The role of marketplaces in your 2016 eCommerce strategy

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Alissa Landry

By Alissa Landry, Manager of Business Development, eBay Canada

Retail today is omni-channel. Ecommerce has changed the way consumers buy: they are no longer adapting to retailers, retailers are adapting to them. Businesses – especially SMBs – are recognizing this need to adapt more and more in order to survive. Whether you’re new to Ecommerce, or a more established Etailer, achieving success online can seem overwhelming with all the options available to you today. Online marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Etsy continue to be an effective way to drive traffic, sales and exponentially enhance brand awareness and online presence.

What is an Online Marketplace?

eBay, for instance, has more than 150 million active buyers and sellers globally. There are multiple marketplaces available to a variety of retailers. The eBay experience is intended to allow sellers of any size to create a buyer experience. Sellers are given full editorial control over branding tabs, colours and content on eBay.

Amazon is another large player in this market. Amazon sells its own products, along with other businesses’ products. Etsy is a marketplace that acts as a hybrid – it offers a standardized page, but also allows a level of branding for an artisan who may be attempting to create a brand through the site. SHOP.ca is another hybrid marketplace. It sells a variety of products on behalf of merchants, but the customer ultimately belongs to SHOP.ca.

Why Marketplaces?

1. Leverage Your Investment.

Joining a marketplace allows merchants to scale online orders while complimenting their existing online strategy. Marketplaces bring incremental sales and increase customer acquisition, without cannibalizing in store or other website sales. We are providing merchants with a flexible, scalable and trusted seller platform, at minimal incremental cost.

2. Reach Customers Across Every Device.

It is no longer sufficient for retailers to reach customers in store. It’s no longer enough to only reach them on their laptops. Consumers want to shop where, when and how they want to. They want this process simplified, literally at their fingertips. Marketplaces with an app provide this simplification for merchants to give to their consumers – and it’s working.

3. Tap into Global Demand.

For commercial sellers on eBay.ca, the vast majority of their sales volume is in international sales. In fact, 99.8% of eBay SMBs sell internationally, compared to only 10.4% of traditional SMBs. Etailers using marketplaces export to an average of 20 countries, vs. traditional SMB exporters who reach 2.5 countries.

4. Gain Partnership & Support.

While every marketplace has some sort of support/onboarding for their merchants, eBay offers seller solutions that make joining the marketplace extremely simple for merchants. We offer Seller Onboarding programs which provide as little or as much hand holding as needed to ensure merchants experience a smooth launch onto the site. We also provide Merchant Support to our existing sellers, to ensure they are able to manage, maintain and eventually scale their successful online business. Finally, once a seller is established on eBay, we introduce them programs such as our eBay Deals program, which provides them even more exposure online.

eBay Seller Success Stories

Farishta Zarify – Off Runway Gowns

Based out of London, Ontario, Farishta sells high-end gowns such as Oscar de la Renta, Versace and Vera Wang through her eBay store. She launched her store in 2013, after purchasing a gown in Italy for a wedding, returning home and realizing it didn’t fit. She sold the gown on eBay for a pretty profit. Within her first six months on eBay, Farishta sold over $20,000 in clothing. She was able to quit her office job to pursue her passion for fashion through her eBay store full time.

To this day, eBay is still Farishta’s online retail channel. Farishta is a great example of an entrepreneur utilizing eBay’s technology to get her business off the ground. Some keys to her success include eBay’s low point of entry cost and easy set up. There is no additional marketing investment required, no website design costs, or SEO tool payments. The creation of Farishta’s eBay account translated to the creation of her online presence and had her immediately up and running.

Michel Robidoux – Le Monde Du Foyer

Michel is the owner of a Home Hardware brick-and-mortar store in Sainte-Julie, Quebec, which was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2012. He credits the success and ultimate turnaround of his business to Ecommerce, and specifically, the launch of his eBay store. Michel started small, listing a product he knew moved well online: ethanol fireplaces. He buys in bulk from the supplier, houses his inventory in his warehouse, and sells the products on eBay.

For every customer that comes into his physical store, Michel estimates 100,000 see his products online. He was honoured as eBay Canada’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014, just two years about his eBay launch. Last year, Michel went from selling four to five gazebos per year in store, to selling 400 – 500 through his eBay store. Very few hardware stores have taken this digital shift – Michel is ahead of the game.

How can you Get Started with an Online Marketplace?

For many of you, this post may give that extra push needed to start growing your business using marketplaces. Each marketplace is unique: do your research and decide what marketplaces are right for you. Happy Selling!

About Alissa Landry

As Manager of Business Development at eBay Canada, Alissa Landry supports the continued Canadian growth of one of the world’s largest online marketplaces. Constantly introducing new opportunities to businesses and entrepreneurs, Alissa specializes in onboarding new sellers to the platform with the right solutions, showing them the potential to vastly expand their business at minimal incremental cost. Alissa is passionate about the growth of retailers of all sizes; from the larger, pre-established, to SMEs in their infancy. Her extensive experience building relationships with clients and customers has allowed her to determine and meet the exact needs of every account. A vast knowledge and understanding of eCommerce allows her to grasp the various demands of both C2C and B2C retailers. Joining eBay in early 2015, Alissa had the opportunity to first experience hands-on site merchandising and eBay Canada operations. She has a background in marketing and public relations, focusing on brand awareness and reputation management. In the past, she has consulted for companies such as Kruger Products L.P. and Walmart Canada, advising on marketing, brand strategy and communication planning.