Building a long-term relationship with partners is the name of the game for the marketplace business, platforms that connect customers with third-party sellers. Check out our how-to guide!
Support third-party sellers in responding to consumer needs
Why is it in brands’ interest to sell their products in a marketplace?
Because they can benefit from very high visibility! Globally, 45% of online sales take place on marketplaces. Thanks to this huge amount of traffic, retailers know their customers better than anyone. This means that they know what customers are looking for. And therefore, they can build a catalog of sellers that is more relevant for the marketplace, in line with its DNA.
Take the example of German fashion giant Zalando: it has more than 46 million active customers across 23 markets! That’s plenty to tempt more than one fashion retailer to stay in a marketplace offering such potential!
A merchant’s products will unquestionably be exposed to more people and therefore more accessible than on their own simple website. But to achieve strong legitimacy in a marketplace, it also needs to adapt its range to incoming demand. The retailer must be able to support the seller in choosing their range of products, through to sourcing their top products to ensure sales.
It’s a virtuous circle: by supporting sellers to meet consumer needs, the retailer helps them to perform and instills a relationship of trust. Which is needed for them to develop their own business!
Offer a high-performing interface for third-party sellers
Promote a single interface for all the seller’s sales channels! This allows sellers to centralize and easily manage all their marketplace activity.
In this way, they can add new products to the marketplace catalog, showcase certain products on a specific sales channel rather than another, change their prices, manage deliveries or Fulfillment activity, respond to customer requests and more…
By offering a high-performing tool to sellers to manage their orders, retailers are sure to score points. Hence the interest of seeking support from an operator who can offer the best tools, thereby strengthening the relationship. What’s more, the simplicity of the seller interface is one of the strengths of the service offered by Octopia.
Provide turnkey services
While the ease of joining a marketplace is a key criterion for sellers in making their choice, the retailer’s capacity to support them once onboarding is complete is just as important to make this move a lasting one.
That is why retailers may dedicate an account manager to third-party sellers, to respond to all their questions regarding:
- setting up their boutique
- modifying their product pages and creating relevant descriptions
- managing deliveries, etc.
- showcasing products
These tasks can take a considerable amount of time, while your third-party sellers should be concentrating on their key activity. What’s more, certain sellers do not have the skills need to successfully create their ads, market their products, etc. Account managers can advise them and offer services adapted to the issues encountered. This support allows the retailer to establish a connection of trust with their third-party sellers, founded on knowledge of their business and needs.
Present an attractive business model
In a partnership, both parties must benefit.
In most cases, sellers pay a set monthly membership fee to the operator. Added to this subscription is commission on each transaction. In this kind of arrangement, there are no surprises for the seller. The subscription fees are set and the commission fees, calculated on product price including VAT, vary according to the product category and condition (new or second-hand). As for the retailer, they enjoy regular revenue.
However, certain operators use very different business models. For example, some adapt fees for merchants depending on the level of sales! The idea here is to adopt a sliding-scale approach, offering the possibility to reduce fees if sellers reach a high number of transactions.
To remain consistent with marketplace and seller activity, it is important to define a specific strategy to set up this relationship for the long-term.
Manage performance over time
While the number one aim is certainly to facilitate revenue generation, once this phase has been launched, it is in the retailer’s every interest to keep developing its relationship with its sellers.
This can be through offering long-term support thanks to its teams of account managers. For example, they can develop personalized services, such as improved performance tracking. Or else, for example, by offering to put sellers in contact with customer relations experts, supporting them to translate their product pages, and so on.
Many solutions are available, with the aim of helping merchants to optimize their daily business. The retailer acts to facilitate their activity, providing adapted solutions. This means that sellers feel constantly supported and remain in the marketplace.
The relationship must also be strengthened beyond the virtual sphere. It is therefore a good idea for the retailer to create events for third-party sellers, to bring them together and consolidate their ties. For example, before the pandemic restrictions, Cdiscount organized “Sellers Days” every year. These events offer opportunities to meet and witness demonstrations with the Cdiscount teams, once again strengthening bonds.
In short, the retailer must listen to its sellers, understand them and show them that they are important. In a word, value them!