Giving Your Marketplace Vendors Tools To Sell
Updated: Jan 4
When you create a marketplace platform, transactions are key to the business's success. Transactions might be Demand purchasing goods or services from supply or either user type purchasing tokens to connect with one another. Perhaps, you have another definition of a "transaction" on your platform as marketplaces are always so unique, yet much is the same. For example, enabling your key users to be able to "sell" the most effective way possible is a blanket goal for everyone.
When the Marketplace Studio team helped build a $20 million, rent-anything marketplace in 2017, we had a strong focus when designing Version 2 on how to enable our Supply to sell more, sell faster, and have a stickier process. We took a lot of inspiration from how things work in real life, people commute to a brick-and-mortar store, most will judge the quality of the goods based on the look of the storefront and make their decision if they will enter to continue their buying journey or abandon and find an alternative. We believed the same would be true for our marketplace and an important aspect of our Search & Discovery UX. Note the "Discovery" addition to Search UX, this is key to encourage browsing or for some marketplaces, "Cross Pollination" which means having Demand purchase items from multiple categories to become more "sticky".
In our V1 marketplace, we had a pretty (painfully) detailed UX for our Posting, Search, and Checkout workflows. All users would signup through the same workflow and decide if they wanted to post an item for rent or find one to borrow from another user. The people who listed their items for rent went through a vicious 8-step Posting Process (V1 converted around 30%). That item would then be sent to our Admin Curation Team for processing and touch-ups and eventually be available and listed on our Search Results page. The Poster would be able to see the item or items they've posted on their Profile but Renters would find it as mentioned above in Search or Trending on our Home page.
The problem we found, may not be painfully obvious to some because we stated our Posting Process workflow converted at only 30%. No, that was something we knew and agreed would be fixed when we could analyze more data and have time to spend 3 months on a Design Thinking Sprint to re-vamp. The big problem we found was one for our "Primary Persona - Tier 3" who would have 3+ items posted on our platform as well as our "Primary Persona - Tier 1" who were existing rental stores with 20+ items posted on the rental marketplace. The question was, "How do our 2 Personas easily share & promote their items available for rent to demand?"... Enter the Store concept.
Circling back to the beginning, people will most likely judge the store based on the look of the storefront and then the available selection if you proceed inside. That is in the real world, how do we reproduce this in a digital marketplace? We decided to prioritize the Product & Design efforts of our Rental Store (RuckifyStore) concept.
Between Product, Design, VPs, and other Stakeholders, we came up with a list of requirements for V1 and began our PDP (Product Design Process).
Category Taxonomy We have our category and subcategory structure that the Poster selects when building the item on the platform. There were over 300 subcategories. But, even with such depth, the Poster's items may need to be personalized to the type of Rental Store. We'll need to allow Posters to access Store Settings to configure category overrides that are only visible in their Storefront with custom names and subcategories.
Store Name We'll need people to be able to start their own rental business or import an existing one. We need the ability for Posters to add a custom name to their Storefront. This will also be searchable in our Search workflow.
Store Aesthetic We need our Posters to be able to customize the UI of their Storefront by selecting from pre-defined cover photos and adding custom photos in V2. Our Platform branding will not fit every business.
Cart We need Renters to be able to add multiple items with different quantities and logistic settings to their cart when they're browsing a Rental Store. We need to encourage large AOV (Average Order Value).
Promotion We need to allow the Poster to have a Dashboard to easily share links to their Storefront on social media, Renters find them in Search & Discovery UX, and track Store Visits (page views).
This allowed anyone to essentially start a rental business from their garage or an existing rental or non-rental business to join the platform and begin renting out the items that collect dust.
After we added the ability for our Posters to create a Rental Store, we need to give them more tools to sell. We created a custom internal credit system to encourage heavy adoption on both sides of the marketplace. We called it, RuckBucks. Its purpose was to incentivize our "Activation Workflows" which created repeat Users.
Posting 3+ items
Posting 3+ items & 1 booking as a Renter
First Rental within 30 days of signup
Our credit system was simple but highly complex and configurable, 1 credit = 1 dollar. KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid).
5 credits for every approved posting This was to help guide our Posters to list more of their belongings for rent on our platform but eventually convert to become Demand and rent an item with their credits. They would become our "Power Users" which meant high adoption/ frequent usage.
10 credits for every signup The average order value was $80. The $10 dollar credit was to help drive potential Renters to have their first rental within a month of creating an account. We suspected that after 2+ bookings, they would also become a Power User variant.
All credits have a default expiration date of 30 days The purpose was to not have a trailing liability on our balance sheet, but also to create a sense of urgency.
We had a strong Admin Console that would allow for easy customizations or for example, our Support Team manually adding credits to User accounts when they needed to find resolutions or Marketing asking for reviews. More importantly, we were going to iterate this feature to make the Credit Reward system become dynamic based on Location & Category. An example would be if we open a new city, we could increase the default rewarded credits for that city only or if we need more supply in certain subcategories, we can again, increase the reward.
These credits would allow our Posters to tell their Renters that they basically received $10 off their first booking if they used our platform to rent from them. All it took was a few minutes to create an account and checkout with that item.
If you want to learn more about how you can enable your Supply to sell more, please contact us to schedule a meeting. We'd love the chance to chat.