why and how to deal with it?

Today, the market model has become an essential sales channel in e-commerce, and SMEs are looking for talent to enable them to perform on these platforms.

A brief reference to the reasons for the word “essential”.

The markets are acclaimed by the French. Just look at the results of the latest surveys on buying behavior in France to quickly understand:

  • 34% of French people say they discover new products through the marketplaces, which is the second discovery channel after word of mouth: 37%.
  • 57% of regular Internet shoppers (the most interesting) use Amazon as their product search engine.
  • Marketplaces alone today account for 62% of e-commerce sales in the world, while they represented less than 10% in 2008. The trend is similar for France, where the weight of marketplaces has gone from 8% of turnover in 2012 to 32% in 2020.

The main reasons for this success with consumers are the competitive prices, the speed of delivery and the variety of products offered.

Hence, marketplaces that continue to develop at impressive speed take precedence over other ecommerce models. If you’re still not convinced, take a look at the “Top 20 Most Visited Ecommerce Sites and Applications in France – Global Internet Screens 3 – Q4 2021” where 17 of the most visited sites are or have adopted the Marketplace model !

On average, 46.9 million Internet users (74.3% of French people) consulted at least one of the top 20 sites and / or applications every month (source FEVAD and Médiamétrie).

The Marketplace model is technically the same for each of them, providing the seller with a technical platform and means of promotion so that they can distribute their products for a commission on sales. They all work on the basis of search algorithms that highlight your products with criteria that may vary from platform to platform.

With over 240 marketplaces dedicated exclusively to the sale of manufacturing products in France (excluding the sale of services and leisure) according to our latest announcement in June 2021 (non-exhaustive figure), it is becoming increasingly complicated for an SME to sell well on this channel. .

Growing competition to make yourself visible

One of the keys to the success of marketplaces is the variety of products offered, but for an SME it is also one of the main difficulties in selling well on this channel. In fact, imagine the consumer who walks into a warehouse with more than 150 million references (Amazon.fr) and has to find and buy your product …

It’s a miracle if you don’t have the skills to make your products stand out. You need to be able to constantly optimize your visibility.

The skills associated with this distribution channel are the same as any distance selling of your products, namely:

  • Product marketing (create beautiful cards of your products to highlight them);
  • Operational marketing (to promote your products naturally or through promotional campaigns);
  • ADV able to manage orders and manage their delivery;
  • Customer service to answer questions from prospective buyers or customers.

The peculiarity of Marketplaces is that all these skills are subject to three main factors:

  • Reactivity: buying on the Internet imposes very strong criteria of speed and availability on the part of the consumer, both in terms of answers to his questions and delivery times. This pressure is accentuated on marketplaces where the seller is constantly evaluated, with the risk of having the shop closed if it does not meet a certain number of evaluation criteria. This is an essential constraint for teams, which does not exist for example in the management of a website.
  • Technological evolution: online sales platforms evolve at least twice a year, both to improve the user experience and to manage the back office. Knowing that their priority is the consumer user interface and not at all the optimization of the management of the third party vendor’s Backoffice.
  • Visibility: You need to know how to make yourself visible in a universe where everything is driven by algorithms. To make sales, it’s vital to make sure your product gets the best exposure.

These constraints imply a constantly evolving supervision and skills in order to be always updated on what these platforms allow both from the point of view of visibility (marketing) and customer service (ADV, logistics and contact with the customer). It should be noted that to sell well in the Marketplace, an important strategic principle is to have at least your products on 3 marketplaces, generally two generalists in the top 5 and one specialized on your main target.

In addition, they oblige you to define an organization capable of responding and processing information 258 days a year, as the consumer will agree to wait until the weekend (or / and public holiday) has passed to get his response or the follow-up from its delivery, but no later than 48 hours.

The specific skills of this distribution channel are as follows:

  • In-depth knowledge of the search engine criteria optimization of each platform in which we are present (and yes, each one has its own tools and algorithms for SEO and SEA);
  • A perfect mastery of the functioning of each Backoffice, always specific for each Marketplace;
  • The know-how of vouchers makes use of direct and almost instant communication with the final consumer.

Finally, these commercials are not regular, because they depend on the news of your company: release of new products, seasonality of sales … and often generate peaks of activity in short but intense periods.

In summary, all of these tasks require you to be able to devote a lot of time to them with multiple evolving skills to deliver quality work and, therefore, be able to make a real difference and increase your turnover.

A shortage of talent in the job market

According to experts and the media, there is a shortage of talent in digital marketing, which causes Jacques FROISSANT, founder of the Altaïde recruiting firm to say that “we are going against the wall! “.
“French start-ups raised 10 billion euros in 2021 and will recruit 15,000 people. Good, but there’s a big one, BUT … where are we going to find these thousands of developers or digital profiles in an already scarce market?”

To reinforce these comments, data from the latest Fevad study on the prospects for job creation in e-commerce indicate that “54% of managers expect an increase in their workforce”.

These trends are reflected in salaries and PageGroup in its latest study predicts that in the most sought-after professions, where we find the positions of e-commerce account manager, e-commerce / marketplace manager and SEM / SEO / SEA manager, salaries are on the rise for 2022 with for an employee with an experience of between 2 and 5 years in gross discharge varies between:

  • SEM / SEO / SEA manager: from 34 to 46k €
  • E-commerce account manager: from 40 to 50k €
  • E-commerce / Marketplace manager: from 50 to 80 k €

In summary, this shortage has a twofold impact for SMEs: great difficulty in recruiting and skyrocketing wages. And indirectly, due to lack of internal resources, sales in marketplaces that stagnate, or online projects that drag on, even abandoned or entrusted to interns.

Delegation could be a solution, but what are its advantages and interests?

Competition is getting stronger and the marketplaces offer is getting wider and wider. So, to be able to sell well, you must define your strategy in choosing the sales channel (s), be on the lookout for new products (permanent in this market) and be very careful in managing each revenue lever. To simplify everything, each Marketplace has its own Backoffice that does not react to the same levers.

In short, to be successful on this channel as an SME, you need to be able to dedicate time to it, find resources internally, train them or recruit in a market that is in short supply.

The bad choice, too often seen in SMEs, is to entrust this position to operational staff in addition to their main function, which generates a quality that is not always sufficient or an overload of work.

A day, in fact, cannot be extended for a person or a team and the consequences are that the actions to be carried out do not advance and / or the time dedicated is not enough. The result is inevitably that you are unable to achieve the best possible turnover and that your return on investment is not optimal.

The solution might be to delegate tasks for which you don’t have all the skills or the time to refocus on your core business. Entrust them to experts who will be able to optimize your sales, because this is their core business.

The practice of delegation exists in all companies. It has become an essential lever for transformation and competitiveness and allows companies to refocus their teams on higher priority tasks, relieving them of the daily processing of time-consuming tasks.

The main advantages that you will find in delegating the management of the marketplaces are the following:

  • A neutral view and access to best practices

By dint of focusing on your sales, you don’t necessarily see the grains of sand that prevent your customers, users, and prospects from having an optimal shopping experience. Your service provider will provide you with this valuable external perspective with best practices based on daily feedback from companies like yours.

  • Optimized loads and real ROI

We all would like, as an SME, to have the ability to hire without limits, take on all the burdens inherent in this position (hiring, training, salaries, employers, etc.) and be able to internally hire an employee for each of the tasks or find the sheep. 5-legged, expert in everything.

Delegation allows, in general, to have an equivalent or lower cost to internal resources with a higher and more specialized level of competence, since this will be shared among all the customers of the service provider with a positive ROI in a few months.

  • Great flexibility of resources

Sales on the Marketplace generate spikes in activity due to your news (new product releases, seasonality of sales, etc.) which are difficult to manage with these internal teams, because to absorb them you have to be permanently “excessive” or overloaded during these times .

Delegation avoids the risk of your management degradation, because it is your service provider who must face these constraints. It is organized to manage them, because it shares its processes and its teams.

  • Growth of your turnover

Having a dedicated and specialized team with the sole purpose of developing your sales on the Marketplace can only have a positive effect on your turnover despite the commission from your service provider.

Your service provider, in fact, must offer you a virtuous circle with a service model based on a% of your turnover on this channel, up or down. So you are certain that your partnership is beneficial to everyone, because the more he sells for you, the more he will earn for him and ultimately for you. The mistake to avoid in SMEs is to rely on a service provider who will offer you a flat rate, because in this case you will not benefit from the variability of the cost and you will not have any guarantee on the “energy” that this will dedicate to your success.

There are still many other benefits to delegate, and the most dynamic companies have figured this out by breaking free from functions that require time and strong skills in an ever-changing niche.

Delegation is a strategic choice and should be an integral part of your development plans. It should not be seen as a constraint, but a partnership that stimulates growth.

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