Refined Approaches to Onboard Vendors on Your Newly Setup Marketplace

Refined Approaches to Onboard Vendors on Your Newly Setup Marketplace

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Online marketplaces are based on the asset-light business model, which only requires business owners to invest in bare minimum capital. They do not own any of the inventory present on the marketplace. Instead, different vendors/suppliers/distributors sign up on the platform and upload their inventory. Onboarding reliable vendors is also important for marketplaces as vendors are the true representatives of their platform who not only attract customers, but also complete the entire multi-vendor value chain. Along with uploading inventory, they are responsible for product maintenance, ensuring product quality and service, thus affecting the overall brand image of the marketplace.

However, for new marketplaces, attracting vendors is one of their primary concerns. To help them out, we have stated some most effective strategies in this blog that can be used to attract vendors. Most of our clients use these strategies to attract vendors on their various marketplaces, such as retail, rental, eLearning, cab booking, food delivery and online service marketplaces.

Table of contents

Most Effective Marketing Strategies to Attract Vendors 

Attracting vendors on any marketplace requires a strategic omni-channel approach. Thus, your efforts should be equally distributed on multiple channels that can help you bring the fastest results. Also, attracting vendors is a gradual task, but once you onboard some vendors, scaling the vendor list on your marketplace will become easier. 

1. Build your Personal Network

Building a personal network of fellow entrepreneurs, businessmen, dealers, suppliers, manufacturers, ex colleagues or other like minded individuals can help you attract vendors faster. That network will serve as your primary channel where you can share your value proposition with most relevant people. Right now, LinkedIn is the most professional and promising platform to establish your personal network.

  • Every 4 out of 5 of LinkedIn members drive business decisions, that’s total 80% of its 930 million users

2. List your Business on Google My Business

Creating a Google My Business profile validates your business by displaying an actual physical address to all viewers. This establishes trust in vendors’ who start recognizing your marketplace as a proper business. Some other benefits of listing your marketplace on Google My Business are that it will appear above general search results and vendors can directly see the products you deal in on the profile page.

3. Increase Word of Mouth

Word of mouth is considered as the best marketing strategy as it grows on its own after initial efforts. To increase the word of mouth about your marketplace, you can create awareness campaigns on social media, write and distribute press releases on top PR distribution channels and even publish interviews with local magazines and newspapers in regions where you think your target audience is highly consolidated, for example, business towns, cities, commercial areas, industrial areas, etc.

4. Social Media Marketing

The power of Social Media can be used to attract vendors as social media have all types of audiences. Harness the power of social media and spread awareness about your marketplace, vision and benefits of your marketplace for the vendors through social media updates.

5. Email Marketing

With email marketing, you can directly reach your target audience and invite them to sell their products on your marketplace and boost revenue. To begin with, you will need to build or buy a database of entrepreneurs and draft an email with an attractive subject line. You can also send and track bulk emails with email marketing tools like MailChimp, MailerLite, ActiveCampaign and Moosend. 

6. Content Marketing

By publishing regular content on your website and third-party sites, you can educate vendors on the benefits of listing on your platform. Furthermore, content marketing will help you simplify the decision making process for vendors and increase your search engine rankings so that more and more vendors can easily find and visit your marketplace. 

7. Competitor Research

To provide a stronger value proposition to vendors, you will need to do competitor research and see how your top competitor marketplaces are performing. You can analyze the actual pain-points of their vendors and the benefits and facilities your competitors are offering to their vendors. You can plan better offering than your competitors and reach out to them via emails or cold calling. 

8. Introduce Offers to Attract New Vendors

To attract the first few vendors, you will also need to incentivize them with certain offers. For reference, see the following offers:

  • Zero or low commission rate for first year
  • Lifetime zero or low commission rate for first 20 vendors
  • Zero commission on all sales up to $1000. 
  • Free ads and special listing spaces on your marketplace
  • Homepage banner ads on successfully referencing another vendor
  • Fixed monthly payouts on service based marketplace
Commission Rates Charged by Renowned Marketplaces
Amazon 8% – 45%* + professional seller account of $39.99 per month or $0.99 per unit
Aliexpress 5% and 8%
Etsy 6.5%
eBay 0.5% – 15%* + $0.30 per order
Poshmark $2.95 for orders under $15 and 20% for orders above $15
TaskRabbit 15%
Fiverr 20%
Upwork 5% – 20%*
LYFT 20% – 25%*
DoorDash 6% – 30%*
Tradesy $7.50 for orders under $50 and 20% for orders above $50

*Note: The aforementioned commission rates rely on various factors such as product category, service category, vendor gross margins, market competition, order volume, logistics costs (if handled by marketplace), etc.

9. Connect Offline

Another effective way to attract vendors and leave a visible impact on them is via reaching out to them offline. Your team can shortlist potential vendors in your local area and invite them to a public event. An alternative to this approach is to conduct on-field operations to attract at least the first 5 or 10 vendors. Both these offline approaches are highly personalized and help establish a strong connection. Thus, increasing the likelihood of onboarding. 

Implement These Marketing Strategies with Marketplace Experts

Essential Features That Help in Attracting Vendors on Your Marketplace

Implementing marketing strategies alone may not assist you in attracting vendors. As to incentivize them or win their trust, you also need some features and functionalities on your marketplace. These functionalities are also important to enhance and improvise the entire onboarding and selling experience.

1. Security

It is undoubtedly true that cybercrime and online fraud is on the rise. To safeguard your marketplace and vendors from cyber attacks, build your marketplace with a reliable technology or platform. In addition, only integrate trustable payment gateways and follow privacy regulations of your target regions. 

2. Smooth Migration

Many vendors may already have seller accounts on other similar  marketplaces. They can also have thousands of listings on those marketplaces, which would be tiresome to move or upload on a new marketplace. Thus, you need to ensure a smooth migration process. For this, you can use an auto-fetch feature or provide manual onboarding assistance from the backend. 

3. Individual Storefronts

On a marketplace, vendors also expect to gain some brand recognition and freedom to promote their products the way they want. Both of these problems can be solved by providing your vendors with dedicated storefronts where they can easily sort and classify their products. In addition, you can also offer them ad spaces on your marketplace.

4. Business Guidance

Every marketplace vendor aims to increase and grow their profits. For this, they look for reliable and timely guidance on how to perform well on your marketplace and stay ahead of other vendors. You can provide them with complete guidance in the form of ‘how to’ blogs, guides, FAQ sections, marketplace manuals, etc. 

Looking For A Software Packed With Key Features for Vendor Onboarding?


There can be many more ways to scale and attract vendors on a marketplace. The most practical approach is to measure the immediate ROI on your planned activities. Initially, you need a competitive commission rate to incentivize vendors and you can begin by reaching out to your personal network, which has the highest chances of conversion. You should also use an omni-channel approach to get the fastest results and sustainably increase the vendor count on your marketplace.

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