Marketplace Optimization™

[mär-kə t-,plās\äp-tə -mə -'zā-shə n ] adjective:

the sales position (ranking) of a company on one or more marketplaces.

Marketplace Optimization™ studies and adjusts data to best match the ranking algorithms (signals) used by marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, Buy.com, etc. to select preferred vendors. By correctly using Marketplace Optimization™ to identify and improve signal performance a company will receive preference, resulting in increased exposure (sales) on a marketplace.

Marketplace Optimization starts by conducting a comprehensive review to identify poorly performing signals based on priority, and then recommends corrective actions to increase signal performance and will create additional marketplace referred sales.

Marketplace Optimization can also be employed as a preventative measure to identify opportunities competitors may have to steal marketplace referred sales.

The 5 Essentials of Marketplace Optimization™

Minimize Order Cancellations

The leading cause for order cancellations is due to incorrect inventory. Sellers need to gain more control and display accurate inventory to prevent accidental overselling. Sellers that advertise products across multiple marketplaces/channels or utilize multiple warehouses and do not have automation software in place to synchronize inventory quickly will have inaccurate inventory leading to an increase of overselling. Human error is also a risk for cause of order cancellations, implementing shipping software that will track employee shipping errors can be an indispensable tool in lowering order cancellation rates. In the event where overselling occurs having a backup vendor in place to fulfill an order is key when inventory is not available.

Increase Inventory Availability

One of the signals marketplaces use for determining which seller to display for a particular product is the amount of inventory available for purchase. Therefore if inventory is currently being arbitraged across multiple marketplaces, sending up all inventory will result in a better sell through. If inventory is low the automation software needs to be allocating (reserving) to avoid cancellations. There are infinite possible strategies when determining optimal allocation when limited quantities of inventory are available to distribute across multiple marketplaces.

Perform Dynamic Repricing

Often times price is the only competitive advantage sellers have. Repricing is defined as the action of going to a marketplace to see other sellers offering the same item for sale and either matching or beating the sale price, the shipping costs, or both. Repricing can be instrumented automatically by means of a software or manually.

There are nearly infinite strategies available for repricing, for example a seller with a low cancellation rate will only need to match the best price in order to win the "Buy Box". Repricing systems which take into account customer feedback, number of items on order, or overall margins and sales velocity across all marketplace channels to make more intelligent repricing decisions and maximize operating revenues are key.

Improve Customer Experience

Positive customer feedback is vital for seller success. Sellers should be requesting feedback when necessary from customers via email, it is more convenient for a customer to leave feedback when the information is provided electronically. This request can be done by means of an integrated CRM tool or manually. With each marketplace having its own guidelines it is vital that if utilizing a CRM tool it be flexible to accommodate differences.

If and when negative issues arise sellers should be proactive and resolve the issues as quickly as possible. Once the issue has been resolved it is in most cases permissible to request the feedback score be updated.

Logistics Optimization

Sellers need to identify weaknesses and make business decisions that will increase performance and sales. Consistent late shipments and expensive shipping costs are areas to consider improving when considering seller performance.

Order management software can streamline operations and reduce shipping latency (a measurement of the amount of time after an order is placed until it ships).

Sellers need to identify when it makes the most sense to utilize a fulfillment center to cut down on shipping costs and lower shipment times.

Utilizing multiple warehouses and /or fulfillment centers in different geographic locations can result in a cost savings on expedited shipping simply because these warehouses put items closer to customers as opposed to being located in one location on one side of the coast. This allows for more competitive shipping and/or expedited shipping costs.

Competing for the "Buy Box"

When multiple sellers offer the same item - each marketplace uses proprietary algorithms to determine which seller or sellers it recommends to the buyer. This area on the marketplace where the recommended sellers are displayed to a prospective buyer is often termed the "Buy Box".

What are Marketplace Ranking Signals?*

  • Total cost to buyer (including shipping)
  • Inventory quantity listed as available by the seller
  • Overall order cancellation rate of the seller
  • Specific order cancellation rate of the seller for the product.
  • Availability of expedited shipping
  • Overall customer feedback / reviews
  • The 7, 30, 90 day and lifetime seller performance
  • Gross sales of the seller
  • Order defect rate as a % of gross sales
  • Return policy

* signals are listed as examples, signals vary dependent upon marketplace

Is Marketplace Optimization™ a Software or Service?

The term Marketplace Optimization™ is designation for a system architecture from Zoovy, Inc. that is offered as a software implementation, a consulting service, or both.

How can I get the Marketplace Optimization™ Advisory Service for my business?

Zoovy offers Marketplace Optimization™ Business Advisory services to companies who are engaged in selling on at least one marketplace such as Amazon, Buy.com, or eBay. To learn more and discuss pricing please contact our sales team at 877-966-8948.

How can I get the Marketplace Optimization™ Software for my business?

Zoovy offers two types of Marketplace Optimization™ (MpO) software to companies, which can be used independently, or together.

  • The first is a hosted SAAS (Software as a Service) marketplace management platform which has comprehensive Marketplace Optimization functionality built-in.
  • The second is a desktop application that offers Marketplace Optimization, and Order Management functionality. The desktop software must be installed on a Microsoft Windows™ operating system, and has the ability to perform data import/export making it suitable to deliver Marketplace Optimization for a variety of Marketplace Management platforms (including Zoovy's).
To learn more about the pricing and deployment options for any of the technology mentioned above please contact our sales team at 877-966-8948.

How is Marketplace Optimization™ Different than Search Engine Optimization?

Search Engine Optimization is a series of techniques used to improve the website position in a SERP (Search Engine Result Page). SERPs are influenced by signals such as meta tag content, link count/quality, keyword density, domain name age and other arcane factors that are typically good indicators of what a page is about, but very poor indicators for determining if the website offering the content (product) is reliable, or offers the best consumer experience.

Marketplace Optimization™ is not concerned with the search result position of a product because the description of an item, its keywords, and ultimately its sales rank is controlled/managed by the marketplace and influenced by buyers rankings of the item. Marketplace Optimization™ is only concerned with influencing the position of a seller in relation to its competitors on a specific product listing.

Why do Consumers Prefer Marketplaces?

  • Unified Purchase History/Wallet.
  • Familiar shopping interface.
  • Unbiased reviews, rankings and personalized product suggestions.
  • Choice of vendors, shipping options.
  • Competitive price shopping.
  • Better Security.
  • Trusted Name/Brand.
  • Social shopping aspects, wish lists, etc.
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