Marketplace Pricing & Re-Pricing

Marketplace Pricing Guidelines

It’s important to understand how you will set pricing, and make price
adjustments on marketplaces and employ a strategy to avoid the “race to the
bottom” vs. competition.

When it comes to winning orders, it’s important to realize
that you don’t have to be the cheapest to win the order.

In order to cover pricing, we’ll eventually have to address the
marketplace strategy of “re-pricing”.  In
essence, marketplace re-pricing is simply a Seller making changes, to the price
of products they offer. Sellers may re-price for any reason, but typically it’s
in response to competition.

On our marketplace, Sellers’ offers can be shown side-by-side so buyers can
compare prices, and other product information very easily.  Un-competitive prices can cause buyers to
immediately drive towards the low price Sellers.   To be successful, Sellers will need to find
a way to rise above the crowd.

In addition to price, there are a number of factors that affect buyer behavior,
and marketplace pricing:

  • technical requirements matching, or how well the
    product meets the buyer need
  • scale, which is the number of products available
    from the seller
  • reputation, which boils down to brand awareness,
    and the quality of your profile
  • the technical data and other content you provide
    to support the buying decision
  • your marketplace seller ranking

The activity on marketplaces is typically much higher than that of individual
supplier websites.   Competition and the practice
of repricing can be significant.

Sellers have been “spying” on each other for decades, re-positioning
their products, and setting their prices according to a number of factors.    Ecommerce has made price comparison much
easier for the buyers.  In addition, Marketplace
sellers of almost any size can compare their offering against the competition
almost immediately and adjust strategy to win orders.  However, as mentioned before,  successful marketplace pricing and repricing
is not just about price. The seller with the lowest price does not always sell
the most.

If you are lucky enough to have only a few SKUs (stock keeping units), and
little competition for your particular product(s), you can monitor your
competitors and update prices as you see fit. That’s a great position to be in,
but is not the reality for most sellers of spring contacts.   In order to build a successful business spring
contact manufacturers require a large product suite, and find themselves
alongside tough competitors.

In order to implement a successful pricing strategy, it’s
wise to analyze the market and consider your own policies to make good pricing
decisions.  Instead of jumping into price
wars early or conducting endless research upfront (analysis paralysis), a
successful strategy on our marketplace can be implemented with focus on a few
areas:


1. Set, and review your pricing periodically to consider
whether re-pricing is required. 

2. Due to the focus of our marketplace, it will be possible
to manually re-price things yourself, and see the change that happens in a short
period of time.  Over a few days, or
weeks, you will be able to conduct testing by dropping the price on an item by increments,
observing the price action from both other Sellers and Customers.  Watch how many Sellers instantly follow you
down, how many ignore you, and how many take intermediate steps.


3. Your intention may be to use aggressive or general
percentages of re-pricing on all your products. 
It will be better to carefully choose your product pricing strategies by
product or category.   Decide your upper
and lower (minimum and maximum) prices for each product and test within your
upper and lower ranges. The purpose of a minimum is straightforward.  It will prevent losses and unacceptably low
margins. The need for a maximum price is simple as customers will not purchase
your products at excessively high prices.

Springcontacts.com does not currently have pricing
guidelines or rules such as MAP (minimum advertised prices or price parity
policies which mandate that Sellers cannot offer a lower price elsewhere.

Manufacturers may want to consider how they implement policies for their
own sales channels and authorized distributors, including selling activity on
Springcontacts.com.  

Manufacturer’s
should consider setting the ceiling price vs. the price shown on their own
website, and implementing a MAP for distributors and/or resellers.  Note that in the case of auctions or
liquidations of excess inventory, these can and probably should be waived.

4. Automate your pricing and reprising activity as much as
possible.   There are a number of
automated software tools that are mainly tailored for the more generic
marketplaces, such as Amazon and eBay.  Any
automated re-pricer you choose now might not work with Springcontacts.com, or
other marketplaces you trade on, or even handle the full volume of SKUs that
you have.

5. Continually and regularly monitor your sales levels,
margins, and pricing strategy.   

As you add new products, they become part of the core catalog and other Sellers can offer them too.

The catalog-driven nature of Springcontacts.com means it’s very easy to find
a specific product. In fact, if the catalog is working as it should, each
unique product will exist only once and have a single product detail page.  That
is in stark contrast with other marketplaces, most of which are listing-driven and searches often
yield thousands of results for the same product.

When a product has one description, one set of images, one collection of
reviews, and so on, there is little left to distinguish between
multiple sellers of that product, except in the case of purchasing directly from the manufacturer vs. a reseller.  How does that affect Springcontacts.com Sellers? Well, they must do their utmost to optimize the few attributes under
their control – and the one thing Sellers can control fully is how they present the product and it’s
price.

When listing your products for direct purchase, optimize your listing
titles, by including the brand name as well as the part number.  Be
sure to include popular search keywords.  More attributes = more
visibility within the filtering system as buyers and engineers search
for specific characteristics they may need.  Keep your pricing competitive

Some key Seller metrics that may be implemented in the future to help Sellers differentiate, and Buyers make decisions are:

  • Order Defect Rate (ODR) – a measurement of “bad” orders indicated by poor
    customer feedback
  • Level of credit card charge-backs
  • Delivery, including how quickly orders are shipped and speed of delivery
  • The amount of time the seller has been active and their volume of sales
  • Other seller performance metrics

Springcontacts.com is very focused on providing customers with the best
experience possible, and that includes low prices.  However, Sellers cannot succeed by
sacrificing delivery speed and customer service to only provide low prices.

How can you avoid joining the race to the bottom with your prices, or
at least minimize the impact direct marketplace exposure can have on them? That’s a question that goes to the
heart of selling on marketplaces, and it doesn’t have a straightforward answer.
Sellers cannot just remove price from the competitive landscape, but they might
be able to sidestep the problem and avoid competing only on price.

Having to focus on pricing strategy is not as important for auctions, which are
more listing-driven. Auction selling is intended to be a trading platform, whereas using the
catalog
in the marketplace is more tightly controlled.  It is much more
difficult to differentiate identical products if the auction feature
is used, but Springcontacts.com
provides Sellers a lot of freedom over how they present themselves and their
products for auctions.

Sellers will have the freedom to offer almost any type of
spring contact or test probe for sale in Auctions, which follow more of a free-market
philosophy.  This means that Sellers can:

 

  • Enter the marketplace relatively easily, without
    retail experience.
  • Describe products in their own way and provide
    their own images, even if the product has stock images or is already offered by
    another Seller.
  • Sell the same product in many different ways –
    personalized or bundled with accessories, for example.
  • Style your product listings with HTML, enabling not
    only rich text formatting but also high-quality branded designs.
  • Offer attractive payment & delivery options.

 

You can distinguish yourself as a Seller, and your products, in a number of
ways. For example:

  • Use professional listing content and images
  • Provide a great description and sales copy
  • Add expert advice, tutorials, videos, or insights to listings
  • Provide outstanding images
  • Set a generous returns policy and highlight it
    to buyers
  • Show some personality as a Seller and differentiate your Company

Encourage buyers to trust you as a Seller, help them
understand exactly what you are selling, and clearly explain why they should
buy it.

Whether you are a Seller, or a Manufacturer, branding is so
essential. Decide if you are selling in a category, and pick a message that
has some kind of tie down to invoke an emotional response in your buyer (want vs. need). If you’re
selling a large product line, accent your strong brand that’s consistent but
almost emotionless.

Not having the lowest price may reduce sales, but it is not
necessarily the kiss of death.  In the future, Springcontacts.com will include many factors in
the algorithms used for ranking Sellers, and sales can certainly be made without
having the lowest price.  Especially if
your competition isn’t up to snuff in other areas, more sales can be made
without having the lowest price.

Some ideas Sellers should consider to win more orders are:

  • Offer fast and free shipping.
  • Provide excellent response times to questions,
    and customer service for orders.
  • Address negative feedback and claims quickly and
    effectively.
  • Bundle products together to create unique
    combinations that help buyers save time & make appropriate choices.
  • Sell customized, or otherwise unique products.

Selling in our marketplace is not much different than
elsewhere.  In order to succeed you
either need to be a competitive provider, provide exceptional service, and you will need to offer unique
products (something that nobody else has). If you’ve got the right products,
you can position them differently. 

How
do you offer something nobody else has? Sellers have to answer that question
themselves, and it will not be easy. If it was, everyone else would be doing it
and it would no longer be something nobody else has.


For the more commodity type products, Buyers will want low
prices, and it is the intent of our marketplace to satisfy buyers, and do a
fantastic job of offering competitive prices for them.

Marketplace Sellers can choose to sell competitive products
(which the majority are) or try to carve out a unique niche which protects them
from direct competition – even if it’s only for a little while.

In our industry, most Sellers will offer products that many others also sell. In the case of online sales,
it’s crucial to understand competitive prices, while also effectively differentiating your company and products. In an environment where many Sellers are present, the job of manually monitoring the competition and
adjusting prices will be a regular course of business.

If you have questions about online marketing, please visit the Support Center to contact us for assistance.

Your Success is our Success!

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