057 Marketplaces: FIVE things you must get right for a successful launch

by April Buencamino-dy

Lorna is the Marketplaces Engagement Manager at GS1 UK where she helps marketplaces and retailers to work well together. Previously, she has worked in house at big UK retailers Boohoo, Dune, and Mothercare running their marketplace sales. For the last 10 years, Lorna’s been working with and selling on many, many different marketplaces.

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About Lorna

Lorna says she got into marketplaces by accident. She was working on the eCommerce team at Mothercare, specifically for their Early Learning Centre website, at a time when big brands didn’t sell on marketplaces. 

Mothercare decided to test it out with early learning sensor toys, and that’s how Lorna got her start in marketplaces.

5 things to do before selling on Marketplaces

  • Get the branding sorted. Especially on Amazon, things such as trademarks are important. Find out if it already exists, get yourself registered and certified, and keep it holistic rather than specific in case you want to diversify at a later time.
  • Get the product identifiers. These are your GTINs or Global Trade Item Number. Save for a few product categories, you won’t be able to list on Amazon without them, and other marketplaces are starting to require these as well.

GS1 UK is the right place to get your GTINs if your business is in the area. Contact your local GS1 office if you have any question about getting your product identifiers.

  • Get the packaging sorted. First impressions last and your packaging should reflect your brand well. Include social media handles, hashtags, or other campaigns you’d like to promote. 

Make it eco-friendly and don’t skimp on packaging costs, because broken items are going to impact returns and reviews.

Also, think of your packaging designs and their sizes. Getting the right sizes can help you save on delivery costs.

  • Get the logistics sorted. Have a few delivery options available because not only do customers like having several choices, but having a back-up couriers are good for the business.

With regard to free delivery, do your research and see if you can build this into your margins.

  • Get the margins sorted. This is the tricky part of the business, where you need to make sure you are covering all your costs while offering your products at competitive prices.

Factor in the marketplace’s commission, marketing costs, and other areas you need to have budget for.

Do your research and tweak the numbers to get your margins sorted your prices right.

2 Housekeeping things that need to be addressed

  • If you bought the wrong GTINs, contact your local GS1 office and they will help you work out your problems properly.

Click here to find out who a number is licensed to.

  • In the UK, the cost of 10 GTINs is only £50 via GS1 UK

While you can buy GTINs from any GS1 office, some of them have address restrictions so best to check directly with your local GS1 branch.

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?

Get your 5 foundations correct from the start. You have to do the work and it’s going to save you money in the long run.

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

You have to keep up with the changes and update yourself with tools that can help you optimise. Sign up for newsletters that can give you tips and tricks on how to improve traffic and conversions.

GS1 has an optimization guide for both Amazon and eBay that will help you achieve both. But Lorna says that using your GTIN will actually be able to do that for you.

Even Google talks about using product identifier and how GTINs can improve impression and conversion rates.

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

Subscribe to GS1 newsletters to get tips for using your GTINs the best way possible. Other how to guides and FAQs are also available.

That being said, as Lorna is part of GS1 UK’s engagement team, you may get in touch with her or anyone from your local GS1 office if you have questions or problems. 

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

Sustainability is going to be a big focus. Eco-sustainability programs that aim to serve the planet better will be brought in, and Amazon will start looking at certifying products that have been done in eco-ethical ways.

On a more personal level, Lorna would like to see more websites and companies using GS1 web vocabulary that’s a machine-readable dictionary for your website. This allows search engines to better understand your products and match them to searches more accurately.

Interview Links

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