How to Attract Vendors to Your Marketplace (Not Your Father’s Brick & Mortar Store!)

Research predicts that B2B eCommerce transactions will top $1.8 trillion by 2023—in the US alone. That’s right, eCommerce accounts for 17% of US B2B sales!

This dedicated digital space gives sellers access to new clients, expands buyer choices, and reduces transaction and administrative costs across the board. And with marketplaces now made from software instead of brick and mortar, they can scale quickly without the risk of overhead. Needless to say, the future of the B2B marketplace domain is bright.

Unfortunately for you, the secret’s out. New competitors are flooding the B2C and B2B digital marketplaces every day. That’s why having a clear vision and strategy is essential to set yourself apart. A good online B2B marketplace is nothing without great vendors. This guide outlines how to attract vendors to your marketplace and keep them coming back for more.

Attract Vendors to Your Marketplace

Have a Customer Acquisition Plan

To succeed, all online B2B marketplaces need a quality merchant base and buyers. The value and personality of your marketplace brand are central to attracting both. Establishing them as part of your customer acquisition plan will help you identify and target the right sellers for your marketplace.

‍Once you have done so, you can start to develop your vendor acquisition strategy. This begins with defining your ideal vendor based on company size, region, and industry. Then, profile the type of decision-makers you will target. Are you looking to collaborate with distribution managers, CEOs, or eCommerce managers?

Next, identify interesting companies that match your target profile. LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding contact information for them. Prepare a unique sales pitch for whichever methods you decide to reach out to them with, such as email, paid ads, cold calling, or publicity events. Include your vendor profile's pain points and how your marketplace can alleviate them in your pitch. Can you help them bring in new customers? Perhaps you can offer lower transaction fees and more payment options for existing ones. Whatever the case, be direct in your messaging.

Optimize Your “Contact Us” Page

It’s alarming how many digital marketplaces either under-optimize their Contact page or don’t have one at all. Although these companies may think it’s best to pour all of their energy into home and landing pages, they’re creating a poor user experience and losing out on SEO. Not you, though. You know better.

Building trust plays a key role in attracting vendors to your marketplace. Implement the following best practices to optimize your Contact page for SEO and cultivate vendor and buyer trust.

  1. NAP (business name, physical address, and phone number) is key local search engine ranking information. The algorithm and online visitors use this information to determine your website's trustworthiness and relevance. Make sure your NAP is exactly the same in every listing online. You will confuse both Google and your clients if the information (even the spelling!) is different on social media than on your website. Be consistent.
  2. List the areas that you or your vendors service. This establishes where customers can expect coverage and increase the likelihood of local search engine recommendations.
  3. List business hours for vendors and clients to contact you. This prevents frustration and unrealistic user expectations.
  4. Optimize your page title for SEO and make sure you have a catchy meta description. This influences how your page appears on search engines and how enticing it is for viewers to click on.
  5. Add a contact form, chat support, or both. Make it as effortless as possible for prospects to get in touch with you. Before adding either of these, ensure you have an effective response strategy. Many companies feature contact forms, but customers never get a response. That is a great way to never hear from your prospect again and send them straight to your competitor.
  6. Adding an image or video of your physical location is another great way to enhance brand confidence. It also diversifies the content type on your Contact page, which is beneficial for SEO. Additionally, embed a Google Maps widget. Even though your business operates fully online, location verification is a major trust builder.
  7. Add reviews, social proof, or testimonials. We trust our neighbors more than logos.

Leverage the Use of Newsletters

Don’t neglect newsletters when looking to attract vendors to your marketplace. Although online information pollution is real, newsletters that adhere to best practices can draw in quality online marketplace sellers.

Attract Vendors to Your Marketplace
  1. Make your message personal so that your reader opens it.
  2. Email content should be informative, relevant, useful, and engaging. Sending a newsletter to send one will do more harm than good, as you’ll earn yourself a place in the ‘spam’ folder—forever. Your content needs to be intentional. We advise that you put a lot of thought into curating something visually appealing, fresh, and current. Include tips on how to drive sales on the platform, statistics about the platform’s success, current trends, and educational tidbits.
  3. Leverage special dates, holidays, or celebrations that could attract vendors to your marketplace.
  4. Archive newsletters on your website so that prospective and existing vendors can access them anytime.

Use Social Media to Target Existing Sellers

When you start planning how to attract vendors to your marketplace, social media is probably one of the first strategies that come to mind. Rightfully so.

Begin by joining merchant groups, communities, and discussion forums across social media channels and online groups. This helps you to connect directly with vendors and build trust while offering an effective yet unobtrusive way to introduce your platform. Being active in these groups keeps you visible and familiarizes industry leaders with your brand.

Give Your Marketplace a Boost With Smart Merchandisers

When you have the right online merchandising tools, figuring out how to attract vendors to your marketplace becomes much easier.

Smart Merchandiser’s AI merchandising features are accurate, fast, and reliable. The easy-to-use software eliminates tedious manual online merchandising tasks. Smart Merchandiser also optimizes visual displays and provides buyer insights with real-time reporting to maximize sales. The tool seamlessly combines automated inventory management with data-driven merchandising tactics.

Let Smart Merchandiser optimize your online marketplace’s backend. In return, you get to focus on establishing relationships and drawing quality vendors to your marketplace. Schedule a demo today!