There are multiple ways to prospect for the RIGHT sellers, including:
1. Keywords analysis
Regularly seek to understand the types of products your customers are searching for on your site. Use this information to identify missing products, brands or even categories your customers are looking for. Any time a customer doesn’t find a product, it’s a failed buying experience. (Read the importance of product availability to Amazon.) Once you know what’s missing from your customers’ search habits, it is possible to find the right sellers. This is a quick win, as knowing what the customer is already looking for is a good indicator they will buy it when added to the catalog.
2. Competitors’ analysis
This may just be the lowest hanging fruit when searching for high-performing sellers to recruit. If you are competing with other Marketplaces, identify their top performing categories and all reliable sellers behind them. You can often gain visibility into sellers’ performances by visiting their shops and looking for:
A. Number of customer orders
B. Seller ratings
C. Product catalog quality
D. Number of products they are offering
These sellers should be the number one priority in your recruitment strategy.
Keep in mind that recruiting the same sellers on different Marketplaces does not mean they will all provide the same products or services. Brands for instance can add their current collection on one Marketplace and former collections on another depending on their strategy. Based on a recent study of Mirakl sellers, 50% said they select their catalog according to the Marketplace’s strategy.
3. Target non-profitable retail products for hybrid marketplaces
Another surefire way to find strategic sellers is to find all products your retail teams cannot offer due to profitability issues or product constraints. Then, find the reliable sellers offering them.
Note: Be careful! Usually these products attract a lot of traffic so there needs to be particularly high seller requirements on these products.
4. Google crawling
This method consists of finding sellers by searching for products that customers would be interested in, and analyzing Google’s results.
The challenge here is that you must determine the seller’s reliability if they are not currently selling on any Marketplaces. A quick analysis of the seller’s own website should filter out a certain number of them. Look for a trustworthy website and a clean catalog with good images, data quality, and clear descriptions.
This method is effective but more time-consuming and provides less seller performance visibility than doing a competitors’ analysis; it therefore should not be prioritized in the first step of Marketplace development.
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.