The 3 Pillars of Marketplace Success Explained

Since you are reading this, you’re probably involved in running a marketplace or dating site. If that’s true you know that achieving success isn’t a matter of getting only one thing right. A quality site or app is the sum of many smaller pieces. The tricky part is to get all of those smaller pieces right.

One piece of the puzzle is moderation, but even moderation isn’t as simple as just looking through content. You need a strategy and you need to tie your moderation efforts closely to your business goals.

During our over 15 years of experience moderating sites and apps across the world we have identified 3 main areas of moderation that, when done right, translate into a high caliber marketplace. We call these “The 3 Pillars of Marketplace Success”.

content questions screenshot

User Trust

In the physical world trust occurs a lot more naturally than it does online.

Shopping on a two-sided marketplace can be a disconnected experience. Since the person on the other end is semi anonymous and quite intangible, the site/app facilitating the contact also has to supply the trust that’s lost with the move from face to face to digital.
If users are consistently met with scams or illegal items when visiting your site or app, it’s unlikely that they will feel safe conducting business with anyone they meet in that environment. And if they can’t fulfil the primary reason for using your site/app without worrying about getting scammed or breaking the law, it’s very likely that they move on to another site or app that provides them with a safe shopping and selling environment.

User trust can however be elusive. It takes time to build and it can be challenging to find the right balance of keeping your users safe without being intrusive or jeopardizing the user experience. Still, there are six ways moderation can contribute to user trust on two-sided marketplaces.

 

Content Quality 

Content is the store front display of the digital age.

If users are met with spam and low quality content, they’ll quickly turn to the next app or site featuring more attractive and relevant offerings.

As such, irrelevant and low quality content that clutters search results unnecessarily, needs to be removed from your site before it drives customers away. Imagine if this is the first item shoppers encounter when trying to find a new phone through your site:

iPhone for sale sample page

How can they make a decision based on this? Do you think they would return to your site after an experience like that? We did a study earlier this year which showed that 73% of users would unsurprisingly be unlikely or highly unlikely to return to the site after seeing a listing like that. On top of that, ads like these don’t help the sellers achieve their goals either. It’s highly unlikely that they would actually manage to sell their phone without adding more detail and a quality image.

With moderation you can remove ads like that while prompting the seller to relist it with more relevant information. This will help keep and ensure high quality content, benefitting both buyers and sellers on your site.

 

User Experience

Mobile has molded us to expect instant gratification. For two-sided marketplaces that’s something you need to consider when trying to improve the user experience, but you need to have both buyers and sellers in mind when deciding on your strategy to counter this. The two personas can sometimes have needs and wants that are at odds with each other and as such action taken to improve the user experience for one, could negatively affect the user experience of the other. For instance, while you should in most cases moderate content before it goes live to ensure the safety of your buyers, you need to be quick about it so sellers don’t lose patience waiting for their listings to go live. You should aim to give them the instant gratification of seeing their content live (almost) immediately.

When considering user experience, think about what the main goals of your personas are when visiting your site/app. For buyers it is probably to find what they are looking for as fast and efficiently as possible. For sellers it is to sell their items or services quickly and smoothly. Luckily here the needs and wants of your two personas coincide. But how can you improve user experience? You can help them both by improving the search experience. With moderation you can significantly improve the search experience by removing duplicates and by moving listings to the correct categories. No more car seats in the car category!

how user generated content can significantly improve or decrease the user experience on your site

How can you use the 3 Pillars of Marketplace Success?

The aim of the three pillars is to give you a very quick and holistic view of how your marketplace is doing and which area you can target to quickly improve the overall performance of your site/app with small adjustments to your moderation strategy.

Sit down and go through your site, focusing on one pillar at a time to see where you have the most room for improvement. Then compare that to your current business goal and get to work on the area with the most potential ROI.

If you are interested in a more in-depth analysis of your content we also offer marketplace audits. Reach out to hear more.

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