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Best Checkout Workflows & Payment Methods

Your marketplace dictates the growth of your company, why go into this alone?
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Finalizing The Checkout Process

The checkout process for a marketplace is a critical component to finalizing sales. However, it's not as easy as processing a simple transaction. Many times you’re handling an order that is potentially going to split on the payment and or on the shipping and fulfillment side of things. By its nature of being a marketplace, this can become a very complicated order to process now. While it doesn’t need to be complicated, it certainly can be.. As such, you will want to consider the level of complexity that might exist and what features or solutions are available.

In addition, multicurrency and multilingual integrations are going to be necessary for international orders. Multicurrency and custom payment solutions per vendor might require or already have different payment processors that they want to use for their products. It's also possible that we want to do some kind of an escrow model where the vendor doesn't actually get paid until the product is shipped. The consumer approves that the quality of the order was as expected. There are all kinds of capability within checkout that can trigger these processes to get started and make sure they follow the right workflow As a result, we encourage your company's evaluating team and marketplace team to consider some of those different scenarios, even if you're starting out fairly simple. At some point down the road you may need to enable some of these more advanced features.

Robust & Flexible Shipping Options

Split-Shipping & Fulfillment Features

A more common feature within a marketplace is the capability to split the payments in the shipping. While common, it may not be supported depending on the marketplace platform that you're considering. A key component that we suggest verifying and validating is the customer specific pricing and location. You will need a system to look up if you've got different locations for fulfillment in inventory so that they can pull from your back-office data and reflect correct pricing inventory and locations for fulfillment.

In addition, we urge you to think about the shipping. With multiple fulfillment centers or possible locations, the shipping can be different from those different fulfillment centers to the end purchaser, and then similarly with regards to multiple shipments to different locations for the customers. You also need to consider if customers might be receiving fulfillment from different locations. It's possible that they want items from the same order to be shipped to different locations. There needs to be the capability to select different levels of shipping and review the cost for those different shipments and validate that the taxes are all correct, and again, customer specific pricing and inventory data needs to dynamically flow through that process. Those are some of the key aspects from a standard off-the-shelf marketplace capability that we recommend evaluating as you begin digging into some of the more complicated features a marketplace has to offer.

Building an accessible marketplace

International & Multilingual Capabilities

When trying to drive consumers to checkout, a good-looking site and marketplace can convert users. It's another thing to have a really robust marketplace that isn't overwhelming and can convert users because as your end users are digging into your marketplace, they're probably going to need some variant of these different capabilities. While it's easy to present a lot of features, it's a whole different story to elegantly and simply present robust features in a very clean fashion.

Furthermore, there are quite a few capabilities that customers need, such as multilingual and multicurrency capabilities within the checkout process. It’s important that multicurrency is accurate and that any currency conversions and exchange rates are precise. You also need shipping, customs and duties, and taxes to be calculated accurately. Consider your marketplace platform performing in different scenarios and how it’ll interact with both different countries and different products. You need to evaluate things like; whether or not those products will show the correct customs and duties and whether or not their shipping information displays correctly in the different languages that you're presenting. There are a lot of nuances to multilingual and multi-currency and making sure that those are accurate for particular dialects or regional areas is key to improving conversion.

working with multiple vendors

Marketplace Payment Processors

Similarly, you may have different vendors who require different payment processors. Some may have a single payment that you want to collect but that then needs to get split out across all of the vendors. Depending on how you do this, a lot of businesses will handle that in their back-office ERP system. That data needs to get pushed back into the ERP, and, in many cases, the end user might set up a poa or some type of an account purchase order. They may have credit on their account that they can purchase up to a specific amount. From a marketplace perspective, these are key capabilities to enabling a seamless process with how businesses are functioning today and how they’re processing orders. Be it via the phone or some other digital method implemented on this eCommerce marketplace.

We recommend you consider digging into some of the different payment methods that folks are using. In many cases, we've seen different vendors within the marketplace who even need different payment processors for particular items or sending the payments to the merchant for each vendor.

Next you need to look at the logistics of setting up different merchants’ processors. For example, if you have company A, who uses authorize.net, and company B, who uses Chase Paymentech, they may want to process their payments for their items that you're getting fulfilled through them and possibly doing drop ship type of model, etc. They may want to directly take those payments. If that's the case, you'll want to confirm that it’s a capability that your eCommerce platform has. Specifically, that you can enable that eCommerce marketplace platform to seamlessly allow the user to process their payment with one set of information on what appears to be a seamless UI. Let behind the scenes split that out and properly process it through the respective vendor.

Prepared for any scenario

Additional Feature Considerations

The Clarity team has completed all different scenarios, such as our aforementioned example. We recommend that the checkout page has address validation and the ability to confirm the underlying data as a user is completing their checkout. Not only do you want it to verify the address information, but also things like the email and other fields as a user is completing the process if they don't already have an account. We may want to capture some basic information before they potentially abandoned their carts or their checkout process. You may consider sending an automated transactional email saying, “Hey, It looks like you've got some items in your cart click here to complete the process. You know you're so close, you've got 30 more seconds worth of information and you can have these items in X business days.” Things like that can be really helpful and, from a data perspective, really simple to turn on within the checkout process.

It’s also pretty typical that most clients will want to enable some form of guest checkout capability or the option to even have a domain-based validation during the checkout process. There might be a domain whitelist or even an invite process to be a part of the marketplace, etc. So, you can put controls in place within the checkout process that allow the marketplace to determine how users get started and how they are approved and configured within the actual process for users for marketplaces that have purchasing on account. There may need to be a detailed approval process before an order can get processed, but you may want to show an acknowledgement during checkout letting your customer know the order was received and will be processed after account validation.

Much like the cart page, we recommend having any discounts available with handling charges, fees, shipping, and taxes all show up in the sidebar view cart or the mini cart. You want customers to see an active and up-to-date listing during checkout. As a user selects different shipping options, we want to update the cart and mini cart that show on the sidebar with the respective updated pricing information.

Evaluate & Plan Your Future

Clarity Can Help

There's a lot to the checkout process. The biggest thing to keep in mind as you're evaluating and planning your marketplace project is to consider both long-term and short-term. You don't want to bite more than you can chew, but you also want to push your company forward.

We invite you to collaborate with our team. We provide complimentary consultations and would love to share with you all that we've learned from previous deals. We’ve had to learn and adapt and have been able to learn from the success of various clients. Certainly, the guides below will help quite a bit, allowing you to go through the process of evaluating some of these different components of the check out. We look forward to reviewing with you in the future!

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