Pigu – four marketplaces in one move

When looking at the potential of selling on international marketplace platforms, most online sellers first think of the biggest players such as Amazon or eBay. In the following article, we will try to show that it is also worth thinking about smaller and less obvious markets.
Pigu.lt was founded in 2007 in Lithuania as an online shop. Since then, it has become a marketplace and has expanded into more markets (through acquisitions of local shops). It currently operates in 4 markets: Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and, starting this year, Finland (the marketplace function is to be made available to retailers in the fourth quarter of this year).

How do you launch sales in 4 markets

Based on our experience, we have to admit that the registration process on Pigu is one of the easiest on the market. All we need to do is apply via the contact form, then, after email contact, provide basic information about our business. In the last phase, we will receive a contract to sign. Unfortunately, a hard copy must now be returned to the address provided by Pigu. Nevertheless, the whole process can be completed within a few days. The undoubted advantage is that we can manage all sales on all markets from a single account (even though they function for the end customer as separate sites with different domain addresses).

I have already created an account, how do I add products?

While the process of setting up an account is very smooth, the process of adding products can be tricky. Like other marketplaces, including Amazon and Allegro, Pigu groups products by EAN number. Depending on whether a product already exists in the Lithuanian platform’s database, the level of complexity of adding products will depend. If the product exists in the database, the process is very simple. After adding the EAN number in the panel, we will be asked to indicate the stock and price of the product. At this point, the product becomes active. The process of adding products that are not yet in the product database is much more difficult. First of all, if we want to start selling on the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian markets, we need to prepare descriptions and titles in four languages – three native ones for these markets and a fourth one in Russian. We can then use the manual addition process or add via XML file. In the case of manual addition, we will be guided by a fairly friendly wizard that will ask us to provide the necessary data. In the case of an XML file, we have to adapt it to a structure accepted by Pigu. In both cases, once added, the products must be accepted by Pigu. The acceptance time varies depending on the period of the year and the number of products added. In the case of a larger number of products, going into the thousands, it may happen that only some products are accepted for a longer period of time.

Logistics – Pigu’s strong point

The Baltic Sea platform presents interesting logistical solutions, which definitely help to increase sales. We can cooperate in two logistics models. The first is the familiar model from other marketplaces. We receive the address of the customer and have to deliver the product at the declared time to the address. There is, however, a limitation. Pigu sets a maximum shipping cost. This cost depends on the marketplace and the weight of the product. The maximum we can charge for shipping is a few to several euros. This is an unusual solution; most platfroms rely on complete freedom of delivery pricing. Much more interesting is the second solution proposed by Pigu, which allows us to use the last mile services organised by the platform itself. In this case, we have to print the label provided by the Lithuanian partner and deliver the product to the indicated address in Warsaw. Pigu then takes over the parcel and delivers it to the customer within 2-3 days of picking it up at the cross-dock. In this case, the customer receives very cheap postage (around 2-3 Euros depending on the product), the retailer has to cover a small charge of 1-2 Euros per parcel and, of course, the cost of delivering the product to Warsaw.
Before deciding on a logistics model, it is worth comparing the costs of the two solutions and use the one that will be most attractive to buyers, i.e. offer the cheapest delivery. In our experience, there are often promotional campaigns where end customers receive free delivery. However, these promotions do not extend to retailers delivering with their own logistics. The important thing is that these models cannot be combined. We cannot do part of the delivery in one way and the rest in the other method.The delivery method is assigned to our account, and we can only create one account per VAT number, so it is important to choose the cooperation model accordingly. There is also the option of using fulfilment prepared by Pigu. In our opinion, this is not an effective solution at the beginning of the cooperation and involves additional, unjustified costs. Fullfilment cooperation is similar to all similar services provided by Amazon or Zalando, i.e. it is billed for warehousing and individual activities carried out by the warehouse.

Will orders be handled by Baselinker?

Interestingly, despite the fact that the neighbouring marketplace has been trying to attract Polish sellers for a long time, it has only made the official integration with Baselinker available in a test version for several days. At the moment, the official integration only allows for order downloads and there is no information on whether the process of adding products will be included in the future. This does not mean that Pigu has ignored Baselinker. If, during the registration process, we indicated that we were using Baselinker, there was an option to use an integration prepared by the Polish company, which enables both order downloads and product stock updates. Unfortunately, this integration is subject to an additional charge in the form of a monthly subscription. The rate depends on the number of orders and products, and starts at PLN 100 per month. Given the provision of the plug-in by Baselinker, it is worth considering using it, as there are no additional charges involved.

Small markets, big potential

It may seem that the four markets served by Pigu are not attractive. There is no doubt that they are certainly not among the largest. However, they are worth including in your cross-border strategy. Precisely because of this view, many sellers do not start sales assuming that the potential is minimal. This offers the possibility of paradoxically higher sales than in much larger, but more competitive markets or the opportunity to achieve high margins. Like any marketplace, the Lithuanian platform has its own characteristics, which is why, as with other marketplaces, we encourage you to use the support of experienced partners, such as shumee, who have already learnt the specifics of the platform itself and the markets and will guide you from the process of creating an account, through listing products, setting up logistics and ending with order processing.