Testing new regions with marketplaces
Marketplaces now represent 62% of global eCommerce sales. It is of course well established that with the majority of eCommerce taking place through these sites, they can provide a wealth of benefits to sellers through incremental revenue and increasing brand awareness. However, your marketplace strategy doesn’t necessarily need to end there…
Many sellers are looking for new markets to explore as selling to Europe becomes more challenging, but this can be a daunting concept. Expanding your online presence to new regions can be a complicated and high-risk project – borders/territory set up, logistics, brand engagement and localisation can provide more roadblocks than expected.
What if there was a way to reach a new market with minimised risk? Sites with an established customer base, local fulfilment and already set up to support international sellers? You can guess where this is going…
Marketplaces can provide an incredible platform to litmus test new regions and allow you to qualify demand in multiple markets before committing time and budget to establish a committed in-market presence. The search traffic on marketplaces will far outweigh any search on a brand site – for example,
63% of consumers start their search on Amazon in established markets, with a further 25% starting on other marketplaces. The platforms themselves are well experienced in supporting international sellers and will often have logistics and fulfilment services themselves or well-established partners who will be able to ease the transition. Although some sites require further local translation/localisation, many will allow you to upload data in English and some even provide translation as part of the platform. As a steppingstone for expansion, marketplaces are often an ideal solution.
The far-reaching benefits of this approach go beyond reducing barriers and complexity – working with an established partner in-market, who has already provided a route to market for you, can also alleviate the need for further spend going forward. Often you can spend huge amounts of time and resources on setting up on your own through partners or your own eCommerce proposition in territories that may end up as not the right fit, despite it being a strong ‘on paper’ proposition. The marketplace approach means the cost of failure is significantly reduced – and there is a value in knowing what doesn’t work, as well as what does! Equally – if the channel does work, it creates a clear business case to build more around this channel and start thinking about your own eCommerce and B2B strategies in these regions.
How to get started
Once you have a shortlist of regions, it’s worth exploring the local marketplace options as well as the bigger players; smaller marketplaces are present across the world and in some regions they perform at the same level as or outperform Amazon. The World’s Top 100 Marketplaces is a good place to start, with vertical-specific sites also included. Take note of any seller requirements (e.g. a local return address) and any fulfilment support that sites can offer, these could have a big impact on your bottom line. It may be worth considering a number of different fulfilment options as you establish to what level you wish to outsource.
Getting your name out there
When getting started in a new region, it goes without saying that you should look into leveraging marketing opportunities on the marketplace platforms that are enabled e.g. Amazon PPC. Beyond this, it’s important to grow brand awareness outside of the sales platform itself. Locally targeted social media marketing can be a great way to grow your brand presence with a relatively low budget. If your test sales grow well, this can also provide a great base for your first-party expansion.
Looking for more info?
At Rich Insight we have years of experience working with marketplaces and we’re well placed to support you in both marketplace selection and onboarding – we support sellers across 200 sites and 34 regions. We make use of our in-house marketplace specific analysis tools to help establish the right marketplace for your business – then we’ll help you get set up and do much of the heavy lifting in managing your live account’s day-to-day.
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