4 Ways Market Share Benchmarking Can Boost Your eCommerce Strategy

Ways Market Share Benchmarking Can Boost Your eCommerce Strategy

Successful eCommerce strategy is based on data — but you can’t just rely on your own data when making decisions. To truly optimize your eCommerce market share potential, marketplaces must understand both their own performance and that of their competitors.

In this light, market share benchmarking becomes crucial for delivering meaningful insights that  guide and enhance your overall strategy so you can build a stronger eCommerce brand.

  1. Understand Historical and Category Performance

Two vital areas of market share benchmarking are historical and category benchmarks. Historical benchmarks look at your own historical performance. For example, how do sales for a particular product line compare to how they sold at this time last year? On the other hand, category benchmarks look at the entire market, and compare your results to the market as a whole.

Performance benchmarks can vary significantly based on product category. For example, while the online shopping conversion rate for luxury handbags is a mere 0.6%, haircare products have a 3.5% conversion rate. Ideally, your own conversion rates should be similar to (or better than) category benchmarks for competitors in your niche.

Market share benchmarking can also help you evaluate your total eCommerce market share, and how it has changed over time. Losing market share to a competitor is a clear indicator that something is amiss with your own product lineup or marketing — or that a new competitor is making an even more appealing offer to potential customers.

Such data can help you optimize your own site, whether that be through improving the quality of product listings or removing declining products that are no longer turning a profit.

  1. Gain Insights Into Consumer Platform Preferences

When looking to expand and sell your product categories through new retailers, understanding where consumers want to shop — and which platforms have the best conversion rates — can help you make better informed expansion decisions.

Market share benchmarking can help you achieve this by identifying brand share changes across multiple marketplaces, so you can more easily identify which categories and SKUs are performing well and which are on the decline.

Geolocation data can lead to even more detailed eCommerce strategy insights. Gaining a regional understanding of shoppers and their behaviors can ensure more targeted decision making when trying to work with a regional marketplace or focus marketing efforts on consumers in a particular geographic location.

By conducting this level of analysis in advance, you can avoid wasting time and money by trying to expand to low-converting marketplaces.

  1. Identify Needed Product Assortment Changes

Which items are your best-sellers? Which are the best sellers on competing marketplaces? How does pricing impact sales? How have these trends changed over time?

Digging deep into this market share benchmarking data can provide valuable insights into changes you may need to make with your own product assortment. For example, you could be losing market share to a competing brand because your own product listing isn’t fully optimized for SEO. Or, other competitors are able to offer lower prices than what you currently offer.

Of course, these insights can go beyond looking at market share for individual items. They can also help you with assortment planning for your entire marketplace. For example, if a competing marketplace has gained significant market share after introducing a new product category, it may be worth considering adding best-selling items from that same category to your own store. 

Frequent market share benchmarking is key to your organization’s ability to respond quickly and effectively to changing trends fueled by customer preferences and competitor actions.

  1. Adapt Marketing

Yes, market share benchmarking can also offer insights into the effectiveness of your marketing strategies. Linking historical market share data with your marketing campaigns can help you better gauge a particular campaign’s effect on web traffic levels and conversions.

Using this data can help you dig deeper into the reasons why a particular marketing campaign worked (or didn’t work) at enhancing your market share. Perhaps it was the type of messaging the campaign used, or a specific promotional offer. Market share growth could even be linked to the method you used to target customers, such as email, paid search ads, or social media ads.

By using market share benchmarking to correlate sales outcomes with ad campaigns, you can fine-tune future campaigns so they continue to focus on the elements that drove sales with previous marketing efforts. This will allow you to continue to grow your market share with messaging that is better tailored to the target audience for each product category.

Improve Your Market Share Benchmarking With Cluster

Quality data can make all the difference in achieving marketplace success — and Cluster can help. With a full range of data-driven solutions for marketplaces, Cluster can help eCommerce businesses and marketplaces better track and understand drivers of market share, and how they change over time.

By using market share benchmarking to fine-tune your eCommerce strategy, you will be better positioned to implement effective changes with your product lineup that drive sales and boost your digital reputation.

11 Common eCommerce Product Catalog Management Mistakes You Should Avoid At All Costs

Common eCommerce Product Catalog Management Mistakes You Should Avoid At All Costs

eCommerce catalog management is one of the most important aspects of any digital marketplace. Without quality product catalog management, your customers will have a much harder time finding the products they’re looking for — and so will search engines.

You would hardly be alone in making eCommerce product catalog management mistakes that hurt your bottom line. In fact, it is estimated that of the 12 to 24 million eCommerce sites on the web, fewer than one million make over $1,000 per year.

By overcoming the following common online catalog management mistakes, you can help your marketplace stand out and start generating meaningful revenue.

11 Common eCommerce Product Catalog Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Confusing Navigation

If your online catalog makes it hard for site visitors to find what they’re looking for, it’s not doing its job. Too many menu navigation options can make your site harder to browse, and customers will be more likely to leave in frustration. Instead, use a concise navigation bar with fewer visuals. Making the top-level category collapsible will help keep navigation menus from looking cluttered once users go into secondary categories.

  1. Inaccurate Product Tagging

Product tagging has a direct impact on the discoverability of your products. Proper tagging ensures that what shows up in search results will match what the customer typed. On the other hand, inaccurate tagging can cause many catalogs to remain completely undiscovered. This often occurs when you rely on manual tagging for large catalog sizes. Automated tagging will eliminate such errors and simplify product catalog optimization.

  1. Delayed Product Onboarding

Just like manual tagging can make some products undiscoverable, manually digitizing and creating metadata for new products can result in a lengthy process to get a new catalog item to market. Once again, automated tagging provides a more flexible and agile process so that new items can be made available to customers in as little time as possible. The ability to be “first to market” with a popular new item can provide a major advantage over the competition.

  1. Inaccurate, Non-Persuasive Product Descriptions

The average eCommerce return rate is 20.8% — and quite often, inaccurate product descriptions are to blame. Compelling images and helpful, descriptive product descriptions make it easier for buyers to decide if an item is relevant and useful to them. This information should be accurate, though still persuasively written to get customers to buy. Quality information and pictures will boost sales and reduce returns.

  1. No Real-Time Market Visibility

Without real-time visibility into your own data — or the market as a whole — it can be difficult to manage inventory, forecast sales, or identify new items that should be added to your eCommerce catalog. Using product catalog API tools that gather real-time data from across the web will provide accurate insights that help you make smarter eCommerce catalog management decisions. Quality product performance data helps you allocate resources properly to keep operational costs down while also improving sales.

  1. Poor Inventory Tracking

Without automated tracking systems, it can become nearly impossible to accurately track eCommerce inventory across thousands of products. Without inventory alerts, it becomes all too easy for items to slip through the cracks. Inventory tracking and monitoring tools are crucial to prevent supply chain inefficiencies that could lead to shipping delays or popular items being out of stock for extended periods of time. 

  1. Inadequate SEO

If your product listings aren’t optimized for SEO, they likely won’t appear in Google Search — which 49% of shoppers use to find new products. Relevant keywords must be used in title tags, meta descriptions, product descriptions, headers, and even the URL. Tags should be as specific as possible, highlighting the product brand and other differentiating features a consumer might type in for their search.

  1. Outdated Lists

A core aspect of product catalog management is ensuring that catalog lists are fully up to date at all times. Customers don’t want to add an item to their shopping cart, only to discover it is out of stock when they go to check out. Updated product lists help customers know if an item is in stock, coming soon, or on back order. Integrating with ERP software can enable automatic updates based on inventory levels to provide accurate information so that customers don’t experience any unpleasant surprises when trying to complete a purchase.

  1. Not Accounting For Channel Differences

As we’ve written previously, eCommerce sellers must account for differences between sales channels like Amazon, eBay, Instagram, and so on. Each channel displays product details differently — even something as simple as one channel using “M” and another using “medium” for clothing sizes can impact whether a listing is displayed properly. Tailoring lists for each sales channel you use will facilitate smoother product updates and better performance with potential customers.

  1. Irrelevant Product Recommendations

Amazon has made upselling and cross-selling of related products the norm for online shoppers. But if your marketplace recommends irrelevant products, you’ll have a hard time maximizing your sales potential. Upselling and cross-selling is most successful when recommendations are based on a user’s browsing history or what other customers have purchased along with an item. It can also be more effective when customers are only given a few options that are well-reviewed or top sellers.

  1. No Competitor Pricing Analysis

eCommerce prices are constantly changing. With so much competition, you must be fully aware of what others are charging for items that are similar (or the same) as what you sell through your marketplace. Gathering pricing data from across the web will help you set competitive prices that drive sales while still enabling you to turn a profit. This data could also be used to help you time sales and promotional events based on competitor activities.

Make Product Catalog Optimization a Priority

While these eCommerce catalog management mistakes can significantly hurt your marketplace, leaning into product catalog optimization can give you a major advantage over the competition.

Cluster’s Catalog Enhancement solution can help. With quality data, you can clean and enhance your canonical catalog, increasing revenue as you get the right listings in front of the right shoppers at the right time. With a wide host of solutions for eCommerce marketplaces, Cluster helps you shift your focus to winning the basket. Book a meeting today to learn how we can help improve your product catalog data.

The Impact of Consumer Spending on the Growth of Online Marketplaces

Updated on October 6th, 2022

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers were forced to shift their spending online. Now, even as federal, state, and local governments are lifting COVID-related restrictions, most consumers are still not planning to return to their old ways of shopping.

In fact, 85% of consumers indicated they will maintain their online shopping habits post-pandemic, according to a survey from the Alvarez & Marsal Consumer and Retail Group. 

Many of these consumers are shopping on eCommerce marketplaces, such as those operated by eBay, Amazon, and Expedia. And this shift in consumer spending is responsible for the massive online marketplace growth.

The Growth of Online Marketplaces

The marketplace trends in 2022 and beyond have been accelerated by Covid-19. More than 40% of online spending post-pandemic is taking place on eCommerce marketplaces, according to the Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s Future Shopper Report 2021. And by 2025, spending on online marketplaces will surpass spending on eCommerce websites in established retail and travel categories, according to OC&C Strategy Consultants’ Trading Places report.

Consumers are attracted to marketplaces because they offer convenience, choice, and value. And eCommerce marketplaces offer suppliers a large pool of customers as well as such value-added services as fulfillment and payments. 

This change in the shopping habits of consumers that has contributed to this marketplace growth has also caused brand owners and retailers to investigate selling on already established marketplaces, such as Amazon or eBay. 

In this case, merchants should identify the top marketplaces in their areas and determine how best to optimize for those marketplaces. Every online marketplace is also a search engine that enables consumers to search for and find the products or services that best suit their needs. Marketplace optimization lets sellers’ product listings show in relevant searches, which boosts their chances of selling their goods or services.

To capitalize on the growth of online marketplaces, some merchants are looking at setting up their own marketplaces to help them reach new consumers and new markets, as well as expand their offerings.

However, attracting sellers to eCommerce marketplaces is not an easy proposition. Business owners that aim to build their own marketplaces must identify their target audiences first, then identify the best channels to reach them. And then the operators of these marketplaces must also understand the concerns and interests of potential vendors so they can create the right messaging to recruit the right sellers.

Effectively incorporating new sellers and ensuring their ongoing satisfaction starts with a seamless marketplace onboarding process and includes ongoing customer support and easy website management. 

Types of Marketplaces

There are three main types of eCommerce marketplaces: business-to-business (B2C), business-to-consumer (B2C), and peer-to-peer (P2P).

Business-to-Business Marketplaces

A B2B marketplace connects companies (consumers) with other businesses (vendors), such as retailers, wholesalers, or manufacturers, to buy from them. This type of website enables vendors to begin delivering services much faster than if they had to develop their own e-commerce websites or open physical stores. A B2B marketplace helps sellers expand their sales channels and attract new customers.

Examples of popular B2B marketplaces include Amazon Business, Alibaba, DesignRush, Global Sources, and IndiaMART

Business-to-Consumer Marketplaces

A B2C marketplace matches individual consumers with vendors. Large B2C eCommerce marketplaces can be compared with retail stores where consumers can find multiple providers offering a variety of products. 

B2C marketplaces are the most popular marketplace model. However, the giants in the space, including Amazon, eBay, and Booking.com, are likely to maintain monopolies in the B2C marketplace for many years. As such, it may be difficult for new entrants in the market to attract millions of consumers because of this high level of competition.

To succeed in the B2C market, eCommerce companies might want to think about creating niche marketplaces that target consumers that have similar needs and preferences. 

Peer-to-Peer Marketplaces

Peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplaces (also known as consumer to consumer) provide platforms for individual buyers and sellers to find each other and trade goods and services

P2P marketplaces allow users to be both consumers and service providers, depending on their needs. For example, Meta (formerly Facebook Marketplace) was created to connect consumers online to sell and/or purchase new or used goods and services within their own neighborhoods. 


With the fundamental shift in consumer spending habits, there’s never been a better time for businesses to build B2C, B2B, or P2P online marketplaces to reach new customers and sell their products or services. 

Online marketplaces enable companies to grow beyond the limitations of their own operations and infrastructure and take their eCommerce businesses in new directions. For example, taking on upcoming channels like social commerce, cannot be ignored anymore. Social commerce currently represents only a small portion of total eCommerce sales, but rapid sales growth in this area presents a prime opportunity for online marketplaces that understand these platforms and their users.

Let’s also not forget that the holidays are fast-approaching and marketplaces need a strategy going into a new kind of holiday season – one that is slower, but steady. Regardless of where consumers are headed next, online marketplaces need to build a best-in-class product data catalog to ensure their eCommerce endeavors are successful today and in the future.