Top Online Marketplace Marketing Strategies & Promotion Examples
Establishing a booming online marketplace requires – above all others – two elements: sellers, who’d offer their products or services, and buyers, who’d visit the marketplace every now and then to browse the goods and eventually purchase them. That’s why companies that launch online marketplaces need to carefully plan their marketing, as it has to reach both target audiences differently.
If you’re about to open your first online marketplace and don't know where to start with your marketing, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I will show you some of the top online marketplace marketing strategies I’ve stumbled across.
Besides presenting some promotion examples, I’ll clarify how to prepare such a promotion for your company, what tools you would need, and which strategies are easy to implement, ergo, which are the best for the very beginning.
The most critical challenges of online marketplace marketing
As I mentioned before, one of the most severe difficulties you can face while planning an online marketplace promotion is how to reach two completely different target audiences. It would be great if you could also run marketing campaigns simultaneously – you won’t acquire many sellers to your marketplace if there’s no one to sell their stuff to. The third thing to remember is that running (no less than) two campaigns simultaneously can become very expensive. And that is the main reason why you should first create a promotion plan for your online marketplace.
To give you a hand with that, I’ve spent some time browsing various online marketplaces to see how they promote themselves. Finally, I’ve chosen four of them – keep reading to discover what types of promotions they use and how you can implement them into your marketing stack.
Promotion examples for online marketplaces
Let’s take a look at the real-life examples of promotions used by online marketplaces – what can you expect?
- Mobile apps
- Ambassador programs
- Online giveaways
- Discount coupons
- Rewards programs
- Cart promotions
- Payment method discounts
- Free shipping
- Educational marketing
- Networking events
- Digital wallets
I listed the companies I reviewed in an alphabetical order, so you’ll be able to go through their promotions one by one:
- Kids o’clock – mobile app, ambassador program, online giveaways
- Navisyo – discount coupons, rewards program
- Toolsvilla – cart promotions, payment method discount, free shipping promotion,
- Wizly – educational marketing, networking events, digital wallet
Let’s get to it!
Marketplace for children apparel – Kids o’clock
Kids o’clock focus on popularizing circular fashion – it provides customers with a platform where they can buy and sell used kids’ clothing. But that’s not all – Kids o’clock comes with a handy mobile app to post products and shop online, as well as the Golden Service. The latter means that the Kids o’clock crew can save you the trouble of organizing your kids’ old closet – instead, they’ll pick up what you want to sell and do it for you!
The company implemented a few marketing strategies into their flow – some solutions targeted at sellers, some at buyers, and some at both groups.
1. Mobile app for your marketplace
Having a mobile app is not a trend anymore – in 2022, it's hard to find a business without one. I’m not the one to say it’s a good thing, but in the Kids o’clock case, their marketplace app is essential. And while it may be debatable if developing a mobile app is a part of a marketing strategy in general, it definitely is here. Enabling customers and sellers to navigate the platform using mobile devices easily can be a turning point for many unconvinced potential customers.
2. Ambassador programs
Acquiring new customers is a challenge every business can relate to. One of the most effective ways of increasing the number of customers is using WOMM – word-of-mouth marketing. “The best marketers are happy customers” is not just a slogan – it’s a fact. That is why many businesses launch referral programs: to make spreading the word about their brand profitable for the referrers.
Kids o’clock enabled their ambassador program to buyers and sellers alike, but the rewards are granted only after a successful purchase made by the referee. Here’s how it works:
The Kids o’clock ambassador program rules are simple: whenever a customer is referred, the referrer gets a 5-7% commission on their sales (7% only for the new customers). The withdrawals are available once a month. Simple as that!
3. Online giveaways
Contests, giveaways, sweepstakes – they come in many shapes and forms, but their point is the same: increasing brand’s recognition by giving something to existing, new or potential customers.
The Kids o’clock mobile app allows customers to create and save wishlists on their accounts. In one of the giveaways held by the company, the rewards were… customers’ wishlists! It’s a simple and brilliant campaign in which customers can win exactly what they want – not random items they might want, but things they were already looking for. There was only one limitation – the total worth of the wishlist cannot exceed $100. Still, it’s a hundred bucks worth of fine, used clothes! A friendly little contest just to make some customers a bit happier.
Marketplace for boat rentals – Navisyo
Navisyo is an online marketplace dedicated to living and breathing on the sea. Boat rental, floatels, events on the water – you can find all this (and a bit more) in Navisyo. The company has dropped a few promotions lately, starting with simple discount coupons.
4. Discount coupons
This marketing strategy is old as the world – offer the people a little discount to increase their interest and make them eager to buy. Issuing discount codes is hardly any trouble in times of API-first promotion engines, which makes creating personalized marketing campaigns an actual walk in the park.
Navisyo’s promotional scenario is as simple as it gets – instead of creating personalized coupons for a limited number of customers, they’ve released a single discount code available for everyone. You just need to type it in, while finalizing the purchase, and you’re good to go!
5. Rewards program
Navisyo rewards program is similar to any referral program, with a single but significant twist: the commission an Ambassador receives has a lifetime value literally. Each purchase made by the traveler you referred, grants you a 1% commission – forever!
It’s a generous offer, especially if you happen to know someone who loves living on the boat. All in all, it’s a classic win-win situation – program participants are motivated to find customers who’d go on boat trips more than once in a lifetime. And the better customers they’ll bring, the more they’ll earn. The same goes for Navisyo. Smooth sailing!
Note: any traveler referred will, too, get a reward – the first booking they made will be discounted by $33.
Implementing this rewards program wouldn't be as pleasant as it was without the Voucherify x Sharetribe integration – Navisyo is built on top of the Sharetribe Flex environment, so it needed a tool that would easily integrate with it. Learn how IT house made it happen.
Marketplace for tools – Toolsvilla
Toolsvilla is an Indian company created to aid India-based SMBs by buying and selling used yet perfectly operational machinery, tools and appliances at low prices. Toolsvilla added two compelling features to their marketplace to encourage customers to buy: cart promotions and payment discounts.
6. Cart promotions
One of the most popular marketing techniques is showing the customer the benefits of purchasing immediately. If they see the item they want discounted, they should see both prices. For example, ₹22,440 seems like a fair price for a water pump, but that’s it. Knowing, though, that it was worth almost ₹27,000 before the discount changes things – or at least it creates such a feeling.
Cart promotions can be implemented pretty quickly – with a proper tool, of course. Learn how to set up and launch cart promotions in Voucherify – watch our webinar!
7. Payment method discounts
Sometimes businesses have to figure out a way to convince customers to use a preferred payment method. In Toolsvilla, they kept it simple: if a customer decides to pay for the whole order in full right after the purchase, they will get an additional 3% discount, fair and square.
Of course, other payment methods are available, such as payment on delivery, but only full online payment grants the discount.
8. Free shipping promotions
There’s something appealing about getting the free delivery service. Business owners know it, so they usually include free shipping as a bonus granted for performing a specific action, such as:
- Purchasing for a certain amount of money.
- Downloading an app.
- Signing up for a newsletter.
Toolsvilla went with the second option, enabling customers to place an order via mobile app with a free delivery across India.
Markeplatce for professionals – Wizly
Wizly offers a solution for those who seek professional advice in their short-term business challenges. Instead of hiring a specialist for a contract, people can schedule a micro-learning session and solve their problems in 15-30 minutes! What is Wizly’s marketing strategy?
9. Educational marketing
Knowing that people can get convinced to new solutions best via education, Wizly launches webinars, online training sessions and networking events on a regular basis. For example, a series called Wizly LIVE Learning consists of short, approachable webinars. The goal is to present people with exemplary solutions they can learn from micro-learning sessions via Wizly:
10. Networking events
Wizly is fully aware of the importance of experts – without a strong base of people willing to share their knowledge, a company such as theirs is bound to fail. That’s why organizing events for experts (or sellers in different online marketplace models) should be a standard procedure. As we can read on their event website, during the Monthly Town Hall, Wizly experts can find out more about:
- Recent releases.
- User feedback.
- Referral & influencer marketing programs.
- Partnership models.
Also, they can meet with some of Wizly partners to explore further cooperation opportunities.
11. Digital wallets
Wizly has its own in-app currency called Wizlings. Customers and experts can charge their accounts with Wizlings using real money and then spend the Wizlings to schedule sessions or ask questions via text messages. A digital wallet is a flexible solution that helps companies manage discounts, promotions, custom currencies or loyalty points. For example, rewarding customers with additional points they can spend on items, discounts or free shipping may be a perfect way to re-engage long-term customers.
In the example below, Wizly encourages people to respond to their messages quickly – customers can earn additional 200 Wizlings if they reply within 48 hours. All this to ensure that the flow of communication will be as smooth as it gets:
These 11 marketing techniques, promotions and strategies should be enough to plan your first marketing campaigns for the coming weeks. With a capable promotion engine and a bit of your development team time, there’s a chance you’d be able to incorporate at least a few of these solutions into your marketing plan very soon.
The most crucial thing to remember is that running a top online marketplace requires dividing your attention (not only in marketing terms) equally between sellers and buyers, for your company won’t survive without either of them.
Most of the solutions I’ve listed in the article can be created from scratch and implemented in your company using a single API-first engine. Learn more about the headless approach in business and see if it works for you and your company. And if you’re already familiar with it and want to try incorporating headless solutions into your business, get started with Voucherify!
Try Voucherify for free!