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Is the International Marketplace Network the best way to expand?
Last week, Real, CDiscount, EPrice and EMAG announced that their “one account to rule them all” model is now ready for users. Whilst it hasn’t been a secret that they were planning to work together, they have pressed the magic button which allows online sellers to connect all their accounts through the International Marketplace Network.
Today, Jesse Wragg, Managing Director at eCommeleon takes a look at the pros and cons of the International Marketplace Network. On the one hand if you already sell on either Real, CDiscount, EPrice or EMAG it enables you to easily list on the other three marketplaces extending your reach, but equally it’s unlikely to be as effective as translating and localising your listings for each marketplace on an individual basis.
If you want to really do justice in each country you’ll want to tweak your feed for each marketplace. (eCommeleon enables you to upload your product data and it can then help you map, convert and optimise it for each of these channels and validate it with each channel’s rules and requirements).
So how does the International Marketplace Network work?
My interpretation of the IMN is that it’s the cross-channel equivalent of Amazon’s ‘build international listings’ tool. That is, sign up in one locale/channel, press the right button and “pow”; you’re listing and selling across multiple marketplaces in multiple countries.
In theory, it sounds great. The practice remains to be seen, particularly as Amazon has plenty of issues between it’s own marketplaces (attributes getting confused, EANs not working properly etc.), so it will be interesting to see how this cross-platform technology works when having to deal with very different systems.
Is it worth it?
In general, the IMN seems to be a bit of a no-brainer, as long as you don’t mind exporting the CSV with your orders and uploading it into your system. What they don’t say is how this can be managed alternatively. For example, Real & Cdiscount both integrate well with Linnworks for order management, ePrice & Cdiscount with ChannelAdvisor. Does that mean that you could now view your orders from Real in ChannelAdvisor via the Cdiscount connection? If so, that’s something to write home about. If not, sellers using a system such as this will just need to make sure that they’ve got a decent buffer on their inventory in order to avoid over-selling.
What to watch out for
Machine translation. It’s getting better, there’s no arguments about that. But when you look at the trouble Amazon has with converting listings internationally via the build international listings tool, it’s easy to see that machines can’t yet be trusted to automate the process of converting data from one marketplace to another; even marketplaces under the same hat. Whilst it’s nice to see that Real, Cdiscount, EMAG & ePrice are working together to take on Amazon, sellers should still remember that these are still different beasts unto themselves and whilst the technical integration is now alive and well, we’re working with multiple channels which each have their own requirements.
Let’s imagine that Cdiscount allows you to use 250 characters on titles in your category, but Real only allows 200. Sure, the system can machine translate from French to German, but what will your German title look like on Real after it’s been machine translated and had 50 characters sliced off the end?
If you’ve got an account with any of the four International Marketplace Network partner marktplaces, you’re now able to sell on any of the rest, quickly, simply and at the click of a button – It’s a quick and easy way to expand your international reach and ideal if you want to test the waters on a new marketplace in a new country.
But, if you are serious about listing on all four channels channel you might as well do it properly. Just as you tailor your feed for each international Amazon or eBay marketplace why wouldn’t you spend the time to do the same for Real, CDiscount, EPrice and EMAG?
No one is taking into account that unless you send everything tracked, i.e. you sell expensive items where you can build the price of international tracking into your sale price, then expect to lose alot of items to Italy and Romania.
One nice thing about EMAG is that they’re taking care some of the logistics side of things in the nations they support to make this easier for sellers. The downside of this is that it does mean you’d need to have some inventory with them so it is a bigger commitment.
With Italy, there’s not much of a solution but if you are already selling/shipping there, then eprice is simply another option to grow on this.
As with any expansion though, you’re bang-on that getting logistics sorted first is a no-brainer.
We currently list on Cdiscount but not the other 3 Marketplaces listed in this new Project. How can i get involved with this?
I use Channel Adviser currently so is it possible to do this from here?
Please let me know
ChannelAdvisor does integrate directly with eprice as far as I know, so this should be relatively straight forward. InterCultural Elements are able to look after this side of things as well if you want to outsource that.
It’s something I was also questioning though – if you’ll now be able to manage orders from Real & EMAG via the Cdiscount connection with CA. On the IMN website, they say that you need to export a CSV with orders, which isn’t optimal, but you’d think that they’d be able to show all orders in one place (e.g. Cdiscount) which should then feed to CA.
You will likely still need to create listings manually in the individual marketplaces if you want to do it properly though (i.e. with better translations or properly assigned attributes).