A niche marketplace isn’t supposed to just serve as an intermediary facilitating transactions between consumers and vendors. In order to prosper, it is essential that it engages in a trustful relationship with its users, by demonstrating its expertise and authority among the niche market.
The objective is to become “the” go-to actor in that specific market. In order to do that, it is critical to define a certain set of values that will be associated with the marketplace and will establish grounds that will enable a community to form within the Marketplace around those values.
For example, Modizy.fr, a marketplace focused on woman fashion has built its community around fashion blogging and the ability for its users to share their favorite outfits within the marketplace and “like” other users’ outfits.
There is a certain value in offering your users products that are otherwise complicated to buy somewhere else. But it is by simplifying the choices your users can make by focusing on the quality of the products displayed in the marketplace that you will get more loyal users. While offering a large catalog to your customers matters, it cannot be done at the expense of product quality in order to embed the Marketplace’s position as a trusted actor in the market.
We can notably mention Uber who started by offering exclusively high end black sedans. A limited choice that convinced users of the quality of Uber’s service, that was then able to use that acquired credibility to other, cheaper, services but for which the level of expectation was the same.
Communication between buyers and vendors is crucial in a marketplace’s strategy. As a matter of fact, it is necessary that they are able to exchange information, questions and answers as it may often be the difference between a sale and no sale. The after-sale is just as important and as such has to be treated with the same quality and availability as everything else, and can become the foundation for a sane relationship between a seller and a buyer that will encourage repeated purchases.
Transparency in communication has enabled Airbnb, a marketplace on which individuals rent their home to others, and Etsy, a marketplace that focuses on “DIY” products, to rise very quickly to success. On both platforms, the buyer-seller relationship is the critical base behind every sale.
By operating in a niche market, a marketplace benefits from the fact that it know its market more than anyone else, and at the same time is enhanced by a community that revolves around the niche. It is therefore important to have a dedicated place on the website where content is often published as to give customers something to come back to the website for, whether they intend making a purchase right now or not.
While the technology upon on which the marketplace is built is its core, editing content targeted towards its community can also make it live on a day to day basis. By creating added value for the users, they will stay on the website longer and come back to check for updates more often than if they are solely interested in making purchases there when need be.
Moreover, retaining clients is much cheaper than acquiring them in the first place, it is then really important to stress that as much as possible. The counterpart is that developing loyalty can be difficult as a lot of purchases are “one shots” where people just buy one product they need once. However editing articles, interviews or even videos giving tips, news and advice about the select market you’re aiming at is a good way to obtain a higher customer retention rate. It also helps with the process of positioning the marketplace as an expert within the market, raise visibility, credibility and trust among the community.
For example, online pet shop Chabadog publishes weekly columns about how to take care of your pet as well as videos featuring celebrity animals and a famous veterinarian, among other things. Content that is aimed at the community and helps with the retention of users.
As such, Marketplaces have to be able to fulfill multiples roles. They have, of course, to serve an intermediary for transactions that ensures payment security. But to truly develop their market, marketplaces have to be able to be considered as market experts, entities that you can put your trust into. These will be determining factors for building a strong community which will eventually become a powerful tool for retaining customers.
IZBERG provides the most advanced Marketplace platform on the market, allowing mid-size and large companies to increase their revenues, lower their costs, and offer an outstanding shopping experience to their customers.
Available by API, IZBERG solutions are fully customizable, in white label and in SaaS.
20, rue Saint-Georges, 75009 Paris