This month we speak to Ashley Maroney, Head of Partnerships at Optiseller, an e-commerce data platform with industry experts focused on one thing – your success.
Who are Optiseller?
Our e-commerce data platform provides over 50,000 users in 160 countries with the tools they need to control, manage, and monitor their performance. The system produces rich data that online retailers can use to grow sales and improve performance across multiple e-commerce channels, including eBay, Amazon, and Wish.com, as well as proprietary and owned brands. Optiseller can also provide clients with bespoke data tools and solutions, and the platform is fully scalable, with users ranging from niche sellers to global retailers.
How did Optiseller begin?
The roots of the business go back to 2004, when Craig MacCallum founded Developing IT (our parent company). Initially focused on financial services, the company soon shifted towards e-commerce. From 2008, our vision was to enable online sellers, no matter their size or industry, to leverage their data and the use of technology to grow their business. Today, this aspiration remains at the heart of the organisation.
Who is in the Optiseller team?
Optiseller are a dedicated team of passionate e-commerce experts with a combined industry experience of 200 years, including consultants, software developers and testers, business analysts, data scientists, in addition to our operations and commercial teams.
Many of our team joined us having previously worked at eBay, Volo, and ChannelAdvisor as well as from the retail sector. A few of us also run our own online retail businesses and sell on marketplaces. We live and breathe e-commerce!
Who are Optiseller’s current customers?
At Optiseller, we are proud to work with a truly broad range of customers, from small independent traders to some of the biggest marketplace sellers and global retailers.
Here is a small sample of feedback from some of our customers:
“Optiseller’s recommendations have been game-changing for us. We have seen big results so far and thanks to these improvements, our brand has been featured in the eBay drop-downs, which is invaluable. Our account was below standard in Q1, so we are pushing to match last year’s performance. If we continue at this impressive rate, I have no doubt we can achieve this target.” – Healthspan
“I’ve never been a fan of data, but when I saw small changes start to deliver results, I was hooked. The Optiseller team have transformed my mindset in selling on eBay, and virtually all our numbers and stats are on an upward trajectory. Now I know I’m using my time in the best way possible: with Optiseller, it doesn’t matter what I work on, it always works!” – Got the Lot
“We have noticed that our eBay listings with all the item specifics populated and multiple images added are ranking higher on eBay search, this has led to an increase of views and improved conversion rate.”– WG Motorparts
Which key challenges do Optiseller’s customers face and how does Optiseller help solve them?
Many of our customers experience challenges with re-orchestrating their data just to meet the minimum requirements of the numerous online channels they sell on and often tell us they have no easy way to identify where they are missing key information or know why their sales have either fallen or not grown in line with their competitors.
Often these are all interlinked, and Optiseller provides the analytics to quickly highlight where the gaps are in their data and where they are at risk of non-compliance, whilst also prioritising ways that they can improve their overall performance. More importantly, our platform will also find and recommend data to use in place of missing or sub-optimal values to improve the visibility of their products online and increase sales.
Who are your future ideal customers and who would you like to work more with?
We are a fortunate to have experience of working with all types and sizes of online retailers from across the world and can tailor our offering to suit most circumstances.
Where we can offer additional value is with companies who are new to e-commerce or want to start selling direct to consumers (D2C) online, such as start-ups or even well-established manufacturers and distributors. We are a key partner from planning through to execution and can guide them on choosing the right technology partners and mitigate a lot of the risk.
How does Optiseller work? Describe your service offerings:
There are 3 core pillars to our business:
Consultancy: our highly experienced team have launched over 1,200 eBay stores over the past 10 years, and we help 100s of retailers every year to optimise their listing data and store performance with regular eBay Health Checks and Growth Programmes.
Development: our in-house team integrate retailers to marketplace APIs, listing tools, and other retail software. We also integrate e-commerce platforms to marketplaces and carriers.
Optiseller Data Platform: provides over 50,000 users in 160 countries with the tools they need to identify where they are missing key information and optimise product data at scale. Prices start from £25 p/m.
What makes Optiseller unique?
At Optiseller, we have over 200 years’ combined experience in the e-commerce industry. Many of us have worked for eBay and other marketplaces or run our own e-commerce stores. This gives us great insight into sellers’ needs and requirements, as well as what online marketplaces expects of merchants on their platforms which we implement in our tools and services, benefiting both the marketplaces and sellers.
Who else do you partner with? Any emerging marketplaces retailers should look out for?
With over 60% of global e-commerce sales being generated by the top 100 marketplaces last year, it is a mature market. However, there are a few new marketplaces that are growing at an incredible rate, such as OnBuy.com, that sellers should consider.
We have also seen the rise of vertical specific or niche marketplaces, as well as retailers adding a marketplace to their website by working with companies like Marketplacer or Mirakl or flipping their entire business model from retail to marketplace, like Debenhams.
It is worth building relationships with new marketplaces early so that you are ahead of the competition and having your data fully optimised will ensure you benefit fully from their rapid growth.
How has your experience been during the pandemic?
While e-commerce was already growing fast, the pandemic only accelerated the rapid growth of sellers online.
As an example, e-commerce store, Got the Lot saw a 65% boost in sales as well as a 46% increase in “best match” results after just 3 months of working with Optiseller.
The pandemic also saw the launch of thousands of new online sellers. eBay identified over 100,000 new ‘pandemic startups’ formed in 2020 during the height of UK lockdown who sold over 72 million items to the 29 million eBay shoppers who use the platform every day.
Both eBay and its sellers have benefited hugely from the change in shopping habits, and we have been incredibly busy, more than tripling our head count to support the demand.
Any tips for preparing for peak?
- Prepare early and don’t leave anything to chance, have a backup plan ready
- Make sure your product data is fully optimised for conversion on all channels
- Analyse data before peak and monitor during peak to adapt quickly when needed
- Test your core systems, both front and back end, for maximum load capability
- Maximise shipping options and coverage, connect new carriers ahead of peak
- Keep an eye on your competitors to see how you can differentiate your offers
- Consider updating your shipping and returns policy and customer service hours
- See more preparing for Peak tips
Why did you decide to partner with Parcelhub?
We aim to partner with the best-in-class providers within our industry who can help our customers to significantly improve their businesses in areas that we don’t support directly.
Parcelhub’s multi-carrier delivery solution provides a single interface to 20+ carriers and over 600 services to save retailers time and money, with the reassurance of end-to-end tracking and support.
What are the best things about Parcelhub?
In addition to offering an extensive range of shipping options and saving retailers money by pooling shipping volumes to access discounted rates, we love Parcelhub’s Proactive Tracking Support solution. Their ability to proactively monitor each order for any potential delivery issues before they become a problem is priceless in terms of maintaining positive customer experiences and reviews.
How important is a multi-carrier delivery approach to your clients?
Offering multiple shipping options and ensuring that orders are delivered on time are both critical for retailers to deliver a great customer experience and maintain profitability. This is especially true for many of our customers who sell across multiple categories where items vary hugely in size and weight, so a single carrier is unlikely to offer the best service for all.
How important is proactive customer service to your clients?
Our customers nearly all sell on marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, where it is easy for shoppers to compare prices, delivery options and times, as well the reputation of sellers, before making a purchase decision. Not meeting your own delivery promise often leads to poor seller ratings and negative feedback, which can lower your ranking in search and may result in account suspension if it happens multiple times. Getting this right is critical.
Where do you see Optiseller in 3 to 5 years?
After an extraordinary 18 months, our CEO, Craig MacCallum, is looking at the future with optimism. Our plans for 2021 and beyond are ambitious.
After establishing a presence in Australia in 2020, the Australian operations are now in full swing. We are gearing up for significant growth the US, UK, Australian and German markets and expect to grow from 100 employees to 200 by the end of 2022.
Our focus remains the same for the next 3-5 years; to be the go-to e-commerce experts and platform for marketplaces, with automation and data optimisation at the forefront of this.
How do you see your partnership with Parcelhub evolving?
As with every partnership, we put our customers at the heart of our plans and look to identify ways in which we can enable and support their continued growth and success.
The first step is for us is to work with the customers we have in common and establish the most effective ways to deliver value through combining our respective services.
Looking further ahead, we are keen to explore integration to do this at scale and make it easy for customers to gain maximum value from both Optiseller and Parcelhub.
To learn more about Optiseller, visit here.