Look at such ecommerce monsters as eBay or Amazon, niche player Etsy, local marketplaces (Taobao in China) or AliExpress that has started as a local initiative but finally become an international web shop. Online stores make 90% of the total ecommerce traffic all over the five continents. At first sight, a multi vendor shop like eBay is as plain as day. You click on products you want and, whoever the seller, the product arrives on your doorstep, all from a single website. Looks like a real magic, isn’t it? Certainly, some skill is required to create an online marketplace and keep things working smoothly. Managing multiple sellers is not so easy. If you understand the ABC of multi vendor administration, you can be sure that your customers experience the magic instead of the mess that pushes them to run away to another e-store.
Any online marketplace solution should possess additional features due to its extended multi-vendor management functions. These are store owner-vendor transactions, vendor-specific shipping, returns and refunds according to vendor conditions and high level server capacity. IT novices may believe that designing an open source marketplace platform is a child’s play, as far as they can take an open code and modify it as they wish. Don’t delude yourself – numerous dev & design teams spend months on coding and testing a comprehensive multi vendor shopping cart script. Therefore, it’s far more reasonable to search for a complete and sustainable box solution.
Major features of any comprehensive multi-vendor solution
- Mobile Friendly – You’d better care of small screen users. Mobile net nowadays comprises 2/3 of the time people surf on digital media in mature economies. Moreover, mobile boom continues to progress: since 2014 media time spent on mobile devices has increased by 80 %.
- Front-end tuning – First impression wins half the battle. An easy-adjustable front-end is essential for a higher conversion (how many of your site visitors become customers) and a smoother user experience.
- Search engine optimizing – Will people find you? The SEO mechanism for ecommerce sites is far more complicated than for social networks, several-page business sites or forums. E-shop optimization for search engines applies not only to product pages but also to those of product category, tags, images and even URLs.
- Product Suggestions – An ultimate guide for advanced shopping. Product suggestions are a kind of upselling. It offers customer similar products or most popular products bought by many other customers.
- Speedy Search – Prospects are eager to buy, and not to wait. Strange though it might sound, people search for goods more often on Amazon than on Google. The reason is Amazon miraculous speedy search suggestions. Speedy search permits visitors to choose and go on shopping with no extensive research. Online buyers are always impatient and may leave for another marketplace if they cannot find rapidly what they need.
- Shop by Brand/Vendor – Think of brand-lovers. Shopping by brand in any product category is one of the key features of any web shop. The visitor also needs the possibility to filter the brand index. Multi vendor solution providers offer different marketing strategies to enhance loyalty and buying habits among brand-conscious prospects.
- Order Management – Web store customers prefer online shopping mainly because it’s convenient, easy to control and flexible, and they look for the same qualities when placing orders. They want rapid delivery, fulfillment options that correspond to their needs and quick and simple refund/return process. The return system should also be perfect, just because of doubled complexity due to numerous sellers.
- Shipping – The eureka moment. Vendor-specific shipment is a feature highly appreciated by customers. They always prefer to choose a country-specific shipment method to get their merchandises as quick and as cheap as possible.
- Payment Processing – Would you like to get money on your banking account? Payment processing is an indispensable part of every online business that receives money. While looking for the one that suits you best, keep in mind such common payment methods as bank card, Paypal, gift voucher, promo codes, cash on delivery.
- Performance – Every second counts. One of ecommerce giants has once said that every second of load delay costs him more than $1 billion of annual sales. Low speed kills, but decrease page load time, and your conversion would skyrocket. Ecommerce performance optimization is a never ending process, as far as you can always find something which is worth improving. Try to be reasonable and concentrate on major business issues.
So what is the best multi channel ecommerce software?No absolute answer exists. Whatever marketplace solution you take, its faultless implementation will require some expertise unless you are an omniscient guy. It seems more reasonable to go for a ready-to-use solution and customize it afterwards, if necessary. Don’t add all the options in one go, just start with a minimum viable product and expand it later.
And the last but not the least piece of advice – opt for a trustworthy and time-proved solution. Insecure and tricky programs appear costlier in long run due to long term support or security services. You’d better be safe than sorry!
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