User acquisition is one of the most important aspects of making your marketplace lucrative. When you attract buyers and sellers to your platform, you start making a profit and improve your market presence.
We prepared for you 14 top ways of attracting vendors and shoppers to your peer-to-peer marketplace platform. This detailed guide will help you make your e-commerce business profitable and successful.
What are the P2P marketplaces?
Let’s start with the definition of the P2P marketplace platform. P2P stands for a peer-to-peer marketplace. It is a platform intended for shoppers and sellers, where both sides can switch roles.
For instance, you can lease your London apartment on Airbnb and book a room with a beautiful sea view somewhere simultaneously. This is why P2P marketplaces are sometimes called a two-sided one.
Like any marketplace, P2P solutions face the chicken and egg problem. It is an issue of attracting both sellers' and buyers' sides on the website.
Surely, for P2P platforms to succeed, a startupper must develop strategies to attract sellers and buyers.
In this article, we will consider effective ways of user acquisition. User acquisition (UA) means the process when you attract sellers and buyers to the online platform. The main purpose of UA is to build and improve an application, platform, or company’s brand awareness and attract customers.
Below we discuss the most effective and quick ways to attract buyers and sellers to P2P marketplaces.
How to attract buyers to your marketplace?
There are various ways to attract purchasers to marketplaces, but we have gathered the most effective.
1. Create a pre-launch landing page and offer credits
Before launching your marketplace, it is a perfect option to acquire one of the P2P marketplace platform sides. This way, you will provide the other part of users with sufficient grounds to join your website immediately after starting.
A good strategy is to develop an early-access landing page. There you will inform potential buyers about the marketplace pre-launch period. Also, there you can offer visitors to specify their email addresses. This way, they get the most recent updates and the best offers available once your platform is launched.
Furthermore, a win-win strategy is to provide buyers with $N of free credits for their early registration. For instance, let’s take the sum of $100. This sum will become available when the marketplace launches. It gives consumers a tempting offer that becomes a large ground to join a platform preliminary.
Here is the Creative Market teaser page they developed to engage buyers before launch.
Let’s return to our example with $100. When offering credits freely, you should mostly rely on those users who will buy goods that cost more than $100.
So, they will need to add their credit cards and pay real money. In terms of economics, you can implement a commission model for sellers at a level of 80%, for instance. It means that you will pay not $100 per user but $100 - 20% covered by vendors.
Thus, all the money investments in attracting a buyer side will take only $80 multiplied by the number of registered users.
You will be able to email and engage buyers when the P2P marketplace platform starts. You will remind them about your marketplace: “You have received $100 of free credits, do you remember? Now you are able to spend them.”
2. Build a referral system
When you provide users with credits freely even before the marketplace launch, it becomes pretty tempting for them. However, you can implement an even more powerful acquisition technique. It will keep them on your P2P marketplace platform.
When buyers browse your marketplace, offer them to take part in a referral system. It means users can send invitations to their relatives and friends via social media or email. Participation will be surely rewarding for them:
- if you invite N+10 friends, you get $20 of free credits;
- if you invite N+20 friends, you get more than $40 of free credits;
- if you invite N+50 friends, you get more than $150 of free credits.
This may lead to a definite boom in the number of buyers on your platform even before its launch. Surely, the numbers may differ, depending on your platform’s needs and business model.
The Airbnb referral program allows users to earn promotional coupon credits called Travel Credits. These coupons can be used for bookings in the future. Users can get these coupons by referring friends to become new website members.
Interestingly, Airbnb's altruistic letter "give your friends $25 to travel" attracted more referrals than "invite your friends, receive $25."
3. Provide offers freely for early registration
The pre-launch landing page, credit freely provision, and other mentioned models are efficient techniques. However, is there a sure-fire situation to acquire users to your P2P marketplace platform even before its startup? Yes, offer them several products at no charge.
You can contact multiple goods suppliers to ask them if they are interested in providing some of their items at no charge for a limited period of time. It is a win-win-win technique that meets the interests of all three sides:
It will be beneficial for them as they can get a great promotion and get a new customer channel. If everything goes properly, they will want to partner with your platform in the long run.
It is a huge reason for consumers to join your marketplace, as they can get several goods without cost.
Owners of marketplaces
Entrepreneurs can get a sheer number of new customers. They can partner with goods suppliers before the P2P marketplace platform launch.
For example, here is the implementation of this technique by the Creative Market during their early-access period.
4. Set different constraints
Another efficient method to engage buyers is to use scarcity on your platform. It may include quantity or time constraints that somehow make access limited. Thus, you motivate consumers to make a purchase as fast as possible.
Also, people like the ability to own an item others can’t receive. This situation generates a huge agiotage among the users. It also stimulates many consumers to join your platform and get a certain product.
Let’s take a look at the key constraint types in detail.
It is one of the most widespread models for the e-commerce sphere. It means you display a limited amount of goods and tell users about the quantity left. So, you engage buyers, and it stimulates them to make a purchase and own that item.
Booking.com effectively implements this method to compel visitors to take action.
This model means you set a limited time for a provided offer. Usually, it perfectly works with discounts so that buyers have two crucial reasons to make a purchase.
Amazon is a shining sample of implementing both time constraints and price discounts.
You may also like: How to Build a Multi-Vendor Marketplace Website Like Amazon
5. Find and solve user problems
This point may seem obvious, but it is definitely vital for successful user acquisition. Problems of each potential buyer may range depending on many factors such as demographics, age, interests, and so on. By conducting the product discovery session at Codica, we help our clients define their target audience's needs.
For instance, recently, our team developed a custom e-commerce solution. This project is the first such a large P2P multi-vendor marketplace in the UK and Europe. With it, the founder solved the problems of many users that want to buy and sell within one platform. This platform includes both B2C and C2C segments within one solution.
Thus, users can offer and buy goods and services within one marketplace by switching between the platform’s parts. Also, users have the ability to share their customer experience with each other. This function enhances customer loyalty and builds trust in your brand.
On this convenient and appealing marketplace, users can quickly find what they want. They can even search for services or products, choosing a certain location. So, this solution is very attractive to buyers.
Below you can watch a short video about this multi-functional and robust e-commerce solution.
6. Use social media
A great number of users are registered on social networks. Each of them is a potential buyer. Research tells us 74% of people trust social media to guide their shopping decisions. So, analyze your target audience. Can these people use social media? If yes, then your company should also be in this digital cowebs.
Nowadays, the fastest growing social media networks include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. You can use them, for instance. There you can publish ads and tell your subscribers about sales, contests, and so on.
eBay also actively uses social media to promote their platform and engage new customers. This giant has their accounts in Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
So, don't hesitate and dive into the social media world!
7. Develop an effective email marketing
Indeed, social media is a great channel for engaging the audience. But e-mail letters are also effective for attracting customers.
To get the full benefit from mailings, organize them rightly. Below we collected some helpful ideas:
- Use newsletters to inform the target audience about new discounts or promotions;
- Notify subscribers about new services or products, as well as cost reductions on them;
- Carry out the surveys via mailing lists;
- Use referral rewards such as bonuses for inviting friends;
- Send out emails with reviews of interesting products;
- Conduct contests and other engaging events.
eBay also uses e-mail marketing to get more customers. Below you can see the email by this e-commerce platform.
Now, let’s pass on the working ways of attracting sellers to your web solution.
How to attract sellers to your marketplace?
The following 7 practices will help you to engage more sellers and grow your business.
1. Provide sellers with the buyer number of buyers on-board
When you already have buyers on your platform, this allows you to quickly and easily engage sellers when the marketplace is started. But how?
Once you have acquired buyers, it becomes a powerful benefit for sellers to join your platform. They know there are potential customers that can be interested in their products.
For instance, create the following message for vendors. “We have acquired N thousands of buyers ready to shop your product on day 1. Join the platform and start selling your goods”. This statement is pretty convincing as sellers mostly do not want to provide a supply without an existing demand.
2. Contact active sellers from other platforms
One of the easiest and fastest ways of acquiring vendors to your marketplace is using existing online and offline platforms.
You can visit business-related conferences and events that connect entrepreneurs. They are advertising their goods to find new customers at such events. So, it is a perfect opportunity to communicate with them and engage vendors to your platform.
In terms of online platforms, sellers may use:
- Forums (Web Retailer, Amazon Seller Central, Ecommerce Fuel Forum),
- Q&A platforms (Quora, Reddit, Voat, ProductHunt),
- other marketplace platforms, such as Amazon, eBay, Flipkart, etc.
For instance, Reddit provides different subreddits for entrepreneurs. One of the most popular and visited ones is r/entrepreneur which has 1.5 million members.
When you have found the right platform, you need to contact the sellers and offer them to join your peer-to-peer marketplace. Your web solution should be beneficial for vendors to join. You can demonstrate the vivid benefits of your platform over other market alternatives to engage sellers.
Finally, the slam dunk is to give vendors insight into the consumers’ volume on the platform. Let’s take a closer look at this user acquisition option.
3. Implement useful guides on your peer-to-peer marketplace
The e-commerce market includes both experienced and entry-level sellers. The latter do not know all the tips and tricks that can help them sell their items.
You can attract vendors by making your marketplace platform easy to use. For instance, you can add guidelines or blog posts. This will increase your chances of becoming the sellers’ choice as you give them some value.
Also, you can build a separate platform’s section with useful guides for each product category. This method was implemented by Etsy and allowed them to engage sellers effectively. The platform’s part advises how to run an online business in multiple categories successfully.
Moreover, you can also create video guides of how members of your solution can use it more beneficially. It also affects on sellers’ engagement. Below you can see the Etsy's helpful video for vendors on YouTube.
4. Research vendors’ expectations and provide an exclusive offer
Vendors, as any users, appreciate when you take care of them and make allowance for their needs and desires. So, one more effective user acquisition tactic to engage sellers is to provide them with an exclusive offer in your marketplace software.
Let’s take a look at the most common expectations of vendors:
- A possibility to enter new markets and find new customers;
- An ability to use marketplace platform advanced features for better advertising;
- The chance to estimate their business activity.
To conclude, always research sellers’ expectations to provide value to them. For instance, offer vendors useful analytics tools that allow them to improve sales. This method greatly stimulates sellers to join peer-to-peer marketplaces and actively operate on them.
It is also essential to conduct surveys regularly and collect focus groups of the largest sellers. By communicating with them, you will better understand what they lack in your solution.
5. Implement suitable and clear commission models
When you launch a peer-to-peer marketplace and get sellers, they want to know exactly what they will pay for. It greatly affects their trust level and the final decision of whether to start selling on your platform or not.
Let’s briefly cover some of the most efficient and suitable monetization strategies for fruitful user acquisition.
You charge a certain amount for each transaction made on the platform.
Sellers pay a fixed amount when publishing their goods for sale.
These listings rank sellers' ads at the top of the search results. So, customers see them effortlessly.
This model means third-party companies pay to place their ads on your P2P marketplace.
Vendors pay a share of each payment before it comes to them.
A monthly or yearly payment to get access to the platform.
6. Offer inventory management assistance
Another user acquisition technique to attract sellers is inventory management assistance. It means that you implement a certain functionality that helps vendors control and keep a record of their goods.
For instance, when creating a product page, sellers specify the available quantity and may set a notification. It will alert them when the item number is lower than the set amount, so it’s time to restock this product.
Amazon Selling Coach is a perfect sample of inventory management assistance. Vendors can administer their shop items and update necessary information for buyers. It greatly boosts user acquisition and allows to engage sellers.
You may also like: How to Build a Multi-Vendor Marketplace Platform Like Amazon
7. Create a solid seller support system
Customer support is an important aspect of lucrative P2P marketplaces that will help you attract vendors. It allows your users to get support for any issue that may emerge on the platform. So, it makes both buyers and sellers feel that the e-commerce platform takes care of them.
This fact improves platform-user relationships and creates a smooth shopping/selling experience.
Quite often, entrepreneurs may neglect the seller side and build such a feature only for shoppers. It becomes a failure tactic in the long-term user acquisition as vendors may also need help and feedback from your platform. If sellers cannot find answers to their questions, they may just leave your platform and proceed to competitors.
What are the problems sellers may face using a marketplace platform for sales? These are some of the most popular:
The review is not related to the characteristics of the product. Sometimes negative feedback from buyers is not true. So, the vendor should be able to dispute the negative comment.
Problems when working with warehouses. A consignment of goods has disappeared, or illiquid has returned, although everything was fine when sending. Sellers should be able to make a formal request and receive compensation.
Delivery needs to be adjusted. Sometimes the documents can be filled out incorrectly, and the seller notices this. This issue must be resolved without fines or sanctions for breaking the rules.
One of the efficient solutions to engage vendors is Amazon Seller Centre. It enables them to choose the relevant issue topic and report about a certain problem. This way, Amazon attracts sellers and builds a strong relationship with them.
Use strategies we have discussed and grow
User acquisition is an essential stage of a lucrative e-commerce website launch. Apart from website functionality development, you should attract buyers and sellers to start making a profit and improve the market presence of your peer-to-peer marketplace software.
We hope this detailed guide will help you acquire sellers and buyers to your peer-to-peer marketplace platform. Surely, these are not the only available strategies, but we have shared the most efficient user acquisition methods.
If you are looking for a reliable online marketplace development company, our team will be glad to help you build an e-commerce website. Contact us to discuss your project and bring your business idea into reality.