‘Selling on one marketplace is not enough,’ is what Cas Paton of OnBuy tells marketplace sellers aiming to expand their businesses. OnBuy recently sponsored a new Tamebay ebook 46 New Marketplaces which aims to serves as a guide for sellers wishing trade on multiple marketplaces.
Speaking to Tamebay, Cas Paton founder and managing director of OnBuy puts business growth down to brand awareness. It’s time to change, says Cas, if you’re selling on one marketplace, active on a single social media channel and using one form of marketing. The industry is going to get more competitive as a result of new businesses, disruptors and solutions in the field. Sellers need to focus on developing customer familiarity with a brand by increasing their presence on multiple marketplaces which attract a diverse set of audiences.
‘The marketplace sector is on the cusp of its next big change’
Marketplaces are changing to deliver upon sellers and customers demands, says Cas. The marketplace sector is on the cusp of its next big change. Cas believes that the future will see marketplaces introducing new services to attract merchants and increasing their appeal to buyers simultaneously. He says that the industry will see adaptations of new solutions that were once thought of too futuristic. Innovations such as voice search and widespread of mobile payments and even cryptocurrency might support the customers shopping experience. However, it might take some time before it will see mass adoption.
Work smarter, not harder is key to an expansion strategy. Sellers can spend time and money into researching the best territory, says Cas, building dedicates sites and tailoring their products’ range to resonate with every single demographic. However, the challenge is that sometimes their efforts don’t justify the results. Once a seller moves into a new market, taking a step back can hardly be an option.
As a solution, Cas pitches OnBuy marketplace, which claims to serve as a safety cushion when aiming to target a territory. Sellers have a luxury of trying a new market without a long-term commitment.
OnBuy grants merchants access to more than 50 countries already available to their sellers. The marketplace plan to launch their offering into more than 140 countries in the next few years. With dedicated sites for each country, says Cas, we aim to make selling overseas simpler while opening more territories than any other marketplace.
Free delivery vs margin pressure
Sellers are increasingly encouraged by marketplaces to offer free shipping which puts pressure on their margins. This dilemma places a question mark on how sellers can offer free delivery without sacrificing their bottom line.
Factoring a delivery cost into a product’s price is a classic strategy, says Cas. However, this doesn’t mean it’s always a winner – the customer can still lose out. When buying multiple items from the same seller, says Cas, the customer thinks they’re getting ‘free’ delivery but ends up paying for it multiple times. Sellers should offer a fixed delivery despite the number of products customers are ordering, he suggests.
Outmanoeuvring the competition
Be on the ball and know the competition inside out, says Cas. Sellers can beat their rivals by being able to predict their next moves to outmanoeuvre the competition.
Cas says that if merchants know what the competition is offering – be it clever email marketing or eye-catching packaging – it’s easy to one-up them and take their own offering to the next level. Similarly, he encourages sellers to keep a close eye on their sales performance and stay on top of the sellers’ demands. This will ensure merchants invest time into what works rather than wasting time.
‘We’re all feeling ‘Brexit anxiety’ to some degree’
Merchants selling overseas will probably have considered how the ongoing debate over the UK’s membership of the EU will impact their work.
I think we’re all feeling ‘Brexit anxiety’ to some degree, says Cas, but my advice is to keep calm and carry on.
Cas describes Britain as a strong, capable nation which has pulled through worse. He says that we’ll make it through Brexit and continue to thrive. Whatever happens, says Cas, we’re all in the same boat and we can deal with it.
No one should panic before we have something specific to panic about, says Cas, and even then, we can resolve any issue because we are resilient and determined as entrepreneurs.