You can manage a multi-vendor store alone if you have good knowledge of web design, development and also have marketing skills.
But, managing a multi-vendor store is not just about keeping your customers happy. All they can see are millions of products available in your store to choose from to a consumer. Products are getting timely delivered at their doorsteps, and honestly, they don’t care about the vendors. They believe they are directly dealing with you; as a brand, they trust the quality of operations.
But as a business owner, you must make sure things run smoothly for vendors too. Vendors are making it possible for you to provide faster deliveries, fulfill orders on time, and get your users the best offers. In this blog, we will be sharing important skillsets and technology you need to employ to make operations fluid on your multi-vendor marketplace to help you understand multi-vendor store management. So, let’s begin.
Challenges: Single Vendor vs. Multi-Vendor Management
If you have some experience dealing with a single vendor previously in your professional experience, you will find multi-vendor management different on many levels. The whole process is a difference, and just to aware, you must not underestimate the difference at all.
More the vendors, the more management you have to do
When you have several vendors in your store, you have just increased your workload a hundred times. You have to make sure their experience is great on your site; then there is inventory, sales, and shipping.
In case a vendor is lagging, they would blame you for not being able to sell. Also, if they are not maintaining the quality, the customer would look down on you. Vendors and customers have different expectations from your store. You have different stakeholders in your business, and it becomes your responsibility as a store manager to help vendors sell their products as much as possible and retain their customers in your store.
Happy Vendors Happier Your Customers
Vendors can make or break your image; they are the people that are shipping out the products. They must follow a quality procedure to leave no stone unturned to meet deliveries on time.
As a store manager, you must have a vendor application allowing them to manage their orders well, and on the admin dashboard, a vendor management system allowing you to keep an eye on the operations. If you cannot manage them well, there is a chance that you would start losing customers and revenue.
M2 Marketplace Multi-Vendor Manager
When you turn your online store into a multi-vendor marketplace, you will experience things are getting out of your hand. Technology has come as an aid and is now providing proficient solutions to manage your store, track and manage products, orders and shipments, and more.
On a more micro-level, you would have to make sure the products sold by vendors are of good quality, product images are optimized, and timely delivered. It is your responsibility to check vendors are following your standards.
Tips for managing your multi-vendor store
The best way to manage a multi-vendor store is by using technology to balance the tasks between the suppliers and admin. There are many marketplace extensions available on the market that you can use to strengthen the foundation of your business.
Honestly, you cannot do the mammoth task of managing a multi-vendor store alone. You need many capabilities, and you can use a little extra help from the technology ad the suppliers. But, the balance has to be just right. You have to be super specific with the work roles you would be dividing amongst yourselves.
1. Managing Inventory
The multi-vendor marketplace requires you to manage the inventory of the vendors. Adding products and having a sustainable amount of them is necessary. When managing a marketplace, as the admin, you have to make sure your store is well stocked to meet the market demand.
Today, many tools help you understand the market trend and tell you if there would be a big demand in the coming few months. These tools are reliable and also dependable when it comes to balancing between demand and supply.
You must make sure the products are in stock for your customers to buy and not turn to your competitors. Poor inventory management should be your top priority. You can do it by:
- Uploading vendor products manually
- Allowing vendors to upload their own products.
Allowing vendors to manage their products is much less time-consuming. Also, the vendors know their products much better than store admins. With the right market platform, store managers can approve or disapprove the products uploaded by the vendor before getting live on the website. To encourage vendor’s to upload products use features such as:
- Seller fees
2. Managing Orders
Now that you have sorted out inventory, it is time to manage the orders that you get on your site. Once orders start coming, you would feel the need to organize them. It is the most important part of the equation, as it gives you the ability to manage them well and get them shipped to the customers on time.
You, as an admin, should keep an eye on all the open orders. Vendors should also be informed in time to get the orders ready and ship them. You must also be able to update the order status and which orders are ready to be shipped and which have been shipped.
Once the orders are ready, the vendor would ship them and update the order status. As an admin, you must check that the orders are shipped out efficiently.
To maintain the quality of the shipping and avoid inconvenience, you can authorize different shipping methods. Shipping policy is a must for multi-vendor store management. It makes things more cohesive when it comes to rate, delivery charges, delivery time, etc.
If you are just starting and don’t have the resources with you to manage it, you can leave shipping entirely to the vendors; but this might be a good solution to keep your vendors happy, but customer satisfaction would be hard to achieve.
4. Paying vendors
An eCommerce site must have acute transparency in the transactions. In a multi-vendor store, the payment comes directly to the admin as the shopping cart is single, and people can choose to shop from multiple vendors in a single go.
Vendors, on the other hand, are looking for fast settlements. When you start having good sales on your platform, you will lose the option of processing payments as the orders come in. It is time-consuming and non-efficient. You can:
- Use a payment schedule in which every second week or monthly, you would pay the vendors.
- Use an automatic payment mode, in which vendors get paid as the order is processed.
You can use either of these two above-mentioned ways to process vendor payments.
5. Sales Reports
The world is data-driven now. The sales report can help you see how your vendors and suppliers are doing. It helps you get a bigger picture and also the revenue each vendor is helping you get. When you are managing the multi-vendor store, it is always better to check out individual sales reports; this can help you determine if they are doing their work efficiently or not.
Vendors are coming to you for the increased revenue. But if you are ready to go one step ahead and provide them branding too, it can be so much better.
For your customers, your eCommerce store should be important; they must connect with your brand. It is important that your marketplace should have been a unified brand; it is tough but not something impossible to achieve. Brand such as Etsy and eBay have achieved that crown, and that has helped them separate themselves from sellers to a unified platform to find reliable products.
Brand your multi-vendor website by using modern communication tools such as Newsletters, Emails, Social Media, and Loyalty programs, etc. These few methods would help you stand out from the competition and establish you as a trusted name.
7. Choose the right online store platform
Multi-vendor websites are ambitious projects that require many capabilities and efficiency in the operations. For this, you require a robust technology that supports your business at all levels.
Technologies such as Shopify, Opencart, and Magento 2 are the most trusted names in the eCommerce segment. They help you in multi-vendor management with add-ons and tools that come with it and also give you the flexibility and performance you require to meet the industry standards.
In this blog, we have discussed the challenges and components that you would have to manage as an admin to improve your customer experience and vendor experience on the site. Single vendor store and multi-vendor store management vary at different levels, and you would increase your problems if not depend on the right technology stack that gives you the capabilities to manage it.
To build a successful business, make sure the vendors and admin tasks are balanced well, and they save time confusion in operations. Overall streamline the complete process to meet the industry standards and gain a competitive edge by using data and insights to improve customer experience on your site.