As of now, Snapdeal has over 1,50,000 sellers; Shopclues –over 1,25,000; eBay India – 40,000; Amazon –over 35,000; Flipkart – over 30,000;. Intimidating? Worried that you might get lost in the crowd? Please don’t. Because another way to look at it is that listing on these sites exposes your product to millions of buyers across India who has broadband and/or mobile data connection. A number that’s impossible to touch with one offline store.
With spirits lifted now, let’s find out how to stand out in a crowded marketplace and drive traffic and sales.
No surprises here, offer something unique that immediately gets you noticed. Or offer your product at a price that’s hard to compete with (not cheap but reasonable; a price buyers feel worth paying for the product).
- Try to zero down on a selling price that gets you in the first 3-4 pages of the filtered search list when the customer selects ‘Low-to High’ (Economical products) or ‘High-to-Low’ (Premium products) filter.
- Aim to bring out fresh designs/product range/category every three months
- Consider introducing exclusive online-only range of products. Huge plus as marketplaces pay special attention in marketing it. For example: The first lot of exclusive online-only Xiaomi Mi3 smartphones sold out in 39 minutes flat on Flipkart!
- Keep track on latest trends and introduce a range of products based on that trend. For example: Temple jewellery became a hit after the movie Ram Leela and sold fast.
Leverage Social Media
- Create social media pages, insert all your marketplace stores links in the description and keep it active & fresh. Don’t let less ‘likes’ discourage you from posting regularly.
- Actively tweet/post/click & share your content using the relevant hashtags when marketplaces trend their special sale events or punch lines. Few examples are Snapdeal’s #AzadiKeFaide, Amazon’s #AllThingsIndian or Flipkart’s the infamous #BigBillionDay.
- Use regular trending hashtags too at times if you can plug in your product/service without sticking out like a sore thumb, ignorant or insensitive. Best times are around festivals, sports events, and other special events when the general mood is celebratory like Diwali, World Cup, IPL, etc.
- Make use of Facebook’s sponsored ads and Twitter’s promoted tweets (ranges from $0.20-$4.00 per engagement) service by paying a fee. This can bring substantial amount of traffic to your digital store. Read ‘Facebook for Business’ details here. The cost depends on your budget and number of people you want to reach through sponsored posts.
A former online seller of fashion bags & accessories shared with IOS, “I used to promote my marketplace store through Facebook. Instead of paying for 1000 likes, I paid for 20,000-25,000 reach. I opted for more reach than more likes as the reach always helps. And it used to work. After every such activity the sales used to always exceed the money used in promoting the posts.”
Be seen, Be Heard
Event calendar of most of the cities is filled with conferences, trade shows, meets, flea markets & bazaars, exhibitions and pop-up activities. Plus, we are blessed to be in a country which has so many festivals that creates space for many such special shows and exhibitions.
- Contact the event managers and book yourself a sweet spot
- Note down every visitors details; especially email ids on which you can send your store’s links along with product catalogue later.
- Network around and speak to likeminded sellers like you to get fresh ideas, knowledge about new avenues and learn from their experiences.
Fish for ratings and feedback
Needless to say high ratings on etailer’s site will make your brand more trustworthy and will get you more business. Slide in a printed/handwritten note with every package and thank your buyer for the purchase along with a request to leave a positive feedback, if they are happy with the product. If there is any way to SMS or mail them, even better.
Read IOS’s insightful article on how to maintain a good seller rating to know more about it.
Release good content
Nothing can beat good old Search Engine Optimization. Keyword rich product titles and descriptions will always compel search engines like Google to bring your ranking on the top thus resulting in more visibility and traffic. Besides SEO, there are various other ways where good content can come in handy.
- Maintain a company blog
- Write guest posts for popular retail publications or for marketplaces’ blog
- Invite popular guest bloggers who has a substantial reader list in their field of expertise be it fashion or technology
- Be active and build brand value on credible online communities such as Reddit, Tumblr, Declara and Quora by answering questions tactfully and writing informative posts
Build Relationship with Account managers
We suggest merchants to insist on getting all possible contact details (email ids, addresses, telephone numbers) of account manager/executive/contact person in the initial stages of the registration process.
IOS asked Surabhi Talwar, Head of Communications at Wildcraft, what specific marketing strategies the company applies to drive traffic to Wildcraft’s online store on Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal. She said,
“On these online partners we have quite a substantial presence in our respective category so we are an important player on the portal. We sometimes do targeted campaigns with them for example we recently did a visibility drive with both Amazon and Myntra where we pushed our campus bag collection (Wiki) and our rainwear category through category page banners, sparkles and slider ad presence.”
You can do the same. Speak to the contact person assigned to you and discuss new policy changes, issues, special deals & discounts, visibility drive, targeted campaigns etc. If you can think of innovative campaigns, giveaways (very useful), fun contests that you execute in collaboration with marketplaces, then nothing like it as it can work wonders for your business.
Use seller advantages and training programs
We get it, not all sellers are tech savvy or know how to capitalize social media and sell effectively. This is when you should make use of Seller Advantage features offered by marketplaces and optimize training programs and initiatives offered by them. Not only your products get featured on top, but you also learn new things.
Small and medium sized businesses can benefit immensely from seller advantage services such Snapdeal Plus, Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), Flipkart Advantage and similar services. Because merchants that use these services become more visible and close more sales.
If you are an independent or a small seller without any team, it is wise to hire an agency that can do all the above for you (Try Browntape Enterprise Services). Because let’s face it, tracking orders & inventory, along with planning marketing strategies, handling social media, writing blogs, communicating with account managers and participating in events & exhibitions can be very overwhelming. Outsourcing tasks will leave you time and energy to do the biggest task at hand – i.e. Build Good Product/Service. Building relationships with the media by asking to be featured in popular publications is another way to bring attention to your business.