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Online marketplaces

Article provided by Visa

Want an alternative to building a website? An online marketplace is another way to sell your products.

Why online marketplaces?

Online marketplaces might seem counterintuitive. Why would you sell your flowers right next to other florist competitors? Because a single florist isn’t likely to draw as large a crowd as several florists each with different flowers, which draws buyers eager to see options.

An online marketplace transfers the experience of a street fair and farmers market to the web. With thousands of other products, buyers get to browse and buy a variety of goods.

Three reasons to use an online marketplace

  1. Reach new customers: Access a marketplace’s existing audiences.
  2. Spend less attracting new customers: Your business becomes easier to find. Customers can find your business via search.
  3. Skip the work of setting up a website: Start selling faster by joining a marketplace, rather than setting up your own online website and store.

Choosing an online marketplace

Here are some factors to keep in mind when evaluating marketplaces:

  • Quantity and quality of visitors: Some marketplaces aim to sell every type of product and service you can imagine; others focus on specific categories. The more focused marketplaces will offer fewer potential customers, but they may be more likely to buy from you.
  • Costs: Marketplaces usually charge a flat fee for listing your products and/or a percentage of your sales.
  • Customer resolution: Online marketplaces typically mediate disputes between buyers and sellers. Resolution policies differ and some may be more or less generous to the buyer or seller.
  • Branding opportunities: Some marketplaces offer more options displaying your brand to their customers.

Making the most of your marketplace presence

Here are some tips to stand out:

  • Photography: Online shoppers love photos.
  • Reviews can help: Encourage your best customers to leave a positive review.
  • The art of tagging: Online marketplace search results are usually based on tags. The secret to picking good tags is to put yourself in the shoes of your customers: what words would they use to search for your product?
  • Tagging, part 2: Check out what tags your competitors are using.
  • Start small, test and learn: Getting your presence right in an online marketplace will take time, and the likelihood is you may not get it right the first time. A good approach is to start small, with just a single product. This will give you enough time to ensure that you have the product and product description, specifications and photography needed, meaning that when your customers land on your business profile they will be even more tempted to buy your product.

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