Welcome to the second stage of creating your marketplace! We’ll be going through the best practices for Activation, after Seller Acquisition. This is the third post in our 4 part series on Seller Success, do read our first post before carrying on:

Implementing a successful marketplace acquisition funnel is an ongoing task, which means that the activation stage should not be overlooked. After attracting new sellers and enticing them to join your platform, you’ve reached the two middle of the funnel stages: Activation and Revenue. Although these are 2 separate stages, they are also inherently connected. You could think of them as your bridge from acquisition to retention.

seller success funnel

The aim now is to help your new sellers benefit from selling on your marketplace as soon as possible. You also want to create a good first impression, that sets the stage for a favorable view of your marketplace. This builds and cultivates a strong connection with your sellers. To do this, creating a fast and effective activation process that helps new sellers to begin bringing in revenue quickly is key. 

5 steps to make new sellers feel at home in your marketplace

1. Fast, automated onboarding

Once you’ve brought your new sellers onto your platform, it’s up to your activation staff to help onboard them as quickly and smoothly as possible. Focus on minimizing the gap between signing up and the first sale in order to raise seller enthusiasm

The aim throughout activation is to minimize the number of steps involved. Make the process simple, scalable, and automated as much as possible. Every manual activity adds a delay, increases potential for human error, and creates opportunities for new sellers to abandon the process. Automated tools for sellers can help connect their preferred payment withdrawal methods, transfer over their product catalog, and master your logistics providers all raise the rates of successful seller activation. 

It’s important to provide plenty of resources to guide new sellers through self-service activation tasks. The time spent building an automated onboarding wizard that provides actionable advice at every step is well worth it. Have clear, well-written FAQs help clarify any confusion. At the same time, having enough activation staff to respond quickly to questions and calls for help through your help channel is imperative. 

2. Offer template pages

Next, help your new sellers create attractive virtual storefronts and detailed product pages to appeal to customers. By offering template top product pages, you help simplify the process for sellers to present their offers. Lazada provides a number of templates and themes to help new sellers set up their virtual storefront quickly, but without compromising on quality design and customization. Template pages also encourage them to provide the full and detailed product descriptions that their customers need in order to feel trust and make a purchase.

3. Use a PIM solution

As well as encouraging sellers to upload their offers, ensuring that your marketplace remains well organized and consistent is important. This can impact on your sellers’ customer acquisition along with your marketplace reputation. 

New seller products should appear in the relevant categories, without any repetition or redundancies between product groupings. If products cross categories and appear in multiple areas of the store, it makes it confusing for customers. Furthermore, products that are mislabeled cause customers to struggle to find what they want, grow frustrated, and give up entirely. 87% of shoppers have left a site because the information provided wasn’t accurate or satisfactory!

87%

Shoppers who left a site because product information is less than satisfactory

30%

Amount of data in product listings that is incorrectly input

$40B

Revenue loss on marketplaces due to supply chain information inefficiencies

A reliable PIM solution like Icecat is vital to streamline the tasks of adding product descriptions and uploading images that are consistent with your branding and product rules.

4. Research comparative price and product offering

Throughout the activation and revenue stages, you always need to keep up your research. Consult with various information sources to track both the products and the pricing that your sellers offer on other marketplaces. 

At Silverback, we utilize the data from big marketplaces and filter them by products and sellers. This allows you to have a quick overview of your products and prices right at your fingertips! You can see which products are missing on your marketplace and how many are priced higher or lower than your competition.

silverback-product-page
Silverback.ai Product Page

With this research, you’ll be able to see if your sellers are helping your platform retain its competitive edge. The goal is to get your sellers to bring the same products to your marketplace as they do to others, add exclusive products that they don’t offer elsewhere, and price them as competitively or better than the prices they display on other platforms.

You need to kick off the “flywheel”! Sellers bring in more offers and displaying better prices makes your marketplace more profitable. This in turn raises more revenue for your sellers, who then feel motivated to expand their product range, bringing in even more revenue. Encouraging them to begin with a full slate of offers and excellent prices sets the stage for a mutually satisfying relationship

5. Key Metrics to Follow 

As you activate your new sellers and help them to start bringing in revenue, it’s vital to track your key metrics. Without measuring your progress, you won’t know where you are succeeding and where you need to make changes. Here are the chief metrics to follow for activation success:

  • Total number of offers. Check how many total products are being offered by your sellers, and compare that to other marketplaces in a similar geography and product niche. Your aim is to keep increasing the total number of products across the multiple categories that your marketplace carries. 
  • Total active sellers. Keep an eye on the number of active sellers you have on your marketplace,versus the number on similar platforms. Although you want plenty of active sellers, you also want to encourage those with high ratings and weed out those with low ones. 
  • Time to seller activation. Ideally, the gap between signing up a new seller to your site, and having them complete the process of onboarding their products, seller details, payment preferences, etc. should be as short as possible. 
  • Time to first sale. Just like the time to seller activation, you want to reduce the lag between activating a seller and having them make their first sale.
  • Number of missing higher-priced / lower-priced offers. In-depth research into competing marketplaces will help you to map offers that you’re missing out on, and identify significant price gaps between your platform and that of your competitors.

Smart onboarding turns new vendors into successful sellers

By automating seller activation and onboarding activities for greater speed and efficiency, you can make it faster and easier for new sellers to activate their accounts on your platform and start enjoying their first sales. With these seller activation steps in your marketplace acquisition funnel, you can speed newly signed-up vendors along the path towards loyal seller retention. 

Now that you’ve got the sellers, how are you going to hold on to them? Continue to our next post on retention for the scoop.