One of the most frequent questions from the owners of marketplaces are: “How to inform vendors (sellers) about a paid order?” It would seem, what is the problem? The vendor sees his orders in the CS-Cart admin panel and can control everything. Why come up with something to further inform him? It turns out that in practice the situation is more complicated.
We asked Vitaliy Tryaztsin, Cart-Power project manager, to tell us why marketplaces have such a problem and what capabilities CS-Cart has to solve it. Vitaly is our main conference speaker and mentor in internal training programs. He has been working in IT for over 15 years, of which 3 years he has been launching online stores and marketplaces based on CS-Cart. Among his projects: a large heavy-loaded marketplace CDEK.MARKET, a wine reservation service Krasnostop, a Belarusian marketplace for home delivery of products Avocado.by (more than 50 projects in total).
When and why is there a problem with informing vendors?
There is one interesting type of marketplaces — mall marketplaces. In such projects, specific stores for a specific locality, city or region are promoted (not marketplace products as usual)..
For example, Uniocart.com unites various shops in Cyprus on one showcase, and Catery.ru contains catering offers from hundreds of restaurants from different cities of Russia. That is, the vendor has an offline point on mall marketplaces, and often its location plays an important role: you will not order the organization of a banquet in Kazan from a restaurant located in Moscow, but most likely you will look for a local company.
The general scheme of such marketplaces work:
- The buyer chooses a category of goods.
- Being in this category, he chooses a vendor in the city, district or area he needs.
- He adds the products of the selected vendor to the cart.
- He places an order.
- He receives an order.
Due to the fact that the marketplace brings together small local companies, which are often represented only offline (and they are doing well there), not all vendors want to learn how to work with CS-Cart and actively use the vendor’s panel.
“For such vendors, the marketplace is just another possible source of sales growth. And that’s dubious at first. If it generates income, then it will be possible to select people who will be responsible for communication and processing orders from the marketplace. But at the start, as a rule, such marketplaces are not interesting to anyone, and the owner’s task is to provide the highest quality service for vendors so that they enter the site and stay there. “
In this case, the functions of the marketplace will also include filling out catalogs, registering vendors’ micro-shops and informing them about the orders received. Immediately comes to mind two options for how to do this: inform by email and via SMS. But in practice, a sad picture is obtained: many vendors simply do not monitor their emails and miss new orders. Similarly, there are problems with SMS notifications. If the vendor is a supermarket, then usually the staff works there in shifts. Then it is not clear which employee’s phone number should be used to notify about the incoming order.
“There are several options for how to inform vendors about new orders. To apply any of them, you need to understand the main business process of the marketplace. I mean, the requirements for how, by whom, and in what time frame an order should be processed. It is important to know this for both existing marketplaces and new projects. “
How to notify vendors of new orders
1. Notification of new orders via a CS-Cart personal account
Marketplace model: any marketplace with a dedicated vendor panel and a separate entrance to the personal account.
CS-Cart makes it possible to organize a separate personal account and administration panel for each vendor.
There they can:
- create and manage their own catalog,
- receive information about new orders and manage them,
- fill their own micro-stores with content,
- change the design of micro-stores,
- study sales statistics, etc.
That is, the vendor is informed in this case only by means of CS-Cart.
How it works
In order for the vendor to be able to receive notifications of new orders through his personal account, he must first log in to it.
“Imagine the home page of any social network. Typically, it consists of profile sections such as Friends, Messages, Photos, Videos, Applications, and the main 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 the profile settings. The same can be done 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. And then the vendor will receive notifications of new orders in the same way as if it was a profile on the social network.
If a vendor’s panel is open, then when an order is received, he will receive a sound notification. The menu item “Orders” displays 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 simplest and most native CS-Cart way of informing vendors 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 their personal account on the marketplace. Experience shows that this is not suitable 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 by communication channels
Marketplace model: marketplace — a new ordering channel for vendors. For example, the largest marketplaces operate: ozon.ru, CDEK.MARKET and the like.
With this model, the marketplace is not responsible for order fulfillment. This means that the main task for him is to create as many channels as possible to inform the vendor:
- via SMS,
- via social networks,
- via messengers (Viber, WhatsApp, Hangouts).
How it works
When registering on the marketplace, vendors themselves must choose their preferred communication method (or several). The selected number, account or email address will receive notifications with information about the details of the new order (f.ex. Composition and delivery address) or contain a link to the vendor’s panel.
“Email notifications are simple. The boxed version of CS-Cart includes the ability to send notifications to the vendor about the order. You will need to make some small additional settings on the server. But in the case of SMS, social networks notifications and 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 any project.”
3. Notification via a unified CRM system
Marketplace model: marketplace for dealers, resellers and franchises.
Marketplace builds a process for maintaining a catalog, establishes rules for order processing and other working conditions. Each vendor is an independent legal entity, but obeys the rules of the marketplace and sells goods from a catalog common to all vendors. The CRM system acts as a control over transactions, that is, all vendors must be connected to it.
How it works
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 track the effectiveness of tasks (processing leads, converting to deals, conducting transactions, dynamics of refusals) for each specific vendor and making management decisions.
“Unlike notifications via email, SMS and messengers, this method assumes greater control of the marketplace over the work of vendors, although the site owners do not directly affect the order processing. But through CRM it is convenient to collect statistics and evaluate the effectiveness of vendors’ work. This solution is convenient for network companies with multiple branches with a unified CRM system. But if each vendor has its own CRM, then the method becomes ineffective. First, in order to combine 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, in order to implement all of them and bring vendors to at least some kind of uniformity, their capabilities will have to be significantly reduced. And if you allow them to work in different ways, the marketplace will lose control over what is happening. In general, if your vendors have different CRMs, it is better to choose any other communication method. It will come out cheaper and easier. “
4. Notification of vendors via phone by marketplace managers
Marketplace model: marketplace — sales service for vendors.
This method is suitable for marketplaces that control orders and are responsible for them.
This model assumes minimal participation of vendors in order processing. All orders are processed centrally by marketplace managers. This method is also suitable for dealerships (resellers) that work according to a single catalog and warehouses. In this case, each vendor does not need to allocate its own resources for order processing and resolving issues on goods, delivery, etc. All orders go through a single contact center.
How it works
Suppose there is a marketplace for 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 specific city. In such a marketplace, there is a single catalog, but the specific range and the remaining stock of goods differ for each specific offline store.
When placing an order, the buyer chooses the store where he wants to pick up the goods. Usually, such offline stores do not have their own contact center, so the order is sent for processing to the head office manager (marketplace manager) through the CRM system. The manager contacts the customer and clarifies the details of the order. After that, he forms 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 himself will monitor the execution of the order and collect feedback from the customer 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.
“This is how the Catery.ru project works, for example. This is a service for organizing buffets, banquets and ordering dinners in Russian cities. The vendors there are restaurants. For them, the marketplace is just another sales channel, and not the main one. The 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 via specialized chat bots
Marketplace model: automated sales service for vendors.
As the marketplace develops, more and more vendors come to it, more products and orders appear. A problem arises that marketplace managers can no longer inform vendors personally about all orders. It is necessary either to increase the staff (which leads to an increase in overhead costs), or to optimize order processing.
As a rule, marketplace managers perform the same tasks and procedures, which can be organized and classified. Based on this, a specialized online service (chatbot) can be developed. The bot will automatically notify vendors about new orders and help process them: remind about the shipment of goods, notify about delivery, answer typical questions and much more. This is a convenient way to make managers more free, while solving emerging issues as quickly as possible.
Chatbots work in some specialized messengers or in special programs developed by developers for the project.
How it works
A vendor installs a messenger or a special program on its device and subscribes to a chatbot. There he will receive notifications about the arrival of new orders, about their payment and execution, about the marketplace news. Any notifications can be customized. By sending commands to the chatbot, the vendor will be able not only to receive new information, but to process the order. Note that all this is without going to the marketplace website, without checking an email and without learning how to work with CS-Cart.
“If the vendor has any questions, he can also send them to the chatbot. It will analyze the request for keywords and send the necessary instructions to the vendor. If the chatbot cannot help the vendor on its own, the request will go to the marketplace manager. A chatbot is no longer just a way to inform a vendor. It is an automated order processing and a whole help system rolled into one. All a vendor needs is to install a program or a messenger on his 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 a marketplace is primarily a service for customers and vendors. The sooner vendors learn about an order, the higher the chance that the customer will receive the order on time. The sooner you can identify problems with order processing, the more likely you are to resolve them before customers start writing angry reviews and demanding refunds. Take care of customers and vendors, and your marketplace will develop. “