How to Start an Online Marketplace to Sell Handbags Online
Running with the herd is not a great idea. That’s why you need to think beyond a web store. With the growing percentage of online shoppers, it’s the right time to think about cashing the opportunity of a multi-seller online store to sell handbags.
As per Statista, revenue in bags and accessories segment will amount to US$884m in 2020. This is expected to show an annual growth rate of CAGR 13.8% resulting in a market volume of US$1,485m by 2024. Figures too good to be true, isn’t it?
Initially, it could be nerve-wracking to kickstart an online marketplace. More so, when there are several established players already making the mark. However, the handbag market comes with the benefit of size and diversity. This leaves a lot of room for budding entrepreneurs such as yourself. By introducing something new (in terms of your products or strategy), you can corner specific niches and find your spot.
In this blog, we have listed down a few handy tips for aspiring entrepreneurs to jump across the hurdle of inexperience. Take a look as to how you can build a multi-vendor model to sell handbags sooner than you think.
Born as a Brand
Since you are about to start an online marketplace exclusive for handbags and purses, you will be inviting vendors within this category from all across the country. Maybe, you will venture into the international market too. Your vendor partnerships will offer customers a variety of products at different price ranges. You will be having high-end designer handbags as well as purses that are meant for everyday use and appeal to a broader audience.
What does this mean? Your multi-vendor online store can offer you a lot of scope of expansion. Right from luxury purses to designer backpacks, there are tremendous possibilities for crafting a personality for your online marketplace.
Even though you will be dealing online, customers still need a brand identity to connect with you. At a later stage, your brand image will encourage a sense of loyalty and trust among the vendors and customers.
To create a strong brand identity, you need solid storefronts. The design you opt for is the first visual element that customers will notice and interact with. It’s important to choose the right template so that it resonates with your brand identity. Choosing the right design for your multi-vendor marketplace should be as simple as checking out a software’s website templates for handbags. You can easily select from hundreds of ready-made themes and customize it as per your need.
Your strategies to drive traffic and retain customers will come later on. But first, what about the first impression?
Declare that you are ready
Once you have set up your online multi-seller store, next comes the vendor listings. But if you have done your beginnings right and invested time and effort in creating a brand identity, this one should be easy. On the contrary, vendors will come seeking you and would want to list their products on your online marketplace.
If you wish to see a constant flow of customers on your storefronts and good traffic, it’s important to have high-quality vendors with an extensive product range. This way, customers will never fall short of choices. Also, since you are the admin, you have the benefit of approval flow. You need to ensure that every vendor has individual storefronts and use high-resolution images with convincing product descriptions.
In a traditional store, you have ample chances to communicate with your audience. You can constantly judge their reactions and basis that close your sale. In a multi-vendor marketplace where so many sellers are involved, you only have a few things through which this can be possible;
- Overall look and feel of the marketplace
- Quality of vendors listed and their ratings
- Product range along with good photos
- Detailed product descriptions
- Customer reviews
By hosting vendors that are “best” in their niche and listing products in a way that’s easy for your customers, you are indirectly putting a sign on your door saying, ‘WE ARE OPEN’.
Earn a sale, don’t ask for it
Your goal shouldn’t be restricted to opening an online marketplace. You need to create a model that converts visitors into customers. You also need to ensure that once a customer, is always your customer. To do so, you need to win your visitors with amazing storefronts, swift navigation and decent checkout processes.
Below are some of the features that you can easily incorporate using a top e-commerce platform;
- Convenient filters: Have search options that are easy to spot and provide convenient filters depending upon vendor name, top-performing vendors, price range, reviews, etc.
- Call-to-action-buttons: A multi-vendor model is as much confusing for the customers as much as it is for you to set up at the initial stages. So don’t expect your customers to know how to go about it. To help them with swift navigation on your online marketplace, you can strategically place your call-to-action-buttons so that they are easy to locate and follow
- Decent checkout: Nobody likes to fill an extensive form during the checkout process. If knowing your customers’ preferences and gaining their information is your reason for handing them a form, then there are other ways to do so. You can easily get to know their choices from their browsing history, wishlist products, etc. For now, can we just offer a guest checkout, please?
- Notifications: A good software allows you to have unified notifications where you can send messages to vendors and customers, separately. Using this feature you can notify your customers about fresh arrivals, deals, clearance sales, or maybe something that was there on their wishlist or enquiry lists.
Your multi vendor marketplace should be equipped with all the right features that can easily draw the customers into the sales funnel. After all, online business is all about earning a sale rather than asking for it.
Follow your audience
You need a strong audience that follows your social media pages. But before they follow you, you need to identify all the right places to find them. What platforms to choose will depend upon the category of your products. But since it is an online marketplace, you don’t want to pigeon hole and appeal to any one audience group.
Categories such as purses and handbags perform better on visual mediums like Instagram and Pinterest. You can advertise affordable and trendy purses and backpacks on Instagram where your audience is mainly millennials and Gen-X. Pinterest’s user base, on the other end, tends to skew closer to middle-aged. Displaying high-end luxury purses here will probably make more sense to grow your following for your business.
You might also want to check out profiles and hashtags relevant to the audience you are looking for. Celebrity pages, influencers and other handbag company pages should give you easy insights. For instance, if the vendors on your multi-vendor marketplace sell casual bags for the outdoorsy type, you can look into the audience following travel blogs and outdoor gear pages.
In the initial stages, you might want to keep your marketing costs low. This means that at least in the beginning your primary marketing platform will be social media. And these days, this is very much in!
Cherry-pick the right solution
Any business needs good support to grow, sustain and thrive. Similarly, your multi-seller online store needs features to help you set up a fully-furnished model that is functional and scalable.
What does that mean?
- Since you will be dealing with vendors and customers, your online marketplace should have a setup that helps both these parties to function, independently. The solution you choose should help you create vendor space with individual vendor dashboards and inventories. At the same time, it should help customers easily browse, navigate and shop.
- As the admin, you also need a system where you can control vendor approval, product management, check individual vendor performances and manage commissions. A good e-commerce solution should be able to offer a system where all this is swiftly possible.
- Your software should be able to equip you with marketing tools, discount engines, blogging engines and integrate your social media pages with your online marketplace.
- Finally, your finger should be on the one that’s not only future-ready and helps you with the above-mentioned features but is also constantly watching your back. What if something goes wrong on and you need to fix the technical glitches right away? In this case, you need a back-up that stands by you immediately through various channels such as SMS, emails, etc.
There are several ways to build an online marketplace. You can opt for building it from scratch but that will only cost you twice the time and capital.
Instead, there are some top software available in the market. You need to choose a solution that creates a win-all model and helps your vendors to grow along with you. Ensure you make the right choice by taking a free demo trial.
Surely, there is no elevator for success. You need to take the staircase anyway. But with the right e-commerce solution, you can perhaps take two steps at a time and climb your way upward quickly!