Marketplace academy

How to Advertise in the Online Multi Vendor Marketplace

The online multi-seller marketplace main purpose is to match customers to the relevant sellers, and advertising is the critical tool to help vendors to find their target clients.

Besides, paid advertising is the major revenue source of a virtual marketplace trading platform.

Amazon Advertising is worth almost $2.2 billion and is one of the ecommerce marketplace shopping center’s most profitable services, while over 60% of Alibaba’s revenue comes from its advertisement tools for sellers.

To turn advertising features into the seller’s sales leverage and your multi vendor marketplace business revenue source, create tools that would bring a competitive advantage to each seller within your platform.

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multi vendor marketplace software

1. Defining the Advertising Strategy

To define the long-term strategy and short-term tools correctly, understand your sellers’ objectives and business context.

1.1 Seller Type and Business Goals

Understand each seller’s value to advertise: large choice, unique products, value-added services, to define the core set of the advertising tools that work best for the sellers’ product and service categories.

Take into account vendor locations to map nearby vendors in the local-oriented ads.

Provide the tools that would help the sellers to achieve their goals:

  • boost listings and brand’s visibility;
  • increase sales;
  • reach new customers.

To help sellers to increase traffic and acquire new customers who aren’t searching on an ecommerce multi site marketplace, use third-party platforms and shopping directories which allow buyers to compare products from various web multi-seller shopping malls.

Newegg is daily updating the most popular deal sites list to get a wider promotion for sellers products:

global online multi-vendor marketplace

Etsy’s free Shopping Engine Ads automatically syndicate the sellers’ listings to a variety of channels:

To foster cross-selling and increase the average bill, provide various banners and tags:

  • bestsellers and on-sale;
  • newest and recommended products;
  • similar, most popular and recently viewed goods.

Blog helps to increase seller’s brand and listings’ visibility within the global online multi-vendor marketplace:

Flipkart is advertising its sellers and their products on the blog:

online multi-seller marketplace

Uber is leveraging both its own hub and video advertising to promote its drivers within and outside the virtual marketplace trading platformthrough the video shared via social and paid media:

Promoted listings tool helps to boost visibility and lead the online multi-seller marketplace traffic to the sellers’ shops: sellers’ promoted listings appear within the organic search results.

eBay Promoted Listings:

virtual marketplace trading platform

The tool puts the sellers’ merchandise in front of more active shoppers while offering the beneficial usage conditions to the vendors:

ecommerce marketplace shopping center

Amazon Headline Search Ads tool is tied to the customer query as well and helps sellers to grow brand awareness, build customer loyalty, and promote products.

The advertised item appears at the top of the ecommerce marketplace shopping center search results, shoppers click on the ad, and land at a search results page that showcases the promoted brand and products.

Since the tool is tied to specific product pages, it fosters the organic visibility of those products when they are not sponsored as well. It drives the overall click-through rate, sales, and Return on Ad Spend (ROAS) for sellers.

1.2 Sellers’ Target Customers

Efficient targeting of the advertising is possible only through the correct audience segmentation for each seller type within your eCommerce multi-site marketplace.

Help sellers to define their target clients’ characteristics and needs through the data on visitors’ behaviour and sales reports your web multi-seller shopping mall platform collects:

  • who’ve “liked” an item related to their products;
  • the target clients’ certain location and demographics;
  • customers’ purchasing and intent data;
  • an advertising channel which works best for the sellers’ target audience.

According to the PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 52% of Chinese shoppers buy through mobile on a daily/weekly basis, as compared to 14% of consumers globally:

multi vendor marketplace business

Moreover, the survey says that by 2020, 71% of the 200 million new online buyers in China are forecasted to be mobile-only users.

For such target customers, focus on Mobile Advertising tools for your sellers to address clients efficiently.

To reach shoppers in a particular location, help sellers to start advertising on a city or regional publication’s website.

Airbnb hosts are promoting its listings on Google Maps and on vacation rental websites.

Newegg enables the opportunity to advertise right in the target audience homes for its sellers:

ecommerce multi site marketplace

Besides connecting advertising to your sellers’ goals and their customers’ needs, tweak your ecommerce marketplace shopping center advertising tools to the buying funnel stages: awareness, interest and purchase.

1.3 Top of the Buying Funnel: awareness

Social Media Advertising increases the customers’ awareness about your seller’s shops and items and brings traffic to the virtual marketplace trading platform.

Newegg provides the developed Social Media platform to advertise its sellers’ items:

web multi-seller shopping mall

eBay Promotions Manager raises awareness of the seller’s unique shop and new product lines through codeless coupons with unique URLs which sellers share through Social Media.

As the University of Washington research claimsSocial media endorsement brings the following results:

  • drives click-through and traffic to the sellers’ stores;
  • reaches a wider group of consumers;
  • increases conversion rates.

Endorsers post testimonials for the sellers’ products and share the product information and user experience at a Social media platform (blogs and microblogs) to direct traffic to the seller marketplace store:

licensed shopping mall program

Customers follow an endorser’s link and visit a seller’s product page or mini-store.

Amazon Spark, a part of the Amazon App, like Pinterest, allows its customers to discover things from people who share their interests while showcasing its sellers’ products:

internet marketplace software

It also allows instant purchases:

virtual shopping mall builder

Etsy is sharing the following updates from its sellers’ shops to Social Media:

  • latest listings;
  • recent news;
  • upcoming sales and coupons;
  • reviews.

The ecommerce marketplace shopping center Etsy sellers can also promote their shop on Facebook with Facebook Advertising. Thus, besides awareness, you can provide your sellers with the ability to increase their sales through Social Media advertising.

Separate mini store for each seller with the micro URL, which contains the vendor’s company name, is a must in this case.

There are the following Social Media platforms on which US Social Media users last made a purchase directly from a Social Media post:

building a marketplace

Display ads tool, besides awareness, supports competitor conquesting as well.

Sometimes, this tool can be used at the purchasing stage: it helps to target the buyers’ specific Interests, influences customers’ purchasing consideration, and allows to reach clients who have already decided on what they’re looking for.

The Newegg sellers can place banners on the ecommerce multi site marketplace homepage to leverage traffic:

build a shopping mall

1.4 Middle of the funnel: developing customers’ interest

Search-based advertising is the best tool to catch the existing customers’ interest and develop it into a purchase. It helps to tie the sellers’ advertising to the customer search keywords.

Etsy Google Shopping tool is driven by the customers’ search queries: when shoppers search for items on Google, the search engine looks for the items that most closely match their search.

The method is based on a cost-per-click model: each of the sellers’ promoted products is assigned bid amounts, and when buyers click ads, the bid amount for that product is deducted from the seller’s advertisement budget.

The tool engine considers the following criteria of sellers:

  • the bid amount that a seller is ready to pay for the item to be advertised;
  • how relevant the seller’s product is to a shopper’s search.

The web multi-seller shopping mall Etsy products that win the bid auction are advertised on the following platforms:

  • Google Search;
  • Google Shopping;
  • Google Image Search.

The keywords in sellers’ listings should match the shopper’s search terms as well.

Newegg provides the Google Shopping tool too:

marketplace management

Airbnb advertisements appear to people searching on Google for places to stay in certain locations, and travelers who come to Airbnb through these ads see customized search results.

1.5 Bottom of the Funnel: conversion and sale

To earn immediate sales, use Direct Response Advertising. This tool motivates buyers to take immediate action, like a “Buy This Table” ad:

Newegg “buy now” advertisement:

digital shopping mall

Besides, on this stage, it is still important to target buyers who seek certain products. Thus, search-based advertising works for this stage as well.

However, aiming to help a customer to make a purchase, vendors should focus on the keywords that reflect the buyer’s intention to purchase.

Amazon keyword-targeted ads allow to choose the keyword match extent:

  • exact match;
  • phrase match;
  • broad match.

The global online multi-vendor marketplace Amazon also provides keyword suggestions, and the ability to bid different amount of the budget for the most suitable keywords, which indicate that a shopper is very close to a transaction.

Alibaba’s ad system calculates and advises vendors on the likely effectiveness of their bids. The online multi-seller marketplace is giving the keywords recommendations to the sellers as well.

Alibaba organic and paid search results:

shopping mall management

Take into account that a pre-set search-ad algorithm sometimes allows products to appear in an irrelevant search category. When customers type “woven bags”, the irrelevant featured products appear instead:

shopping mall application

Besides, according to the Carnegie Mellon University research, search-based advertising can hurt the multi vendor marketplace business if it promotes inferior listings and diluting the relevance of organic search results.

2. Pillars of the Advertising Long-Term Success

Deep insights on the advertising strategies’ efficiency help to define the tools and approach that will be effective for your sellers in a long term.

The University of Washington researched the efficiency of the search-based ads and social media endorsement, and found the following correlation:

1. Search-based advertising is more effective for low-reputation sellers because high-reputation sellers’ items appear at the top of the search results, and if their ads are displayed alongside, it can create an over-exposure.

2. Sellers with less product variety and a higher price level are more likely to use search-based ads.

3. Search-based ads have a higher marginal effect on traffic than social mediaendorsement.

The Carnegie Mellon University research revealed another trend—the advertising effect is different for different types of products:

  • in clothing, ads conversion rate is higher than the organic listings;
  • in electronics, ads convert with a lower probability.

Knowing those trends and the unique patterns that work for your ecommerce marketplace shopping center, you can choose the advertising tools that best suit your web multi-seller shopping mall platform, sellers and the product type.

Kick-start advertising for the sellers-newcomers that lack the resources and knowledge by providing them with guidelines and affordable tools.

Etsy educates the sellers on online advertising:

shopping mall template

Flipkart created a separate advertising blog for sellers as well:

solutions marketplace

Alibaba offers New Supplier Product Promotion: new sellers participate in a monthly campaign for free to gain traffic. Besides, the sellers can pool their resources to run ads on the most expensive ecommerce multi site marketplace main page.

Airbnb gives a push in the search rankings for the new hosts.

Help sellers to create relevant advertising content: channel-specific and in line with the customers’ expectations.

Newegg provides A+ Content tool for the sellers content optimization:

best shopping mall

Besides, the virtual marketplace trading platform established in-house video production studio to create content for the vendors:

business application marketplace

Educate sellers on how to measure their advertising efficiency and what should they pay attention to the most:

Use Google and Bing Shopping performance history and statistics and reports tools together with your online multi-seller marketplace data on traffic and purchases as the intelligence source for your vendors to measure ads efficiency correctly.

Etsy gives its sellers the ability to measure their advertising performance at the listing and shop level:

  • impressions and clicks;
  • ad costs;
  • orders and revenue;
  • search term analytics;

Create an advertising ecosystem for sellers, like Alibaba’s Alimama, its own advertising ecosystem for its vendors:

enterprise marketplace

Alimama gives sellers a one-stop shop for buying ads to promote their items on the global online multi-vendor marketplace.

It is important that big data is at the core of all advertising within the web multi-seller shopping mall.

Track advertising trends: voice shopping is the 2018 e-Commerce trend, and people are going to shop more using voice:

marketplace tools

To catch this growing trend, Best Buy is integrating with Alexa to showcase the “deal of the day.”

According to a Forrester report, 89% of online marketers identify personalized advertising as a top priority.

Personalized advertising enables tweaked segmentation and more personalized ad content creation on the basis of constantly updated customer data: customers’ behavior, search, and previous orders’ data from many different sources like Google and CRM system.

True Experience

Nate Masterson

Nate Masterson, the CMO of Maple Holistics, a company dedicated to cruelty-free, natural, and sustainable personal care products

We get tons of customers buying our products on Amazon, Walmart, and eBay, so we love encouraging traffic to our pages on these sites.

A website such as Amazon has sponsored ads, which lets businesses advertise their products in a potential customer’s search results. There are a lot of Amazon marketplace agencies that can help you with your ads campaigns.

We also like to encourage our customers to leave honest feedback about their purchases, as this can help other people make informed decisions about their purchases.

And since we stand by the quality of our products, we are confident that the honest reviews will show others that our products are worth buying.

While being a critical multi-site marketplace revenue-building block, advertising also affects organic revenue in a positive manner: without the ad campaigns, the organic revenue is lower.

The return that sellers are getting from advertising is the key component that ensures that your advertising strategy embraces both crucial directions: works as an efficient promotion tool for sellers and as a revenue source for a multi-vendor marketplace business.

Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart | Website

Yan Anderson is the Head of Content Marketing at CS-Cart with over 10 years of experience in the eCommerce industry. He's passionate about explaining complicated things in simple terms. Yan has expertise in building, running and growing eCommerce marketplaces. He loves to educate people about best practices, new technologies, and trends in the global eCommerce industry.