Many brands speak to us about wanting to expand to new markets, before having thought through their strategy to trade online internationally. We thought it was worth highlighting what consumer brands need to think about when considering whether marketplaces are right for your international ecommerce strategy and how to assess your marketplace opportunity.
The rise of marketplaces
In 2020, due to the pandemic, online marketplaces have picked up demand that offline channels could not service. This trend is happening across every region that we operate in and shows no sign of slowing down. The rapid acceleration of marketplaces has also had a direct impact on consumer behaviour, offering convenience, ample product choice, and fast delivery.
While marketplaces have been slower to take online market share in Europe than the USA or China, the likes of Amazon and Tmall have attracted significant traffic and high visitor engagement, which has translated into sales. That said, marketplaces have become a prevalent channel allowing brands to acquire new customers and drive revenue.
Three ways to assess your marketplace opportunity
A thorough landscape analysis can help to determine the most appropriate markets for your brand to target. A deep dive into your category, brand, and competitors will allow you to make an objective assessment of the marketplace opportunity.
1. Brand opportunity
A brand that resonates in physical stores may not do so on marketplaces or in an overseas market. It’s important to test demand and be sure that customers exist when assessing your marketplace opportunity.
We recommend that brands consider whether the chosen marketplace is the right environment for your brand by sense-checking your online channel strategy to understand the role of your marketplace channel. Likewise, establishing which products you need to sell to achieve fair share on the marketplace is crucial.
2. Category opportunity
Using market research data and tools to gain insight into category size, best-sellers, and average product prices will help you to determine whether selling on marketplaces is worthwhile for your brand.
Proprietary software can help you to assess any sales trends for your category, analyze the products that are selling well, and understand why customers prefer them. This can help you to make informed, data-driven decisions when assessing your marketplace opportunity.
3. Competitor analysis
Marketplaces offer consumers the choice to purchase from a wide range of brands and act as a product discovery hub for many online shoppers. Though marketplaces are an important route to market to acquire new customer groups, analyzing which of your competitors are already present–and how they are represented on the marketplace–can be a great way to identify gaps in the market where they may be falling short. This exercise shows you the perfect areas to capitalize on.
We recommend that brands undertake a benchmarking exercise to assess their product ranges and pricing against the competition, as well as the online proposition and customer experience provided, to help support the optimization of their marketplace channel.
Marketplaces are here to stay
Now more than ever, marketplaces will be seeking to continue their growth by adding new customers, as well as selling more to those they have already converted to online customers. We anticipate that the online shopping trends seen will further convince consumer brands that being present on marketplaces is more important than ever to maintain awareness and protect your market share.
Pattern can help you to break into international markets and marketplaces like Tmall, Amazon, Shopee, Zalando, and more. Our brand managers and strategy consultants can help your brand to identify ecommerce opportunities and build a market entry strategy, or audit your current presence and create a roadmap for growth.
For more information on how we could support you in developing your international ecommerce strategy, or if you are interested in us becoming the authorized marketplace seller for your brand anywhere in the world, please contact us today.