The growth of ecommerce marketplace websites is on the next-level. According to a digital commerce analysis, the top online marketplaces Amazon, eBay, Alibaba, Etsy, etc.have accounted for 58% of global online sales in 2019. It clearly shows people prefer to buy from multi-vendor marketplaces due to different reasons such as competitive pricing, assured product quality, better customer experience, etc.
Also, the above stats are inspiring many Entrepreneurs to start their online marketplace where they can invite local sellers or vendors to sell. If you are thinking to launch your multi-vendor marketplace, then here are some steps to launch a successful online ecommerce marketplace:
- Market Research & Competition Analysis:
Analyzing the market and competition is the most crucial step. Gather information on your customer needs and analyze competitors’ market strategy. There is a famous quote by “Beth Comstock” American business executive:
“Know thyself. Know the customer. Innovate.”
It will help you make an informed decision regarding choosing the right business niche. Think about what problems your online marketplace is going to solve.
- Contact Different Sellers
You may consider this step in the later stages, but that is not the right approach. Reach out to sellers who are selling on other online marketplaces and ask them about the pain points and the benefits they are getting on selling there. Take the help of offline or online surveys to understand sellers’ requirements.
- Documentation or Requirement Gathering:
Once you are done with the research part, create a requirement gathering document to find out the answers to the questions below:
- What are the features and functionalities you want in your multi-vendor marketplace?
- How would you handle Shipping and Delivery management?
- Do you need to integrate any third-party APIs? If yes, what are those?
You can hire a technical team for requirement gathering to save your time & efforts.
- Pick the Right eCommerce Platform to Start:
Choosing the right technology solution is very important. You need to choose an ecommerce platform that comes with in-built ecommerce features and can be easily customized. There are two types of ecommerce platforms, ie. Saas & License eCommerce platforms. Licensed or on-premises ecommerce platforms are considered the best solution to start multi-vendor marketplaces because they allow more flexibility and control. However, if your budget is limited, Saas (Software as a Service) ecommerce platforms are good to go.
- Finding Investors:
You can skip this step if the budget is not a concern for you. However, I have seen that in many cases where the initial investment is high, clients are looking for investors. Or you can search for online crowdfunding sites that will help you arrange the money.
- On-board Sellers after the launch:
Once your online marketplace is launched, the next crucial step is on-boarding the sellers. Here are a few strategies you can follow to on-board the sellers on your online store with ease:
- Make a list of sellers who are selling on other online marketplaces
- Create an email template and describes the benefits of selling on your platform and pain areas of sellers that your online marketplace is addressing
- Reach out to them on their social media profiles
- Start Display ads on sites like eBay, Etsy, or other sites where multiple sellers are selling the products
- Also, you can use offline marketing techniques like Print Ads, Billboards, Telecalling, etc.
- Invest in Online Marketing:
In this competitive world, you can’t expect sales just by setting up an online store. Digital marketing is one of the cost-effective marketing techniques to bring buyers to your online marketplace. In the early days, you can start with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) & Social media marketing. Google Ads are costly, invest in it wisely, and it is better to get help from an SEO or Adwords expert.