The eCommerce industry has seen a sudden surge of online orders during the pandemic, and for a good reason. The multiple lockdowns across the globe compelled everyone to conduct business from within the comfort of their homes for more than 18 months, and that also meant shopping digitally.
The swift shift in consumer behavior, however, remains optimistic for the future. In fact, COVID-19 sped up the adoption of digital technologies by businesses and individuals alike by seven years!
Most businesses recognize the technology’s strategic importance not as a source of cost efficiencies but a critical component of their operations. Ecommerce is no exception either. And we very well know we are heavily reliant on an online marketplace of our choice — all too well!
No wonder there is a massive demand for eCommerce platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. These online marketplaces have carved a niche for themselves for being superlatively the best, from groceries and apparel to electronics and kitchenware!
In fact, these giants rule the industry in terms of revenue, quality, and customer service. It is hard for new entrants as they strive to beat the competition and match their level. But it is possible to become a popular online marketplace by creating a specialized customer base in a particular region.
Why is it worth building an eCommerce website?
Thus, there is an upcoming demand that can be met through new online stores. Owning your marketplace website helps diversify and protect your brand from being at the mercy of any single marketplace. Building an eCommerce website gives you many benefits, including:
- Online shopping is convenient for any customer with an internet connection and a device to shop; thus, you can connect to a larger number of customers.
- An online platform will help you minimize the cost of sustaining a physical office, an independent warehouse, and retail space.
- You can reach a wider audience through local search engine optimisation as they search for products online, possibly in your local area.
- Operational efficiency can be achieved without the need for a more extensive staff on online marketplaces.
The good news is despite the high competition, there is still a lot of scope for new entrants and one can create an online marketplace by leveraging technology. How Amazon, eBay, and Etsy have made a name for themselves is no secret. All three brands believe in offering a great customer experience.
Customer service and strong eCommerce marketplace sites go hand-in-hand.
The popular marketplace websites have laid down processes where the teams answer all queries when a customer approaches and even reach out to them proactively. The practice helps them address customer issues and keep the agitated customers engaged throughout their journey.
All this is possible with the help of an Amazon-like website. You get twofold benefits through it — firstly, it helps you promote your products on a digital platform. Secondly, it enables you to get honest testimonials and even word-of-mouth advertising.
Offering customers unique and high-quality products on the marketplace website also strengthens customer trust in your brand. You see, when customers trust your brand, you get the freedom to upsell and cross-sell easily. The functionality helps you improve your CSAT scores and reduce churn rates.
Thankfully, many multi-vendor eCommerce store solutions can help create professional-looking websites. This tool offers incredible value for your money with its innovative template designs and quality in-house features.
The easy-to-use drag and drop editor helps edit pages — the space between the header and footer of the site to customize it. One can use the same functionalities for boosting the visual improvements on the eCommerce website pretty comfortably.
In addition, drag-and-drop controls make it easy for online marketplace owners to update the page without the need for coding knowledge quickly. Such builders are constantly evolving by adding all the features trending in the market, such as enabling more control over every element on the page.
Popular online marketplace types to know
Well, if you are looking to start your eCommerce business and want to learn more about your options, online marketplaces are of the following three types:
1. Vertical marketplaces comprise multiple vendors from the same niche. Zillow, Stock, or Chegg are popular platforms that could be defined as a multi-vendor marketplace.
2. Horizontal marketplaces comprise goods from several related categories. The products on these platforms have common characteristics. DogVacay only sells products for people with pets. Etsy, Poshmark, and Dote are some other famous examples.
3. Global marketplaces sell a wide variety of goods to customers across the globe. Amazon, eBay, and AliExpress are significant players in the sector of multi-vendor marketplaces.
Meet the leading multi-vendor marketplace players in the eCommerce market
The eCommerce industry is booming, and there are currently the 30 most influential companies in this field. According to DealHack ratings, Amazon is one of the most profitable platforms with a 41% profitability rate. Here is a list of the most popular players in the eCommerce market:
Starting as an online bookseller, Amazon has expanded into a popular marketplace with a wide variety of goods. The company has taken over the traditional brick-and-mortar stores and famously recorded sales worth $4,722 per second. The multi-vendor marketplace store even has prospective buyers checking and comparing prices of all they need on the site itself!
Alibaba Corporation is a Chinese eCommerce company that also operates a payment system and media platform. Being a major online player in the Asian Market, with an 80% market share in China, the online store also owns Taobao, a content hub with media functionalities where customers can access goods and services reviews and tutorials.
eBay entered the picture a year after Amazon did. It started as an American flea market selling items that people no longer wanted. Over the years, the marketplace website has grown into a platform with 80% new products from major brands from across the globe, enjoying high sales volumes. Today, eBay owns PayPal and has also invested in Flipkart, India’s leading eCommerce shop.
India’s largest online commerce shop, Flipkart, sells multiple brands on a single marketplace. It is officially registered in Singapore as, according to Indian law, selling various brands on the same platform is prohibited. The business model is just like Amazon's.
Flipkart offers a wide variety of products, ranging from electronics and clothing to jewelry and books. It holds a reputation for its impeccable customer service.
An analysis of the features that have made Amazon, eBay, and Etsy so successful
In the following section, we will list down some basic features that have paved the path for the success of some of the most popular eCommerce platforms.
Though the list is comprehensive, even for your eCommerce marketplace development project, you may need to add some more features based on your business needs.
I. Features for admins
Business analysis such as buyer demographics, revenue distribution based on the source, highest and lowest selling products helps admins make informed decisions. An intuitive dashboard allows you to monitor the basic metrics and even the advanced ones. It enables you to understand your prospective buyers better and improve your eCommerce website.
2. Order management
An eCommerce website is a place for buying items for the customers, but the admins have a lot of data to organize. An order management module must provide them information on rates, the total number of purchases, the potential sales volume, delivery rate, and the full value of orders.
3. Reports and analytics
A BI-powered eCommerce platform helps admins analyze sales reports and forecast demand. Using the analytics, admins can make better customer recommendations and adopt ways to drive higher sales and increase their bottom lines.
4. Customer care and support
The customer support feature helps to resolve customer queries and issues. It would be best if you integrated a robust customer support solution into your eCommerce website.
Live agents, chatbots, video tutorials, and active social media responses allow people to engage with the brand in a number of different ways.
An ideal multi-vendor marketplace setup helps admins address customer complaints and answer their queries. Your database must the right platform to list out the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and provide comprehensive answers to them.
Customers must also have an option to contact a support team by email or phone number if their issue is not resolved.
II. Features of sellers
1. Product listings
A simple feature in the platform helps your sellers add, edit, or remove their product listings. It allows them to manage inventory and provide details as per the availability of products. You can drive an excellent revenue model with this functionality.
2. Seller’s profile
A module to create a seller’s profile should be available. The tool should be simple to use and allow them to update some basic information about their business.
Integrating a custom dashboard will help them easily monitor their product categories, images, variety of goods, sales, and revenue.
3. Real-time messaging
Communication is the key to building an interactive online community that can help you grow your online store.
A messaging tool can help buyers and sellers connect and interact with each other. They can use it to discuss product categories, get instant updates on the status of their orders, or get answers to other related questions.
They can also use the tool to contact buyers in case of any order or delivery-related concerns. Proactive communication is vital; this feature can help online marketplaces raise the bar!
A personalized user account is a much-needed feature to help them get an insight into their products. They can get product-wise details, sort the products with the best and worst ratings, identify best-sellers, and keep customer feedback. A detailed overview of their products helps them make informed decisions.
5. Order management
An order management feature provides sellers with complete information about their orders. They can keep track of each order till its delivery. Additionally, they can access an accounting system which helps manage cancellations, refunds, and replacements of the physical and digital products.
6. Checkout management
Sellers prefer a feature that automatically prints order packing slips and generates a product order ID. The shipment methods can be chosen as per the customer’s preferences on the multi-vendor eCommerce website.
III. Features for buyers
1. Registration and authorization
Customer onboarding on online marketplaces must be smooth to avoid any distraction from their buying intent. You must provide a basic form to make the registration convenient for customers. You can add registration features in the user account through a phone number, email, or social network to make the process seamless.
2. Buyer’s profile
A tool to create a buyer’s profile gives users a better experience on your platform. They can upload their delivery address, payment preferences, change notification settings, and manage their membership.
Buyers can also use this section to check their order history when reordering, change language settings, and see personalized offers.
3. Product search
An eCommerce platform must have a search feature to make the buying process easier and quicker. Adding an advanced search option with filters and auto-complete allows buyers to find the right product quickly. For a more convenient buying experience, you can also add a voice search feature on your platform.
4. Product page
Buyers look for complete product information before placing an order. Each product page must be complete with all the information about the item.
Your product page must have high-quality images, demo videos, well-written product descriptions, and the best prices to deliver a satisfactory experience.
Adding existing customer reviews and ratings along with information about any offers on the product helps buyers make buying decisions instantly. Descriptive product pages improve the conversion rate of your online marketplace and reduce cart abandonment.
The final buying decision of a customer happens at the checkout stage. Customers may abandon the shopping carts if the process is complicated or does not allow them to select their preferred payment or delivery methods. Optimizing the checkout of your online marketplace increases the conversion rate by 35.62%.
6. Payment methods
Customers expect more payment options with the increased adoption of digital payment methods. You must provide them with the maximum possible payment methods to make ordering easier.
Most eCommerce platforms accept payment through credit/debit cards, net banking, e-wallets, UPI, and even cryptocurrency. Giving buyers proper payment gateways boosts loyalty and significantly reduces cart abandonment rates.
7. Transparency around shipping
Shipping is another crucial component of your online business. You must ensure that buyers can choose their preferred shipping mode and set delivery timings as they place an order. Offer them the convenience to pay for a comfortable time and method of delivery.
Offering a live tracking feature on your online marketplace website enhances the customer experience manifold. And if you are charging for shipping costs, be upfront. A lot of customers abandon the checkout process when they find out hidden shipping expenses. Avoid that!
9. Customer reviews
Giving customers the possibility to leave reviews about their ordered items will help you establish trust. These reviews facilitate the decision-making of new customers and, in turn, improve your conversion rates.
Amazon, eBay, and Etsy have leveraged technologies like a pro. They have tools that give them access to reports on how satisfied or dissatisfied their customers are. That way, they group them to address specific issues by making necessary changes.
Customer feedback is a precious resource for any company; it helps them improve products and offer better services. After every customer session finishes, ask them for a review or feedback — discussing their experience through short questions and asking for suggestions to improve your current offerings. Your customers will appreciate all your efforts!
An Oberlo study reports that 56.75% of global web traffic comes through the mobile application. So as your customers are browsing and ordering through their mobile devices, your online marketplace website or application must be available on their devices.
Building a responsive marketplace website ensures your website displays well across different platforms and browsers. It offers a quick and convenient ordering method to your buyers.
Key considerations from market players to get success in the marketplace domain
The demand for eCommerce is rising steadily, and there is much scope for all players to become successful. Here are vital considerations that you must make to create an online marketplace and for your marketplace website to achieve success:
- Studying the buyer persona of your target customers is essential to ensure you fulfill their needs and expectations. Etsy does it well and has an ever-growing customer base.
- Offering a subscription plan with special offers like Amazon can help you achieve popularity and generate additional revenue. You can provide faster delivery, zero shipping charges, or custom coupons to subscribers.
- Allow sellers to advertise on the platform, which will generate revenue for the platform and boost sales.
- It would help if you fixed a percentage of every transaction that happens through your website. You can charge a commission on every sale to generate reasonable revenue from your online marketplace like Etsy.
- Sellers would often have their own delivery services, while some may rely on you for the delivery procedure. You can give them the option to deliver products through your supply chain or a third-party logistics supplier.
- Maintain high-quality sellers and products on your website to attract loyal customers. For instance, Flipkart uses Sherlock, a custom search engine, and has put together a system to detect and remove fraudulent sellers.
- Adopt both organic and paid marketing strategies. Paid ad listings and influencer marketing help establish new brands.
- Scale your platform like Alibaba and focus on a region to gain a stronghold there.
- Partner with other players as you expand your business. eBay struck a deal with Flipkart. In exchange for the company’s investment in Flipkart, the latter takes care of eBay India’s business operations.
- Create connected online and offline experiences like The Home Depot. The company allows buyers to order online while picking up the orders at the nearest brick-and-mortar stores.
Over to you
Building a website like Amazon, eBay or Etsy is challenging, and your eCommerce business can take an extremely long time to flourish. It will require many resources and developers. Therefore you must keep costs under check.
However, as the industry has much scope, you can achieve the desired results by using the right strategy and planning well. Contact Intuz if you are looking for an experienced partner to build you a stellar eCommerce website.