Marketplace performance metrics are more complex and different from a regular online store. The marketplace takes into account and cares about the interests of not only buyers. In order for the site to open, it must have a sufficient number of services that people want to buy. The profit of the marketplace largely depends on the number of sellers on the site. And here the main question arises for any marketplace: how to attract more sellers?
A strategy for attracting merchants is required not only at the site opening stage, but also during expansion, when entering new markets. And in order for sellers to want to join the marketplace, you need to have a sufficient number of buyers. The age-old problem is what comes first, the chicken or the egg. Let’s figure out where to start.
Sellers Acquisition Strategies
Use existing resources
Find communities, groups, events where your sellers can potentially be present. These can be groups in social networks, communities, forums, aggregators, electronic bulletin boards, offline events, exhibitions, conferences. Today, the number of social media users in the world is approximately 4.62 billion people. This is almost half of the world’s population. In 2021, TikTok showed breakthrough growth and in 2022 the number of users of this social network continues to grow. Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram are also popular all over the world. They have become more than a photo-sharing platform, they can also be used for sales.
Look for groups with similar interests, many suppliers are already selling on social networks, you need to find them and invite them to your site. At the beginning of its work, Etsy used an offline strategy, visiting all kinds of fairs and exhibitions, inviting sellers and manufacturers of handmade goods to collaborate.
Airbnb poached property owners from Craigslist, an e-list marketplace. To do this, they offered to host on both Craigslist and Airbnb, the property owners compared and came to the conclusion that Airbnb is better protected from fraud and chose it as an alternative.
When lured from other sites, be prepared to offer conditions and service better than those of competitors. Make a short presentation about the main advantages of placement for sellers and opportunities.
Sponsorship of events
Use an event marketing strategy. Act as one of the sponsors at the conference, event. Your brand will appear among other reputable companies, you will at least get advertising and mentions about yourself.
Why you should take part:
- The investments you make will return to you as leads.
- Search for business partners and collaborations. Look for partners with whom the alliance will help strengthen your business.
- You explore the audience from the inside and study the strategies of your competitors.
- Using hashtags of famous events will help reach a large audience.
Short term solutions for sellers
The ultimate goal of any market is to expand and scale globally. But at the very beginning of your work, you can use and offer temporary solutions, but they will work for the maximum convenience of sellers. The main task at the first stage is to gain the trust of those who are already with you or are just planning to join.
For example, Uber used a reverse acquisition strategy. To establish themselves as a quality service, they invited professional drivers, relying on the fact that taxi users will share a positive experience. And only after that the service began to accept drivers with their cars.
Another solution offered by Airbnb to property owners. When they began to notice that private ads are not as popular on the site as hotels and inns. One of the reasons lay in the photographs, glamorous numbers attracted more attention than photos from a non-professional camera. Then they rented a camera and replaced the photos in these ads with high quality photos. The effect was noticeable very quickly, after which the service began to offer it as a separate service.
Own policy for sellers
When you look for suppliers, you will need to convince each time that you are the best, but also tell the basic rules for placement, mutual settlements, etc. For contacts and meetings, you can use the presentation, as well as draw up a policy for sellers on your market. By and large, this is a set of rules and actions that can and cannot be done on the marketplace.
Describe in detail:
- Rules for the placement of goods and an agreement with the site.
- Rules of mutual settlements with sellers.
- Fees and payments: what payment systems can be used, what is the commission rate, etc.
- Storage, shipping, and returns: what shipping, storage, and shipping options do you offer.
- Describe in detail the promotion opportunities and how they work.
Your policy is a living tool for attraction and control. As the market develops, you can change and supplement it. But by offering it at the start, you broadcast transparent and open terms of cooperation, which can act as a guarantor of your brand.
To successfully implement an acquisition strategy, you need to understand and choose which sellers you need to attract. A simple rule of 100 contacts 10 will probably become your merchants. In order to optimize your efforts at the start and get fewer bounces, attract an interested audience.
To do this, use the content, post articles on blogs, forums, write guest posts and use referral links. Create information activity around your marketplace, build a brand to interest the audience and attract sellers more easily.
Launch activity where there is a lot of demand and little supply. At one time, Airbnb launched its services in Denver ahead of the Democratic convention. 80,000 participants and a shortage of hotels made this strategy a success.
High demand at the start precedes lower expectations, and if competitors are not able to meet all the demand, then this is a great chance to strengthen their position.
If despite the availability of offers, demand remains high, then most likely you will be able to find a key advantage over competitors by conducting audience research. Perhaps the policy of existing marketplaces does not satisfy all the needs of merchants.
9 lifehacks to attract more sellers
1. Provide a simple and understandable monetization model
Sellers want to know exactly what they are paying for and how much they will end up getting. Use transparent models to gain trust:
- Commission. The seller pays a specific amount or percentage of each transaction.
- Accommodation fee. Sellers pay a commission for listing items.
- Subscription. Sellers pay for access to the platform, either monthly or annually.
- Promotion fee. Posting is free, but you can collect ad fees, top ads, and more.
At the same time, at the start, you can offer more favorable conditions. For example, the seller can list the first 10 products for free or provide a free subscription, but with limited access, without additional modules.
2. Useful guides and instructions for working with the platform
Perhaps not all of your merchants are active sellers with experience. Someone can be a beginner and working on the marketplace is like going out into outer space for him. Make sure that the management of your storefront does not cause difficulties for the seller. Make video instructions for setting up and an overview of the main functionality. And also create interactive hints.
3. Share useful information
Take full advantage of the content marketing tools and power of your blog. Write useful articles on how to sell different categories of goods, how to promote more effectively, do market reviews and current trends.
You can enable sellers to write articles on the marketplace’s general blog and talk about their products there, make reviews and instructions, and share expert opinions.
The Meowtel service offer to find reliable sitters for cat. It’s a B2C service where you can become a pet-sitter or find the right person for your pet. This service avialable in different cities of US. They share lovable articles that you can’t get past.
4. Use positive experience
Another useful content marketing tool is a video blog. You can set up a marketplace with your YouTube channel and share your success stories. We perceive visual messages 60,000 times faster than text with the same content. In addition, video content conveys and evokes more emotions than dry text, even with pictures. We tend to trust information more when we see it with our own eyes. Therefore, if you want to talk about the achievements of your sellers, make short videos. The sellers will tell a short story about the creation of their brand, how the ideas for creating goods and the first sales on your marketplace appeared. The best example is Uber Eats.
For vendors, this will be another promotion tool, and for you, an additional source of organic traffic.
5. Reliable support system
This is an important aspect in the seller support system. Firstly, many of the vendors are already selling on other sites. Make sure the transition is smooth for them and doesn’t cause unnecessary problems.
For example, for our client Gowholesale, we made an integration with Shopify, as many of the customer’s clients already conducted their sales there. As a result, it is easy to manage and import goods on the Gowholesale marketplace, even if the vendor sells on two sites.
Secondly, despite the experience of the vendors or your detailed instructions, you have an economic responsibility to the sellers. And if something goes wrong with the order on the marketplace side, the seller should be able to contact the administrator and get help 24/7. Let it be a chat, the ability to order a call, or any other available method. Online purchases are made from different parts of the world.
In addition, claims against the seller may not be justified, add the ability to open a dispute and resolve the conflict on the part of the marketplace, using the example of Aliexpress and Amazon.
The most common problems sellers face are:
- Feedback and comments not related to products, the seller should have the opportunity to dispute it or send a request to remove the negative feedback.
- Warehouse problems. Items are missing or damaged. Consider the possibility of compensation.
- Need to adjust delivery. Sometimes buyers may make a mistake in filling out the form, and the seller will find out after sending. In this case, give the opportunity to change the delivery without penalty.
6. Review and showcase the capabilities of your marketplace
Have you found a potential pool of sellers and are ready to make an offer to them? Describe the main advantages of working on the marketplace. The best way to attract sellers is to show how many buyers there are already on your site and how many partners can sell.
Make a separate page on your marketplace and describe the benefits of working with you. Examples of landing pages of famous marketplaces:
t is better to try once than to see a hundred times. Give trial access to the marketplace. LinkedIn is providing free access for a month to showcase all the features for users.
7. Easy start
Minimize the process of filling out an application and moderating the seller on the marketplace. To do this, you can immediately grant full access to the storefront and the admin panel. You do not need to pass any additional checks to start placing goods. The seller immediately receives an invoice for payment.
If the quality of goods and the level of suppliers are important to you, then grant access to the admin panel immediately, and to the storefront after approval. For approval, the seller can provide certificates for the goods. Thus, he will have the opportunity to get acquainted with a part of the functionality and evaluate it.
If you are looking for sellers from an aggregator, an electronic bulletin board that are potentially suitable for you. You can partially fill out the seller’s card and invite him to place goods. The method is not suitable for everyone, but when half the work has been done for you, it is tempting to try.
8. Tools to Maximize Sales
Add modular turnkey solutions to the marketplace to make it easy for merchants to manage sales and attract buyers. For example:
- Promo codes and labels for goods. Buyers will be able to purchase products at a lower price, and to draw attention to specific products, use graphic and text images: “New”, “Free Shipping”, “Discount”, “Coming Soon”, etc.
- Analogues and accessories. By adding accessories, the seller will be able to increase the average check, and by offering an alternative option, taking into account the cost and characteristics, it will help to convert visitors.
- Run an auction for different products. This will allow the seller to interest and attract more buyers to his store, and buyers to purchase goods at a bargain price.
9. Work on SEO
Buyers primarily rely on search results. And if your sellers’ product results are beyond the first page, 75% of buyers won’t even consider them.
To get to the top positions of the search results, make sure that the product and category pages have meta tags: Title, Description, H1, keywords. Optimize robot.txt and add alt to all images. Add JSON micro-markup so that page data is automatically structured for search engines. Don’t forget about Open Graph micro-markup for social networks, so that links from the marketplace look attractive and display content.
In the All-in-One SEO Pack from Cart-Power you can find all the tools you need to work on search engine promotion. It contains the most necessary tools that complement each other and guarantee maximum effect.
Examples of Successful Attraction Strategies
On the Upwork site, you can find specialists of any profile to work on projects, one-time tasks, and for outstaffing. The number of registered customers exceeded 4 million, and performers 10 million people.
The basis of Upwork is the interaction of people. The platform is characterized by simple functionality and ease of use. What did Upwork do to become a successful ad marketplace?
- Interaction with startups. At the beginning of its existence, collaboration with startups helped to grow significantly. Executives and founders willingly placed their announcements after communication at exhibitions and startup conferences.
- Development of your community. It was important for the management of Upwork to make a strong relationship between employers and freelancers with the site. To do this, they held joint meetings and seminars, where everyone exchanged experience and knowledge. The company invested in the development of its own forum and the investment quickly paid off.
- Constant improvements. The platform continues to study the audience, collect user experience data and has already implemented dozens of new features – detailed profiles, success scores, interactions, etc.
The well-known site for finding and renting housing had a difficult task – to establish a trusting relationship between homeowners and tenants. The idea to implement a full cycle of short-term rental housing in 2008 was new to the market.
The platform should be a reliable guarantor of transactions. How did they attract homeowners and visitors?
- Pricing. Renting an apartment on Airbnb was cheaper than a hotel room. The more choice the site offered, the more visitors it attracted.
- Feedback and rating system. To ensure trust on the site, tenant feedback is simply indispensable. Airbbnb offered to provide access to listings of properties with high ratings and ratings for a fee. This stimulated vendors to earn high marks, customers received the best service.
- Blog and learning guides. To help homeowners move forward, the company began to write articles and share tips on how to move forward, how to advertise yourself on the site. And for travelers articles and travel tips. For example, how to travel alone safely.
To get ahead of competitors and investment in development were justified, consider a strategy for promoting and attracting sellers even before launch. Learn the basic needs of your salespeople, research what your competitors have to offer, and find unique touchpoints. Try mixing strategies to get the most out of it.
As soon as a critical mass of partners join the site, you will get a synergistic effect. In an effort to increase sales, large suppliers will want to join you, involving more and more new buyers in the sales funnel.
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