Marketplace Manager

We test a new online service that enables a merchant to list their product at more than 1200 URLs and reach more than 200 million unique prospects

 

We test a new online service that enables a merchant to list their product at more than 1200 URLs and reach more than 200 million unique prospects.

In the July Edition of the Journal, we posed a thought provoking question:

Consider the impact of 200,000,000 visitors to your web site – that is two hundred MILLION visitors in a single month, or more “warm clicks” than most any of our humble reader-marketers will capture in a full 12 months of aggressive net pedaling.

Is it possible for ordinary mortals, with extraordinarily limited budgets, to ever approach an audience of this size?

More pointedly, we focused on 13 questions

  1. How does the new online service Marketplace Manager work?
  2. On which sites does Marketplace Manager list your product?
  3. How effective is Marketplace Manager?
  4. Is Marketplace Manager a good choice for the average merchant?
  5. What is the financial cost for Marketplace Manager?
  6. What is the labor cost for Marketplace Manager?
  7. Can you integrate Marketplace Manager with an existing store?
  8. Can you automatically upload products from a Yahoo store into Marketplace Manager?
  9. Will Marketplace Manager work with your existing merchant Account?
  10. How can you use Marketplace Manager to attract free subscribers?
  11. How can you use Marketplace Manager to sell items that require long ad copy?
  12. How does the Marketplace Manager Artificial Intelligence Engine work to increase your sales?
  13. How can you achieve maximum results with Marketplace Manager?

You can view the full experiment here.

In the July issue, we reported that Marketplace Manager proved to have serious potential; many of our readers subsequently “signed up” for this new service (though we did NOT accept any affiliate commissions(*1).

But what has happened in the past 90 days with this new online service. Is it really working? Has it survived the dot com holocaust?

Here is the experience of one our subscribers….

Is Marketplace Manager really working?

Johann Erickson is a Yahoo Merchant. He is also a subscriber (and a Lab pass Holder) with MarketingExperiments.Com. Johann was intrigued by the Marketplace Manager concept.

“I felt I was doing well with Yahoo and was interested in expanding into some new marketplaces. I realized I was only reaching a small percentage of buyers through Yahoo and the competition was becoming increasingly fierce.”

Using the Marketplace Manager’s Yahoo Store Import Tool, Johann uploaded the products from his Yahoo Store into his Marketplace Manager listings.

“This month, my MM sales will equal or beat my Yahoo store orders. And so far I only have about 25% of my inventory listed with Marketplace Manager. My business has doubled in just over a month…”

Johann’s listings in eBay, Amazon and Ubid, and other auction/classified sites have not only sold products… they have also attracted traffic to his Yahoo Store. For every click from a Marketplace Manager Listing, he generates an additional $0.19 in revenue.

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Here are his specific observations:

  1. ON COMPARING HIS YAHOO STORE TO HIS MARKETPLACE MANAGER ACCOUNT – My MM account has about 700 of the 2500 items I have in the Yahoo store. I do not have faith that the other items would sell at a good rate, so I am a bit leery of investing $2500 a month as an experiment. This month, my MM sales will equal or beat (by a little bit), my Yahoo store orders. I am expecting my Yahoo store to hit about 280 orders. (This would be higher, but my sales have slowed since the 11th… I was on a pace for 400 or more). So far, MM has gotten me 280 orders, so it’ll be a “toss up”.
  2. ON GETTING AUCTION WINNERS TO BUY MORE PRODUCTS FROM HIS MARKETPLACE MANAGER STOREFRONT – I have gotten 5 or 6 of those, and I have been thoroughly happy. One person bought 7 different items from the MM storefront after winning an auction. So a sale for maybe 15 dollars turned into a sale for $140 or more …that was very nice and surprising, and there have been others.
  3. ON ORDER PROCESSING WITH MARKETPLACE MANAGER – Order processing with MM is over-all efficient, though I wish that when people selected the check/money order option, they would get a reminder if the check does not come in 10 days or so … I think it should do that. People may have the intention to pay, but it does not always work like that. When people select PayPal, something needs to be done with this as well. No one seems to understand that they have to go into their account and manually send the money to me… Other than that, processing payments is pretty simple and rather intuitive. (*2)
  4. ON UPLOADING INVENTORY INTO MARKETPLACE MANAGER – Inventory, I have to admit, is the one complaint I have with MM. I do it weekly, so I have to download the current spreadsheet of items, import it into Access and compare what items were out of stock to what is out of stock now…then re-upload those items to deactivate them and reactivate currently out of stock items. I have worked the Access queries so it only takes me 10 or 15 minutes now, but I think there has to be better way to do it on the server side for the site.

Johann is not the only subscriber/merchant who has achieved success. We have also learned that:

  • CMT Trading sold $55,00, in the month of October, with 326 products listed.
  • Gadget Universe made over 85 sales, in three weeks, with 118 products listed.

But are these stories the exception? Are most merchants succeeding? How likely is it that you could succeed with a Marketplace Manager Account?

What type of merchant is NOT achieving success with a Marketplace Manager Account?

It is clear that Marketplace Manager will NOT work for every merchant. The Company recently surveyed Merchants who cancelled their Marketplace Manager account. Here is what they discovered:

  • 90% of all unsuccessful accounts were using Marketplace Manager with less than 20 products in the system.

Marketplace Manager is designed to maximize return on investment by “intelligently” spending marketing dollars based on product performance. Larger inventories work much better on this program. Of the top 25 revenue-generating merchants in October 2001, the average number of products listed was 234.

  • 95% of all unsuccessful accounts used Marketplace Manager for less than 2 months.

Marketplace Manager is not a get rich quick program. It can take several weeks to develop the required data and reap the full benefit of the program

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What type of merchant is achieving success with a Marketplace Manager account?

We posed this question to one of the original developers of Marketplace Manager, Jalali Hartman:

——————————–quote

The first question any merchant should ask is whether or not their inventory has any demand on the web. The merchant should ask whether or not their inventory contains items that can not be bought in any local store. As a general rule, the inventory needs to be 1) competitively priced and or 2) unique enough so that it is not readily available anywhere else.

If the merchant is just getting started with their business, they should consider focusing on proven categories. Following are the top categories (based on number of sales):

  1. Home & Garden
  2. Personal Computers and Laptops
  3. Consumer Electronics
  4. General Discounted Merchandise
  5. Golf & Tennis

——————————–end quote

There is a more help available… In the original report on Marketplace Manager, we listed 10 KEYS TO ACHIEVING SUCCESS. If you have already purchased a Lab Pass, you can log in and read this report in your private copy of the Digest.

If you are not yet a member, and you would like to learn how to access all of the information available in the Marketing Experiments Lab, just check here.

(*1) In the interest of full disclosure, we want to notify our reader that when our original report was written, the Marketing Experiments Journal did not have any working relationship with Marketplace Manager. We have subsequently developed a publishing partnership… BUT WE STILL DO NOT ACCEPT any affiliate commissions from subscribers who sign up with MM.

(*2) Mr. Erickson adds: “I have inputted my Card Service information into the MM account, so I can process cards online, which has been quite the time saver… used to do two separate windows and copy and paste, which was a mess. I usually print the order, process the card, then leave the feedback when available…My eBay feedback, at last check, was up to 30 or so (with 1 negative, which was undeserved from someone who didn’t like his item and never replied back to any emails).”

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