How to Optimize for the 2 Types of Sellers Within Your Classifieds Marketplace Platform

By: Charles Costa | August 9, 2018 | Marketplaces

When it comes to running a classifieds marketplace, it’s tempting to segment the involved parties into 3 groups. There’s the marketplace operator, the buyers, and the sellers. Simple enough, right? That’s how some classifieds operators may see it, but in reality things are a bit more complex.

When you look a little closer, you’ll find that there are 2 types of sellers:

  • On one end there are the sellers who are looking to unload used goods or inventory they don’t really have a personal/emotional investment in. For example, old clothing, furniture, and miscellaneous household goods with relatively low values fall in this realm.
  • The other side contains sellers who have higher ticket products—think automobiles, real estate, and collectables.

In order to help you achieve peak liquidity within your marketplace platform, let’s take a closer look at these 2 types of sellers so you can optimize the experience to meet their needs. Remember: sellers are the backbone of all classifieds marketplaces.

Optimizing for speed and volume

As mentioned earlier, marketplaces catering to the first type of seller are focused on selling low ticket items, or have a couple of categories on your classifieds property devoted to such goods. If you fall under this category, it’s best to focus on optimizing the marketplace listing process for speed and ease of use. The main reason for this is because these sellers don’t have much invested in their property and are looking to unload their inventory rapidly.

The key characteristic of marketplaces optimized for low ticket items is simplicity. There needs to be a focus on making the title and price fields intelligent to a small degree (at the least). This means that you’re offering suggestions on keywords that should be used in the title and offering solutions to determine the best prices for goods.

Top marketplaces are more than platforms that have simple listing processes. There needs to be a value-add to keep users hooked on the platform. This is where intelligent messaging technology comes into play. For example, in order to improve seller close rates, you can provide advice on creating a great listing has an optimal title and price. By tailoring communications based on user preferences and behaviors, onboarding flows can be optimized based on experience and expertise.

Intelligent messaging also enables marketplace operators to offer inventory recommendations based on browsing trends within the marketplace. Think messaging along the lines of  “Hey [First Name], those who sell a lot of shoes like you do commonly boost their income by also offering women’s clothing.”

By taking aggregated selling information and combining it with personalized seller profiles, you can pique the interest of sellers by showing them ways to make money that they normally wouldn’t think of.

Optimizing for higher value transactions

Marketplaces catering to the second type of sellers – those offering high ticket items such as real-estate, cars, and collectibles need to take a different approach to meeting seller needs, as buyers are typically more discerning when making large purchases like these.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that expensive goods typically have fair market values assigned to them. While buyers occasionally do their research and come to the platform prepared, without the right guidance from the marketplace they’re still left to wonder whether they’re getting a fair deal.

By providing sellers with price optimization tools, you can boost their satisfaction by helping them set prices that will drive sales while also keeping reasonable margins. Buyers benefit from having essential information in one location, making your marketplace a go-to destination rather than just another place for sales to occur.

If you take a look at CarGurus for example, its automotive listings clearly state the fair market value of the cars on the site. Sellers are still free to set their prices, and CarGurus tells the buyers whether they’re getting a fair deal or a great deal.

Reali is another marketplace of interest because it specializes in real estate, which is extremely complex. In order to showcase the value of its platform, Reali intelligently calculates the amount of money sellers save by using the marketplace platform, and display it on the site. Additionally, Reali has its PricePredictor icon that gives tips on what the winning offer will be.

Making sense of it all

Given the fact there’s no shortage of classifieds marketplaces for sellers to list their offerings on, marketplace operators need to do whatever they can to set themselves apart from the competition. This requires having an understanding of the 2 different types of sellers, and their specific needs.

Although it sounds overwhelming, by considering the previously mentioned tips, and putting yourself in the seller’s shoes, you can develop a sustainable property without getting dragged into too many complexities.
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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