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How To Be A Successful Online Marketplace Trader

Posted On - 23/01/2015 10:04:16


Online Marketplaces: A Better Bet Than DIY eCommerce
We've given eCommerce a bit of a pasting in our last two blogs.

We've attacked it and pointed out its shortfalls.

The web would never tell you eCommerce wasn't straightforward would it?

So we have: unless you know what you're getting into its likely you'll end up worse off. But, let the dust settle and you'll find Marketplaces offer a better bet than setting up your own online store.

Success using Marketplaces is possible – witness those Traders that endure - but needs to be gone about the right way. The question is how do they do it? If you're interested to find out this blog is for you.

Buy-into the Franchise

This is crucial: marketplaces aren't places to trade how you want. They operate like franchises.

They aren't places where you buy a ticket and turn up to play. They are proven business systems you pay to access and use.

Why do they work like this? Brand.

What you pay buys you the right to be part of their Brand. That's far more than merely a logo – an ebay or amazon badge. It's about experience.

Online, trust matters – would you feel completely comfortable buying from a faceless business you'd never met? For certain you'd feel better buying from a small trader that's part of a professionally run Marketplace.

That's the business ebay and Amazon are in and they've spent £millions making their brands trustworthy. Hard won and easily lost this means only having Traders that conform. Businesses that don't just buy-into the franchise, they get what it's about and comply.

Know your competitors

Knowing customers isn't about being able to list them: it's about researching everything there is to know about themIt's a trite phrase over and often mis-used.

By ‘know' we mean more than simply being able to list who they are. It's not just even being able to list what they sell.

It's about knowing everything possible about them. What they've sold in the past, what they're selling now, their prices, and what they auction versus what they sell at fixed price. And so on, and so on… Why? Because they're already doing it to youall the information is available on the Marketplace.

Marketplace customers have nothing to lose shopping around. So competition is intense and fierce.

Every scrap of information that could make a difference matters. You have to know where you have the edge and where they are better. You have to act and be at least as good as they are. You have to know your customers like you know yourself, possibly even better.

Research what to sell

Marketplaces are full of seasoned experienced Traders. So all the major categories like computers, digital cameras, iPods and large screen TV's are covered.

Don't be a "me too". Doing so just courts problems – branded electrical's are the very heart of price comparison searches. Better to figure out what people aren't selling and sell that.

This is likely to mean being far more opportunistic that you would usually. So buying up liquidation or clearance sales and trading those items. Or selling niche consumables: special formulation/colour inks and specialist weight/colours of paper would be examples.

Better still is things you can easily source at minimal cost and others find difficult to source. Old computer parts? It's a good way to make some cash from things clogging up your shelves. Trading using well known, easy to source products is tough. Doing things more unusual or hard to get – that's much better.

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Also in this series
  1. eCommerce: But Not As We Know It
  2. How To Be A Successful Online Marketplace Trader
  3. Why Use Online Marketplaces?
  4. Truths About eCommerce
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