“In a marketplace, brand building is hard. Customers don’t look for brand Humptee Dumptee, they look for a Tee with good design,” shared Ankit Aggarwal, founder of Humptee Dumptee with IndianOnlineSeller, while talking about why he chose to completely focus on his online store.
To this a reader, Pawan left a comment below Aggarwal’s interview, “Brand building does work over marketplace, as so far our home grown company has managed to diverge marketplace customers to our own online store.”
Two opposing views about the same concept. Two very valid points raised by experienced online sellers. What advice should a seller consider and what he/she shouldn’t? Should you build your own brand on marketplaces? Or it’s not worth it?
Let’s weigh the facts!
Consider Brand-Building On Marketplaces When You Can…
Getting lost in a crowded marketplace is very easy. Sellers have less or no power to increase brand visibility in a marketplace on their own. But etailers can pull a seller up and make him/her stand tall in the crowd, however conditions apply.
Since there is no such thing as a free lunch in this world, a merchant can expect ecommerce biggies’ support, if he/she can add value to their online empire.
And how can a seller do that? Ecommerce companies will be happy to help if you can:
Launch exclusive online-only or unique products
Why do you think Jabong has an in-house fashion week to showcase works of emerging designers? So that the same designers sell their creations on the platform, the fashion etailer can expand its portfolio and offer fresh & unique designer wear to its buyers.
If you as a seller can supply online-only products, then marketplaces will put their weight behind it.
Take for instance Biggie Bean Bags that developed Cozy Bean Bags brand exclusively for Flipkart. The company’s sales increased by 25-30% and is now regarded as an established brand in the product category.
Sell Rare International Brands
If you can manage to grab distribution rights of a popular or quality-but-lesser-known International brand, you can expect special attention. It can also work for products that you think can work well in the Indian market but is not available as of now.
Sign-up for marketplace seller services like ads and fulfillment
Ecommerce leaders like Flipkart, Amazon offer various advertising products to their sellers, which can help to increase sales. This IOS article has details about Display Ads, Sponsored Ads and Brand Story Ads.
And this article lists down how marketplace fulfillment improves a seller’s brand visibility.
Both ensure that your products are featured in the top search list and catch buyer’s attention.
Give high sales volume
This factor is self-explanatory. If your product sells like hot cakes, you will be wooed and asked how! Sellers who achieve ambitious sales targets receive great support from marketplaces and thus are able to build their brand.
Ready to embrace erratic nature of an ecommerce business
Kabir Vaid, MD of Priya Encase, whose number of orders went from 400 a month to 40,000 a month after signing up with Flipkart said, “This time the Big Billion Days Sale is just like a big movie release. We prepared ourselves well. We worked about 18-20 hours a day for the last 20-25 days. We have complete control upon the orders, execution.”
Big sale events come with its own set of challenges, right from logistical nightmares to technical glitches. The last thing an etailer wants to hear from a seller is that he/she is not prepared to meet the high demand.
Are you game for working 20 hours a day and fulfill all orders on time? Because this is how unpredictable and demanding the ecommerce industry can be. If yes, then be ready to soar high.
Convince you mean business
Are you here for a long stint or a short one? Convince marketplace heads that you are ready to give 100%. Communicate, discuss ideas and ask for inputs to understand as a seller what is expected out of you to grow your business.
Pratik Doshi, founder of Cheeky Chunk umbrellas who became a marketplace millionaire in 2 months shared his online selling wisdom, “You should call the product managers/category managers and show them you’re enthusiastic about your product. Appreciate them for doing their job well and make them believe in your product as they will be crucial in getting it promoted. A lot of marketplaces help creative entrepreneurs increase their sales by promoting their products. Make them believe in your potential and convince them you mean business.”
Ratings & feedback is your brand ambassador
While BigBasket can afford to hire Shahrukh Khan to build its brand value, ratings & feedback feature is the true ambassador of the humble online business of small & medium enterprisers. Therefore, work hard towards maintaining good ratings and keeping the negatives reviews at bay.
Scan the feedback carefully to understand your target buyer’s demand. Many buyers mention if they are looking for specific products in the feedback note, which you can try to make available.
Insert business cards, post cards, brand membership cards or promotional material while packing the order to let your buyers know about your offline & online presence other than marketplaces, upcoming product launch, events, sales and offers.
Online store to support brand-building exercise on marketplaces is a must
After interacting with several sellers and reading about selling experience on marketplaces, one fact came on the surface. The fact is that if a seller is looking for a long innings in the online field then they need to have a store of their own besides listing on marketplaces. Own online store acts a solid ground for brand building activities.
Why? For online marketplaces, sellers are important but they are easily replaceable too. For an Amazon or a Flipkart you are one of the several thousand sellers, but for you it’s one against several thousand businesses.
Even though ecommerce companies give access to a ready-made structure, which is visited by millions of buyers but still SMEs have less control over their business. Therefore, irrespective of which way you go, set up your online store ASAP! Make the best use of online marketplaces to direct traffic to your own store and work steadily towards strengthening your own brand & store.