3 tips for retailers on maximising marketplace sales

Although marketplaces have traditionally been viewed as a threat to retailers’ efforts to dominate online, it seems the tide is starting to turn, with niche boutiques and established brands alike now increasingly leveraging marketplaces as a key driver of online revenue – reflecting an emerging ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ mentality.

The likes of Amazon, Zalando, Alibaba and Lazada are the obvious examples of companies powering this shift, with Ikea (traditionally fiercely protective of its digital ecosystem) becoming the latest retailer to embrace the change by announcing that it will begin selling via marketplaces. According to Torbjorn Loof, chief exec of Inter Ikea, the move is “the biggest development in how consumers meet Ikea since the concept was founded”.

This shift is a clear response to ever-changing shopper habits. While still hugely important for generating organic traffic, the number one spot on Google is no longer the be-all-and-end-all for retailers. As of September 2016, 55% of US consumers now begin their shopping search on Amazon, rather than a traditional search engine. In other words, if your product isn’t on Amazon, you won’t be considered by more than half of all potential online consumers.

Of course, setting up a marketplace sales channel without damaging your brand isn’t simple – it’s one of the most common challenges that clients approach us with. Here are 3 tips for maximising marketplace sales.

  1. Protect your organic search traffic

Retailers often fall into the trap of supplying the same (or very similar) content to their marketplace partners as they use on their own site – whether that’s product descriptions, marketing copy or buying guides. This can have a severe impact on your organic search rankings (and, by extension, direct-to-consumer sales and brand awareness), particularly if your marketplace partner has a higher domain authority. Always provide original copy for each marketplace product data feed you have in place, to avoid negatively impacting your website’s own rankings.

  1. Optimise for internal marketplace search

The additional benefit of providing unique copy for each marketplace is that it allows you to optimise for internal search. This is critical to maximising marketplace sales, boosting your ability to stand out in a highly competitive selling environment. In fact, this is why Amazon offers product title and description optimisation services to its premium vendors, helping them to surface their products more easily within internal search. Each marketplace will have its own distinct search rules and algorithms – invest the time in proper optimisation for the best ROI.

  1. Format product content correctly for data feeds

Unfortunately for brands, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to maximising marketplace sales through data feeds; each has its own distinct fields, character counts and image size limits. There’s little more damaging to a customer’s buying experience than missing product details, rogue text in wrong fields or poor imagery, so ensure you are effectively repurposing and formatting your product description content to fit the requirements of each marketplace data feed to maximise conversions.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how Quill can support with product content creation and re-purposing for marketplaces and other channels, please fill out the form below to request a call-back.

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