Mastering the art of selling on online fashion marketplaces
Learn how to scale your DTC channel and provide on-brand customer experience using online marketplaces.
Nowadays, 50% of everyday fashion purchases happen on marketplaces. Studies show that 63% of US shoppers begin their searches on Amazon. As user numbers keep growing, so does your competition, which necessitates a well-considered strategy when growing your direct-to-consumer (DTC) channel with marketplaces.
In this guide, we will explore various strategies you can use to expand your DTC business by leveraging the reach and audience of online marketplaces. In particular, we will be discussing Amazon, which has the leading ecommerce market share in the US and many other countries. Amazon is the benchmark for all other marketplaces, which attempt to mimic its experience, benefits and tactics.
Why do you want to be present on online marketplaces?
DTC retail is growing in popularity as it brings brands closer to their customers and allows them to communicate and interact directly, strengthening relationships and gaining a better understanding of who is buying their products and why. Marketplaces are among the most popular selling strategies for DTC. Our recent report on cross-border consumer behavior shows that 50% of fashion sales are happening on marketplaces.
The ever-growing benefits of joining an online marketplace
Online marketplaces are constantly finding new ways to improve the customer experience. They aim to make it as seamless as possible for brands and retailers to market, sell and fulfill orders. The more user-friendly a platform is for sellers, the better the experience for shoppers, which increases the likelihood of customers coming back. This is reflected in several significant benefits.
Fast launch at low cost
Utilizing online marketplaces can be an effective strategy for generating income and establishing a strong brand presence. Marketplaces offer fast launch times, streamlined processes and protections against the risk of unpaid bills, fraud and disputes.
For established market players, marketplaces provide great testing grounds for new products with less risk. They can also be an inexpensive way of expanding sales internationally.
Keep in mind
There’s another important benefit to using a multichannel sales strategy. By diversifying your income sources, you’re securing your revenue.
Beneficial partner programs for sellers
The leading online marketplaces offer partner programs to simplify the marketing process, e.g., Amazon Advertising, Zalando Marketing Services (ZMS), Google Shopping Actions, as well as selling and fulfilling orders, e.g., Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) or Zalando Fulfillment Solution (ZFS). Marketplaces also often share support, customer data (Partner Program portal - zDirect, Zalando Marketing Services ZMS by Zalando) and warehouse space.
Partner programs give you the capacity to satisfy consumers’ expectations for a fraction of the price and resources you’d need to do it independently.
Here are a few benefits offered by Amazon’s program:
30%+ lower shipping costs (compared to other providers)
20-25% sales increase with FBA
130 customer support sites
Being a member of a reputable online marketplace establishes trust between the buyer and the seller. Marketplaces invest a lot of money into building a loyal customer base that you can benefit from. They utilize tools like memberships (e.g. Amazon Prime) and mobile apps (e.g. Farfetch). Customers with subscription services or dedicated discounts are more likely to come back quickly.
You can also leverage data about shopping trends to deliver a better customer experience on all your selling channels. For example, ZMS shares Zalando’s consumer base and data from all markets ( >7billion marketplace visits per year). This will help you advertise your brand more effectively and, in the long run, will generate significant savings.
Keep in mind
When using customer information, you should follow the platform's guidelines. Utilizing information found within the platform for any purpose outside of the platform is strictly prohibited and may result in suspension of selling privileges.
Memberships and returning customers
Member benefits and apps have made marketplace shopping an entirely new experience. Memberships are a way for brands to differentiate themselves from other online shopping channels and make customers feel special. Rewards and bonuses, similar to in-store loyalty programs, keep consumers engaged and coming back, while at the same time provide brands with valuable marketplace data (shopping trends, spending and return habits, reactions to the product, etc.)
Marketplaces steadily expand their offering with new memberships and benefits. For instance, Amazon Prime, with its free shipping, has grown significantly, with more than half of its user base in the United States. Amazon keeps adding new benefits such as Prime Video, even acquiring film and television studio MGM. It shows that they’re interested in creating more exclusive content in the future and that they won’t stop investing in benefits. Since Amazon is a market leader, we can only expect others to follow. It’s safe to assume that benefits will grow and new subscribers will join.
Which marketplaces are a fit for fashion brands?
Not all marketplaces are suitable for your brand. Some of them cater to specific niches – Barnes and Noble is the go-to place for books, while Newegg is where people buy electronics. Others, like Wish, have a dubious reputation and may not be a great choice for luxury brands. To maximize profitability on online marketplaces, it's essential to first identify the platforms that are the best fit for your brand.
To start with, identify your goal. Do you want to:
use the marketplace to enter a new market?
reach new customers on an existing market?
build brand recognition?
test demand for your product on a new market?
You may have other objectives as well.
With your goal in mind, do the due diligence and make your choices. You have two main categories to choose from:
Large-scale general marketplaces (Amazon)
Niche marketplaces (Zalando, Farfetch, ASOS)
Each marketplace also has distinct requirements, product categories and target audiences. You want to review them all and see how they match your brand and your goal. Take the time to conduct thorough research and consider:
the size of competition on the marketplace
how well the audience fits your ICP
how much you’re ready to invest
the marketplace's reputation, if it plays well with your brand
the country or countries in which you want to sell
if you can satisfy all of the marketplace’s
the marketplace’s pricing structure
Keep in mind
There are more than 160 online marketplaces that you could potentially leverage to reach new customers. You can enter any new market with the most popular marketplace and gain instant trust.
You can’t go after all of them at once. Be deliberate when determining which marketplaces are best for your brand. You might need to experiment before choosing the right space, but there are many others to enter if the first fit wasn't the best.
There are a lot of marketplaces to choose from, and it might seem overwhelming. That’s why we’ve created this list of the marketplaces with significant fashion audience:
Competition in marketplaces
Today’s marketplaces offer easy access to a wide customer base. This is a low-hanging fruit that can attract tens of thousands of new sellers each year. Competition in marketplaces is very strong – there were about 2 million sellers on Amazon in 2021. That’s why only a small percentage of newcomers make it through the first year.
There are three types of sellers:
Resellers – They purchase products from other manufacturers and resell them on the marketplace.
Private-label brands – They take already manufactured products and add their own branding to them, potentially giving them a slight design twist to make them different.
Brands – They create their own products from scratch with the goal of solving a consumer problem.
Brands have an advantage on marketplaces because they are focused on acquiring customers, not just selling a product. Private-label brands and resellers may not prioritize the consumer journey as much as brands do. If you want to succeed, you need to play to your strengths and make sure the marketplace can provide an on-brand customer experience.
The best online marketplace strategy for 2023
Marketplaces provide you with a lot of ways to share your brand story. Here is how you can do it effectively.
Focus on your product detail page (PDP)
Make it visually appealing and enticing in order to attract traffic. Monitor engagement metrics such as clicks, click-through rates and conversion rates to gain insight into how customers interact with your PDP. Use this information to optimize your PDP and continue to monitor and improve it through review and iterations.
Go pro to be seen
Pro options like Prime have impactful visibility on Amazon. Customers can turn the filter on with a single button, and all non-Prime products disappear from their view. And shoppers use that filter – they’ve already paid for membership to have free shipping, so they want to benefit from it. Members with subscriptions are the majority of the marketplace's users.
Creating high-converting product pages for marketplaces
Let’s start with creating SEO-friendly, high-converting product pages. We will be discussing all the elements using examples from our customers.
Viking Outdoor Footwear is a Norwegian brand that makes comfortable and durable protective footwear for kids and adults. Here’s their product page:
Creating product pages requires a product name and description, which brings us to Amazon SEO. Google SEO and Amazon SEO or Farfetch SEO might have similar foundations – crafting sales copy based around volume keywords – but they are very different, and you can’t use the same principles on all of them to achieve success.
Product page SEO is weighted on all marketplaces:
The title is the most prioritized element. Amazon allows for 200 characters, but it’s better to use about 80. Longer titles don't fit on mobile devices. Above all, you want the title to be clear and informative. Another good practice is to start with the most relevant keywords and end on the least important information. Sometimes you can find examples of keyword stuffing like “Keratin hair mask, keratin hair care, keratin for long hair.” Those hard-to-read titles are pointless – Amazon SEO doesn’t promote overuse of keywords. Using a keyword once is enough to be indexed.
Remember that each marketplace is different, and it’s best to create separate marketing strategies for each of them.
Search terms are the second prioritized element. It’s basically a spoon-feeding search. You can use 250 characters. Concentrate on relevant phrases – those not included in the title, but still significant for search. Ensure that you are targeting the correct audience, and focus on a specific market segment to keep your products visible. Avoid including unrelated brand names or information, as well as non-indexing characters such as commas, apostrophes and similar characters. Don’t duplicate phrases, as Amazon recognizes that.
The last prioritized element is bullet points. When creating product listings, you get five bullet points. It's important to make these fields informative yet concise. Utilizing relevant keywords here can improve your product's discoverability and searchability. Consumers often shop on mobile devices and pay attention to other sections: media assets, titles, reviews and price, so use this space to power SEO.
Keep in mind
Stay within marketplace rules (this also applies to search terms). For example, making any health claims that are not scientifically proven can lead to the product being removed from the site, among other consequences. Marketplaces are even believed to have methods of punishing your brand without you knowing about it, such as shadowbanning your products.
If you need additional keywords or are looking for ideas for SEO improvements, here are some tools to use:
Keyword Shitter is free and generates a list of keywords for you. It’s not marketplace specific
Google Keyword Planner is free but not specifically designed for marketplaces. You can use it to see trends in keyword searches over time. Paid versions of this include Semrush Keyword Magic Tool or Ahrefs
Keyword Tool Dominator and Helium 10 have a version specifically for Amazon
Jungle Scout, Sonar by Sellics and Seller Labs have dedicated options for Amazon
It's important to use tools correctly. What works on Google may not work on Amazon, Zalando or Farfetch. Google-dedicated tools are still beneficial when searching for ideas and trends, but remember that for SEO purposes, you should use tools tailored to the specific marketplace you are targeting.
Media assets for high-converting product pages
When creating your product name and description, spend some time on choosing the right media for your product page. To create an engaging experience for consumers and increase conversions on marketplaces, it is important to use images and videos that evoke emotions and give a sense of what the product is like in real life. Requirements for the main image include a traditional white background and a clear, full view of the product. Marketplaces can take your product down if you don’t stick to those rules.
You probably already have photos from professional photoshoots that can show your clothes, cosmetics, jewelry or shoes in action. It’s a great idea to use them across the product page, and it’s worth investing in high-quality lifestyle photos and videos to provide authenticity and a holistic experience for consumers. This is why:
If a marketplace offers the opportunity to use video (like Amazon, Zalando or Farfetch), do it. Shoppers make decisions in mere minutes, which means that you have to capture their attention as quickly as possible. That is why you need videos to display your product's unique selling point and keep customers on the page.
You want videos to be product-focused and packed with information, and for them to last from 15 to 30 seconds max. In the TikTok era, shoppers have a short attention span. If you can’t use video, provide a short infographic to show your hook. The more you showcase the product in use, the easier it will be for consumers to imagine using the product in their own lives and make a purchase decision.
Keep in mind
More media privileges are offered to brands with a registered trademark on Amazon, so if you can, get it.
Win the buy box
The buy box is a crucial element on a product detail page. It's where the "add to cart" and "buy now" buttons, the main calls to action, are located. The price and shipping costs are also displayed in this area. Make sure that your offer is competitive in both dimensions, because they influence buyers' purchasing decisions. About 80% of sales occur in the buy box. If another seller offers the exact same product as you, Amazon puts only one seller in the buy box.
To purchase from other sellers, buyers need to scroll down the page and look for them. To maximize sales, it's essential to be that one seller in the buy box. The factors that determine who is placed in the buy box on Amazon are complex and not fully known; some marketplaces, like ASOS, elect to share their placement requirements
Keep in mind
Put your best effort into building an SEO-friendly product page, but remember that there is more to it. It is believed that Amazon's algorithm prioritizes items in search results based on:
customer service ratings
order defect rates
performance and conversion metrics
the length of time the product has been listed on Amazon
sales history and sales velocity
The power of marketplace reviews
In the context of online reviews, reading positive feedback from other customers who have bought a similar product increases the perceived value of the item and instills confidence in the purchase decision.
Customers often prioritize the reputation of a business over its prices. Authenticity can enhance a business's credibility and trustworthiness, making it more appealing to potential customers. Bright Local studies have shown that many shoppers avoid businesses with ratings below four stars, while those with a good reputation in online reviews tend to see an increase in traffic and sales.
Interestingly, only a small number of reviews is needed to establish trust in a product. Having more doesn’t necessarily lead to a higher conversion rate. However, it can help to mitigate the negative impact of a single one-star feedback and keep the overall rating from dropping.
Source: Bright Local
Creating the best customer experience on the marketplace
Creating the best customer experience relies on a seamless and quick process. On marketplaces, some elements of that process - like payments or shopping cart - are out of your control. However, there are many other ways for you to influence customer experience and build relationships with buyers.
Source: The State of Online Marketplace Adoption by Mirakl
The importance of shipping
Marketplace shoppers expect ultrafast, free shipping. That’s the current standard, and if you want to avoid abandoned shopping carts, you have to deliver. In a survey by AlixPartners, 96% of respondents admitted that the availability of free shipping impacts their purchase decision.
To keep fulfillment costs low, it's important to have access to cost-effective delivery options. Diversify your shipping strategy by using programs like Zalando Fulfillment Solutions (ZFS), Shipping (ZSS), and Returns (ZRS) or third-party logistics providers like ShipBob or ShipStation.
Keep in mind
When you're selling online and you can’t offer free shipping, the best thing is to include shipping in the price. A low price may initially encourage people to visit your website, but you won’t make that sale anyway, and you’ll end up delivering an unpleasant experience. Changing your strategy will make a visible difference and grow your conversion rate.
Use storytelling to connect with potential customers
Brand storytelling is crucial to evoking an emotional response from consumers and building a strong brand. Instead of focusing solely on how your product solves a problem, consider the problem the consumer is facing and develop your brand story around how your product addresses and resolves those issues.
Creating a compelling brand story will continue to play a significant role in connecting with consumers and building loyalty. Gen Z and Millennials are already heavily invested in what a brand stands for.
Create attractive branding
It’s good to show your branding across different spots on the marketplace. For instance, Amazon offers a free, default PDP template, but you can also implement a custom design, and it’s worth the investment.
The consumer journey doesn’t end with the purchase on a marketplace. Rather, it continues with the experience of receiving and using the product. Packaging, instructions and post-purchase interactions all play a role in building brand loyalty and reinforcing the brand story. Make sure they align with your brand message.
There is always a way to deliver an on-brand customer experience, even if you choose to work with FBA or use ZFS and your product will be shipped in their boxes. You can still use a well-designed, branded inner box that includes images and storytelling.
Creating an impactful unboxing experience can help establish a connection with consumers. For instance, you can include in the parcel a product insert with a QR code that directs consumers to social media accounts, provides warranty information or offers other engagement opportunities. These codes are becoming increasingly popular, so make sure to get the most out of the opportunity.
Keep in mind
Online marketplaces want to maintain consistency in consumer experience and therefore discourage redirecting traffic to external websites. That is why it's important to avoid including links to your website in copy, photos or messages. Marketplaces have algorithms that can detect this, and if caught, your account could face penalties and even termination. It's not worth the risk. While it may be possible to regain a suspended marketplace account, the process can be costly and time-consuming.
React when things take the wrong turn
You don’t have full control over every aspect of your customer experience. There are also subjective reasons for unhappy clients like their preferences, unrealistic expectations and so on. Those things can cause negative reviews. You don’t want to fight opinions or overexplain complicated processes that resulted in a delay.
For better customer experience, apply the “no questions asked” policy – no additional information is required to return an order. In case of complaints, return the money or replace the product, and then try to gain information from the customer if you need it. Spending money on returns and refunds is a worthy investment in keeping high review scores and conversion. It may prevent negative reviews from appearing, or lead authors to being less aggressive or even to delete bad reviews.
If negative reviews come in a big wave, you can expect the marketplace to reach out to you. Staying honest and communicative is essential. Even if they suspend your selling privileges, they will usually help you find a solution. You might need to create a plan of action to get reinstated.
Marketplaces also monitor shipping. When you’re shipping your products, it’s key to maintain fast delivery, provide accurate tracking information and keep your cancellation rate low. There is an easy way to prevent problems: using a fulfillment center like Amazon's Prime shipping or Zalando Fulfillment Solutions. With them taking responsibility, you’re no longer accountable for shipping errors, and your account is not at risk of suspension. It’s a win-win strategy.
What’s more, it is also crucial to respond to messages from customers within 24 hours. This can help minimize returns, refunds, bad reviews and account suspension. The communication options between sellers and buyers on marketplace sites can be limited, but there are tools available to make the process easier. Use these effectively and communicate clearly with customers to ensure a positive experience.
Keep in mind
Marketplaces pay close attention to policy compliance. If customers leave negative reviews that uncover intellectual property infringement or violation of any other policy, your account may be permanently terminated.
While it may be possible to regain a suspended marketplace account, as mentioned above, the process can be costly and time-consuming.
Grow sales on marketplaces with advertising
Investing in paid placements, particularly on Amazon, is essential for increasing revenue and driving sales. Most people don't go past the first page of search results. On desktops, there are usually around 50 listings, and on mobile phones it’s closer to 20. If you're not one of those 20-50 products listed on page one, consumers won't see your offer.
To get the most out of your advertising investment, you need to strike a balance between organic and paid traffic:
Organic search listings are the products that a marketplace algorithm deems to be the best match for a customer's query. This listing typically appears at the top of the search results and can be differentiated from paid ads or sponsored content. The organic search algorithm considers several sources when selecting these items, with sales history and velocity being two of the most important factors. Keep this in mind when analyzing which products are likely to appear in organic searches.
Paid search can be identified as listings appearing next to organic search results. Promoted products may also be available on organic searches but are given preferential placement via a paid advertisement. This placement is determined by several factors such as cost-per-click (CPC) and targets, among other variables. In the case of Amazon, these variables are carefully weighed up before deciding which products to include in their paid spots.
CPC is the primary model for advertising on marketplaces. In this model, when a consumer views and clicks your ad, you will be charged according to the bid amount. If a consumer only sees the ad, which is called an impression, you won’t pay anything.
Organic and paid search are key aspects of marketing on Amazon, as well as other sites like Zalando, ASOS or Lyst. When it comes to advertising on a marketplace, there are two main types of ad spots – search and display.
Display advertising on marketplaces
Sponsored Displays are a recent type of advertisement available on Amazon. These ads show up in different spots on Amazon pages as well as offsite, allowing for retargeting and remarketing. When using Sponsored Displays, there is greater control over what gets shown and the creative side of ads. This type of advertising opens the door to more exploratory and brand awareness searches.
Display advertisements on Zalando
What’s unique about Zalando’s advertisement is its 360-degree approach. If you want help in creating a strong brand presence online, inside and outside the marketplace, Zalando is ready to deliver. It offers ZMS Services, which is a data-driven in-house marketing agency that can help you create a complete marketing strategy, stay on track, tweak it, or just run a single campaign. It gives you the tools and all the support you need to succeed. Zalando applies the CPC model.
The ad types on Zalando are well tested and established:
Homepage teaser - This is a highly visible placement. It includes an image or video with the option to add a headline and subtitle, as well as a call to action (CTA) to directly engage with potential customers. You can also add a carousel with up to 25 products to introduce your offering.
Banner ad - This is a banner placed within product categories. It includes an image or video, along with a headline, subtitle, and CTA to promote the brand. The advertised product must also belong to that category.
Newsletter ad - Zalando newsletter is issued bi-monthly and offers two ad spots (at the top and at the bottom). These are highly effective ads. Their main objective is to enhance brand recognition, but they can drive traffic straight to the product page as well. If your product is trending at the moment – share it to an even wider audience.
Search advertising on marketplaces
Display advertising is great for creating brand awareness, but search advertising is where consumers find the products they need. This type of ad is more native to the user experience and presents better opportunities for conversion. The biggest benefit of search advertising is its cost efficiency. In display advertising, you face upfront costs and must be ready to invest heavily. Search advertising makes it easier to track the return on the ad.
Sales history and sales velocity are important factors in getting to the top of organic ranking, but what if your product just launched or you just joined the marketplace? You need your ads to be seen in order to build that sales history and velocity, and to reach the top of organic search in the future.
Search advertisements on Amazon
The bids and ad placements for advertising on Amazon are managed by an algorithm that weighs various factors, such as click-through rate, and then determines whether a product should be placed in that ad spot.
Amazon’s sponsored product placements show up higher in the search engine results than organic listings. Sponsored products display both in search and on product pages.
Sponsored Brands are ads offered through Amazon's Brand Registry and provided to brands with registered trademarks on Amazon. They allow for a unique storytelling opportunity and direct customers to the store page or individual products featured on the right side of the ad. They also give customers additional time to get exposure to your brand and understand why they should buy from you. Sponsored Brands get top placement in search results, allowing them to boost brand awareness and drive conversions – a big part of why Amazon's ad business continues to grow quickly.
Keep in mind
You can’t include search terms from competitors in your product listings. That goes against most marketplaces policies. But, you can be targeting competitors’ audience and bidding on the same keywords to capture a share of the market – potentially those who are already looking for what you offer.
However, bigger competitors may be spending more money on targets that you can’t afford. Not all cost-per-click rates are equal.
Search advertisements on Zalando
The overall search advertisement system looks very similar to Amazon’s. The main difference is the audience. Zalando has the largest European fashion audience - 50 million active customers.
One of the most easily accessible types of ads on Zalando are Sponsored Products, which appear alongside organic search results. They have priority and are usually placed at the top and throughout the first page. They make an excellent way to reach consumers quickly.
Setup and evaluation of your ads
To create a successful ad on marketplaces, be specific about the type of traffic you want to acquire. By carefully selecting the keywords and competitors to focus on, setting up the campaigns correctly, and allocating your budget accordingly, you can achieve critical mass. This can lead to more impressions, higher click-through rates and more conversions. Additionally, the marketplace will more likely show your ads in favorable positions, as it will recognize the potential for sales.
Marketplaces usually offer two types of targeting:
Automatic – The marketplace chooses the target and the placement
Manual – You choose where and to whom your ad will be shown
Ensure that your targeting is relevant. This applies to choosing your keywords, the right audience, and similar products. However, the marketplaces have a right to control your ads. They won’t show your ads if targeting doesn’t align with the advertised product. This will result in a lack of impressions, clicks and revenue.
Segmenting your ad groups helps ensure that the right products are placed in the right groups, and that targeting is based on the appropriate match type. There are typically three match types available on most marketplace ad platforms: broad, phrase and exact.
Broad match means that the customer’s search is related to the search term being bid on. Phrase and exact match are more precise. Keep these match types separate, because combining them can create chaos in results. Additionally, costs for broad, phrase and exact match keywords or targets can vary, so it may be necessary to plan your budget differently across these terms.
You can also split product variations based on color, size, style, etc. for better segmentation.
Make sure to set limits on the number of targets and ads used in a campaign. Avoid adding hundreds of keywords and products to a campaign with a small budget. Instead, consider creating themed campaigns, such as general search or page-one-ranking campaigns.
Target one or two specific keywords related to the theme and allocate the budget toward that campaign. By overloading campaigns with too many targets and not allocating enough budget, you’ll reach their spending limit and they will stop showing. Adjust budgets based on the number of keywords and the desired volume of impressions for your advertising campaigns.
Keep in mind
If your brand is not converting in certain ad placements, other brands may take advantage by spending less and being placed in those spots. This is because marketplaces primarily earn money from sold listings, not ad bids. Amazon or Zalando may prefer to accept lower bids from competing brands whose products are more likely to sell, even if your brand has more money to outbid them. This is where the marketplace generates most of its revenue.
After each campaign, you need to calculate your return on ad spend (ROAS). This is a measure of how successful an advertising campaign is, determined by the amount of revenue generated compared to the total amount spent on advertising. The best practice is to not compare ad spending to ad-driven sales, but all the sales. As we mentioned before, paid advertising leads to a surge in organic results, so it’s proper to include them in the analysis.
Keep in mind
Depending on the type of ad and the platform, attribution windows vary. Attribution window refers to the amount of time between when a user views or clicks on an ad and when they eventually convert. This metric is important for gauging the effectiveness of campaigns, as it tells marketers whether customers who interacted with their ads completed the intended actions, and it also determines the value of payment for the ads.
Grow your brand with marketplaces
Online marketplaces provide an attractive and successful platform for fashion brands to expand their business and reach out to new customers in a quick and cost-effective manner. The key ingredients for a successful presence on online marketplaces include creating high-converting product pages with media assets, seizing the power of marketplace reviews, building an exceptional customer experience on the marketplace, and pushing extra efforts with marketing advertising. There are many different marketplace options available that cater to fashion-specific items, as well as more general marketplaces. The only limitation is your ecommerce platform and its capacity for integration.