This is a guest post by Daniel Sperling-Horowitz, the President and Co-founder of Zentail, a leading e-commerce operations software for retailers and brands that sell products on major online shopping channels.
The best multi-channel eCommerce sellers offer high-demand products at competitive prices. However, when a product is sold on multiple marketplaces, the listing process often differs, depending on the channel.
Here are some examples of how successful multi-channel eCommerce sellers optimize product listings per channel, based on a clear understanding of how that channel ranks listings.
Unified or Seller-Specific Product Listings?
Before we get into specific tips for eCommerce success, let’s first distinguish between the two listing types:
- Unified Product Listings: once a listing is created by a seller or the channel’s merchandising team, various sellers can compete for the sale on that product listing if multiple vendors offer that specific product
- Seller-Specific Product Listings: product listings are seller-specific which means the same product can have a unique listing for each seller that offers it
So who does what? Amazon, Walmart, Google Express and Jet.com have unified product listings. Those listings are then tied to a unique barcode, either EAN, ISBN or, the most commonly used in the United States, the UPC (Universal Product Code). The UPC is a12-digit number containing a registered prefix that identifies the manufacturer or brand owner of the product and serves as the standard identifier for all products outside of the books category. Additionally, Amazon refers to each unique listing as an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). What this means is that consumers can easily find your products as it is tied to one listing. However, as your listing is shown with other competitors, winning the Buy Box is critical.
eBay is currently undergoing an interesting change in how they manage listings and places them somewhat in the middle of these two scenarios. From the onset, eBay was structured around seller-specific listings, which means product titles and descriptions that are rich with keywords will appear higher within eBay search rankings than others without optimized, descriptive listings. However over the past few years they have made a major push to standardize their data, hence their requirement for UPC and MPN (Manufacturer Part Number) values in order to create a listing. On this note, eBay has launched a unified view of individual products and looks to be testing different interaction points to expose the additional product offers. So, whether in product search results or via the individual product listing, they look to be trying a combination of methods.
Buyer Personas Vary By Channel
How your products are marketed across major online channels is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Buyer personas can vary significantly from channel to channel and marketplaces are actively differentiating their value propositions.
- Your Amazon customer wants Prime eligible product delivered fast.
- eBay customers want to support smaller sellers and need to see a Top Rated badge.
- Walmart shoppers are looking for everyday low prices.
- Google customers are brand-loyal so quality service is important
- Facebook customers are about community and trends- speak to popular, top-rated products
Merchants that carefully consider the buyer persona of each channel and optimize their listing copy accordingly will outperform merchants that excessively reuse content across channels.
How Channels Rank Listings and Sellers
Now that everything with e-commerce is trackable, know your products and your business are being placed under a microscope and the results, good or bad, will likely have an affect on your business. Positive sales trends with low cancellation and return rates are typically the most important KPIs. Make sure your product descriptions are detailed and attractive to spur purchases, while being as accurate as possible to fulfill customer expectations when the product is received.
Part of this equation certainly includes the fulfillment timeframe. The faster a product gets shipped, the better. We recommend that all sellers aim to send out all orders within one business day. Shoppers are conditioned to expect products to arrive quickly, typically in 2 days.
Order fulfillment should always be compliant with the channel’s requirements. Sellers that use FBA to fulfill to customers outside of Amazon will not meet the fulfillment timeframe and valid tracking standards required by other sales channels and will likely lose their selling privileges on such channels. To ensure your business is channel-compliant with fulfillment, serious multi-channel eCommerce sellers will have their own fulfillment capability or partner with a leading 3PL like Rakuten Super Logistics.
Building a successful multi-channel eCommerce business requires a commitment to channel-tailored product information, channel-compliant fulfillment and operational efficiency. Centrally managing all of your product information, inventory and orders provides you with a competitive advantage as you expand to high value channels. Working with the right fulfillment partner will allow your team to focus on merchandising, listing and customer service. Are you ready to build a durable, defensible multi-channel eCommerce company?
Through Zentail, merchants seamlessly load products to multiple platforms in minutes while also managing all aspects of their e-commerce business including order management, automated inventory and pricing synchronization, shipping and order fulfillment and reporting. Zentail’s merchants leverage relationships with industry leaders such as Rakuten Super Logistics, Amazon, Google, Facebook, Walmart and eBay to provide shoppers with world-class experiences. Zentail is proud to be an official partner of Rakuten Super Logistics.