This post covers the second phase of a recommended process for strategy and execution across ecommerce marketplaces and webstores.
In our previous post in this series we covered the 6 stages that make up the ‘plan’ phase: consumer demand analysis, product fit analysis, projections, and 3 stages of recommendations covering your business, from marketplace and listings through to post-sale customer service. We said this on the last post but it’s worth repeating: you can perform these functions from your own resources or you can outsource them to someone else.
This second phase is the ‘launch’ phase. While it’s possible you could get free help in the plan phase stages from companies who are keen for you to invest in their ecommerce software and other technologies, the launch phase is almost always a paid-for set of services as part of an onboarding or implementation professional services engagement.
Launch is composed of 3 main stages, and this is what happens at a high level:
Let’s return to the data transformation stage, since its importance is paramount. We’ve found that the one thing that delays the execution of a project is the quality of the existing product data. Data optimisation is the art of best practice, and this best practice is based on a thorough understanding of each specific channel.
For example, Amazon ranks listings based on a very complex combination of listing criteria which includes things like fulfilment options, reviews, customer feedback and price, through to on-page SEO work like keyworded titles and descriptions. In order to rank well against your competition you need all of these factors aligned. The more products you have, the more work is involved. It’s why many companies start with a sub-section of their products like their best sellers, and move from there where resources allow.
It’s why this stage is probably the most important, as well as the most time-consuming, since it involves going through every listing to reflect best practice for the channel that you want to be listed on. Furthermore, channels in different countries may have different requirements, different things that buyers search for. So, even if you have ‘retail ready’ data – as in, it sells well on your webstore – there is work to make it ‘channel ready’.
To launch successfully, you or your outsourced service provider needs to transform the product titles and descriptions of each product to optimise the use of marketplace keywords, categorisation, best practice in naming conventions and SEO terminology. Unfortunately it’s not ‘set and forget’ in the dynamic world of marketplace ecommerce. To sustain success you have to be regularly assessing and adjusting your listings to ensure they perform well against frequent changes to the marketplace search algorithms, competitor listings and competitor pricing strategies.
What kind of time frame is reasonable for the launch phase? It varies considerably of course, and your own circumstances will be unique. Here’s a sample timeline for a medium-to-large project on Amazon.
0 – 3 months:
3 – 6 months:
6 months onwards:
In the final post in this series we’ll look at how you can kick on from launch in the ‘accelerate’ phase. For a proven process to establishing long term ecommerce success on marketplaces and webstores, you can download this short guide.
To discuss your plans for ecommerce growth in 2022, please get in touch with Volo.