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Top essential features of a B2C marketplace platform

 

Online marketplaces have been gaining momentum even in the Covid times. The pandemic has pushed many consumers and businesses to conduct more online transactions. It has directly impacted consumer behavior, creating a demand for convenience, personalization, and different options.

If you want to build your business-to-customer (B2C) marketplace, then this article shall help you dive deep into the top essential features of a B2C marketplace and its potential in the upcoming years. This way, you will have an overview of how a B2C marketplace platform works and be able to build your own unique features.

 

An overview of the B2C marketplaces

An online B2C marketplace is a business model in which multiple vendors provide products/services directly to consumers. There are some popular examples of B2C marketplace platforms:

  • Airbnb – offer short-term apartment rentals (B2C, C2C).
  • Fiverr – hire freelance designers, developers, or other knowledge workers (B2C).
  • eBay - sell a wide variety of goods and services (B2C, B2B, C2C).
  • Etsy - sell handmade/vintage items and craft supplies (B2C, C2C).
  • EatWith – book seats to dinner parties organized by home cooks (B2C, C2C).
  • Treatwell – book appointments with hairdressers and beauty professionals (B2C).
  • UrbanSitter – find a babysitter (B2C).

When new partnerships and marketplaces have sprung up, existing marketplaces have seen ample growth. Let’s take a look at the statistics about B2C marketplaces.

  • The U.S. total retail sales reached $4.55 trillion in 2021. (Digitalcommerce360)
  • Americans spent $791.7 billion during 2020 on e-commerce, up 32.4% from 2019. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Global B2C e-commerce sales are estimated to reach $5.42 trillion by 2022. (Shopify)
  • B2C marketplaces are expected to reach $3.5 trillion in sales by 2024. (Forbes)
  • U.S. consumers will account for almost 25% of that worldwide spending. (Forbes)
  • It is predicted that the global B2C e-commerce market size will reach $7.65 trillion by 2028. (Grand View Research)

 

Top essential features of a B2C marketplace platform

The effective online B2C marketplace software provides you with a set of features that lets you customize to meet your demands. The main groups of B2C marketplace features are shown below.

 

How to build a B2C online marketplace platform

 

Platform management

Basic features
  • Admin panel
  • Vendor separate dashboard
  • Easy vendor signup
  • Mobile-friendly design

The first feature is a user-friendly and intuitive admin panel. This lets you manage the entire marketplace from your own admin dashboard. It involves overseeing and approving vendors, verifying products and listings, and enabling overall marketplace improvements.

Each vendor also has a separate dashboard to administer their product/service listings, profile page information, logos, images, shipping zones, pricing, and customized data.

In addition, to facilitate signup, the welcome message on the main dashboard page can guide your vendors to quickly sign up themselves directly via the storefront and give further related info.

For users on the go, you need to bring consistent user experience across every device and screen size by mobile-friendly design. Given that, this will increase conversions and decrease the bounce rate.

 

Product/service catalog

Basic features Advanced features
  • Product/service listing
  • Search and filter
  • Bulk product management

 

  • Cross-selling, up-selling, and related products
  • Import and export products, customers, and data from other platforms
  • Restricted categories management

Your vendors can utilize a product/service listing to upload product/service catalogs, including full product/service information: a description, specifications, price, quantity available, minimum size order, and so on. Also, customers can use search and filter by attributes, keywords, dates, categories, and location on a map to find the right products they need.

By implementing a bulk product management feature, you enable sellers to edit, add, and manage several products in one go, saving time and boosting productivity.

Cross-selling, up-selling, products on sale, and related products can facilitate retailers to increase the average order total. It can entice customers to add additional products to their carts, like similar showcase products, products often purchased together, what other customers often buy with a product, upgraded versions of products, and more.

Your vendors can import an unlimited number of goods, customers, and other data via a robust import in CSV. Furthermore, you can add additional features such as restricted categories management. It will ensure all products on your marketplace are of high quality. Along with that, you can verify goods requiring a license or special permission to be sold.

 

Inventory, logistics, and shipping

Basic features Advanced features
  • Real-time inventory management
  • Custom shipping management (for admins)
  • Order management (for retailers and buyers)
  • Booking management and availability calendars (for B2C rental and services)
  • Shipment tracking
  • Shipping calculations

 

 

Robust real-time inventory management makes sure your vendors never run out of stock. Vendors can track stock levels and set up notifications like low limit alerts and more.

You may add numerous carriers to the custom shipment management tool to provide sellers and customers with various delivery alternatives. Moreover, the more carriers your marketplace work with, the wider the geographic area you can target.

By building an order management tool, sellers can get comprehensive order information. Additionally, sellers can export order information, print shipping labels, and cancel/edit orders from their personal dashboards.

In case you build your own B2C service or rental marketplace, bookings management is one of the critical features that lets vendors handle bookings and manage availability. With this feature, vendors can specify their listing’s availability per day, per night/hour, and customers can book time slots.

Shipment tracking is an advanced tool, making it easy for buyers to track their order statuses. Another is a shipment calculator that can help them estimate shipping prices at checkout based on many factors such as customer’s location, products’ weight, and total order cost. You can get real-time rates for major carriers like FedEx and DHL.

 

Payments, purchases, and monetization

Basic features Advanced features
  • Multiple payment gateway integrations
  • Sales, coupon codes, and discounts
  • Easy, single-page checkout
  • Shopping basket
  • Product returns and refunds
  • Tax management
  • Monetization module
  • Adaptive commissions model

Multiple payment options should be available for customers to pay by debit or credit card, e-wallet, bank transfer, or even cash on delivery. Vendors can use sales, coupon codes, and discounts to convert more sales. With this feature, they can set the rules and conditions to be met for the discount to be applied and discount. As well, B2C marketplaces need to provide users a shopping basket to buy many products at once. Along with it, you can facilitate vendors to increase conversion through a streamlined single-page checkout process. Customers can buy items from multiple different vendors on a marketplace and pay for all purchases in one go fast and conveniently.

Some additional features help your software stand out among others. Sellers may use the product returns and refunds functionality to automate customer returns and refunds. The seller's dashboard can guide sellers to track customers' return requests, contact them, and accept/refuse their requests. The international taxes tool enables vendors to automatically calculate international taxes based on the country of their buyers. Calculations are made manually, setting up tax rules and classes for easy, real-time rates. Additionally, you can optimize your marketplace monetization model and enable sellers to select different subscription plans depending on their needs. You can attract more vendors by offering multiple adaptive commission models. This feature gives you an opportunity to reward your best sellers with lower rates or lower commissions for vendors paying a higher subscription fee.

 

Invoice and report

Basic features Advanced features
  • Real-time account balance, sales reports, and analytics for retailers
  • Automated invoice processing
  • Vendor analytics for the administrator

 

  • Find non-performing products & categories

 

 

Retailers can get detailed real-time statistics on their sales reports, account balance, customers, coupon usage, commissions, and more. To attract more retailers, you need to create this feature to set regular time periods and export them in many formats. And one other feature is automated invoice processing that assists quickly in processing product invoices and fetching necessary data. Given that, they can make better recommendations and grow their revenue multifold.

As a marketplace owner, you can use the vendor analytics feature to measure vendor sales performance, order fulfillment completeness, customer satisfaction, and more.

An advanced feature you can add to your platform is finding non-performing products and categories. It enables retailers to get detailed info on why certain items and categories aren’t selling. As a result, they can optimize your stock levels and future purchases for more significant inventory ROI.

 

Communication

Basic features Advanced features
  • Messaging center
  • Live chats
  • Buyer support 24/7 (for marketplace administrators)

 

Like B2B marketplaces, you can set up and operate a messaging center for your B2C marketplace. This enables administrators, retailers, and buyers to exchange messages. Furthermore, sellers can connect with their buyers seamlessly in real-time via live chats to clarify their purchasing needs. As a marketplace administrator, you also can help buyers who are unable to get appropriate assistance from vendors or want to gain general information about the marketplace via the buyer support 24/7 feature.

 

Account management

Basic features Advanced features
  • Personal accounts and profiles
  • Wish lists and favorites
  • Notification system
  • Multiple levels of administrative access
  • Geolocation

Buyers are able to customize their personal account and profile information, update credentials, manage payment information, communicate with sellers, and track orders. What’s more, they can save products in their favorite list that keep them interested in your site and entice them to return. One other feature is the notification system. Both sellers and buyers can receive automatic notifications for orders, shipping, payment, and many more.

Furthermore, multiple levels of administrative access feature will facilitate you to assign your members to different roles and only access what they need. Consequently, you can run a B2C marketplace much more effortlessly. Geolocation allows customers to select products or vendors based on their location and distance. Postmates, Grubhub, Fiverr, or Wag are examples of custom local delivery or service booking networks.

 

Content management

Basic features Advanced features
  • Ratings and reviews
  • Content management system (CMS)

 

  • SEO settings
  • Loyalty programs
  • Promotional banners and carousels

You can generate a positive reputation for your marketplace using the built-in rating and review system. Customers can review not only products/services but vendors as well. This is able to build trust between vendors and buyers and determine high-quality products/services.

A robust content management system (CMS) to keep your marketplace active with visual content. Customers will return if vendors can create visually stunning blogs and video content. Besides, vendors can push content to their social media channels for broad customer reach. After building key features, you can focus on SEO settings to optimize your content for search engines like Google. You can add meta tags, prepare descriptions, and rewrite search-friendly URLs to increase your ranking.

Loyalty programs and promotional banners & carousels are also two extra options for your full-fledged product. Your vendors can easily set up loyalty programs, allowing customers to earn and spend points for purchases. Promotional banners and carousels can benefit vendors show their best deals discounts through promotional banners to entice their target customers.

 

User Management

Basic features Advanced features
  • User and team management
  • Vendor verification

User and team management is a feature that makes managing your marketplace and independent stores easier. You can distribute roles and permissions allowing sellers to work on a marketplace with their teams. Company owner, company administrator, and the company manager are several roles you might want to provide for your sellers.

To ensure you cooperate only with reliable sellers, you can think about implementing a vendor verification feature. This will aid in picking the proper sellers and boost the credibility of your platform.

 

Security and data protection

Basic features Advanced features
  • Database backups
  • Compliance with personal data protection requirements
  • Data logs

 

By doing regular database backups, you can make certain information on your marketplace doesn't get lost even due to technical issues or human error.

According to a Cisco survey from 2019, 84% of online users are concerned about the security of their personal information. As a result, markets must adhere to personal data protection regulations and requirements in force in areas where your marketplace operates. For instance, the US marketplaces must be CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) compliant, and Canadian marketplaces must comply with PIPEDA (the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act), to name a few. This will help create trust-based relationships with customers and prospects to build loyalty and keep them returning.

A data log is also an advanced feature for tracking any changes made to your marketplace. This allows you to deal with security violations, performance issues, and other issues that might impact your platform's operations.

 

Read also:

 

Final thoughts,

As more people transact online and evolve their spending habits, now is a great time to build your own B2C marketplace. We have discussed salient features of a B2C marketplace platform. However, you can consider implementing most of them to make your marketplace as functional and convenient for your users as possible.

We hope you have gained helpful sharing about the B2C marketplace platform. Given then, you can stand a good chance to build, launch and grow an effective B2C marketplace.

 

CTA Enlab Software

 

About the author

Hien Dang

As an extrovert person, I love creating value-added activities and taking on challenges. Finding myself passionate about connecting people and businesses worldwide at the intersection of marketing and technology, I invest my time in upskilling, researching, and producing high-quality content in the tech industry.

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