We live in times of sweeping changes. For the last 50 years the Internet has affected all spheres of our life. Hardly can you find a field of our life that is left without any changes. Yet the most changed one is business. Technologies and business always go alongside. The more changes happen in one field, the more improvements are in another. They push themselves towards the main goal—success.
Online stores and all selling and buying processes are named eCommerce. eCommerce is a business in an online format. With the times passing by, a new branch of eCommerce has been separated from eCommerce—marketplaces. Marketplace is an online store but the major difference from the last one is that marketplaces have several sellers called vendors. They can display their products and services in parallel with other vendors.
In a great competitive environment businessmen are concerned about how to promote their marketplace platforms. In this article we will take a look at how to find relevant marketplace marketing strategies and whether there is the best marketing strategy for online marketplaces.
What are the first steps in marketplace marketing?
When looking at big players in eCommerce, it seems as if they always were strong and stable like that. But all of them started from scratch. They started not as global marketplaces, but as little businesses. There are some particular features that help to launch a marketplace successfully and we will learn them in the example of today’s marketplace giants.
Niche is the business sphere that occupies a certain field of products and services thus making them unique and demanded.
For example, Amazon started as a bookstore. From 1994 to 1998 they devoted their efforts to expansion within the book sphere and development of quality of services by implementing technologies. When they felt confident in this sphere they added CDs and board games to their products. From 1998 Amazon gradually started expanding its influence and product categories. Today it is the world’s biggest marketplace.
The main message of this story is that niche was in the first place. It is a handy strategy for startups. There is a list of advantages of choosing a niche:
- Audience—the narrower your focus field, the clearer the audience. One of the main factors in marketing is defining a target audience. It takes time before you find out your potential clients. But niche implies that you already have a clear view of your future customers that is why it will be easier to define a marketplace marketing strategy.
- Uniqueness—niche products attract people because niche is about quality and a wide range of products of one type. The offer for people with basic needs as well as for sophisticated ones makes a marketplace demanded.
- Less competition—Niche is a sphere that is not overwhelmed by other competitive stores and marketplaces. So, at first, the development may be easier in comparison with other ways of starting.
- Competence—When you tackle issues from one sphere, you become a specialist in one particular field. Experienced sellers and businessmen are appealing for sellers and buyers. For the first time you may stay a common businessman but with experience extension, you may turn into an innovator.
Location is another good way to make your business flourishing.
For example, today Airbnb is one of the biggest services which is an alternative for hotels. The users offer travelers to stay in their houses via this platform. Airbnb works globally but in 2007 it was a service for those who were looking for apartments in San Francisco. They have noticed that hotels are very expensive in the city and travelers do not have any other opportunities to stay there. As well as Amazon after a few years of localization they expanded their influence.
There are some advantages of choosing a certain location:
- Direct experience—with the knowledge of what is the “problem” of a certain region you can meet the needs of people from the specific area. It is better if you have faced the problem yourself and know the growth points.
- Connections—if you think that you do not have connections within your hometown or motherland, you are wrong. It is a small world. You might get used to them but still you have many more acquaintances in the city where you have been living for a couple of years than in a totally unfamiliar place.
- Local pride—it is a psychological factor that plays a great role, too. People are inclined to support familiar people and what they do.
Make your product recognizable. We all know yellow cabs in London but what about black taxis? It was an Uber company that started its history in France in 2008. Not only did founders find the need but also added a unique feature—a black color. For sure, today it has cars of all colors but the concept still exists as a brand color. You can find it in the application and Uber’s logo.
It is a matter of image. The importance of image is that:
- Brand loyalty—It increases customers’ and vendors’ trust. The more frequently your brand is on the public eye, the more people know about it. This is the way trust is cultivated.
- Recognition on the market—it allows you to be distinguished on the market that positively influences offline and online marketplace marketing strategy.
- Marketing benefits—word-of-mouth strategy works better when your brand is in front of everyone. Moreover, a positive image moves customers to actions: to learn about your brand more, to discuss it, go through the website and finally, make a purchase.
Stable marketing and the virtual marketplace are “best friends” in eCommerce. But initial ground is important as well. These three tips could help you to start successfully.
How to develop relevant a marketplace marketing strategy
In the Internet marketing marketplaces have a vast range of opportunities for development. Sometimes it can be challenging to attract a target audience and forward them to your marketplace. For those who face stagnation of business, there are some points to check and decide whether all the point are properly working:
- SEO—with online marketplace you definitely have a lot of opportunities. However, without advanced search engine optimization clients’ traffic may be not as large as it could be. Use special tools to define keywords and look for analytics from search engines. It is better to find a high-qualified specialist to set a strategy in this field. Advertising is a chargeable way to attract clients but SEO is a free one.
- Automation of processes—sometimes businessmen concentrate on different services and increase it by enlarging the team. Manual work is much less effective in comparison with technologically based tools. Implementation of CRM, automated accounting system, automated storage and retrieval system, advanced payment integrated systems will be great for marketplace marketing strategy since these systems allow analyzing market, audience and processes in general.
- Loyalty systems—favorable conditions for regular clients, discounts and sales are appealing at all times. The only condition is that they should be considered as a win-win measure. An administrator, vendors, and customers should benefit from them.
With these means online marketplace marketing will provide measurable goals. These are the points that help to cover internal factors. Let’s turn to the client’s side.
What type of marketing techniques and tools help a customer understand the marketplace?
Any service should be designed according to the customers’ preferences. There is a bit of advice on how to be a good service provider for your customers.
To catch a customer, you should think like one.
- User-friendly web page—design should be simple and clear. A person should understand the logic of the marketplace effortlessly. Apart from clear structure, it should be appealing. Design trends are very important and can influence customers’ perception. People spend only 3 seconds to decide whether they like a page. So, do not miss potential clients on this step.
- Image-making techniques—any company should have values. Values are about what is important to owners and what they appreciate in their partners and customers. They should not excessively stand out but people should read them between the lines. Image making agencies can help to form and transmit the image of a company in the right way.
- Crystal clear conditions—the less tricky conditions you have, the better. Hardly there is a person who reads an entire instruction. When people see complex texts, policies, and conditions they are eager to deny all services and choose your competitor rather than think about all the points considerably. Do not try to cheat on your clients. Make intuitively understandable conditions.
These were external means of how to become an appealing option for your clients. Your efforts will not fall beneath clients’ notice.
How to stay aware of marketing trends
There are some effective methods to keep up with the times. In digital marketing marketplaces are no more than a common business and all marketing strategies that suit usual business will likely work on marketplaces. There are main points that can help to develop your own way:
- Lean on the shoulders of marketplace giants and look for effective ways to promote your marketplace. Learn successful and unsuccessful cases of marketing. You do not have to make mistakes yourself—all the mistakes have already been made by others. You just need to seek them and analyze what was good and what was bad.
- Test your own ideas—thoughts may be subjective but in some cases your experience may prompt the right way. Do not forget to test them before investing all the money in your marketing ideas.
- Cultivate your taste by following mainstreams—the important part of marketing is a relevant and modern view on your business. But taste is usually not the skill that comes naturally. It is an experience that sooner or later turns into aesthetic taste.
There are some sources where you can find something for inspiration which help you to develop your taste:
- Photo stocks—they are websites with different photos and examples of web design, too. For example, Pinterest and Behance
- Developer companies—these companies usually contain examples of their works. For example, CS-Cart portfolio is the largest collection of eCommerce marketplace examples.
- Various web site galleries—These are special websites which accumulate examples of good designed websites and marketplaces. For example, Web Creme and Best website gallery.
Marketplace marketing is a variable field. You always should learn trends. And when implementing new features, in the first place think about customers.
Online marketplace marketing strategy could not be universal. It depends on your field of business, peculiarities and features. We went through tips on how you can organize your work in the appropriate way but these tips require adjustment to your business. There were a lot of successful cases in the history of managing marketplaces and you can adopt some of their methods. Marketplace marketing is not an easy deal but we hope that these tips are beneficial to you.