You built your multi-vendor marketplace on Shopify, did the hard part of choosing the right platform, and dealt with the setup-related nightmares. But now you have to tackle the harder part–how do you generate sustained sales revenue for your online platform?
For countless online marketplaces, especially start-ups, generating high visitor traffic is a challenge. And those who manage to generate good traffic find it difficult to convert page views into product sales.
Your 11-point sales booster formula
From easily navigable menus to a simple site structure to the strong technical SEO capabilities, Shopify can help you deliver a great shopping experience to your site visitors. The next step is converting traffic into sales. That's where the following tried-and-tested methods can help. Employ these tips and convert these visits into cash for your multi-vendor marketplace.
- Shopper opt-ins to breed future sales: Facilitating sellers to do marketing campaigns can deliver the desired results, provided contact data are relevant and pre-validated. With Shopify, your vendors can use pop-ups, flyouts, chat windows, and even on-page fields to offer attractive schemes and downloadable content, such as product data sheets, product comparisons, etc. Discount offers and seasonal schemes are other powerful opt-in tools you can introduce to drive sales conversions. While visitors are on product pages, recommending them to explore similar products or showcasing product bundles, bulk-purchase schemes, etc., can also help boost conversion rates.
- Email marketing campaigns: These campaigns put specific brands on top of the minds of first-time users as well as regular customers. Monitor the abandonment users and cart abandonment users to understand customer behavior and garner new sales. For every dollar your vendors or you spend on email campaigns, the ROI can be as high as $45.
- Socially engaging marketplace: The online marketplaces are fast converting into social marketplaces today. They are more of a combination of an online community website and a marketplace website with rich, diverse features. Socially engaging apps and features integrated into these marketplaces are enabling effective social conversations between vendors and customers through class-leading apps such as AtomChat. Creating such a social marketplace will give you four key benefits, among several others:
- Better brand awareness and customer loyalty;
- Engaging buyer-seller interactions;
- Vendor-to-vendor collaboration
- Building a strong ecosystem of all the marketplace stakeholders
- SMS and push notifications for deeper engagement: With proper opt-ins, shoppers are open to receiving special offers via text messages or as mobile notifications. The ‘SMS open’ rates can be as high as 98 percent and these messages are usually opened within the first 90 seconds of delivery.
- Social media marketing: A strong social media strategy is essential to the success of online marketplaces. For instance, Instagram has turned into an effective marketing tool with its focus on images and the ability to tag products for easy shoppability for most e-retailer brands on Shopify.
- Growing organic traffic with effective SEO: Shopify offers excellent built-in settings to create great SEO-friendly pages for your merchant vendors — updatable meta fields (title, description, slug, URL), automatically generating sitemaps, 301 redirects, and canonical URLs, to reap the benefits of free traffic. All this makes key pages easily discoverable via search engines.
- Targeted ad campaigns to attract the right traffic: Once all of the vendors’ efforts to garner top organic spots in search engines are taken, as the site promoter, you should facilitate vendors to opt for paid advertising, especially Google Ads. For some brands, depending on their target demographics and preferences, paid social media ads may work even better.
- Design dedicated, high-converting landing pages: Knowing exactly who their target customers are, your vendor-partners can push them directly to their campaign landing pages that are designed specifically for sales conversion. Shopify allows for the creation of great landing pages with features such as engaging headlines, compelling Call to Action, powerful images, creative designs, clear features and benefits, and social proof.
- Compelling copy, photos, and videos: Making the most of all resources to showcase everything great about the products on display often proves decisive in prompting a potential customer to buy. A high-quality video and/or images from different angles for each product, showing its smallest details create a satisfactory product page viewing experience and also increases the chances of buying.
- Building trust with great social proof: Testimonials of happy customers can go a long way in persuading potential buyers to buy products from the stores listed on your multi-vendor marketplace. Reviews and awards act as the added powerful proofs.
- Turning customers into brand ambassadors: Rewarding your best customers with tempting loyalty and referral programs can be a powerful driver of word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. Besides retention, such schemes effectively make your customers act as your extended marketing team members. As the multi-store site owner, you must do this to boost the sales of your vendor-partners.
Seven pitfalls to avoid
While the above techniques can help you achieve high sales conversion rates, there also are a few dangers to avoid. Besides causing a resource drain, these pitfalls can also thwart your sales conversion rates drastically. Let's understand them a little more in detail.
- Trust deficit: Today’s shoppers are smart and prudent. If you are unable to provide them with valid reasons to trust your portal, seldom will they buy products from your website. Facilitating true customer ratings, product evaluations, and social evidence are some of the key steps for building consumer trust. The site visitors must start believing that your marketplace is committed to protect their interests.
- Complicated navigation: Good content can be marred by bad navigation and presentation. Therefore, for your multi-vendor marketplace to be successful, a well-thought-out user interface and intuitive navigation are the must-have attributes. Adding Shopify collections to the navigation menu and across pages can smoothen your site visitors’ navigation experience helping them locate the products of their choice quickly and easily.
- Not making your site mobile-ready: Given the steadily rising mobile commerce sales, you cannot ignore this aspect. As 72.6 percent of users are likely to access the internet using their smartphones, a responsive site design with page optimizations for mobile view and a mobile app version are becoming the basic hygiene for online marketplaces today.
- Scanty product information: Another potential dampener. Your site visitors will leave within minutes if not in seconds if the products on display are not supported with adequate–and evocative–information. A must-have feature, detailed product information can hook and retain visitors on your store pages longer–prompting them to buy.
- Poor picture quality: High-quality product shots from multiple angles along with clear feature descriptions can help your target shoppers take informed buying decisions. Adequate information and product shots also lend transparency to your portal operations.
- Stores without differentiated layouts: Consumers often identify brands by the logo, color schemes, and the design patterns that go with them. Not having differentiated layouts for individual stores can make it difficult for your vendor partners to present their products to their target customers effectively. The sameness of design may also make your marketplace appear monotonous and boring. Clutter-free store-page designs customized by brand (vendors) can help your store partners make lasting impressions on the minds of their target customers, resulting in higher sales for the marketplace.
- Targeting the wrong audience: The misleading SEO and marketing campaigns that perhaps target the wrong consumer demographics can fail to attract serious buyers to your marketplace. Carry out a thorough customer mapping and develop targeted campaigns to boost your sales.
Safety net for your consumers
Now that you know a few good practices to follow and missteps to avoid, let's also look at a few serious issues that you should pay attention to. Although online B2C commerce has revolutionized the shopping experience, it has opened up a new channel of opportunity for cybercrime. It has become a haven for fraud, money laundering, and chargeback scams.
Given this scenario how will you ensure that your consumers do not experience any unfortunate instances of being duped? The marketplace you build must allow your consumers to transact in a safe, compliant, and hassle-free manner.
The first preventive step begins with stringent verifications of the merchant partners you intend to onboard. Necessary checks to include are KYC (know your customer), KYB (know your business), AML (anti-money laundering), KYT (know your transactions) processes, anti-fraud behavioral patterns monitoring, etc. A verified list of merchants, besides improving marketplace-to-vendor communication, also attaches a strong sense of trust to the marketplace.
Lastly, you must also consider carrying out due diligence through additional checks on a case-to-case basis. Closely monitor exceeding thresholds, suspicious activities, product changes, and negative media coverage to make sure that your consumers feel comfortable shopping on your marketplace and keep returning for repeat purchases going forward.