When a user first visits your site, their initial impressions and experience will play a large role in whether they join and engage with your platform. For marketplaces, the users are your product, so having a good signup and login experience is critical. You need to make sure that onboarding is easy and delightful for your best potential buyers and sellers, while robust enough to vet for high quality. Below are some considerations.
The quality of your buyers and sellers has an important role in the success of your platform, especially as you’re getting started since you are still building trust in your platform. In some cases, you may want to consider limiting access to your platform or implementing an approval process to ensure your early users are legitimate. Here are three general approaches, which you can apply independently to buyer and seller roles:
Anytime you ask a user to do something, especially with entering personal information, you run the risk of them deciding it isn’t worth the effort and abandoning. Deciding what a visitor to your platform can see or do before they are asked to create an account is an important decision, especially for buyers. Sellers are usually more eager since they stand to make money from joining, and it’s generally important for them to sign up since they will be adding products or services and collecting payments. The key for buyers is to provide enough of a glimpse into the tool so they see the value of joining, but withhold enough to entice them to sign up. Below are three options for when to require a buyer to signup.
You almost certainly will have sellers create an account on your platform and could have buyers create accounts as well. The actual implementation of the sign up process can take different forms, and is about how people are proving they are who they say they are. This is a balance between ease of use and security. You’ll want to consider your users’ appetite for risk and the nature of the transaction. More expensive products or more personal services may lead you to implement stronger signup or authentication features to make users feel safer and reduce fraud risk. You may have a combination of the below options.
All marketplaces have buyers and sellers, and sometimes users will engage in both sides at different times. These roles will have different experiences, and you’ll have to think about how to designate whether a user is a buyer or seller. You may have a marketplace where you curate and invite sellers, essentially selecting their role for them, but it’s also common for users to select their roles themselves. There are two main ways to do this.
The onboarding experience for users is critical, as it is the first interaction with your platform and can set the stage for a user’s trust and excitement about joining. You’ll want to minimize the friction in getting a user to sign up, while maximizing information and value to the user. Sometimes the onboarding flow can double as a way to educate the user on how the platform works, while other times, you’ll just need it to capture information to get a user signed up. Below are some different onboarding styles you can consider.
For some marketplaces, ensuring sellers have the capabilities to deliver on their products or services is critical. This is mainly for service marketplaces where people are offering specific skillsets or expertise. You may want to consider adding some additional steps to make sure the sellers are legitimate or skilled before publishing them on your platform. You should weigh how important this is for your buyers and the trust of your platform, as it comes with user friction costs, but in some cases it is essential to maintaining a quality marketplace. There are a few potential options, including some for buyers.