Online B2B marketplaces : How to Engage Both Buyers and Sellers
B2B online marketplaces face a major challenge – how to please both sellers and buyers whom they service. It is a problem of any marketplace solution that connects sellers to buyers, as you need both supplies of quality goods or services to attract classy buyers and vice versa. This problem concerns the entire lifecycle of an online marketplace, not only the early stages of development when you need to convince browsers to pay a visit to your website and find quality products there.
Any online B2B marketplace should make every effort to avoid the occurrence of a supply-demand gap by onboarding the best suppliers available and thus attracting quality buyers to the marketplace. But how you attract both sellers who want more control over your e-commerce platform and buyers who want to have more control over sellers?
Give Sellers Creative Freedom to Show Their Products on your B2B marketplace
Having two similar products presented in the very same way does not provide the respective sellers with competitive advantages. It also does not help the buyer select the product that appeals more to him/her or which best fits the buyer’s needs.
An online marketplace should have a unified look and feel but you still need to enable sellers the creative freedom to make their online profile and online store a unique one. Putting your branding needs before the needs of sellers will not produce any good as sellers want to make their product recognizable and not being recognized as part of the platform only.
It seems like a conflict of interests but it is not. Having products and services to remember on your marketplace is making your own brand recognizable as well. The concept of online marketplaces is not new, so giving your sellers more creative options is a method to make your site stand out compared to competitors and attract more sellers as a result.
Connect Buyers with Sellers Directly
Evidently, you start growing your B2B marketplace by onboarding quality sellers that attract buyers in return, but you also need to retain these buyers if you are to have sustainable growth.
Attracting and retaining buyers is another challenge in which your branding strategy is involved. You have created a marketplace where sellers are well equipped to showcase their products as truly theirs but buyers will always tend to associate their purchases with your marketplace brand and not only the merchant from whom they bought a product.
Do not make the mistake of taking the responsibility for faulty purchases or damaged products. Instead, establish a direct communication channel connecting buyers and sellers to resolve any issues that may arise during the whole cycle of buying and delivering a product or service. You can still act as a negotiator when the need arises but let customers and sellers solve their disputes directly (cf. the feature of disputes management provided by Uppler) Thus, buyers will not blame you for late deliveries or damaged products while sellers will have the chance to resolve issues on time and without having you as an intermediary.
If you want happy and engaged buyers and sellers, you need to invest also in building trust between all parties involved.
Make sure that as creative as your sellers might be, they also place correct and detailed product descriptions and provide clear terms and conditions when selling products on your marketplace. Encourage buyers to agree with any specific terms with the sellers in advance. Sometimes having an escrow account to protect buyers is an option worth considering for specific types of marketplaces.
Finally, yet importantly, build a responsive customer service but grow it along with building trust between your buyers and sellers.