From outside, e-commerce marketplaces look like an exquisite combination of products and offer whereas internally they are a mess of intricacies that mingle among each other to create an exceptional user experience. To make e-commerce services appear picturesque to the external world, it takes strong algorithms and entanglements on the inside.
Platforms like Shopify have simplified the process of building an online store, but marketplace managers are running into problems when trying to ensure smooth functioning. Managing a pool of million products and thousands of sellers catering to the needs of over 1 billion customers requires measures that are tough to implement.
Let’s discuss a set of e-commerce marketplace management tips that ensures a quality experience for both sellers as well as customers and offers better results in terms of conversion, controlling return, and cart abandonment rates.
Management Tips That Ensure Smooth Functioning of Marketplaces
1. Get Equipped with Inventory Management Software
In 2019 over 1.5 billion shopped online and purchased a diverse range of products and services. Products are undoubtedly the backbone of any online store or marketplace. When you have millions of products, it gets tough to ensure that all products are available in stock.
With inventory management software, marketplaces can garner the following benefits:
- Receive updates when a product’s inventory goes down
- Identify fast selling products and maintain the stock
- Discover patterns in customer’s behavior and build up inventory accordingly
- Inform sellers to remove stock when the product nears the expiring date
2. Leverage Dynamic Price Management Standards
E-commerce marketplace management is tricky because multiple sellers are selling the same product. To ensure that every seller gets a fair opportunity, marketplaces need to have a system that not just prioritizes attractive price but relies on a combination of customer feedback, delivery speed, post-sale service, and genuineness of seller.
While other attributes like feedback, location, and delivery speed matters, pricing is the ultimate decision influencer. Attractive pricing is the key to e-commerce success.
Here’s how managing price can help marketplaces grow:
- Using an automated tool to price products differently on different days can help marketplaces receive more orders.
- Sellers can fix their lowest and highest price and the marketplaces can set price either to benchmark against its competitor or to drive more sales
- Dynamic pricing allows marketplaces to offer extensive discount and retain the customers
3. Invest in Product Discovery
When a study revealed that “72% of customers prefer Amazon over Google for product discovery”, other marketplaces were shocked and started benchmarking against Amazon. In the recent past, Amazon has aced the customer experience game and that is why it is so successful.
Amazon leverages all the available data to identify patterns and then cater to customers with relevant products. Product Discovery can be defined as an event where a customer discovers a product he or she wants to buy. The time spent in discovering the right product is called Product Discovery Time. Optimizing searches and improving product discovery makes sense because customers are inundated with options and the lesser time customers need to make the decision, the better the conversions.
Here’s how investing in product discovery is going to benefit marketplaces:
- Product discovery increases the sale of products that are good but not quite popular
- Simplifies the road to customer journey mapping
- Increases conversion by making relevant products visible to customers faster
- Empowers cross-selling through tabs like “Often Bought Together” and “Similar Products”
Interesting Read: Omnichannel Customer Experience for E-commerce Players: A Primer
4. Ensure High-Quality Catalog for Higher Conversion and Lower Returns
23% of all returns occur because of mistakes made by sellers themselves, whereas 24% of all returns occur because the product looked different from the online store. Low-quality catalogs not only confuses customers but it also fails to highlight USPs of the product.
Changes to be made for a high performing Catalog are as below:
Get Rid of Duplicate Content: Want to make it easier for customers to find the right product and order it instantly? Start by getting rid of the duplicate content. Some sellers rely on duplicate content for boosting sales, which is a wrong practice and it impacts the entire store performance.
The Effects of Duplicate Content
- Impacts the search engine rankings negatively
- Affects the on-site search algorithm leading to irrelevant products ranking
- Affects the overall customer experience by showing fake or imitated products
High-Quality Images: The saying “An image is worth a thousand words” stands apt for e-commerce stores and marketplaces. Your customer would like to get a good look at the product they have the intention to purchase before clicking the “Buy Now” button.
The Recommendations below can help every E-commerce Marketplace
- Only white background in images
- No graphics or shiny colors
- Never add URLs on the images
- No watermark or branding
- Images from varied angles
Detailed Product Description: Detailed product descriptions can close the deal for most products in your marketplace. The inclusion of the right attributes into your description can eliminate all blocking questions in the shopper’s mind before purchase.
The ingredients of a good Product Description:
- All the USPs of the product
- Relevant information about a product in an engaging manner
- All answers to the varied questions visitor might have
- Relevant attribute values
- Necessary keywords in the content
5. Add Cross-selling and Up-selling Features
The sole purpose of e-commerce marketplace management is to ensure that the platform is up, running, and generating sales. To increase conversions, big players like Amazon rely heavily on product recommendations. A recent study revealed, Amazon drives 29% of its sales from product recommendation, which is huge.
While replicating Amazon’s model of product recommendation is tough and expensive, cross-selling and up-selling through tabs like “Similar Products”, “Frequently Bought Together’ and “Other Customers Also Bought” is a viable option.
When it comes to cross-sell, tabs like “Similar Products” can prove to be a game-changer. By offering multiple versions of the product on the same page, you are helping customers make better decisions. Such cross-selling tabs make it easier for the customer to find products that suit their requirement, budget, and delivery needs.
6. Seller Management Portal
To manage and run an e-commerce marketplace successfully, one needs to establish a seller management portal that handles the issues faced by sellers. People who sell on marketplaces are the soul of online stores and by offering quality support to these sellers, marketplaces can ensure smooth functioning throughout the year.
The most common seller grievances on Marketplaces include:
- Duplicate listings created by other sellers
- Fake or damaged products being returned by customers
- Chargeback frauds where sellers end up shipping the product without any payment
Related Post: B2B E-commerce Challenges & Solutions
7. Normalization and Standardization
With customer experience replacing price and brand as the key differentiator, marketplaces need to offer a similar experience at all touchpoints.
It is necessary to ensure that catalogs of all SKUs are updated in a similar/standard format. By following a standard format, marketplaces make it easier for customers to find the information they are looking for. Big e-commerce players offer a similar experience on all pages by ensuring a similar layout across all pages.
Normalization and Standardization can help retailers offer customers a similar experience at all touchpoints. By reviewing all products to ensure a particular standard is followed through every catalog is necessary and can prove a game-changer for these marketplaces.
The best practices in standardization also help in creating a brand image via an impressive user experience and boosts the recall among your audience.
8. Define Categories and Navigation Cleverly
Category definition and establishing navigation makes up for an essential e-commerce marketplace management tip because incorrect categorization of products impact customer experience negatively. When products are added in the wrong categories, they do not appear in search results for relevant keywords. Every such instance is costing conversions and revenue for every marketplace.
While proper categorization facilitates easy identification of a product, exquisite navigation ensures smooth movement from one page to another. Well-defined on-site navigation makes it easier for customers to visit pages like:
- Shopping Cart
- Recently Viewed
- Similar Products
- Purchase History
9. Optimize On-site Search for Optimal Customer Experience
On-site search is often ignored when discussing e-commerce marketplace management but then everything on the Internet starts with a search. By optimizing on-site search, marketplaces can ensure quality customer experience and help customers find relevant products faster.
Below are some changes to incorporate for a powerful Search Functionality:
- Search bars bigger and visible
- Offer autocomplete feature
- Offer suggestions of brands in search autocomplete
- Allow customers to perform deep searches
- Letting users search by category can improve product discovery
- Allow users to sort or filter search results on varied parameters
10. Add Relevant and Bigger Call to Action Buttons
Call to Action buttons like “Add to Cart” and “Add to Wish List”, when added on varied pages, make it easier for customers to take action. Customers often spend time researching online for their desired products and when they find, they tend to add those into their wishlist or cart. By leveraging the visitor’s “fear of missing out”, marketplaces and e-commerce stores can use it in their favor.
Here are some of the additional benefit of adding CTAs on all pages:
- Improves the overall navigation of the website
- Controls cart abandonment rate
- Impacts customer experience positively
E-commerce marketplace management tips listed in this article when leveraged fully can aid marketplaces to control return rates, increase conversion, offer a quality experience, and keep the sellers onboard happy.
The growing competition in online space is coaxing existing players to up their game and by leveraging these management tips, marketplaces can ensure their existing customers and sellers do not churn.