Charging vendors a subscription to sell on your marketplace can be a difficult strategy to implement. Many vendors aren’t happy to pay to list their products on a marketplace, so selling them the benefits of joining your site can be difficult. However, if you offer the right features and support, alongside guaranteeing high levels of traffic, you may be able to generate a recurring revenue from vendor subscriptions.

In this article, we look at how to provide a top-end vendor user experience that sellers will be happy to pay for. We discuss key features that you should consider offering, like a drag and drop interface, analytics, comprehensive support, and branding and customization options for each shop. And we also think about potential incentives that you can offer to boost sign ups to your vendor membership plans. Let’s get started…

Provide a User-Friendly Interface

Providing a high-quality user experience is a must if you want to charge vendors a subscription to sell on your marketplace. Vendors must feel like they are getting something for their money, so you need to ensure that your platform provides an intuitive dashboard, useful features, extensive support, and processes that don’t leave sellers feeling frustrated.

Vendify, the impressive marketplace theme created by the developers here at Astoundify, provides an extremely user-friendly interface that caters for the skills and needs of all vendors, whatever their experience selling online. Vendors can access all the features they need within a custom built interface, ensuring that they won’t need to deal with WordPress at all.

So what features does the Vendify interface include? Let’s take a look…

  • Drag and Drop Editor – Using a drag-and-drop editor, marketplace shops and product pages can be created and customized in real-time within the Vendify dashboard. This makes shop set up quick and easy, saving vendors time and helping them display their products in beautiful layouts, which ultimately will help push sales.
  • Branding and Customization Options – Vendors want to stand out from the crowd and keep their own identify, not just become yet another marketplace seller. Vendify enables sellers to customize their online stores and add their own branding, including logos, colors, shop header images, taglines, and more.
  • Product Management – It is important that vendors can easily view and manage products and orders. Vendify also allows vendors to add notes to their orders to keep organized.
  • Analytics – Providing advanced analytics, that supply vendors with information on their product sales, will help them tweak their marketing strategies, and ultimately increase revenue.

Using a marketplace theme like Vendify, that incorporates all of these useful features, will provide an impressive user-experience that vendors will be prepared to pay a monthly subscription for.

Create an Extensive Support Network

Creating sufficient support for your vendors should be a priority, as this is a key feature that vendors will be prepared to pay for. Let’s have a look at some areas of support that you should consider offering…

  • Knowledge Base – Create an in-depth knowledge base, where your vendors can access articles and video tutorials to help them with setting up their account, or find answers to any queries. This will not only support your sellers, but also ensure you aren’t being repeatedly asked the same questions via other support channels.
  • Facebook Page – Setting up a Facebook page, where your vendors can support each other, share what is working well, and answer each other’s questions, is a great way to grow a seller community whilst providing an extra layer of support.
  • Email Support/ Live Chat / Phone – Choose what support options work best for you and your sellers.

Sellers will be prepared to pay for high-quality support, so this is an area worth investing in.

Offer Incentives

Offering incentives to sign up sellers to a subscription plan is another effective strategy. Here are some potential incentives that could help increase your vendor numbers….

  • Promotional First Month – Consider offering the first month for free, or the first couple of months at a discounted price.
  • No Contract – Don’t put vendors off by trying to sign them into a contract, simply offer a month to month subscription.
  • Don’t Pay Until You’ve Sold Your First Product – Vendors may be skeptical that your marketplace is the right match for their products. Allow them to set up a shop, then wait until they have made a sale or two before charging a membership payment.
  • Numerous Membership Plans – By providing a number of membership plans that range in price you can appeal to all potential vendors, whatever their budgets.

A refer-a-friend scheme, where current vendors get money off their subscription if they bring a new seller onboard, is also an effective strategy as it rewards current vendors and equally helps to grow your membership numbers.

Ensure Tight Security

The security of your marketplace is another crucial factor, and you will find many sellers happy to pay a subscription for advanced security features. Sellers want to know that their data, and that of their buyers, is safe and secure. They also want to sell their products on a website that is optimized for performance, with fast loading times, minimum downtime, and high security levels.

So how can you improve your website’s security? Here are a few key strategies…

  • Choose a Reputable Hosting Provider – With hosting, you get what you pay for. A high-end host will incorporate numerous security and performance related features into its service, alongside impressive support. Do your research before selecting a provider – check on past security scares, downtime figures, and other performance data – this will help ensure you are getting a host you can rely on.
  • Buy a SSL Certificate – Purchasing a quality SSL certificate is a must. An SSL certificate will encrypt buyers data and personal information, helping increase security and build your marketplace a reputation for reliability.
  • Install a Security PluginWordfence is an impressive free WordPress security plugin. It contains both a firewall and a malware scanner, which will monitor and protect your marketplace.
  • Backup Your Website – Having a current backup of your marketplace is crucial. Then, if the worst does happen and your site is lost, you can quickly restore the backup. This ensures that your site won’t lose too much uptime, and your vendors’ revenue won’t be overtly affected.

Create High Levels of Traffic

Probably the most important factor for a vendor, when deciding whether to pay for a subscription to sell on a marketplace website, is traffic levels. If your marketplace is receiving high levels of traffic from the right target market, then a seller will be prepared to pay to list their products on your site.

So let’s find out how to boost traffic levels…

  • Social Media – Grow your presence on social media, helping you to find and connect with the target audience for your marketplace. Follow competitors, vendors, and other potential sellers, join groups and communities within your niche, and get your name out there.
  • Mailing List – Make growing your marketplace mailing list a priority. By collecting email addresses you can stay in contact with people who have visited your site and either shown an interest in the products being sold or made a purchase. You can then send them promotional emails, inform them of new vendors and products being sold on your site, and consequently increase repeat customer numbers.
  • Advertising – Paying for ads to promote your marketplace is an effective way to reach out to new potential customers. By understanding your demographic, you can work out where best to advertise – this may be Google, Facebook, Instagram, or other sites. By tracking your ads you can monitor how much traffic they are sending to your marketplace, and if this traffic is converting into sales.
  • Real Life Events – Being present at real-life events will help you personally meet your target audience and market your site to them. Going to trade shows, meetups, and other in-person events should ensure your marketplace becomes memorable to the masses, which in turn should increase traffic numbers.
  • Customer Reward Scheme – Reward repeat customers with discounts, free shipping, or other incentives. By encouraging people to return for future purchases you will help turn a one-off buyer into a life-long customer.

When first starting up your marketplace, it may not be possible to charge vendors a subscription. However, by using the above strategies, you can boost traffic to levels that vendors will be prepared to pay for.

Final Thoughts on How to Charge Vendors a Subscription

If you want to charge vendors a subscription to list on your marketplace, then you need to offer a premium service. Top features, including user experience, impressive support channels, and high levels of security, as well as sign up incentives, are all factors that may increase vendor membership.

However, to build up a large base of paying vendors, the most important strategy to concentrate on is growing traffic levels. By providing vendors with a platform that is frequently visited by large numbers of their target audience, you will find sellers will be more than willing to pay a subscription fee. Good Luck!

Any top tips for implementing vendor subscriptions? Please share your thoughts in the comments below…