Why Having Multiple 3P Sellers Kills an Ecommerce Advertising Strategy

Tony Morales

January 27, 2021

Advertising is the ticket to making more ecommerce sales, but what many brands don’t realize is that the effectiveness of their advertising can be hampered by the number of sellers they have distributing their product online.

Having more sellers might seem like an easy way to raise awareness of your brand across a myriad of different markets. This may have some truth in brick-and-mortar settings, but online the truth is that the more sellers you have, the more harm it does to your advertising strategy. Multiple 3P sellers aren’t your secret weapon for making sales, at least not for long. They’re one of the biggest obstacles stopping your brand from growing long-term.

Why multiple 3P sellers are bad for ad strategy

Having multiple 3P sellers might make sense from an advertising perspective when you initially think about it—the more sellers you have distributing your product, the more far-reaching your brand and therefore, the higher your revenue, right? Not quite. It’s far less idyllic than that. The reality is that multiple 3P sellers can corrode your brand’s longevity right under your nose, harming your pricing and, more to the point, wrecking your advertising in the process.

Having multiple 3P sellers harms your ad strategy in five primary areas:

  1. Conversion rate
  2. Buy Box ownership
  3. Cohesiveness
  4. Ad bids
  5. Pricing

1. Multiple 3P sellers harm your conversion rate

Your product listings are, in many ways, the face of your brand. How they look directly impacts your conversion rate, and since converting traffic to sales is your goal as a business, it’s really important that your listings look sharp. To keep them looking sharp, you have to stop ceding control to so many 3P sellers.

Multiple 3P sellers don’t have the same incentives you do to make listings for your product look clean and consistent. While you’re concerned about how consumers perceive your brand, many 3P sellers are far more concerned with how they can compete on price to get ahead. This means they may get sloppy and lazy, posting low quality images of your product or providing too few images in the stack to give customers a good idea of what your product is and how to use it. They might post poorly written copy, not provide enough information, or fail to effectively utilize the space on the page to engage customers.

All of these things work against you by making your customers lose confidence and trust in your product, the buying experience and, by extension, your brand. That’s a key thing to remember. How your product is portrayed by one seller reflects on your brand as a whole, and if you have too many sellers doing a shoddy job of their listings, you’re going to tank both your conversion rate and the way consumers view your brand.

2. Multiple sellers affect your Buy Box ownership

The Buy Box on Amazon is prime real estate. It can jet propel your sales and conversion rates and get your brand invaluable exposure. Winning it also unlocks Amazon’s coveted sponsored ads. That means you want to win the Buy Box as often and consistently as possible.

While winning and maintaining the Buy Box isn’t hard to do with one 3P seller and a strong presence on Amazon, having multiple sellers can put a lot of jarring stops and starts into your ad strategy and give you less control, even leading to Buy Box suppression as you lose out on pricing control.

Amazon gives a higher percentage share of the Buy Box to the strongest seller on a listing. That seller might get 80% of the day, for example, while a lower-ranking seller gets the remaining 20%. Without 100% of the Buy Box, you can’t have 100% ownership of the day, which means you can’t decide when your sponsored ads run. They might run at a time that isn’t very conducive for sales as a result.

Another downside of having too many 3P sellers is that you essentially have to round robin winning the Buy Box. It can take a lot of time and work to coordinate everything.

3. More than one 3P seller makes your strategy less cohesive

For an ad strategy to be most effective, it needs to be aligned across targeted keywords, competitors, and content and look the same across all channels. It takes a lot of work to organize it all, and (as you can imagine) this is significantly easier to accomplish with fewer sellers.

The wider your distribution, the more work you have to do for a successful ad campaign, like communicating with all sellers on promotions, calendaring sales, supplying marketing materials, and more. In this scenario, you can’t always count on a wide network of sellers to execute your sales effectively. What typically ends up happening is your ad strategy is inconsistent and incohesive among your sellers, therefore not as strong as it could be.

4. Multiple 3P sellers may increase the cost of your ad bid

Aside from wrecking your conversion rates and requiring a lot of coordination, a wide distribution of sellers can also cost you more in ad spend. Without strong communication between your sellers, it’s very likely they’ll end up competing on the same keywords and drive up the cost of the bid for them on Amazon, resulting in a lower ROI and intrabrand competition. The last thing you want to do is watch ten different sellers waste your advertising dollars to compete with each other and win few sales for you in the process.

5. More than one 3P seller causes price erosion

Selling on ecommerce marketplaces is like juggling: the more balls you have in the air, the harder it is to manage them. When you don’t have control, one or more of them will go rogue and then soon all of them will come toppling down on top of you. In ecommerce, price erosion is when the balls fall.

Price erosion is what happens when a seller drops the price on a product below MAP to get ahead and win the Buy Box, forcing other sellers to lower their prices on that product to compete. These sellers will keep moving on price to beat each other out, and pretty soon, your product will have been stripped of both its value and its margins. This not only harms your brand online, but it damages your relationship with your brick-and-mortar distributors by corroding their margins. Left unchecked, this price erosion will keep happening and it can lead to a profitability death spiral where your products fail to make a profit. Pretty bleak, isn’t it?

The worst bit is that when price erosion is happening, advertising can make it worse. Any attempt you make to advertise a product that isn’t already in the Buy Box will inevitably drive traffic to the listing with the lowest price. Inadvertently, you’ll end up accelerating your own price erosion and the profitability death spiral.

How Pattern can help

One way you can solve your advertising problem is by narrowing your 3P partners down to exactly one: Pattern.

Pattern is like the Swiss army knife of your ecommerce business, because we offer you every tool you need to clean up your channels, enter new marketplaces, and grow your profits long-term. When it comes to multiple 3P sellers, we pinpoint and help you eliminate the bad players eroding your prices, sharpen your listings, help you win the Buy Box, and do the grunt work to make your advertising strategy cohesive across all channels.

We use data science to revitalize your brand presence from top to bottom and help you win big on ecommerce. We can also take your brand into new frontiers like Walmart Marketplace or even further to international marketplaces to help your brand make a global footprint. We aren’t just one of your sellers. We’re a partner that loves your product as much as you do and puts your success first.

To get started or learn more about how a partnership with Pattern can help your business, contact us with the form below.

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Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 13, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 13th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon scales back on US warehouse facilities Amazon is shutting down two facilities with 300 employees, discarding plans for 42 facilities, and delaying plans to open a further 21 buildings across the US. The ecommerce giant is scaling back on hiring as well as the expansion of its vast delivery network, as it was left with an excess of space following its rapid expansion during the pandemic. [Read more on Business Insider](https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-closes-2-facilities-scraps-plans-42-new-buildings-report-2022-9?r=US&IR=T) --- Other Marketplace News --- JD.com is ‘betting’ on ecommerce grocery market Amidst a slowing economy and a decline in ecommerce, Chinese ecommerce giant JD.com has increased its urgency to seek new growth engines. The company is looking to boost its online grocery business through offline partnerships and expansion into lower-tier cities, where it may be able to unleash more consumption power. [Read more on The Star](https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2022/09/08/chinese-ecommerce-giant-jdcom-bets-big-on-online-grocery-lower-tier-markets-amid-slowing-economy) Shopee shuts operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico Sea’s ecommerce arm, Shopee, has shut local operations in some LATAM countries but will continue to maintain cross-border operations in a few markets. Latin America is Sea’s most important region following South-east Asia, accounting for close to 19% of its revenue in 2021. The move away from these countries is largely due to increased levels of macro uncertainty and rising interest and inflation rates, and rather putting a focus on its core operations. [Read more on Straits Times](https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/seas-shopee-shuts-operations-in-argentina-chile-colombia-mexico-sources) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Instagram scales back in-stream shopping elements Instagram is re-examining its approach as it hasn’t been able to make ‘fetch’ happen. ‘Fetch’ in this context being the online shopping trends which have become all-consuming in China, and what Western social platforms have been hoping to add into their apps to make them more addictive and revenue-generating. Consumers have not been swayed by the latest shopping tools on TikTok and Instagram, leading to Instagram scaling back its in-stream shopping program. [Read more on SocialMediaToday](https://www.socialmediatoday.com/news/instagram-scales-back-in-stream-shopping-elements-as-it-re-examines-its-app/631276/) FedEx Express supporting the growth of cross border ecommerce FedEx express has expanded its international commerce shipping service to four more markets across the Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa (AMEA) region in an effort to support the strong development of ecommerce in this region. Three of the fastest growing markets, the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam are leading Southeast Asia’s ecommerce sales, which is set to reach $100 billion by 2023. [Read more on Post & Parcel](https://postandparcel.info/149889/news/e-commerce/fedex-express-supports-the-growth-of-cross-border-e-commerce-within-the-amea-region/) India ramps up hiring as companies prepare for shoppers Ecommerce companies are getting ready for the festive season by rapidly expanding their temporary workforce. As ecommerce in India grows, the country is predicted to have 372 million online shoppers by the end of 2022. The festive season this year, running from October to December, is expected to see a two-fold increase in logistics and delivery alone. During this period, companies are predicted to add 20% more to their existing workforce base, with a 8-10% higher pay scale compared to last year. [Read more on Business Insider India](https://www.businessinsider.in/business/ecommerce/news/the-great-indian-festival-of-hiring-e-commerce-companies-gear-up-for-indias-shoppers/articleshow/94000346.cms)
Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)