Online Marketplace: New challenges to overcome

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, Online Marketplace: New challenges to overcome

The marketplace model of eCommerce is one such breakthrough that allowed everyone to become a part of the new ecosystem of online commerce. There was a time when the entry of an online alternative in a market would scare the hell out of small offline retailers. The consumer behavior was changing and the prices were getting aggressively competing; it was not easy for small retailers to keep up with their online counterparts.

Then came the marketplace model that allowed even small retailers to claim a share from the multi-billion dollar pie of eCommerce. Now, instead of competing with the offline retailers, the eCommerce sites were connecting third-party retailers directly to their customers. We called this model the pure marketplace ecosystem, where the owner of the marketplace did not maintain the inventory but simply connect the people with inventories to the people who want to purchase. The marketplace was just an intermediary, which would make money from the commissions they charged on each sale generated for their retailers.

The time changed, markets evolved, competition became even harsh, and marketplaces required more innovative ways to make money than the mere commissions. This gave birth to different sub-classifications of the actual marketplace model, which still exists:

  • E-Bay: A peer-to-peer marketplace that sales only from the third-party inventories
  • Amazon: A hybrid marketplace that sales from both in-house and third party inventories
  • Walmart: A hybrid combined with the physical model to sell both in online and offline ecosystems

What’s next in the marketplace model of eCommerce?

The meaning of an online marketplace is changing as we speak. Today, the boundary that differentiates a physical marketplace from its online counterpart is as thin as a thread. The biggest names in the marketplace ecosystem, such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart, have established both online and offline presence and securing major shares of the pie through their Omni-channel manifestations.

Today, the marketplace business is no more about massive catalogs of different categories of products. Instead, marketplaces are creating ecosystems for their customers. They are driving customers towards the business from all possible sides and earning customer loyalty by offering everything at one place on any channel. Take Amazon for example. Is there anything that Amazon can’t offer to a common consumer? From entertainment to finance, grocery, vegetables, electronics, home furnishing, and cloud services, Amazon is the best example to understand the rapidly evolving face of the marketplace model today.

Is the marketplace is a profitable business idea in 2020?

It indeed is. Even the biggest entities in the market cannot cover everything. There are still numerous niches with profitable prospects for the new entrants. It certainly not an easy job to set up a marketplace and compete with the likes of Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, and Walmart. However, you don’t need to compete with them, if you identify some niche marketplace ideas. The marketplace model offers an array of benefits to the merchants and the customers, and all of them could encourage them to come along with your platform:

  • A combined channel: You could offer a hybrid channel to small retailers and merchants to generate sales from both online and offline markets.
  • Better exposure: Selling on a marketplace platform reveals new doors to the merchants who have been relying on traditional channels. They can even expand their business internationally.
  • Reduced marketing cost: Merchants need not spend a fortune to build eCommerce sites and then marketing them. They can save all these costs by simply signing up on your marketplace.
  • Established trust factors: Retailers get access to an established platform, which its customers already trust. This trust factor is induced to the sellers of the marketplace, too.
  • Competitive product prices: With so many sellers available for a single product, the prices are l always competitive. It encourages more customers to shop from your site.
  • Multiple revenue channels: As a marketplace owner, you need not depend on commissions alone to make money. You can make money from several non-traditional channels, such as showing featured products, sponsored products, and selling membership subscriptions for added benefits to sellers and the customers.

No doubt, the above benefits for everyone lay down the foundation of the marketplace model, but it’s not all breezy either. There are some pitfalls too that require strategic resolutions:

  • It’s all technology: The core that drives an online marketplace business is pure technology. From the marketplace software to web-hosting, content delivery networks, third party APIs, and compliance with the laws, everything is driven by technology. That makes a competitive marketplace setup quite expensive, complex, and workforce-extensive.
  • Chicken and egg problem: Sellers won’t board your marketplace until you have enough customers to make good sales, and customers can’t purchase until you have sellers. It makes the opening days for a marketplace business pretty complicated. You would need a significant amount of investment to market your platform, and then acquire sellers through handsome incentives.
  • Data security: When you are managing a massive marketplace with so many merchants, customers, and sensitive information onboard, there is a high risk of data security. Since the only asset you have is your platform and data, you have to be very particular about keeping it secure.

How you can start an online marketplace business?

It’s a big question – how to start an online marketplace business? There is the technology and there is business process development, both go hand-in-hand to form a complete marketplace ecosystem. If you have a business plan or a niche in your mind, you need to focus your efforts on handling the following four challenges first, and you could own a great marketplace business:

Note: You need to manage these challenges keeping your customers and sellers/merchants in thought. You can’t start a marketplace by conciliating with the needs of any of the two stakeholders.

Marketplace Software

Marketplace software constitutes your entire platform. You would need a collection of different marketplace solutions that work collectively to build your marketplace platform. One of the major constituents is – the marketplace website.

Marketplace website builder: You can develop your marketplace platform from scratch by outsourcing your project or hiring in-house developers. However, this would be a highly expensive and time-consuming undertaking. Instead, you can purchase a ready-made, open-source, multi-vendor eCommerce script to set up your platform in a few hours. There are various clone scripts in the market; you can get one of them and build your website. These scripts will provide all the fundamental features you need to build your platform. Since they offer open-source code access, you can also customize them the way you want.

Another alternative is using a free eCMS like Magento, PrestaShop, or OpenCart. However, these Commerce platforms are mainly suitable for inventory-based eCommerce sites, as they do not provide multi-vendor support out-of-the-box. You will have to purchase a corresponding multi-vendor module or extension from a third-party vendor to add marketplace features. They are open-source too.

Some SaaS solutions are also present in the market with ready-made marketplace sites. If you are ready to pay a monthly recurring fee, transaction fee per-sale, and can do with limited control over your site, this could be one of the fastest ways to build and launch your site in a day. These solutions are closed-source.

The choice is yours, you can use any of these options based on your preference and requirements. Do some research and select the most suitable option, as it would be a long-term commitment. You can’t switch your marketplace software every now or then.

Branding and Marketing

Be advised that customers don’t remember the seller but the marketplace platform itself. Therefore, every bad experience customers receive from your sellers directly affects your business image. All the discounts, Ads, and promotions, happen in the name of the marketplace platform. If you can’t get your customers to remember your brand identity, know that there is something wrong with your marketing and branding activities.

Supply-chain and Demand

The sole purpose of a marketplace platform is to fill the gap between supply and demand. Both the buyers and the merchants are your customers. You need to maintain a steady flow of demand and supply to keep both of the ends happy. Without buyers, you will lose customers and demand; without sellers, you will lose the supply-chain. Happy customers create demand, and sellers create the supply. You have to maintain an optimum balance between the two entities to succeed.

Flawless Customer Support

For both the buyers and the sellers, customer support is the most volatile constituent that might just ruin everything at any stage. There is a need for offering continuously impeccable customer support to the stakeholders. However, it cannot happen unless your sellers are supportive to the customers. You might try your best to give flawless experience to the buyers, but everything stops if your sellers don’t do their part. You must create an environment where everyone is doing his or her jobs properly. From quality control to addressing queries, processing refunds, and undertaking replacements, everything should work in harmony with each other.

To Conclude

Overall, the marketplace is a challenging business. However, easy businesses don’t furnish good returns. You can win this war with technical advancements and customer-friendly policies. If you want to create a hub of customers like Amazon and eBay, you shouldn’t arbitrate on the above four fronts. Invest in innovative marketplace software solutions, bridge the supply-demand gap, market your business, and extend the best customer support –this is the optimal way to command the new challenges of marketplace business and succeed effortlessly.


About the Author

Jessica Bruce a professional blogger, guest writer, Influencer & an eCommerce expert. She is currently associated with ShopyGen as a content marketing strategist. Jessica also reports on the latest happenings and trends associated with the eCommerce industry.

Follow her on Twitter @Jessicabruc (https://twitter.com/Jessicabruc)

How to Develop a Successful SEO Strategy for Your Business

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, How to Develop a Successful SEO Strategy for your Business

The importance of SEO has surged in recent years, and if you’re looking to attract more customers to your website, you simply can’t afford to ignore it. When it comes to achieving the coveted first page positions in SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages), having a solid SEO strategy in place is essential. These days search engine results are more crowded than ever before, and winning your place in the rankings will require patience, hard work, and an understanding of how to properly optimize your website. With that in mind, below you will discover how to develop your very own successful SEO strategy.

Conduct a Full SEO Audit for your Website

When it comes to getting started with SEO, having solid foundations in place is an important first step to take. Without a strong platform, all other SEO efforts will essentially be wasted, and getting your website to rank highly in search results will be difficult. If you’re looking after a website with thousands of pages, then it might be worth considering an investment in website auditing software such as the industry-standard Screaming Frog or Deepcrawl to speed up this process. If you’re in any way unsure about how to carry out this process, it might be best to get in touch with professionals who are adept at creating and tailoring an SEO strategy to your business.

Start building links as soon as you can

One of the most important elements of any successful SEO strategy is link building, and this needs to be taken into account when trying to get more clicks from Google. Google’s ranking algorithms are complex and multi-faceted, but time and time again links have been proven to play a huge part in determining the position of a page in search results. There are, of course, many other factors to consider, but incorporating link building into your SEO strategy is a must.

Invest wisely in keyword research software

Taking the time to understand your user needs and learning what people are actually searching for is the bedrock of a good SEO strategy. Without in-depth knowledge and data on your customers, how else are you going to create valuable content that they can relate to? The Google search console provides an insight into which keywords are used to drive people to your site, and it’s completely free. Alternatively, sign up to SEMrush or Ahrefs for a more detailed picture of the search landscape.

Top tip: Be on the lookout for question keywords, as this can inform the content strategy of your blog pages.

Keep up to date with industry news and announcements

SEO changes faster than the weather, and in an industry as dynamic as SEO, it’s important to stay as up to date as possible. In 2019 alone, there were thousands of updates to Google’s ranking factors. Subscribe to newsletters, read blogs and be on the lookout for important news from Google about updates so you can ensure your SEO strategy is on-trend.

Is Your Web Designer Turning Viewers Into Customers?

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, Is Your Web Designer Turning Viewers Into Customers?

Is your website attracting traffic but failing to draw in customers? If so, then this is likely to do with the design of your website. There are so many companies who are failing to reach their online potential because of their website. You may think your site looks impressive visually, but a good design incorporates so much more than this.

Too many companies offering website design services are doing their customers an injustice. They try and wow them with the likes of flashy graphics but they don’t take the time to deal with what really matters; generating money. After all, isn’t higher profit what every business wants to achieve? The flashy graphics may look fantastic, but it may also take ages to load, and by this time your potential customer has gone elsewhere and bought off of your competitor.

When you are looking for website design, find a company that will deal with the hard facts. Is your bounce rate too high? Are you generating enough page views? Are people only visiting your site for a short period of time? How many viewers are you turning into customers? They need to tackle these issues and work tirelessly until the resolution is one you can be satisfied with.

This is not to say that they will not generate innovative and creative website designs. They should have an undeniable talent for their field, which is matched with the training, qualifications, and experience required. Designs must always visually delightful and every decision is made whilst thinking about your brand image and the corporate identity you assign yourself with.

A goal-orientated approach and innovative design ideas must be coupled with a focus on user experience and a powerful functionality in order to give you the complete package. The internet is all about convenience; that’s why people love it so much. When you look at your website now, can you honestly say it is easy to use? Can customers easily navigate to the returns page? Is a method of contact easily accessible?

Apart from a thorough approach, another area to look for is a thorough process. The company should begin with a consultation whereby they are able to soak up as much as possible about your business as well as provide you with a creative brief. They will identify the key conversion factors for your business i.e. how they are going to turn those viewers into customers! Then the web design process begins followed by website development. This is where the design is turned into the complete finished package. They will then provide you with in-depth CMS training to ensure you can use your new website without any difficulty.

They should not just design a website and leave you to it; they should provide ongoing support and quarterly reports to ensure your website is performing to the optimum level. After all, the internet is ever progressing and developing and thus you simply cannot remain stagnant.

5 Steps to Building an Accurate Target Market Profile

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |target market profile|5 Steps to Building an Accurate Target Market ProfileModern marketing today is a complex task with many moving parts, but the one thing that’s a constant in any marketing plan is defining the target customer.

In other words, there’s no successful marketing without a clearly defined buyer persona. For some businesses, this can be one single profile, while others can have several. In any case, knowing who exactly you’re selling to is crucial to your business success and sales.

Read on to learn how to create a target market profile and market to your customers the right way.

1. Dive Into the Data

To define your target market the right way, you need to dive into your marketing demographics. These include data from your website through Google Analytics, social media insights, and email marketing data. Then, you can look for similarities in customer profiles, devices used, demographics, and conversion rates.

This is the best way to determine whether you should focus your marketing efforts on desktop or mobile marketing, change your ad copy, or adjust some KPIs according to your buyer persona behaviors.

2. Analyze Your Competition

If you can’t define your own target market, opt for a target market analysis of your competitors. This is the quickest way to learn more about your ideal customer, what makes them buy, and what to avoid.

Your target market may be similar to the competition, but there are still some differences. These are worth exploring if you want to find a unique side to your brand and products.

3. Know Your Product’s Value

Your product is extremely valuable to you as a seller and business owner, but it doesn’t always translate to the customers. This is where storytelling comes into play, especially through branding and marketing.

How will customers benefit from your product? How does your product improve their lives, save them time or money, or make them happier? Highlighting the benefits rather than the features will help customers see why they need your product in their lives.

4. Know Your Product’s Purpose

Aside from knowing your product value, you also need to define your product’s purpose. This goes beyond its obvious purpose; in fact, you need to dig deeper. Why do your current customers choose your product over the competition? Is there a specific reason such as price, quality, performance, or ease of use?

You can also dive into your customers’ psychographics to learn about their habits, values, opinions, interests, lifestyles, and shopping preferences. This will help you understand the needs and expectations of your product.

5. Test and Optimize

If you’re new to the market and don’t have a clear vision about your target audience, test a few paid ads and see what happens. Set them to different audiences and follow the performance.

Typically, your target audience will have the most conversion rates, but there’s also potential in users who click but don’t buy yet. These may need a gentle push down the sales funnel, a little lead nurturing, or some adjustments to the ad in order to convert. This way, you can optimize your campaigns and start discovering what customers like.

Now You Know How to Create an Accurate Target Market Profile

Whether you’re starting a new business or want to understand your current customers better, you need to define a target market profile.

This will help you create more efficient marketing campaigns that’ll bring better results, conversion rates, and sales.

Need more marketing and business tips? Check out some of the other articles we’ve written on these topics and stay tuned for the latest industry trends and news.

Adjusting Your Marketing Strategy: What to Implement and What to Avoid

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |marketing strategy|Adjusting Your Marketing Strategy: What to Implement and What to Avoid2020 has kicked off with a variety of new marketing trends.

Marketing is all about getting your business out there and building a relationship with customers. In many cases, businesses will start marketing campaigns to push products or rebrand themselves.

Whether you’re starting a business or already have one, marketing will be essential to the long-term success of it. Many business owners understand that they need to develop an effective marketing strategy but they’re not sure where to start.

Read on to learn about some of the most effective trends to use in your marketing strategy.

Customer Experience

As companies are settling into their 2020 plans, improving customer experience has become a priority of many.

Providing quality customer experience is a major part of marketing because it will encourage customers to keep coming back.

As the internet has grown, customers are given a lot more power in terms of what kind of content they’re seeing.

Nowadays, most customers are purchasing products as a result of their research and not advertisements.

When you provide great customer experience, people that are researching your company will see that in reviews and referrals. You can’t tell customers that you have a great product. Instead, you’ll need to show them why what you have to offer is a good investment.

Although many businesses are prioritizing customer experience into their business marketing strategies, they often don’t know what makes a great customer experience.

Quality customer experience consists of these things:

  • Efficiency
  • Convenience
  • Intelligent and Friendly service

By focusing on these, customers will start coming back and recommending your company to others. Consider including easy payment options to further simplify the purchasing process and make customers happier.

Employee Management

Proper employee management goes hand in hand with customer experience. If you have employees that are rude or don’t know what they’re doing, most people will stop doing business with you.

The best way to approach employee management is to develop efficient and effective training programs. If your company has a variety of positions, you’ll need to make training programs for each one. Everyone will need to understand the basics of the business, but put the focus on their role in the company.

For example, you shouldn’t train a cashier how the warehouse of your business works. Instead, ensure that they understand everything there is about being a cashier. This includes both using the teller and interacting with customers.

What you can do if you’re looking to train everyone about a certain subject is how to behave when dealing with customers. When running a store, cashiers aren’t the only people that customers will interact with.

Building a Brand

One of the main concepts of business marketing is building a brand using a variety of methods. Some businesses prefer to advertise their way into mainstream success whereas others like focusing on what their business stands for.

Building a brand is all about creating an image for your company. Many people have the misconception that creating a logo is building a brand for yourself. When you think about companies like McDonald’s, you think about much more than their signature logo.

McDonald’s has managed to build a brand that makes consumers think about their logo, colors, affordability, and employee-customer relationships. When people think about getting quick, cheap food, McDonald’s is one of the first that comes to mind.

This is essentially what you’ll need to do for your business. No matter what industry you’re in, you must focus on what the goal of your business is and how you’ll portray it to customers.

If you had a business that revolves around fitness, you wouldn’t incorporate video games into your image. Instead, you’d focus on healthy food and exercise. You need to make it make sense.

Advertising on Social Media

Out of all the new marketing trends over the past few years, social media has remained one of the most effective. To this date, businesses focus on social media because there are over 3.2 billion active daily users.

Anyone looking to effectively grow their business will need to use social media because putting up physical ads no longer earn you customers.

Putting up posters and billboards slightly increases the chance that someone will see it. The chances of someone looking into your business because of these ads are much less.

When you advertise on social media, you can choose your target audience by selecting a variety of filters. You can go on something like Facebook or Twitter and choose the age range, gender, and location of people you want to see your ads.

Running a social media account is also effective because it will give customers a way to interact with your business outside of cash transactions.

You should also create a website to give customers something to redirect to from your ads. Having a website allows customers to learn more about your business and they can purchase products from it, allowing you to maximize your profits.

If you’re looking to make a name for yourself in the digital world, you can get involved with a digital marketing service. One of the popular services are Climb Online, so consider checking them out if you want help with SEO and social media.

Start Developing Your Marketing Strategy

An effective marketing strategy will allow your business to quickly grow and start earning regular customers. Your strategy should target those that would be interested in your product or service. By using the marketing trends in this article, you’ll quickly make a name for yourself.

We encourage you to start looking into building yourself up on social media. You’ll be able to start interacting with potential customers and you’ll get an idea of what people want. From there, you can start working on creating a great customer experience.

Browse our articles if you’d like to learn more about marketing.