The mention of e-commerce makes most of us think of Amazon or eBay for all the right reasons. The two e-commerce giants have redefined the way we shop online. Plus, they have set a benchmark in the domain of online retail sales, all while leading the market over time. In fact, Amazon and eBay are the most visited online marketplaces worldwide.
But, let's face reality. Owning and maintaining an online multivendor marketplace has its own set of challenges. After setting up an online marketplace, one of the first tasks is to draw sellers to your platform. Plus, you must ensure that the vendors you get are the ones you are searching for.
So, let's dive into this guide on how to attract sellers for your multivendor marketplace!
What is an E-Commerce Marketplace?
An online multivendor marketplace is an e-commerce site where different vendors or sellers sell their products on a single platform. It has an admin or owner who manages the e-commerce platform, looks after the transactions, attracts vendors, and often helps with the packaging and logistics.
Thus, a vendor registers with the online marketplace platform where the vendor has a dashboard for listing and managing their products. For every sale, the marketplace processes the payment and may also assist the seller with the packaging, transport, and delivery. The marketplace owner, in turn, charges a commission for every sale and credits the rest to the vendor.
So, a marketplace differs from a regular online store because, in the latter, the seller sells to the customers without the involvement of any third party. Plus, marketplaces offer a wider range of products. While Amazon and eBay are marketplaces, an example of an online store would be the Dorothy Perkins website, with exclusive offerings of apparel, shoes, and accessories.
The challenges that come with attracting sellers are not something you can ignore. Here's a list of some of the hurdles that marketplace owners face while securing a supplier base.
The chicken and egg problem
Attracting both sellers and buyers is vital for an online marketplace. But whom should you attract first? Buyers or sellers? Well, that brings us to the classic chicken and egg problem. But the only answer to your dilemma is this: you need to have enough sellers to attract buyers and vice versa.
Low customer acquisition
A low customer base will make building a solid seller network challenging. Converting website visitors into prospective customers is something that most marketplaces struggle with. As a result, they lag behind growth and profit generation and lose out on sellers.
Low customer retention rate
Retaining customers is as critical as attracting them. But, many online marketplaces fail to maintain a customer base. No doubt, it leads to sellers turning their back on the platform. Poor customer experience, customer service, and the absence of loyalty programs are common turn-offs for customers.
Low brand awareness
Poor brand awareness is one of the reasons why marketplaces cannot secure a client base. A lack of understanding about the correct ways to use digital marketing channels leads to low publicity.
Different Channels to Market Your Multivendor Marketplace
Once you have built your online marketplace, you have to decide how you will market your site to sellers. Hence, you need to develop strategies that work and attract quality sellers to your site.
Here's a list of some effective e-commerce marketing channels you can use to attract sellers and customers alike:
Content Marketing: A powerful online marketing strategy for e-commerce businesses, content marketing uses different content formats like blogs, explainer videos, whitepapers, infographics, and buying guides to engage and provide valuable information to the target audience.
Search Engine Optimization: SEO or Search Engine Optimization means that you optimize your website so that it appears among the top results of a search engine. As a result, more sellers and buyers will be able to connect with your platform.
PPC Strategy: Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising strategy is a form of paid search advertising where you pay for your marketplace landing pages to feature in the paid advertising sections of search engines' results pages.
Email Marketing: It is the most effective inbound marketing strategy if used well. As you grow your subscriber list, boost your email campaigns through new arrival emails, promotional emails, transactional emails, triggered emails.
Affiliate Marketing: Affiliate marketing is a sort of referral marketing. As a marketplace owner, you will compensate a third-party publisher (affiliate) for generating traffic and leads to your platform.
Influencer Marketing: The influencer culture has taken social media by storm. So, why not use it to promote your marketplace? Hence, your goal is to focus on social media icons who can drive your platform's message to a larger audience.
Attracting the Right Sellers to Your Site
When you have ample sellers, there is a wide range of items on your marketplace. Thus, you can draw more people to visit your site and amplify sales.
So, we have listed below some of the most effective ways to attract the right sellers to your site:
Adopt smart marketing strategies
Marketing is the cornerstone of every business structure. Regardless of the visuals and functionalities of your marketplace website, if you fail to market it to the right audience, all your efforts can be in vain. So, whether you want to attract customers or sellers, a smart marketing strategy will go a long way in establishing your marketplace in the digital space.
Besides the online marketing strategies we discussed before, you can use offline advertising techniques to reach out to sellers who may not be tech-savvy but could add value to your business. Hoardings, TV and newspaper ads, and in-person visits are some of the effective ways to spread the word.
Be transparent with the commission structure
A clear and transparent payment and commission structure are essential for every seller. Explain whether you are charging the fee as per the product, category, or quantity. Also, focus on maintaining the seller's liquidity by following a fixed payment strategy. Sorting payments by the weekend is the most acceptable strategy to keep the books clean.
Simplify the business transaction process
Little knowledge about how an online marketplace works keep sellers from such platforms. As a marketplace owner, it is your job to educate the sellers and make things simpler for them. Create an inclusive space where every seller feels encouraged to sell their products. Training sessions and user modules can help those who are not fluent with the platform.
Convincing sellers will be easier if you can optimize your marketplace to make their experience smoother through easy payment options, inventory management, and order management.
Offer logistics and communication support
Most sellers prefer a marketplace over an online store. It is because the latter offers logistics support. Warehousing, packaging and shipping items, and setting up a fool-proof return system are some of the hassles that most sellers want to avoid and approach marketplaces. As a marketplace owner, you must make things easier for your sellers. Also, your marketplace platform should have a robust communication system to encourage direct interaction among buyers and sellers.
Write informative blogs
In a craze to set up the most striking marketplace, owners often ignore the efforts they need to put in later. There is nothing as good as content marketing to attract clients. Unfortunately, it is an aspect that is often overlooked. Blogs, articles, and videos are great ways to market your website, what you offer, and how it works. Write about your existing sellers' success stories. Those will inspire new sellers to try your platform. But, ensure that your content is well-optimized for search engines to rank them higher.
Keeping Sellers Engaged
The high competition in the online retail space pushes sellers to sell on many platforms. Hence, a marketplace owner needs to build a lasting relationship with sellers.
So, here is a list of some practical ways to engage sellers in your online platform:
Seek seller feedback
Taking regular feedback from sellers is a must for building trust. Hence, reach out to sellers to know how satisfied they are with you and let them voice their feedback.
Keep communication channels open
Transparency and communication are essential to a long-lasting relationship with sellers. Your online marketplace may see changes in business terms. In such cases, ensure that sellers read critical/updated T&Cs. You can use reminders and banner notifications to make your sellers aware of changes.
Give rating alerts
Several metrics assess seller performance. These include buyer feedback, unresolved cases, defective products, etc. You can alert sellers of negative ratings through on-site notifications.
Encourage participation in sales
It is common for marketplaces to host various kinds of sales. These are times when most buyers flock to do online shopping. As the marketplace owner, you can give a heads up to your sellers to increase stocks in advance. That way they will be better prepared to meet the spike in demands.
Use website plugins to boost buyer-seller communication
With the AtomChat marketplace website chat plugin, you can enrich your marketplace with group and video chats, audio and video calling, video broadcasting, file sharing, and white-label apps. It is full of features to help sellers maintain transparency and build trust.
Building Loyalty in an Online Marketplace
The aim of using loyalty programs in a marketplace is to identify, recognize, and reward valued customers and sellers with the intent of retaining them. If you want your buyers to be loyal, you must ensure that your seller base is reliable.
But why is building loyalty so essential in an online marketplace? Take a look at these reasons:Loyalty programs are a great way to ensure customer retention. Buyers who have earned reward points from a sale are likely to buy again using the points.
Loyal customers will bring more buyers and drive more traffic. It works through referrals or simple word-of-mouth.
Once you have drawn viewers to your site, it is easier to convert them to buyers with offers and discounts.
Giving perks like discounts for registering with your marketplace platform can work wonders to attract more vendors.
Reward programs will make your customers happy. Thus, it will help your business grow by increasing customer lifetime value.
Platforms as robust as Amazon or eBay do not develop overnight. It results from the right marketing strategies and business practices. Thus, your focus should be on attracting and retaining clients from both the supply and demand sides. Pleasing customers and developing a strong supplier base are both essential.
This article provides an insight into attracting and retaining sellers on your marketplace. But feel free to explore your own path while keeping in mind the goals you want to achieve for your platform.