One of the most common questions from marketplace owners is: “How to inform vendors (sellers) about the receipt of a paid order?”. It would seem, what is the problem? The vendor sees his orders in the administrative part of CS-Cart and can control them himself. Why invent something to further inform him? It turns out that in practice the situation is more complicated.
We asked Vitaliy Tryastsin, Cart-Power project manager, to tell us why marketplaces have such a problem and what options CS-Cart has to solve it.
When and why there is a problem with informing vendors
Among the marketplaces, one interesting type is distinguished – marketplaces of the mall format. In such projects, not marketplace products are promoted, but specific stores for a specific area, city or district.
For example, Uniocart.com brings together various shops in Cyprus on one showcase, and Catery.ru contains catering offers from hundreds of restaurants from different cities of Russia. That is, on mall format marketplaces, the vendor has an offline point, and often its location plays an important role: you will not order a banquet in Ryazan from a restaurant located in Nizhny Novgorod, but most likely you will look for a local company.
The general scheme of work of such marketplaces:
- The buyer selects a category of goods.
- Being in this category, he selects a vendor in the desired city, region or locality.
- Adds the products of the selected vendor to the cart.
- Places an order.
- Receives an order.
Due to the fact that the marketplace unites small local companies, which are often represented only offline (and I must say, they are doing well there), not all sellers want to learn how to work with CS-Cart and actively use the vendor panel.
“For such vendors, the marketplace is just another possible source of sales growth. And that is doubtful at first. Now, if a return comes from it, then it will be possible to single out people who will be responsible for communication and processing orders from the marketplace. But at the start, as a rule, such marketplaces are of no interest to anyone, and the owner’s task is to provide the highest quality service for vendors so that they enter the site and linger on it.”
In this case, the functions of the marketplace will also include filling out catalogs, designing microstores of vendors and informing them about incoming orders. Immediately comes to mind two options for how to do this: inform by email and via SMS. But in practice, a sad picture emerges: many vendors simply do not monitor their email and miss new orders. Similarly, there are problems with SMS notifications. If the vendor is a supermarket, then usually the staff there works in shifts. Then it is not clear which employee’s phone number should be used to notify of an incoming order.
“There are several options for informing vendors about new orders. To apply any of them, you need to understand the main business process of the marketplace, that is, the requirements for how, by whom and in what time frame an order should be processed. This is important to know, both for existing marketplaces and for new projects.”
How can I notify vendors about new orders
1. Notification of new orders via CS-Cart personal account
Marketplace model: any marketplace with a dedicated vendor panel and a separate entrance to your personal account.
CS-Cart allows you to organize a separate personal account and administration panel for each vendor.
There they can:
- create your own directory and manage it;
- receive information about new orders and manage them;
- fill your own micro-shops with content;
- change the design of microshops;
- study sales statistics, etc.
That is, informing the vendor in this case occurs only by means of CS-Cart.
How it works
In order for the seller to be able to receive notifications of new orders through his personal account, he must first log in to it.
“Imagine the front page of any social network. Typically, it consists of profile sections such as Friends, Messages, Photos, Videos, Apps, as well as the main content – content. New profile events are displayed visually next to the section names, for example, the number “1” appears next to the “Messages” item. You can enable sound alerts, pop-up notifications, or a combination of these options. It all depends on your profile settings. You can do the same in the vendor’s personal account in CS-Cart.
This functionality is not provided by the boxed version of CS-Cart, but it can be developed and integrated into any project. Then the vendor will receive notifications of new orders in the same way as if it were a social network profile.
If a vendor has their personal account page (vendor panel) open, they will receive an audio notification upon receipt of an order. The menu item “Orders” will display the number of new orders. And when you enter your personal account, a pop-up notification with a link to them will be shown.
“This is the easiest and most native way for CS-Cart to inform sellers about new orders. But there is an extremely important point. It is assumed that the vendor will learn how to work with CS-Cart and regularly log into his personal account on the marketplace. Experience shows that this is not always the case for new and developing projects. In this case, you need to inform vendors in other ways: more accessible and popular. For example, through public communication channels.”
2. Notification via communication channels
Marketplace model: Marketplace is a new order channel for merchants. For example, the largest marketplaces operate: ozon.ru, SDEK.MARKET and the like.
With this model, the marketplace is not responsible for the execution of the order by virtue of the offer. So, the main task for him is to create a maximum of channels for informing the vendor:
- via sms;
- through social networks;
- via messengers (WhatsApp, Hangouts, Telegram).
How it works
When registering on the marketplace, vendors themselves must choose the preferred method of informing (or several). Notifications will be sent to the selected number, account or email address with information about the details of a new order (composition and delivery address) or contain a link to the vendor panel.
“Email notifications are easy. The boxed version of CS-Cart for marketplaces includes the ability to notify the vendor about the order by e-mail. You will need to make only small additional settings on the server. But in the case of SMS mailings, mailings to social networks and instant messengers, the situation is more complicated. You need to integrate either with social networks and messengers via API, or with specialized services for sending notifications. Connecting specialized services is the best option, since you only need to specify the desired communication channels, and the service will do the rest for you. In any case, this integration will have to be developed additionally for the project, it is not included in the box.”
3. Notification through a single CRM system
Marketplace model: Marketplace for dealers, resellers and franchises.
The marketplace builds the catalog maintenance process, sets order processing rules and other working conditions. Each vendor is an independent legal entity, but is subject to the rules of the marketplace and sells goods from a catalog common to all vendors. The CRM system controls transactions, that is, all vendors must be connected to it.
How it works
In fact, the process is built in the same way as in the case of e-mail, sms and instant messengers, but the information about the order goes to a single CRM system, where each vendor has its own account. When an order is formed in the marketplace, a lead is automatically created in the CRM system with reference to a specific vendor manager who will lead the order.
The role of the marketplace in this model of work is to monitor the efficiency of tasks (lead processing, conversion into deals, deal management, bounce dynamics) for each specific vendor and make management decisions.
“Unlike notifications via e-mail, SMS and instant messengers, this method involvesGreater control of the marketplace over the work of vendors, although the site owners do not directly influence the order processing. But through CRM it is convenient to collect statistics and evaluate the performance of vendors. This solution is convenient for network companies with many branches with a single CRM system. But if each vendor has its own CRM, then the method becomes inefficient. Firstly, in order to connect different CRMs into one system, you will have to develop integrations for each of them. This will make the project more expensive. Secondly, each CRM has its own characteristics and nuances of work, in order to implement them all and bring vendors to at least some uniformity, their capabilities will have to be significantly curtailed. And if you allow them to work differently, the marketplace will lose control over what is happening. In general, if your vendors have different CRMs, it is better to choose any other way of informing.”
4. Notifying vendors by phone by marketplace managers
Marketplace model: marketplace is a sales service for vendors.
This method is suitable for marketplaces that control the execution of orders and are responsible for them.
This model assumes minimal involvement of vendors in order processing. All orders are processed centrally by marketplace managers. This method is also suitable for dealer centers (resellers) that work according to a single catalog and warehouses. In this case, each vendor does not need to allocate its own resources for processing orders and resolving issues related to goods, delivery, etc. All orders go through a single contact center.
How it works
Suppose there is a marketplace of a large company with offices in many cities. For example, such a company as Eldorado, MVideo, Citylink, etc. Vendors here are branches of the main company, but in a certain city. In such a marketplace, there is a single catalog, but the specific composition of the nomenclature and the balance of goods differ for each specific offline store.
When placing an order, the buyer selects the store where he wants to pick up the goods. Typically, such offline stores do not have their own contact center, so the order is processed by the head office manager (marketplace manager) through the CRM system. The manager contacts the buyer and specifies the details of the order. After that, it generates information about the order and sends it to the offline store. The task of the store is only to receive the order and send it. The marketplace manager will control the execution of the order and collect feedback from the client on the work of a particular point of sale. In the future, such information will allow the entire company to understand whether the work of a particular store is effective, form plans, calculate KPIs, etc.
“So, for example, the Catery.ru project works. This is a service for organizing receptions, banquets and ordering lunches in Russian cities. Restaurants are the vendors there. For them, the marketplace is just another sales channel, and not the main one. Restaurants are not interested in spending time and money to personally manage all orders, so the marketplace completely took over the processing of orders and communication with customers. We can say that Catery.ru is not just a trading platform, but a service.”
5. Notification through specialized chatbots
Marketplace model: automated sales service for vendors.
When the marketplace develops, more and more vendors, products and orders appear. There is a problem that marketplace managers can no longer inform sellers personally about all orders. It is necessary either to increase the staff (which leads to an increase in overhead costs), or to optimize the processing of orders.
As a rule, in marketplaces, managers perform the same tasks and procedures. They can be ordered, classified and a specialized online service (chat bot) can be developed. The bot will automatically notify vendors about new orders and help them process them: remind them about the shipment of goods, notify the buyer about delivery, answer typical questions, and much more. This is a convenient way to unload marketplace managers, while solving emerging issues as quickly as possible.
Chatbots work in some specialized messengers (for example, Telegram) or in special programs written by developers for specific projects.
How it works
The vendor installs a messenger or a special program on his device and subscribes to the chatbot. There he will receive notifications about new orders, about their payment and fulfillment, about marketplace news. It will be possible to set up any notifications that the marketplace deems necessary. By sending commands to the chatbot, the vendor will be able not only to receive new information, but also to process the order. Note that all this is done without going to the marketplace website, without checking email and without learning how to work with CS-Cart.
“If the vendor has questions, he can also send them to the chatbot. He will analyze the request by keywords and send the necessary instructions to the vendor. If the chatbot cannot help the seller on its own, the request will go to the marketplace manager. A chatbot is no longer just a way to inform a vendor. This is an automated order processing and a whole help system rolled into one. All the vendor needs is to install a program or messenger on the phone.”
Each of the listed methods of informing vendors about an order has its own characteristics. The choice depends on the logic of the marketplace itself.
“To make the right choice, decide on the model of your marketplace. Remember that the marketplace is primarily a service for buyers and sellers. The earlier vendors learn about the order, the higher the chance that the buyer will receive the order in a timely manner. The sooner you can identify problems in order processing, the more likely you are to fix them before buyers start writing angry reviews and demanding a refund. Take care of your customers and merchants and your marketplace will grow.”
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