Amazon & Co: Why there is no way around marketplaces for retailers
It is impossible to imagine German online retail without Amazon. Already in 2017, 45 % of Germans started their product and price research on Amazon. This means that significantly more product-related search queries are made via the Marketplace than on Google.Moreover, 90 % of German consumers have already shopped at Amazon, 35 % even use the premium programme Amazon Prime (source: Pwc study "Total Retail 2017").
Impressive figures that are likely to have risen further in the meantime. Not for nothing did Amazon recently reach first place in the BrandZ ranking of the 100 most valuable brands for the first time.
For online retailers, it is therefore worth taking the step from e-commerce to digital commerce. This means that anyone who wants to assert themselves as a supplier on the net today should not limit their web activities to operating an online shop. Instead, it is advisable to realise the connection to popular marketplaces within the framework of a multichannel strategy and to create integrated shopping experiences across all channels.
As a magnalister partner, Blackbit advises on marketplace and omnichannel commerce
So that our customers can use the potential of well-known marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Rakuten or ricardo.ch for themselves as easily as possible, we have included magnalister in our partner network. magnalister is the provider of a market-leading tool with which online merchants can easily connect their web shop with marketplaces in order to increase their sales. The useful interface is available for various shop systems such as xt:Commerce, Magento, Shopware and Gambio and is available in different service packages.
The most important dealer benefits of the magnalister interface:
- Upload articles directly from the shop to the marketplaces
- Import orders automatically
- Match order statuses such as "shipped" or "cancelled
- Manage orders, invoices and inventory centrally
- Set up individual extensions via Hook Point system
We are pleased to have magnalister as a strong partner in marketplace marketing at our side and are constantly qualifying our team in multichannel commerce in order to be able to provide our customers with ideal advice in the increasingly complex digital commerce environment.
Interview with Marketplace expert and magnalister founder Peter Mähner
To what extent do marketplaces help retailers get started in online retailing? What prerequisites should marketplace newcomers bring with them? And what challenges should they expect when starting out on Amazon, eBay & Co. - In an interview for the BVDW guide "The 8 Stages of Connected Commerce", Blackbit CEO Stefano Viani clarified these and other exciting questions with magnalister founder Peter Mähner:
STEFANO VIANI: Hello Peter, you have been offering a platform for data exchange with online marketplaces for 8 years now. Can you tell us from your perspective what has happened in the last few years? Is it still possible today for a retailer to take a first step into e-commerce and open up a new sales channel by participating in online marketplaces?
PETER MÄHNER: Hello Stefano, basically every retailer can still start on the online marketplaces today, even with a small budget. Amazon and eBay have established themselves as the largest sales channels. But Otto.de and Zalando have also been able to hold their own. This year, however, we are also seeing industry-renowned providers such as DaWanda and Allyouneed.de pull out of the race.
Besides the establishment of the marketplace sizes, I see the most serious change in the dynamics of the requirements for retailers on how their products must be offered on the marketplaces. This is where constant changes in the law, such as describing products with detailed characteristics, lead, but also the adjustments of fundamental marketplace concepts, such as the "product-based buying experience" recently introduced by eBay, to meet the increasing demands of buyers.
STEFANO VIANI: What does the retailer have to take into account? What know-how, human resources and technology are necessary to get started?
PETER MÄHNER: In my opinion, the most important thing is to have the right attitude towards the topic: The possibilities compared to a classic retail shop are still unique. Especially in terms of budget, manpower and risk.
But there is work behind it, which many underestimate or are not prepared to spend: The trader has to deal with the rules of the individual marketplaces and be able to accept them. For example, an EAN obligation also for variant articles, images must be supplied in high resolutions and possibly with a white background, product characteristics such as "material composition" or clothing sizes must be specifically defined. Unfortunately, these rules partly describe the marketplaces inadequately. There are also some hurdles in their interfaces that one does not suspect.
But if your own attitude is right, the possibilities are immense. So you can also start as a "one-man show". There are a number of inexpensive tools and plug-ins that partially automate processes such as purchase and payment processing or data reconciliation up to and including accounting. They save you an army of staff, which would not be affordable in view of the often low margins. Logistics can also be outsourced to Amazon, for example, as part of the "FBA" programme: this is convenient, cheap and above all highly professional.
E-commerce can be seen as a building-block system, where you simply put together the tools and services you need for your needs. The trader does not have to be a programmer to be able to handle the tools - but he must have a basic technical understanding: configure and operate administrative interfaces, process an Excel list and export it to different formats or master a simple image processing programme. If you get stuck, you should turn to a consulting internet agency - such as Blackbit.
STEFANO VIANI: Does a trader also need his own shop and if so, why?
PETER MÄHNER: You should always have your own shop. It provides more independence and offers the opportunity to establish one's brand in terms of content and design. Above all, however, a web shop today also serves as an administrative hub for product offerings and orders. There are helpful additional modules and connections to the largest merchandise management systems and marketplaces, with a large community of traders and developers who can help you if you get stuck.
STEFANO VIANI: Is there a typical development of a trader from beginner to full marketplace professional?
PETER MÄHNER: Every trader's story is different. But traders often encounter the same questions and problems as they grow, which have already been touched on above.
The marketplace professionals stand out in their development because they have a "think big" attitude. They act according to the motto: "You can't make an omelette without breaking eggs." They don't dwell on unnecessary details and focus on sales, order processing and customer satisfaction: if 5,000 items are posted on the marketplaces, they care less that the marketplace discards 20 of them. They ask less what does a service cost, but what do they earn with it. Or how they can use it to make processes more efficient. And they don't let hurdles stop them. For these traders, the marketplaces often reflect a very positive business development. Within a few months or even just weeks. In our experience, the newcomers who do not have this attitude fail sooner or later.
STEFANO VIANI: Is there anything you would particularly recommend to all marketplace newcomers?
PETER MÄHNER: Above all, they should have fun with their product and sell something that really serves a demand. The right expectations are - as mentioned before - enormously important, because otherwise fun quickly turns into frustration. Then there is the commercial aspect: even if the costs of the individual services are often low and the sales are mainly calculated on a percentage basis, the basic costs quickly add up to several hundred euros a month. keep an eye on the costs and allow for reserves. There are returns, "lost" shipments, customer queries that cost time and thus money.
The good thing is that many costs can be switched on and off quickly, as most services do not have long contract terms. The risk is therefore very manageable. The trader should rely on a well-known shop system for which there is a large community. It is advisable to start with a small assortment on one or two marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay. Maybe only 5-10 items at first to get a feel for the effort involved in product maintenance, listing, order processing and accounting. Then calculate, plan and implement a scaling up.
Finally, the beginner should always keep in mind today's possibilities: It has never been possible in the history of commerce to sell from anywhere in the world to anywhere in the world - and to reach about 200,000,000 online buyers for one's products with a comparatively small effort. This view makes one or the other hurdle shrink to a micro-problem and simply makes you feel good.