In 2009, e-commerce in India was worth $3.8 billion, in 2014 the figure jumped to $17 billion and in 2016, it is expected to touch new highs of $38 billion, 66% increase from 2015, 10X since 2009, as predicted by ASSOCHAM.
The growth in internet penetration, mobile usage, customer acceptance towards online buying has defined the course for e-commerce. Banking on this conducive environment e-commerce marketplaces have become extremely successful.
E-commerce Marketplaces are websites that connect sellers and buyers; they offer enabling services such as warehousing, logistics and payments.
Essentially these are platforms where sellers get to showcase products for buyers to buy. We as customers often see the consumer side of the marketplace, but marketplaces also provide sellers access to track shipments, orders, through dedicated portals generally called as Seller Portals.
While it is widely acknowledged that ‘customers are king’ and it is rightly so. For online marketplaces, on the operations side of it, sellers are king. Without sellers, the marketplace can not function, leave alone being successful.
Given the intense competition in e-commerce domain, sellers at a time sell on multiple platforms. Making it important for marketplace platforms to build long-term, conducive relationships with sellers.
Working with top e-commerce players over the years, we at WebEngage, have seen some incredibly simple, some subtle yet effective use-cases in action to engage sellers on Seller Portals.
Here’s the list:
1. Trust Messaging:
For any business relationship to foster trust is the most important ingredient. It is appropriate to say that without trust there could be no sustainable business.
Online marketplaces frequently see changes in government norms, also, as online marketplaces evolve their internal terms of doing business change.
In such a case, it is increasingly important not to let T&C become a section that Sellers blindly accept without understanding. A subtle reminder to read updated/critical T&C does a good job. Display a banner notification on Header (or Footer) with a CTA redirecting to read detailed description.
2. Measure the Power of Referrals (NPS):
Growth with referrals is the holy grail of marketing. For online marketplaces, adding more sellers has always been a tough task. To overcome the inertia of traditional sellers in joining the e-commerce bandwagon nothing beats a good word from a fellow retailer.
Measure the power of referrals for your business through a simple onsite Net Promoter Score survey.
3. Regularly Seek Seller Feedback:
Soliciting feedback and letting sellers voice their woes is an innately simple way to determine issues that are easily overlooked. Sellers could be left unsatisfied with overdue payments, product returns, unresolved disputes, etc. Know how satisfied Sellers are in doing business with you.
Taking feedback is just getting started, complete the loop by taking corrective actions and build the foundation for long lasting business relationships.
4. Get them to Participate in Sales:
End of Season Sale, New Year Offers, Black Friday discounts, Christmas cuts, ring a bell in buyers ears. These are the times when buyers flock towards websites(/apps) to buy online. It is wise to give sellers a heads-up for maintaining stocks well in advance to meet the anticipated increase in future demand.
5. Rating Alerts:
Seller performance gets measured on several parameters, like transaction defects, on-time shipment dispatch, buyer feedback, unresolved cases, etc. Help sellers be aware of negative ratings by notifying them of diminishing overall ratings with an onsite notification.
Online marketplaces are unique businesses that have to engage consumers on one end and sellers on another. WebEngage empowers e-commerce marketplaces to drive engagement on both fronts of online marketplace.
Having worked with a number of e-commerce marketplaces, we have realized that while it seems lucrative to focus on engaging users on the consumer front of the marketplace, it is also important to engage sellers as well. Your thoughts?