eCommerce Marketing Strategies
How to Attract Buyers & Sellers to Your eCommerce Marketplace
9th May 2023
As we transition to an increasingly digital world, it’s not surprising that eCommerce continues to rise in popularity. Over 80% of global consumers have shopped online, which means that eCommerce web stores and online marketplaces have a virtually unlimited target audience – and limitless sales potential.
While selling products online can be a lucrative business concept, running a successful online marketplace is an equally profitable endeavor. By attracting numerous vendors to your site, you can expand its appeal and generate more buyers while doing so. The result will be a thriving multi-vendor marketplace website.
In this article, we’ll look at multiple strategies to attract both sellers and buyers to your site, thus giving you the insider knowledge you need to grow your online marketplace.
The Law of Attraction
A successful eCommerce platform requires both vendors and buyers, so you’ll need to attach both of these target audiences if you want to be commercially successful. In many ways, this is similar to ‘the chicken and the egg’ scenario – sellers won’t want to waste time trying to sell on a platform with no customers and customers won’t re-visit a site with no sellers.
While your first priority might be attracting vendors to your eCommerce website, don’t overlook the importance of building up a base of potential buyers too. Promoting your site amongst this target audience and enticing buyers to sign up for early access can be a viable way to build your customer base before you officially launch, for example.
By doing so, you can use your reach to entice sellers to join your eCommerce platform and attract customers from the get-go.
How Does an Online Marketplace Work?
Online multi-vendor marketplaces have become increasingly common, with plenty of success stories to inspire you. The undisputed champion is, of course, Amazon. With nearly a billion monthly visits, it is one of the most popular websites in the world.
However, other online marketplaces, like eBay, Etsy, and Alibaba also highlight how successful marketplace websites can be. But how do these sites work and can you use this business model to launch your own eCommerce platform?
Every eCommerce website has its own guidelines and rules but, in general, an online marketplace provides a central place for vendors to sell products. From here, vendors can sell goods to users via the marketplace’s online infrastructure, typically paying a fixed fee, subscription, and/or commission to the marketplace.
Why Do Sellers Use Multi-Vendor Websites?
When online retailers can easily set up their own web store, why do so many choose to register with multi-vendor websites? Firstly, an online marketplace allows vendors to benefit from the marketplace’s brand recognition, which can enable them to generate far more customers and sales.
Secondly, third-party vendors can sell products online without having to design, develop, and manage their own websites when they use established eCommerce platforms. This reduces their own costs and streamlines their operations, thus boosting profits.
6 Proven Strategies to Attract Buyers & Sellers to an eCommerce Website
Getting customers to make purchases and sellers to sign up for your eCommerce platform is essential, but how should you go about it? Fortunately, there are a variety of ways you can generate and convert such traffic, including:
- PPC ads
- Social media marketing
- UI & UX design
- Operational advantages
1. PPC Ads
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a fast and effective way of driving targeted traffic to your website. If you are using search ads, for example, you can need to conduct keyword research to identify the search terms potential sellers are using (e.g. ‘best online marketplace for sellers’ or ‘multi-vendor eCommerce platforms’).
When targeting potential buyers, a separate campaign would focus on more product-relevant keywords, such as ‘beauty and cosmetics products’ or ‘home decor ‘, depending on what is being sold on your platform.
By using the right keywords, you can target that are actively looking for new marketplaces and eCommerce sites.
Once you’ve identified the keywords you want to target, you can begin choosing what type of ads to use and creating ad content to entice your target audience to click through your ad to your website. There are plenty of options and platforms to consider, such as:
- Google Search / Display / Discovery Ads
- YouTube Ads
- Microsoft Bing Ads
- Social Media Ads
Each type of PPC ad has its own requirements but, generally, you can incorporate a variety of information to maximize the impact of your ads, including:
Launching a PPC campaign can be relatively straightforward but there are plenty of pitfalls to watch out for. For example, choosing the wrong bidding strategy or campaign parameters can result in your ads not being shown or generating a low click-through rate (CTR).
With professionally managed PPC ad campaigns, however, you can increase your ROI, optimize the quality of the website traffic you generate, and boost your number of conversions.
Search engine optimization (SEO) enables you to generate ‘organic’ traffic by increasing your rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). When potential vendors search for suitable marketplaces or potential customers search for relevant products, you will want your site to appear in the top positions.
The majority of all website traffic is organic, so using SEO to promote your site should be a priority for your business. However, creating an effective SEO strategy requires technical and theoretical knowledge as there are multiple types of search engine optimization you’ll need to implement, including:
On-page SEO refers to the content on your web pages and website. By creating high-quality content and optimizing it for your target keywords, you can increase your rankings for relevant search terms and drive potential sellers and buyers to your eCommerce platform.
The keywords you target will determine which search queries your web pages rank for, so be sure to conduct in-depth keyword research before you get started. Remember – there are more than 200 Google ranking factors and you’ll need to ensure your web pages satisfy the search engine algorithm if you want to achieve top rankings.
There are many elements of on-page SEO but some of the most important are:
- Content (e.g., text, images, video, eBooks, etc.)
- Meta titles and descriptions
- Structured data
- URL structure
- H1 – H6 tags
- Internal and external links
What happens outside of your own website can impact your rankings too, so consider how many links there are directing users to your eCommerce site and how much publicity your site is generating.
Creating a buzz around the launch of a new website or updated promotions can be beneficial in its own right, but generating high-quality backlinks will improve your organic search performance too.
There are a variety of ways to do this, including:
- Collaborations with other sites
- Guest posts
- Directory listings
Search engines also assess the functionality of your site when deciding where web pages should be ranked, so don’t miss out on traffic simply because your pages load too slowly or the site isn’t mobile-friendly.
Make sure your site is indexable and crawlable, then optimize its technical performance for maximum impact. Website security is always important but it’s particularly so for eCommerce websites. Both sellers and buyers will want to know that you’re using effective security protocols to safeguard data and transactions, so be sure to implement relevant security measures (and tell potential customers about them!)
If you want to attract potential customers or sellers from a particular location or promote your marketplace in specific regions, you’ll also need to use local SEO for finer targeting.
When it comes to technical SEO, here are some of the most important considerations:
- XML sitemaps
- Robots.txt file
- Canonical tags
- Structured data markup
Schema markup, which is a type of structured data, is particularly important for eCommerce websites as it allows product information to be presented in a way that’s easy for search engines to understand.
Sellers will want to ensure potential buyers can find their listings easily (as will buyers themselves!), so incorporating schema markup into your multi-vendor platform is an important consideration.
#3 Social Media Marketing
With an estimated 4.59 billion users, social media is a fantastic way to increase your reach and engage with potential sellers. While many B2C businesses use social media to reach their target audiences, it can also be an effective way for B2B companies to market their brand, products, and services too.
As well as using social media ads, you can use organic social content to raise awareness of your eCommerce platform. By taking part in relevant group discussions, joining social events, publishing engaging content, and using high-profile hashtags, for example, you can quickly boost your profile.
Market research will enable you to identify sellers and buyers that you would like to attract to your platform. Once you’ve done this, direct outreach can make them aware of your marketplace and give you the opportunity to convert them into registered vendors or buying customers.
There are various tools and platforms you can use to achieve this. Contacting a seller via social media can be an informal way to gauge their interest, for example. Alternatively, email marketing provides an efficient and cost-effective way to engage individual or multiple vendors in an instant.
A personalized approach can be advantageous and direct outreach enables you to curate content according to a vendor’s online business or brand. What’s more – personalization and automation allow you to deploy this approach at scale without it being time-consuming or costly.
#5 UI & UX Design
Delivering a great user experience (UX) keeps users on your site and encourages them to return, which means it has a significant impact on your retention rate and customer lifetime value (CLTV). In fact, 90% of users won’t revisit a site if they have a bad UX.
But you may be surprised to learn that UX design can impact acquisition rates too. When a potential customer benefits from a good UX, they’re likely to tell other people about your site. As a result, you can rely on an optimal UX to underpin ‘word of mouth’ marketing and use referrals, recommendations, and reviews as a way of generating more traffic.
Of course, you’ll need to ensure that your eCommerce platform delivers an optimal UX for both sellers and buyers. If your site is already up and running, conduct a UX audit to determine where improvements can be made. If your site is still in the early development stage, be sure to incorporate UX considerations before your site is built.
- Perform user research and map potential customer journeys to determine what pages and content
- Create wireframes and prototypes to assess the interaction design of your site.
- Examine the user interface (UI) and determine whether the visual design, colors, layouts, and typography reflect your brand and engage your target audiences.
UI design is the aesthetic and interactive layer that brings the UX design to life, providing the visual representation of the user experience.
While your website’s UI/UX isn’t a primary method of generating traffic, it’s integral to converting the traffic that arrives on it. If you want vendors to sign up and consumers to make purchases, you should be investing in UI & UX design.
#6 Operational Advantages
When you’re considering how to get sellers for your eCommerce website, use operational advantages and features to set your site apart from its competitors. Offer enhanced customer support, lower rates of commission, and/or logistics solutions could persuade online retailers to sell via your marketplace, for example.
Conducting research into existing online marketplaces and eCommerce sites is a vital element of your preparation and this will give you an insight into which features are most important to your target audience.
By incorporating these into your own eCommerce platform, improving them or even formulating new and better solutions, you can compete with established marketplaces and successfully attract vendors to your site.
Trafiki Digital: eCommerce Marketing Agency
Promoting an online marketplace or eCommerce platform and generating website traffic may require PPC, SEO, outreach, and social media marketing, but securing conversions also means optimizing your UI and UX and showcasing features that put your site ahead of the rest.
Ideally, you’ll use a holistic online marketing strategy to deliver the best results, providing you’ve got the time and the know-how. As a leading eCommerce marketing agency based in London and Dubai, our in-house experts have years of experience in growing eCommerce websites.
Reach out and book a 30-minute consultation with one of our experts today to learn about our eCommerce audit and marketing services. Discover how we can take your business to the next level.