How to Select a Freelancer Marketplace Plugin for WordPress

Introduction

Freelance services have expanded exponentially in the past decade and are projected to increase further in the coming years. With such growth, it is predicted that freelancers will account for as much as 80% of the entire workforce worldwide by 2030. The so-called “gig economy” is not just another buzzword anymore. With 57.3 million freelancers in the US alone (which makes around 36% of the total country’s workforce), there is no denying the fact that it is now the reality we live in.

These online professional services marketplaces serve as mediators between employers and workers to help them establish business relationships with each other. Each day, these websites help millions of their users find suitable jobs or staff, thereby earning their owners tremendous income. Freelance work, previously seen as pure side gigs and extra jobs, has now become a big job choice.

Using a WordPress Freelancer Marketplace Plugin

When you want to optimize your Freelance Marketplace’s strengths and functionality, using a WordPress Plugin is the perfect way to do that. Below are some of the reasons why you should use WordPress Freelance Marketplace Plugin to build your own Platform for Freelancer.

  • Freelance Marketplace Plugins are specifically designed and built to meet the needs of people interested in creating a freelance marketplace or other related ventures, after extensive study. Therefore, providing you with a Freelance Platform with the best framework possible would include all the necessary features and capabilities.
  • There is a rich eco-system available with WordPress plugins and codes that can help you develop and customize your WordPress Freelance Marketplace in whatever way you wish.
  • WordPress plugins have the potential to help you focus more on SEO and content marketing. They are two really effective tactics that will in no time draw clients and visitors to your website.
  • Finally, it wouldn’t be a problem with WordPress integrating with other tools and plugins. If required, you can use multiple WordPress solutions altogether to help you develop and automate your website on the Freelance Services Marketplace.

How to Find a Suitable WordPress Plugin for a Freelancer Marketplace

You’ll need to study and compare what plugins are better suited for your WordPress website. Below are several parameters that could be used:

  • Design: You need to get the template tested. A Freelancer Marketplace website uses many complex workflows, which is why it is critical that the plugin offers a great design and user-friendly features.
  • Payment Gateways: For a freelancer marketplace the processing of payments is crucial. It’s not really a problem, to begin with but later you do need a solution to essentially automate all payments. Therefore you will need to test which payment gateways are supported and you can use your WordPress plugin to enforce this. However, bear in mind, many payment gateways only allow businesses in some countries and many businesses in other countries than the US and Western Europe still have trouble getting accepted by other payment gateways.
  • Scalability: You’ll need to test the plugin’s backend structure in terms of technical scalability but also administrative ease here. It is vital that the backend has all the information at hand so that the website operator can easily find out what is going on and have all the details at hand in case of conflicts or demands for refunds.
  • Eco-System: Does the plugin come with an ecosystem of other great plugins, which can be easily added later in a cost-effective way? Here you want to start with a simple configuration to test your idea first but then you want to have access to a rich ecosystem with other plugins where you can easily add additional functionality to make your platform very awesome and where you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every time. So, you can verify whether your Freelancer Marketplace plugins are compatible with other applications or plugins.
  • Familiarity: You may also need to bear in mind that it is easier to find cost-effective developers for technical assistance when choosing a plugin that is compatible with other applications such as WooCommerce or Easy Digital Downloads because they have already worked on similar projects.

Must-have Features of an Excellent Freelancer Marketplace

In my opinion, if you want a perfect freelance marketplace, it must have the following features available:

1. Easy Onboarding Process – The platform must also offer a quick and easy onboarding process that will benefit both the customer and freelancer. The best feature for this one is that the customer can hire the freelancer right on his profile, or right on the Freelancer List.

2. Freelancer List – Customers must easily locate each of the available Freelancers, along with their profiles to check and see whether they fit the criteria that the customer is looking for.

3. Excellent Bidding Process with the option to Create Project Milestones – It is a must-have for a Freelancer Marketplace to have an excellent bidding flow and process. It must contain necessary and clear information about the Freelancer’s Bid, and also the option to create project Milestones(either by the Customer or the Freelancer).

4. Rating Procedure – The platform should enable the parties to rate each other depending on their performance as a party involved in the project.

5. Social Login – Since many people will register to your platform, we must give them an easy and quick registration process, by enabling them to register using their Social Accounts.

6. Manage Disputes and Settlements among the Parties – Different problems, issues and misunderstandings may arise during Project Execution among the parties, so because of that, there must be a way for the parties to report any disputes to the Site Administrators. They should have the capacity to submit disputes or claims against the party and the whole process needs to be managed.

7. Ability to scale up the Freelancer Marketplace – Besides offering Freelance Services to your customer, it is a great strategy if you are able to offer other products or services right on your Freelancer Marketplace. You can either sell digital downloads, website themes and designs, documents, and others. There’s always an opportunity to let more revenue flow in so we don’t want to waste it.

8. Payment Gateways – Freelancer Marketplace must have the ability to collect payments early on and hold them back until the projects are closed. Preferably, customers can pay with different payment methods such as Credit Cards, PayPal Balance and many more options.

These are just a few suggestions I have in mind if we are to talk about an efficient and effective Freelance Marketplace platform to service customers. Of course, there would be a lot more, but I hope you keep in mind these important features.

In order to achieve the above features on your Freelancer Marketplace Platform. You might want to check out this Freelancer Marketplace Plugin for WordPress.This plugin will help you build a freelancer marketplace for WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads. It also offers a comprehensive collection of settings and configurations to give you total control over your own freelancer marketplace, allowing you to configure it any way you want.

Conclusion: Developing a Freelance Marketplace is not a problem when you have the perfect solution

It will never be easy to start your own Freelancer marketplace with WordPress without the right resources and software, to begin with. You may have thought it would be difficult today to create your own online marketplace for freelance services, but what you really need is to be completely prepared and ready with the right tool, skills, and knowledge.

Just make sure that these features are well integrated and incorporated on your Freelance Marketplace, as well as the correct marketing and management, your marketplace will soon be up and running together with many clients and freelancers working with you.

Value of Good Customer Service for your Digital Product Webstore

If they run into problems, customer anger rises and they can’t find a representative to speak to quickly. There are many online businesses that are not responding to customer complaints or their responses are very sluggish, adding insult to injury. However, response time is crucial because three out of five customers never complete their purchases due to poor customer service.

American shoppers believe that customer service is a “true test” of how much a brand values them. Which is to say, they recall the customer service you have. For both negative and positive reasons the customer service that you provide is strong. 70% of consumers said they would remain loyal to certain retailers because of good customer service and 70% of customers cite poor customer service as a reason for not buying from a brand.

It costs seven times more to attract new customers than to retain existing customers. Providing excellent customer service not only improves revenue and revenues but also allows businesses in the industry to stand out. There are so many ways to offer excellent online service, even without face-to-face contact.

What is Good Customer Service?

Customer service is the position that lets clients get the value they’ve paid for from a product or service, particularly when things go wrong. Most companies have a dedicated customer service team, but those invested in providing quality experiences make support a priority for the organization at large.

The word ‘good customer service’ is intended to help clients make the right decisions. Your eCommerce brand needs to reduce the uncertainty of your customer, answer any questions and build enough confidence to persuade the shopper to pull the trigger and purchase. In comparison to traditional retailers – online shops don’t benefit from supportive customer service assistants.

Good Customer Service Strategies

Below are some best strategies to exercise good customer services on your WordPress webstore:

Build trust and relationship with customers

Loyalty is both the rarest asset in eCommerce and the main determinant of sustained eCommerce performance. When you can produce loyal customers consistently-you have a competitive advantage for yourself.

Note, the market is full of rivals and if your customer service fails by any measure, online shoppers need not walk far to visit one of the thousands of other rival stores in your niche. eCommerce brands need to work harder to maintain customers and create trust than any other company. It’s just that quick to abandon your online shoppers without having to offer any explanation.

Request Customer Feedback

Let’s face it, most consumers won’t leave reviews or suggestions unless you ask them to. Write a follow-up email asking them to rate their experience or write a short review on your blog or on social media. They’ll more than likely jump on it, particularly if you’re offering a small discount on a future purchase for that.

Feedback and ratings are also important for the company as they provide useful information and allow companies to see what works and what isn’t. Poor reviews aren’t all negative either, they’re an opportunity to find out and fix what went wrong. If the review was constructive or negative, reacting and thanking the client is often the right way to. Getting a conversation started is often a win-win. And the name of the game is being positive with social media.

Live Chat With Customers

Live chat is a great way for current and potential customers to get easy, easily accessible help. Fixes real-time consumer issues. There’s no need to have live chat available 24/7. You should set hours and post them on your website, so that customers know where you can be found. The duration of live chat will be dependent on the highest traffic levels, with additional hours added during a sale or directly after a promotional email has been sent.

Provide Service Through Social Media

Community Support for the clients. Social networking is where people meet and talk and connect, so why not be where your clients are and talk with them to answer any questions or concerns they may have. Your customers will not only appreciate the immediate attention, but it will also encourage future customers to see how open your company is.

Alerts from social media let you know when your business is being addressed, and let you join in the discussion. According to a report by Bain & Company, businesses that connect with customers and respond to customer service requests on social media end up generating 20 to 40 percent more revenue from those clients.

Prepare FAQs to lessen customer inquiries

Head off (and reduce) supporting questions by developing a FAQ page or other documentation that communicates your specific policies and responds to the most popular queries. Providing this knowledge to your customers, and making it easy to find, gives them the opportunity to self-serve and saves valuable time.

5 Tips in replying to a customer

1. Respond as soon as possible – Always get back to the customer as soon as possible whenever there’s an issue. Cases like these need attention since they could’ve spotted a technical issue happening on the website. Otherwise, it is still important to be active in answering inquiries and questions.

2. Be helpful by offering assistance – If the customers complain about not being happy with the digital product they bought, instead of directly conducting a refund, it is better to ask the customer what they are unhappy about the product. 

Negative feedback will be very helpful in further improving the product. Or in our case, we simply assist the customer and help them on how to use the product properly. This way, we are showing that we truly care about the customer’s thoughts and that we are putting effort into connecting with our customers.

3. Avoid compromising the store’s reputation – If there was an issue with your system and caused inconvenience to the customer, if possible, avoid divulging too much information when explaining to the customer. Compromising the store’s reputation is the last thing you want (e.g. web stores system being faulty). As long as it can be fixed as soon as possible, an apology email works but it’s best to not make it sound severe and be simple about it. 

4. Always investigate customer claims thoroughly –  There was actually one time where a customer lied about purchasing a product from us. It turns out, he was just trying to get a free product. But we handled it by being nice and polite all the way. 

Showing screenshots (if any) of unpaid transactions or no transactions at all under the same name/email. Another case would be a customer did purchase a product but used a different email and name. As such, there was a misunderstanding but was easily resolved by asking politely without judging the customer right away. At the end of the day, staying polite is the best solution in handling cases like these and at the same time being thorough.

5. Always be polite – Customers often get nervous when buying digital products online due to fraudulent cases, hence, if there’s a case where they don’t receive the product after purchasing, they mostly complain, reach out, and scream “scam”. Cases like these are unavoidable and happen quite often for digital marketplaces/stores. But, don’t get discouraged. Just reach back and explain the cause of the delay after investigating the case thoroughly. It could be there was a system bug, payment not going through, or other hiccups that delayed the process. 

Again, being polite is the best way to go and, of course, don’t forget to add the line “Thank you for your understanding and patience”. Though the customer might be quite the opposite of what the line means, in this way, we can calm their opinion about the store.

Conclusion: Good Customer Service equals to Sales

Customer service is vitally essential for any company. While the internet breaks down barriers to retail market entry around the world, competition for eCommerce is intense. The goods are a commodity more than ever before. Customer service is an important part of the brand.

When the best customer service in your market is offered by your eCommerce shop, you can build loyal customer relationships, create daily repeat sales and maintain profit margins by persuading consumers to pay a premium. Focusing on customer satisfaction and providing your customers with the very best experience gives your company an incredible, competitive advantage that goes way beyond your competition. Concentrate on the entire shopping experience through consumers ‘eyes to make sure it’s simple, friendly, and personal all over your web.

As for a Digital Product Marketplace, apart from exercising a Good Customer Service, one must also know how to properly manage their vendors, since they are a vital component of a marketplace. This article How to Manage Vendors in a Digital Product Marketplace could be very helpful for you.

As many experienced online marketers know, you’ll be on the road to success when you put your customers and vendors first and meet their needs, rather than putting your goods or services first.

How to improve website navigation for your EDD store

It is very important to work your first impression with customers. If your website is unappealing to your audience and difficult to navigate, then it’s likely to increase the bounce rate. Your website navigation should instead help customers find the products they want quickly and easily.

Good navigation on your Easy Digital Downloads WordPress websites improves the online shopping experience and helps merchants increase sales and profits. Setting up your WordPress websites with Easy Digital Downloads could be your smartest move if you are into eCommerce and have excellent digital goods ready to offer for download.

Even relatively small differences in global navigation — i.e., the navigation that appears on almost every page of a site — may significantly impact users and their ability to find products. They have increasingly shorter attention spans, so you need to be able to quickly attract their attention – and make the shopping experience pleasant and easy.

Why improve your website navigation?

It can be safely said that navigation is one of the most critical parts of your store’s design. Good navigation provides an improved user experience leading to more sales and revenue. On the other hand, poor navigation frustrates the users leading to a higher bounce rate.

As mentioned before, poor website navigation has a higher tendency to increase the bounce rate.  As a matter of fact, studies show that 76% of consumers say the most important characteristic of a website is ease of use. The objective is to help shoppers get to what they want faster and without running into unnecessary complexity that can clog up the path to purchase.

Navigation can make or break your website’s overall performance when it comes to retaining visitors, keeping them engaged and driving them through the conversion funnel. Strong site navigation makes it easy for visitors to quickly find the information that interests them. It also helps search engines index your important information efficiently and effectively.

So in summary, webstore owners need to once in a while check and optimize their site navigation because:

  • Site navigation is very important to customers until they reach their purchase decision.
  • Excellent Navigation leads to more sales and revenue for your webstore.
  • Increased your Visit Duration and Decreased Bounce Rate
  • Keep your clients and visitors happy and coming back for more, thus you won’t lose your customers.
  • Good navigation makes the whole process easy and smooth. Bad navigation is frustrating and can lead to a loss of sales.

Although it may seem negligible, having organized and easy-to-follow navigation for a website is very beneficial and important for the overall user experience.

How to Improve Website Navigation for EDD

Even relatively small differences in global navigation — i.e., the navigation that appears on almost every page of a site — may significantly impact users and their ability to find products.

To improve your EDD WordPress site navigation, consider these suggestions.

1) Search Feature

Search is one of the most important tools for EDD WordPress website navigation. It should be included at or near the top of every page on a site. For this, you need to select a good EDD theme that already offers an on-site search bar or install a search plugin instead.

When using an in-site search feature, the search results page must always produce relevant results. It must compensate for misspellings, show related items and even produce results for products you don’t have while displaying similar products you offer.

2) Accurate navigation titles

Visitors should have a general idea of what they should find on a page even before clicking any navigational link. This is true whether it’s the main navigation link or an internal text link. Use accurate text to describe the linked page so visitors know what they’re going to get. Cryptic or misleading navigation text confuses and annoys visitors, possibly to the point of site abandonment. Make sure all link verbiage, whether textual or in an image, accurately portrays the corresponding pages.

3) Clickable links and pages on the navigation

When using multiple categorical divisions in your navigation, all heading elements should be clickable links. This is true even with drop-down menus where clicking a sub-category link may be the natural inclination of the visitor.

In order to add a navigation menu on your EDD website, an excellent and flexible plugin we have been using is the Nav Menu Roles. This plugin lets you hide custom menu items based on user roles.

4) Product Categories and Subcategories

Product categories are often arranged in a hierarchy that moves from the general to the specific. It is possible, however, that some products might naturally appear in more than one hierarchy.

5) Keep it consistent

Consistent navigation promotes ease of use and increases your visitors’ ability to find relevant information more quickly, and also so that people can find their way around the site from wherever they happen to be. If your navigation is constantly changing from page to page (except where absolutely necessary), visitors lose their on-site bearings and must reorient themselves constantly.

6) Follow Design Conventions

Although it might be fun to generate a unique and unusual form of website navigation, for eCommerce it is often best to follow common design and navigation conventions. With this in mind, navigation should either be at the top of the page or, for sites featuring left-to-right reading languages, on the left side of the page.

7) Filtered Navigation.

If you have tons of products on your webstore, Filtered navigation is essential. It makes for effective browsing by allowing the customer to narrow their product selection by eliminating results that are irrelevant to them.

8) Product Displays and Carousel Sliders

Carousels, or image sliders, and even simple product displays are commonplace on eCommerce sites which can be achieved by using shortcode for WordPress. Essentially, they allow your customers to promote several different products without using all of the space on the page, thus making it more user-friendly, creating an eye-candy, animated display. Fortunately, there is WordPress shortcode plugin out there that you can use.

If you want a WordPress shortcode plugin to enable product/vendors displays on your webstore, either a simple grid display or a carousel slider, you can try checking out the EDD Advanced Shortcodes plugin. This truly enhances website navigation and browsing capabilities of your products and vendor profiles in a more powerful manner using the advanced shortcode for WordPress provided.

9) Fix Broken Links

Always keep in mind to frequently check and fix broken links. Whether the page is yours or another website’s that you hyperlinked somewhere, 404 error pages aren’t helpful for visitors. Actually, they make them want to leave. WordPress has multiple plugins to check for broken links within your pages, posts, comments, directories, etc. but I suggest using Broken Link Checker since it’s one of the top plugins for this purpose.

10) Optimize for Mobile

As of 2017 Q1, mobile devices were found to be used for 49.7% of overall web page views globally. Make sure that everything you have on your desktop website version fits well with the mobile version. Choose either to create a responsive or adaptive mobile version depending on budget and what works best for your overall needs.

Keeping it simple and obvious will keep your clients and visitors happy and coming back for more. Be sure that your visitors are able to locate the necessary information as soon as possible, without searching through heaps of extra information. Navigation should assist the user in finding all the information they are after before a call to action can be made.

Conclusion: Make it easy for customers to find what they want!

Continuously thinking of new ways to attract more visitors to your EDD webstores can be very challenging. But what’s even more difficult is to keep and make your customers stay browsing on your website, how? That’s where good website navigation takes place. This should make it easy for your visitors to find exactly what they’re looking for.

Improving your website navigation also comes with improving your website speed. When it comes to page speed and load time, an improvement of just a single second can have huge implications for your bottom line. The result of this is faster loading times and happier visitors. You can read through this article “A Guide to WordPress Caching and the Best Caching Plugins” to learn more about WordPress Caching.

No one wants to go through leaps and hurdles to get to the endpoint, so make it easy and optimize your navigation for better user experience. Use any or all of these techniques above for your Easy Digital Downloads WordPress website, and you’ll be helping yourself and your visitors to move them toward your ultimate goal – conversions.

Best Abandoned Cart Email Strategies for EDD

Are you spending loads of your hard-earned money on driving more visitors to your Easy Digital Downloads WordPress website using various eCommerce paid tools and or via Facebook Ads or Google Adwords, yet not seeing the revenue follow? For most eCommerce businesses, one of the biggest leaks in their sales and marketing funnel is shoppers who add products to their cart, but then abandon them at checkout.

Cart abandonment is a rising challenge for all retail marketers as well as the most common and most inevitable scenario. SalesCycle reported that approximately 75.6% of carts were abandoned in 2018 and unfortunately, this is a number that has slowly been increasing in recent years. That means that only 1 in every 4 customers actually finishes their purchase.

Source: https://blog.salecycle.com/stats/infographic-the-remarketing-report-q2-2016/

This is why marketers usually turn towards emails to help recover these abandoned sales. Good Abandoned Cart Emails are so important for eCommerce marketers. With a great eCommerce marketing automation strategy (including the timing and message), they can set it up and have it recover sales on autopilot. This type of eCommerce email is one of the most effective, revenue-generating emails that you can send to prospects.

But if you’ve never set up a cart abandonment email, or you’re not satisfied with your current results, you’re probably wondering what makes great cart abandonment emails. That’s what we’ll be looking at today.

What are Abandoned Cart Emails?

Abandoned Cart Emails are messages sent automatically whenever a customer comes to your webstore and adds an item to their cart, but doesn’t buy the item. These emails can also be triggered when the customer abandons the checkout flow.

In other words, this is a follow-up email sent to someone who has added items to their cart and gotten through a portion of the checkout and then left the site without purchasing. Abandoned cart emails work to remind customers of items they left in cart – enticing them to come back to purchase what they are already so close to buying.

Consider these abandoned cart statistics from Moosend:

Source: Moosend

There are different types of emails you can send to your customers. But with numbers like that, cart reminder emails give some of the highest returns on your investment.

Now it may not be possible to persuade all cart-abandoners to go through checkout and triple your sales. Some customers may have never had the intention to purchase in the first place. But it’s worth putting in the effort to resolve as many lingering hesitations as you can because a significant percentage of them are persuadable.

Why do customers abandon their carts?

We can’t eliminate shopping cart abandonment. But, we can try to understand its root cause so as we can properly plan ahead and deal with it. Here’s a survey Baymard Institute has conducted containing reasons for Abandonment during Checkout.

Source: Baymard survey of 2,854 consumers, 2019

Now we can rehab our webstores by taking into consideration the above cart abandonment reasons. Work your way on making your checkout process smooth and hassle-free. But again, shopping cart abandonment cannot be totally eliminated. Other reasons why they abandon their carts are: visitors are just browsing, found a better price elsewhere and maybe suddenly have decided against buying it.

Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices

Even though we can’t eliminate cart abandonment entirely, we can minimize the likelihood of it happening – by using abandoned cart emails. Good abandoned cart email is one of the most effective, revenue-generating emails that you can send to prospects.

And in this article, we will show you some outstanding cart recovery email strategies that will help you lower your cart abandonment rate and increase your bottom line.

In order to be successful, there are some important things you need to include in your cart abandonment emails. They are enumerated as follows:

  1. High converting subject lines
  2. Include abandoned product
  3. Keep email simple and personal
  4. Offer Discount Codes/Coupons
  5. Mail Frequency and Creating Urgency
  6. Add CTA buttons and Contact Details
  7. Trust and Credibility through Product Reviews / Social Proofs
  8. Display your other products

Let’s explain each of the above Abandoned Cart Email Best Practices.

Unique and Effective Subject Line

If you like the subject line, and if you trust the sender, you will open it. If not, the chances are high that you won’t open it. In fact, 35% of email recipients open an email based on subject line alone.

This means that a good and effective subject line for abandoned cart email can grab the attention of the customer and increase open and click rates.

When recipients read your subject lines, they should be reminded of what they left behind. A well-written subject line for abandoned cart email can go a long way toward piquing the interest of reluctant customers.

Include abandoned product

Showcase exactly what was left behind in your customer’s cart. Reminding the product what they have missed out is very important. Make sure to add the product along with the product image, description, benefits, and features, etc. It’s not enough anymore to just include the name of the product. The image is a must along with the product details.

People might not remember what products had them clicking the “add to cart” button. After all, they may not really remember what product they abandoned if they had a particularly busy looking and scrolling through different webstores.

Keep email simple and personal

Besides attractive images and contrasting CTA buttons, it’s important that you have a convincing and personalized text and content that’s ultimately pushing towards conversions. With 94% of businesses saying how critical email personalization is to their success, basic personalization such as including the customer’s first name in the salutation or subject line is proven effective and very important.

An excellent subject line may contain some important points such as:

  • Customize the message by including their names or product names.
  • Make use of some great offers to bribe them in opening the email.
  • Play the idea “Fear Of Missing Out” (FOMO) to your customers.
  • Make it short and simple but alluring enough for them to open the email.

Also, it’s important never to overload readers with information. Instead, focus on what’s necessary for the prospect to return to their cart and complete their order. Writing short emails is an effective way of ensuring that you hold the reader’s attention long enough to do this.

Offer Discount Codes/Coupons

Most customers abandon their carts because the final price is more than what they expected. And there’s a simple way to recover the customers who have been scared away by the final price: issue a discount.

Offering discounts for customers to complete their purchases can really work in your favor. But, be aware of the pitfalls. A common concern is training customers to abandon transactions on purpose to receive a discount.

If you were to offer a discount in your email, it could be the final push they need to complete their purchase. Save your discounts for the end. If you send a sequence of emails, save that coupon code for the very last one. This is your last shot at getting the customer to convert, after all.

Mail Frequency and Creating Urgency

Mail Frequency is a very essential element in your cart recovery process. When to send an abandoned cart email? Many stores prefer sending the cart recovery email right after the visitor abandoned the cart. Sending the email within an hour after the customer abandoned the cart, is the most preferred time because:

  • The email will arrive before the customer totally forgets about the cart;
  • The customer is still in their “buying” mood;
  • The email will arrive before the customer decides to purchase elsewhere.

Also, sending additional email reminders will greatly improve our chances of success. We can earn more revenue from abandoned carts and increase sales conversion by following up with a series of emails.

  • Email #2 must be sent after 24 hours, after the first one. Usually, the customers shop at the same time of the day. Also, we’ll remind them once again of their cart contents and of any discounts.
  • Email #3 must be sent after 72 hours, after the previous email. Use a persuasion technique of scarcity, by telling customers that the discount will expire soon. This is your last chance of converting the customer.

The most common way in creating a sense of urgency is by putting a limited time offers in the recovery emails we sent – usually free shipping or product discounts. This way, the customers will be more interested to take advantage of the discount and then continue with the purchase as soon as possible.

Add CTA buttons and Contact Details

Bold and attractive CTAs can really grab the attention of the shopper and push them towards an action you want them to take. Make it easy for the customer to finish buying the product. Let them know what they abandoned, show it (with a big image), then put the bold, easy-to-see, contrasting CTA right below that product image.

Another important thing to include in your contact information for people who want to reach out to ask further questions. There are many reasons why shoppers abandon carts. They may have extra questions and it’s a good idea to include your support contact info.

Trust and Credibility through Product Reviews / Social Proofs

Customers have become more careful especially first-time visitors on your website will need a little more convincing before opening up their wallets and proceed to purchase. This is where social proof can help you convert those first-time visitors or skeptical buyers.

The best way to do that is to use product ratings and reviews so that those prospects can see that other people (like themselves) have happily purchased from you before.

When 88% of consumers claim that ratings and reviews influenced their buying decision, this represents a big opportunity for you. Instead of just using this social proof on your website, you can use it in your abandoned cart reminder emails too.

Display your other products

People might have abandoned their shopping cart because they were unsure of their choice — maybe the item isn’t exactly what they had in mind. But, they might be sold on similar items they missed the first time.  Sometimes, offering alternatives to abandoned cart items can help return a missed sales opportunity.

With product recommendations, it’s easy to show off other stuff that your customers will love. (They might even like those options better.) Visitors might not have been completely sold on the items they added to their cart, but they might be interested in similar items they didn’t notice the first time on your site.

Conclusion: Start turning missed opportunities into recovered sales!

Too many eCommerce sites let potential revenue fly out the window because they don’t send people a friendly reminder that they left something behind. Improving your abandoned cart recovery is an incremental process that requires many smaller steps.

A good abandoned cart email contains many different elements which vary greatly from business to business. You might need to do a few testing to create an abandoned cart email that works for you and your audience. A great cart recovery campaign can make people remember you. 75% of shoppers plan on coming back to their abandoned cart. Quickly change their “plan” into “did” with abandoned cart emails that work. You see, abandoned cart emails are easy to set up, and really it should be something that everyone does give the high abandonment rates.

We are all aware that cart abandonment is an issue that can never be fully eliminated. But with some effort, we can at least recover a portion of our abandoned carts and to eventually turn those into actual orders. You can also read this article “How to effectively recover Abandoned Carts in eCommerce” to learn more. Don’t forget to apply the strategies above, and get started on recovering sales today.

How to optimize your Easy Digital Downloads WordPress Checkout Page

You’ve might work hard to attract visitors to your Easy Digital Downloads WordPress website and put a lot of time and money into creating and developing your products, but if those visitors don’t make it through your checkout process to finalize the purchase, none of those things really matters. Your success rises and falls on how many sales you make, not barely on how many people you can attract to your site. Unfortunately, most eCommerce websites don’t do checkout very well.

The checkout page is the most important part of your website as this is where prospects become customers, and it’s where you make money. Also, it is a frequently overlooked area for webstore owners looking for ways to increase online revenue and conversion. Achieving the best checkout page requires testing and optimization to hit your desired conversion rates and ensure your customers complete their transactions. Some eCommerce businesses excel at the checkout page while others overlook the functionality of this all-importance page.

Why do you need to optimize your checkout page?

While you may think a single page can’t cost your site that much money, you’d be surprised by how much a poorly-done checkout page could harm your conversions. Do you know why are you losing customers at your checkout page? Shopping cart abandonment is a big issue for eCommerce store owners because it can cost hundreds of billions of dollars in lost sales.

Tweaking your checkout page to better fit the needs of your business, and customers can have a significant impact on your revenue that will, therefore, increase your sales conversion rate in the long run. Fortunately, simply by tweaking a few small details in your checkout process, you can improve your conversion rate by a whopping 35.26%. But, how can we do that?

Best Checkout Page Optimization Strategies

Now that you’re crystal-clear on exactly how important your checkout page design is, let’s go straight to the best checkout page strategies to optimize your checkout page for higher conversion rates.

  • Keep process quick and simple

With each field you add to your checkout page you’re increasing the amount of time it takes a customer to give you money. Plenty of conversion studies have shown that the fewer clicks to checkout there are, the higher your conversion rate will be. With the cart and basket pages, the key is to keep things as simple as possible. Only include custom fields that are absolutely necessary, since these naturally provide more shopper friction.

The email address should be one of the first pieces of information collected. By collecting the email address first, you’re able to target customers later if their cart is abandoned. Only show fields that are absolutely required. Keeping your checkout form simple and free of clutter is an easy way to put your customers at ease while they breeze through the checkout process.

  • Remove page distractions

Keep in mind in order to be effective, your checkout page has to be laser-focused and straightforward. The goal of your checkout page is to get your customers to complete their purchase. This means you should only have one Call To Action (CTA) prompting your customer to make a purchase. You can replace or minimize the header and footer, in order to prevent any distractions for the user. The focus of the checkout page should be — well, the checkout page.

  • Display trust signals

When a visitor is shopping on your site, and providing private information, they want to feel safe. A secure site not only puts your customers at ease; it can also help you convert more visitors into customers. Baymard says that around 19% of visitors abandon the checkout page because they don’t trust sites with their payment information.

Don’t forget to include credit card logos and security seals. Trusted payment logos and trust badges/seals (if applicable) should be displayed prominently on your checkout page, along with accepted forms of payment. Displaying these images to your customers will increase their sense of security and trust in your site. Let shoppers know your site is a secure, trusted place to do business. Also, if you offer a money-back guarantee or some important notes you want to tell your customers, be sure to add those in the checkout page as well.

  • Make checkout mobile friendly

There is a possibility that your E-commerce website is responsive but is your checkout page optimized for mobile users? Stats show that 74% of mobile users are more likely to revisit your site in the future if your site works well on a mobile phones. Mobile optimization for the checkout page is a must to improve sales and conversion rates.

A fast, simple checkout will be significantly easier to use on mobile devices. Remember that more and more transactions are taking place on mobile devices, and a clunky mobile checkout might send a potential customer off to a competitor’s site.

  • Improve site loading times

Do you know that increasing the number of components on your checkout page will result in increased load times and reduced customer satisfaction? 59% of people will abandon a webpage if it doesn’t load within 3 seconds. Make sure to eliminate distraction by removing unnecessary features from your checkout page, and stick to the basics.

Stress test important pages on your site as much as possible to know how they work under extreme conditions, and investigate Google PageSpeed Modules or other tools to speed up load times.

  • Include multiple payment options

Offering multiple payment options is one of the best ways to keep these visitors shopping. 8% of people abandon the checkout page because they can’t find the payment option they want. And another 4% leave if their credit card is declined.

Offering multiple payment methods makes this easier for the customer, as they can choose the payment method they’re most comfortable with to overcome purchasing objections. Offering as many payment methods as you’re comfortable can drive additional conversions by ensuring your customers pay with the method of their choice. The preferred payment options are by credit card (42%) followed by PayPal (39%).

  • Guest Checkout

In the Baymard research, 37% of shoppers abandoned carts because they had to create an account to shop. That’s a huge number of potential customers to lose. Some of your customers will be hesistant to create an account with your store upon checkout — registration forms such as this can be very time-consuming and tiring to fill out, and they create mental tension by requiring another “decision” during checkout.

Anonymous checkouts are especially important for first-time customers. Forcing users to sign up for an account on the website before they reach the checkout page has been shown to decrease conversion rates. To solve this problem and make things easier for your customers is by introducing a guest checkout or including social login to make signup easy.

  • Offer Up-sells and Cross-sells

These are sales techniques we can also add on our checkout page to optimize sales conversion. Cross-selling pitches products in addition to what the customer is already interested in, and upselling suggests a more expensive version of the product. The idea is to make the customer spend more money they originally thought they’d spend. These are great, and have always done the trick when trying to increase online sales.

Unlike an eCommerce business that sells physical products, digital products that are available instantly don’t require a shipping address or phone number. Street address, state, and zip code are all fields you can immediately eliminate from your checkout form. Thus, the checkout page of a digital product webstore offers a simple, easy and less complicated checkout than with buying a physical product. So we need to remember that it is very important to make the checkout least difficult part of your customer’s eCommerce journey.

Conclusion: Increase your Sales Conversion Rate!

All in all, your eCommerce checkout page is the most important part of your online store. You cannot win sales and grow your business if you cannot get consumers to convert. A smooth checkout flow can increase profits for your online business and can improve cart abandonment rates.

Optimizing your checkout process will help increase revenue, and customer satisfaction. Along with this, you can also try improving the totality of your website by making sure that you have good and smooth site navigation. But where do you start? You can read this article “How to improve website navigation for your EDD store” to learn some tips and strategies on how to excel with site navigation.

Conversion rate optimization is an ongoing process. Develop ideas, make a change, test to see how it affects sales. I admit, there are other ways, too. But, it’s a guarantee that these steps will help you stay on the right track.

How to Build a Digital Product Multi-Vendor Marketplace Platform in WordPress

WordPress today powers 30% of the world’s websites and leading eCommerce software such as WooCommerce are actually WordPress plugins which have proven that WordPress is much more than just a blogging solution.

When you are considering setting up a multi-vendor digital product marketplace you might want to consider using Easy Digital Downloads (EDD). EDD is the leading WordPress solution which is specialized in selling digital products and offers a marketplace extension as well. Unlike WooCommerce, Easy Digital Downloads does not come with any in-built legacy made for shipping physical products, instead, it is truly optimized in selling digital products. In this article, we will outline how to set up a multi-vendor marketplace platform in WordPress with Easy Digital Downloads.

If you are interested in more information, please download our Free eBook on How to Build a digital product marketplace on WordPress which contains even more comprehensive and detailed information on how to set up a multi-vendor marketplace for digital products.

You can get our FREE EBOOK here:

Why create a Digital Product Multi-Vendor Marketplace Platform?

Sales for online marketplaces are expected to greatly double from $18.7 billion in 2017 to $40.1 billion in 2022 (MCFADYEN based on eMarketers). During the May 2018 survey made by Statista, 50 percent of global shoppers stated that they preferred to make first-time purchases at a retailer, whereas 47 percent of repeat buyers preferred online marketplaces. As per Statista, two of the top three reasons for purchasing at a marketplace instead of a retailer were more competitive prices and a broader selection of products available. Also 38% of all online shoppers in 2017 ordered from abroad.

Number of Digital Buyers Worldwide, Source: Smartinsights 2017 based on eMarketer

First of all, why should your first choice be is to sell a digital product and not a physical product in your marketplace? The three main reasons are:

(1) No inventory required

(2) No shipping and handling problems

(3) Easier to sell worldwide

When selling digital products, a creator will have the choice to either sell his digital products on his own website or using a digital product marketplace. Below are the arguments why it can be a good idea to start a multi-vendor marketplace platform rather than a single vendor store:

Why starting a Digital Multi-Vendor Marketplace Platform?

  • Trend and demand for niche marketplaces
  • Selling a digital product is easier than selling a physical product
  • Buyers prefer choice and larger product inventories 
  • Same launch costs as single-vendor websites
  • Low fixed costs enhancing chances of achieving break-even early on
  • Scalable business models with benefits in obtaining traffic (e.g. SEO and Social Media)

Types of digital eCommerce, Source: Pluginsandsnippets.com

Best is to start a digital product marketplace only in a niche you are very familiar with as this will save you time and it allows you to find solutions to problems quicker than when you know nothing about an industry. Some people also say you need a large amount of passion. We think it cannot hurt and will only help you if you actually care about the products you will sell in your digital product marketplace.

Before starting a WordPress Marketplace – Market Research

Conducting market research is the very first step we must work on and do before even building and starting our Digital Product WordPress marketplace. It is important to first conduct thorough market research and study the essential factors which can affect and contribute to the success of the business plan when starting a digital product marketplace.

Below an example of simple competitor research is presented:

Illustrative example competitor analysis, Source: www.pluginsandsnippets.com

An effective way to conduct a market study is by starting with the closest competitors of your digital product marketplace idea. Try to especially focus on the top 5 or 10 competitors and thoroughly research their profiles to understand what and how they are doing and where the market gap for a new digital product WordPress marketplace might be. When analyzing competitors, try to analyze the following:

  • What do they sell?
  • Number of Vendors / Products
  • Price ranges of their products
  • Alexa Rankings 
  • Followers on social media
  • Sources of traffic
  • Strengths and weaknesses

Reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of competitors should not only be in terms of how good their website appears but more in terms of how good their business model is. Is this a marketplace platform you believe can attract the interest of customers and vendors? If yes, why? What do they do well? Which points they seem to neglect or where do they show weaknesses? There might be an untapped opportunity where the market is not served?

Doing this analysis properly will give you more information about the marketing strategies and tactics of each of the competitors and you will quickly figure out where there might be an untapped opportunity in the market that deserves to be serviced by your new digital product WordPress marketplace.

SEO can offer a cost-effective long-term marketing strategy for marketplaces since there is a lot of content placed there. Therefore you will need to do keyword research which is the process of finding and analyzing actual keywords entered in search engines. The objective of the keyword research will be to figure out which keywords would be easy to rank within our market niche, have decent traffic search volumes and show only a low level of competition.

Another topic to research and check are commission rates charged to vendors by similar digital product marketplaces. Standard commission fees for digital product marketplaces are somewhere between 10% and 30%. So before deciding what it will be, please check first how many potential competitors are charging to their vendors and see that your fees are in line with the market terms for your market segment.

Setting up a Digital Product Marketplace

Just like in starting a simple Digital Downloads eCommerce WordPress Website, the very first thing to do is to choose your Domain Name URL and a Web Hosting Provider.

The Domain Name URL is the internet address where Internet users can access your website. Registering domains will cost from $10 per year upward, depending on the registrar and top-level domain (TLD).

The next task will then be to select a suitable web hosting provider that will host your website. You can choose between a shared and a private server. If you have plans to make your website large, you might be better off starting with a private server as otherwise, you will have to move your website away from a shared account as soon as you get more traffic.

As mentioned initially, you will need to install Easy Digital Downloads which is the leading solution in WordPress and fully specialized to sell digital products online.

Installing a Multi-Vendor Marketplace WordPress Theme

The next step will be to install a WordPress Theme for your new marketplace platform. There are numerous free and paid themes available which are covered in a previous article and summarized here:

What you need to watch out for is to install a theme that supports the Frontend Submissions (FES) plugin in EDD. In case your chosen theme would not support FES, you can still install the theme but then you will have to manually develop designs for frontend vendor pages which is costly and time-consuming to do. Therefore, better use a standard theme which already supports FES, to begin with.

Please note, the theme just needs to serve the purpose to get you off the ground. You will have to rework your website many times during the operations of your digital product WordPress marketplace. We just need a theme to start with, makes your marketplace presentable and helps us to attract first customers and vendors.

Essential Marketplace Plugins for WordPress

After you have selected your WordPress marketplace theme, we need to install several specific EDD marketplace plugins for WordPress which are needed for operating a digital product marketplace with Easy Digital Downloads.

Frontend Submissions (FES) Plugin

Frontend Submissions Plugin

Frontend Submissions provides a full-featured front-end package to turn your Easy Digital Downloads powered website into a complete multi-vendor marketplace. It allows you to accept download submissions from third-party authors or vendors and allows them to list their products in your Easy Digital Downloads marketplace website.

By using the FES plugin on top of your EDD plugin, you can build a store where vendors and creators can sign up, list their products for sale, and manage their own accounts, all from within your WordPress marketplace platform. For a multi-vendor digital product store, FES is the key marketplace plugin for WordPress to use.

Commissions – An Essential Marketplace Plugin for WordPress

Commissions Plugin

The Commissions extension is what you need to administer the revenue split between your platform and third-party vendors automatically. The way it works is that you need to define the percentage of sales (the commission) your third-party vendors get on every product sale. For digital product marketplaces, commission rates should lie between 10% – 30% which will form your fee income.

The Commissions add-on is often paired with Frontend Submissions, but it can also work perfectly on its own. Commissions can be paid to any WordPress user at either a flat rate or a percentage of sales. It’s a key component for any Marketplace plugin in WordPress and Easy Digital Downloads.

PayPal Adaptive Payments

PayPal Adaptive Payments Plugin

Our PayPal Adaptive Payments, same as FES, the main marketplace plugin for WordPress, is a key WordPress plugin to use, as it automatically splits payments received between you and third-party vendors. This way, it avoids a lot of administrative work as the payment of third-party revenue can be done instantly and it saves significant time. This marketplace plugin for WordPress is a tested and true time-saver for all multi-vendor Easy Digital Downloads stores.

The plugin connects Easy Digital Downloads to the versatile Adaptive Payments gateway. With this gateway integration, you can easily split payments with up to 6 different receivers at the same time. You can set each receiver up with a specific percentage of the payment within the settings for this gateway. Also, you can determine whether you would like to use chained or parallel payments.

We do really like to recommend you to use this plugin and benefit from its very helpful and straightforward features. We have customers who spent a lot of time executing payments to vendors manually every month and is simply a lot of work which you do not need to do if you have an automated solution. PayPal Adaptive Payment Gateway is not actively promoted anymore by PayPal and you will need approval from PayPal before you can implement it. Nevertheless, we recommend using it as it saves a lot of time and as far as we are aware PayPal still accepts new users into its program.

Product Reviews

Reviews Plugin

The Reviews plugin from Easy Digital Downloads makes it quick and easy for your visitors and customers to review the products offered on your website and for leaving a rating. Reviews are a sign of engagement and trust, therefore installing such a marketplace plugin WordPress extension is a must.

Apart from these essential plugins, you will have many more plugins available to choose from Easy Digital Downloads, third-party vendors or from the WordPress plugin directory.

How to source your first vendors?

After you have successfully set up your digital product marketplace and installed the specific EDD WordPress plugins, the next essential step to take is to be able to fill up your catalog with products, but how? The answer is, we first need vendors to get on board with us. It wouldn’t be a marketplace if there were no vendors. This means we will have to source our first vendors who will contribute the digital products for sale on our marketplace.

From where can you obtain first vendors willing to sell their products with you? Based on our experience, vendors are normally sourced from the following sources when starting a new digital product marketplace:

  • Creating your own products
  • Partner with vendors you know personally
  • Reaching out to potential new interested vendors.

Read our eBook for more insights on each source of vendors.

You can get our FREE EBOOK here:

Marketing Strategies for Digital Product Marketplaces

Once your WordPress marketplace has been launched, promoting your digital product marketplace is important for gaining the attention of future customers and prospective vendors. The process of selling and promoting digital products is quite similar compared to how you would sell and promote physical products on any eCommerce website.

Now, if you are looking for ways to effectively market your digital product marketplace, here are the strategies that should be tested.

Social Media Marketing

Social media refers to websites and applications that allow users to create and share content as well as participate in social networking with other users. Different Social Media Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube and many other remains a very great way to establish your brand and build an audience.

Keep in mind, depending on your target market, there will be different social networks of relevance. E.g. management professionals you most likely find on LinkedIn, developers there are many on Twitter and Youtube, etc. Try to figure out which social media networks your target audience is most active and these should be the social media channels to focus on.

Social media marketing is an art by itself and there are many techniques and tricks to be mastered. Most important we find is to post regularly. For this, you can use a service such as Buffer which allows you to put your posts in a queue so that you won’t forget to post at least once per day.

Normally, the tasks are to review your posts, compared to your competitors, research and learn what can be improved and implement it. The key performance indicators (KPIs) normally are engagement received, number of followers, retweets/reposts, shares, clicks which drive traffic to your website. This all needs to be monitored on a regular basis. So be prepared for a steep learning curve and lots of trial and error until you know how to master social media marketing for your digital product WordPress marketplace.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) refers to the process of optimizing your website to be found by search engines. The objective is to rank on the first page such as Google, Bing or Yahoo when somebody enters a keyword in the search bar. The result will be that you will be getting free traffic from organic search results via the search engines as you will improve your website position in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

There are two sides to any successful SEO approach SEO has two techniques to improve website position, On-Page SEO and Off-Page SEO.

On-Page SEO

This refers to all the optimization tasks that we do on our websites such as optimization of text titles, meta descriptions, page titles, contents, image optimization by adding alt tags and descriptions, checking keyword density in text, internal linking, creating sitemaps, ease navigation, reducing page load times and many more tasks.

Overall, the on-page technique aims to structure and present your website in a search engine friendly manner. This is a very important task and to be done before even thinking about working on Off-page SEO link building.

Off-Page SEO (Backlink Building)

This refers to all the activity that happens away from your website to raise your site’s rankings by building quality back-links. Building quality backlinks is at the heart of off-page SEO. Search engines use backlinks as an indication of the linked-to content quality, so a site with many high-value backlinks will usually rank better than an otherwise equal site with fewer backlinks. Below find some strategies you can use to obtain backlinks for your digital product WordPress marketplace:

  • Participating in Forum Discussions
  • Blogger Outreach
  • Guest Blogging
  • Press Releases

These are just some of the techniques which can be used to build backlinks. Feel free to talk with an SEO agency, they normally can provide you with additional options where to place backlinks and can also help you work on that.

Email Marketing

An email marketing list can become a very effective tool for communicating with your audience on a regular basis.

The first step in setting up your email marketing program is to install an onboarding process. Mostly this can be done by adding a subscription form at the checkout page to stay updated on news and product updates (e.g. install the Mailchimp extension). Another way is to add a widget or a popup window with subscription suggestions on your website.

Email newsletters should be sent on a regular basis (e.g. monthly) but also not overdoing it as otherwise unsubscribe rates will become high. For digital product marketplaces here, some ideas what to put in your newsletters:

  • Present new products
  • Summarize new blog posts or research articles you have written
  • Present select vendor achievements or story
  • Present customer showcases and how your marketplace could help them
  • Introduce new features of your marketplace
  • Ask for user opinions on topics of interest

Only by tracking and comparing your newsletter results you can figure out how to make your email marketing campaign more effective and which changes lead to best results among your audience.

There are still other marketing strategies you might want to consider or also some which might not be suitable for a digital product marketplace. Read the Free eBook on How to Build a Digital Product Marketplace on WordPress for more information.

You can get our FREE EBOOK here:

How to operate your WordPress Marketplace

Now that we have successfully set up our multi-vendor marketplace platform and, have started with marketing and vendor onboarding, we need to focus now our attention on the operations of our digital product marketplace.

There are actually a lot of different elements that we need to keep on our radar, constantly observe and work on in order to enhance and improve our WordPress marketplace.

Sales Optimization

Normally the main goal of your digital product’s marketplace will be to maximize sales and profits over the long-run. In eCommerce we have 4 factors which determine your revenues as shown in the following graphic:

Sales Optimization in eCommerce, Source www.pluginsandsnippets.com

This means you can maximize revenues of your digital product marketplace when you seek to maximize each of the 4 revenue drivers:

  • Number of Visitors – See previously mentioned marketing strategies which will be needed to attract and grow the number of visitors
  • Conversion Rates – You will need to work on your website to best convert visitors into paying customers
  • Number of Orders per Customers – The more times your customers return and purchase from you, the higher your sales will be
  • Average Order Value (AOV) – Mostly depends on the price point of your products, how your products are packaged and how easy/difficult it is to sell them.

As for any eCommerce website you will need to work on improving each of these four factors in order to max out your full sales potential.

Vendor Management

Running a successful digital product multi-vendor marketplace platform means keeping an eye on multiple vendors. Vendors come to your store with their own ideas, expectations, and ways of doing things. You have to gather these different vendors under one umbrella.

Your job as a store manager is to help vendors sell as much as possible as easily as possible, while still retaining the ability to make important decisions about your store. This means making vendors happy while making yourself happy as the store manager.

Now, we’re here to give you some tips on how to manage and help your vendors earn.

Product Curation

Most digital product marketplaces will opt for curating all products they receive from vendors for the following reasons:

  • Avoiding harm: Digital products are subject to harmful code additions that might not be detectable by normal users. The worst that could happen is that any form of digital code or program harms customer’s computers. Therefore, it is important to review each product and know the vendors you work with as otherwise, the risk may get too high.
  • Avoiding chargebacks: In the case of product descriptions that would not be accurate, they will have a good chance of requesting chargebacks as payment gateway providers will have the last say in such cases. It is therefore in the best interest of the marketplace operator to ensure product descriptions are accurate to avoid problems later on. Especially products listed from new vendors will require a careful review.
  • Establishing a personal relationship with your Vendors: A product curation process will also establish a more personal relationship with your vendors. As the operator of a multi-vendor marketplace platform, your vendors are not simply your sellers but rather they are your business partners. It is very important to establish a good personal relationship with them. Why not use product curation as one way to do this? Especially smaller niche marketplaces have an advantage here as they can afford to deal with their vendors on a 1:1 basis.

It is very rare to see a digital product marketplace that would not use a curation process to ensure a high-quality of products are listed in its marketplace. However, we are still checking for best practices on how to do this. Let us know if you know any good example which should be listed here.

Monitoring How Vendors are Doing

As the operator of your marketplace, you don’t simply source vendors and let them be on their own selling digital products on your website. It is very important to also monitor how your vendors are doing. You should, therefore, run different reports from time to time to benchmark and compare your vendors to find out what works, what doesn’t and what are the best practices that might help all the vendors to sell more.

  • If you find vendors who are underperforming, first, check vendor profiles if all necessary information is present in so that they will have a well-established identity that your customers may see and observe.
  • The next step is to check their product listings. Are the product descriptions accurate and are the products well presented? In case of problems, does the problem lie with the seller or with your processes? Is it easy to list products? Are there enough information fields to completely present the products?
  • You might as well enhance and optimize your website’s navigation and experience which would definitely help your vendors get a sale.

Promote your Vendors on Social Media and your Blog

Advertising and promoting your vendors, along with their products, in different Social Media Channels such as Facebook and Twitter can be a good way to get visitors and help your vendors with marketing their products. Remember, if your vendors earn, you earn, so it’s in your best interest to help them market their products.

As part of your digital marketplace marketing campaign, writing blog posts about vendor products can help you to create additional content for your web page and offer your vendors another platform to market their products. However, make sure the articles to be published comply with the required quality standards you need to maintain for your blog.

Providing Vendor Resources

Working with vendors and helping them to market their products will become an ongoing task. As such you will need a process to help your vendors. In the beginning, vendors will have a lot of questions as they will need to understand how to work with your digital product WordPress market place and what they will have to do to earn money.

Therefore, in order to anticipate their questions, it is advisable to follow a pro-active approach. One way to do this is to send out a series of education emails to new vendors upon sign-up. The objective is to help vendors to complete their product listings and then in a second step motivate them to list more quality products on your digital product marketplace.

Building a Team

We all know that running a digital product WordPress Marketplace is tough. When you’re starting out with your business, you will have to do all the tasks required. From running and managing your marketplace like updating and creating products, managing vendors, paying commissions, sourcing more vendors, managing promotions, customer support, handling social media accounts, SEO Management – the list of To-Dos is endless.

However, as a business owner, it’s better to spend your time doing what you do best – running and growing your company. But that’s not to say the routine tasks and administrative duties aren’t important because they absolutely are. Depending on your budget, you will have to consider hiring people. Normally you want to hire employees in a lean manner. So apart from hiring employees, you have the following alternatives to hire:

When your marketplace is very new you don’t want to incur big costs at the beginning and first test out if there are demand and interest in the products. Therefore, you should consider outsourcing tasks first to freelancers then to virtual assistants until your marketplace produces stable revenues and profits so that you can afford to hire employees.

Tasks you can Outsource

It is important to know what tasks you should outsource before you start building your team – including freelancers and virtual assistants who you can work with on a more permanent basis. When considering to outsource tasks, look for manual, time-consuming work or tasks that are repetitive, can be thought to others and where you are better off using help rather than when having to spend the time yourself.

Here are some daily tasks you should consider delegating:

  • Customer service: Answering emails and phone calls from customers.
  • Social Media Management: Creating content, responding to comments, and other community management tasks.
  • Research: Vendor research, product research, benchmark comparisons
  • Store management: Reviewing product descriptions, managing vendors, tracking KPIs
  • SEO: Off-page link-building
  • Technical operations: Website maintenance, SEO management, and other administrative tasks.
  • Data-entry: Bookkeeping or inputting data from different sources into a spreadsheet.
  • Etc.

Tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

If you want to know how your digital product marketplace is doing, you need to keep track of your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). This is an important step to take to ensure that you are not going off track.

Example dashboard of tracking KPIs

A key performance indicator – also known as “KPI” is a performance measurement that impacts the result of your online store. KPIs need to improve and achieving your objectives will provide important milestones on your road to online success. Monitoring important KPIs for your online store tells you whether your business is moving towards meeting your objectives or not.

Essential KPIs you should track

KPIs for digital product marketplaces are numerous to track but important is to focus on those where any change will impact the financial result of your business. Tracking should be done at least on a monthly basis or even on a weekly basis. The advantage of doing a weekly tracking is that you will find out sooner in case of any problems and have more time to take action. If you wait until the month-end, you might find out that too late that were problems and it leaves money on the table.

We present a selection of KPIs which will be useful to consider tracking on a regular basis for a digital product marketplace. They are:

Website Traffic (Number of Visitors)

  • Website Traffic
  • Average Time on Site
  • Domain and Page Authority
  • Alexa Ranking
  • Social Media Followers

Conversion Rates

  • Conversion from Visitor to User
  • Conversion from User to Paying Customer (Free to Paid product)
  • Cart Abandonment Rate
  • New Customer Signups
  • Email list subscribers
  • Number of orders

Average Order Values

  • Number of products
  • Average Order Value

Measuring KPIs on a regular basis is an important step towards professionally managing your digital products marketplace and finding the areas where you can still improve in order to achieve your business goals. To really grow your multi-vendor marketplace, you need to monitor your webstore’s performance on an ongoing basis and take actions every time KPIs, move in the wrong direction. Once you’ve decided which KPIs you want to track, make it a part of your weekly and/or monthly routine to follow them closely.

Automating and Improving Processes

At the beginning of your website, tasks are fine to deal with as they come up. But as you grow, these tasks get more and more frequent, and the demand on your time and your team’s time becomes even greater. After a while, these small tasks can significantly eat into productivity; reducing output, creativity, and even profit margins.

You will be confronted with seeking new ways to automate and improve your processes as your digital product marketplaces scale up and become larger. The objective is to save time, money, and sell more. Ultimately, it provides gets your business ready to scale-up exponentially. Automations include mostly:

Automating tasks and improving processes is an ongoing task and there will be many more ways to save time and benefit from automated solutions and improved processing. Obtaining a sufficient level of automation is key to fully scale-up your digital product marketplace to reach its full potential.

Website Security

Another important element that most eCommerce companies need to consider from the very beginning is the eCommerce website security. If you run an eCommerce website, you’ll know that they are a major target for hackers, fraudsters and yes, even for your own competitors. Just think about the thousands of user IDs, personal information, product catalog and prices, financial information including credit card details a typical eCommerce webstore has. That’s what makes eCommerce sites, big and small, so attractive to cybercriminals to exploit and competitors to leverage on.

As your multi-vendor marketplace platform becomes larger you will also find that you will have to spend more time in making your infrastructure more solid and enhance the security of your marketplace. Here are some basic measures you will have to implement to keep your digital product marketplace save (among many others):

  • HTTPS / SSL – today Google views it as an outdated practice to use HTTP and punishes websites still using the old HTTP protocol. Therefore, implementing a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate from the start is a must. You can purchase one from your hosting company or a reputable SSL vendor at affordable costs.
  • Complex Passwords – Insist that every user have to use passwords that comply with a minimum standard.
  • Payment Gateway Security – While it may make processing payments more convenient, having credit card numbers stored on your database is a liability. In order to save your business from this terrible fate, you should never store credit card information on your servers and ensure your payment gateways security is not at risk. Today you can easily use third-party payment processing providers such as PayPal or Stripe who will manage all sensitive Credit Card information in a professional manner.
  • Firewalls – using firewall plugins and also configuring your server firewall is a must to protect again malicious attacks.
  • Backup your data – Data loss due to hardware malfunction or cyber-attacks are not uncommon. And if you don’t back up your data regularly, you are at the risk of losing it for good. Employ automatic daily backup service so that even if you forget to do it manually, all your data will be backed up automatically minimum once a day.

These are just a few elements to mention and to work on. As your digital product marketplace becomes bigger, paying close attention to security becomes even more important.

Conclusion: Building a Digital Product Multi-Vendor Marketplace Platform is a Journey, not a Destination

Building a digital marketplace is a good idea as today the trend goes towards creating specialized niche marketplaces that can offer better know-how and a much more focused approach than a generalist marketplace. Many buyers prefer to buy from a marketplace rather than a single vendor store.

Easy Digital Downloads offers an open-source solution to run a digital product marketplace on WordPress by installing select marketplace plugins for WordPress. These are either freely available or are very reasonably priced. Also, many useful plugins are available on the WordPress plugin directory.

The marketing tactics require a bit a different focus for a multi-vendor marketplace platform compared to a single vendor store. SEO and Social Media Marketing are two important strategies to focus on, especially as traffic there is cheap in the long-run compared to other sources of traffic.

Vendor management and tracking your Key Performance Indicators are a must in establishing a successful digital product marketplace. Activities and tracking of KPIs should focus on factors which will influence users and revenues later on.

Ongoing work will be required and normally only by keep testing and optimizing your WordPress marketplace you can exactly understand how your marketplace business works and how to make it a success. Creating a digital product marketplace is not a destination but one of the most interesting journeys in eCommerce. Feel free to take it.

This article provides an overview of how to build, set up and operate your digital product marketplace in WordPress. If you are interested in more details, please download our Free eBook on How to Build a Digital Product Marketplace on WordPress which contains even more comprehensive and detailed information on how to set up a multi-vendor marketplace platform for digital products.

For any feedback or comments feel free to reach out to us as we are also interested in your input digital product marketplaces can be made even better.

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