From prospection to onboarding and all the intermediate discussion or performance monitoring phases, the life-cycle of a marketplace vendor is punctuated by several steps which are crucial to the success of their business. A good vendor is a major asset for the retailer hosting them in their marketplace. Consequently, the operator’s branding must facilitate their onboarding and optimize their service quality to make them a genuine business partner.
Follow the advice of Xiaolei Boisson, Head of Sellers Acquisition & Management, who summarizes the 4 main steps to success when joining the 14,000 partner vendors of the Octopia eco-system.
Which sales channels should you choose to distribute your products? Can you opt for several marketplaces at once? What formalities are required to register in a marketplace? How long does it take to integrate your products? How can you optimize your presence on these platforms? Should you segment your offer according to the marketplaces? These are the typical questions all vendors ask before joining a marketplace.
Marketplace vendor: Identify the right outlet for your business
Certain merchants do their own sourcing and go directly through the marketplaces they are interested in. This could be e-retailers looking for new distribution channels, or vendors who are already active in other marketplaces. “The logic consists in choosing the marketplaces where their customers are, and which offer rates in line with their pricing positions”, Xiaolei reminds us. Be aware, though, that to open a vendor account in some marketplaces, you need to subscribe. This generates additional costs to the commission that will be deducted from every sale.
For other professionals, it’s up to the marketplace operator to seek them out and persuade them to join. “It’s our sales department, during a prospection phase for the retailer, which identifies worthwhile vendors with high potential. In both cases, interested merchants fill out an online form. They enter a contact, the company name, banking details, activity on the sales channel with the name of the store and provide the relevant documentary proof. Once this step is completed, our compliance department enters the game. It checks the reliability of the information registered for the creation of the marketplace vendor account”, she explains.
Meet your new partner
The next phase involves getting to know your business partner. The aim is to meet with merchants to obtain specific information about their business, such as their product catalog, logistics capacity or the need for additional support, etc. “During this discussion phase, our team proposes Octopia’s services, such as Fulfillment, transport, fintech and customer relations”, she points out.
It’s important to understand that by opting for a particular service, such as Fulfillment, the vendor can delegate certain tasks in order to focus on their activity and optimize their online offer. “Experience has shown that this can boost their sales volume by up to 80% in certain marketplaces”,* she says.
Onboard the marketplace
The third step is the placing of the product catalog. This is also the trickiest step; it involves building the offer in the marketplace by listing your products (title, image and description, etc.).
The more comprehensive and accurate the vendor’s listing is, the more visibility they will gain via the algorithms in a broader range of searches made by users on the site.
How do you place your products in a marketplace?
“To create their products in a marketplace, vendors can proceed manually via our back office or automatically via an API*”, Xiaolei Boisson explains. The second option is faster because it just involves an exchange of flows. The vendor’s product lists are automatically integrated in the marketplace.” In general, vendors or small business specialized in vertical everyday consumer goods go for the first option, while major players select the second one.
Whatever the method chosen, thanks to the e-retail teams, the vendor is guided step by step during the initial weeks of their integration. This helps them to master catalog management and order follow-up via their vendor back office.
Define your sales channels
The life-cycle of a marketplace vendor doesn’t stop after onboarding. Performance steering is an ongoing activity.
Via their back office, vendors have access to a section dedicated to their “sales channels”. They simply click to register on new channels directly via their Vendor Space. This space remains the single interface to steer all their marketplace activity. Likewise, via this interface, vendors can push their products in particular channels or adapt their prices, etc. “Octopia can provide unique expertise in vendor strategies. Our Merchant Manager teams carry out regular follow-up, by monitoring competition to see if the vendor’s prices are in line with the market, running promotional offers at the right time, improving product listings where needed and ensuring delivery quality.
Marketplace: The benefits of an integrated solution
The successful development of a marketplace offer lies primarily in an encounter; between a retailer who needs qualified vendors to help them expand their offer, and vendors looking for a retailer who attracts their target customers.
These vendors then need proper guidance. For onboarding, firstly, by defining the perimeter of support for the vendor (logistics, customer relations, etc.) and the process of adding products. Secondly, by ensuring close follow-up to activate their offer in various channels and monitor their performance indicators.
The success of this “marriage” lies in both the wide range of vendors and the ability to guide each one of them.
Octopia ticks all the boxes for these 2 criteria, with a current base of 14,000 vendors and access to its catalog of 100 million products. Its simplicity of use enables harmonized management of all sales channels.
*Survey carried out from January to December 2019. Representative sample of products before and after use of the Octopia Fulfillment service.
**API: API stands for Application Programming Interface. This is an IT solution which enables applications to communicate with each other. The applications can thus exchange services or data mutually. - Journal du net -