COVID-19: 7 Shopping Channels Offering Discounts to Retailers

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    Since the outbreak of Coronavirus (aka COVID-19) the purchasing patterns of buyers have changed. Certain niches, such as online grocery shopping have seen a substantial increase in use. 10-15% of people in the US are now buying groceries online, compared to the 3% before. Other areas of sales, such as the travel industry have experienced a huge decrease in sales. The Marriott hotel chain alone reported a 75% loss in revenue.

     

    To adapt to the changes in purchasing patterns, advertising channels such as marketplaces and vendor comparison sites have started to make alterations in the way they sell. Because of this, their own merchants have also been affected. However, some channels have taken it upon themselves to support their sellers. So what relief have different channels offered to their merchants? And how will it change selling on certain platforms.

     

     

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    Year-on-year growth in weekly online orders in retail industry during the Coronavirus pandemic in selected countries in Europe in 2020 - Source: Statista

     

     

    Table of Contents


    Commerce platforms are adapting to aid their sellers

    How may merchants be affected by the changes?

    Channels helping retailers during the pandemic

    Final thoughts



     

    Commerce platforms are adapting to aid their sellers

     

    Many channels have decided to make changes to help themselves and their sellers. The changes are necessary due to a number of factors caused by covid-19. They consist mainly of:

     

    • Supply/demand issues - Supply chains have been one of the biggest issues for all channels and merchants during Coronavirus. Whether it is a surplus of stock costing extra storage fees, or an insufficient amount of stock meaning lost sales. Supply/demand issues have been costing both sellers and channels considerable amounts of money.

     

    • Postage problems -  Another issue has been the postage of products. Due to government lockdowns, regulations have tightened. This slows down deliveries and causes further issues for supply chains. This led to many companies not meeting their expected sales.

     

    • Staff shortages - This is another issue that has stemmed from governmental procedures. To keep workers safe, many governments have required anyone displaying symptoms to self isolate. This meant many workers were having an increased amount of enforced time off. Brands therefore had less workers for their warehouses, there were less couriers and less deliveries. This meant fewer orders were met and companies missed out on sales.

     

    Due to retailers having to deal with unprecedented circumstances, many have suffered financially. These changes to channels are designed to help them survive and maybe even thrive through Coronavirus.

     

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    How may merchants be affected by the changes?

     

    Channels are making a number of changes, with the aim of helping their sellers. However, not all changes may help all merchants. Some of the offers are only for new merchants. This could cause issues as existing sellers may continue to have issues due to Coronavirus.

     

    Despite that, there are still ways for existing companies to adapt to the possible effects of changes. One possible adaptation that could be made is to change the type of product that they list on the various channels. It doesn’t necessarily require product assortment changes in the store - Merchants can easily tailor their product portfolio for each channel using a feed tool, such as DataFeedWatch. This would allow sellers to advertise the most ideal products for the current climate, whilst lessening their ad spend. Alternatively, merchants could also take advantage of the new seller deals on other channels and look for a better deal elsewhere.

     

    It should also be noted that a lot of these changes to channels will not be permanent. Therefore, new sellers may not also be prioritised on certain channels. It is worth comparing channels in the current environment. This will allow you to see which offers the best options to new and existing merchants and in which countries the offers stand. Furthermore, it should also be recognised that some channels will only offer improved deals to small or medium businesses, meaning not all sellers will be affected by the changes.

     

     

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    Channels helping retailers during the pandemic

     

    Google Shopping - Worldwide

     

    Google Shopping has probably made the most drastic of all the coronavirus related channel changes - with its introduction of free listings. Google wheeled out the premise of free listings in the US initially, on the 27th of April. It aims to introduce free listings to the rest of the world by the end of the year.

     

    The idea of free listings was being considered by Google for a while now. However, the COVID-19 outbreak forced the company's hand and it was introduced far sooner than expected. By introducing it now, Google aims to create free exposure for all companies suffering from the Coronavirus. Their hope is that the increase in online shopping can help balance out the losses for merchants, in as many cases as possible.

     

    How to get started with free Google Shopping listings?


    For now, free Google Shopping listings can only be utilized if your target country is US.

    For newcomers - a set-up Google Merchant Center account and a product feed are all you need to qualify for the free shopping listings.

    For existing Merchants advertising with Google Shopping - opting into the ‘surfaces across Google’ will get your products into the free ad space of the Google Shopping Tab.

    In one of our previous articles, we covered what free shopping listings mean and how to get started.

     

     

    Facebook - Worldwide

     

    Facebook has also made considerable changes to help its merchants. Sellers are no longer penalized for not meeting performances standards. This includes performance standards for customer service, shipping and cancellations. 

     

    In addition to this help for all merchants, small businesses are further supported by Facebook. This is being done through the use of small business grants of up to $100 cash. In addition to that, Facebook has given businesses access to ad credits and offered the option to sell gift cards. Businesses will eventually have to spend the same amount in the case of these two benefits. However, costs will be delayed.

     

    Last, but not least - Mark Zuckerberg's latest announcement of Facebook Shops made quite some buzz in the eCommerce world. Although this new shopping experience is yet to be rolled out across FB apps, it's already said to be Facebook's most important eCommerce play to date. We've dedicated another article to discussing what Facebook Shops is and what benefits it can bring to online businesses.

     

    What is the process to qualify for Facebook’s new benefits?

     

    Eligibility for Facebook’s small business grants depends on the country your business is based in. You can check eligibility and apply, via the Facebook business boosts page. Gift cards are similarly based on country and can be found on the Facebook gift card promotion page.

     

     

    Idealo - Germany

     

    Opened in Germany in 2000, the price comparison site Idealo allows users to compare products across various stores. It then directs them directly to the store of their chosen product.

    Idealo is offering a 20% discount on listing fees for all its merchants. This has been done in the hope of alleviating online retailers from Coronavirus related issues. It has also reduced the CPO (cost per order) to 3.5% for new merchants, encouraging them to sell on the platform. This is in place until June the 30th, when it may be extended further depending on the global situation.

     

    How can I start benefiting from the discounts?

     

    All benefits for Ideal are applied automatically when you sign up or when you list a product.

     

     

    Real.de - Germany

     

    Real Digital is a German digital agency and owner of a marketplace (Real.de). With around 21 million visitors per month, Real.de is one of the largest marketplaces in Germany. The real.de website combines high brand awareness with the latest platform technology and enables targeted multichannel marketing. This combination helps achieve the optimal reach for your offers. Real Digital is offering 3 months free access to their basic package for their marketplace to DataFeedWatch customers. Real Digital will cover all the usual fee costs themselves in the hope that online businesses will continue to use their platform during COVID-19.

     

    How can I start benefiting from the discounts?

     

    To benefit from Real Digital’s deal, you must be a DataFeedWatch customer and at the same time cannot be an existing user of Real.de. To receive the discount, simply register here. The special deal is only valid if you register before June 4th 2020.

     

     

    Fruugo - Worldwide 

     

    Fruugo is a UK based marketplace  that allows users to buy from various retailers around the world using one single checkout. The company is ideal for those who want cross-border shopping in their own language and currency.

     

    Fruugo has waived its 995 pounds seller joining fee worldwide. This has been done to encourage new sellers to the marketplace during the Corona crisis. In addition to that, Fruugo has also given both new and existing sellers access to all its main marketing tools for free. This will allow sellers to be seen by more potential buyers.

     

    How can I start benefiting from the discounts?

     

    To join Fruugo as a seller for free, simply create an account. To make use of the marketing tools, visit your seller account. From there you will be able to see which tools are free.

     

     

    Onbuy - UK

     

    Onbuy is a UK based marketplace which prides itself on being one of the fastest growing marketplace in the world. It is highly transparent and claims to always put buyers and sellers first. Onbuys recent decisions regarding the outbreak of Coronavirus reinforce that point.

    During April, Amazon decided to stop third party sellers shipping non essential products to their warehouses. This was an issue for many sellers as they had suddenly lost their main point of sales. Because of this change made by Amazon, Onbuy has decided to waive the standard subscription fee for 3 months for sellers affected.

     

    Onbuy CEO Cas Paton stated the following reason for the promotion:

     

    "A large number of independent sellers and small businesses are facing huge financial losses due to Amazon's recent ban on its warehouse distribution. In these cases we have committed to waiving subscription fees so they can continue to operate online. This coronavirus has unexpectedly upset the once even playing field of online marketplaces, but we're working hard to ensure everyone, both buyers and sellers, are treated fairly."

     

    The UK based marketplace also encouraged new sellers to join the platform by offering a 100% discount on standard subscription fees for 3 months. To get the discount, businesses must’ve signed up by 01/05/2020 using the code OB2020. Onbuy furthered the promotion by highlighting that any seller making less than 500 pounds a month would have their subscription fee waived (after the 3 month period is up).

     

    How can I start benefiting from the discounts?

     

    If you have been affected by the new Amazon policy and are a new or existing Onbuy retailer, get in touch with Onbuy. They will waive the subscription fee for you with evidence of the issue.

     

     

    Arena.pl - Poland

     

    Arena.pl is a Polish ecommerce website that sells a wide range of products across multiple categories. Due to COVID-19, Arena is offering a deal to newly registered sellers on their platform. If you register by September the 30th, you will receive a 100% commission rebate for up to 2 months. Arena has introduced this measure in the hope of attracting new merchants to the platform for the long term future, by aiding their short term needs.

     

    How can I start benefiting from the discounts?

     

    Arena will automatically send you your commission rebate for the time period stated.

     

     

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    Final thoughts

     

    As the Coronavirus pandemic continues to develop, further adaptations to eCommerce platforms can be expected. Despite the pandemic creating many issues for online retailers, there is cause for optimism. Channels are constantly adapting to the needs of their buyers and merchants and will continue to do so. It is just the case of finding the perfect channel to get the most out of your selling experience. 


    To further your selling experience and get the most from your channel as a merchant, try using a feed solution such as DataFeedWatch. Using a feed solution will allow you to refine and optimize your feed to ensure you are only paying for the advertising that benefits you.

     

     

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