Marketplaces: Why you should NOT also be selling on marketplaces with Aisle 3’s Thomas J Vosper (episode 055)

by April Buencamino-dy

Thomas has been in the Marketplaces world since he started with Amazon in 2007. For the last four years he’s been getting deep into the world of product and price comparison, first at Pricesearcher, and now with his hugely successful startup Aisle 3 – where he and his team are creating “an online shopping time machine”.

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How Did Thomas Get Into Marketplaces?

He started off at Amazon about 14 years ago in the UK Team, when there were just 6 of them in the marketplace team.

Half of his career was spent doing a lot of different programs at Amazon supporting customers, retailers, and brands using various technologies.

He spent the last 3 years at a price comparison start-up, and the past 12 months building his own start-up company.

What Is Aisle 3’s Online Shopping Time Machine?

eCommerce is growing at a fast rate, and people are still shopping across a lot of different sites. It takes hours to open multiple sites, look at different marketplaces, search Google, and do related other activities when you want to buy something online.

Aisle 3 aims to take back the customers’ time by letting them do in a matter of moments, what used to take 2 hours to accomplish.

How Does It Work?

Aisle 3 does the hard work by sourcing the internet for products and matching offers from different retailers so when you look for a product, you just need to click on one link to see a bunch of offers.

The Alternative Angle On Marketplaces

As a sales channel, marketplaces should always be part of a much wider strategy.

The marketplace is an ecosystem that sellers and retailers get into where brand equity is owned by Amazon or other marketplaces. Much of the customer dialogue is controlled by the platform.

In effect, as a retailer trying to get access to customers, you are putting yourself in an oversaturated market and paying for advertising just to appear on the top of a search term.

Evaluating The Strategy Before Diving Into It

Ask yourself if this is really for you because it’s not easy to sell on marketplaces and you cannot do it half-heartedly.

Look at other DTC brands coming up that are not going into searches that are already happening, but making a name for themselves by either doing something different or having a really good set of values that you cannot just turn on with a marketplace strategy.

There’s so much more you need to do to add value to your business, other than just selling on marketplaces thinking it will automatically bring in the sales, that you should be looking into.

Insider Tips

If we’ve inspired someone to take their first step with Marketplaces – what do they need to know to give themselves the best chance of success?

Thomas says:

  • Find the right source of information.
  • Surround yourself with experts and people you can trust to help get you further in your business.
  • It’s not something you do alone so find people who can fill in your gaps and weaknesses.

Once you’ve started of course you’ve got to ‘keep optimising’! So what’s your favourite way to improve Marketplace performance?

If someone listening wants to learn more about marketplaces is there one cheap/free resource you’d recommend?

He recommends the following books:

Crystal ball time – what’s coming up in the next 6-12 months that we should be getting ready for in Marketplaces?

Thomas quotes Jeff Bezos and says stop trying to predict the future.

The most important thing to remember for the next 6-12 months is that you don’t really know what’s around the corner, so you always need to build a solid foundation which is something that resonates with your customers. 

Focus on what the consumers consistently look for: lower prices, more convenience, more ethical and sustainable products.

Also look into what isn’t going to change such as consumer spending habits still geared towards online purchases.

Interview Links

Thomas on Social media:

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