Amazon & Co: Why there is no way around marketplaces for retailers
It is impossible to imagine German online retail without Amazon. Already in 2017, 45% of Germans started their product and price research on Amazon. This means that significantly more product-related search queries are made via the Marketplace than on Google. 90% of German consumers have also already made purchases on Amazon, and 35% even use the premium program Amazon Prime (source: Pwc study "Total Retail 2017").
Impressive figures, which are likely to have risen further in the meantime. It is not for nothing that Amazon recently reached first place in the BrandZ ranking of the 100 most valuable brands for the first time.
It is therefore worthwhile for online retailers to take the step from e-commerce to digital commerce. This means that anyone who wants to assert themselves as a provider on the Internet today should not limit their web activities to operating an online store. Instead, it is advisable to implement links to popular marketplaces as part of a multichannel strategy and to create integrated shopping experiences across all channels.
As a magnalister partner, Blackbit advises on marketplace and omnichannel commerce
To make it as easy as possible for our customers to exploit the potential of well-known marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Rakuten or ricardo.ch, we have added magnalister to our partner network. magnalister is the provider of a market-leading tool that allows online retailers to easily connect their web store to marketplaces in order to increase their sales. The useful interface is available for various store systems such as xt:Commerce, Magento, Shopware and Gambio and is available in different service packages.
The most important merchant benefits of the magnalister interface:
- Upload articles directly from the store to the marketplaces
- Import orders automatically
- Match order statuses such as "shipped" or "cancelled
- Manage orders, invoices and inventory centrally
- Set up individual extensions via hook point system
We are pleased to have magnalister as a strong partner in marketplace marketing at our side and are constantly qualifying our team in multichannel commerce in order to be able to ideally advise our customers in the increasingly complex digital commerce environment.
Marketplace expert and magnalister founder Peter Mähner in an interview.
To what extent do marketplaces help retailers get started in online retailing? What prerequisites should marketplace newcomers bring with them? And what challenges should they expect when starting out on Amazon, eBay & Co. - In an interview for the BVDW guide "The 8 Stages of Connected Commerce", Blackbit CEO Stefano Viani clarified these and other exciting questions with magnalister founder Peter Mähner:
STEFANO VIANI: Hi Peter, you have been offering a platform for data exchange with online marketplaces for 8 years now. Can you tell us from your point of view what has happened in the last years? Is it still possible today for a retailer to take a first step into e-commerce and open up a new sales channel by participating in online marketplaces?
PETER MÄHNER: Hello Stefano, in principle, any retailer can still start on online marketplaces today, even with a small budget. Amazon and eBay have established themselves as the largest sales channels. But Otto.de and Zalando have also continued to hold their own. This year, however, we are also seeing industry-renowned providers such as DaWanda and Allyouneed.de pull out of the race.
In addition to the establishment of marketplace sizes, I see the most serious change in the dynamics of the requirements for merchants on how their products must be offered on the marketplaces. That's where constant regulatory changes, such as describing products with detailed features, are leading, as well as adjustments to basic marketplace concepts, such as eBay's recent introduction of a "product-based buying experience," to meet the increasing demands of buyers.
STEFANO VIANI: What does the retailer need to consider in this process? What expertise, human resources and technology are needed to get started?
PETER MÄHNER: In my opinion, the most important thing is to have the right attitude toward the subject: The possibilities compared to a classic retail store are still unique. Especially in terms of budget, manpower and risk.
But there is work behind it, which many underestimate or are not willing to spend: The retailer must deal with the rules of the individual marketplaces and be able to accept them. For example, an EAN obligation also for variant articles, images must be supplied in high resolutions and possibly with a white background, product properties such as "material composition" or clothing sizes must be specifically defined. Unfortunately, these rules describe the marketplaces partly insufficiently. There are also some hurdles in their interfaces that one would not suspect.
But if your own setting is right, the possibilities are immense. Thus, you can also start as a "one-man-show". There are a number of inexpensive tools and plug-ins that partially automate processes such as purchase and payment processing or data reconciliation up to posting. They save you an army of personnel, which would not be affordable at all considering the often low margins. Logistics can also be outsourced to Amazon, for example, as part of the "FBA" program: this is convenient, inexpensive and, above all, highly professional.
E-commerce can be seen as a building block system, where you simply put together the tools and services you need for your needs. The merchant does not have to be a programmer to be able to use the tools - but he must have a basic technical understanding: configure and operate administrative interfaces, process an Excel list and export it to various formats, or master a simple image processing program. If you get stuck, you should contact a consulting Internet agency - such as Blackbit.
STEFANO VIANI: Does a retailer also still need his own store, and if so, why?
PETER MÄHNER: An own store should always be. It provides more independence and offers the opportunity to establish one's brand in terms of content and design. Above all, however, a web store today also serves as an administrative hub for product offerings and orders. There are helpful add-on modules and connections to the largest merchandise management systems and marketplaces, with a large community of merchants and developers who can help you if you get stuck.
STEFANO VIANI: Is there a typical development of a merchant from beginner to full marketplace professional?
PETER MÄHNER: Every merchant story is different. But merchants often encounter the same issues and problems as they grow that were touched on above.
The marketplace professionals stand out in their development because they bring the "think big" attitude. They act on the motto, "You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." They don't dwell on unnecessary details and focus on sales, order fulfillment and customer satisfaction: if 5,000 items are posted on the marketplaces, they care less that the marketplace discards 20 of them. They don't ask so much what does a service cost, but what do they earn with it. Or how they can use it to make processes more efficient. And they don't let hurdles stop them. For these merchants, the marketplaces often reflect a very positive business development. Within a few months or even just weeks. In our experience, the newcomers who don't have this attitude fail sooner or later.
STEFANO VIANI: Is there anything you would particularly recommend to all marketplace newcomers?
PETER MÄHNER: Above all, they should enjoy their product and sell something that really serves a demand. The right expectations - as mentioned before - are enormously important, because otherwise fun quickly turns into frustration. Then comes the commercial aspect: even if the costs of the individual services are often low and sales are billed primarily on a success basis, the basic costs quickly add up to several hundred euros a month. keep an eye on things and factor in reserves. There are returns, "lost" shipments, customer queries that cost time and therefore money.
The good thing is that many costs can be turned on and off quickly, since most services do not have long contract terms. The risk is thus very manageable. The retailer should rely on a well-known store system for which there is a large community. It is advisable to start with a small assortment on one or two marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay. Maybe only 5-10 items at first, to get a feel for the effort involved in product maintenance, listing, order processing and accounting. To then calculate, plan and implement a scaling upwards.
Finally, the beginner should always keep in mind today's opportunities: It has never been possible in the history of commerce to sell from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world - and to reach approximately 200,000,000 online buyers for one's products with comparatively little effort. This view shrinks one or the other hurdle to a micro-problem and just makes you feel good.