How to Attract Sellers to Your Marketplace

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Attract Sellers to Your Marketplace

Questions Sellers Ask and How to Answer Them

When operating an eCommerce marketplace platform, you want to consider how sellers decide to work with a marketplace.

What are the questions they’re asking while considering a marketplace platform? What are the best practices for answering those questions?

Read on to find out how to attract sellers to your online marketplace.

Provide Information About Fees Upfront to Attract Sellers

For example, if they’re looking at selling in Amazon, they may have to pay a significant fee; a percentage of their sales will go to Amazon as a commission.

So they might ask, what percentage is your marketplace going to charge?

Provide Information About Fees Upfront to Attract Sellers

It’s best to offer this information up front. You might point out, “We don’t change a fee”; “Our fee is only 3 percent”; “We charge a flat monthly fee”; or whatever the case may be.

This type of interaction, with information provided upfront, will be very attractive to a potential seller.

Have a Well-Governed Process and Logistics

A major advantage of platforms like Alibaba and Amazon is that they provide a lot of advertising and a lot of traffic, as well as logistical options and governance of the process.

So, sellers are going to look at what kinds of logistics your team can provide. How turnkey is the process? How prescriptive or how opinionated is the governance of your platform?

Believe it or not, the more prescriptive or opinionated, typically the better the experience is for peer-to-peer marketplace sellers because you laying out the rules for them makes things easier.

Think of it like a bowling alley with the bumper lanes blocking the gutters. You don’t want to make sellers have to think more than necessary; you want to ease their process as much as possible.

Attract Sellers by Having High Marketplace Quality

When sellers are working with a marketplace like Amazon or Alibaba, they know that there is a very high level of customer service for the end customer.

Marketplace sellers are looking for the same type of thing from your marketplace, and they need to be able to see this in an opinionated process when they upload their products and provide information about what they’re selling, the lead times, pricing, etc.

They actually want to go through enough rigor to know that sellers and their products are being vetted in your marketplace. This is a good thing because they know that not just anyone can be brought into the marketplace; they have to qualify, and prove they are who they say they are.

These are some standard things that sellers expect from a robust marketplace.

In addition, it’s important that they can sign off on agreements and terms, and go through some training for what is expected of the seller in this marketplace, including the service and support for the buyer.

If a seller doesn’t meet certain criteria, they could be temporarily banned from the marketplace until you reconcile, for example. It might sound counterintuitive to share things that will happen if a seller doesn’t do a good job, but that’s showing the standard that you have in the marketplace.

Show Overall and Categorical Traffic to Your Marketplace Site

Show Overall and Categorical Traffic to Your Marketplace Site

Another thing that’s important to show is the overall traffic, especially if this is an advantage that you have.

Ideally, you’d show the overall traffic and break it out by category or segment. Then, sellers can see whether or not they’ll get a lot of traffic within their area of expertise. If they will get enough traffic, it might be worth it. If not, they may not be that interested.

These are things you can quickly summarize in a few bullet points, or in visual statements right up front.

For example, you can transfer this information about how the marketplace has these certain high standards and a lot of traffic, how it’s easy to interact with, and that the fees are low.

This would generally be very attractive to sellers. They might be thinking, “There’s a lot of traffic, low fees, high standards, and they’re going to make it easy for me. Great, let’s try it out.”


Attract More Sellers by Partnering with Clarity Ventures

Clarity’s experts can help you put these processes together and develop your marketplace.

attract sellers by having an experienced developer

Attract Sellers with Integrations and Bulk Data Imports

Depending on what scale you’re looking at to interact with sellers, you could also have higher-end sellers who are looking at things like,

“Okay, we expect a lot of volume before this is even slightly interesting to us. We want to sell 50,000 units a month. What systems do you have to handle that?”

For these sellers, you need to be able to provide an integration endpoint with their systems to import products and push and pull data for order information, shipping and billing, price, quantity, customer details, RMAs, categories, etc.

Ideally, this is done in an automated way when a seller is approved for this type of interaction.

On the other hand, there are companies that don’t necessarily have an internal system or an integration need, but that want to do things in bulk so they can, as advertised, have an easy process that’s not time-consuming.

Attract Sellers with Integrations and Bulk Data Imports

Provide Avenues of Information About Selling in Your Marketplace

Fundamentally, when working with sellers, it’s important to be clear and concise about what the core offerings are and provide the opportunity to drill down into more detail.

Sellers are typically busy, so they’re not going to have a lot of time to be poking around and weeding through a lot of content.

Therefore, you want to get to the point, and then provide additional detail around each major point. This will serve as a set of principles that they can rely on.

Provide Avenues of Information About Selling in Your Marketplace

You can do this as part of newsletter campaigns, long tail organic campaigns to talk about what the advantages of the marketplace are, or ongoing YouTube videos or other social media campaigns that talk about what it’s like to be a seller in this marketplace.

A lot of marketplaces have advocates, or key influencers in the market who talk about what it’s like to work in Amazon, or in Etsy, etc., as a seller, and how to build a business around that platform.

Ideally, you’ll get the same thing going for your marketplace, and be able to create a simple processes for the instructions and onboarding.

Work with a Software Company to Fulfill Sellers’ Needs

Gain an Edge Over Competitors to Attract Sellers to Your Marketplace

Whenever you're working with a marketplace eCommerce software company like Clarity Ventures, we encourage you to collaborate closely with us to understand your unique sellers’ needs and how they’ll benefit from working in this marketplace, as well as what friction points might be in the process.

In many cases, it makes sense to spend time, together, talking with sellers. Many sellers don’t have a website or a lot of technology, so they may benefit from having their own domain pointing to the marketplace.

So, we could make a store-within-a-store within the marketplace, so that they can have their own branded and customized website that’s part of the overall marketplace.

This can be very powerful for a particular market. This could allow you to offer additional value whenever you're competing against big competitors like Amazon and Alibaba.

In other spaces, it may be all about the logistics. Maybe the items are extremely bulky, volatile, or expensive. In all of these scenarios, there might be some major overhead to dealing with the logistics, aka the shipping, storage, transfer, sign-off and acceptance, etc.

By working with a software vendor who’s done this before, you’d have a unique offering where you not only have this marketplace with lots of traffic, a low cost, and an easy process, but you’re also providing a valuable service with the logistics, which they can’t get within their traditional business offering.

These are edges you want to look for that will attract sellers to your marketplace, and it’s going to depend on your particular market.

We encourage you to work with a software vendor who understands not just the technical aspects of the software or even the marketing aspects of the software, but also the business aspects of your marketplace.

By working with a software vendor that has the experience of hundreds of implementations to be able to bring these to bear, you’re going to get the most first class, long-term solution that’s available.

This will be one of the most important aspects of attracting sellers to your online marketplace.

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Attract Sellers and Grow Your Marketplace

If you'd like to talk about a solution like this for your team, please reach out to our team of experts. We’d love to work with you if there’s a good fit, but even if there isn’t, we’ll be glad for you to have the information so your marketplace can continue to flourish and grow.