Five (5) Tips To Stand Out When Selling On An Online Marketplace – Small businesses have benefited greatly from the advent of online marketplaces, which were pioneered by eBay nearly 20 years ago. Whether it’s brick-and-mortar stores or single entrepreneurs working from home, sellers all over the world have never had it easier to find customers. New niche marketplaces, such as Etsy, are opening up exciting new possibilities for growing businesses.
As online marketplaces become more popular, small business owners and online shop owners may find it more difficult to stand out. Customers are more informed, and higher-quality goods are available for purchase online.
Follow these five best practices to overcome these obstacles and make your company and its products stand out in a competitive market:
1. Take amazing (and one-of-a-kind) photos
The importance of high-quality photography cannot be overstated. Professional photography is used by Airbnb, one of the most well-known online marketplaces.
Many experts recommend using plain white backgrounds with detailed shots of each item when photographing products. Indeed, Amazon recently received a patent for a unique setup for its white background photography. As absurd as that patent may appear, it demonstrates how important photography has become when listing products online.
While white backgrounds can help a listing look more professional, they don’t make for a particularly distinctive aesthetic on their own, so a photo with just this feature may not stand out against the competition. Images will be instantly recognizable if a more distinctive photography style is used consistently across all products. Customers will be left with a positive impression of the listings because they will appear more professional.
Use as much “negative space” as possible around each image, as this helps the site’s marketing efforts to focus on the content.
2. Make up a story
To create a recognizable brand, business owners must tell stories, such as why they started a business, what the brand’s values are, and what inspired the owner. The majority of online marketplaces allow businesses to create homepages where they can post corporate information, photos, and videos. That should be the beginning of the story.
Then, for each individual listing, tell a story. What is the significance of a particular product? What distinguishes it from others? What will a customer think once they’ve purchased it?
When people buy vintage items, whether it’s a fine art, antiques, or an iconic guitar like the ones sold by my company, Reverb.com, the power of a story is perhaps best demonstrated. The provenance of the object, which tells the story of who owned or made it, is also important. Not every item has a long and illustrious past. Some of the items are, in fact, brand new. However, if an item comes with a story, it has a higher and more meaningful value.
3. Add a little something extra to the mix
Customers appreciate it when a favorite company goes above and beyond to show its gratitude. Companies should always add a little extra flavor, whether it’s a simple thank-you note or a small gift included in a shipment, to give their customers something unexpected that will entice them to return.
I’ve seen sellers throw in small items like free guitar picks, branded cables, and logo stickers, and customers go crazy for them. These extras have the potential to make buyers feel special.
4. Get to know your neighborhood and get involved
Companies should tap into the online community surrounding an online marketplace and interact with buyers and other sellers as much as possible to increase their popularity and recognition. This type of engagement is a natural fit for social media, and some basic ideas include the following:
Thank a customer via Twitter.
Share other businesses’ listings on Twitter or Pinterest.
Customers who post pictures of your products on Instagram or Pinterest should be contacted.
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By following, retweeting, and sending direct messages to influencers on Twitter, you can build a relationship with them.
Share blog posts from buyers and sellers on Twitter and Facebook (but make sure to include their social media handles, so they know).
Offer to write guest posts for members of the community who maintain blogs.
5. Make the company’s policies clear
Companies must have clearly defined policies and protocols in place to ensure that their customers have a pleasant and painless purchasing experience.
Customers know they are dealing with a serious business that is honest, diligent, and trustworthy when companies clearly outline policies for shipping and handling, returns, and customer service.