The uptick in sellers on ecommerce platforms [Q&A]

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While consumers are often the center of attention in ecommerce platforms, sellers are just as important according to UAE’s online marketplace Jadopado, who recently boasted 10,000 sellers on its platform.

In an attempt to have a better understanding of its sellers, their needs, and challenges, Jadopado circulated a survey among 2000 sellers and released interesting insights as a result.

In the survey result published last month, the majority of respondents were small businesses with less than five employees, and are mostly selling electronic products.

Wamda interviewed Ali Rana, the startup’s marketing manager to learn more about the online selling culture.

Wamda: Your insights show that while fewer sellers entered the market during 2013 and 2014 compared to previous years, 2015 witnessed a boost in entry level. How do you explain these transitions?

Rana: In my opinion, a lot of sellers tried ecommerce in 2011 and 2012, but were left disappointed due to the lack of support in terms of payment gateways and online marketplaces. They were unable to generate the expected profits and hence either dropped their efforts to go digital or went dormant. By 2015, with the region becoming more ecommerce friendly, the sellers were happy to jump back on the ecommerce train.

Part of Jadopado's insights extracted from a survey they conducted with 2000 of their sellers. (Image via Jadopado)

Wamda: Only 37 percent of sellers you surveyed use paid advertising. Why do you think most sellers don’t see the value in paid advertisement? What do they rely on for marketing instead?

Rana: A lot of sellers consider marketing to be an additional cost, especially in the earlier stages of their business. For sellers who don’t rely on marketing, they rely mostly on word of mouth especially from excellent customers. They also tend to gain traction by having competitive pricing or attractive offers and bundles.

Wamda: Which is more preferred by online sellers and why: set up their own ecommerce website or join an online marketplace?

Rana: For the majority of sellers who are trying to sell online for the first time, they’ll go with a marketplace as a testing ground to evaluate their performance and success. Once they achieve their desired target, most sellers will keep the marketplace as an additional channel and start building their own ecommerce operation for more brand value, customizability and increased digital presence.

Wamda: How are you using technology to increase customer base?

Rana: Personalization of the customer journey is something that we are focused on. Ensuring that the taste of each and every customer is catered to and fulfilled. We also have a fantastic team of in-house analysts who ensure that all our decisions are data-driven.

Wamda: What do you think distinguishes a successful seller from an unsuccessful one?

Rana: A successful seller needs to have identified their market and target audience. They will always be a step ahead of their competitors - constantly changing, evolving and building on their current business.

The best way to distinguish between the two is how they treat their customers - how they deliver and interact with paying customers and, how they offer them support and guarantees when and if something goes wrong.

Wamda: Are the majority of your sellers brick and mortar shops, or online shops?

Rana: While our sellers are a healthy mix of online shops, physical retail stores and individual entrepreneurs, most of them start off as retail shops or individual sellers, but soon realize the untapped potential of digitizing their presence and complete a switch to the ecommerce platform.   

Wamda: How much of your sales are paid cash on delivery vs online payments?

Rana: With the region becoming more and more digital savvy, our COD order rate floats around 11 percent.

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