eCommerce marketplaces are where customers often go first when searching for a new product. Marketplace optimization could help them discover your brand. Here’s what to consider before you get started.
Search engines are no longer customers’ only option when they’re searching for products online. In 2018, 54% of those searches began on Amazon.
This is largely thanks to the explosion of mCommerce. 70% of mobile product search leads to a purchase within one hour. That’s why mobile will make up 67.2% of global eCommerce’s $3.5 trillion dollar revenue in 2019.
This puts eCommerce marketplaces in a good position. Their well-developed apps offer customers speed, convenience, easy product comparisons, and high security.
So at a time when Google is making it increasingly difficult to gain organic brand visibility on SERPs, online marketplaces are an obvious choice. They offer brands a place to interact with customers when they’re ready and willing to buy. Here are three considerations to help get your marketplace optimization strategy right.
1. FIND YOUR MARKETPLACE
In 2018, Amazon accounted for 49% of US eCommerce sales – miles ahead of eBay in second place (6.6%) – and 33.5% of sales in the UK. In these countries, Amazon is clearly a top priority for marketplace optimization.
But other up-and-coming marketplaces like Etsy are worth considering as well. When it comes to international, the landscape is quite different.
In China, Alibaba is king, with a market share of 58.2%, versus Amazon’s minimal 0.7% of sales.
In Japan, Amazon and Rakuten are fighting for the lead, with 20% of the market each. Rakuten has, for several years, been taking that battle international and is growing in the US as well.
When planning your global strategy, it’s important to do your research, decide on priority markets, and optimize for the most locally relevant marketplaces with the best growth potential.
2. INTEGRATE YOUR STRATEGY
Marketplace selling is an easy way to launch in a new market. It’s faster, more budget-friendly, and offers a locally authentic shopping experience. Understanding customer expectations is key to maximizing sales and fostering brand loyalty.
In China, this means that keywords, product listings, and ads are just the start of your marketplace optimization strategy. Consumers value customer service and expect personal, direct communication with sellers, too.
Each marketplace is unique, with its own distinctive features. But with Asian countries at the forefront of eCommerce growth, tech innovation is starting to flow from East to West. And it’s affecting US consumer behavior.
For example, China is a world leader in mobile payments. Skipping credit and debit cards altogether, consumers moved straight from cash to phone. Now, 47% of Chinese phone owners use eWallets, so it’s essential to offer this payment method in China.
By contrast, only 17% use eWallets in the US, thanks to the popularity of contactless credit cards. Two million more people in the US started using eWallets between 2017 and 2019, however, so this is a trend to watch. Chinese companies like Alibaba and Tencent combine social media, eCommerce, and banking functions. It makes sense: 37% percent of global consumers visit social sites for purchase inspiration. This integrated approach is increasingly popular in the UK too. Harrods, Selfridges, and the Savoy all accept Alipay as a payment method.
Marketplace trends in Asia should certainly inform your marketplace optimization strategy in the region. They can give you insight into the future of US and European marketplaces at the same time.
3. SPEAK TO YOUR CUSTOMERS
42% of consumers either own or are planning to own a smart device (e.g. Amazon Echo). Powered by virtual assistants like Alexa or Google Home, they allow customers to order from marketplaces using their voices – without comparing products. Over a third of virtual assistant users in Western Europe and the US have done exactly that.
What does this mean for your marketplace optimization strategy? As with voice search, you’ll need to optimize your content for this new way of engaging customers.
Track the latest developments in this space too. A lot of work is being done behind the scenes to determine if and how advertising could work for smart speakers in particular. Think radio-style ads, stealthy suggestions of branded products, and even ads that talk back. There are plenty of lucrative options out there, and we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible in the world of marketplace optimization. To prepare for that, optimize your marketplace content for voice now, while keeping an eye on the latest developments.
There’s never been a better time to build your global marketplace presence – 60% of global online sales take place in online marketplaces.
But there’s no telling where marketplace optimization could lead. For best results, take an iterative approach. Identify the most relevant marketplaces in each market, then optimize accordingly. At the same time, track the hottest trends around the globe and consider how to incorporate them into your strategy.