We noticed that consumers start their search on marketplaces more and more.
We interviewed Judith van Meijel at Betersport.
‘It all started in 2005, when our founder Yves Stout wanted to sell his treadmill on Marktplaats.nl. Soon he expanded this into one of the first shopping websites in the Netherlands: Betersport. We started with importing and selling fitness equipment, but quickly had the need to develop our own brand of fitness equipment. This allows us to offer high-quality products to our customers at very competitive prices. We develop the products in the factory and stock it in our warehouse. There is no external supplier, allowing us to offer great prices and quick delivery times.’’
‘We started by selling products through our own online shopping environment, but we decided to start selling through online marketplaces as well. This increases the visibility of our online shop since it allows consumers to find our products on Google in multiple ways. We’ve also noticed that consumers are starting their searches on marketplaces more and more.
The decision to sell through marketplaces soon proved to be a success.
We didn’t just see our sales increase, but also the number of customers visiting our online shop. These numbers included a lot of Belgian consumers as well. In order to offer them a tailored and pleasant shopping experience, we decided to launch a Belgian shopping website in 2017.
In 2018 we launched a French shopping site as well. To add multiple channels to offer our products, we looked into partnering with French marketplaces, such as Fnac and Cdiscount. It enables us to be more visible and increase brand recognition more rapidly. This has allowed us to launch and grow our brands in an efficient way.’
‘The main challenge is the language barrier you face, both when it comes to communicating with the marketplace and supplying content in the right language. For products from international brands, you might already have been given content in different languages by the manufacturer, including French. But when it comes to smaller brands or own brands, we have to do the work ourselves and create French content. We were able to handle this easily, since we had a French employee at the time who did the translatios.
Good content is enormously important if you want to be successful on marketplaces. That means you have to have good product photos with clear descriptions. This instils confidence in consumers.’
We expanded our focus on our webshop, without losing sight of the core values of our business.
‘We try to keep moving and that means we’re always looking for the next logical step. One of the ways in which we do this, is by checking how we can optimise our product selection, scaling it to the needs of our customers. We look at what products are most popular, what the trends are, and whether anything is missing.
Over the years we expanded our range of products with many related products, such as yoga equipment and outdoor sports (table tennis tables, football goals, and trampolines, for instance). We opted for trampolines because it is related to the fitness category “sports for kids”.
‘We have seen a massive sales growth during this period. With people stuck at home and still wanting to be active, they are buying all kinds of sports and gym equipment so they can exercise without leaving the house.
We’ve been in a peak season for over 9 weeks now. Normally we peak around December and January because of people working on their New Year’s resolutions. At the moment, we have another peak due to the coronavirus restrictions.’
We opted for EffectConnect’s order link to enable us to collect all marketplace orders in our Magento online shop.
‘We love working with EffectConnect. We started with the order link through EffectConnect after first having a direct link from our Magento shopping website to the marketplaces and from those marketplaces to our back-office system. All in all it was quite a cumbersome way of doing things, leading to different systems showing different stock levels. We sometimes had to update information manually.
That’s why we chose order linking via EffectConnect. Now all our orders that come in through our own shopping sites as well as the online marketplaces are collected in Magento. The automation offered by EffectConnect has been a great experience for us. When we have questions or when something doesn’t go entirely as we want it, we just give them a call and they solve it right away!’
Do you want to grow now and in the future by selling through online marketplaces? Download our free white paper titled ‘Growing Exponentially on Marketplaces’, which includes input from entrepreneur Bas Urlings.