Online marketplace experts offer eCommerce support to independent retailers

As the UK heads into a further three weeks under lockdown due to Covid-19, online marketplace consultancy, Velocity Commerce, is offering to provide support to Cambridgeshire’s independent retailers looking for alternative channels for selling stock.

Based in Cambridge, the Velocity Commerce team are experts in Amazon and eBay marketing, content optimisation, SEO, copywriting, supply chain, merchandising and international sales. The team has also recently been named one of Europe’s fastest growing companies by the FT 1000.

Companies looking to get set up as a seller on the platforms can receive free advice on how to do this by getting in touch with the Velocity Commerce consultancy team. To get started, Velocity Commerce’s key account managers have put together top tips for sellers to consider:

  1. Research the category

Amazon search data shows that the most popular search terms from the past week, have changed dramatically compared to the same week last year. Discounting the obvious (face masks, toilet roll, hand sanitizer) top searches now include at home sports equipment (yoga mats, resistance bands) and popular “mindfulness” activities (jigsaw puzzles and adult colouring books). Last year, the same period was dominated instead by consumer electronics – headphones, iPhones, fitness trackers and also garden furniture, as shoppers prepared for spring.

Other key categories which are experiencing an increase of Amazon searches include alcohol, grocery products, and toys and games. Independent retailers who have stock in these popular categories now have an opportunity to explore a new channel for their business, and should spend some time on marketplaces researching the variety of stock, price points, content and even popular brands to find the best way to position their offering.

  1. Consider unique bundles and deals

One technique which works well for selling on marketplaces is combining different product “bundles”. Independent sellers have an opportunity to consider combining different products which deliver something unique for the customer and offer added convenience too For example, there is an opportunity for gift retailers to combine “boredom busting” bundles of games, puzzles, books and toys which could work well together to keep all the family entertained.

  1. Create a shipping plan

Once a retailer has decided what they will sell and how, it’s crucial that potential marketplace sellers put a plan in place for fulfilling orders. It would be well-worth finding out how the current postal and delivery services are operating in the local area to make sure that potential customers have a realistic understanding of when they can expect to receive their delivery. Velocity Commerce has always been a big advocate of Royal Mail, a service which was invaluable when it first started out as a business and that is more important than ever during these challenging times.

  1. Plan for receiving feedback, customer care and handling returns

Finally, retailers need to decide their approach for handling customer feedback, reviews and managing customer care. Amazon and eBay are both built on the capability for customers to review products and provide real-time feedback, and, if the feedback is not well handled by the retailer, they will not be well supported by the platforms. Simple practices like responding to queries quickly, and addressing the customer’s concern when they’ve left negative feedback, can go a long way towards success on online marketplaces.

PJ Scott, Co-founder and Director, Velocity Commerce, comments: “As a community, we are all going through something serious and significant at the moment, and the only route through it successfully that we can see is to pull together and help each other. As the world moves online it opens up new and different opportunities for businesses to connect with their customers, and helping retailers to navigate that opportunity successfully is exactly what we do at Velocity Commerce, so we are actively looking for ways to help where we can.

“When Eddie and I started Velocity Commerce seven years ago, we certainly benefited from successful businesses sharing their knowledge and experience with us, and now it’s time for us to repay that to our local community. We would like to encourage any local retailer who has some stock to get in touch with us and our team will be happy to help.”

Eddie Latham and PJ Scott, co-founders of Velocity Commerce, have been building their business since 2013, going from selling clearance stock out of their homes alongside fulltime jobs, to handling the online marketplace accounts for a variety of brands across multiple categories, in just seven years.

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