write clear and thorough descriptions for your product listings. Make sure your shipping, return, and exchange policies are visible.
Create your brand
Think of your brand as a person. If your brand was a person, what would they be like? What are their interests? Their likes/dislikes? What are their values? Going through these questions are going to help you come up with a consistent image for your brand.
Create a pinterest board for your brand. Collect images, quotes, and articles that you feel best represent your brand. However you choose to develop your brand, the key is to be consistent with everything you do to put yourself out there. Having a clear and consistent brand is going to help you stand out and attract repeat customers.
What are your personal values? What do you believe in? What makes you unique as a person? Roughly 90% of people want to do business with people or companies that share their same values.
Put your best self out there. Tell your customers your story. Not only will customers want to buy from you because they love your product, but because they love you too and want to see you succeed.
Get on Social Media
Getting seen on online marketplaces like Etsy and Ebay can be difficult because there is a lot of competition. So you really need to think outside the box.
If you truly want to succeed, you need to go where your customers are. What social media platforms do they use the most? Look at your competition and see who’s following them, and see what kinds of content they produce. You need to consistently create content that will catch your customer’s eye.
This doesn’t mean just creating a post every time you have a new product. You need to work harder than that!
You need to be creating a mix of different kinds of content ranging from text, photos, and video. Get into your customer’s feed as much as you can, and as often as possible.
Create an email list
Finding ways to create repeat customers is crucial when selling in an online marketplace. Creating email lists is a great way to market to your customers and collect emails. If your’e an Etsy seller, Etsy talks about the best way to grow your email list here. If you’re an Ebay seller you can check out this Youtube Video.
Having an email list is going to be a game changer for your business. The bigger your email list is, the better. With a large list, you don’t have to spend so much time trying to acquire new customers. It’s been a well known fact in retail that repeat customers will generate more revenue than new ones.
Consider moving to your own self hosted storefront
It’s no secret that marketplaces take a large chunk of your sales. There are final value fees, listing fees, paypal fees, and many other miscellaneous fees. This can start to become a real thorn in your side, and it can even prevent your business from growing.
If you don’t have the money to shell out for a web designer, there are tons of options out there to create a website on your own.
These are just a few solutions:
- A self hosted WordPress site with WooCommerce. If you want to go this route and also like feminine design, This is a great checklist to get your started.
The main benefit of having your own website is the ability to call shots. Rather than paying the marketplace for listing fees, that money can go right back into your pocket, or it can be invested into other elements of your business.
Creating a successful Marketplace based business takes a lot of work. Growth is not going to happen over night. But I guarantee you will see improvement if you follow these points.
Do you sell products on Ebay, Etsy, or Amazon. What have been your obstacles in your business? Have you had success? Tell me all about it in the comments!