How to effectively onboard sellers on your marketplace

Article by Mohand Bencherif - 07 Nov 2018 - 4 minute read

Learn how to increase the chances that your vendors become expert of your marketplace and play a role to increase sells on it.

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and buyers together under that retailer’s brand and the consumers evidently favor that new shopping channel. Therefore, as an online marketplace owner, when you have made the decision to launch your own marketplace business, it is one of the most important issues for you to consider which brands should be included; whether they should offer more products of a similar type or feature a wider selection of items, etc. As soon as the decision is made, it is the next step to determine the best way to onboard those brands.

What is an onboarding?

According to the study of ResearchGate, onboarding, also known as organizational socialization, refers to the mechanism through which new employees acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors in order to become effective organizational members and insiders. 

On your marketplace, it is, actually, the process of integrating new suppliers, into your marketplace organization in a way they understand the culture and process of your platform. This way you increase the chances that your vendors become expert of your marketplace and play a role to increase sells on it.

When the sellers have already been selected to operate on a marketplace, they are needed to get ready to sell on the marketplace. As a marketplace owner, you have to ensure that the sellers must be provided with the right tools and sufficient training so that they feel independent and self-sufficient on the platform. You should provide the sellers with assistance in the initial weeks to help ensure a successful start for both the seller and the overall marketplace. They will be able to manage their accounts smoothly. Therefore, you have to make sure that you have fully completed the seller onboarding process correctly and effectively. Actually, the initial onboarding process is the key to a successful online marketplace. 

Distinguish the buyer and seller registration routes on your marketplace

Depending on your arena of activity or your model, it may be relevant to offer different registration routes to your buyers and sellers (sellers or renters) on your marketplace. Here are the three most significant ways to consider.

#1 Configure user groups

You should start by creating following two new user groups (or you can modify existing groups if necessary):

  • "Merchant waiting for validation": cannot yet create listings, private group,
  • "Validated Merchant": can create listings, private group

Note: In case you do not want to moderate the registration of professionals and let the sellers create listings as soon as they register, you can ignore the group "Merchant waiting for validation". You can use the form of the group "verified seller / validated Merchant" as a registration form.

If you want to set up an application process for your sellers, you want to ask them for more information. Professionals are more accustomed to providing documents or information. However, depending on your marketplace, the merchants can also be individuals. There is no limitation on this level. But, if you choose that your sellers waiting for validation are professionals, it is logical that the validated sellers are also professionals (same thing with individuals).

#2 "Become a Seller" page

You should start by creating a new page that you can name "Become a Seller" or "Sell on NameOfYourMarketplace".

Add any content (photo and/or text) to explain the interest of creating listings on your marketplace. You can take inspiration from some excellent models such as:

 #3 Integrate this page with your navigation 

As a final point, add the link of this page to your site. It is a good practice to add this link to the bottom of your page. Do not neglect the choice of a relevant link title. Here are some examples of titles that can inspire you:

  • Apply to teach,
  • Rent my apartment,
  • Become a host,
  • To become partner,
  • Sell on YourMarketplaceName
  • Make money on the NameOfYourMarketplace
  • etc.

If you wish, you can also give more visibility to this page by adding a link in the main navigation.

By default, this navigation has the role of facilitating the journey of buyers. However, the more C2C oriented you are, the more relevant it will be to motivate buyers to also sell on a marketplace. Both Airbnb and Etsy adopt such motivating techniques.

On the other hand, if your sellers are able to represent only a small part of your visitors, or if you have a rather B2C oriented strategy, make this link discreet. No need to give it too much visibility. This can scare your buyers and make them ask useless questions about your marketplace (which can even generate customer support).

An online marketplace can be a great channel of e-commerce or business transactions when it offers the chance to improve customer service as well as increase product range without the hassle of inventory. Again, a successful seller experience ultimately leads to profitable growth for the marketplace owner. Actually, the initial onboarding process is the key to a successful online marketplace. So ensure the process, and as a marketplace owner, you can be on the path to a true marketplace success.

Mohand Bencherif
About Mohand Bencherif

Co-founder & CTO at Kreezalid

Web developer and then e-commerce consultant, I started to work with marketplaces actors since 2013. I gladly share my experiments and the good practices that I discover.