Running a marketplace can be a profitable venture. However, all too often marketplace owners find themselves quickly running into unforeseen problems that, if not dealt with, can cause serious damage to a marketplace and its reputation.

In this article, we discuss a number of potential dangers that all marketplace owners should be aware of. We then consider how to prevent these problems in the first place, and how to overcome them if they do arise. These include selling poor quality products, having weak security, and customer service issues.

So let’s have a look at some of the potential hazards of running a marketplace, and how they can be dealt with…

Selling Poor Quality Products

As a marketplace owner, you will find that you have a distinct lack of control over the products that are displayed on your site. This is because it is extremely hard to verify vendors, and only time will tell if customers are happy with the products they have purchased.

However, selling poor quality merchandise is a sure fire way to quickly lose your customer base and earn your site a poor reputation. So what can you do to ensure that the products sold on your marketplace are top quality?

What Can You Do?

Putting vendor and product checks in place before and after accepting a vendor, can help ensure product quality control. Here are some strategies to help with this…

  • Research New Vendors – Before you accept a new vendor on your site, do your research. Check out where have they previously been selling products, what their reviews and ratings are like, and if they have had any bad feedback.
  • Ask for Product Samples – If it is not possible to meet the vendor in person and look at their products, ask for some samples to be sent. This may not be feasible for all marketplace niches, but it is a strategy worth keeping in mind if you are unsure whether to accept a particular seller.
  • Encourage Reviews and Ratings – Use a ratings and reviews system, allowing customers to score and comment on products they have purchased. This is an effective and transparent way to hold your vendors to account.
  • Track Product Returns – Monitor product returns to see which vendors get a higher than average return rate, and find out the reasons behind this.

Keep an eye on vendors reviews and ratings and monitor returns. If products are flashing up as poor quality it is important that you act fast, banning the vendor from your site if necessary.

An apology email to disappointed customers, which could contain a compensatory offer or discount code for future orders, can also help keep your buyers happy and encourage them to continue shopping on your marketplace.

Weak Security

A busy marketplace will deal with sensitive data from customers on a daily basis, which needs to be kept safe and secure. On top of that, websites can easily fall foul of viruses and other security issues, which at best can cause problems with user experience, and at worse can take down your whole site.

Security breaches on a large scale can cause users to become frustrated with your site and lose trust in your business. This can severely damage your reputation as a marketplace, and long term lose you customers and sales.

What Can You Do?

So let’s find out how to secure your website…

  • Use WordPress – There are a wide assortment of platforms that you can use to build your website. However, if you want a secure marketplace then using WordPress is your best bet. WordPress is a free open-source content management system used by over 30% of the top ten million websites worldwide. This software is constantly audited and updated by WordPress experts, helping to ensure it stays ahead of any major potential security issues.
  • Select a Reputable Theme – It is important to choose a top quality theme designed by reputable developers. Vendify, created by the developers here at Astoundify, is a marketplace theme that is well maintained and regularly updated, keeping security holes to a minimum.
  • Install a Security PluginWordfence is a top-level WordPress security plugin that includes an endpoint firewall and malware scanner, helping to protect your site from malicious traffic.
  • Choose a Quality Hosting Provider – Research hosting providers before making a decision on the right host for your marketplace. You need a provider with a good security track record that has stringent security checks in place.
  • Purchase a SSL Certificate – It is crucial that sensitive customer data is kept safe. An SSL certificate will encrypt all data traveling between browsers and your website server, adding an extra layer of protection against hackers.

If your site is hacked then you need to get it fixed asap. Use the WordPress backup plugin UpdraftPlus to make backups of your website, so if the worst does happen and your site goes down, you can quickly restore a previous version.

Customer Service Issues

As your marketplace grows, customer service issues can become a real problem. From vendors to customers, you will quickly find you have a lot of people to keep happy. Be prepared for numerous queries on all aspects of your website and service, from how to list products, to payment issues and buyer returns.

If your customer service isn’t up to scratch then both sellers and buyers will quickly become frustrated with your marketplace. So what can you do to ensure high levels of customer service?

What Can You Do?

Let’s take a look at these top tips to ensure top-quality service for both your vendors and buyers…

  • Extensive Knowledge Base – Creating a knowledge base for your vendors, which walks them through every detail of how to sell on your marketplace, will help support the sellers and allow them to independently set up their stores on your site.
  • Clear Customer Service Terms and Conditions – Having clear terms and conditions displayed on your website will give everyone a point of reference when problems do arise.
  • Customer Service Strategies in Place – As well as a knowledge base, ensure other customer service strategies are in place. These could include community forums, live chat, email support, or interactions via social media.
  • Training for Support Staff – By providing training for your staff, they will understand your customer service expectations and how to react to customer queries and situations as they arise.

By being proactive, and setting up customer service strategies and transparent terms and conditions, you will ensure consistency, which will help your marketplace become renown for excellent customer service.

Final Thoughts on the Potential Dangers of Running a Marketplace

Being aware of the potential dangers of running a marketplace, and putting systems in place to deal with any issues before they even arise, is a must. That way, you are prepared for any eventualities, and can react quickly as and when problems do occur.

What’s your experience of running a marketplace? Please share your thoughts in the comments below… And if you ready to create an online marketplace, then check out Vendify.