Massmart’s Five Top Tips to Grow Your SME Business Online

The growth of eCommerce Marketplaces in recent years has given Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs greater, more cost-effective market access. By making their products available for sale on major retailers’ platforms, these SME entrepreneurs are better able to market their products to consumers who are highly motivated to take advantage of the greater variety of products available online.

Although eCommerce can be daunting to the uninitiated, Marketplaces offer a low-risk, cost-effective way to build expertise and leverage the marketing, fulfilment and logistics capabilities of specialist eCommerce teams.

For the past seven years, third party sellers have been able to sell their products on, one of South Africa’s most visited eCommerce websites. Seasoned industry expert and current eCommerce Marketplace Executive at Massmart, Laura Hartnady, has extensive marketplace experience, gained both locally and internationally, including as CEO of a boutique online retailer. Her experiences have informed her top five tips for SMEs to boost sales and grow their online businesses.

  • Range
    Build your range over time by testing customer demand with new products and investing in those that deliver sales with a sustainable profit margin. Your own brand will be more noticeable and credible as part of a coherent range of products. Strive to deliver better value than your competitors, or offer products that are unique.
  • Product information
    Providing customers with as much information as possible about your product will influence their purchase decision. Focus on multiple high-resolution product images, a detailed description with all the relevant features and benefits, unambiguous product specifications and a clear title that includes relevant information to support online search. Ideally search information should include product name, brand name, size and colour. In addition to enticing customers with this information, search engines such as Google’s shopping feed only display products that meet their data standards.
  • Price competitiveness
    The online environment is characterized by price democracy and is highly competitive. It’s therefore essential to regularly check and adjust price relative to your competitors or to highlight value differentiators such as additional features, higher specifications, upgrades or longer warranties.
  • Reliability
    There are a number of checkpoints involved with getting an item to a customer. From picking and packing, to handing over to a courier, for final delivery. A key element here is gearing your operation to consistently deliver to customers within your promised lead time. This starts with ensuring product availability and so it is imperative that you maintain and display accurate stock levels to avoid cancelling orders and disappointing customers, which will result in poor customer reviews.
  • Promotional and marketing activity
    eCommerce Marketplaces can have millions of products online. This means that you need to do all that you can to increase discoverability of your products. One way to do this is to participate in promotions offered on the marketplace. Price driven promotions are very impactful because they create the opportunity for your products to be featured on website banners and carousels, as well as in promotional emailers to customers. You should also supplement promotions by using your own social media to direct your customer following to your marketplace product pages.

Massmart is actively working with Walmart’s global tech hub in Bangalore and applying learnings from Walmart’s eCommerce and marketplace experiences across the globe to improve its own marketplace experience for both sellers and customers

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