11 Common eCommerce Product Catalog Management Mistakes You Should Avoid At All Costs

Common eCommerce Product Catalog Management Mistakes You Should Avoid At All Costs

eCommerce catalog management is one of the most important aspects of any digital marketplace. Without quality product catalog management, your customers will have a much harder time finding the products they’re looking for — and so will search engines.

You would hardly be alone in making eCommerce product catalog management mistakes that hurt your bottom line. In fact, it is estimated that of the 12 to 24 million eCommerce sites on the web, fewer than one million make over $1,000 per year.

By overcoming the following common online catalog management mistakes, you can help your marketplace stand out and start generating meaningful revenue.

11 Common eCommerce Product Catalog Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Confusing Navigation

If your online catalog makes it hard for site visitors to find what they’re looking for, it’s not doing its job. Too many menu navigation options can make your site harder to browse, and customers will be more likely to leave in frustration. Instead, use a concise navigation bar with fewer visuals. Making the top-level category collapsible will help keep navigation menus from looking cluttered once users go into secondary categories.

  1. Inaccurate Product Tagging

Product tagging has a direct impact on the discoverability of your products. Proper tagging ensures that what shows up in search results will match what the customer typed. On the other hand, inaccurate tagging can cause many catalogs to remain completely undiscovered. This often occurs when you rely on manual tagging for large catalog sizes. Automated tagging will eliminate such errors and simplify product catalog optimization.

  1. Delayed Product Onboarding

Just like manual tagging can make some products undiscoverable, manually digitizing and creating metadata for new products can result in a lengthy process to get a new catalog item to market. Once again, automated tagging provides a more flexible and agile process so that new items can be made available to customers in as little time as possible. The ability to be “first to market” with a popular new item can provide a major advantage over the competition.

  1. Inaccurate, Non-Persuasive Product Descriptions

The average eCommerce return rate is 20.8% — and quite often, inaccurate product descriptions are to blame. Compelling images and helpful, descriptive product descriptions make it easier for buyers to decide if an item is relevant and useful to them. This information should be accurate, though still persuasively written to get customers to buy. Quality information and pictures will boost sales and reduce returns.

  1. No Real-Time Market Visibility

Without real-time visibility into your own data — or the market as a whole — it can be difficult to manage inventory, forecast sales, or identify new items that should be added to your eCommerce catalog. Using product catalog API tools that gather real-time data from across the web will provide accurate insights that help you make smarter eCommerce catalog management decisions. Quality product performance data helps you allocate resources properly to keep operational costs down while also improving sales.

  1. Poor Inventory Tracking

Without automated tracking systems, it can become nearly impossible to accurately track eCommerce inventory across thousands of products. Without inventory alerts, it becomes all too easy for items to slip through the cracks. Inventory tracking and monitoring tools are crucial to prevent supply chain inefficiencies that could lead to shipping delays or popular items being out of stock for extended periods of time. 

  1. Inadequate SEO

If your product listings aren’t optimized for SEO, they likely won’t appear in Google Search — which 49% of shoppers use to find new products. Relevant keywords must be used in title tags, meta descriptions, product descriptions, headers, and even the URL. Tags should be as specific as possible, highlighting the product brand and other differentiating features a consumer might type in for their search.

  1. Outdated Lists

A core aspect of product catalog management is ensuring that catalog lists are fully up to date at all times. Customers don’t want to add an item to their shopping cart, only to discover it is out of stock when they go to check out. Updated product lists help customers know if an item is in stock, coming soon, or on back order. Integrating with ERP software can enable automatic updates based on inventory levels to provide accurate information so that customers don’t experience any unpleasant surprises when trying to complete a purchase.

  1. Not Accounting For Channel Differences

As we’ve written previously, eCommerce sellers must account for differences between sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and so on. Each channel displays product details differently — even something as simple as one channel using “M” and another using “medium” for clothing sizes can impact whether a listing is displayed properly. Tailoring lists for each sales channel you use will facilitate smoother product updates and better performance with potential customers.

  1. Irrelevant Product Recommendations

Amazon has made upselling and cross-selling of related products the norm for online shoppers. But if your marketplace recommends irrelevant products, you’ll have a hard time maximizing your sales potential. Upselling and cross-selling is most successful when recommendations are based on a user’s browsing history or what other customers have purchased along with an item. It can also be more effective when customers are only given a few options that are well-reviewed or top sellers.

  1. No Competitor Pricing Analysis

eCommerce prices are constantly changing. With so much competition, you must be fully aware of what others are charging for items that are similar (or the same) as what you sell through your marketplace. Gathering pricing data from across the web will help you set competitive prices that drive sales while still enabling you to turn a profit. This data could also be used to help you time sales and promotional events based on competitor activities.

Make Product Catalog Optimization a Priority

While these eCommerce catalog management mistakes can significantly hurt your marketplace, leaning into product catalog optimization can give you a major advantage over the competition.

Cluster’s Catalog Enhancement solution can help. With quality data, you can clean and enhance your canonical catalog, increasing revenue as you get the right listings in front of the right shoppers at the right time. With a wide host of solutions for eCommerce marketplaces, Cluster helps you shift your focus to winning the basket. Book a meeting today to learn how we can help improve your product catalog data.

The State of Social Commerce in 2022 — What You Need to Know

The State of Social Commerce in 2022 — What You Need to Know

Cluster can ensure you are presenting the right mix of products to your target audience. With accurate cross-channel data collected from digital POS data, Cluster can help you optimize your product assortment and identify assortment gaps so you can present relevant, high-demand products. By continually pleasing shoppers on social and other channels, you can ensure that they’ll buy from you again and again. 
Book a meeting today to learn more about how quality data can help you sell more on social and other channels.

Assortment Optimization: Why It Is Important For Your eCommerce Business

Assortment Optimization

When it comes to maximizing the potential revenue of your eCommerce business, few things can be more valuable than assortment optimization. The right mix of products can make all the difference in helping control your business costs, while also maintaining your appeal with customers.

Sound assortment planning is especially valuable in today’s environment, when supply chain issues continue to disrupt operations for many products and industries across the globe.

Here’s a closer look at how product assortment optimization can help your eCommerce business or marketplace thrive — and how today’s technology makes assortment planning easier than ever.

What Is Assortment Optimization?

In its most basic sense, product assortment optimization is the process in which an eCommerce business or marketplace decides which products it should offer to shoppers. This mix of goods is strategically selected based on customer preferences to maximize the store’s revenue.

Finding the optimal assortment generally focuses on two main types of products: fast-moving goods that sell at higher quantities but deliver a lower profit margin per item sold (like clothing), and higher-end goods that sell slower but have a higher profit margin (such as electronics). 

Successful eCommerce marketplaces generally build their merchandise assortment strategy with these two broad types of products in mind, as this ensures the most consistent flow of revenue from their customer base.

Why You Should Use Assortment Gap Analysis

While assortment optimization may sound easy, the reality is far different. It is all too easy to develop an inadequate product mix that doesn’t offer enough variety to keep customers engaged. In some cases, a lack of alternative products can result in lost sales if an item goes out of stock due to supply chain issues or other factors. For other products, SKUs that are too similar to each other can ultimately cannibalize sales.

A recent analysis by Pimcy determined that while product failure rates aren’t the staggering 95% reported by some sources, at least 40% of new product launches could be considered a failure. In their analysis, they also noted that “a distinction in failure rates can be made across the various types of innovation: incremental innovation, more innovative development, and radical innovation. […] The failure rate increases the more innovative the solution is. However, on the upside, there also is the potential for a bigger return.”

Whether the product is something completely new or simply an improved version of a product that is already on the market, there is never a guarantee that it will be a success. This is especially true in the competitive world of eCommerce, where new marketplaces often struggle to thrive against more established competition.

Despite these sobering statistics, customers are often interested in trying something new, particularly in product categories like clothing or jewelry. Part of what keeps them coming back to an eCommerce business is the promise that it will have something new for them to try — be it a new T-shirt design, improved backpacking gear, or something else entirely.

Because of this, assortment optimization is an ongoing process. It can’t be a “one and done” activity. Customer preferences, supply chain factors, the introduction of new products and the discontinuation of old products means the product mix may be constantly changing. An assortment gap analysis must be performed regularly to ensure your business is introducing new products that will connect with customers — and removing products that are no longer making a profit.

Why the Time Is Now For Better Assortment Planning

With more competition thanks to the rising popularity of digital shopping, eCommerce businesses and marketplaces must prioritize assortment optimization like never before. Understanding which items are missing from your catalogs can make all the difference — and fortunately, this process no longer needs to be left to guesswork.

Running an assortment gap analysis helps your business determine best-selling products or categories from reputable sellers that should be added to the online store. Data-driven, AI-enabled tools use web scraping and other data retrieval methods to gather information on billions of products across multiple channels. 

eCommerce stores that use these solutions can download information on a relevant product category, retrieve GTINs for best-selling items and obtain product lists by seller. By running this assortment gap analysis, an eCommerce marketplace can ask its current sellers to onboard new items that have a proven record of successful sales on other channels. If this isn’t an option, an eCommerce marketplace could attempt to onboard new sellers who offer the desired products.

With quality information readily available through a data-driven assortment gap analysis, it has never been easier to access and utilize this data. Such information is crucial for staying ahead of your competitors — many of whom are using similar resources for their own assortment optimization efforts.

The Benefits of Assortment Optimization

A sound assortment optimization strategy offers several tangible benefits for eCommerce businesses. An assortment gap analysis can help your business understand the eCommerce landscape as a whole — including customer preferences and competitor behaviors. 

With this data, eCommerce businesses can do more than identify new options that can be added to their marketplace. They will be able to identify which mix of products will create a good blend of high-volume and high-profit sales that appeal to their target audience. They will also be better able to identify product lines that are declining in popularity and potentially reducing their profit margins.

This allows marketplaces to create a collaborative relationship with their sellers that focuses on creating win-win solutions. After all, by utilizing shopper insights and providing data-based product onboarding recommendations, marketplaces and sellers can increase their sales success. This creates an atmosphere of transparency and accountability that sees all parties involved better able to optimize their product lineup and take ownership of their results.

Collecting these insights in real time can also lead to more agile and flexible decision making. Quickly identifying trends can help your business mitigate supply chain concerns by adapting its product line based on seasonal changes or other trends. Rapidly pivoting your product assortment ensures you can always offer relevant items at any time of year.

By providing products that shoppers actually want, your eCommerce business can become the go-to online resource for your target audience. 

Strengthen Your Merchandise Assortment Strategy With Cluster

If you’re ready to strengthen your assortment planning processes, Cluster can help. Our Optimal Assortment services are designed to help both marketplaces and brands identify category gaps by assessing product data across channels. With full visibility across the entire eCommerce landscape, you can gain the insights you need to boost sales by presenting relevant, high-demand items to your customers. 

As you use assortment optimization to continually present shoppers with trending, best-selling products from trusted sellers, you will be able to accelerate sustainable growth that builds your reputation and keeps customers coming back time and time again.
With Cluster on your side, lasting marketplace success is closer than you think!

5 Ways Power Sellers Can Make Or Break Your eCommerce Marketplace

Ways How Power Sellers Can Make Or Break Your eCommerce Marketplace

eCommerce sales account for nearly $5 trillion in revenue today. Regardless of what industry you specialize in, it’s clear that this is the landscape of business that we all need to capitalize on. 

When building your own eCommerce marketplace, it lives and dies by your ability to attract the best sellers. These top performers, known as power sellers, are essential to the growth and success of your platform. 

Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of improving the marketplace seller and buyer experience by encouraging power sellers. 

1. Quality Sellers Bring More Shoppers

If you don’t have sellers, you don’t have shoppers. A marketplace power seller has the most volume and a vast inventory of products that people can choose between. 

Not only does this attract new buyers, but customers will begin shopping exclusively with these sellers, offering them repeat business. These marketplace power sellers bring you the most revenue when you collect your fees. 

Seller intelligence is a solution that can help identify power sellers providing you with the contact information that you need to build a rapport. This relationship can help you grow their conversions and improve your market share. 

2. You’ll Increase Brand Awareness and Trust

When you have power sellers, they legitimize your marketplace on a larger level and build trust with consumers. 

It typically takes at least 5 impressions for buyers to make a decision to purchase. Your marketplace vendors have a vested interest in getting more attention to their personal stores, which ultimately brings more awareness to your platform. 

This is why encouraging power sellers ranks highly among the most important eCommerce tips you can follow. Buyers are more hesitant to shop with vendors that only have a few confirmed sales or reviews. Having more trusted sellers will give you a larger inflow of traffic and revenue for the long haul. 

These sellers serve as your foundation, which you can build on the more you attract these power sellers. 

3. Shoppers Will Have a Better Experience

Power sellers are full-timers with their online stores that are constantly making improvements. The customer wins most because these improvements reward them with a better shopping experience as a whole. 

Power sellers also deal with greater sales volume, are more responsive to customers, offer more payment options, and tend to ship orders faster. They often run full-time businesses offline, such as a brick-and-mortar retail store that sells similar products. 

Because of this, these professionals are more likely to stay up-to-date with new eCommerce ideas and trends to consistently accommodate their customer base. They often run blogs and post videos so that their customers are informed. 

You’ll build shopper intelligence and attract your ideal customers when you’re always investing in improving their experience. 

4. Your Platform Will Attract Different Segments of Business

Power sellers will consistently bring you more eCommerce leads. This is one of the best things to learn when figuring out how to attract sellers to your marketplace. 

These power sellers will network with each other and always find new and different ways to improve what they do best. For instance, a power seller that is successfully selling products to consumers might choose to take the private label approach or look into things like dropshipping. 

This ultimately expands the reach of your outlet and the type of service that you provide to consumers. When your shoppers have more options for the types of products that they can get on your platform, it’s a net positive for everyone involved.  

5. Power Sellers Provide Constant Marketing

You can also count on power sellers to continuously market themselves and their brands. They have a vested interest in building their brand awareness, which will also raise more awareness to your platform. 

When you have a relationship with these power sellers, you can use eCommerce marketplace data to study the demographics of their customers and how they get their conversions. This can help you with ad placements and figuring out which customers you’d most likely to target. 

Having data at your disposal is best when you’re trying to figure out where to find eCommerce business leads because your goals will be more accurate and measurable. 

You’ll be able to scale your platform to achieve the type of growth that you expect, and can collaborate with your power sellers on ideas. 

For example, with Seller Intelligence, you’ll have the benefit of:

  • Taxonomy mapping
  • Analytics and price benchmarking
  • Access to seller store analytical tools
  • Product matching for more accurate categories
  • Real-time data to help get more sales and traction from seller channels
  • Product data enhancement
  • Catalog enhancement tools

It’s best to work deliberately with power sellers so that you can get on the same page with your marketing goals and steer them in the same direction. 

The Ultimate Marketplace Seller Experience

The marketplace seller experience that you create means everything when you’re trying to grow your platform. Power sellers are your bread and butter, and will help you get the results that you’re looking for. 

If you’re intent to get sellers to your eCommerce marketplace website, you need a helping hand. At Cluster, we have a team of professionals that are skilled and equipped to make all of your goals a reality. 

With Seller Intelligence by Cluster, you’ll have the data needed to put it all together.  

To book a meeting with us, use our contact form or send us an email at info@datacluster.com.

Benefits of Product Matching in eCommerce

Benefits of Product Matching in eCommerce

Just last year, retail eCommerce sales were an estimated $4.9 trillion worldwide. Over the next four years, it’s predicted to grow by 50% and reach almost $7.4 trillion by 2025.

Seems like a goldmine for eCommerce businesses, right? 

Well, there are also anywhere up to 24 million online stores — and the number is steadily growing every single day.

It’s becoming more and more important for online businesses to find innovative solutions to stand out from the crowd. One recently popularized strategy is product matching.

This strategy is used to elevate the customer’s buying experience and stay competitive with other similar businesses.

Read on as we discuss everything you need to know about product matching in eCommerce and how it can be beneficial for both you and your customers. 

What Is Product Matching?

Product matching is the term used in eCommerce when the same products are offered by different sellers in a single search result. This is done with the help of deep learning and a product matching algorithm.

To give you a better understanding, let’s take a look at the landscape of eCommerce right now. When people go shopping online, they’ll land on one of several different eCommerce platforms (whether they know it or not).

Some of the most popular platforms include:

  • Magento
  • Squarespace
  • Shopify
  • WooCommerce
  • Elementor
  • Wix
  • 3DCart

Right now, more than 1.7 million merchants sell products on the Shopify platform. In 2020, Shopify processed more than $5.1 billion in sales.

With this in mind, it’s very likely that certain retailers are selling their products on several different eCommerce spaces throughout the internet. In other words, identical products are offered by different sellers on the same platform.

Through digital product matching, a seller can search for a product and see the same product being sold by the different sellers. From there, they can compare the price, quality, and other attributes, then make an informed decision to buy. 

It’s like wanting to buy a new phone and walking into several different stores to see who has the best offer. The only difference is that you can do this online quickly and easily through matching products.

How Product Matching Benefits Both Sellers and Buyers

Product matching solutions are important for both the sellers and buyers in a transaction. 

For the buyers, it creates an opportunity to compare several different options and choose the offer that works best for them. It’s more sophisticated than just choosing the lowest price, too. Let’s look at an example.

Let’s say a shopper is in the market for a new Bluetooth speaker. Two sellers are offering the same speaker for $50. However, another seller is offering the matching product for $55, but also offers a free one-month subscription to Spotify (a music streaming service).

Depending on if he or she is in the market for a streaming service as well, the second, more expensive option might be more attractive to our buyer than the first two options. If the first two are more attractive, the buyer can go deeper and take a look at the company, shipping costs, quality, etc.

Product matching is also helpful for sellers, too. It can be used to develop a pricing policy and keep them competitive with other businesses over time. They can easily learn about their competitors and figure out new strategies on how to stand out from the crowd (like offering a free month of Spotify).

It’s also important when they start building their offer, as well. They need to figure out how to name the product, what images to use, and what kind of copy they should write to describe the product.

For these reasons, product matching is incredibly useful for both parties involved.

Other Useful Benefits of Product Matching

Other than helping customers find the right products and sellers to compare their wares, product matching has other benefits as well.

Let’s take a look at a few.

Relevant Product Recommendations

Businesses can take advantage of product matching by simply suggesting related products to customers that are shopping online.

For example, let’s say that a customer is shopping for a new guitar online. He finally finds the perfect guitar and adds it to his shopping cart.

Through product matching, the system automatically recommends an amplifier and a cable to go along with it. The recommendation is just what he was looking for, so he purchases both products. 

This can make product matching a powerful cross-selling tool.

Improve Product Listings

Through deep learning and name-matching machine learning, you can improve how your products are listed on your website.

The system’s analytics can help you learn more about your customers’ behavior, which will help you understand how to better rank products on your website.

For example, you can take a similarly matched store to your own and analyze their listings. The algorithms will give you insights into how your products are titled and described. This can help you find gaps and shortcomings in your product pages. For instance, you may find a certain page is missing vital keywords that could help you rank higher in SEO. 

Detect Copyright Infringement

Most businesses spend tons of money and resources building their brand identity and designing a unique strategy. This applies to their visual content, the copy on their product pages, and the designs used on the website.

This is why it’s important to keep a close eye on copyright infringement. Through product matching, you can detect cases when other businesses are illegally stealing your designs. 

Establish Competitive Prices

As mentioned above, product matching is an invaluable tool when it comes to forming product pricing. Through deep learning, you can automate pricing analysis not only when you first set prices, but over time as trends change. 

Machine learning can lead to an increased profit that can’t be achieved through manual solutions effectively. 

Get Real-Time Data Through Product Matching

Product matching is an invaluable tool that can help both retailers and their customers have top-notch experiences when they shop online.

Sellers can save time and get a positive ROI by utilizing deep learning to optimize their stores. 

If you’re ready to start growing your store with the most accurate cross-channel eCommerce data in real-time, book a demo with us today!

Catalog Integrity: Trust Your Backend Data and Shift Focus to Winning the Basket

Catalog Integrit Trust Your Backend Data and Shift Focus to Winning the Basket

Algopix has had the privilege of working with some of today’s leading marketplaces including Facebook Marketplace, Google Shopping, Mercari, Walmart, and others. Through our partnerships we have learned what works and what doesn’t, and our goal is to support our partners in tackling their most pressing challenges. So to that end we all know that eCommerce isn’t static. It is why many marketplaces can’t answer seemingly simple questions like:

  • Is my catalog data accurate?
  • Am I presenting the most relevant items at the right prices
  • Do I have the right mix of products to please shoppers? 
  • And lastly, how can I target the right sellers for my marketplace so I can keep shoppers coming back time and time again?

On December 8, 2021, during a live webinar, we dove into the most popular ways our team works with these marketplaces, starting with the importance of catalog integrity as the foundation of any marketplace business. Read the transcript below and watch the accompanying video.

Trust Your Catalog Data

First, catalog integrity is being able to trust your backend or canonical catalog data to support two fundamental processes for your business. The first is to improve seller onboarding by automating the listing process. This will release the reliance of your sellers to input accurate and robust information creating a frictionless onboarding process: What I like to call, the gold standard.


Then the second pillar I’ll touch on is the importance of having the backend data to consolidate duplicate listings of the same product for a better shopper experience. 


So let’s start from the beginning with the first pillar around disparate data and insufficient product content input by thousands of sellers, which leads to incomplete, miscategorized and duplicate product data entries. Let me ask you, what is more attractive to a power seller?

  1. A time consuming and manual process that can fall to easy inputs or 
  2. An easy automated and seamless product onboarding experience with recommended inputs that takes the responsibility out of the seller’s hands?

Well, I’ll answer it for you. It’s the latter. Our team has heard from one of the top marketplaces in the world that on average over 25% of sellers’ submissions are declined due to insufficient inputs because they require too much from sellers. This will create inconsistencies from the start.


Help Your Merchants Want to Work with You

The first step of the onboarding process input should be automated; where a seller starts typing in the name of a product in which your marketplace immediately starts suggesting products. This enables the merchant to auto-populate the product information.


Now, why is this important? As a marketplace it is your responsibility to make this process as easy as possible, to make your merchants want to work with you. This right here is a huge value making sellers want to list on your marketplace. Most marketplaces that we speak to are requiring a ton of attributes aspart of their product submissions and many sellers don’t have this information. This leads them to abandon the process resulting in poor product listings.


So, let’s make it easy for them. How will this impact your marketplace shoppers? We look at your business having two very important clients: your shoppers and your sellers. So we just talked about the sellers’ portion. Now we’re going to dive into how this is going to impact your shoppers. The answer is trust, and trust is one of the most important components for drawing shoppers to your marketplace.


Be the Gold Standard, Pivot to Winning the Basket

Marketplaces that aren’t thinking about enhancing backend data with the most accurate and robust product details will lag behind. And it starts with the aforementioned first pillar – having really strong recommendations for your sellers. This, in turn, will impact your shopper’s experience. If you see your product listing with disparate details on the product, the click-out rate of the external research will limit the chances of your marketplace winning the sale versus your competitors.


The ‘gold standard’ is being the product expert for your shoppers. An example of another large challenge is duplicate listings of the same products. Here, you will see three of the same products with different photos, titles, prices scattered throughout the DSLR camera category page on Facebook marketplace. This could be totally confusing and on off putting to some shoppers:

Group identical products by sellers

As illustrated above, it’s hard to see what is actually accurate, what’s fraudulent, if it’s the same product that is actually being searched, etc. So, if you have a robust catalog like Facebook marketplace does here, consolidating duplicate items into one listing can improve the shoppers experience. 


However, below shows the after view that we have been able to help our marketplace clients achieve:

Here you will see an example of a product listing with all the sellers that are selling this particular item. All the shopper needs to do is choose which offer makes the most sense to them based on price and other things like shipping, or what type of conditions it is in. So, as shown here, you’ve just limited a three-plus click process down to one or two by consolidating those listings into one. 


In closing, understanding the importance of the two main building blocks of your marketplace’s catalog will impact your seller and shopper experience. Next, be sure to dive into the importance of promoting the most relevant products with the most informed, competitive pricing – and learn the characteristics of A+ sellers that are right for your marketplace. 

Demand and Product Analysis: Present Relevant Items at Competitive Prices

Demand and Product Analysis Present Relevant Items at Competitive Prices

There is no question catalog integrity is truly the foundation of a successful marketplace, but you know what else is? Having high demand products of prices that will sell. Many marketplaces tell us time and time again that they struggle with the ability to stay apprised of pricing changes, which we know fluctuates by the minute. 


At the same time, shoppers want the reassurance that they’re getting the hottest items at the most competitive prices. To that end how does a marketplace stay ahead of new products or know what products are in highest demand outside of their own respective marketplace? 


On December 8, 2021, during a live webinar, we dove into this and more, starting with the importance of catalog integrity as the foundation of any marketplace business, followed by how to present the most relevant items, at the most competitive prices. Read the transcript below and watch the accompanying video

Getting Product Demand Analysis and Ranking Right

We can all determine why customers gravitate towards the Amazon marketplace. If I ask anyone if they ever had to go to the second page search results on Amazon, their answer would likely be no. Well, why is that? We know that Amazon has perfected product demand analysis and product ranking and always shows that best selling products at the most competitive prices. So despite this simple logic, this continues to be a pain point for many marketplaces in which low demand products are monopolizing the most important digital real estate, which is the first page search results.


According to BigCommerce, over 70% of sales are coming from page one. Having low-demand items displayed first will undoubtedly lead to a very poor user experience and leave your customers wanting more. Again, the obvious lack of competitive pricing will deter your buyers. 


In fact, according to Active8 more than 50% of online shoppers will now regularly compare sellers to find the best prices. So the bottom line is pricing is not static and it’s a marketplace’s responsibility to stay apprised of competitors’ pricing, sales campaigns and promotions.


This can change by the minute. So to that end I’m just going to pose a few questions:

  • How does a marketplace ensure they’re offering competitive pricing? 
  • What guidance, if any, are you providing to your sellers to help them price their items competitively and to win that basket? 
  • And if a marketplace knows that they have the best offer, how do they inform their shopper that they are in fact receiving the best offer? 
  • What can you do as a marketplace to increase conversions?

First, fill gaps into the competitors’ pricing. Having sufficient market research will allow you to understand competitor pricing across marketplaces to help you win the basket. Now providing pricing guidance to your sellers is an amazing opportunity for marketplaces to drive value to their seller community, as well as presenting high demand and relevant items first. Most marketplaces are relying on transaction history to dictate product rankings on their marketplace.


This works well for big organizations like Amazon. They have massive amounts of transactional data. However, this can be incredibly challenging for less mature marketplaces. Moreover, this doesn’t account for the demand of products on competitor sites. Another point to consider is that a merchant could be trying to list hundreds, if not thousands of items, and not just on your marketplace. So like I articulated earlier, they need your guidance.


Driving Value to Sellers with Market Intelligence

If you have the right data to back pricing recommendations to your seller community, it can be a tremendous way to drive value to your existing sellers and result in recruiting power sellers to your marketplace. So help your customers realize they’re getting a good deal. According to BigCommerce nine out of 10 U.S. customers price check a product on Amazon.


In closing, if you have the sales intelligence and the confidence that your marketplace has the best price, you can communicate this with your user and show it through a best offer badge. Next, be sure to dive into the importance of catalog integrity, promoting the most relevant products with the most informed, competitive pricing – and learn the characteristics of A+ sellers that are right for your marketplace. 


Optimal Assortment: Find the Right Mix of Products to Accelerate Growth

Optimal Assortment Find the Right Mix of Products to Accelerate Growth

Imagine visiting your favorite eCommerce marketplace, where you search for an item you’d like to research or purchase, and land on a particular category page where all you see is the same item listed multiple ways with incomplete information. Immediately, you want to run or leave the website because you think your credit card is about to be compromised on a fraudulent online store. 


Online assortment is incredibly important for marketplaces, but how are they dealing with presenting the most relevant items, especially without compromising their product listing data?


On December 8, 2021, during a live webinar, we dove into the most popular ways our team works with major marketplaces, starting with the importance of catalog integrity as the foundation of any marketplace business, leading into insights around demand and product analysis, and diving into finding the right assortment. Read the transcript below and watch the accompanying video.

Finding the Assortment Opportunity in the Data

According to Salesforce, over 75% of consumers actually expect to see new items on a marketplace monthly. So this data point shows how important assortment really is in the lens of shoppers. But the question is how are marketplaces ultimately doing this? And not just find the right assortment, but also take advantage of a major opportunity around cross-selling? 


Well, you need to have data on your current customers, understand what are the items they’re typically buying, and data to understand what are ancillary items that they might want to buy (in order to group with that initial purchase). So if someone is buying a swimming pool, I would suggest swimming pool toys for the kids, and any other items that might accompany that purchase. Amazon actually makes about 35% of its revenue directly from cross-selling. So this is a huge opportunity for marketplaces.


They really need the data to make these suggestions interesting and relevant for their customers. But what are some challenges around assortment optimization? Here’s what I’ve learned in working with diverse marketplaces over the years:

  • Assortment lives within multiple functions of marketplace organizations. So, it’s not centralized. 
  • There are multiple teams with this role and responsibility. 
  • Marketplaces don’t have the right data and tools to help effectively and efficiently.

What’s more, marketplaces are doing this in a very, very manual way: by looking at competitive marketplaces, other websites where they have interesting items, trying to find and figure out what items they’re missing, trying to find and figure out which sellers can ultimately source those items to their marketplaces. So, it’s an incredibly fragmented and also an incredibly manual process today. So what do marketplaces ultimately need to make this a successful endeavor?


There are two things: No.1, centralize and make this a function of one role, so a key stakeholder can manage the process. No. 2, good data and analytics to help make these decisions quickly and efficiently. 


Demand and Product Analysis Use Cases

So, let’s take an example of what this actually looks like in real life. Kroger has a printer category on its marketplace. However, the only item it had on its marketplace in the printer category was a single item of printer paper. But, if I was in the market to buy a new printer I would be leaving this site to convert elsewhere if they only have paper. 


That said, if you’re going to be a marketplace that is selling in the printers category, you should also have printers and printer ink, in addition to the paper, which is certainly important. But what about including different sizes of paper for example? 


But by leveraging the right data, we were able to see that while Kroger has this one item, this item across other marketplaces sells about $10,000 in volume. The sales from this one item are great, but what we also can tell is that there’s another 4,200 or so items that exist within this printer category. And if Kroger were to upload those missing items, they can potentially gain about $150 million per month in this category.


While we’re not suggesting a marketplace bring on every single item in a category, it is crucial to understand what are the best-selling items within a category and quickly be able to upload those items to your marketplace in an effective manner. 


In a second example, we can see that the Kroger marketplace also has a toys category. However, when digging into that toys category, we noticed that they were actually missing the five best-selling items within the toys category.


What you can see pictured here is just these five items, over the course of one month are about $106,000 monthly with the highest volume being $260,000 in volume. If Kroger were to upload just these five items (and gain the right Seller Intelligence) in this single category, it could potentially mean up to $1 million dollars in sales monthly. This is why using data to make decisions around assortment is incredibly important.


Understand the Top-Selling Brands with the Right Data

Another opportunity for marketplaces is to think through their categories similar to category advisors throughout retailers. So not only what are the best SKUs and items that are selling, or the best brands, but I also want to understand what are the attributes that are most popular within a category.


In another example, we looked at shampoo and conditioners, finding that color treated (or dyed) hair, and damaged hair resulted for a large percentage of this category. For this, a marketplace should focus on adding items with attributes showing ingredients of shampoo and conditioners that are very popular, like Argan Oil, Organic or Paraben Free.


In one last example, we noticed that within five categories, one marketplace had about 7,000 items listed on its site. However, we could see about 35,000 items in our data, which could have resulted in about $28 million per month in increased sales.


In closing, the idea here is not to upload every single item to a marketplace that exists, the idea here is to understand what are the top-selling brands and items across channels that your marketplace might currently be missing and quickly be able to identify who can sell and source those items, for GMV growth.


Once your catalog is built, be sure to promote the most relevant products with the most informed, competitive pricing – and learn what might be missing from your mix of products that can accelerate growth. Once this is in place, it’s time to figure out the characteristics of A+ sellers that are right for your marketplace. 

Seller Intelligence: Target the Right Sellers for Your Marketplace

Seller Intelligence Target the Right Sellers for Your Marketplace

On December 8, 2021, during a live webinar, we dove into the most popular ways our team works with major marketplaces, starting with the importance of catalog integrity as the foundation of any marketplace business, leading into insights around demand and product analysis, and diving into finding the right product assortment. (Read the transcript below and watch the accompanying video.) 

The next key to rounding out marketplace success is making sure that you’ve got the most productive, A+ sellers working with you on listing the right products. So let’s focus on some considerations to think about when you’re recruiting power sellers to your marketplace.


Some of this may seem obvious, but I think it’s worth talking about because having quality sellers is critical to your success. And when we’re considering sellers, I kind of broke it down into four key elements that you want to think about. 

Characteristics of an A+ Seller

Four Characteristics of A+ Sellers: What to Look For

First off, look at seller ratings. Amazon has given us a track record for sellers. There’s a couple of metrics that they provide that do a pretty good job in scoring the sellers. One is the seller rating and the second is actually the buyer’s feedback. 


And so I’m going to elaborate on each one of those. First of all, seller ratings: What the heck is it? You might have seen that everybody seems to have a rating of 99 or above. Well, that’s because it’s not based on a 100-point scale. What actually is occurring is that fractions of a 10th of a percent matter in that seller rating.


So if you look at that seller ratings, you’re going to want to try to isolate and find sellers that have a rating of 99.8 or greater, and contrasting with that, you could eliminate sellers with a 99.5 rating. They can be considered horrible. And it may really seem like splitting hairs here, but the reason is that, again, you want to look at that decimal point in comparing those sellers because it’s that fraction of a 10th of a percent that matters.


The way that Amazon is calculating this is that the feedback ratings are based off of the stars left in reviews. And so they kind of look at all five or four stars and consider those positive feedback and everything below four is considered neutral or negative feedback. And the calculation is basically they’re dividing the sum of the positive ratings by the sum of all the remaining ratings. And again, that’s why we’re talking about how small differences in percentages make a big difference.


So in summary, you’re going to want to look for a 99.8 or greater seller rating. However, you also want to kind of dive into the buyer feedback and look at the negative ratings or the negative feedback that was recorded. Amazon has previously advised that best sellers average 0% negative feedback. Does anybody ever get 0% negative feedback? Not realistically.


So what the industry is kind of pinned on and identified, is that anything between zero and 2% negative feedback is considered great, anything greater than 5% could be a cause for concern and you might want to look at some other metrics around those sellers. So combining those two, 99.8 rating or better with less than 5% negative ratings is what you’re looking for. The second piece to consider is a seller’s portfolio size. The A+ sellers tend to have larger portfolios.


In fact, over 70% of million-dollar sellers have over 20 items in their catalog. You’re not going to want a seller with one or two items. They’re typically testing out whether or not they even want to get into eCommerce. You want to try to find sellers who are making this their business and are actively pursuing it.


One-third of million-dollar sellers, in fact, have over 250 items and they’re changing their mix regularly to make sure that they are relevant and have the right assortment to be able to meet market demand. So while you’re evaluating a seller, make sure they’re committed and active in their business indicated by a large number of items and a changing mix over time. These are the sellers that are also actively managing their portfolios and continuing to bring new products and new excitement to your marketplace.


Third, you’re going to want sellers who have fulfillment flexibility. This means trying to find sellers that are not FBA. These sellers have proven that they can deal with complexities of inventory management on their own and have the flexibility to pivot and deliver to their customers while having to deal with Amazon’s ever changing requirements.


So you don’t want to have them locked in and needing to send all of their inventory to Amazon to meet their requirements. Lastly, there are a couple of sales metrics and KPIs that you’re going to also want to consider. You’re going to want to find established sellers who have been in business for more than six months.


That’s because if they’ve made it to that six month mark, they’ve learned what works and what doesn’t work. They actively work their portfolios with social media, SEO, price monitoring, etc., in order to be a successful marketplace. And last, you should look for sellers with positive sales trends and a significant share of the Buy Box. 

Finding Quality Sellers are Critical to Success

For example, we recently worked with a marketplace that was interested in adding paintball supplies to its portfolio. We did a seller analysis and what we found is that a large percentage of the market was supplied and serviced mainly by two sellers (over 50% of that marketplace). So if I’m trying to find the right seller, I’m going to look at those two first. But let’s dig down and take a closer look at those two sellers and kind of compare and see which one is going to be the best fit for the marketplace.

The first seller has a market share of 25% (the highest market share). It is selling over $330,000 in GMV, but it is actually trending down. They’re an FBA seller and they’ve been in business for about eight months. The second seller has a slightly lower category share and a lower GMV, but it is not an FBA seller and has been in business for over 18 months. 


When you look at their different ratings, the second seller has much stronger positive ratings both recently and over the lifetime that it has been in business.


So when comparing two sellers and trying to recruit them to my marketplace, looking at the metrics, the sales, and the ratings makes it pretty clear that I would want to try to recruit the second seller rather than the first seller. 


To summarize, there are four key elements to consider when comparing sellers on the marketplace: seller rating, portfolio size, fulfillment flexibility, and key KPIs like sales metrics. After you’ve established catalog integritypromoted the most relevant products with the most informed, competitive pricing – and learned what might be missing from your mix of products that can accelerate growth, finding the right sellers are crucial to success.

10 eCommerce Influencers to Follow on Social Media

Keeping a pulse on eCommerce intelligence in real time involves many moving parts. From scouring various datasets to online trending insights, we look to create the most comprehensive and accurate product catalogs; the foundation for any online brand, CPG, marketplace or aggregator looking to accelerate growth across digital channels. 


While we continue to track and analyze product data from over a billion items, from millions of brands, across multiple marketplace channels (and geographies) in addition to the digital point-of-sale data leveraged – in our own market research, we also keep an eye on some key eCommerce influencers that help guide us on where to look next. 


These 10 eCommerce Influencers are presented here:

No. 1: Juozas “Joe” Kaziukenas, Founder of Marketplace Pulse

If you’re looking for data and research on marketplaces, the lead of this eCommerce intelligence firm is a good place to start. With data collected from Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Walmart, Wish and others, its proprietary software takes raw data from web scraping and APIs to extract particular insights on brands, product categories and sellers. Kaziukenas’ most recent piece is an annual “Marketplaces Year in Review 2021,” giving an in-depth snapshot on what’s going on in this industry based on data observations in the most objective way possible.

No. 2: John Dick, Founder and CEO of CivicScience

Built his survey and data company to ‘study emerging trends among early adopters, market mavens, and influencers.’  A frequent speaker at the Carnegie Mellon University Don Jones Center of Entrepreneurship, regular contributor to AdAge, the HuffingtonPost, and Forbes and with appearances on Good Morning America, Cheddar, Yahoo Business, etc., his latest insights most recently take the temperature of consumers during a pandemic including what this means online

No. 3: Deborah Weinswig, CEO & Founder at Coresight Research

And one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices for retail, is focused on covering all things retail technology, trends, live streaming, commerce and more. Her latest LinkedIn share speaks to rising inflation presenting a significant challenge and insights on how retailers should not simply ‘pass along rising costs to their shoppers.’ Instead, seek other opportunities to offset those inflationary pressures by looking for tech that streamlines and optimizes eCommerce processes. 

Sri Rajagopalan

No. 4: Sri Rajagopalan is not only the Chief Omnichannel Customer Officer for General Mills

But he has made his way up the eCommerce ranks in a career that spans the likes of well-known brands including PepsiCo, J&J and Revlon. He has also added advisor to startups to his current role, but is most relevant to this list for his Co-Hosting of The CPG Guys podcast. Rajagopalan adds his eCommerce expertise to podcast Co-Host and consumer loyalty guru Peter V.S. Bond to ‘explore how brands and retailers engage with consumers in-store, online and everywhere in between.’

No. 5: Colin Lewis, CMO, of OpenJaw Technologies and author of Econsultancy’s Third-Party Marketplaces Best Practice Guide

regularly researches and writes about eCommerce trends and most recently how marketplaces are everywhere. He reports that over 50% of the gross market value for the top six eCommerce players in the world is on marketplaces. What’s more, entrepreneurship and cross-border shopping, the gig economy, and so on … have all contributed to this trend. Most importantly though, Lewis covers how to take advantage of this opportunity and win on marketplaces. 

Kaleigh Moore

No. 6: Kaleigh Moore is a regular contributor to Forbes

With an expertise in retail, eCommerce and direct-to-consumer (DTC). She’s particularly focused on trends within the fashion, beauty and luxury verticals. Her latest works include how DTC brands are diversifying their product lines creating more eCommerce competition – something online retailers need to track. She also reports recently that digital, third-party marketplaces are seeing an 81% increase in gross merchandise value year-over-year so far in 2021, and highlights examples of how online luxury marketplaces are ones to watch. 

Chris Dawson

No. 7: Chris Dawson

Is a former eBay seller turned Co-Founder and Editor of Tamebay. According to his bio, he noticed a lack of general information and help [around eBay selling]  and he had aspirations to create a site to “Tame eBay,” bought a URL and promptly did nothing about it. Fast-forward to today and Dawson works on the site full time, writing and attending numerous eCommerce events throughout the year, also undertaking consulting gigs for companies wishing to fast-track their eBay sales.

No. 8: Steve Dennis

Is a keynote speaker and the bestselling author of “Remarkable Retail,” keeping tabs on the latest retail, eCommerce and digital disruptions happening in the industry right now, closing out his latest podcast with another well-known industry influencer, Professor Scott Galloway. Dennis is focused on retail growth and innovation, stemming from his 30-year career as a senior executive at two Fortune 500 retailers – and more recently as a strategic advisor. He has most recently penned content around the potential Saks.com spin-off, provocative retail predictions, and the hybridization of retail – and he doesn’t hold back on offering up his opinions. 

Tom Davenport

No. 9: Tom Davenport 

Is Visiting Professor at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, and your go-to for all things data science. He keeps a close eye on artificial intelligence, machine learning and the democratization of data within organizations. He has co-written and written around 20 books and hundreds of articles, most recently quoted as saying the AI/ML trend is part ‘motivation in addition to technology.’ Whether you’re getting started in your data/analytics journey, or need a refresher, Davenport is a helpful ‘follow’ away.

Sucharita Kodali

No. 10: Sucharita Kodali 

Is the Retail Industry Analyst for Forrester, talking all things retail and digital transformation. While her research is typically about broader retail industry trends, she recently held a session at a live event, which looked at a 140-brand study, released in partnership with Vorys eControl that focused on online marketplaces, the challenges that arise in digital sales and solutions for increased online control.

Putting the Influence in [eCommerce] Influencers 

The aforementioned compilation is a list of top eCommerce influencers to follow, who continue to create the content that not only covers the industry trends we’re hearing and seeing, but also have an influence on the more robust eCommerce product catalog information we’re trying to build and improve upon consistently. We hope you find it useful.


Who would you add to this list? Let me know at alaricer@algopix.com, and you could see those individuals highlighted in the next iteration since, sharing is caring, after all.