You’ve likely heard the saying, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” That’s the way merchants need to start thinking about marketplaces. Instead of trying to compete against marketplace giants, you can use these channels to increase brand awareness, acquire new customers, expand globally, improve search engine optimization (SEO) and boost sales.
Traditionally, marketplaces have appealed to B2C companies as another channel to complement their online or brick-and-mortar stores, but now more B2B companies are finding value in marketplaces. Certain marketplaces even cater to B2B companies by allowing them to distribute products in a wholesale manner that they couldn’t before.
One of the biggest struggles for merchants is managing all the data. Working with marketplaces means another place that requires item descriptions, images, specifications and other product content. Orders coming in from your marketplace listings need to be efficiently processed, and your customer records need to capture activities from this channel to avoid duplication.
Supporting numerous channels can be even more challenging if your business is using disparate legacy systems. Trying to sync the data from all these channels tends to be a batch-based, error-prone process that only shares a fraction of available data that is scattered across the enterprise. The solution to this problem is implementing a unified ecommerce platform.
Single Source of Data
NetSuite helps enable marketplace selling by becoming the central hub for all your company’s data. The NetSuite platform provides a single, natively unified cloud-based commerce solution that is made up of applications for ecommerce, point-of-sale (POS), order and inventory management, CRM and ERP. With integrations between separate systems eliminated, fragmented sources of data are consolidated into a single repository, delivering a single source of data for all customer, item and product information.
With NetSuite acting as your item master you can:
- Centrally manage product data and attributes across all channels.
- Manage product attributes, including categorization, multi-currency pricing, promotion eligibility, languages, geography and marketing content in a streamlined workflow.
- Deliver consistent, branded product data across all channels from a single source.
With a single source of product information, content can be created once and syndicated to each marketplace. Merchants simply create any given product specifications and images within NetSuite and then share that across multiple channels including marketplaces. This single source of truth saves merchants from the repetitive and time-consuming work of duplicating product items for each marketplace that could also lead to errors.
Data is syndicated through a connector from one of the NetSuite partner solutions listed on SuiteApp.com. The connector is enabled within the core NetSuite platform and allows the data to flow – stock levels are synchronized, sales orders replicated, customer information created or updated – all happening in near real-time within the NetSuite platform and back to the marketplace channel the customer is transacting against.
Seamless Customer Service
Customer service is also streamlined using the NetSuite platform because reps have a single, unified view of every customer regardless of what channel they are interacting and transacting in. They can see how many times a customer has made purchases on certain marketplaces, called in for a support inquiry or check the status of an order or shipment details.
Customer service reps (CSR) can also handle customer service and order management tasks through NetSuite CRM and order management system (OMS), unlike other systems where the CSR might have to jump into the specific marketplace channel or into a third party CRM or another OMS to assist the customer.
With NetSuite, reps stay in one system to manage inquiries, orders, refunds and exchanges, and any changes to the orders for the operations team to fulfill. Moreover, any updates to the order that take place are reflected in the appropriate channel in near real-time whether it is the order being fulfilled or a corresponding email inquiry being addressed.
Easily Engage with Your Marketplace Shoppers
Some marketplaces will release customer information for retargeting purposes to drive future sales. This information gives you the opportunity to engage with your marketplace shoppers and possibly bring them back to your site.
The marketing automation tool within NetSuite allows marketers to segment customer groups to create retargeting campaigns. For example, if a customer buys one of your products from eBay, you can automatically send them an email thanking them for the purchase and inviting them to come to your website to shop again. NetSuite is also able to track and flag the email consents and opt-in preferences within the customer profile.
Minimize Time and Maximize Profits
The ability to share inventory, access customer records, streamline customer service and order management in one place makes selling on marketplaces as easy as selling on your ecommerce site. The single platform approach can save a tremendous amount of time, eliminating the need to use different systems and reducing error in the manual processes. Now you can focus on what’s truly important – engaging with customers and increasing profits through new channels.
Learn more about NetSuite’s unified cloud commerce platform.