Maximising your sales on the Online Marketplace requires that you understand and observe certain basics in relation to how you manage your presence thereon. I will go through a few of these below.
First and foremost it is important to understand that your online store is simply another one of your "Places" in line with the marketing strategy which you should have (speak to your Member Consultant, if you don't have one). Success is always the result of a deliberate strategy, and the Online Marketplace is not a magic bullet which will yield you instant results with no planning and input on your part. It is nevertheless a powerful tool which if you sharpen well enough, will yield you satisfying results on a consistent basis. Before you even think about marketing your product, ensure that you have comprehensively covered all aspects of your Product and Price considerations in your marketing strategy. Some of the things to be covered are:
Have you clearly defined your product, and is it defined in a way that your target customer will understand? The description that you put on the Online Marketplace must be comprehensive enough for a prospective customer to garner all relevant information needed to make a "buy" decision. Remember that unlike the walk-in customer, the online shopper typically is impatient, and is probably searching tens or hundreds of other products similar to yours. Enable them to decide promptly that they have found what they are looking for, without having to inbox you. The platform does feature a messaging interface, so it is possible for customers to do that, but what you should do is use customers' questions to further refine your product's description to answer such questions.
Product descriptions should include things like specifications, typical use cases, and most importantly should cover the attributes that most customers would find important about that product/service. If one is buying a computer or mobile device, CPU speed, RAM and storage for example are important. Options like available colours, sizes etc are also important, as are additional aspects like delivery time/waiting period, if applicable. If there are special enhancements or value-added attributes, also mention them.What you should not do, however, is to use hyperbole or exaggerated claims/advertising language. Let people make their own decisions based on the facts.
We will describe in greater detail below some features that you can incorporate on your product to enhance your products' performance on the shop.
Price is an important consideration, especially in the current environment. Ensure that the price you set is competitive, after taking into consideration the three determinants of price (cost, competitors' prices and customer's willingness/ability to pay). Your price on the Online Marketplace should ideally be the same price as that which you charge in your physical shop. Whilst some may want to load the commission onto their normal price, the best way to think of the Online Marketplace is as another salesperson. You would have had to pay that person a salary off the normal selling price anyway. So your pricing (online and/or offline) should already incorporate your selling costs.
Related to this, ensure that you define exactly how delivery costs will be met. Delivery costs should not be loaded onto the price, as the customer can opt to collect from you. We will cover delivery costs as well below.
Uploading products/services is done by logging into the back end using your vendor credentials. The important section is on the Products tab as highlighted below:
The first thing that you will need to do is define any features that your products/services should have, as discussed above:
Features are the things like colour, size or other options that may apply to a particular product or service. Rather than put in different products showing different colours and sizes, you can specify colour and size as features, which can then be selected by the customer on the shop. Features can be used across various products/services, and in fact you can also use features generated by other users.
Click on the plus button to add a feature. Features that you add can be for specific categories on the shop, or they can be set across all categories.
Once you click on the plus, you get the New Feature menu, where you can name the feature, and specify how exactly it will operate. This is where you would put "Colour", "Size" etc depending on what it is you want to define, then also put in the description of the feature.
You will also need to complete the other tags at the top.
Under the variants tab, you then put in the parameters for each feature. Below we have created a feature for "Size", and the variants or selectable options are then added on. Ensure that you save the page after completing input of your variations.
Finally, you can specify the categories on which certain features will work. For general features like colour and size, you can allow the features to operate across all categories, but if there are unique features you want to add that are peculiar to a particular category you may want to limit the option to just the relevant section of a particular category (e.g. different flavours of ice cream can be restricted to just the Beverages & Dairy section of the Consumer & Retail category).
Once you have defined a feature, save it and ensure that your variants are appearing as you need them to. You will then be able to apply those features to any of the products that you create. We will cover how you apply features onto products in the next section.
Adding products is done from the main dashboard, on the Products menu. Clicking on Products gives you the New Product menu. Complete the general information then move to the SEO section. It is important to put in good pictures for your product, ideally actual pictures of the product/service, as that is the only thing that the customer has to tell them what exactly they are buying.
The SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) section contains what is known as the "meta" information, which is information used by search engines as well as on links to give introductory information on what the page is about. You can copy your product name into the meta name field, and if your description is short then also copy your description in the meta description field. If your main description is long, put in a summarised description (200 letters or less) in the meta description field. On the keywords, put in words or phrases that people are most likely to search for when looking for your product/service. Separate each word or phrase with a comma. This information is used by search engines to know when to pull up your entry.
You can also specify discounts that you offer for purchases above a certain number, as well as reward points that you would want to offer, if you want to offer more reward points than the standard 2% we have stipulated. Note that if you offer more reward points on your products, you will need to pay for those additional reward points. A reward point is equivalent to a US dollar.
After completing all information, click on the Create button on the top right corner, and the full Product menu will be displayed as shown below.
You will need to complete the Shipping properties section to indicate whether or not your product requires shipping (select Free Shipping if you will arrange delivery free of charge, or if the product is one that is not physically delivered). If a physical product, also put in details of weight and dimensions, particularly if it is a product that may need bulk delivery.
Where your product has different features/variations as indicated above, you will need to first of all set up the features as explained above. If your features are in order, they will be shown on the Features tab as shown below.
To enable the features on the product, you go to the Variations tab and click on Add Variations. Click on Create New Products then on Search for features that can generate variations and select the relevant features for the product. Add the particular attributes you would want on the product then click on the Create X Variations button at the bottom. This will then generate multiple versions of the product which have the differing attributes you have specified.
You can also create Product Bundles (where you group this product with other related products to create a combo offer) to encourage upselling. An example is someone selling car spares can have spark plugs, engine oil and filters as separate products, but can also offer a Service Kit product bundle which brings all three items together and gives a discount.
When you are done, the Product will show the features that you added on the front end:
Ideally, you need to have a point person who looks after your Online Marketplace. Add new products as and when you have them, and also manage the quantities of each product that are available, where relevant. The last thing you want is for a customer to make a purchase for a product that you do not have in stock. The Online Marketplace enables people to request a notification when a stock item is replenished. So it runs just like your offline shop.
Deals and Special Offers/Sales
It is a good idea to offer deals and special offers every now and then to incentivise sales. Our Online Marketplace is able to run deals and special offers, and we will also market these for free. This can also be a useful feature for getting rid of slow-moving, obsolete or out-of-season stock. You can get in touch with us to set up an offer.
You can also set up special coupon offers to encourage repeat business. Be creative with your online marketing, especially as there is a large captive audience that will quickly see what you have to offer.