GlassesUSA.com, a web-based prescription eyewear dealer, launched in 2009. But despite its near decade in business, as of about a year ago, their presence on web marketplaces like Amazon was relatively nonexistent.
And for Marketplaces Manager Daniela Soibelman, who was brought on to lead the 10-year-old merchant’s foray into selling on online marketplaces, actually getting the business into the marketplace phase of its existence was harder than just flipping a switch. She was faced with a spreadsheet containing 40,000 items – and no real method for going through it and deciding which items to offer and where.
“I thought, I can’t go [through] one by one, researching these items to see which ones to sell and at what price. Even if I hired a group of 10 people, they couldn’t realistically go through the sheet manually and do that,” she told Digital Commerce 360.
What Soibelman needed was automation – and what she found was a vendor called Algopix, which gave her the ability to see not only the data on what they were selling, but also granular information about those sales. Soibelman could now pinpoint which specific SKUs were selling (or not) on which marketplace, which merchants were selling them, which regions were stronger than others and what the price ranges should be. Perhaps most importantly, she noted, Algopix enables them to figure out where there might be the most demand for their goods, by showing them what marketplaces have those products (or something similar) and where they will be taking on green field.
“It tells me if the item exists on each of the marketplaces,” Soibelman said. “For example, it may be sold on Amazon, but not on Walmart. Or it will tell me the item is available on Amazon in Germany, but not in the U.K.”
The data is useful, Soibelman noted, as it gives them a direction to push in as they are deciding which marketplace opportunities to pursue, and in what order.
“If [a product] is not on Amazon, that doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t demand for it,” she says. “It [Algopix software] helps you build a strategy. You can be safe and sell the best-selling items, or go long-tail [by selling products that are harder to find].”
Moreover, Soibelman noted, even if one isn’t selling on every platform, or even if a business fully plans to be an Amazon-only endeavor in terms of marketplace sales, one still needs insight into what is happening on other platforms. Customers are going to do their research without a doubt, she said: They aren’t limited to one platform, and will keep looking until they get the best deal.
“And if they find a better price on another marketplace, they will buy there.”
Nearly a half-year into the automation and marketplaces project, Soibelman noted that, apart from saving a lot of time and effort, the brand has also gotten better control of its inventory management: Within a few months, they’d sold through all their Amazon marketplace inventory.
Now, she said, the firm’s next step is to see what more they can sell, using better data and sharper consumer insights. The next merchandise category the brand plans to pursue is sports eyewear, something the retailer has never sold in its 10 years in business.
“It will be our first time selling this kind of product, so we don’t know what the market would want. This will give us perspective on what items are best-sellers,” Soibelman noted.
And perspective is everything when it comes to merchandise, she pointed out – particularly with something like glasses, which a consumer will wear on their face every day. Using software takes the guesswork out of inventory – which is a powerful offering itself, because guesswork opens up the door to expensive errors.
“Everyone who sells online has to buy items from their suppliers. By using guesswork, of course, they end up being either lucky or wrong. Obviously, this is not the ideal way to conduct a business,” noted Algopix CEO Ori Greenberg.
Data, on the other hand, pays dividends. In 2018, the first year of the firm’s new data-driven method, its sales grew 70 percent.