Online Marketplaces: Why to Get Started Right Now

In 2020, online marketplace sites accounted for 62% of global online sales. Some of the largest marketplaces in the world generate billions of customer visits each month. They offer customers a quick and convenient online shopping experience with plenty of variety, which is exactly what they want.

Effective site searches right through to easy delivery and returns mean online marketplaces are fast becoming the preferred online shopping option. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that more product searches took place on Amazon than on Google in 2020. In summary, online marketplaces represent a massive opportunity for any business looking to take its eCommerce strategy to the next level.

online-marketplaces

Benefits for Businesses

International expansion

Online marketplaces provide networks and systems for global eCommerce. Everything from translated websites, good search authority, fulfillment, and shipping can often be handled by the marketplace.

If you’re looking to test out a new market, online marketplaces are a great option. Save time and resources, all whilst extending your reach without committing to a whole international operation.

Existing marketing model

You can benefit from a large customer base and robust marketing programs with online marketplaces. Having access to quality data about your customers means you can offer a much more effective and personalized experience.

This data goes beyond just which of your products they purchased or showed an interest in. For instance, you can set abandoned cart email reminders and promote relevant product categories. To sum up, these are all clearly additional perks to using online marketplaces.

Improved product visibility

Online marketplaces have their own internal search engines that help users easily find what they’re looking for. In more niche marketplaces these are often powerful, specialized tools for the sector they serve. This renders your product range more visible and easy to navigate.

Large and established marketplaces, such as Amazon and Zalando, are highly authoritative sites with lots of traffic. Consequently, they often rank much higher in organic product searches than smaller eCommerce sites. In highly competitive product sectors, like fashion, selling on large marketplaces could be a quick win for organic customer acquisition.

Create customer trust

The growing popularity of online marketplaces has led to consumers becoming more familiar with them. As a result, customers build trust with the marketplace which is then transferred to your brand and products. If we take Amazon as an example, 89% of customers said they’d be more comfortable using Amazon over other eCommerce sites.

What kind of marketplaces are there?

There are hundreds of established online marketplaces. Whatever you’re selling, or whoever you’re selling to, there‘s sure to be a perfect marketplace for your business. Consider the audience and locations that you’re trying to reach, and research what marketplaces operate in those areas.

Quick Tip: You’ll often find relevant marketplace listings in the search engine results for your own products. If you’re after those search impressions, the marketplaces will be too! To summarize, you need to get searching for your best keywords in the areas you want to grow.

Global

Global

Amazon – Needs no introduction: the world’s largest online consumer marketplace, with an unparalleled global distribution network and over 5200M monthly visits. 

eBay – what started as the world’s first online auction site is now a marketplace that generated $21.3 billion in revenue in Q1 of 2020. It generates 1700M monthly visits and has 174M active global shoppers.

AliExpress – Owned by the Alibaba Group, AliExpress serves 230 different countries and regions. In January 2021, this cross-border eCommerce platform generated 528M monthly visits. 

USA

USA

Walmart.com – This household name in the US had global net sales of $555BN in 2021 and generates 410.3M monthly visits. 

Target.com – Similar to Walmart, Target is a household name in the US and has made huge leaps in the world of digital commerce. 182.2M customers visit Target.com every month.  

Poshmark – This online marketplace is dedicated to fashion and has over 75 million product listings. Every month, Poshmark attracts 46.9 customer visits. 

Asia

Asia

Rakuten – This multi-national eCommerce company based in Japan had almost 120 member ID’s in Q4 of 2020. It has 575.8M monthly visits and generated revenues of $13,682M in 2020. 

Shopee – Headquartered in Singapore and founded in 2015, Shopee is considered the leading eCommerce platform in Southeast Asia and Taiwan. The monthly visits amount to an impressive 457.9M. 

Taobao – This is one of the go-to online shopping destinations for Chinese consumers. In FY 2021, it generated $853TR and receives 329.4M monthly visits.

Europe

Europe

Trendyol – This is the largest eCommerce platform in Turkey and sells over 70 million products every year. This top online marketplace in Europe sees over 206M monthly visits. 

Allegro – Based in Poland, Allegro is one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in Europe. Marketplace sellers on this platform can benefit from exposure to 190.2 monthly customer visits. 

Zalando – In 2019, over 145M orders were placed on Zalando. As a key player in the world of fashion eCommerce sales, it’s unsurprising this platform has nearly 135M monthly visits.

B2B

Like B2C buyers, B2B customers are increasingly looking for convenience and functionality in their shopping experiences. Another thing to note is that they often have extra requirements around payment and purchase approval processes. Marketplaces focusing on this type of buyer cater specifically to these requirements and it’s a rapidly growing sector.

Alibaba.com – the original B2B marketplace offering from Alibaba Group, the world’s largest online retail entity. Although based in China, Alibaba is a truly global marketplace, offering product categories from health & beauty to industrial parts & tools to business buyers.

TradeWheel – US-based TradeWheel sells chemical, energy, and machine products and has 1.7 million sellers worldwide. It connects brands with suppliers in over 240 countries.

Amazon Business – already having access to a huge consumer market, Amazon has also tapped into the business purchasing power of its users, with corporate-focused features.

B2C

Nowadays, consumers are looking for speed and convenience when it comes to the online shopping experience. Some of the most popular B2C marketplaces include:

Wish – Wish is a leading mobile-based marketplace that has 300M shoppers worldwide, with mostly low-value fashion & home goods.

CDiscount – a French discount marketplace with over 1M daily visitors

Bol.com – One of the Netherland largest online stores, selling a broad range of home goods from school supplies, to electronics and car accessories.

Product-Specific

Unlike the so-called ‘mega marketplaces’, trying to do everything for everyone, more niche marketplaces are starting to appear. they focus on the specific customer experience needs of a particular industry or product category:

Wayfair – A global marketplace selling furniture and homewares at all price points. Wayfair offers highly specialized internal search/filtering/navigation that gives an excellent user experience.

Not On The High Street & Etsy – UK marketplaces that focus on bespoke/handmade and gift items, that are, you guessed it, hard to find in conventional high street stores.

We’ve only touched the surface here. Webretailer has created our favorite resource about all the different marketplaces out there, so check that out for a much more detailed list!

Win across all your sales channels with smarter product data

Marketplaces give your brand easy access to new markets and channels, and ultimately to new customers. Tailoring your marketing efforts for these channels is crucial. Make the most of your product data to ensure you’re offering the best possible product experience.

Each marketplace has its own search engine. As a result, you need to ensure your products are optimized to get them in front of the right people at the right time. We developed the Pimberly PIM system with this in mind.

There are plenty of features that give you the power to optimize everything from one central hub. Think keywords, metadata, right through to the Alt. Text on your digital assets. Your SEO team will also benefit from doing all this in Pimberly.

Our lifecycle stages enable you to set product data requirements that need to be met for each channel before product content is distributed. This means only fully optimized product information and digital assets are being pushed out. This massively increases your chances of gaining a wider audience and overall better results.

If you’re embarking on your global eCommerce journey, make sure your customers can shop in their language. You should also provide prices in the relevant currencies, and give product details in units of measurement they know and understand.

Pimberly has huge localization capabilities. Translate product data, store prices in different currencies, and scope different product attributes depending on the country you’re selling to.

Scoping capabilities are also particularly useful if you’re looking at moving between B2B, B2C, and D2C. The messaging for each of these audiences is massively different. Personalize what they see with the power of PIM and online marketplace success will soon follow.

Key takeaways

Do your research – Find the right marketplace/s for the customers you want to reach. It’s also important to ensure the features it offers align with your business objectives.

Put your best foot forward – Follow best practices for your chosen marketplaces, and test what works best if possible. Marketplace users can behave differently than on single-vendor sites, and marketplace SEO is a growing topic of discussion.

The world is your oyster – What other features of the marketplace can you take advantage of to grow your business? Most larger marketplaces offer online shop-fronts, run internal ad networks, as well as their own marketing programs.

Product Information Management (PIM) solutions are designed to enrich product data for multiple sales channels & marketplaces. You can set up new sales channels in a matter of minutes and it’s a total breeze, which means you can aim for complete eCommerce success!

Watch our super quick video on how a PIM enables you to quickly reach new channels and marketplaces

*We always want to make sure we deliver the highest quality content, which is why we updated this blog in July 2021. This blog was originally published in September 2020.