An Online Marketplace like Facebook is a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community. It’s a great example of all major and successful online marketplaces like Alibaba.com, Amazon, eBay, etc. All designed and developed to help new and established retailers reach more lead buyers around the world.
One thing is for sure, an online marketplace is often more affordable and easier to use than developing your own eCommerce website. So, suppose you’re hoping to sell goods to local and overseas buyers quickly. In that case, you might want to sign up for an established online platform. Rather than invest time and a considerable amount of money designing and launching your own site.
In this article, I am going to explain everything there is to know about an online marketplace such as Facebook in detail. So that you can start listing your goods, receiving inquiries, and trading on a global scale as soon as possible. Whether you’re a new seller, SME, or international manufacturer, don’t do anything until you’ve read my complete guide below.
What Is Online Marketplace?
According to Alibaba, an Online Marketplace is a website that brings together online sellers and buyers. Think Alibaba.com, Walmart, Etsy, Amazon, eBay, or even Facebook. Online sellers can sign up to such an online platform so easily. And then, set up a business account to create a virtual shop floor and list their entire product range online.
Basically, an online marketing platform makes it so easy for buyers to search for and find specific products and goods by using categories. Whereby, sellers can select the categories their goods best fit into when listing their products. This makes it easier for buyers to find the right products and compare price points and key features.
In addition, sellers also have a higher chance of being found online by relevant and interested customers too — whether locally or from international buyers.
Usually, eCommerce sites don’t sell goods themselves, although this has changed over the past couple of years. Now online platforms such as Amazon and eBay also use their own eCommerce marketplace to sell their own branded items and goods to buyers around the world.
Facebook is a Very Great Example
Besides Alibaba, Walmart, Etsy, Amazon, or even eBay, another great example of the most digitized online marketplace is the Facebook Marketplace. It’s a convenient destination on Facebook Social Network to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community. You can look through listings or search for items near you to find great things to buy.
So, did you know that you can find things to buy from people and businesses on Facebook? The marketplace makes it easy to find new and used items such as clothes, furniture, cars, and even your next home to rent. Let’s learn more about the Facebook Marketplace and how to buy things. So far, buying things on Facebook Marketplace is very simple!
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To get there, look for the Marketplace icon in the Facebook app or visit facebook.com/marketplace. From there, you’ll be able to browse listings that interest you. You can adjust the listings that appear by sorting by distance, date listed, or category. You can also use the search box to find exactly what you’re looking for.
You’ll find more information about each listing when you click on it. You can also save the listing for later or message the seller directly through Messenger on most listings so you don’t have to give out your phone number or personal email address. You can also click through the seller’s profile to learn more about them and see their seller ratings.
Be that as it may, you can learn more about buying at FB Marketplace through the Help Centre as well. But, can I find free items on Marketplace? Yes, of course! The marketplace is a great place to find items that other people in your local community are giving away for free.
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To find free stuff available on Marketplace, simply select the “Only show free listings” filter. Not to mention, many neighborhoods also have “Buy nothing” groups where people give away things to other people in their community. You can search for these on Facebook to find if there are any near you.
And, with that in mind, you can start selling on Facebook any time you’ll be ready. Just go ahead and get started right away or even learn more about Facebook Marketplace first. You can also see what’s trending on the FB Marketplace Community Page as well.
So, what are the benefits of selling on an online marketplace? Well, let’s take a quick look at the major benefits of listing your goods and products on any online platform. Such as Amazon, eBay, Alibaba.com, Facebook, etc.
1: The set-up process is easier compared to an eCommerce site
Designing, developing, and launching your own eCommerce site can take a considerable amount of time, energy, and cash, even if you choose to use a platform such as Shopify. A Shopify site might be easy to set up compared to custom code.
But, you’ll still need to generate traffic once live and increase your visibility within the search results. To avoid this often long and complicated process, you can take advantage of an established eCommerce website instead. An online marketplace will have everything in place to help you list your products.
More so, to attract potential customers and let buyers add items to their shopping cart and pay using their preferred payment method. It will also already be generating a considerable amount of traffic, meaning you don’t need to run ads or rely on organic traffic to make sales.
With an online marketplace, you can also reach local & overseas buyers instantly. The beauty of selling via an online marketplace is that you can start reaching local and international buyers from the get-go. This gives you and your business an instant edge over your competitors and helps you to drive traffic to your online shop floor the same day.
If you’re thinking of expanding your business to sell overseas, read the article on the benefits of exporting for small businesses.
2: Affordable insertion fees and transaction fees
Many online sellers find it far more affordable to list their goods and promote their business on an online marketplace such as eBay or Alibaba.com and pay small insertion fees and transaction fees when they list an item and complete a purchase.
When you consider the cost of building your own eCommerce site, with plugins to enable buyers to scroll through categories, add goods to their shopping cart, and process a payment, online marketplaces are much more affordable for new sellers.
3: List goods using categories
Buyers trust established online marketplaces and so there is not as much effort needed to convince them to place an order once they find the goods they want to purchase. It is also much easier for sellers to list goods and choose the right category that their products fit into.
This means buyers can easily search online and find certain products as well as compare prices, features, and shipping expenses. Categories increase a seller’s visibility on the platform and improve their chances of making a sale. Using logical categories will make shopping online fast and convenient, so never underestimate the power of using categories on an online marketplace.2
4: No previous online sale experience is required
Another significant benefit of selling via an online platform over an eCommerce website is that you don’t need previous experience uploading products, optimizing sales funnels, and marketing your business online. Unlike hosting your own website, you won’t need technical skills to get started.
Alibaba.com makes it easier than ever to list products, choose categories, and set up shipping and delivery options. In fact, Alibaba.com has guides and business articles designed to educate and empower their sellers when it comes to online sales. For example, here’s a helpful guide on How to manage your Alibaba.com account settings.
5: No maintenance is needed
The longer a website is down, the more money your business is potentially losing. This is one of the big risks of hosting and managing your own website. Should a plugin break your website theme, you may need to pay a professional web developer to fix the issues and get your website back online.
However, a third-party online marketplace will have an entire department dedicated to preventing issues, resolving problems, and protecting their sellers and buyers. So, should anything happen, it is their responsibility to fix the technical problem or alert users to upcoming maintenance work that may limit access to the online platform.
This gives both sellers and buyers peace of mind when using an eCommerce marketplace. Still unsure whether to launch your own online store or niche eCommerce website? No problem, why not read the article on Marketplace or own eCommerce website: where to sell?
Marketing Strategies for an Online Marketplace
To start selling on an online marketplace, you will first need to sign up for a business or seller account. Sometimes there will be a fee to sign up, but some sites do offer a free sign-up process. Marketplaces will generate revenue through listing fees, transaction fees, and paid promotions or additional seller features.
While some sellers find it frustrating to be charged a listing fee or transaction fee, when you consider how many buyers you’re able to reach through the platform, the small fee is well worth it for merchants. Plus, the popularity of online marketplaces and online shopping is certainly on the rise.
In fact, according to recent data and COVID-19, online sales will reach a record $5.86 trillion by the end of 2021 and continue to grow steadily over the next four years. And programmatic ad spend will approach $100 billion by the end of 2022. And now, let’s see how you should approach an online marketplace below.
1: Develop buyer personas
To target specific customers online, retailers should use customer data to develop 5 to 10 buyer personas. Knowing who your customer is, what they are searching for online, what their pain points are, and how they prefer to buy goods will help you improve the customer experience as a seller.
Demographics such as location, age, gender, education level, language abilities, and sales barriers will enable you to address their needs and convert more sales online.3
2: Order fulfillment & customer service
Excellent customer service can generate repeat buyers, so make sure you always deliver items on time and they arrive in good condition. If you choose to offer next-day delivery, clarify whether this is only available to local customers to avoid any confusion when international buyers place an order with you.
Provide information on how your goods will be sent, shipped, and delivered, as well as your returns policy.
3: Product Categories
To optimize your online orders as a seller, you should use relevant keywords within category page titles. When listing items, always select the relevant and niche categories that your products fall under to help buyers find the right goods online.
Failing to choose the right product categories can also put you at a major disadvantage when compared to your competitors. Buyers often browse online and use categories to narrow down their search. Established online platforms will already have pre-set categories to help retailers accurately list their inventory of goods, so use them to increase your exposure online.
SEO or search engine optimization will give you the upper hand when attracting new buyers to your online store. An effective SEO strategy is to use relevant keywords and search terms within product titles, image alt tags, and product descriptions.
By using applicable search terms, an online marketplace should display your listing when a buyer uses this search term in the search bar. SEO helps sellers appear higher in the organic search results. There are also plenty of free SEO tools, such as Google Keyword Planner, to help you identify the right keywords to use within your niche product listings.
5: Social media
An excellent way to generate more traffic to your digital storefront is to promote your brand and goods via social media. From Facebook to Pinterest, social media marketing creates direct and clickable links to encourage interested users to click through and check out via a well-known online marketplace.
For example, if you sell organic fruit and vegetables in LA, you could create branded Pinterest pins with links to take Pinterest users directly to your Amazon store.
PPC, or pay-per-click advertising, is a way to boost your online exposure and attract relevant buyers to view your profile and inventory of products. Keyword advertising is a value-added service available to Alibaba’s Gold Suppliers and offers precision marketing on the platform.
Sellers can pay for their product ad to be placed on the first page of the search results, on the right of each page of the search results, below the search results page, or on the first page of the APP search results, depending on the seller’s preference and budget. Learn more about Keyword Advertising with Alibaba.com.
7: Customer reviews
Reviews encourage hesitant buyers to complete a transaction, so highlighting positive feedback can elevate your brand and reassure new customers that you are reliable and offer excellent customer service. Trust is at the epicenter of the new digital economy, and as consumers, we take ‘trust leaps’ when shopping online.
To decide whether to buy from a new seller or not, users rely on customer reviews. So, as soon as you get a positive customer review, make sure to thank the buyer and promote the feedback to optimize your sales potential.4
8: Partner up with a reputable warehouse or logistics company
Streamlining your business is another effective online marketplace strategy that can help improve your business model. By partnering up with a warehouse, you can let a professional logistics company handle shipping, delivery, and returns.
Whilst, giving you more time as a seller to refine your product range, spend more time getting to know your online customers, and optimize your business to increase sales. With that in mind, below are the essential steps for online marketplace success.
9: Think about where your customers live?
Before choosing which online marketplace to use, you need to figure out where your customers are based. Will you be targeting local buyers, or do you plan to offer international and worldwide shipping from day one? If you only sell goods in the US, choose a platform that most American buyers know well and use often.
If you’re a B2B seller and offer shipping to different countries, look for a predominantly B2B marketplace that attracts buyers around the world. Amazon, for example, is available in 178+ countries and is a well-known B2C and B2B marketplace, but Alibaba.com is more tailored towards international B2B sellers.
10: Choose a well-known online marketplace
Deciding which marketplace to sell on is a big decision, so take some time to consider each platform’s key features. Ask yourself the following questions to narrow down the decision:
- Does the platform already have an established category that would complement your niche product range?
- Is the marketplace attracting buyers from the country(s) you are trying to target?
- Does it offer incentives to set up a seller account?
- What are the seller fees, insertion fees, and transaction fees?
- Does the platform offer seller protection, should you run into any issues?
- Are there guides, data, industry reports, or articles available to help your business grow?
- Are your competitors using this platform, and if so, will you be able to compete?
11: Learn how to create winning product listings
Once you have signed up for an online marketplace as a seller, it’s time to create your product listings. Again, invest some time learning how to best format a product listing to maximize your sales potential.
Find out how to best take product pictures to capture your goods and highlight their unique selling points. Learn how to write short and attractive product descriptions to encourage customers to place an order with you. You could also hire a professional SEO copywriter to help create unique and attractive product listings for you.
Safety Tips for Buying or Selling on an Online Marketplace
Keeping your information protected and yourself safe should be your top priority when using Marketplace or any other online shopping platform. Fortunately, people can only see the information that you publicly share on a Marketplace like Facebook. So, you get to decide how much information people can see.
Please, always bear the following safety tips in mind when buying or even selling things on Marketplace. Whilst, for additional information, please visit the Shopping Safety Page in the Facebook Help Centre to read and learn more first. And then, consider the following:
Know what is allowed to be sold on Marketplace
You can read what items can be sold on Marketplace in our Help Centre and Commerce Policies. Don’t attempt to buy anything illegal. If you’re unsure about an item, familiarise yourself with what is allowed to be sold on Marketplace.
Learn more about the item that you want to buy
Ask a lot of questions before buying an item you’re interested in. Make sure you are able to see pictures that show all angles of the item and get information from the seller about an item’s history, authenticity, and current condition. Thoroughly inspect the item before buying and test it if possible.
Learn more about the seller
Spend a few minutes learning more about a seller by looking at their profile to see the friends that you may have in common, reviewing their Marketplace activity, and reviewing any ratings that they may have received.
Keep your personal information protected
Never share personal or banking information that could put your identity or money at risk. Use Messenger when possible to communicate so that you don’t have to give your personal phone number or email address.
Report a listing or a seller if you have any problems
If you have an issue with a person or an item that’s listed, such as violating community standards, harassing behavior, or scams, it’s easy to report to Facebook. Just look for a Report link on the listing or on the seller’s Marketplace profile.
Learn about delivery options for items
We suggest following guidance from your local health authorities and the WHO for how to stay healthy and help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) while buying and selling. Make sure that you check and follow local laws and directives that may be in place during this time.
Additionally, if you’re meeting, we recommend arranging your meeting in a public, well-lit area or a police station. Let others know where you’re headed. It’s also good to note that; you can also use a delivery option or a pick-up or drop-off service that works for you.
As you can see, there are plenty of places to list your products online and start selling goods on an international scale. But, choosing the right marketplace for your business can be tricky. Without feeling too overwhelmed by the decision, carefully consider your unique target audience. As well as the products you plan to sell, and where you are shipping.
By researching each online marketplace in detail, you’ll eventually find the right platform for you. Then it is all about product titles, product descriptions, product photography, and customer service. Get all these elements right, and you’ll be well on your way to becoming a successful online retailer.
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If you’re a wholesaler, manufacturer, or B2B seller, I highly recommend checking out Alibaba.com’s wide range of seller benefits. When signing up for a seller account with Alibaba.com, you’ll gain access to all key data metrics. Such as industry reports, buyer trends, and much more to help elevate your brand and business.
And, as a result, you’ll be able to reach over 14 million active buyers around the world if you explore Alibaba.com today. According to your own opinion, which do you think is the best online marketplace that you can recommend to others. Please feel free to share with us in our comments section. But, if you’ll need more support, you can Contact Us and let us know how we can help you.