Welcome to the fourth episode of our “Feature Spotlight” series. Today we’re excited to showcase our innovation around the checkout experience. It may seem odd to feature something as ubiquitous as a checkout process, but we didn’t build just any checkout process. We built a checkout process that is specific to peer-to-peer marketplaces, and we did it in a way that makes it seem simple, which is often the hardest part. We’ll explain.
Shop multiple sellers at the same time
A smooth shopping experience is vital for e-commerce success. That’s easier said than done in a peer-to-peer marketplace because unlike traditional e-commerce where you shop with one seller, these marketplaces feature thousands and thousands of individual sellers who are located all over the world.
We realized that we had to build a shopping experience that mimics that of traditional e-commerce despite the fundamental differences between traditional e-commerce and peer-to-peer marketplaces. If we took the simple route of limiting shoppers to buying one item at a time (which some services do), we would be introducing unnecessary friction into the process, which would only discourage shoppers. We wanted shoppers to be able to browse listings and add products to their shopping bag with a single click just like they do when they buy new, so that’s what we built.
Shoppers in our pre-loved stores are able to shop with different sellers at the same time and then complete the checkout process once when they’re ready. This approach makes the shopping experience familiar, smooth, and easy, which increases the likelihood that shoppers will return to make additional purchases in the future.
Product availability alerts
Another unique challenge of peer-to-peer marketplaces is that the products sold there are often one-of-a-kind. This sets this marketplaces apart from traditional e-commerce where the products produced in bulk and warehoused until someone buys them. When something is sold in a peer-to-peer marketplace, it’s gone. There may be other people selling a similar item, but it’s never the same item. This may be an inevitable reality of peer-to-peer marketplaces, but it can still be frustrating for people who had their hopes set on that unique find.
To minimize the likelihood of frustration, we built real-time alerting into our shopping bag. Whenever a shopper adds an item to her shopping bag, we’ll immediately highlight if that item is already in someone else’s shopping bag. We’ll also warn of the opposite situation — a second shopper adding an item to his shopping bag that a first shopper already had in his. Simply knowing that a product is at risk of being purchased by someone else encourages shoppers to complete their purchases quickly to avoid losing the item to someone else. That knowledge also helps to avoid surprises, even if in the end the product is bought by someone else.
Untangling the complexity
So far we’ve discussed how we’ve made the shopping experience smooth from a shopper’s perspective. However simple that may seem to shoppers, it is only simple because of everything that we’re doing behind the scenes to untangle the complexities of facilitating transactions between many sellers and shoppers. That’s where the real magic happens.
It all starts when a shopper places an order for products from multiple sellers. At that point, our platform splits the order among the various sellers. Each seller receives an order confirmation for her portion of the sale, along with a pre-paid shipping label for her items. Her shipment is tracked separately from those of the other sellers, and her portion of the proceeds is deposited into her account when her items are accepted by the shopper (even if the products sold by other sellers have not been accepted yet). In other words, we allow shoppers to create one order for products from multiple sellers, and then break that order by seller up behind the scenes. Each seller is responsible for his portion of the order, and we make sure that all the pieces come together to fulfill that single order. Magic!
Why it matters
A smooth and simple checkout experience is crucial to the success of an e-commerce business. This is equally true in peer-to-peer marketplaces. However, delivering the same checkout experience in a peer-to-peer context is much more challenging because of the many-to-many nature of these marketplaces. To overcome these challenges, shoppers must be able add items to their shopping bag from different sellers as they are browsing, and then easily check out one time. Making sure that shoppers are able to do this, and that sellers are doing their parts to fulfill the orders, is complicated. We’ve been able to make it simple for everyone involved.
If you’re interested in a private consultation to discuss offering your own pre-loved program, or if you’d like to see our platform in action, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.