Recruiting Sellers to your Marketplace

October 20, 2016

As we’ve discussed, a large product catalog is at the very core of a successful Marketplace, which means you’ll need a large supply of sellers to capitalize on this model.

Seller recruitment can be challenging, but it is a critical element of a successful Marketplace. These sellers bring the depth assortment and long-tail products necessary to offer customers the best choices possible and ensuring they can find what they need. You’ll need enough sellers to ensure continuous product availability and breadth of choice.

 

Customer satisfaction should be the number one focus when prospecting for new sellers to recruit.

It’s never too early to begin recruiting sellers, even proactively for an upcoming Marketplace. However, be careful not to sacrifice quality for quantity. Your sellers must uphold your expected levels of customers service as they are in direct contact with buyers. Your sellers create products, manage customer orders, ship products, and handle customer service. Their efforts are an extension of your brand, and are what ultimately make up the full customer experience. For this reason, it’s critical that you do not allow unreliable sellers to sell on your platform.

 

Three components of a successful seller strategy:

  1. Quantity: The more sellers recruited, the larger the catalog is and the less dependent the operator is on each seller.
  2. Relevancy: Sellers need to be in line with the operator’s global strategy in terms of product catalog, pricing and quality of service.
  3. Account Management: Sellers need to be well trained and managed to maximize their chances of being successful on the Marketplace.

This strategy is best executed with a robust technology platform from which to recruit and manage sellers without needing to hire hundreds of FTEs.

Related: Learn more about working with a Mirakl expert who will work onsite with your team to help you recruit sellers.

Target the right sellers at the right phase of the process

The types of sellers you target during Marketplace development will vary depending on where you are in the process.

Phase 1: Marketplace launch and development

During this phase, focus more on finding specific sellers instead of specific products. Look for experienced Marketplace sellers with large product catalogs. The combination of their large catalog variety and experience will help to ensure good quality along with larger product choice.

Experienced sellers already know the intricacies of the job, and onboarding them to your Marketplace will be much less time consuming than recruiting a seller who has no e-commerce selling experience at all.

Phase 2: Well-established Marketplace

Once enough high-performing, experienced sellers have been recruited, your strategy should change towards being more product-oriented. In this phase of growth, your goal is to ensure the Marketplace covers all possible products and services a customer of your category would ever look for.

At this point, you should also have built competencies to onboard and train less experienced sellers as efficiently as possible to ensure their success.

Though your focus has shifted slightly, it is important to keep prospecting for experienced and larger sellers, as this should remain a constant task in order to grow your Marketplace sustainably.

No matter which phase you’re in, a Marketplace strategy offers proven benefits to many businesses. Forrester found that Marketplace sales are generally twice as profitable than direct sales. In fact, Forrester recently conducted a case study on a Mirakl customer, Darty, who saw a 2-3X boost in profit margin over sales for their owned inventory.



 

Barry Murphy

Written by Barry Murphy

Barry Murphy is the Director of Content and Product Marketing at Mirakl. In this role, Barry leads the alignment of Mirakl's offerings to market needs for the next generation of online commerce. Barry previously ran product marketing organizations for X1 and Mimosa Systems (now part of HPE). Barry also had a highly successful stint as Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Barry received a B.S. from the State University of New York at Binghamton and an M.B.A from the University of Notre Dame.