Understand The Four Types of Marketplace Sellers

October 27, 2016

There are different types of seller profiles to consider when recruiting for your Marketplace. Sellers can range from very small local businesses to large international companies. It is critical to diligently qualify all sellers, no matter their profile, to size their business potential on your Marketplace, gauge their quality of service, and prioritize them accordingly.


Each has a different level of service, product range and quality, and sales strategy. They each, therefore, warrant a different strategy when recruiting and engaging them.

1. E-commerce site - These sites can be specialists in one particular product or category, or generalists with a variety of options. Sellers who fall into this category are, above all, e-commerce professionals at their core. They know very well how to manage online customer orders, shipping and services, and understand what e-commerce shoppers expect today.

2. Brands - Recruiting brands can bring a lot of value to a Marketplace as they own all marketing materials and capabilities, have more flexibility to manipulate prices, and control their stock. On the other hand, it can often take longer to onboard brands, especially in cases where they need to adapt their B2B business for B2C consumers.

3. Wholesalers - These are professionals in a particular industry sector with huge catalogs. Like brands, they also have room to manipulate prices but may require extended time to onboard in order to adapt to a direct-to-consumer business model.

4. Physical stores - Traditional brick and mortar stores represent a large potential for your Marketplace. Though it might be more difficult to onboard these sellers to sell successfully via an e-commerce platform, this may signify an enormous possibility.

Some sellers may be experienced Marketplace Sellers whose sales revenue is largely generated on Marketplaces. These sellers are the most experienced, and are often easy to contact, quite receptive to the new opportunity of selling on a Marketplace other than Amazon, and are faster to onboard.

No matter how you ultimately recruit sellers, understanding their specific preferences and priorities will help you to craft relevant outreach and structure opportunities that mutually benefit you both. After all, these sellers are a critical component to your overall Marketplace customer experience, and a major factor in its continued success and growth.

Example: Halfords

Halfords’ is UK’s leading retailer of motoring and cycling products. With 460 physical stores already, the company launched its Marketplace in June 2015 and experienced exceptional sales revenue increases very quickly. This was primarily due to their ability to recruit sellers, fast. Halfords started its Marketplace activity with 30 active sellers and more than doubled the number of active sellers within three months. They had 165,000 product lines available online after 10 months of activity, generating £1,120M in 2014.

Read more about the launch.

Remember, it is key to add sellers with products that fit your brand DNA. Halfords started with related categories it wasn’t fully covering, such as electric bikes, and evolved from there.


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.