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Establishing your online marketplace presence - 5 secrets to success

Posted On 28th July 2016

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Marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and Etsy provide the perfect venue for aspiring entrepreneurs to launch their own online store. They're affordable, easy to use, offer instant visibility and, when used properly, can make you serious money. But while marketplaces are becoming increasingly popular among customers looking for convenience, competition is fierce. With so many smaller online stores cropping up and vying for buyers, a game plan is essential. With that in mind, here are our top tips for online marketplace success.

Choose the right marketplace

One of the first things you’ll need to consider is which marketplace you’re going to sell from – Amazon, eBay and Etsy specialise in different areas and attract different audiences, so make sure you select a platform that best reflects your products and values. Etsy specialises in crafts, while eBay and Amazon are great for electronics and homeware, and the ASOS marketplace is perfect for selling clothing. If you’re struggling to choose, you could test-run a few products on two or three different marketplaces to see how they fare. Find out more about how to find your ideal marketplace in our guide on how to choose a marketplace.

Start small, think big

Familiarise yourself with the online selling process and begin by advertising small, low-cost items. This will help you to get to grips with things such as processing payments, sending goods off for delivery and responding to requests. Then, once you start selling bigger, more expensive items, you'll become familiar with the process. Do your research and, if possible, chat to other sellers and find out how they grew their businesses. Some marketplaces allow you to get creative with your product pages, so think about how you can build your online store into a brand with its own defined personality.

Create professional product pages

Use high-quality imagery (showing products from a variety of angles) and make sure your descriptions are grammatically correct — blurry photos and poorly written text can put customers off buying from you. Try to be as descriptive as possible — this will show you've taken care over the ad — and optimise listings, thinking carefully about which keywords will best attract casual browsers to your products. When it comes to pricing, be realistic — if you're selling items second-hand, the price should reflect this, and you should be transparent about any marks or signs of wear. Don't go too low, though, if you want to make a profit.

Offer speedy delivery

Positive feedback is key to fostering long-lasting relationships with buyers and attracting new ones, with delivery one area in particular that can make or break a customer's opinion. Once a transaction has been processed, get the ball rolling with the delivery as soon as possible, telling the customer how they can track their parcel. Offer fair prices for postage and packaging, and don't leave it too late. Some parcel companies offer eBay integration through their websites — this can save a lot of time if you're shipping multiple items. Find out more about how you can send eBay parcels with Send it Now.

Provide good customer service

Treat your online shop like a bricks-and-mortar store and offer great service — it'll be key to retaining customers and could even lead to word-of-mouth recommendations. Your customers may have some questions about your products and ask for some extra photos – be sure to reply to any queries you receive quickly (ideally within 24 hours) so that they don't leave a review complaining of your slow response time. The last thing you want in the early stages of setting up your business is negative feedback.

When done properly, selling through an online marketplace can be a great way to make some cash or, if you're a business owner, get your name out there. As long as consumers can find your products easily and feel confident in your service, you should find it a fruitful endeavour.