This is a two part series on Understanding The 4 Types Of Sellers. Read the first part of the series here.

In the first part of our series, we shared with you two of the four marketplace seller types that your online marketplace should target. Today, we’re focusing on two additional types of sellers — brands and physical stores.


‘Brands’ is a pretty broad category in itself. On one hand, multinationals such as Nike have a developed ecommerce presence, with their own website and sales channels across all major online marketplaces, enabling them to reach consumers at any touchpoint. On the other end of the spectrum, small and medium sized brands might have a limited online presence, selling predominantly through their own brand website.

Why do we want to onboard brands?

Simply put, brands present a huge opportunity for marketplaces to grow as they will likely bring over their existing customer base when they join a marketplace. Additionally, they also own all their marketing material and control their products and prices, giving them additional flexibility with pricing.

What Brands Want

Strong Analytics and Measurement Tools

The bulk of small and medium sized brands do not have the resources to implement dedicated ecommerce analytics. They might typically be using analytics platforms such as Google Analytics, which have a good range of insights but cannot provide the specialized insights (buyer journey) that only marketplaces have.

Providing your sellers with the visibility and the understanding of the buyer journey on your marketplace is a huge plus in attracting these brands onto your platform — but what type of insights are these?

  • Marketplace search term data: Product names, and categories and their related insights on traffic, clicks and conversion rates 
  • Keyword analytics: Keyword popularity and most clicked for each search term
  • Item Comparison: Products that are usually viewed in a single session
  • Customer Demographics:  The demographics of customer and people who view a seller’s products

With insights like these, brand owners would have more incentive to join your marketplace and start selling.

On-Platform Advertising Options

Brands are constantly looking for the next platform to reach customers on. If your marketplace is reaching a wide audience already, many brands would be surely keen to capitalize on it.

This is why successful marketplaces have an array of advertising options on their platforms to cater to the needs of these brands.

A great example of this would be Italian marketplace ePRICE with their Sponsored Products feature. This feature allows sellers to have better visibility on search results and target customers in a relevant way, on top of having a simple and clear campaign management system for them to monitor their results. 

Another good example of on-platform advertising is banner ads. Southeast Asian marketplace Shopee offers banner ads on their front page for brands that want increased outreach to a wider audience. 

The best part? It’s a win-win situation for all. As brands get more eyeballs on their products, it creates a new source of revenue for your marketplace. Not convinced? Amazon had great success when it pioneered the marketplace advertising model, growing their ad revenue from $419 million in 2012 to a whopping $10.3 billion last year – a short seven year span. Furthermore, estimates predict that the platform’s advertising revenues will reach USD60 million by 2021. That’s just from ads alone.

Physical stores

Traditional physical stores offer a huge opportunity for certain marketplaces.

Why is that so? Onboarding physical stores that sell niche products allows marketplaces to acquire a large range of unique products that can’t be found elsewhere. In fact, this was how Etsy started, growing into the $18.2 billion giant it is today.

Another benefit would be to solidify market share. Larger marketplaces looking to firmly establish their presence in a country and prevent competitors from getting a foothold could  onboard physical stores to further entrench itself in a region. 

Of course, we would only recommend this approach for marketplaces in a later stage of growth

What Brick-and-Mortar Stores Want

Simple Order Fulfilment Processes

A straightforward system for sellers to ship their goods is paramount. Your sellers want to move a lot of orders quickly, but they also want it to be simple.

Of course, it’s difficult to discuss a great fulfilment system without talking about the company that perfected the system in the first place – Amazon. More specifically, Fulfillment by Amazon still remains the gold standard for seller fulfillment today.

Take a page from the ecommerce giant and follow their 4-step system for sellers:

The key here is to make sure Step 1 and Step 4 are as simplified as possible. Make sure there are clear instructions for shipping inventory to your marketplace when online orders roll in, on top of step-by-step guides for your sellers to ship their goods to you.

Making this part of the selling process simple eases a lot of problems that brick-and-mortar sellers face when they’re thinking of selling online.

Intuitive Product Listing Creation Tools

It is probably not news to you that a properly fleshed out product listing is key to strong sales. Even the simplest of changes can have a profound impact on sales. For example, 83% of shoppers found product images in a listing to be “very” and “extremely” influential in purchasing decisions.

Unfortunately, product creation is a time-consuming process, especially if a seller has a large range of products. For physical store owners who have no experience in ecommerce, there is an even higher inertia for them to catalog their products and list them on a marketplace. 

To smooth out this friction point, having a simple-to-use product listing creation tool makes it quicker and easier to navigate. 

At this point you might be thinking “But my marketplace already has the bulk product creation tool from Excel that all marketplaces use! Isn’t that easier?”

And you’re right, it is easier! But remember — to a brick-and-mortar store seller that has never attempted ecommerce, this would be a steep learning curve. What you need is a simplified interface that’s easier to understand to ease them into the marketplace.

A good example of this is Shopee’s product creation interface. It breaks down a listing into titles, categories, product descriptions and shipping information to guide sellers through the process. This would be ideal for brick and mortar store owners just dipping their toes into ecommerce as it is simple to use and intuitive.

The Overview

As we conclude the series on types of sellers, do remember this – different sellers, different needs

Not all sellers are the same and if you want to attract a certain type of seller onto your platform, you’ll need to develop the features they’re looking for to get them onboard. 

Seller acquisition is a long and ever-changing process, but with constant improvements and renewal of features, exponential growth is within reach!