In this post we find out more about TymeOnline, a leading managed services provider to the multichannel ecommerce industry, helping brands, retailers and merchants scale their business on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and OnBuy.
Here’s Ian Moore, founder and Managing Director of TymeOnline.
What do we do?
We offer a range of services that allow companies to successfully outsource their online expansion. Specialising in marketplaces, we partner with the likes of Amazon, eBay and OnBuy. We provide a complete managed service in which we create, design and manage our customers’ online sales growth and profitability.
What’s the background to our business, and our connection to Volo?
I was part of a successful start-up internet business previously, where we were users of the Volo system, so our relationship goes back quite a while. I felt that growth opportunities around marketplaces would be significant in the future. I met my co-founders at Lancaster University and we rapidly built a good relationship. They had successfully built a technology company from scratch and were interested in participating in the TymeOnline project. This was instrumental in starting, managing and growing TymeOnline in the B2B area.
Why should brands, retailers and merchants care about TymeOnline and marketplaces?
Marketplace selling is sometimes seen as a dark art. Many businesses have their own ecommerce teams and have tried selling via marketplaces, often unsuccessfully. This can be due to a lack of many things – knowledge, time, resource, infrastructure – and sometimes a combination of these factors. TymeOnline removes these hurdles and has the ability to provide a professional managed service to businesses that wish to address these challenges and have a long term, successful strategy with marketplaces.
What’s our post-pandemic outlook?
If we take the home & garden category as an example, the pandemic was a very challenging and strange time for businesses. Consumer demand within the sector increased dramatically but the impact of closures on high street retail had huge impact on product availability. Many businesses were caught on the hop and, all of a sudden, long overdue plans to expand distribution, particularly the direct to consumers (‘D2C’) model, jumped to the top, must-do-now priority. This has accelerated multichannel commerce by at least 5 years, as a way to protect their business and brand.
For many it’s completely changed the mindset from ‘we need to look at multi-platform selling’ to put simply ‘the priority is to make our products available where consumers want and choose to buy them’. The retail slowdown in 2022, in the face of almost unprecedented global factors, has only intensified the push to be present, and to be consistent, in all the key buying and distribution channels.
What marketplaces do we work with?
Staying with the home & garden example, Amazon and eBay are obviously important channels, and for many consumers in this space it’s where they start their search. The attraction of marketplaces for all parties is the loyal, captive audience they have and the ease with which consumers can buy with security. Consumers are creatures of habit and like to use the shopping platform they feel most comfortable with. Our role as a business is to look at all the channels relevant to each customer in order to maximise their product exposure and consumer reach. We partner and work very closely with all the major home & garden marketplaces including Amazon, eBay and OnBuy.
What kind of brands do we work with that you would have heard of?
Our customers include high street retailers such as HMV and Homebase, as well as brands like Hamleys of London and Einhell. We also manage the marketplace strategy for existing ecommerce sellers such as The Hut Group. TymeOnline work with major retailers, large brands and manufacturers and we can customise a solution to fast-track your revenue growth.
What kinds of managed services do we provide?
Our services are constantly adapting to meet ever-changing buyer preferences and sales channel innovations. Our key investments internally are into capable resources and increasing the skillset of our team. We act as a partner to our customers and work with them on any challenges that may occur – from fulfilment to customer services to promotional activity.
What about the account management element?
We contribute to the complete life cycle of projects with our customers. We create accounts, design branded stores, optimise data, run promotions, integrate systems and work on strategy. Rather than replicate existing data, we manually optimise the data to meet the relevant best practices for each marketplace, which in turn increases the likelihood our our customers’ products being found and bought. Each customer is allocated an account manager and their role is to understand the buyer, the brand, product range, competitors, values and use this information to drive exposure and revenue.
What do we think the long term forecast for marketplaces is?
The shift we’ve seen over the last few years is larger, established retailers, brands and manufacturers moving to a D2C strategy via marketplaces, which has necessaited a genuine digital transformation on their part. The promise of D2C is greater control over brand identity, inventory, pricing and ultimately the buying experience. The days of marketplaces being known as auction houses is long gone and businesses now use these platforms to offer current products with full price, quick fulfilment and customer service back-up. Social commerce is also a rapidly developing area and will be an area to monitor over the coming years.
What’s our business model?
We predominantly work on a revenue share – a small percentage of GMV – basis so our solution is not a hard decision to make for businesses. The opportunity for us is raising awareness of our business and the services we offer to the brands, retailers and manufacturers who are currently considering a marketplace strategy.
What if you haven’t embraced marketplaces yet?
It’s no longer a case of if you should be on marketplaces. The numbers and their trend have answered the ‘why’ question, we believe. Now it’s more to do with when and how you can begin selling through marketplaces. Being on the journey from multichannel to omnichannel business is not an option for companies who wants to sell products to consumers.
What about the technology piece?
We provide the marketplace subject matter expertise, and the multichannel tech platform rounds out our offering, because the automation, data flows and system linkages enables our customers to scale their business profitably. Sometimes our customers manage the tech themselves, other times we manage the tech platform for them. We’ve experience of a range of tech platforms, and, as I said earlier, we’ve worked with the Volo system for a very long time. It’s very comprehensive, covers a customer’s entire ecommerce operations, and our staff are experts in using it to its full power and potential.
How can you contact us?
Reach out to our team for a chat on how we may be able to help their marketplace growth. Call us on 01254 841770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can get in touch with Volo here to explore your plans for growing your ecommerce sales and profitability.