How to Deal with Saturated E-Commerce Marketplaces from Overseas?
The first generation of e-commerce ventures was quite lucky. They got to work in marketplaces that were not brimming with competition. Now, when e-commerce has become a trillion-dollar global industry, it is virtually impossible to find any market niche that is working with only a handful of vendors.
Saturation has actually become a permanent state of the e-commerce marketplace. New e-commerce setups have to accept this reality that they have to work in an environment filled with cut-throat competition. They also need to strategize first before venturing into any market to fight the saturation.
In this blog, we are going to discuss how overseas e-commerce ventures can succeed in a saturated marketplace and the alternative routes they can take. We will also discuss the role of e-commerce Importers of Record in executing those strategies.
Working in a Saturated Market
If you want to succeed in a saturated e-commerce marketplace, then you need to put aside pessimism for a bit. You have to look at the market saturation through a different lens. On the one hand, it shows a place full of competition. On the other hand, it also tells about a great demand for given products. It is a precondition for a saturated market that a lot of people are buying a lot of things.
Once you realize that you are working in a high-demand market instead of a saturated market, you see and approach it differently. Let’s try to understand the SOP for working in a saturated e-commerce market by analyzing how it works out in an offline and brick-and-mortar setting.
Have you ever noticed a certain neighborhood or stretch of a road having many outlets dealing in similar products and services? For example, there are some localities that are brimming with cafes, then there are some areas known for their sports shops.
An area that doesn’t need more than three restaurants is actually hosting seven restaurants, and all of them are running on profits. So, how this happens? How the restaurants 4, 5, 6, and 7 succeed when the market is already amply catered by restaurants 1, 2, and 3?
We are breaking down the answer to this question in the below headings. This discussion will also guide overseas sellers on how to cope with a saturated e-commerce landscape.
1) Offer Something Different/Special— Deliver Fast
This is the key to get success in a saturated marketplace. Even if you are offering similar products and menu, there must be something that you have to do differently to get the consumers’ attention. For example, if your overseas competitor is promising to deliver a similar product in, say, 21 days, then you should try to cut down this delivery time. Go ahead and offer to deliver a similar product in 14 days.
Customers love to buy from sellers that work with quick turnaround time and deliver fast. They are even willing to spend an extra amount to get a product in a lesser time. But to get this edge on your competitor, you need to be in complete synergy with your e-commerce Importer of Record.
You can promise your potential buyers a certain turnaround time only if you can manage a predetermined supply-chain with your seller IOR. This is just one way to get ahead in a saturated online market.
2) Lower the Price
There is no magnet to attract buyers like a discount price. No matter how long sellers have been working in a marketplace, they can’t win from new players that are offering the same products on lower price points. When you are selling in an overseas market, it is not really possible to cut down the price. The logistics of getting a product in a foreign country doesn’t allow you to do that.
Amid an overburden of expenses, you can’t offer staggering discounts. However, you can still offer competitive prices and small little cuts. But even to offer that, you need to work on your logistics smartly. If you are handling imports on your own, then forget about carving out any discount offer.
You can only consider discounts if you are working with an expert e-commerce Importer of Record that oversees all your shipments to the destination port. An e-commerce IOR actually saves you a number of separate expenses. They procure your shipments to global destinations. They deal with customs clearance. They also take care of the taxes and duties applied to the imported items. Some of seasoned e-commerce IOR even provide storage and inventory solutions.
You can avail all these services in a single fee instead of hiring different people and companies to take care of each separate task.
In short, you can only offer a discount on your products if you are cutting down your operational and logistical expenses by any means.
3) Value Addition Always Pays off
A pen and a pen tucked in a velvet cushion and enclosed in a delicate box with a transparent display are two different things. Everyone will gravitate to the latter because of its attractive and well-thought-out packaging. You need to make the most of this basic human psyche to stand apart among your competitors.
Invest some money into transforming the packaging of your products. It will definitely cut into your profits, but it is an investment that entails high ROI in the long run.
Picking a Right Saturated Marketplace
Yes, you also need to make sure that you are venturing into the right saturated market overseas. For instance, if you are mulling overselling an electronic gadget in the UAE, you have two viable to choose from Amazon and Noon.
Noon is the indigenous e-commerce platform of the Middle East, which is quite popular in the UAE for electronics items. This means going on Noon with your electronic products entail better prospects than selling on Amazon UAE. You can easily place your product on Noon.com as an overseas seller, given that you have picked the right e-commerce IOR to work with.
If you need to venture into Noon.com, then you need to work with a seller IOR that is also a registered member of Noon Seller Lab. By availing the service of a dedicated Noon IOR, you can actually successfully sell your products on its saturated marketplace even without registering yourself in the UAE or getting any authorization from the website management.
Similarly, if you are entering a saturated online electronics marketplace in KSA, then Amazon (Souq) would be a better option than Noon.com. In this case, you have to work with an approved Amazon Importer of Record (IOR) service provider. They will also offer you the same convenient importing and selling service where you don’t need to get yourself into logistical and documentation hassle.
Find a Lesser Saturated E-Commerce Markets
While there are ways to succeed in saturated markets (as discussed above), sometimes luck is not on your side, and you remain unable to get the response you need to sustain your e-commerce operations. If that’s the case, you need to switch to markets that are relatively less saturated.
For instance, if you think e-commerce marketplaces in the UAE and the KSA are saturated for your products regardless of the platform you pick, then you should consider venturing into other MENA countries. For instance, the markets in Jordan and Egypt are still in their formative phase. As an overseas seller, you have strong chances to succeed there. Working in these less saturated markets also involves the same procedure. You have to sign up for an e-commerce Importer of Record that has enough experience of dealing in Middle Eastern procurements so that you can work without formally registering your business there.
Work in Multiple Saturated E-Commerce Markets
Another way to deal with market saturation is to work in many of them simultaneously. By distributing your sales operation on a wide spectrum of marketplaces, you can actually maximize your accumulative profits. You need to work with an experienced global Importer of Record for that. Only they let you diversify your overseas selling portfolio.
The Role of E-Commerce Importers of Record in Dealing with Saturated Market
E-commerce ventures are better prepared and poised to deal with a saturated market because they can always switch to any other market without moving their entire operations. Nevertheless, they still need to make sure they can timely deliver their products in any far-off market they want to try and explore.
Here, the services of a global e-commerce Importer of Record come in really useful. They make sure you can get your products to destination ports without dealing with customs and other local officials. An e-commerce IOR further sweetens the deal if it also has a seller status in some marketplaces.