Online marketplaces are bursting at the seams with the sheer volume of businesses, old and new, rushing to ensure that their products have their day in the sun. In this barrage of merchandise, how would you distinguish your goods and endeavour to draw the prospective consumer’s eye towards them and away from other sellers’ merchandise?
Advertisements Make the Difference
You make a difference to your bottom line with constant promotion and relentless and consistent interaction with your potential consumer base. Your ad-spend strategy and maximising ROI on it, can be the thin line of difference between “fairly successful” and “a roaring success”. Let us see how you can achieve the latter.
A sound ad-spend strategy should consider your competition (other sellers) and maneuver around it. It is this subtlety which will allow you to create maximum impact.
The three Ps of effective advertising are: Product, Price, and Platform. There are two main reasons why a seller such as you would spend on advertising on marketlplaces:
1) To sell more goods and
2) To boost your brand awareness into the consumer’s’ consciousness
So, how to build your strategy around the three Ps? You do it by selecting the list of products you want to push, for what price, and on which platform. Comprehend that strategizing your ad-spend and maximizing the return on it are two factors that essentially work hand in hand. Here are a few studied approaches that you should follow to cash in on the advertising budget and maximize ROI.
Approach #1: Promote And Discount!
Promote your product & brand vociferously on marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal, Jabong etc.
Don’t simply discount your products, be seen discounting your products
You have to offer discounts on your products, and you have to shout out about them. For fast moving lifestyle goods such as footwear, apparel and accessories, discounts are what will attract a consumer to your product to begin with.
Needless to say, value for money is what will keep bringing them back. Broadly, the two types of discounts are Constant Discount and Occasion Based Discount. Some quick tips on how to operate both for your benefit:
- Discount most of your products;
- Recent or newer stock should be retailed at a lower discount, of about 5%-10%;
- Older products must be sold at a higher discount, approximately 10% – 20%.
Occasion Based Discount
Marketplaces run campaigns on special occasion such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, etc., and sellers have to grab the opportunity, the more you show the discounts the more your product gets visibility. And the products with better schemes again get the “opportunity” to get featured in the promotional events. A discount ranging from 20% to 50% can be a good deal.
(Example of advertising on Jabong’s women category)
Ensure that the exclusivity of the discounted products is maintained on all platforms, i.e. the same SKUs (Stock Keeping Unit – identification code for your product) should not carry the same occasion discount on multiple marketplaces at the same time. The marketplaces have tough competition and you may stand to lose out on both if you add to that competition by offering the same products with the same discounts on both or multiple platforms.
Approach #2: Use Product Advertising Programmes In Multiple Ways!
Take advantage of Product Advertising Programmes that online marketplaces offer, i.e. list and advertise your goods on these platforms as part of your advertisement campaign. Marketplaces that offer such programmes at present in India are – Snapdeal (via Snapdeal Seller Ads Platform V2), Amazon (via its Sponsored Products or CPC Campaigns) and Flipkart (via its ‘Product Listing Advertisements’ or PLA Programme).
Benefits from these range from massive increase in visibility and brand building to increased revenue and the unquantifiable advantage of having insight into consumer behaviour vis-à-vis your goods. A few things to consider when applying to these programmes are:
Choose What Products To Advertise
Mostly, choose your ‘Loss Leader Products’ i.e. products that are sold more to enable your brand to reach your consumers and less for profit (although you still will make profit on their sale, albeit a marginal one). This will lead to increased volume of sales and brand building – your happy consumers will give you positive feedback, which goes a long way in ensuring top notch account reputation.
(Example of advertising on on Flipkart’s women category)
Data Creation For Analysis
- Split your product catalogue into High Selling Products, Medium Selling Products and Low Selling Products and advertise all categories with equal budget equally on the marketplace programmes. Run this for at least two to three months.
- Study the data created over the past 2-3 months. You will be able to assess which are your top selling products, what the volume of traffic is on different categories of products and what is the rate of conversion of such traffic vis-à-vis each category.
Act On the Data Analysis To Decide Your Future Ad-spend
Based on the data you have analysed, you will be able to classify your product catalogue into four definite categories:
- High Traffic High Conversion
- High Traffic Low Conversion
- Low Traffic High Conversion
- Low Traffic Low Conversion
Approach #3: Ensure You Are One Of The Top Four!
Amazon’s key feature is Buy Box, which appears on the product detail page and which showcases multiple competing seller for the same product.Winning the buy box means that of 20 to 50 sellers of the same product, you will appear to be one of the top 4 to 5 sellers. This is critical for visibility and higher conversion.
Image source: Startupbros
Likewise with Flipkart, to ensure that your product is shown with you as one of the top four sellers you have to be certain of a great account reputation, low and competitive pricing, quick and safe shipping and enviable packaging.
Apart from the approaches mentioned above, Upfront planning, real time monitoring of competition and ability to quickly respond are critical for success on the marketplaces.This can only be achieved by automation and integration.”\
This will help sellers to build a positive brand image among the prospective buyers. And thus improve your account reputation.
Approach #4: Build Webpage, Use Social Media And Be Visible!
Another thing to consider is build a website or build your own web store. When people hear of some new product first thing they do is Google it to know more, hence giving credibility to your products. Infact, amazon’s sponsored products campaign allows consumers to reach your webpage when your product is clicked upon, so you need your own online enterprise. This is critical for beginners and small to medium scale enterprises, and can be achieved through a SaaS platform. Then there are companies that allows merchant to open their web store in an affordable and convenient manner without requiring technical skills.
Promote your online store/page through SEO and SEM. Social Media has a reach that is astounding and is increasing every day, although print media is not entirely obsolete. Use both to advertise and promote your brand and product.