The best features for your online marketplace in 2020
If you’ve been searching for a list of the best online marketplace features – this is it!
Throughout this article, we’ll present you several online marketplace features that are used by many of the most successful online marketplaces.
Important to note is that every online marketplace has a unique set of features, each tailored to their own target audience. And still, there are many similar features that make those businesses stand tall and successful.
And if you’re looking for a partner to help you out with your online marketplace – we’re happy to help!
We’re experts in building eCommerce businesses and you can expect nothing less than a pixel-perfect code and a winning set of online marketplace features unique to your business.
Now, let’s jump right into the article and see what online marketplace features you could (and should) use.
A quick and easy onboarding process for sellers
Honestly speaking, your sellers are extremely busy. They don’t want to spend too much time registering and joining your platform. Your key objective is to make their lives easier here.
So, our goal here is to make the onboarding process as quick and easy as possible.
A great example of quick and easy seller onboarding comes from Etsy.
Below, you can see a snippet from their landing page for sellers. There, they’ve cited all the features and benefits their sellers are enjoying (and it’s a pretty long page).
To make this process easier for your sellers, a good practice is to set up a user-friendly page, containing all of the needed information for sellers’ registration.
Be sure to link that page on your navigation bar to make it more accessible for your new and existing sellers.
Another good way to make onboarding easier is to prepare short videos for your sellers, with each one displaying one step of the onboarding process.
Besides onboarding, these short instructional videos can be prepared for every back office feature of your online marketplace.
For instance, sellers would highly appreciate it if you had a video displaying the process of adding a product to the seller’s store.
A good step forward would be to automate this process as much as it’s possible.
P.S. If you’d like to know more about automating processes, check out our article on the role of digitalization in business growth!
The goal here is to use the minimal amount of human resources, including your own time. You could, for example, use short FAQs and instructional videos for various different questions and situations to avoid depending on auxiliary manpower.
After the sellers are registered, they’ll want to create their ads, special offers, input product information and so on.
So, to make this onboarding process complete, be sure to provide your sellers with an array of user-friendly tools to satisfy their needs.
Connect your online marketplace with social media
Shopping always held a communal sentiment and if we’re shopping online – social media can replicate that communal experience.
Generally, customers are keen to show what they bought, ask for some opinions on certain products, or just talk about some products and services they’ve encountered.
Social media proves to be an efficient way to spread the word about your products and, generally speaking, your online marketplace.
Coupling products with personal endorsements has the potential to increase the traffic on your online marketplace and, in the end, improve your conversion rate.
Be sure to connect your online marketplace to those social platforms where your target audience resides.
The best advertising is done by happy customers, and our goal here is to enable those customers to share their opinions. So, if you’d like to spread the word about your products and connect better with your customers – we’d like to help!
And just a quick note here.
Social media plays a big role in the eCommerce landscape. If you’re aiming towards selling digital products, be sure to check out our guide for starting a digital commerce business! You’ll find there some sound strategies for several different channels!
User reviews and testimonials
User reviews, one of the most important online marketplace features, play a big role in your brand image.
Your platform may have outstanding user experience, and its usability may be extremely important to its reputation, but having a suitable user review mechanism is necessary.
By creating such a review mechanism and implementing it in your platform, you’ll be more likely to create transparency and build trust among your users.
Also to mention, sellers would appreciate having concrete feedback from their buyers.
If there were some negative reviews, they could assess them and try to resolve the objection.
They could even upgrade their product to better meet their buyers’ demands. But to do that – they’ll need some feedback on their product.
To create a balanced picture here, you may want to make sure that your sellers have the tools they need to respond to those reviews.
Such feedback has the power to improve the quality of your sellers overall.
Reviews make your online marketplace more visible
When shopping online, a great majority of customers turn to search engines such as Google to help with their buying decision.
Every search engine, or simply a website such as Facebook, has their own unique way of indexing content. They all value new and original content, with customer reviews being a hugely useful piece of user-generated content.
User reviews will provide you with a steady stream of positive content that search engines and various websites will value when showing the results.
If you’re ranked higher, you’re more likely to be seen as an authority in your industry, giving you even more visibility.
User reviews positively impact sales
According to Harvard Business School, online user reviews can significantly impact your sales revenue. Brands that are viewed positively tend to have better sales. But even a few more positive reviews and slightly improved star ratings can make a substantial impact.
The study shows that a one-star improvement on Yelp.com leads to a boost of 5% to 9% on sales in the short term. Even a small positive improvement can have a massive impact.
User reviews may seem somewhat simple, but they stand as one of the most used online marketplace features – and most effective.
Wishlist for your buyers
You may have already used wishlists for your own purposes, but let’s say a few words of introduction.
Simply said, a wishlist is an online marketplace feature that allows buyers to create their own product collection that they’re interested in buying and save that collection for future reference.
They signify a buyer’s interest in specific product, without showing intent to buy the product immediately.
For a portion of buyers, a wishlist is an extremely important feature. It provides them with an opportunity to save any of the products for later.
If they currently can’t commit to the purchase or they afford to buy a product right now, with wishlist they can return to those products whenever they want.
It also serves some customers for creating shopping lists for some major events, such as – weddings, birthdays, and so on.
Why is wishlist a useful feature for your online marketplace?
Wishlists provide you with detailed information on your customers’ way of thinking. Each wishlist is highly unique and specific.
But when you pull the data from hundreds or thousands of wishlists, you’ll be able to identify various trends, and optimize your marketing strategy to maximize the sales.
Also, wishlists will help you deal with out of stock items.
Losing buyers due to out of stock products could create some troubles for your online marketplace. Wishlists prove to be a great tool for minimizing those losses.
If a buyer saves a product that’s currently out of stock, it’s possible to alert them via email or on-site notification once the product is back in supply.
Integrating wishlists into your online marketplace may be a sound strategy, and there are many different ways you can utilize them.
Oberlo cites several best practices of using wishlists, so feel free to check them out!
When talking about eCommerce and online marketplaces, there’s much to learn from Amazon, currently the most successful online marketplace in the world.
They offer their buyers 3 different types of wishlists:
- Public: Wishlist is available to any visitor of Amazon
- Shared: Only people who are given access can see your wishlist
- Private: Only the customer can see the contents of the wishlists
So, think about how you can utilize wishlists to best suit your target audience’s needs. You may not need to create 3 different types of wishlists, but in some cases, it could prove useful.
Powerful search options
If your buyers can’t find what they’re looking for on your online marketplace, they’ll go somewhere else.
To bring the number of buyers exiting your marketplace to a minimum, a powerful search is a prerequisite.
According to research conducted by Baymard Institute, buyers are searching for products in many different ways.
This type of insights can give you an idea of how your product search options may work.
Advanced search may seem obvious and simple, and yet it’s crucial to every online marketplace.
Today, customers are using technology constantly in their day-to-day activities, and especially during online shopping. It’s no easy task to surprise them with an online marketplace platform. But still, there are some ways to do it.
Leveraging new trends and technologies may prove to be highly successful.
Voice search option
Voice search is currently changing the way people search for products and services online.
According to one of Forbes’ publications, more than 50% of all internet searches will be done using search by the end of 2020.
Voice search is getting a lot of traction and marketers and SEO specialists are placing their bets on their strategies, aiming for full voice search optimization in eCommerce.
This online marketplace feature isn’t currently widely spread across different online platforms. Meaning, you can get ahead of the competition by choosing to go with this strategy.
Photo shopping refers to the process of shopping online for a product without knowing any of the product information, such as name or brand.
To do this successfully, a customer needs to take a picture of the product they like and search for the product using their picture.
This trend has the power to reach higher levels of popularity and it may prove as a huge advantage to test it out early on.
This feature is already being used by Amazon and eBay, currently some of the largest online marketplaces in the world.
Customizable sellers’ stores
Back in 2017, Amazon introduced Amazon Store, one of their key online marketplace features.
It enables sellers to customize their own store and provide customers with an unique online shopping experience.
There are 3 different templates and on the picture below, you can see one of those 3 put in use.
Through customizable sellers’ stores, your sellers have the opportunity to provide their customers with:
- Unique design – it could be chosen from a list of design templates with several customizable features
- Curated content – products and various types of content can be chosen by the seller to enhance customer experience
In the end, if you want your online marketplace to look and feel unified, there may be some issues if you offer your sellers too many customization options.
Customization on a smaller level is completely great, and it may be a window for various companies to show off their brand image.
Convenient checkout process
A convenient checkout process may be one of the most important online marketplace features.
This is where the sale actually happens and where a large number of customers may exit the purchase.
The goal here is to ensure that customers are enjoying a frictionless and convenient process.
When designing a checkout process for your online marketplace, you’ll want to know more about your buyers.
And you’ll most definitely want to know more about how are they paying when shopping online.
Some questions you could ask yourself to clarify this a bit are:
Make your checkout process as straightforward as possible. Also, make sure you’re offering the payment and delivery options your buyers are already expecting to see.
There are many ways to optimize the checkout process and make it as convenient as possible.
Let’s showcase a few of them!
- Show progress
Using a progress bar, an accordion design feature, or any similar feature that shows users the steps they need to take to complete the checkout process may prove extremely useful.
- Prevent shipping cost surprises
The easiest way to avoid any surprises regarding shipping is to offer free shipping. If that’s not an option, you may want to consider including a shipping calculator on the review page. That way, customers can know the exact amount of shipping costs.
- Provide detailed product information
Provide customers with product photos, specifications, and links for the items in the cart.
- Be transparent about inventory
Inform shoppers plainly about stock levels and delivery times.
- Display cart contents plainly and make it easy for shoppers to make changes to their selections.
What about some other online marketplace features?
By reading this article, you’ve learned a bit more about online marketplace features – and there’s much more.
In our “online marketplace” article series, we’ve covered the topic of starting an online marketplace in detail.
So, if you’d like to learn more about online marketplaces and how to build one, visit our blog section!
- Getting ready for starting an online marketplace (part 1)
- Laying foundations for an online marketplace (part 2)
- Launching the online marketplace (part 3)
After catching up with this article series, you’ll learn much about the whole business model and ways to turn an online marketplace into a lucrative business.
Starting an online marketplace is a long journey and one not to be taken without help. If you’re ready to give your ideas shape and form, reach out to us.
We’re ready to help you and build anything that may come across your mind.