So you've decided to go it alone?

Here are three top tips to help get you selling on online marketplaces:

1. Focus on Feedback

For obvious reason, marketplace search algorithms tend to demote listings from new or low feedback accounts. After all, a new account might be an indicator of fraud (you've been kicked off lots of times but keep coming back) or, more innocently, of a new seller that doesn't yet have the experience to deal with high sales volumes.

To overcome this, you're going to need to build up the amount of positive experiences you're creating for buyers. Some strategies for this are:

Wait it Out!

You may just decide to wait it out and grow the account slowly. If you're product is in demand, you're likely to still be in good shape after 6 - 12 months following this strategy.

Bulk Up!

Sell complimentary, cheaper products to help boost your account. You might decide to buy a chunk of inventory at a low price and sell it (perhaps even at a loss) to quickly generate increased feedback. Remember that you will still need to provide excellent customer service and postage times and the product needs to be good!

For example let's say your main product is a high end desk organiser. You might choose to obtain a cheap source of good quality pencil sets and sell those at a small loss (to ensure sales). As your feedback tips over the 100 mark, the algorithm will stop penalising you so hard and buyers will have good reinforcement through on site messaging that you can be trusted.

This approach means you don't need to discount your own primary product which obviously might cause longer term damage.

2. Train the Beast

Algorithms can't look at a listing and tell implicitly whether it's a good product (at least, not very well). Most search algorithms therefore take a "wait and see" approach. If your item is getting good click through (and even better sales conversion) rates for particular keywords then it will assume that the listing is indeed relevant. It is in effect waiting to see people voting with their feet and then rearranging the results in response.

This opens up the prospect of helping the algorithm understand that your item is relevant for a particular keyword. You do this by enlisting a group of helpers, or reviewers. These people will buy the product after searching for it on the target site using specific key words that you provide e.g. "desk organizer".

On Amazon, those people will also go on to leave a review of the product which further helps the algorithm and indeed buyers that might be looking for confirmation the product fits the bill.

Unless you have a particularly clever and dastardly plan for doing this (and be aware any such plan would almost certainly contravene the sites terms & conditions), this will often involve giving a large number of items away for free.

This can often be done using promotional code features but offline transfers of funds may also be needed in some situations depending on the site.

Don't try and pull a fast one here - the people do need to be unrelated to your own organisation, as most marketplace sites disregard orders placed from those it can easily connect to the seller. This will also only work if your product is genuinely good for the target keywords. If not, you'll gain initial traction but then gradually and inevitably slip down the search results again.

3. Keyword Targeting

The chances are, you probably don't know a lot of the long tail keywords people might enter to find your product.

It makes intuitive sense that expanding this list and including the keywords in the right places will help the search algorithms help you.

It's often difficult to brainstorm a huge number of keywords so try using tools like Terrapeak (Terrapeak) and Google's own Adwords keyword generator to establish what other keywords are being used when people search for your item.

Rank the keywords in terms of how important you believe they are (or indeed using data from Google Adwords) and then make sure that the most important keywords are close to the beginning of the title of the product.

Make sure that other keywords have high keyword density later on in the description. You can use tools like Keyword density to help with this. Don't go crazy, remember the description needs to be able to sell the product to a human being once the robot has served it to them.

Some sites like Amazon allow for the use of additional search terms fields - make sure you use these. They are great placeholders for long lists of keywords that would otherwise make your descriptions look tacky.

How can laZook help with all this?

laZook is a new type of e-commerce platform designed specifically for brands. We sell on your behalf through our already established marketplace accounts and run analysis on all of your listings to ensure they are getting the best visibility they can.

To save with costs we handle all front line customer support and logistics where required - meaning you're free to spend more time focussing on your core business rather than retail.

To help you get up and running quickly, we give you access to our team of reviewers how can help establish your listings quickly whilst offering genuine feedback.

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