As a fashion retailer it can be valuable for you to benefit from the growth of fashion marketplaces. More and more consumers are shopping online on platforms like Zalando and About You. In this article you will find all the valuable information about where to go, what this will do for your brand or company and what strategy you can implement to gain success.
- What are fashion marketplaces and which ones are the most important?
- The 5 steps for selling on fashion marketplaces
- Checklist selling on marketplaces
What are fashion marketplaces and which ones are the most important?
Marketplaces are platforms on which you can market your products or your brand. They are online sales channels that you can use in addition to selling through your own web shop or physical store. Well-known examples are bol.com and Amazon.
Online fashion marketplaces are - you guessed it - online marketplaces focused on fashion. Unlike one-stop-shops like the above marketplaces (where you can buy just about anything) you only buy (sports) clothing, shoes and fashion accessories on fashion marketplaces.
Are you a fashion seller? Then these marketplaces might be more interesting for you than the general marketplaces, because you'll be dealing with customers who are looking for what you sell: fashion.
Why use marketplaces?
Marketplaces have grown tremendously in recent years. In fact, according to a study by U.S. tech company Mirakl, marketplaces collectively grew by 81 percent in 2020.
Retailers and brand owners who offer their products on these large marketplaces saw their sales increase in the past year. This is because you reach a much larger audience with your products in your own store as well as on marketplaces. This way you increase the chance of orders and that leads to more sales. The same of course applies to offering pieces of clothing and fashion brands through fashion marketplaces.
Who are the important players in the field of fashion?
In the field of fashion there are a number of important players. These are Zalando, About You and Otto. All three web shops offer their own products. In addition, they give brands a platform to sell products as external partners.
Zalando, with as many as 30 million active customers, is the largest online retailer in Europe. Zalando's clothing is available in no less than 17 countries. If you sell your clothes through this platform, you take advantage of the digital infrastructure and reach of the online retailer. Moreover, Zalando offers opportunities to expand the cooperation with logistics services. To find more about selling on Zalando, click here.
Otto originally started as a mail order company selling shoes. In the meantime, the assortment of the web shop has been expanded to include many other products. Consumers can go to Otto for furniture, toys, electrical appliances and, of course, fashion. If you are looking to expand your brand internationally, be sure to check out the possibilities at Otto. The German online retailer is active in more than 20 countries. For a more detailed explanation of the benefits of Otto for your brand click here.
About You is a subsidiary of Otto. Unlike its parent company, About You focuses solely on fashion. The target group is primarily young people, and the platform focuses on offering an extensive fashion experience. About You now operates in 10 European countries. For a more detailed explanation of the benefits and why you should sell on AboutYou, click here.
Want to know more about selling on marketplaces? Click on the arrow below to get in touch with one of our specialists.
The 5 steps for selling on fashion marketplaces
Below, we go into more detail about implementing the strategy for offering apparel through the major fashion marketplaces.
1. The best marketplace strategy for your brand
In the fashion industry, you can divide the available marketplaces into four different categories. Depending on the type of apparel you sell, you choose which marketplace is most relevant to you.
If you have a brand with many different types of products and you primarily want to inspire the consumer, it can be a good strategy to showcase your products on a large platform. For example, the platforms that fit this strategy could be:
- About You
- Galeries Lafayette
For big brands, these sites are appealing because they have a large reach. In addition to having a large organic reach, retailers like Zalando and About You also stay close to the customer through the good service they offer. What makes these platforms even more appealing is their campaign-based approach, for example around seasonal products.
As a brand you profit from the marketing possibilities without investing a lot at once. As with Google and Facebook, you pay for advertising on these marketplaces via Pay Per Click. You only pay when visitors click on your advertisement.
Demand fulfillment marketplaces are not so much about branding, but more about conversion. The goal is to sell as many products as possible. If you only want to sell t-shirts or pants, the platforms below are perfect for you:
Like the demand creation marketplaces, these platforms also have a large reach. However, the focus with these platforms is on generating conversion and traffic. To maximize the number of sales and keep the number of returns and cancellations as low as possible, these platforms focus on optimizing the content around the products. This includes the addition of high-quality photos, extensive product descriptions and reviews from buyers. A competitive price is also an important factor for the platforms to increase your product's ranking or to place it in the buying block.
Category specialists are specialist marketplaces and therefore primarily intended to sell niche products. A category specialist does sell fashion but focuses mainly on one specific category. For example, only plus-size clothing, sportswear, lingerie or shirts. Examples are:
Sellers of niche products often deal in high-end products and therefore target the early adopters. This target group likes to be the first to buy the latest products. The marketing activities are mainly using banners with branding as the focus. The goal is to gain authority among the relevant target group. Discounts are not often handed out because in general their public is willing to pay a higher price for the brand and their exclusive products.
As a retailer you can use a discount marketplace to sell your unsold stock. The individual products on these discount marketplaces cannot be found on Google so they do not compete with the current stock of the new collection on other marketplaces. These platforms are also lucrative for sellers who cannot get rid of their products elsewhere because they mainly work with promotions and discounts. Some well-known discounters are:
The assortment you find at discounters is often from old seasons or concerns surplus stock. The goal for retailers is to still generate income when they have not been able to do so on other platforms.
Want to know more about the best fashion marketplace strategy? Click on the arrow below to get in touch with one of our fashion specialists.
2. The best integrators for fashion marketplaces
To optimally integrate your marketplace strategy, it is useful to work with software systems for marketplace management. These software systems are also called “integrators”. It is important that the integrator you use is “compatible” with the right platforms. Marketplace specialists prefer to work with:
The reason integrators are used is that retailers are often drowning in the logistics and financial issues that come at them in the beginning. Once you get a lot of orders through marketplaces, affiliates and comparison sites you benefit from the volume of visitors that come to these sites.
Through programs such as ChannelEngine and Tradebyte, you ensure that the online orders from different sales platforms can be managed centrally. Through a single back office system, you regulate issues such as prices, stock and customer queries. You do not have to switch between the different platforms, which saves you a lot of time and energy.
ChannelAdvisor is an integrator that you can use well if you want to sell on Fashion marketplaces. Using this integrator offers a number of advantages:
- With ChannelAdvisor it is possible to automate the pricing of products and the logistical process.
- There are extensive opportunities to customize your content within ChannelAdvisor.
- There are several options for managing your inventory and distribution centers.
Tradebyte makes international collaborations possible. You can see this online marketing tool as a link between international marketplaces and online retailers. Tradebyte ensures that consumer orders on platforms such as Amazon, Otto and Zalando are passed on to the seller.
Tradebyte’s Super Retailer Network includes more than 120 of the best known marketplaces throughout Europe and is growing continuously. Thus, as a seller you have access to the best-known platforms in 16 countries. This program is therefore appealing to retailers who want to grow internationally.
Channelengine as a tool is known for being easy to use. Its advantages include:
- The clear interface: this makes it easy to work on your online visibility.
- Pricing can be automated and controlled centrally.
- Channelengine offers extensive mapping possibilities to adjust the content.
- The tool can be integrated flexibly with all your systems.
For several reasons, an integrator is definitely recommended if you sell your products across multiple platforms.
3. How do you arrange the operation per marketplace?
As a partner of a major online retailer (Zalando or Amazon), you can opt for fulfillment through these companies. This offers you as a seller a number of advantages:
- Saving time: you don't have to spend extra time on stock management, packing and shipping the clothes to customers and handling returns. Shipping costs are lower and that makes your products more profitable. At the end of the day, you will have a bigger profit.
- Additional storage space: by using the warehouse of the platforms you can offer a wider range of products at a lower cost.
- Scaling up: you can scale up quickly and easily thanks to the fulfillment services of the online stores.
4. How do you optimize the content of your brand?
In addition to the standard rules for content on marketplaces, a number of specific rules apply to fashion products. Well-optimized content can reduce the number of returns. Zalando Germany has a return rate of about 50%. This is inconvenient for sellers because returns incur costs. You reduce this high return rate with a few simple tips.
For fashion, it is important to focus on optimizing size charts (descriptions of the fit) rather than titles and findability. After all, the main reason for returning clothes is that they do not fit properly. Moreover, within fashion there is a large turnover of products, because every season there is a new collection. This makes optimizing product information a lot of work.
For seasonal products you can choose to keep the content basic (that saves work) and for the products you sell all year round (Never out of stock) you can choose to pay more attention to the product information.
The following tips will help you as an online fashion retailer to sell as much as possible and receive as few returns as possible:
- Optimize and implement the right images
Images say more than words. Even on online platforms, sellers are more likely to rely on pictures. Ideally, place 5 to 8 images per product page. Customers get a good idea of a garment when a model wears it. In addition, a 360-degree view gives a complete picture of the fit of the garment.
- Collect reviews from previous buyers
Peer reviews count as free marketing for your brand or products. Good reviews boost sales. In addition, positive reviews make you appear higher in the search results of the marketplace when a customer searches for relevant terms.
- Create content around your product or brand outside the marketplaces
This is not so much about the pictures or text accompanying your product on the platform. This has to do with the social media content that is shared outside the platform. A great way to create extra attention around your products is to use bloggers and influencers. This way you generate brand awareness and familiarity among your target audience.
- Include size charts with your fashion products
Every brand is different. A size S from one brand fits differently from a size S from another brand. So it helps when you give the platform advice on how a garment fits. Size charts that show the sizes in centimeters ensure that the consumer orders the right size sooner. This in turn prevents unnecessary returns.
5. How do I make sure I get the most traffic to my product page?
First of all, you generate extra traffic by having your listing and product page in order. You can also use various marketing tools, such as:
- Sponsored products: this can be around a brand or product. You bid on keywords where you want customers to find you. Create optimal content to inform and inspire the visitor. A buying block or meta tag that is also well put together makes the consumer want to click on. Ultimately, that leads to higher conversion.
- Branded content: bloggers and influencers create beautiful branded content and post it on their own channels. By finding the influencer who fits your target group, you will quickly reach a large audience. Let the influencer post a direct link that his or her followers can use right away. The right data analysis tools will measure the success of the influencer campaign.
- Display ads: display advertising is extremely interesting for reaching potential customers who are in-market to buy a similar product. You can target similar products, relevant categories or interest groups.
Checklist selling on marketplaces
If you deal with marketplaces in the right way, it can be very profitable. Therefore, we provide you with a short list to give you a clear overview:
The ultimate goal of refining your strategy is to reduce cancellations and returns and increase conversion. By using an integrator, you collect data and know exactly what improvements you can make as a clothing brand or retailer. Ultimately, it leads to you being able to work cost-effectively and it makes sure satisfied customers will return.