If there’s one thing EVERY 2019 e-commerce plan needs to include, it’s a marketplace component. Marketplaces are the way of the modern shopping world, where 395 million buyers are active on eBay, Walmart and Amazon Prime alone.

With millions of sellers now competing for those sales across billions of products, you’re going to need some new ways to differentiate.

To help you get a head start, we’ve rounded up three of the most important best practices to have on your radar heading into 2019.  

Top Best Practice for Marketing: Amazon Advertising

If you’re wondering how far to stretch your Amazon Advertising budget, consider this: In a recent Rithum analysis, it was discovered that sellers who advertise on Amazon grow two to three times faster than those that don’t.

More than half of online product searches start on Amazon, and it’s not unusual for the entire first page of search results to be populated by ads. If your products aren’t appearing in those prime spots, there’s a high likelihood you’ll lose sales to competitors.

We encourage all brands and retailers to be active in three key areas of Amazon Advertising:

  1. Sponsored Products to get individual listings in front of consumers as they search for product-specific keywords. Be sure to take advantage of new targeting options to increase your chances of getting found when shoppers browse detail pages and categories.
  2. Sponsored Brands to reach consumers who are browsing but don’t yet know what they want to buy. We encourage every brand and retailer to leverage Sponsored Brands as a way to help make more people aware of the items you sell.
  3. Amazon Coupons to create compelling promotions in the form of digital discounts that show up in search results. These can be especially effective for products in coupon categories where competition is still relatively mild.

Top Best Practice for Selling: Structured Pricing Strategy

As shoppers become acutely attuned to the wide array of options for purchasing the same product from different sellers, it’s time to get aggressive with pricing.

But as any seasoned seller knows, this is no easy feat. Adjusting product prices up and down, sometimes by as little as a few cents, must be done daily. This single factor can be the very thing that helps you land the buy box and win more sales. Done right, a structured pricing strategy will also ensure you’re securing orders without sacrificing profit margins.  

Two tactics that work especially well for this include:

  1. Performance-based pricing that automatically adjusts the costs consumers see based on your latest sales and product performance data.
  2. Automated repricing that’s built to align competitive prices across Amazon, eBay, Google and other marketplaces so you’ll: a) Reduce the risk of breaching marketplace pricing agreements, and b) Reach your goals faster — whether you want to make adjustments based on the competition or secure more Buy Box wins without sacrificing revenue.

Top Best Practice for Fulfilling: Automation

If you’re still juggling a lot of fulfillment spreadsheets and hands-on management, it’s time to put automation at the top of your list. Brands and retailers that are thriving in the era of two-day and same-day deliveries tend to be the companies that integrate and automate. Among the many reasons to put this best practice into action, fulfillment automation will equip you to significantly speed up delivery times while cutting down on shipping costs.

When getting started, there are three essential elements to consider:

  1. Intelligent order routing, which lets you have each order sent to the most effective fulfillment partner based on shipping speeds, delivery fees, warehouse locations and other factors.
  2. Automated inventory management that ensures inventory levels are always up-to-date across multiple marketplaces.
  3. Automated shipment tracking that’s instantly initiated and ensures buyers have the most accurate, up-to-date information on package locations.

Don’t get us wrong. These are far from the only best practices you’ll need to have in your wheelhouse moving forward. But they’re important enough to warrant a standalone post as we help sellers prepare for the coming year.

Are you ready to move beyond these best practices? Not to worry. We have plenty more to share. You can get a detailed look at a wide range of strategies — tips for eBay advertising, proven techniques for optimizing listings, suggestions for diversifying carriers and more — in these newly-updated resources: