The 3 Phases of a Winning Marketplace Strategy for CPG Brands

 eCommerce is growing by 15% each year and has changed the shape of many sectors — consumer packaged goods (CPG) included. To remain at the forefront of customers’ minds, CPG companies are going to have to continue to adapt and pivot with industry changes. 

There are numerous eCommerce marketplace channels that CPG companies can launch brands on, such as Amazon and eBay. To successfully penetrate these markets, you have to have a product that’s in demand and a winning strategy. 

So, how do you create a strategy that allows your brand to enter eCommerce markets and still catch the eye of brick and mortar retailers? Keep reading to understand the three phases to create a winning marketplace strategy so your brand maximizes sales. 

What is a marketplace for CPG?

Online marketplaces fall under the umbrella of eCommerce and digital retail, while playing by a unique set of rules. On a digital marketplace, the retailer provides the space in which a CPG will sell, but the CPG itself is usually responsible for the product listing, product description and (sometimes) fulfilling any orders.

This can bring benefits for CPGs. For example, selling via an established marketplace gets you in front of potential sellers — and more of them! — faster than you could do on your own. It’s the equivalent of getting a stall in a super-popular farmers' market vs setting up a pop-up at the end of your drive. 

A drone view of rows and rows of marketplace stalls at dusk

A three-phase marketplace strategy for CPG brands

Phase 1: Launch 

The first of the three phases for creating a strategy that works across marketplace platforms is the launch phase. This is a bit complicated with several different activities required. 

  • Step 1: Before you can do anything in the eCommerce or marketplace space, you have to register your brand on the sales channels. To have full control over your product listings, you need to enroll in brand verification and registration programs with each site. This can be a very time-consuming step, but it’s important to do this from the start so consumers have the correct information about your brand.

  • Step 2: The second step is to focus on your retailer network. In this step, you’ll want to find online tools to help you grow your sales in the online marketplaces. There are several available to help your brand manage analytics, increase distribution, and drive traffic to each site.

  • Step 3: Next, you’ll need to understand the data feed requirements of each channel and meet those. Each marketplace has its own set of rules for sending and receiving data, so it’s important you understand and comply with these. There are several ways to track and send information that meets individual website requirements, you just need to find the right tools.

  • Step 4: Now you need to review each listing and ensure the information is accurate. Consumers who have incorrect information tend to have very negative experiences. Some marketplaces delist products with errors, so it’s important to resolve these issues upfront and ensure they stay updated in the future.

  • Step 5: In the final ‘launch’ step, you take the knowledge you learned in the above steps and you expand to wider audiences. Many brands start with one or two marketplaces, and that’s fine in the beginning, but you must expand after you have the insight needed to successfully sell your products. There are countless marketplaces across the globe, each one putting your products in front of new customers. You need to get your products on as many platforms as possible to maximize your sales. 

Top tip: there are numerous tools and software available to help manage marketplace and eCommerce stores, so researching to find the best fit for your brand is a must. 

"Launch" — a cartoon rocket shooting up to the skyPhase 2: Create a winning strategy 

Your brand has to stand out among a sea of competitors. To do so, you have to have a winning strategy. Your strategy will vary based on your industry and offering, so before you put pen to paper you should consider the following: 

  • Competitors: You can’t possibly understand how to stand out among competitors if you don’t first know what they are doing. Thorough research will help you gain visibility into every aspect of what your competitors are doing, from pricing strategy to advertising. You should also understand the customer pain points with your competitors. Even making a small change in how you do things to address those pain points can make all the difference.

  • Pricing: There’s no quick answer to CPG pricing. It’s important you price according to the market but you also have to protect retail networks — a delicate balance that can be hard to obtain. Avoid the need to reprice constantly by setting up a repricing tool that will automatically adjust your prices according to market changes and preset parameters.

  • Maximize Visibility: Consumers can’t buy your products if they don’t know about them. You have to have promotions and advertising in place to drive consumers to your products. Each marketplace will require slightly different advertising strategies, so it may be beneficial to have automated campaigns in place that adjust campaigns based on return. 

It can take a little time and effort to create a winning strategy, but it is worth it. Once you have it, you only have to adapt and revise! Put in the effort now and reap the rewards later!

An open laptop with the words 'Join us online' showing on-screenPhase 3: Keep it up

Now that you’ve established and executed your winning strategy, you have to keep it up. You’ll also need to keep adapting to changing markets and revise the strategy according to trends and competitors. 

  • Price Adjustments: Be prepared to change your pricing, utilizing promotions and advertising to ensure you stay in front of customers. A key component of a winning CPG marketplace strategy is knowing it is an ever-changing part of your business. Agility wins!

  • Advanced Advertising: Once you have a winning strategy, you need to up your advertising game. Continuously assess and revise campaigns to keep your products at the forefront of markets. You don’t want to lose your market share to a competitor due to a lack of advertising!

  • Competitor Monitoring: Market research is no once-and-done activity. Keep researching competitors and make sure you are changing your strategy accordingly. This can mean pricing, changes to how you list products, or new promotions.

  • Account Management: Your brand must have a strong account management process in place to manage all the eCommerce marketplaces you’ll be selling on. This may mean hiring an external professional or dedicating an internal team to it. It’s vital you manage your accounts effectively so you don’t get lost in the market. 

Defending your position in the market requires continuous effort. You need to ensure your products are listed on all available and relevant spaces — find out where you should be stocked, but aren’t, and get your foot in the door. It’s also important that you keep creating content that drives traffic to your stores, such as blogs or reviews from happy customers. 

Get started with Buffalo Market 

As a CPG brand, on-time delivery is a must. Once you create a winning marketplace strategy, you have to deliver the goods to keep customers coming back! Slow distribution could leave customers very unhappy and looking elsewhere. 

Managing online and offline retailers can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Partnering with the right companies can streamline the process and make sure you don’t have any mishaps. 

At Buffalo Market, we partner with leading brands just like yours to ensure on-time delivery. Contact us today to get started. 

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