Four Ways to Boost Marketplace Transaction Volumes During the Holiday Season and Beyond

By: Charles Costa | December 3, 2018 | Marketplaces

Marketplace platforms have a lot riding on seasonal shopping cycles, with the December holiday season literally defining the term “Christmas shopping rush,” here are 4 tactics that you can employ to boost your marketplace prospects in every seasonal shopping cycle.

Optimize your marketplace onboarding processes

During the holidays, buyers are in a race to snag gifts before they sell out, and sellers strive to fill appointments or unload inventory in a timely manner. The last thing buyers and sellers want is a confusing onboarding process.

Successful marketplaces are easy to use. Take Carousell for example, Singapore’s #1 classifieds marketplace platform. They pride themselves on the fact sellers can create listings in a matter of seconds. To learn more about Carousell, check out this interview.

Although transactions within classifieds marketplaces are relatively straightforward, not all marketplace listings and purchases can be done with a few taps. This is where smart onboarding solutions come into play.

As a marketplace operator, you can’t just have buyers and sellers create an account on your marketplace and leave them to figure things out themselves. Smart onboarding solutions break the onboarding process into manageable steps that the user can complete sequentially.

The great thing about smart onboarding solutions is that they not only help improve marketplace feature awareness, but developing a sequential approach to marketing makes it possible to accurately predict churn rates.

For example, by using Kahuna Marketplaces, platform operators can automatically monitor buyer and seller progress as they progress through the onboarding process. If they appear to drop off at a specific point, Kahuna alerts the marketplace operator so they can deliver targeted communications to help get the user back on track for success.

Reduce cart abandonment

Whether you’re running a services marketplace, or e-commerce platform, cart abandonment is one of the biggest threats to your bottom line. Statista estimates that cart abandonment rates across the globe are approximately 70%.

People get distracted, wonder if they are getting the best deal, or maybe something different is just better. Shopping carts get abandoned and when that occurs, sellers on your platform, and yourself lose out.

Traditional cart abandonment campaigns simply send retention messages after a set period of time from when the buyer leaves the marketplace.

Here’s an idea, send a 10% discount code to buyers who have an abandoned cart specifically for use on that shopping cart. The challenge everyone in e-commerce faces isn’t giving out the discounts. It’s getting attention and action when the discounts are sent out.

This is where marketplace personalization solutions come into play. Going beyond sending messages after set periods of time, artificial intelligence (AI) powered personalization solutions monitor user activity and identify the right time and channel that communications should be sent.

Some buyers might prefer to receive notifications in the evening via email when they’re home after work. With these situations, simply sending an email during the day causes the email to fall through the cracks. On the other hand, some buyers might prefer immediate notifications via mobile or web push messaging.

Build buyer and seller loyalty

As mentioned earlier in this article, there’s no shortage of marketplaces for buyers and sellers to transact on. While we’ve discussed this topic before, the biggest thing to keep in mind with running a marketplace platform is that you’re meeting the needs of buyers AND sellers.

One of the simplest ways to boost buyer retention throughout the year is to build a loyalty program to encourage repeat purchases and listings. A satisfaction guarantee sends a message to buyers that you have their back. A fair and transparent dispute resolution service is an equally powerful message to sellers that they are 1st class citizens on your platform.

Gamification is another technique marketplace operators can use to boost year round revenue. For example, Listia provides “XNK” (pronounced “ink”) when buyers and sellers complete tasks within the platform.

Rather than enabling buyers and sellers to simply cash out and leave the marketplace all together, Listia only allows XNK to be used to transact on the platform. You can learn more about this innovative business model in this episode of MarketplaceConnect.

Test and optimize your mobile push, web push, and email messaging

Earlier in this article, we discussed the importance of properly timing email, web push, and mobile push communications. It’s an important component, but even perfectly timed notifications are worthless if the content doesn’t resonate with the buyer or seller.

In the past, holiday campaigns involved A/B testing, where marketplace operators would take a small percentage of buyers and/or sellers (typically 10% or so), and perform an A/B test campaign on two message variants. From there, the winning variant is sent to the remaining 90% of users. Now, it’s important to remember these tests aren’t run once. Standard A/B tests need to be run repeatedly to account for shifts in marketplace dynamics and seasonal trends.

Now, you’re probably thinking that A/B testing is a necessary evil that exists with running a marketplace. In reality, it isn’t. In fact, many platform operators are using marketplace personalization solutions to run A/E tests. That means platform operators can test 5 variants of a message over time, based on real-time data processing., Malaysia’s #1 classifieds marketplace has over 8 million monthly active users and over 1.4 million active listings. In the absence of personalized push messaging campaigns, users on average only used the mobile app twice a month. After implementing Kahuna Marketplaces, buyers and sellers on use the mobile app an average of 9 times per month.

Aside from achieving a whopping 42% conversion rate, the team at estimates they would lose approximately 10% of their users without personalization.

Making sense of it all

  1. Smart onboarding monitors onboarding progress and segments users based on onboarding completeness. Success with customer onboarding is all about converting visitors into known users.
  2. Target abandoned shopping carts. Onboarding buyers and sellers provides user profiles, while shopping carts deliver customers. We all know that abandoned carts represent lost revenue, so target buyers with effective push, in-app, and email messaging that gets them back into play.
  3. Buyer and seller loyalty—retention—is a key metric that every e-commerce platform measures. Marketplaces are more complicated because operators need to focus on seller loyalty, in addition to buyers on the platform. Keep buyers and sellers active; use promotions to drive activity; and reinforce the value the marketplace is delivering to each group.
  4. Message testing. A sophisticated and proven tactic, message testing ensures that you are delivering the right message to the right target group and the result is not only better conversion but also retention goals.


To learn more about how the marketplace business model can help improve your profitability, check out The Kahuna Blog. Simply click the button below!

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Author: Charles Costa

Charles Costa is a content marketing manager who specializes in helping companies grow, one word at a time. Prior to Kahuna, Charles worked with brands such as Airbnb, Iron Mountain, and IBM on their content marketing efforts.

Charles' work has been featured in the Huffington Post, and he also was a contributor to the developer publication, Sitepoint.

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