Five strategies to make sellers love your re-commerce marketplace

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

Peer-to-peer marketplace thrive on active participation by buyers and sellers. Re-commerce marketplaces are no different. Fortunately, there are plenty of motivated buyers, driven by a desire to do their part for their environment, save money (particularly during these times of high inflation), and find unique looks. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about sellers. According to an estimate by Morning Consult, there are nearly twice as many buyers as there are sellers participating in fashion resale. For the most part, this disparity can be attributed to the perceived barriers to selling secondhand, namely time and effort. Today we’ll dig into what brands can do to dispel these concerns in order to encourage more sellers to participate in their marketplaces and keep them coming back again and again.

Reduce listing friction

The primary perceived barrier for sellers is that listing takes too long. After all, doing nothing (or just throwing the clothes away) takes no time at all. In other words, the effort required to create listings is greater than the expected profit from the sale. To overcome this perception, brands must focus on streamlining their listing process. Every effort should be made to minimize how much time it needed to create listings.

Technology should be leveraged to identify items, sizes, and even colors using product photos provided by sellers. This information can then be pre-populated into the listing to save the seller time. In the absence of this type of technology, brands should make the listing form “smart” by providing the seller with options that are specific to their item, such as available colors or sizes. Each piece of information that is selected should be evaluated for its potential to inform other possible choices in the process.

Brands should also review the overall length of the listing form. Nobody likes filling in long forms. Rather than including questions about every possible detail, brands should focus on those questions that matter to buyers, which will in turn help drive sales for sellers. The form should not be an attempt to completely eliminate the risk of a dispute. Instead, it should be an attempt to minimize that risk by providing buyers with information they need to make an informed decision. Doing so will also save sellers from wasting time providing unnecessary information. In many ways, the listing form should be thought of in the same mindset that we use for checkout forms — focus on only getting the information you need to complete the transaction quickly and reliably.

Provide insights to help with decisions

People struggle with making decisions when they feel that they don’t have the information that they need to make the best decision. The mere thought of having to make a difficult decision might be enough to turn away some sellers. One particularly important question for sellers is what their items are worth. No seller wants to undervalue their items, and at the same time, we know that people tend to overvalue the items they own. Brands can help sellers make these types of decisions by providing them with insights that they may not have otherwise. To continue with the pricing examples, brands might highlight what other sellers were able to earn for similar items in a similar season, or how many buyers currently have the item in their wishlists. Better yet, brands can use technology to suggest prices that are most likely to result in a sale quickly and at the best price.

Take care of the administrative tasks

There are a lot of administrative tasks to get through in order to complete a sale. Brands should automate as many of these tasks as possible. The first step is to automate the shipping process. The shipping label should be generated with a single click, and, when possible, pickup from the seller’s home should be automatically scheduled. When home pickup is not an options, instructions to get to the nearest shipping location should be provided along with the label.

Other, less obvious, automations must also be part of the service provided to sellers. These include managing applicable sales taxes on behalf of sellers, insuring the package from loss or damage, and processing payments. Some of these tasks are already a legal requirements that marketplaces must bear (such as sales taxes and seller tax documents), but others (such as payment processing) should be provided for the benefit of simplifying the sales process for sellers and buyers

Provide regular updates

Keeping up with what’s happening with all of their listings can be a daunting challenge for sellers. Brands should focus their efforts on helping sellers keep up with the status of those listings. Rather than forcing sellers to log into a seller portal to find updates, brands should proactively communicate with the seller at each step of the process via the seller’s preferred channel (e.g., email or text). These communication include informing the seller of any problem with the listing (and what to do to fix it), when their item has been purchased, when the buyer received the shipment, and when payment was made. Brands should ask sellers for their preferred communication channels, and make sure to push the communications through those channels to ensure that sellers can keep tabs of their listings with minimal effort. That said, a seller portal should definitely be provided for those sellers who prefer that option, but that should not be the only communication method. The more this information can be pushed to sellers via their preferred channels, the less time sellers will need to spend managing their listings manually.

Simplify redemption options

At the end of the day, sellers want to earn a profit on the sales of their items. They want to have access to their money at will, and they want to have options as to how to redeem their funds. Research tells us that slightly more than half of sellers prefer to redeem their proceeds in cash. However, the rest prefer loyalty rewards (or credits), discounts, or other forms of non-cash compensation. Brands should take care to provide sellers with several redemption options, and make it easy to choose their preferred method. If cash is selected, money should be deposited into the seller’s account as quickly as possible and without fees (nobody likes paying a fee to get their own money). Similarly, proceeds should be easily converted into brand credits, or applied towards purchases in the re-commerce marketplace, if that is what the seller chooses. In other words, getting paid should be just as easy as listing the item in the first place.

Join the conversation

Share your thoughts on Twitter or send us an email at hello@theagain.co. Learn more about our peer-to-peer re-commerce marketplace solutions at theagain.co.

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The Again Co.

The Again Co.

Helping to make products more sustainable through re-commerce.