4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

Rachel Olsen

September 20, 2022

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small on marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant?

An ecommerce marketplace consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities on marketplaces.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding a marketplace consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global marketplace consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and marketplace outsourcing services they need.

Interested in marketplace consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand.

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Ecommerce Accelerator vs. Aggregator
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Ecommerce Accelerator vs. Aggregator

You may be a big brand or an emerging challenger looking to grow on Amazon and other marketplaces. Your goals seem simple: to grow your profits and stay in brand control. You know you need help, but who do you turn to? An aggregator or an ecommerce accelerator? Like most executives you ask, “What is the difference?”

As an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern helps brands stay in control and maximise profitability worldwide. We are acutely familiar with the confusion (aggregator vs accelerator) and will break down the differences so you can understand why an ecommerce accelerator, like Pattern, is the right partner for your brand to maximise its potential on global marketplaces.

The Simple Difference: Purchase vs Partner

Aggregators are typically purchase-focused. They will buy and scale third-party brands on marketplaces. Their strategy is to acquire brands that fit their strategic vision and then grow them through operation. 

In ecommerce, aggregators tend to be relatively new companies that invest in Amazon-focused brands and then apply a wide range of strategies to grow them. Strategies like technology, economies of scale with other brands, and tapping into historical data on Amazon from their portfolio of brands.

Rather than purchasing brands, ecommerce accelerators partner with brands to apply data-driven technology and expertise to increase revenue growth for that brand across major online commerce channels, including D2C sites, ecommerce marketplaces such as Amazon, Tmall, JD.com, noon, Zalando, and beyond.

Accelerators can help their brand partners bridge the gap between one-off metrics and the lifetime value of a customer, which is a much more accurate indicator of the long-term growth and success of a brand. This collaboration and communication typically enables the brands to become much more strategic about both short-term investments and longer-term product development.

Pattern, an ecommerce accelerator, works with brands to accelerate sales by buying the brand’s inventory, using proprietary technology to maintain brand control on marketplaces, and accelerate growth (traffic, conversion). Pattern uses data insights and expertise to figure out where the gaps are in sales, optimising the brand across marketplaces, and identifying insights for boosting margins.

They Can Co-exist

Accelerators and aggregators are not direct competitors. Remember, aggregators buy brands, whereas accelerators buy stock in the inventory, so aggregators may hire an accelerator to move product.

But, even together, accelerators do the heavy lifting. Brand aggregators may get the press, but ecommerce accelerators often do the hard work of helping brands grow on Amazon and beyond. Accelerators bring the data and operational know-how to identify and capitalise on opportunities and the experience to help overcome common difficulties.

As a result, brand aggregators and accelerators are not competitors but different approaches to the same goal: sustained growth for brands. And with all the aggregation that has already occurred, acceleration with a partner like Pattern will be the mandate for future proofing your brand.

Which Will Bring Your Brand Success?

Most aggregators are good at sizing up an acquisition but may lack the total experience needed to operate a business on Amazon and other marketplaces. Aggregators need to become accelerators if they are going to continue to survive. It's not enough to acquire brands, you have to grow them.

Pattern is an ecommerce accelerator that helps brands succeed on marketplaces like Amazon, TMall, JD.com, Zalando, and more. As a partner who has stock in your inventory, Pattern applies its proprietary technology and data-driven insights to help brands stay in control and get a piece of the $6 trillion global ecommerce market.

Are you ready to accelerate? Contact Us Today.

6 Executive Trading Problems on Amazon and How to Avoid Them - blog header
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6 Executive Trading Problems on Amazon and How to Avoid Them

At Pattern, we are constantly trying to better understand brands' performance and experience on Amazon through our research and marketplace data. Our latest Amazon Seller report uncovered common pain points executives faced throughout 2022 on Amazon in Europe and the Middle East. 

Not too surprisingly, there was more than one trading challenge for CEOs selling on Amazon in Europe and the Middle East. There were several top responses such as supply chain issues, advertising, and stock outs–all challenges we hear frequently from 1P Sellers on Amazon no matter the region.  

Here is what we learned about 1P seller trading problems on Amazon:

1. Getting Product into Amazon Warehouses 

Of the brand CEOs who took the survey, 52% mentioned this challenge–making it the most common issue for the second year in a row.  Basically, executives struggle with getting their product into Amazon warehouses, which typically happens because Amazon FBA can be difficult to navigate and comply with. Illegible barcodes, not labeling your products correctly, and a failure to include certain details on barcodes are all reasons your product could be rejected by Amazon FBA works. 

2. Increasing Chargebacks

51% mentioned increasing chargebacks on their products on Amazon, which occurs when brands fail to maintain stock levels or fulfill orders on time. As a 1P seller, if there are any issues with the products you send to Amazon, they will charge you for the time and effort it took for them to resolve those issues. 

Various types of chargebacks could include unauthorized use of credit cards, operational malfunctions (late arrivals, technical issues, etc.), and packaging non-compliance. In a 1P Seller relationship, Amazon will charge vendors with these chargebacks, and disputing them is typically a long, time-intensive, and costly endeavor for any brand.

3. Increasing CPC Costs for Amazon Advertising 

Increasing CPC costs for Amazon Advertising was mentioned by 45% of respondents as a top trading problem. Getting traffic to a product listing helps brands keep their inventory levels stable, so that they never have too much or too little of the product. Increasing CPC costs leads to a possible loss in traffic to a brand’s product, leading to fewer conversions and sales in the long run. 

4. Your Own Supply Chain Being Disrupted 

Sometimes it is not an Amazon issue, but an internal resource and capabilities scenario. 43% of respondents mentioned their own supply chain being disrupted as a common trading problem. Supply chains can be disrupted by a variety of factors, such as inventory order delays, supplier issues, shipping expenses, and problems with existing inventory. 

5. Inadequate Forecasting Methods to Keep Enough Stock in Hand

Many brands lack the resources and expertise to accurately forecast stock levels, according to 38% of the survey respondents. Inadequate forecasting methods can lead to high costs, non-competitive prices, and dissatisfied customers.

6. High Out of Stock Levels Due to Amazon’s Algorithm-driven Price Reductions

High out of stock levels due to Amazon’s algorithm-driven price reductions frustrated 37% of respondents in 2022. Amazon’s dynamic pricing strategy makes sure that the most competitive prices are being offered to shoppers. Low prices are great for shoppers, but sometimes stressful for brand executives. Amazon’s sudden algorithm-driven price reductions can catch a brand off-guard, leading to stockouts. 

Why Most Brand Executives Face the Same Challenges

Being in a 1P relationship with Amazon has its ups and downs—just like any relationship. One of those downsides includes the trading problems mentioned above. In a 1P relationship, Amazon buys your product wholesale and handles most of the selling details, which can be very beneficial in some ways, but may lead to less brand control on your end. Brand executives selling their products through Amazon in Europe and the Middle East face the same challenges that brands are facing world-wide–a lack of brand control and resources to succeed.

Trading problems are just one aspect of the challenges brands face as 1P sellers on Amazon. Learn more about these issues in the full Amazon Vendor Survey from 2022.

How to Avoid These Issues on Amazon

The good news about the trading challenges brand executives are facing as a 1P seller on Amazon is that they are all avoidable. In a 1P relationship, you’re constantly being forced to work around their erratic forecasts, limited communication, and changing priorities. But in a 3P partnership, you dictate inventory management, allowing you to stay in-stock, maintain control of forecasting, and plan for promotions or holidays.

With Pattern as your 3P accelerator, you can simplify forecasting and get inventory to the right place. You ship inventory to one of our warehouses, and we handle the rest—distribution across Amazon’s warehouse network for FBA, repackaging products into bundles, and delivering your orders on time.

Avoid the trading problems on Amazon by partnering with Pattern. Contact us. 

Discover more insights by downloading our annual Amazon Vendor Survey EMEA.

Ecommerce Accelerator vs. Agency: What Makes Them Different?
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Ecommerce Accelerator vs. Agency: What Makes Them Different?

Ecommerce accelerators are taking the industry by storm, and catapulting brands to new successes. But, since an ecommerce accelerator is a third party relationship, isn’t an ecommerce accelerator actually just another agency on a brand's roster?  

While the two sound similar, ecommerce agencies focus more heavily on providing services and deliverables within a specific scope of work and time period in exchange for payment, while ecommerce accelerators lean into full-fledged partnership, helping grow brands in exchange for a share of profits.

As an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern partners with brands to provide the technology, expertise, and resources brands need to grow revenue and profits across marketplaces around the world. And, unlike other accelerators or agencies, Pattern invests even deeper in each opportunity by taking stock in a brand’s inventory.

Ecommerce Agency vs. Ecommerce Accelerator

Agencies Provide Deliverables

Ecommerce agencies work for your brand to provide a variety of services.  From marketplace SEO to product photography, agencies are contracted to provide a set period of support and/or a number of specialised deliverables.  By taking things like content creation, listing optimisation, and reporting analysis off your plate, agencies allow your brand to focus on other important aspects of your ecommerce business.

However, agencies have their downsides. A scope of work usually includes a flat agency fee, or retainer, aka the benefit of working with them, as well as variable costs.  Plus, the “unexpected costs” like creative shoots, overages, and rush fees.  Because agencies are often paid for work completed and not results achieved (for instance, media agencies are typically paid on a percentage of total ad spend) your goals aren’t always aligned.

Hiring a handful of different, specialised agencies only makes aligning a brand’s marketplace goals even harder since each agency is working with its own data and providing siloed reporting.  Having a bloated agency roster typically means that the tech stacks do not integrate or even talk to one another. By working with one team for advertising, another for graphic design, yet another for customer service, and the list goes on, your ecommerce team is left piecing together the different results to identify new opportunities and create one holistic strategy. 

Ecommerce agencies help alleviate some of the stress on your team, but can create more work connecting the data to the larger business strategy, wasted time going back-and-forth on approvals and processes, and may require more investment in technology to integrate the disparate reports.

Accelerators Provide Partnership

Like an agency, an accelerator is a third party that works with your brand to provide the expertise and resources you need to optimise for marketplaces and ecommerce opportunities.   But unlike an agency, an accelerator buys your inventory and works side-by-side with you to grow your brand and is a one-stop shop for an entire marketplace solution.

Ecommerce accelerators have the same services and capabilities like listing copy, product imagery, and data and analytics that both relieve your ecommerce team and drive traffic to and conversion for a product. But accelerators have the scale to go a step further and full-service resources to provide every step along the way like customer support, inventory forecasting, warehouse storage, packaging product bundles, shipping logistics, and more.   All without surcharges, separate fees, or hidden costs.

Accelerators provide these services under one roof. No more disparate data or disconnected strategies. Ecommerce accelerators can help you optimise your marketplace offering from start to finish, and help you understand how each aspect (inventory, SEO, promotions, etc.) affect the others.

At Pattern, we accelerate your brand by buying your product inventory, helping you optimise for sales, getting orders to customers, and finding actionable insights along the way to enhance the process going forward. As an extension of your ecommerce team, we don’t succeed unless you do, helping us get aligned from day one.

Accelerators—A Long-Term Solution for Brands

While agencies may relieve some pressure and provide expert advice on one specific area of your ecommerce business, accelerators partner with your brand, taking on the workload to drive your revenue. Agencies want you to succeed, but accelerators rely on your success, instantly aligning accelerators to growing your brand.

A leading ecommerce accelerator, Pattern takes stake in your inventory and provides the resources and technology needed to accelerate ecommerce growth and drive profitable revenue on marketplaces like Amazon, Tmall, JD.com, and beyond. 

Want to streamline your agency roster? Set up a meeting now.