The First Sale Is the Hardest: Closing Your First Marketplace E-Commerce Sale

by Lois Leonard

2 min read

Marketplace e-commerce is more popular than ever, and for good reason. It is an accessible way to start a small business with hands-off website logistics. However, the competition can be tough for a brand-new Amazon, eBay or Etsy seller. Here is what you need to know about getting that crucial first sale, and many more to come.

Study the Competition

The first step is to search for keywords targeting products in your niche and examine the search results. The results that show up highest on the page belong to top-performing listings, which are often listings with many sales and great reviews. High-performing marketplace listings have common factors, such as:

  • Descriptive titles
  • Effective SEO
  • Concise product descriptions
  • Obvious branding
  • Quality photography

Take notes on what seems to work, and use the same strategies on your own product listings.

Maximize Your SEO

Search engine optimization helps your listings achieve visibility. Marketplace e-commerce platforms such as Etsy and eBay have thousands of listings per niche, so using optimal SEO strategy lets your listings rank above the competition. Some tips include:

  • Using long-phrase and short-phrase keywords
  • Researching keywords on Google Analytics
  • Repeating keywords in your title, product description, and tags
  • Searching your keywords to see where your listings rank

If your SEO is in good shape, then you can take advantage of it even more by using promoted listings. Most marketplace e-commerce platforms have a paid listing feature that lists your items at the top of the search results, but only when your items would organically match the keywords searched already.

Refine Your Brand

Potential customers want to know you’re great at what you do, and there is no better way to reassure them than through branding. Consider hiring a freelancer or a firm for a marketing consultation. You should have a cohesive brand that is instantly recognizable and stays the same between your shop profile, your listings, your social media presence, and even your external website. You can achieve this by:

  • Having a memorable name that relates to your product
  • Using color psychology in your graphic design
  • Having a unique and recognizable logo and color palette
  • Utilizing a “mission statement” and reflecting your values in your branding
  • Maintaining a cohesive theme in your product line

Brands tend to undergo evolution over time, so don’t feel like you’re committed to your first branding exercise. Your brand may not fit your product or company mission in a year, and that is fine. All businesses should undergo regular branding consultations to discuss what is working and what needs to change.

Perfect Your Product

Excellent SEO and on-point branding doesn’t matter if your product isn’t better than the competitors’, so make sure you’re doing all you can to create a product that stands above the competition. There is no such thing as “done” when it comes to product improvement, but you can collect feedback through market research from your customer base and make changes until you’re pushing out the best product possible.

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