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Supporting businesses that sell their products through your site is good for them and for your bottom line.

Have you recently created an online marketplace, or are you planning to do so soon? If so, you’re in good company. Here in Australia and around the world, we’ve seen established brick-and-mortar retailers and online-only start-ups pile into the space that was historically dominated by Amazon and eBay.

And they are doing very well. Take Barbeques Galore, Australia’s quintessential outdoor entertainment brand, for example. Its range tripled in size after launching its online marketplace in December 2021. Within three months, marketplace sales accounted for more than 10% of the company’s total online sales.

It’s a similar story at e-commerce fashion retailer SurfStitch. Establishing an online marketplace allowed it to increase its number of listed products by 70%, and the company’s GMV grew rapidly: up 74% on average across all categories.

Riding the wave of demand

“By 2023, 66% of global B2C e-commerce will go through digital marketplaces, and the number of companies selling on marketplaces is expected to double” – Forrester: B2B e-commerce forecast)

Organizations that market the products of a large number of third-party sellers alongside their own booth enjoy greater visibility, higher sales volumes and an increase in annual revenue of 30-50%, on average , the first year. What’s not to like?

But achieving those high marks isn’t as simple as installing online marketplace software and signing up a chain of sellers. A decade of experience in the e-commerce industry has taught me that the most successful online market operators are those who focus on the success of their sellers. If you want to join their number, here are some tips.

Describe your expectations

Most salespeople want to do the right thing, but it can be hard for them to meet, let alone exceed, your expectations if they aren’t crystal clear. Showcase them upfront – how you want sellers to list and showcase their inventory, how quickly they should ship orders, respond to customer questions and complaints, handle returns, and more. – and sellers will be able to make informed decisions about whether or not they will be able to deliver.

monitor performance

High standards are admirable, but they mean little unless they are maintained and enforced. Monitoring how your sellers are performing against a series of thresholds and metrics — think late shipping and cancellation rates — and tracking those who fall outside acceptable metrics is good for your business and theirs too. It is the means by which you will ensure that your customer experience is not compromised by companies that do not share your commitment to excellence. For sellers, access to data points allows them to see where improvements can be made, both in their product mix and fulfillment experience.

Educate and encourage

As an online marketplace operator, you are in a good position to see how top sellers are achieving their wonderful metrics and where you can point to areas for improvement. Sharing best practices – using an automated inventory management system to ensure they don’t inadvertently accept orders that can’t be fulfilled, for example – with lower ranked sellers is a great way to help step up their game.

Create feedback loops

Successful marketplaces are built on strong relationships. Establishing healthy feedback loops makes it easy for sellers to communicate with you about issues that may be hampering their efforts to make sales or provide an optimal customer experience. Make sure yours has a primary point of contact — an account manager or seller success manager — and consider running quarterly or annual seller surveys to give them regular feedback.

Drive discovery and sales

It’s up to your sellers to make sure their product lines and customer service are up to snuff. And it’s on you to create and maintain a web strategy and merchandising plan that drives traffic to your site and makes it easy for potential customers to locate the products they’re interested in when they land. Optimize your search algorithm, sell your homepage convincingly, and run one-time promotions and offers based on a calendar of key dates – Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Back to School and others – and your sellers will have a better chance. to convert browsers into buyers and loyal customers.

stronger together

It may be your online marketplace, but without quality, committed sellers, its chances of long-term success are slim. That’s why it makes sense to go all out to help every provider in your network succeed. You and they will reap the rewards together.