How to attract customers to an online marketplace and increase the conversion rate

The success of every digital marketplace platform depends heavily on the number of consumers and vendors using it for value exchange. To gain a critical mass of users, it is important to implement a marketplace promotion strategy while satisfying the demand of all parties in terms of goods, services, pricing, and functionality. Applying a monetization model, marketplace operators manage to increase return on investment and generate profit.

Previously, we described best practices to attract merchants, as well as explained whom it is more reasonable to engage first: sellers or buyers. In this article, our software experts will consider how to attract customers to a marketplace application.

Best strategies to attract customers to a marketplace platform

1. Make a marketplace platform easy to use

According to Think with Google, 79% of survey respondents state that they are more willing to revisit a mobile site if it is easy to use. To attract customers and increase retention rate, it is crucial to organize information structure in such a way that users can interact with the app in an intuitive way.

When building a digital marketplace platform, software engineers have to enable convenient search—placed right on the main page—across numerous filters, categories, and subcategories. By providing smooth navigation, you will manage to improve user engagement.

It is also reasonable to implement an autocomplete feature, this way saving time for consumers. Additionally, you should include a FAQ section to give answers to common questions, for example, about making refunds or returns.

2. Optimize the website for search engines

If you are going to build a marketplace website and are thinking about how to attract customers, a company has to implement a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. To drive traffic to a website, it is essential to increase its position in Google search results. With this aim in view, you need to use relevant keywords, publish unique content that provides value to the target audience, as well as create a backlink profile.

Furthermore, the more time users spend with an online marketplace platform and the lower the bounce rate is, the higher Google search rankings are. Therefore, it is crucial to improve page load speed, preventing customers from leaving a marketplace.

According to the research conducted by Portent, the first five seconds of load time have the highest impact on the website conversion rate. Analysts found that conversion rates decrease by over 4.4% with each additional second of page loading.

Deloitte also reports that load speed plays a significant part in the success of any digital initiative, especially in e-commerce sites and other platforms that accept online transactions. Specifically, 70% of customers say that page load times affect their willingness to make a purchase while in the US, latency is the main reason why users abandon mobile sites.

To enhance performance, software experts should compress images, cash server requests, use a Content Delivery Network, and apply other practices. What’s more, it is important to employ a technology stack (programming languages, frameworks, libraries, etc.) that will contribute to improved performance of a marketplace platform, this way reducing page load speed.

In addition, you can apply tools such as Lighthouse and Google PageSpeed Insights that will provide you with comprehensive reports on various metrics, involving SEO, speed, and accessibility while offering recommendations on how to optimize the website.

3. Create an attractive design

Creating an appealing design is a vital part of a customer acquisition strategy. Adobe revealed that 38% of visitors will stop using a website if its layout or content is unattractive. SWEOR reports that 94% of negative website feedback is related to design while a modern user-friendly design allows for making a positive first impression and retaining consumers.

For this purpose, a company should implement a unique branding style, this way increasing brand awareness and reducing chances to meet a marketplace platform clone to zero. Then, you should develop an intuitive user interface, keeping a color scheme clear and consistent, as well as not overwhelming the layout with various elements.

Analysts found that 83% of mobile users state that a seamless experience across all screens and devices is essential. Seamless is not about the same but consistent, meaning that customers can interact with a marketplace platform on all operating systems without confusion.

Seamless also implies convenient navigation, smooth transition between screens, clear menu structure, and other aspects. Thus, with a quality design, you will be able to drive the audience to a marketplace application and boost user engagement.

4. Provide a variety of payment methods

If you are wondering how to attract customers to a digital marketplace platform while increasing the conversion rate, it is crucial to provide a range of payment options. Thanks to this, consumers will be able to make purchases regardless of the currency they use, location, and other aspects.

With this aim in view, a company can integrate a payment gateway such as Stripe, Square, PayPal, or Braintree. For example, by incorporating Braintree, marketplace application owners will let buyers use multiple credit and debit cards, digital wallets, ACH Direct.

Braintree allows shoppers to make money transfers via online banking payment systems like SOFORT, Bancontact, iDeal, and GiroPay. Speaking of worldwide availability, Braintree is supported in over 45 countries and regions, PayPal — in more than 200 countries and regions.

When enabling payment methods, it is important to ensure compliance with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) that requires organizations to secure payment accounts, transactions, and information.

5. Include reviews and ratings

The inclusion of the review and rating section is among the main elements of a customer acquisition strategy. This technique can be even more beneficial in the long term than launching an advertising campaign, as it helps increase credibility and loyalty.

Online reviews take a key role in luring buyers and raising the conversion rate, following star rating, the total number of reviews, and their recency, according to Podium. Analysts found that 93% of respondents state that reviews impact their buying decisions. Podium also informs that 82% of participants said the content of a review convinced them to make a purchase.

According to Trustpilot, 89% of shoppers worldwide view testimonials before ordering goods. Statista reports that nearly 70% of consumers usually read 1–6 testimonials in 2021 prior to deciding whether to buy products or not.

Hence, when creating a digital marketplace platform, it is crucial to enable customers to write reviews and rate delivered products or services. Thanks to this marketplace functionality, you will improve the audience’s engagement and increase the volume of sales generated by merchants. In addition, a company has to prevent fake references by allowing only verified users to leave their feedback.

6. Offer customers a bonus for every joined friend

When figuring out how to attract consumers to a marketplace, a great strategy is to offer existing customers a bonus for every invited friend who has joined the app. This is a cost-efficient way to engage online shoppers while increasing the number of users and boosting sales.

According to Ross, the conversion rate of leads coming from referrals is 30% higher in comparison with other marketing channels. Furthermore, experts revealed that referred buyers have a 37% higher retention rate than other customers generated via other channels.

Semrush reports that 90% of respondents are much more willing to trust a brand if it is recommended by other people, including strangers. Hence, by delivering this feature, you will not only drive traffic to an online marketplace platform but improve customer loyalty.

7. Develop a loyalty program

Semrush informs that customer loyalty is generally worth 10x more compared to a single purchase. Analysts also say that if consumers are satisfied with their interaction with a brand, 96% of them are more willing to tell friends, families, and others about it.

Therefore, if you are thinking about how to attract buyers to a marketplace platform, starting a loyalty program is among the more effective ways to achieve this goal. With this aim in view, a company can use various rewards or credits. For instance, you can suggest discounts based on the amount purchases made by a person through a digital marketplace platform.

8. Keep a blog on a marketplace platform

Keeping a blog is an effective marketplace marketing strategy that contributes to enhanced user engagement. With blogging, it is possible to significantly improve Google search rankings and drive traffic to a website. Depending on the audience’s preferences, you can post different types of content, involving articles, case studies, success stories, interviews, videos, surveys, and memes.

By creating useful content, which is oriented at resolving the audience’s issues and/or boosting their satisfaction, an organization can promote goods and services rendered by merchants. This way, marketplace owners help vendors increase the volume of sales while generating a higher profit through monetization.

9. Promote a marketplace app in social media

The use of social networks like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and LinkedIn should be a key element of a customer acquisition strategy. DataReportal informs that now there are 4.2 billion social media users across the globe while this figure has increased by 490 million over the past year.

Today the number of people that have accounts in social networks is equivalent to more than 53% of the worldwide total population. In accordance with GWI, a typical user spends virtually 2.5 hours on social media per day. Experts say that this amount of time is seeing steady growth.

With social media profiles, it is possible to attract buyers, boost their engagement, and build trust. While social networks are a powerful sales and marketing channel, they can be vital to delivering high-quality service (responding to comments and messages, informing about shares and discounts, providing other valuable information), which helps raise the conversion rate.

For example, HubSpot found that 71% of consumers are more willing to buy goods based on referrals in social media. By interacting with the audience, marketplace owners can significantly improve customer experience. PR Newswire reports that responding to users who leave reviews (31%), mention brands on their social media profiles (22%), send direct messages (20%), and create tweets (18%) contributes to increased loyalty.

Besides employing marketing tools such as posts, stories, videos, messaging, and live streams, you can launch a social media campaign targeting groups of people who can be potentially interested in your products and services.

10. Collaborate with influences

Speaking of how to attract customers to a digital marketplace platform, it is important to take into account influencer marketing. By partnering with famous people in particular areas or celebrities, a company can increase brand awareness, engage consumers, and boost sales.

According to the Digital Marketing Institute, 49% of buyers rely on influencer recommendations when making purchases. Tomoson study revealed that companies generally earn $6.5 for each dollar spent on the collaboration with influencers while this amount can reach over $20.

In this regard, 59% of businesses are going to invest more in this customer acquisition strategy. Another survey shows that 91% of respondents believe that influencer marketing is an effective way to lure the audience and generate a higher profit.

At the moment, influencer marketing is becoming the fastest-growing channel, leaving behind organic and paid search, as well as email marketing. Therefore, it is reasonable to apply this practice for online marketplace promotion. Besides asking influencers to advertise a marketplace app on their profiles, you can provide them with promo codes to receive discounts for particular products or services.

11. Publish press releases

When figuring out how to promote a marketplace application, a good practice that you should use is to write a press release and agree with popular magazines about its publication. Applying this strategy, you will reach the audience and showcase a product, this way driving traffic and raising consumer credibility.

The presentation may contain information about a unique selling proposition, rendered services, loyalty program, and vendors that have already registered on a marketplace platform. Potential buyers, in their turn, will be able to gain insight into your business and become aware of its advantages, offers, and industry.

Final words

An integral part of a marketplace promotion strategy is generating brand advocates, which means consumers who have interacted with a marketplace app and received a positive experience. By satisfying user needs and preferences, you will manage to not only attract buyers but retain them and increase the conversion rate. What’s more, people will be likely to recommend a marketplace to their friends and families. Thus, loyalty has a direct impact on ROI and overall revenue.

Additionally, it is important to focus on aspects such as search engine optimization and performance. Thanks to this, you will be able to drive traffic to a website while reducing churn.

When thinking about how to attract customers to an online marketplace platform, it is essential to ensure an amazing shopping experience by implementing various features, from voice payments to one-click ordering. An organization should be also aware of digital marketplace trends and follow some relevant ones in order to win the audience and remain competitive.

If you aim to build a marketplace and/or prepare a customer acquisition strategy, you are welcome to drop us a message. Our team will get back to you within 1 business day and help address all issues. Project consultation is free of charge.

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