Etsy is one of the most inspiring online marketplace success.
Their platform gives a chance to all indie, home-grown artists to connect with the art lovers who believe in independent arts and want to buy such products. More we read about Etsy, we feel good, connected and give it a try.
But, was it easy for them?
To be successful, Etsy has to draw both the art manufacturers, suppliers, home-grown artists (service providers) and the art connoisseurs (buyers) to their platforms.
Here comes a very old marketplace challenge. To lure one stakeholder to their platform, they need another stakeholder thriving there. Etsy founders knew this riddle and they took a smart approach.
They scoured craft fairs across the country to identify the best independent artists. They pitched them on opening up an online store on their site. Once Etsy had the first-tier artisans on the site, the next tier naturally followed them.
This is how Etsy resolved the perennial marketplace problem, famously or infamously known as the “Chicken and Egg Problem”.
Every marketplace has stumbled upon this puzzle. The successful ones have carved out a plan to resolve the issue. Today, we will look into their solutions, their strategies.
Will they help you?
Maybe they will not give you a ready answer. We are hoping they will give you a lot of insight, helping you to understand your situation and definitely inspire you to find the best solution for your chicken and egg problem.
What’s this marketplace Chicken and Egg problem?
What comes first? The Chicken or the egg?
This old proverb has a beautiful yet perplexing correlation with building an online marketplace business.
Every marketplace has two sets of players. The suppliers or the service providers and the buyers or the consumers.
In a marketplace, the chicken and Egg problem occurs occur whenever thevalue proposition of these two separate groups is dependent on penetration in the other.
In simple plain English, if there are no service providers on the platform, the buyers will not come. And service providers will never be interested in selling their stuff in a platform where there are no buyers.
So, where will you keep your focus? The customers or the service providers?
Pretty irritating riddle. Right?
Good news is that there are a lot of strategies, hacks available in the market practiced by the successful marketplaces.
Let’s dive deep into them
Acquire service providers like Airbnb
Soon they started, Airbnb founders realised that if they don’t have the supply of houses and apartments, people are not going to visit their platform.
So, they had to figure out if there were no Airbnb, where people who need accommodation will look for rooms? The answer was Craiglist. But the Craiglist was not visually appealing and had other flaws.
Airbnb sniffed upon a chance to leverage.
The founders figured they could do a better job of making apartments appealing than the online classified sites, but first they had to siphon away its customers from the Craiglist.
They made software to hack Craigslist to extract the contact info of property owners, then sent them a pitch to list on Airbnb as well.
The strategy worked. With nothing to lose, property owners doubled their chances of finding a potential renter, agreed to list their details on a much better website and voila! Airbnb had a ready supply of homes with which it could attract customers.
There are opportunities, places to reach out to the service providers and draw them to your platforms. All you need is a little creativity and commitment to help them.
Airbnb found a ready supply side at Craiglist. Where is yours?
Ensure excellent service providers like Uber:
Uber had three cool strategies to resolve the chicken and egg problem….
They focused on the supply side, the cab drivers.
They focused on providing quality supply side.
They tempted the passengers with the free rides.
In their initial days, they cold-called professional taxi drivers and offered to pay them an hourly rate who tried out their new platform. This is how, Uber got their first lot of service providers who were professional, capable of providing great service better than random, rookie cab drivers.
Also, to incentivize passengers, they offered free rides at local events in the tech-savvy San Francisco community and worked hard to make each experience the best ever can experience for them.
The relentless focus on providing quality services has been Uber’s tipping point en route to massive success.
Don’t just get the supply side first but make it the best suppliers. Good services keep customers happy who will willingly do the marketing for you drawing more and more customers to you.
Build a community to get 15,000 first users like Tinder:
Dating app Tinder is another inspiration to bring two stakeholders in one place.
They had a unique problem. To make it successful, they need both men and women interested and active on their platform.
Interesting? More interesting how their founders resolved it.
Whitney Wolfe, Co-Founder of Tinder, visited women’s communities, motivating them to register in the app, explaining how it’s cool and useful.
She did not stop there and gave presentations to male communities, showing the app that is full of those local girls, who already registered.
When Whitney returned from a trip, 15,000 first users have already used the application.
She would make sure her attendees are installing the app after her solid presentations. Rest is as they say history.
Tinder resolved the chicken and egg marketplace puzzle by reaching out to both the stakeholders, men and, women. They put all the efforts to make sure they install the app, give it a try to resolve the supply-demand puzzle.
Find an enterprise client:
Want to kick off your marketplace journey with a bang? Find an enterprise client. The big-name, the massive brand value will work wonders for you.
Instead of creating a large supply side with a bagful of small vendors, you can make twice an effect if you can rope in a big client.
Gigs marketplace Upwork has made it possible
Enterprise clients often have lots of money to spend on the demand side. single contract can get you off the ground and running and focusing all your efforts on building the supply side and more product.
Quora did walk on the same path too.
When Adam D’Angelo & co. started, they invited the top brass to ask and answer on Quora.
In the beginning, it was an invite-only site and hence only a chosen few got the opportunity to check out this website. These few were some pretty successful people in silicon valley (mainly the friends and friends of friends of founders). Their popularity and their exclusive voices rendered on Quora made this Q & A platform successful, mostly through word of mouth.
Enterprise client is bliss for any marketplace. They take away the pain of generating multiple service providers for a marketplace platform. Their strong connection, great reputation will bring you into the limelight without much effort. Question is will you be able to fish one for your marketplace?
Be the single-player like Amazon
Amazon has played this card with such elan that it has become a popular model among new marketplaces.
Amazon was a successful book retailer before a marketplace for everything. Jeff started with reselling books buying them from other bookstores and retailers. This allowed Jeff to create value for buyers without having any sellers participate in the marketplace directly.
Once Jeff had a strong consumer base, he allowed other sellers to participate in the marketplace directly by listing their products and setting prices themselves.
Indian marketplace giant Flipkart has treaded on a familiar path and earned success.
OpenTable also kicked off with the Single Player strategy and acquired restaurants (supply) before it had dinner requests (demand).
This is a proven solution. You can capture the market in your initial days, be a single point of sale for your customers, create a strong buyer base and lure other vendors later to join your platform.
Promise to find buyers for your suppliers:
This is a pious marketplace strategy executed supremely by Groupon.
Groupon approached merchants and asked if they would be willing to sell a gift card at a discount as a way to attract new customers. The service was free and Groupon only took a cut of the sales, which limited the risk to the supplier.
Now, when Groupon started showcasing tantalizing deals, customers flock to their website giving thumbs up to their strategy.
Many of the merchants expected that we were trying to get them to pay for something upfront, so when we said we only took a percentage of what we were able to sell and they’d never have to pay us out of pocket, they were pleasantly surprised.
Like Groupon, you too can focus on existing vendors, pitch and show them the extra advantages. More exciting your perks are for them, the better are chances for you to resolve the chicken and egg problem for your marketplace.
Create a super niche and leverage that like Quora
Let’s go back to Quora example again.
By now, you must have known that when Quora kicked off, they invited all the big names of the tech field to participate in the platform.
Even Mark Zuckerberg joined the site and asked a few questions.
Since all these amazing people were asking questions and writing answers here, Quora got publicized through word of mouth and more intelligent people joined in.
Quora caught the fancy of a lot of youngsters, especially in the field of computer science, startups, entrepreneurship because they could get their questions answered by the specialists, that too for free.
No wonder, Quora quickly attained all the fame it was looking for and now the questions and answers are beyond just technology or startup.
If you are struggling to break the chicken and egg puzzle, focus on creating a community or catering to a specific audience. Successful example- Dribble, Github.
Marketplace business is not easy. But some creative forces, the band of entrepreneurs, marketplace heroes have proved things can work if the first hurdle is crossed with success.
As we can see, people have gone the length to find a solution. They have tried offline approach, built a community, given freebies, some even poached their supply side.
We are wondering about you? What about you? Are you finding the stories we have shared here inspiring and useful? We would love to know your strategy to resolve the chicken and egg issue.
Will you share?
This article will never be possible without the below notes, articles. Thanks to all of them.
In our last blog, we shared many tips and some secrets on building a marketplace. We told you how to come up with a marketplace idea, validate it and fund your business. We also talked about choosing the best of technology to build your marketplace. Today, we will share how to market your marketplace. Sounds exciting? Let’s go.
So, what is marketing?
Well, there is a gamut of definitions, concepts, and misconceptions of marketing. You google a little and you will come across digital marketing, networking, community building, branding, Search Engine Optimisation, Influencer Marketing and what not.
We will not chart that course. Here in this blog, you will receive specific marketing solutions for your marketplace starting with 4 easy steps borrowed from marketing guru Seth Godin. Here they are-
Build an exceptional product: The first step is to invent a thing worth making, a story worth telling, a contribution worth talking about.
Make it a user-friendly solution: The second step is to design and build it in a way that people will actually benefit from and care about.
Prepare your story and spread the word: The third one is the one everyone gets all excited about. This is the step where you tell the story to the right people in the right way.
Be consistent with your efforts: The last step is so often overlooked: The part where you show up, regularly, consistently and generously, for years and years, to organize and lead and build confidence in the change you seek to make.
Enough of theory. Let’s understand the nuances of each factor from its’ core.
**Your product is your biggest marketing hack**
Whenever we come across any successful product, we go gaga over their marketing efforts.
Nike has spent xxxx on their advertisement.
Amazon has again pulled off another marketing success.
And so on and on…
Seldom we try to look back and find out where all this has started. Their damn good product. Take any successful marketplace examples today. All they started with a unique, exceptional, useful solution.
They invented a product, they offered a service worth trying, worth sharing, worth talking about.
People use them, they get benefited, they resolve their biggest problem, they feel happy and they share with their friends. A community gets developed and the product/service reaches out to more people.
Of course, they have put money in branding, worked out with many marketing strategies but they started by building a good product.
In the world of internet, today marketing is not just the copy, content or the social media hacks. Everything is marketing.
Now, your product is one of the greatest marketing hacks.
And when we are saying, your product is marketing. We are not just talking about building a damn good product but also treating customers wisely, help them with your best interest, support and might. Of course, every marketplace has to get new customers. At the same time, you have to focus your energy and resources on helping current vendors and customers get more out of your marketplace they have trusted.
Do you know the hidden hack here?
“If you take care of your product and the existing customers, they will take care of your new customers.”
Bottom line, start your marketplace marketing with your product. Build it with all the efforts, make it exceptional, resolve your target-audience pain and let your product do the major share of marketing.
**Is your marketplace solution user-friendly? **
You can have an exceptional marketplace idea. But, if you don’t make it easy to use for your vendors and customers, then you will have a tough time.
Take Uber for example. Their idea was fantastic and simple. But, product execution is also top-notch.
One who wants to book a ride
One who will drive the cab
Building a user-friendly solution, giving your users the confidence and the ease to resolve their specific solution is one of the challenges of the online marketplace.
As you are building an online marketplace, here how you are enabling the solution is very much important.
Your marketplace has to provide an easy solution to both the vendors and the customers. An easy solution to get their work done at your marketplace.
Vendors must be able to sell their products/services without much trouble. Your marketplace must provide all the solutions to them to create the best online shops inside your marketplace.
Customers too should be rewarded with all the best features to shop without much hassle.
The design may vary based on what you are selling and to whom are you selling. That’s okay. But, your marketplace must be easy to find out the products, service details.
The purchase route should not be cumbersome which means if someone has decided to buy some stuff, they should be given the features to make it happen.
Here is a list of features you must be aware of and make sure your marketplace is covering…
Comfortable and quick check-out pages
Product/Service description pages
Coupons and discounts
Promotional elements like banners and popups
Shipping and payment information
E-commerce shoppers are so fickle, so opinionated and full of options, they can quickly abandon the cart.
Here is a study that shows why people abandon cart other than because they aren’t ready to buy.
35%: Didn’t want to create an account
27%: The checkout process was too long or complicated
24%: Couldn’t see or calculate total order cost up-front
The above are just the tip of the iceberg. More your marketplace is mature, the more you need to create a user-friendly solution.
**Prepare your story and spread the word**
Now we will get into traditional marketing or let’s say widely popular marketing activities.
Building an exceptional product and making it user-friendly is a half baked task if your target audience does not know about this. Here, you have to prepare your story or the messages that will take your online marketplace to them.
To who? Here comes the puzzle. You are a middle man, have built a platform that will help vendors and customers to meet, do business or help each other to get certain things done.
You have to create your message smartly that resonates with both of them and they decide to come to your place. At the same time, your story has to resonate with the listener—tell them something they are waiting to hear and are open to believing.
Something like Airbnb. They have started with “Forget Hotels” in 2007 and quickly changed to
“Book rooms with locals, rather than hotels. Travel Like a Human”
They have kept on changing their messages and until they promise the big words
“Scaling human connection.”
You gotta say, this does sound awesome and triggers many thoughts.
The best thing is that they have supported their well defined and well-crafted message with their marketing content and social media campaigns.
Let’s start with the website which says…
“Book unique places to stay and things to do.”
The message is simple and has a direction. With Airbnb, you can rent a place, stay there. But that’s the half of the story. While staying there, you can also go to places and do things. Now, this is the trigger!
Airbnb has gone further and created social media campaigns to support their “Scaling human connection.” statement.
Let’s have a look.
A beautiful story of one of their hosts, Pat Coldir on the American Independence Day.
Another welcoming post by Airbnb sharing the story of Marko, an Airbnb host and his amazing love for the local community and the guests
A great post reminding the heart-melting message of Airbnb. The message thanks to their hosts and the traveling spirit of the guests also paying tribute to the “Human Connection”.
Hope, by now you have realised what do we mean by “ Prepare your story and spread the word”. Once you prepare your message, you have to keep sharing them.
Often, we get tangled into marketing jargons and gimmicks too much. We start concentrating on SEO, Social Media, Content Marketing, Influencer Marketing, Network Building etc. Maybe you need them, maybe you don’t need all of them together. Maybe just one or two pieces of them can do the magic of them. Maybe you can kick start a new marketing strategy.
But the secret sauce is your story. What are you saying to your audience and how are you saying!
The way Airbnb is doing. They have nailed their marketing messages so well. Now, they have the comfort and the flexibility to play around any social media they prefer.
**Be consistent with your efforts**
This one is easy to explain but tough to execute. Coming with a great product, retaining customers, making them happy, reaching out to the new customers are great, great start.
But, what if sales are a little disappointing and you start to feel the pressure. Will you be able to continue your marketing efforts? Will you be able to show up, regularly, consistently and generously, for years and years and sharing your message and convert attention into sales?
All big players are doing it correctly. Their marketing is a true effort and not some gimmick. They want to build their audience and serve them for long. Do you have the same intention?
If yes, here is a list of some handful strategies after a quick course marketing fundamentals.
**Solving the Chicken and Egg problem of marketplaces**
Most of your marketplace marketing exercise will be applied to resolve this puzzle.
Chicken and Egg problem is the age-old marketplace problem, just like it’s context.
It’s the conventional supply and demand issue. Look, your marketplace needs both the vendors and buyers. Now when you are marketing your marketplace or say, trying to gather more people there, who will you target first? Vendors will not be interested in your marketplace if there are no buyers and also the alternative options
Let’s see how the successful marketplaces have resolved this issue.
Build community— If you can establish a healthy and vibrant community on either side of the equation, you’ll end up with the potential for a great marketplace. A great example here is the Stack Overflow.
It’s a question and answer site for professional and enthusiast programmers. The platform has been embraced by both the parties, the ace programmers and the aspirational ones who are struggling with programming.
Offer Tools — If you can get a lot of people (Vendors) to use your free tools, then you’ll have a highly engaged user-base on one side of the equation. Amazon is known for its vendor friendliness. Their Seller University is a stellar hit among the vendors. Have a look –
Find physical aggregators: There are various aggregators in the real world. You have to be smart enough to find the opportunity to cash them in. College campuses work great for this. Word spreads lightning-fast and student labor is crazy cheap. Do you know dating app Tinder got their first set of users from college and high school circles? They acquired more than 10,000 new users by getting sorority girls and fraternity boys to sign up for the app.
The corporate community is also a great place to start with. Find large office buildings and convince the HR manager that your service is so cool that they should email the entire company about the offering. Now you have a trusted recommendation to try a service and you get free distribution to all employees. You may get onto the field and directly approach them or you can play with Facebook and LinkedIn ads.
Find an enterprise client: It’s an effective shortcut but has to be dedicated effort. Enterprise clients often have lots of money to spend on the demand side. Sweet. A single contract can get you off the ground and running and focusing all your efforts on building the supply side and more product.
Scrape listings: For example, scrape a whole bunch of real estate listings from Craigslist. Then put up a modified version of that listing on your website with a better UX. The problem is you can’t actually connect the supply and demand since you don’t own the supply yet. But you’ll get damn good conversion rates if you say, “Hey supplier, good news. I have a customer for you, you just need to sign up for free here.”
Do you know who has actually done it? Airbnb. They made great use of the Craigslist database and jump-started their marketplace journey with a bang. It’s a famous story. If interested, read here
Focus on geography: This is kind of obvious. See every local marketplace ever. Ola, Alibaba and maybe you are the next.
There are tons of marketplace success stories on cracking the Chicken and Egg puzzle. We have shared some of the basic rules here. They are inspiring and will guide to make a move and found your hack.
And 88% of consumers research products online. This is a massive opportunity to reach out to the audience and convert them. The art of conversion is a big subject and we are leaving that for another day. Today, let’s just focus on some quick SEO tips.
Building an SEO friendly marketplace: SEO is an abbreviation of Search Engine Optimisation. If you are new to this term, here is a no-nonsense explanation.
Today we search on the internet for different purposes. We need information or we want to buy something.
Now whenever we search on the internet, we come across results aka websites. If you have observed your search actions, you don’t go beyond page 1 or page 2. So, the websites which rank on the first page of Google or any other search engines have great advantages to reach out to their target customers and convert them.
The art of talking up your website/ digital storefront against your business-related search queries is called SEO or optimizing search engine for certain dividends.
Without an SEO friendly website, you can’t win the competitive SEO race. Here is a quick look-
Now, the question is what kind of searches are made on Google? If you are banking on Google and ready to practice some Search Engine Hacks or SEO, the searches must be aligned to your business.
We dig some data and found out that 35% of product searches start on Google.
Must be mobile-friendly. According to official Google statements, more than 81% of smartphone users access the Internet on their mobile devices
Your website should load quickly across all devices and browsers.
It has Unique titles and Descriptions for all pages
Well formatted URLs – URLs
It has unique content. Duplicate content is a curse for your marketplace
Includes images that are optimized for search engines
For example, a lot of your SEO success will depend on the product/service title and descriptions. Like, “polo t-shirts” or “running shoes”. Now if you don’t provide spaces and support to your vendors to add those descriptions, it will be tough for you to go further in the SEO game.
Once, your marketplace website is live and you are helping your vendors to make their product descriptions SEO optimized for better results, you can go for bigger success.
Here is a quick framework
Determine what customers are searching for in Google, as related to a problem that you are solving. An example: Cheap hotels for salesmen who are always in travel mode. Maybe your hotels have cost convenient laundry room, free meeting room to host their client, complimentary takeaway breakfast or brunch or anything that helps them. The more ideas you have about your customers, the better your chances of success.
Now some content marketing exercise. Publish an article on how you are solving a particular problem while demonstrating your product as the ideal solution. Maybe you/ your vendors are offering some attractive packages for the salesmen of big companies who are always on the fly.
Promote that article until it begins ranking on Google for the topic. You have to select the keywords that your target audience searches with. If we continue with the given example, it would be “Hotels near Airport” or “Hotel at ……….. (some specific place), “Hotels with takeaway breakfast for your salesmen”. The more you are targeted, the better the chances of results. While promoting, carefully select the channels. If it’s social media, the go-to platform would be LinkedIn and Instagram. But, don’t assume and choose after thorough research whether your audience is there or not.
Receive a perpetual stream of visitors from Google; all of whom may, potentially, become customers after reading about our product. If you can make that happen, enjoy word-of-mouth publicity, as your “educated” customers tell others how your product solved their problems.
Later, rinse and repeat the tactics and keep treating your audience with targeted, well-researched content.
**Afterword and further reading**
So far we have discussed the power of marketing doing in right away, not spamming your audience and building a community. The network effect is massive in the marketplace. If you have started marketing for your marketplace, you should start focusing on building your community rather than just running wild around conversion.
And when your marketplace has really started giving you good results, you would like to apply some growth hacks. Here is a list to start off-
The online marketplace is a lucrative business model now. We shop from Amazon, commute through Uber, hire resources at Upwork, Fiverr, stay at Airbnb. The adaptation of the marketplace model across the verticals and their huge popularity tell about the meteoric rise of the marketplace model.
Truth is, money is really floating around the online marketplace. Revenues for marketplace platform providers across the globe are predicted to more than double from $18.7 billion in 2017 to $40.1 billion in 2022, driven by the sharing economy. Source
In a nutshell, an online marketplace can give you a world of opportunities to set up a sustainable business if done right.
So, what are the factors you should consider before launching an online marketplace?
We have dived deep into this question to identify them. In our series of blogs, we will cover them in the most comprehensive way.
Hope it helps you to prepare you for your marketplace.
How good is your marketplace idea?
Marketplace industry is highly competitive. See how Uber has to compete with the OLA and Lyft. Almost all the sectors have some popular marketplaces and their copycats or similar ventures with few tweaks.
Amazon, eBay, Walmart are the retail juggernauts. Airbnb has revolutionized the lodging industry. Uber and its’ competitors have a strong grip on the cab booking marketplace. Upwork is the leader of the Freelance marketplace. And so and so…
It does not mean that there is no opportunity for new ideas.
Take Folksy as an example.
Though Etsy has been really popular among the handmade goods and craft supplies, British marketplace Folksy has 250,000 sellers to the site every month, making it a worthwhile option for sellers of handmade goods and craft supplies.
Flubit is another great example of a successful and gutsy marketplace. Dubbed as the British alternative to Amazon, it’s gaining popularity among the retailers.
As the people are leaning towards digital media more and more, any viable marketplace idea has a great possibility.
Here comes the question, how to vet your marketplace idea?
The best option is to try out the MVP or Minimum Viable Product model. Here are the steps-
Build quick and rough products with bare minimum features. Here your marketplace idea will have all the functions and features albeit the polished look. But, that’s enough. Now your job is to connect with your target audience with the MVP model of your marketplace and collect their feedback.
Are both the vendors and the buyers liking your new idea? Are the vendors comfortable while uploading their products or do they have the right payment features? Is your marketplace a comfortable shopping place for your buyers? Do you have all the features that you need as an admin?
Study how people are interacting with your product? More you dive deep and collect the minute of feedback, better for you to vet your marketplace idea.
Once you collect the idea, you review and iterate your marketplace. Make it stronger with the addition of a specific feature if there is a demand for it. And once all this is done, just launch your marketplace.
Search for the investors:
Once your idea is validated, your online marketplace is ready with decent traffic and you have a handful of vendors and customers who have started showing interest in your offering, you must feel the hunch of polishing your marketplace, add more features and grow it.
But, do you have enough money to check all the boxes?
You might have started with your own savings and now that’s not enough. So, you need more bucks. How will you manage? The most viable option is to start looking out for investment options.
Online marketplaces have always acquired large-some funding from investors. Even if we keep aside Amazon, Flipkart, Uber, Airbnb, the emerging marketplaces are receiving a great amount of investment.
Airbnb has sold some common stock at a $35 billion valuation.
Now not every marketplace can attain the stage of Uber or Airbnb but the investors are interested in marketplace startups which have the potential to offer value and generate revenue in the long term.
Here lies the opportunity for you where you can pitch the investors.
Now investors come in many shapes and diverse budget. A quick guide here-
Accelerator, Incubator or Mentoring program: They are not the typical investors but a blend of mentors and investors where they will guide you, help you to make your product better with limited financial support.
Crowdfunding: Crowdfunding works if done right. It’s simple. You release your product before the world and ask them to contribute. You collect all whatever amount you are getting and keep growing. It’s not a sudden stash of cash and you need to be very calculative and strategic to let the cash flow in your favor. A lot of marketing goes here of course. But, you can leverage some dedicated platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo and GoFundMe. Some of these allow companies to raise funding in exchange for equity.
Angel Investors One of the most popular investment models is the angel investment. This investment is done by your family. It’s a safe investment compared to the others. But often angel investment comes as a small to medium amount with more freedom to your projects.
Venture Capital Do you have a disruptive marketplace idea and you need a large capital, approach venture capital? Venture capitalists look out for those companies that have significant differentiation from its competitors. So, make sure your marketplace idea is “Disruptive” enough, changing the way businesses operate.
Getting venture capital funding is a long road that requires a lot of hard work. In the case of venture capital funding you do not pay any interest for the amount received but rather a stake in the company is offered to the investors.
3. How will you pitch your idea to the investors?
Among all the options, venture capital seems most lucrative. But, we have already told you it’s pretty tough to extract money from the venture capital. You have to visit them, pitch them and get things done.
How will you prepare for the tough competition?
So, we have studied a lot of marketplace pitch decks. Here is a quick, easy and effective formula that really works-
Talk about the challenges that you are going to resolve
Declare the changes that your solutions are offering
Provide evidence of the market validation
Talk about your competitors or the existing solutions available in the market
Talk and your USP or competitive advantage
Show your business model
Give some stats of your present performance if you have already launched the marketplace
Airbnb Pitch Deck starts with a simple yet powerful promise
And then quickly talks about the problem they are addressing
Without wasting any time, they talk about the solution, they are bringing on the table
They prove how powerful their solution with market opportunities
They knew data is the king and they used them with perfection
Then they smartly give glimpses of their actual screens
They talk little about their business model as well and promise to earn revenue by a definite timeline
With a quick snapshot, Airbnb presents its competitors
They were confident enough to talk about their edge as well
You can have a complete look at the Airbnb Pitch Deck here. We are not saying this is the perfect pitch deck but definitely a template worth trying.
Pro tip 001: While making any template, always remember, to make it simple, direct and powerful enough to highlight the changes you are bringing.
Pro tip 002: Make sure you are giving enough stat and evidence to back your marketplace success. Investors will not flow cash behind you if they don’t foresee their profit. Look, how Airbnb talked about the revenue to earn within a specific timeline. Make sure you are also projecting serious data like that.
4) How much investment you should take?
Tough call and a lot of mathematics go here. There are a lot of variables.
The simple answer is the absolute minimum amount you need to make your plan work. But, that’s a vague answer. Some entrepreneurs try to start with a huge number, hoping they can negotiate and close on a smaller one, while others understate their requirements, in hopes of getting their foot in the door with an investor.
Neither of these strategies is a good one, as both are likely to damage your credibility with potential investors, even before they look hard at your plan. Here are the parameters you should use in sizing your request—and be able to explain in justifying your request to investors:
Here is a list of models you can consider-
Implied ownership cost: If your company is at an early stage and has a valuation under $1M, don’t ask for a $5M investment. Rather you can validly ask for $200K to $300K, and workout a stake dilution which is comfortable to both of you.
Type of investor: Angel investment groups usually won’t consider a request over $1M, while venture capitalists won’t look at anything under $2M. So, know your priority, what needs to be done at this stage and have a solid understanding. Then you go for the investment to the right investment group.
Company stage: If your company is still in the idea stage, you have no valuation, so size your investment request on the basis of goodwill that you have with your network, and your past business track record if you ever had any. Angels might be interested during your early stage if you have a prototype, but VCs won’t bite until you have a product, customers, and revenue.
With a mere idea, it is challenging to get handsome funding. So, plan well and have a clear idea of how much funding you require here.
Keep a buffer time: Calculate what you need, and add a buffer. The safe bet would be to do your financial model first with the volume, cost, and pricing parameters you have in mind.
See where your cashflow bottoms out. If it bottoms out at minus $400K, add a 25% buffer, and ask for $500K funding. The request size must tie into your financials to be credible.
There is no perfect model in deciding how much investment you should take. So, always understand how much do you need and have a clear idea of your burn-out cost. Now mix and match and there you will have a clear idea on how much you should take as an investment.
5) What an investor would expect from you?
Tricky question but most of the investors would not track your daily or monthly business performances. They expect the smart utilization of funds. They can go for the equity or a return of investment.
It’s better to arrive at a mutual timeline which will help both of you to do their job without any complications.
6) Building a marketplace
Now comes the real question.
So, you want to build a marketplace. That means you want to pull off a lot of features, roles, and responsibilities for you as the admin, vendors and the buyers. You need a robust, flexible and adaptable foundation.
For example, you have to provide diverse payment gateway options to the sellers. And at the same time, admins need flexible yet effective systems to work out their revenue model.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. A successful online marketplace is built of myriad features equally distributed across admin, sellers and even customers.
WC Marketplace provides all the features and more.
To start with it’s built on WordPress which means it can turn any WordPress website into an online marketplace.
As it’s on WordPress, you have already got a strong foundation at the very core of your marketplace. WordPress is flexible, easy to use and loaded with features which are getting better and better with every new release.
And also, 34% of the web uses WordPress, from hobby blogs to the biggest news sites online. And also marketplaces. Many of them use WC Marketplace what we have made, a major contribution to the massive WordPress community.
Now, let’s talk about how you can build a marketplace on WordPress.
Making an online marketplace with the WC Marketplace is so easy. If you already have a WordPress website, you can install our plugin and get started.
We are continuously upgrading our feature-set to improve the marketplace management experience of the admin. Our product team is constantly working on new features to give you the best in the marketplace solution.
Recently, we have introduced WCMp MANGOPAY Gateway. It makes payments easy for your users by allowing them to pay in multiple currencies and with various payment methods.
We know how the marketplace of the marketplace solutions is changing considering the new evolution of the marketplace industry. New ideas are coming along with the new players forcing even the bigger players to come up with the new service offerings.
Now every new marketplace feature comes up with a new or revamped set of facilities for the admin, vendor, and the buyers. People look at the jazzy features marketplaces are bringing but nobody looks at the technology behind it.
Here technology has to play a big role here. We understand the pressure that the marketplace owners are under and this is why we have developed WCMp v3.4 with a bagful of advantages for the vendors, and the admins.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the technology that the marketplace requires. It’s always evolving and you should start with something robust, flexible and incredible at your hand. Now we have got a pretty good idea on how to prepare your marketplace. We have discussed having a solid idea, how to validate it, the massive need for funding and how to strike a good deal. Here you have also come to know one of the most convenient technologies of building a marketplace. We are hoping if you are new in the marketplace business, you will have a solid idea from this blog. Of course, this is not well. We have not discussed the aspect of marketing and the successful application of many tricks to promote your marketplace. In our next series of blogs, we will talk about them at length. Keep an eye on this space for more.
This phrase has been floating on the web for quite a while now. If we go by the phrase, certainly a resource as valuable as this has to be well protected and here’s where GDPR comes into action.
Let’s begin with a quick disclaimer. This blog post is not legal advice and is for informational and/or educational purposes only. By the end of this post, you will get to know what GDPR is, whether it applies to your organization or not, the penalties involved and what steps you must take to comply with it.
WHAT IS GDPR?
GDPR is a regulation spearheaded by the three legislative European Union institutions: the European Parliament, European Commission, and Council of the European Union. The General Data Protection Regulation determines the ways that personal data about EU citizens can be handled, within the EU and outside the EU in other countries.
EUGDPR.org says GDPR is “designed to harmonize data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower all EU citizens data privacy and to reshape the way organizations across the region approach data privacy.”
The main aim of this law is to give the control of the data back to the citizens and residents of the European Union. Set to be enforced from 25th May, GDPR brings in game-changing rules in the field of data privacy regulation.
WHO DOES THE GDPR APPLY TO?
Data collected and processed both before and after May 25th will have to comply with the new regulation. Even though the General Data Protection Regulation is an EU law, it applies to companies that process personal data from EU. This means that even if you’re a US or Asian company, you can still be subjected to the GDPR as long as you handle the personal data of anyone from the EU. To make this clearer, have a look at the following examples:
Walter White is an online entrepreneur based in the European Union. So he needs to comply with the GDPR across his business, even though he is collecting data from someone in the US.
Jesse Pinkman is another entrepreneur/marketer based in the US but collecting data from someone in the EU. He too has to comply with the GDPR.
HOW THE DATA SUBJECT, CONTROLLER & PROCESSOR ARE DEFINED
The Data Subject: The customer, user, employee or anyone for that matter providing personal data.
The Data Controller: The companies/ organizations offering services or goods that will state how and why personal data is used and is responsible for the safe storage and use of the data collected from the Data Subjects.
The Data Processor: Organisations that store, digitize, and catalog all the data on behalf of the Data Controllers. Example, all third-party suppliers such as ERP systems, email marketing services like MailChimp.
THE EXTENT OF THE PENALTIES
There are different levels or tiers of fine- Tough penalties for those organizations who don’t comply with GDPR- fines of up to 4% of annual global revenue or 20 million Euros, whichever is greater. That’s a lot – hope now you realize why it is important for you! Stay on.
WHAT YOUR COMPANY MUST DO?
Communicate Use simple language. Tell users who you are when you request the data. Say why you are processing their data, how long it will be stored and who receives it.
Take their consent Get their clear consent to process the data. When collecting from children for social media, check age limit for parental consent.
Give them access Let people access their data and take it with them.|
Alert them Let them know if data breaches occur
Give them the right to erase Erase their personal data if they ask to do so.
Give them the right to data portability People have the right to transfer their personal data between controllers (e.g., to move account details from one online platform to another).
Notify third parties regarding rectification, erasure or restriction Notify any third parties with whom you have shared the relevant data that the data subject has exercised those rights.
Do not track GDPR also stipulates people have a right to ‘block’ or suppress processing of personal data.
Data transfer outside EU Make legal arrangements when you transfer data to countries that have not been approved by the EU authorities.
Consult your lawyer and Data Protection Officer Audit your site with the help of your lawyer and your appointed Data protection officer.
WHAT CHANGES ARE REQUIRED ON YOUR MARKETPLACE WEBSITE?
Terms and Conditions page– If you didn’t have a T&C page, you definitely need it now and also a checkout checkbox that users must click (it should not be “checked” by default). Amend your T&C page in regard to the new GDPR terminology and the gathering of customer data from the checkout page.
Send a re-permission email to your existing list– If you’ve previously obtained consent from your contacts in a manner that complies with the GDPR, there’s no need to ask for their permission again. But if you’d like a fresh bill of consent to demonstrate that you’re in compliance with the new laws, you can send a re-permission email to your list.
It is EU today, tomorrow it will be other geographies. So even if you are not from EU or if you don’t deal with European customers for the time being, taking the necessary precautions can still be beneficial, to prepare for GDPR type legislation in future.
How are you dealing with GDPR and what are the challenges you are facing? Let us know in the comment section below.
Definition– It is a place where buyers and sellers connect and conduct transactions.
The definition holds true in the online setting as well. For example, GrubHub is a marketplace where diners order food from the local restaurant of their choice. Similarly, Airbnb is a marketplace, where the guests select a short-term accommodation for themselves and the owners rent out their properties or spare rooms to guests. The marketplace website acts as a middleman taking care of the payments which makes it convenient for both parties.
For the last decade, the growth in online marketplace businesses does not seem to be slowing down. Business models are constantly evolving. Beyond well-known e-commerce marketplace brands like eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Airbnb, Uber or GrubHub, we saw marketplace models disrupting just about every traditional industry. They are selling everything from diapers to second-hand furniture.
E-commerce on the rise
What if we told you that almost half of U.S. households are now Amazon Prime members? You won’t believe me, will you? Well, it’s true. In fact, if Prime was a country, that would make it the world’s 14th largest by population.
In 2017, retail e-commerce sales worldwide amounted to 2.3 trillion USD. Revenues are projected to grow to 4.88 trillion USD in 2021. The reason is fair enough, consumers now see the couch in their living room as a good-enough replacement for their nearest brick-and-mortar store.
Sears, Macy’s, J.C. Penney, RadioShack and Toys R Us- What’s common among these retailers which were once household names in the U.S.? All of them announced the closures of their stores, citing one reason or the other. While more than 5,000 stores were shut down in 2017, there have been around 2,000 store closures announced over the past few months.
What lies in the future
The rapid growth in mobile shopping and burgeoning online sales are likely to result in USD 1.1 trillion in spending in China this year. The future of e-commerce definitely looks promising. Once a company enters this online world, there is no turning back.
Whether you’re a single store owner just getting into the game or an e-marketplace owner with multiple vendors selling on your platform, e-commerce is going to give you more than you expected.
How to make your marketplace stand out
The statistics are impressive, but it certainly does not imply that it is going to be a cake walk for every e-marketplace owner out there. You would not want to be just another store waiting to get noticed by the customers who have umpteen choices in front of them. And if there is no customer at your marketplace, how will you convince vendors to open their store at your marketplace? Yes, we are talking about the famous or rather infamous chicken and egg problem.
To have an impact you need innovation and drive so that you have a unique brand that customers want to find. Tweaking your product to make them different for customers, changing how you interact with customers to generally how you do business- All of these could be considered innovative moves if you figure out how to differentiate from your competitors.
Get your priorities straight
With demands rapidly evolving, customer experience should always be your number one priority. Your customers expect shopping to be easy, convenient and targeted.
Try making it easier for them to locate the products they want. Strengthen your relationship with customers by embracing dynamic content, which differentiates your brand from your competitors.
Listen to customers in every way that you can. Conduct surveys, engage on social media platforms, develop a persona, create a customer journey map, or good old-fashioned phone surveys are the perfect ways to learn more and become better.
Advantages of e-Marketplaces
E-marketplaces reduce your marketing costs when compared with other sales channels. They provide greater transparency in the purchasing process since availability, prices and stock levels are accessible to all.
The key appeal of the marketplaces is that it enables a large number of retailers to take advantage of the growing e-commerce market through an infrastructure that’s already established and that’s well trusted by shoppers. So retailers can leverage foreign marketplaces, brands, and strategies to appeal to local markets while minimizing their investment risks before fully committing to other countries.
For example, China’s online marketplace Tmall which is operated by Alibaba supports international brands by offering local warehouse spaces and even consulting services on local trends and culture.
Marketplaces provide a flexible entrance to businesses that are looking to expand internationally while taking relatively small risks.
How to begin?
No coding experience? No problem! Don’t want any technical hurdles? Sure! Just follow these simple steps, and become a proud owner of a multi-vendor marketplace.
If you want to have full control over your site and do not want any professional’s help, then WordPress is just the platform you are looking for! As an OPEN-SOURCE content management system, it has the power of hundreds and thousands of minds contributing to the betterment of the platform.
It comes with thousands of plugins, tools, themes, and integrations with plenty of modern online services. Need any particular functionality for our site? You name it, and there will be a plugin for it! Not satisfied with ready-made themes? You can edit and modify any theme in WordPress to your heart’s content.
An added advantage, WordPress is compatible with almost everything present on the world wide web. All these features make it the most preferred ecommerce platform. More than 30% of the top million sites (by traffic), that use a content management system, are powered by WordPress.
WooCommerce today leads the ecommerce market, powering 42% of all Ecommerce sites worldwide. Isn’t that impressive? With that number, it’s way-way ahead of its competitors, the closest being Shopify which powers 7% of all Ecommerce sites.
WooCommerce provides great services, powerful features and it’s easily manageable. It comes with a large variety of customization options that are easy to use.
While WooCommerce adds e-commerce functionality to your WordPress site, this amazing WooCommerce plugin called WC Marketplace allows you to set up a site like Amazon or eBay as it allows vendors to create individual stores, manage their inventories and shipping while you can earn commission on their sales.
Unlimited number of vendors can be managed at your store using this plugin. New vendor registration can be approved manually or automatically and can be managed with ease multiple aspects using bulk actions. In addition, you can set commission specific to a product, vendor or globally through the entire site. Payments can be done instantly with the click of a button, or schedule it automatically for a later time. Moreover, the plugin provides a form builder where admins can easily customize forms for the vendors.
The best part about WC Marketplace- It has several features (Eg. ‘Single product Multiple vendors’) in its FREE version, which the other multi-vendor plugins offer only in their premium versions. With over 180 five star rating and 9000+ active installs, it is one of the most popular marketplace plugins in the WordPress community.
In a nutshell
This is the best time to start an online Marketplace if you have picked your niche and have a clear vision on how to proceed further. When the CEO of one of the biggest sportswear brand says that “Our website is the most important store we have in the world”, you know that the time for starting a marketplace is here! Begin carefully, don’t promise or showcase what you can not deliver. Besides the combination of WordPress, WooCommerce, and WC Marketplace, all you need is the correct idea and right motivation. Think of a robust & smart plan & start enlisting vendors!
Much like the rhetoric saying goes, “A picture speaks a thousand words,” the social media universe has recently upgraded from textual ‘status updates’ to visual ‘stories’. If you will look at the most popular photo-sharing social platform, Instagram, it now boasts of a large community of 800 million members. More than 500 million daily users are actively engaging on Instagram, which definitely makes digital marketers all over the world go gaga over it.
But, why is Instagram stealing the limelight in digital marketing?
First things first, the takeaway is visual and it leaves a lingering imprint of the minds of the user. Humans absorb more knowledge when they have a visual aid in addition to reading about the matter. Vloggers and bloggers have been milking this aspect of audience’s attention for years. That makes product reviews and tutorial videos popular on the internet.
Secondly, engagement strategies become easier to materialize when you can have your target customers interact with your campaigns on the go. Instagram, which is essentially a mobile application, provides its users the virtue of mobility and it is extremely flexible that way. The instantaneous approach is what makes it really unique and appealing to the users.
Thirdly, let us talk about the ‘Insta’ vibe that has come into play. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram has a refreshingly youthful vibe. With a relatively large number of users below the age of 30, digital marketing in Instagram has to be extremely youth-centric. New brands are coming in every day and are aggressively hitting the adventurous side of young people, which older brands have yet refrained to do.
Fourth. Instagram is live, yet uniform in nature. Instagram hashtags let your posts become easier to discover as they appear in hashtag searches, ‘Explore’ tabs or on your followers’ Instagram feeds. And voila, instant feedbacks! Who doesn’t love that?
Also, it is not about the wide-screen visibility anymore, it is about anything that can fit into a square view. Be it videos or photos, everything is set into a uniform square format in Instagram making it soothingly simplistic.
Online marketplace businesses are thriving, courtesy Instagram
Online marketplaces are trending among retail, tourism and food businesses. An online marketplace is a platform that enables vendors or brands to put their goods or products on display and sale in your store. It is almost like a shopping mall, only virtual, where consumers can make the purchase decision after browsing through a wide range of products from different brands. Globally recognized e-commerce giant, Amazon’s online marketplace is probably the most notable of such an online business model.
Popular online fashion store, Nordstrom, has 2.7 million followers and what is unique about their Instagram profile is that they are selling what they are showing. They let you in on their Instagram photos through a ‘like2buy’ URL in their intro and you can literally purchase those exact looks and outfits from their website. It is like having a stylist at your favorite store to assist you with your purchase decisions.
Getting the best out of Instagram for an online marketplace
It is a great time to be on Instagram if you have an online marketplace business. The number of paid marketing messages has reached a saturation level on Facebook and the percentage of Facebook users engaging with businesses is drastically falling every day. On the other hand, Instagram marketing strategies have proven themselves to be extremely engaging, yet relatively inexpensive to fathom. To a digital marketer’s delight, organic marketing still works pretty well for Instagram if only one knows how to get the best out of this platform.
Successfully promoting your brand identity on Instagram will be a cakewalk with some of these handy tips.
Look around you: Whether you are a newbie or fairly familiar with Instagram marketing, once in a while you need to stop and take a look at what strategies have worked out for others. You can start with listing out your competitors in the market and research their methodologies. It is also healthy to learn about the industry best practices and trends in Instagram marketing.
Building a comprehensive strategy: Once you are acquainted with your competitor’s strategy, industry best practices, and trends, it will be time for you to brainstorm over a primary strategy for your Instagram profile. Since the experience on Instagram appeals to the eye; clarity, simplicity, and uniformity should be key elements of your images. Think of your profile as a canvas, which needs to be painted with beautiful pictures that have compelling themes and messages. Decide early on the color palette, themes, and typography that compliments your brand and products.
Master the art of Hashtagging: Hashtags allow your posts to appear on organic searches and be discovered by Instagram users. This functionality makes choosing the right hashtags extremely important. Hashtags have to be relevant to your target user segment, your posts and your brand identity apart from being popular. Instagram lets you add 30 hashtags to your posts but research suggests that for optimal results 11 wisely selected hashtags will do the trick. In addition, the stats suggest that among all the popularly used hashtags, 70% are branded hashtags. Create your own brand hashtag and weave the hashtag seamlessly into your campaigns to increase visibility.Online websites like All Hashtag and Iconosquare let you find and analyze hashtags for your Instagram profile.
Keep a bird’s eye watch on the analytics: Whether you are spending money on paid promotions or just your time and effort, you should be able to measure the outcome of it all. Even though, Instagram provides user engagement data under the ‘Insights’ tab, with Iconosquare you can also keep an eye on the analytics front in depth. Keep tabs on your posts’ performance, user engagement metrics, follower count and churn rate data all at one place.
Be original and creative: Phenomenal photography and photo-editing skills are extremely important when you are trying to stand out in the crowd. Be very creative and keep A/B testing till you find the nerve of your followers and what kind of images work well for them. You can also find or purchase stock images on Pexels, Shutterstock or Flickr. Online editing software like Pixlr and Canva can be useful for editing photos for Instagram if you don’t have one installed.
Mind the time: You can’t really narrow down a particular day or time to ensure that your Instagram posts get the maximum traffic. However, if you follow the Instagram insights and your engagement data closely, you will find a pattern after a while. The pattern will suggest which days of the week and time of the day works best for your posts. This will give you an idea of what should be the ideal time for you to post on Instagram.
Remember the ‘social’ aspect of social media: If you have learned anything from the Ipsy success story, you will know the significance of collaborating with influencers on Instagram. Influencer marketing is one of the trending practices in social media these days. Influencers have their own set of loyal followers and collaborating with them would mean phenomenal outcomes as far as expanding engagement is concerned. Build a community of influencers. Start small and show compassion for other businesses in the community.
Contests will keep’em hooked: Plan fun and interactive giveaway contests. Prizes work as incentives for users to connect with your brand. It’s also a great opportunity to introduce your brand hashtags and use ‘tag-a-friend’ strategy to improve visibility organically.
For years, Facebook has been a go-to platform for digital marketers but seems like Instagram is slowly upping its game to accommodate more and more businesses, especially online marketplaces. Moreover, the prevalent ideas of social media marketing are slowly dwindling because users appreciate visuals more than words, the reason why Instagram is the best marketing platform today. How do you use Instagram for your business? Let us know in the comments below.
[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”no” equal_height_columns=”no” menu_anchor=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”center center” background_repeat=”no-repeat” fade=”no” background_parallax=”none” enable_mobile=”no” parallax_speed=”0.3″ video_mp4=”” video_webm=”” video_ogv=”” video_url=”” video_aspect_ratio=”16:9″ video_loop=”yes” video_mute=”yes” video_preview_image=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” padding_top=”” padding_right=”” padding_bottom=”” padding_left=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ layout=”1_1″ spacing=”” center_content=”no” hover_type=”none” link=”” min_height=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” background_color=”” background_image=”” background_position=”left top” background_repeat=”no-repeat” border_size=”0″ border_color=”” border_style=”solid” border_position=”all” padding=”” dimension_margin=”” animation_type=”” animation_direction=”left” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_offset=”” last=”no”][fusion_text]Marketplace mistakes are as common as the occasionally spilled cups of coffee. But unlike the spilled cup of coffee, these mistakes have dire consequences if left unattended or unidentified. These mistakes sometimes even cost you your dream, let alone the capital, time and efforts you have invested in it.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]
So the question lies: As a marketplace owner, how do I identify these mistakes?
Begin with comparing your expectations with the outcome. If the anticipated results are not fulfilled or are getting delayed in their fulfillment, chances are, you are going wrong somewhere.
In this article, we will discuss 8 common marketplace mistakes people make during the process of setting up and maintaining their online marketplace.
[/fusion_text][fusion_title margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=””]Jumping Too Early or Too Late[/fusion_title][fusion_text]
Nothing can replace the importance of strategic planning and execution. Planning lays the foundation for the construction of your marketplace. This foundation is what determines the success or failure of your beloved startup. Ideally, you need to do your research well and cover all the crucial aspects related to your business idea and then jump to the execution part. But in reality, many of us, while in the execution phase, find ourselves lost due to lack of research and planning in the previous step. Alternatively, sometimes we become over cautious in the process of coming up with the “perfect plan” thereby ending up delaying the execution process, until finally quitting the idea altogether.
The best way to overcome this problem is to launch an MVP first, track how people are interacting with it, and then making the necessary changes to get the desired goals accomplished.
Here are a few questions you must ask yourself about your brand
What makes my brand different from my competitors?
Why should people choose my brand over others?
Am I offering a unique solution to a problem?
Simply put, your brand needs to stand out of the crowd. And in order to do so, you need to develop your brand personality from scratch.
Your brand is built around a definite idea and that should be reflected. Provide your brand a strong and consistent voice – free from all contradictions – to lure and charm the visitors. Don’t stop, experiment with everything starting from the logo, design, color scheme, content, social media strategies or even a never before tested growth hack trick. But whatever you do must be in harmony with one another. Lack of uniformity, arise mistrust which can damage your brand image, big time.
To counter this, you must put heavy emphasis on providing a flawless user experience. So that, every single visitor is able to navigate through your e-commerce marketplace with ease. Be it your product vendors or your buyers, they should not struggle to do what is intended.
Thumb Rule for creating a Good UX:
Don’t let your user think, make everything as obvious as you can.
[/fusion_text][fusion_title margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=””]Lack of Communication with the Vendors[/fusion_title][fusion_text]
The lack of effective communication leads to internal chaos and disorder in the seller marketplace.
In order to prevent disorganization, open and clear lines of communication should be set up between you and your product vendors. There are several ways to ensure smooth flow of communication.
For instance, a FAQ forum can be set up solely for this purpose – a support page where the vendors can get their queries answered and suggestions seen. Broadcasting a mass message to your vendor groups from within marketplace solution can be of great help to notice significant changes, new features, information, and procedures. You may also arrange for business meetups with the vendors in order to plan and determine the future strategies of your eCommerce marketplace.[/fusion_text][fusion_title margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=””]Inefficient Support Service[/fusion_title][fusion_text]
To be the best marketplace platform in your niche, you need to take care of both your customers and your product vendors.
Every person has trust issues. Customers may be skeptical about the ability of the company to keep its promises and deliver quality goods on time. Similarly, vendors may also be skeptical about the profitability of the multi-vendor platform. If the consumers and vendors remain dubious, your business is likely to go down and never achieve its full potential.
Therefore, policies should be determined to keep both the sides in mind. For a marketplace to thrive, even survive, you need to attract and keep both the parties satisfied. Different approaches can be used for them, such as, pre or post-sales support, educating vendors in using the best practices, the do’s and don’ts of a multi-vendor marketplace, providing support and assistance to customers, building a long-lasting customer relationship, etc.
Also, having an active FAQ section will add to the credibility of your marketplace. You can even gather lead information with the help of contact forms and live conversations using this Support Forum. Excellent support ensures customer retention, repeated purchase, and mouth publicity which in turn reduces the cost of customer acquisition greatly.[/fusion_text][fusion_title margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=””]Underutilisation of the Data Available[/fusion_title][fusion_text]
If you do not carefully analyze all the data available to you, you will not be able to understand what is working best for your business and what is not, what the crowd is enjoying and what they are overlooking. Simply put, you will have a hard time implementing necessary and positive changes for the growth and development of your marketplace.
Don’t depend entirely on your instincts and assumptions. Data is indispensable when it comes to any e-commerce marketplace growth and strategic decision-making process. Google Analytics – the most efficient web analytics platform – gives you a boatload of information regarding the geographic locations of the traffic, how the visitors have landed on the page, the bounce rate, amount of time visitors are spending on the page, etc.
With the proper utilization of this valuable data, you can carve your e-commerce marketplace dreams in a way that guarantees success. So start making the most of the data available to you![/fusion_text][fusion_title margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=””]Flawed Payment Methods[/fusion_title][fusion_text]
There is no room for defective payment methods. The seller marketplace survives on transactions and if the mode of payment is not secure, trustworthy and efficient, you will witness an increase in abandoned carts and a decrease in sales volume. The vendors will also be deterred to sell on a platform which gives low monetary assurance.
In order to prevent this from happening, do your research on where your user-base is located, and choose the payment options that are most convenient for them. All you need to do is provide your users with safe, secure and systematic payment gateways and you will surely see an upward movement in your sales curve.[/fusion_text][fusion_title margin_top=”” margin_bottom=”” hide_on_mobile=”small-visibility,medium-visibility,large-visibility” class=”” id=”” size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”default” sep_color=””]Selecting Inappropriate Marketplace Solution[/fusion_title][fusion_text]
Your marketplace platform is the heart of your multi-vendor store and thus, you must carry out intense research while choosing the perfect platform for yourself. Choosing an inappropriate marketplace will bring the end before you can even see the beginning of your dream project. It is necessary to choose the right solution, for if you don’t, you will have a hard time expanding your business in accordance with your marketplace needs.
Before choosing between marketplace options, you need to finalize your e-Commerce platform. For that WooCommerce might be a smart choice. In Last few years it has established itself as one of the leading solutions, mostly because it’s rich with features, provides a huge number of extensions and last but not least, it’s free!
There are a number of WooCommerce Product Vendor solutions available, so do not get confused. Make a checklist of the features you need, compare this list with the available options and choose the best solution for your marketplace. Don’t just stop there. Take a look at their support threads as well to understand how responsive and helpful they are. And, last but not the least, find out whether it is within your budget.
At WCMp, we are cognizant of these challenges that you face. In fact, almost 95% of our customers have tried our product as they faced these issues. We may not have all the solutions, but we believe we may have enough to get you started on the right foot. Our platform is rich with many features and on top of that, we provide amazing support. All this, absolutely FREE of cost! Need we say more? So what are you waiting for? Start building your very own marketplace today with our WooCommerce Marketplace Plugin![/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]
In our last blog, we talked about Facebook Marketplace – the next big competitor of your multi-vendor store. Every business takes time to flourish but marketplace from Facebook is challenging the myth making the e-commerce sector more competitive. We tried our heart and soul to understand the muscle and catalyst behind their success and promised you to decipher deep to unveil their weakness.
Yes, Facebook Marketplace is yet to be a juggernaut. Limitation inside the multi-vendor store from the social media powerhouse can give your marketplace maximum advantages. Know them here-
Loopholes in Facebook Marketplace:
1. No inbuilt payment and shipping system:
Facebook Marketplace is just a platform for sellers and buyers devoid of any additional facilities. That might be their initial strategy but the absence of payment and shipping features inside a marketplace is a hassle for the users.
Sellers and buyers have to look for external resources to deliver the products and complete their payment procedure.
This is where your multi-vendor store can and should make a difference to the user-base. Vendors and sellers will have the convenience to shop and buy on your platform when you will provide them shipping and payment facilities straight from your store. 2. Small Customer base:
Facebook Marketplace has gained massive popularity among the local customers and that’s a dilemma for them. It’s good for the sellers who have a target audience in their neighborhood but not for the ambitious sellers who want to go beyond their backyard.
Till date, Facebook Marketplace is limited to fewer nations where it has influenced the local market and do not have any cross-country success to showcase.
Where your target audience reside? Decide that first. It would be better if you gather all the information before developing a marketplace and starting to run it aimlessly.
3. Available only in the Mobile app:
Till date, one can access the Facebook Marketplace only through their Mobile app. It’s impossible to run a full-fledged store from mobile. Even uploading products in bulk is a hassle for them. Whereas a desktop user has both the freedom and facility to upload products, edit them at will and sell to their large user base.
Facebook might have a strategy to target the app users and small merchants. Do you have an identical marketplace strategy like Facebook? Then stick with your app but all bigger marketplace are targeting desktop and mobile users without leaning on the app users.
4. Future Roadmap:
Well, you can’t put a finger to someone like the Facebook. Right? But, a marketplace must show the promise of scalability which has been less so far from an organization as big as the Facebook.
The platform is not giving any setback to sellers’ pocket but soon the comfort will be over-
Will Facebook’s different stance influence their seller base? Keep your eyes on our blog for more on this.
You have to take shots when your marketplace is scaled up or when it does not meet your expectation. However, they must be aligned with your targeted sellers and buyers.
What if one big monetization plan gets thumbs down from the vendors. Save yourself from the debacle and plan accordingly and inform the vendors to allow them to take an early stance.
Learn, adapt and grow:
One cliche truth for you. Marketplace industry is evolving. Marketplace from Facebook has been a noted addition to the multi-vendor industry. Before they disrupt the sector more, it’s better you study them and restrategize. Take a We hope our blog helps you here.
Facebook Marketplace needs just three figures to challenge leading marketplaces. When Facebook re-rolled their e-commerce venture, many were doubtful, few explored the space and critics were skeptics about the platform.
Come 2017, Facebook Marketplace is now one of the most favored spaces for multi-vendor commerce.
Six months: When most of the marketplaces fail to figure out the ground and rules in one year, Facebook has reached the summit at that time.
One platform: That success has come through a single platform- their mobile app. Unlike others in the herd, Facebook Marketplace is yet to be available in the desktop version.
Six Countries: No they are not Amazon or Ebay drawing sellers from across the globe. Till date, Facebook Marketplace is only accessible at US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and Mexico. Europe and Asia- two marketplace hotbeds are missing from their lens.
Have all these odds restricted the marketplace from Facebook to surface? No, and to say little, this platform is a potential threat to emerging marketplaces like you.
So, what’s their biggest secret? How have they been able to ascend to the top in no time? And what are the lessons that future marketplace owners can learn from their amazing rise? Let’s introspect-
What has gone in favor of Facebook Marketplace?
E-commerce marketplace has been a fragile sector since it’s inception.
Bigger brands (Amazon, Ebay) have arrived and formulated a model for the rest. While, disruptive startups Uber, Airbnb and Etsy are tossing up many of the existing e-commerce concepts. There is no unanimous voice on the right revenue model, hacks of connecting sellers and the effective marketing mantras for the marketplace.
Meanwhile, there was a rising cry for a magical marketing channel for a widespread promotion. Marketing guru Benedict Evans tweeted for a “Facebook for products” or a social media network for product promotion.
Three months later Facebook Marketplace entered offering “a nice combination of search and promotion for products”.
But, this was not their first attempt to foray inside the e-commerce jungle. Have a look at Facebook Marketplace timeline–
From 2007 to October 2016- Facebook hustled in and out to claim their present spot. What helped their meteoric rise-
1. Smartphone Shopping Spree:
In 2017, mobile commerce is no more a fad but a function for e-commerce. Mobile users for internet access has surpassed the desktop users-
There is no doubt in the exponential growth of mobile usage but how far this is important for commerce–
A successful commerce depends on the conversion. But, what’s the conversion story? Let’s go back to a stat–
Not par with desktop or traditional success but combining the figures of smartphones and tablets give the reason why Facebook Marketplace gains so much success even being an app-centric model.
Though there is nothing upfront, Facebook may sooner or later launch their marketplace for desktops.
2. No Chicken and Egg problem:
As of December 31, 2016, Facebook has 1.86 billion monthly active users, and 1.23 billion daily active users. And the average user spends 50 minutes or more every day on the app.
For any of marketplace, such potential customer base is a massive advantage.
Much before Facebook starts rolling their e-commerce features, users stepped in and created groups inside the social networking giant for business. Facebook did not miss the opportunity.
In their press release, Facebook acknowledged that “More than 450 million people visit, buy and sell groups each month— from families in a local neighborhood to collectors around the world”.
They pocketed the ready customers and that was enough to lure the sellers and vendors to kickstart the business. Facebook Marketplace started on a high note without even experiencing the infamous “chicken and egg” problem.
Lessons to learn from Facebook Marketplace:
Love it or loathe it, when a product is launched by a brand called Facebook, it’s better to introspect and know their strategies-
1. Selling on Facebook Marketplace is Free: Facebook does not take a single pie of the profit. From product listing to connecting with the interested buyers through Messenger, everything is free here. No part of the profit goes to the Facebook marketplace.
That’s a huge relief for the vendors who have always a tough time to share a unanimous voice with marketplace owners on commission, listing fee or the subscription charges.
2. Great for Local Sales: Facebook Marketplace is a convenient destination to discover, buy and sell items with people in your community. What makes it so special?
Let’s think from buyer’s point of view.
When buyers search by location (spanning 100 miles away) or browse by a product category, they will get the product details along with the seller’s approximate location, or the exact address if the sellers have shared the information.
Buyers can communicate with them through Messenger, discuss the price and haggle or agree upon the product delivery and payment process.
Yes, Facebook Marketplace is yet to provide any delivery & payment assistance or collaboration with third parties. However, this has not stopped them from earning the confidence of the local sellers and emerging as an incredible marketplace.
3. Easy Communication between Vendors and Buyers:
We have already talked about the Messenger role in the Facebook marketplace. While the norm of the marketplace is to search, browse, sell or shop, the multi-seller store from Facebook has played out of the book by incorporating Messenger as a mandatory platform of communication.
Now, who would not love to go for a chit-chat before buying something? Facebook knows our psychology better and with the Messenger tab, they are providing easy communication what most marketplace often does not offer.
Talking about the seller-buyer communication, the Big Daddy Amazon have them incorporated but it’s appeared almost at the fag end of their product page-
4. Vendors get access to large customer base:
Why should a vendor open their store at your marketplace? Facebook has their answer ready with a massive pool of users across the globe and good penetration rate. Have a look-
Now when a networking site as popular as Facebook offers a platform to both sell and shop to a large audience base, there are no doubt vendors will queue up there. Look how Facebook Marketplace has grown up.
Takeaway: No, it’s not possible to scale up the audience base overnight as gigantically as the Facebook. But, when you invest time and money for promotion, it will be a smart move to set up the audience and prepare them for the vendors.
5. Use Facebook as the Marketing Channel:
Setting up a marketplace is a no-brainer when you have a complete solution and free tools in your possession. The real challenge begins when one looks forward to marketing their store. SEO is a viable approach but one needs a reliable guide to earn the perks.
At Facebook Marketplace, the owners can run ad within FB for the promotion of their store. One of the most advanced digital marketing tools, the Facebook Ad allows taking the advantage of precise ad-targeting based on age, sex, demography, even the user interests.
Have a look-
Target users at your preferred Location
Find potential buyers as per your preference
With such large user-base and enriched Facebook data, stores in the marketplace have maximum promotion just a click away.
So, is Facebook Marketplace a perfect platform? Will it conquer the rest of the marketplace segment choking the aspiration of little marketplace dream? Do they have any Achilles heel? How can the emerging players defeat the marketplace juggernaut from Facebook?