The common traits of great digital marketplace experiences

Digital marketplaces are emerging quickly to provide any number of essential (or not so essential) services between usually large numbers of vendors and suppliers. In the UK for instance we see Just Eat and Hungry House taking food orders from millions of consumer for thousands of restaurants. Deliveroo is going one step further and actually delivering the food. In the cab business apps like Uber, Hailo and Get Taxi deliver cabs (and occasionally kittens) to their passengers. These services, or at least the good ones, have a number of elements in common that are worth exploring and applying across any business that looks to succeed in an online world.

Great experiences for the vendor

Often overlooked is the supplier experience in the digital marketplace. For a DM to succeed it needs to match the user demand with a supplier. A good example of a good vendor experience in this space is Gumtree - a listing site which huge traffic in the UK and Europe. The buyer experience is well known to many of us who have bought through the site. But the experience for a supplier is just as good and esential to Gumtree's success.

Gumtree walks the user through each step to teach a new seller how to list their item in the place most likely for it to find a buyer.

Nothing is left to chance with Gumtree offering walkthroughs, a very comprehensive FAQ as below and a 24-hour, well-resourced help desk. In addition they provide great advice on how to sell successfully, with small tips like the one pictured below, through to tutorials and video sessions.

Another great supplier example is the Hailo transport app - where the taxi drivers are the suppliers. Registration is a simple process for anyone who has ever downloaded an app. But the experience is then instant for the driver. Apart from the obvious ability to start collecting fares, Hailo also provides traffic information and surge information.

It allows the cabbie to collect credit card payments with no additional costs and the experience is completely straightforward. The key is that successful marketplaces like Hailo and Gumtree take the connection with the customer as just the starting point. Weaving in great additional value for the supplier or vendor, but doing it in ways that feel natural and not additional to the experience is the key to keeping the user loyal.

Great customer experiences in a digital marketplace

If we confine ourselves to looking at the online experience for the moment - what marks out a truly great experience for a user. It breaks into two elements I think - how I order and how I pay. One startup that is setting the bar in both these aspects is Deliveroo. The customer experience is a waterfall effect which gradually asks for more information at the appropriate times.

Given it’s a delivery service it starts with your postcode and when you want a delivery - no sign up, no choosing cuisines, no selecting by rating before you know what you want

I am then taken to a list of restaurants with minimal information apart from their delivery time. Why? Well given I am likely to be ordering either where I live or where I work I am probably familiar with them. If not I can google them - why clog up the interface. the key here is to provide the minimal required information.

Once I am in the menu part of the journey the beauty of what Deliveroo does is the consistency. No matter what the restaurant the menu works in the same way. I don’t have to learn how to use it per restaurant - I quickly learn once and that’s it.

So in three easy steps I have selected a local restaurant, created my order and I am through to the point of creating an account and paying. And here again the experience is fantastic. I am offered defaulted to retaining my card details and given a reassuring message as to the security.

Next time and especially on mobile the payment will be almost instant, removing the barrier of payment altogether and making me more likely to stay loyal to the service. Assuming that is my food arrives piping hot and on time!

So for an outstanding consumer experience the keys are asking for the minimal information at the right time, providing a consistent experience and making payment as easy as possible.

Cherish the buyer but delight the vendor

It’s a very tricky twin speed process to establish a successful digital marketplace. The best ones put equal emphasis on both sides of the equation. Bringing customers to your vendors customers will buy you a lot of gratitude. But loyalty and defensibility comes from providing your vendors with an easy way to engage and in many cases a beter way to build a larger customer base through your marketplace. This is driving excellence in the creation of user journies that we have not seen before. At Nickelled we are proud to participate in the creation of both supplier and customer journies for a growing number of marketplaces. We are always available to discuss how we might help anyone looking to excel in this arena.

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