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Making the online marketplace work for your business

March 18, 2014
Matt Morgan

Back in the days before every household was equipped with super-fast broadband and the majority of the population were armed with smartphones, the only ways of finding a tradesman was the phonebook and word of mouth.

Individuals in need of a service had to rely on the experiences of someone they knew to find out whether someone was reliable, trustworthy and worthy of their cash. However, the advent of the internet means that it’s much easier for users to get their hands on a list of traders and relevant customer feedback.

As customers continue to adapt the way they search for service providers, businesses can use this to their advantage and boost their online presence. To make this is as simple as possible, we’ve put together this concise guide which explains everything there is to know about making the online market place work for you.

What is a marketplace?

A marketplace is simply an online source, where customers can find whatever is it they’re looking for. Whether it’s fashion, electronics, books or services, the marketplace puts everything in one place and attaches feedback to sellers and providers.

A much talked-about example, in terms of it being a model for other market places, is ASOS Marketplace. Users can buy and sell here, regardless of whether they’re an individual seller or a small business.

The notable difference between this sort of selling arena and sites like Amazon and eBay, is that a marketplace is geared solely towards one product or service – in the case of ASOS, this is fashion. There is both an upside and downside to this. On the one hand, customers who are browsing the marketplace will only be searching for the product you offer. However, this also means that you’ll face competition from others offering something similar.

With this in mind, to garner the most success using these marketplaces, it’s important that your services and/or products stand out from others.

What examples are there for tradespeople?

While the ASOS Marketplace might act as the model on which others of the type are based, fashion is by no means the only arena in which this an effective way for customers to search.

Whether you’re an electrician, a plumber, a freelance writer or a photographer, there’s a platform out there for you to advertise your services. That said, these platforms are somewhat unique to ones which simply advertise the services of an individual or business.

Sites like Who Can Fix My Car, in addition to functioning as a directory, also allow registered users – in this case mechanics – to bid for jobs posted by customers. By using this method, tradesman can take on new work and build up an online profile, thus contributing to their future work. Since these sites are also used by customers to select a reliable tradesperson, something they’ll do by assessing customer feedback, it’s necessary to build up an effective profile.

To encourage customers to provide feedback, use an incentive such as a small discount on their quote. This functions much in the same way as offering customers credit or discounts when they recommend a friend and will greatly contribute to how fast you build up a profile in the online marketplace.

Thank you to Jack Wiberg, a freelance journalist, copywriter and marketing consultant with a keen interest in all things fast and furious. As well as cars, his motoring passions include motorbikes and rally racing – when Jack isn’t writing interesting pieces for business sites, you can usually find him behind the wheel!

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