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The notion of prioritizing the vendor makes many ecommerce marketers cringe.

How can you prioritize your merchants, provide them with benefits and opportunities to be successful while making sure your shoppers don’t desert you for the attention of another company?

But, customer service innovation has begun to see important and measurable results in flipping the customer-centric model on its head to not only win over more customers, but delight and engage the ones you have today. 

Today’s ecommerce marketers should embrace the vision that with a high quality and high functioning vendor network, you will have more opportunity to provide and communicate the best products, care and service to your customers.  

Consider a few tips on how ecommerce companies can advance and improve their relationships with their merchants to directly benefit customers:

1. Invest in expert counsel

One way to empower your merchants is to provide them with on-going insights relevant to the e-commerce market.

Many merchants are entering the online market as a secondary priority and have limited access and knowledge on its vast potential.

At Rakuten we enlist our E-Commerce Consultants (ECC) who work with our merchants to help them measure their success in the marketplace and counsel them on new ways to scale their business online, whether that’s via creating new products, refining products or implementing new online tools to further engage with customers and more. 

2. Provide them with a toolkit

Finding ways to help your merchants benchmark their progress and organize their brand in an online storefront is also key.

It’s not enough that an organization mechanically employs IT knowledge to its vendor base, but instead that it helps each vendor take advantage of each tool offered.

Some tools shop owners can consider are customized storefronts and URLs, merchandising placement, email marketing, loyalty programs, tailored product pages, per item fee rebate, commission rebates, dedicated ECCs, custom shopping engines, sales reporting, SKU listing capacity, seller portal access, white label and international selling.

3. Give them a platform to grow

By providing your merchants with access to savvy and enthusiastic online shoppers, they must grow, adapt and embrace the rapidly evolving global ecommerce marketplace.

Positioning shopping as entertainment and fostering competitive prices, fun and convenience as priorities, merchants will win over shoppers on their own terms.

Bernard Luthi

Published 11 June, 2013 by Bernard Luthi

Bernard Luthi is CMO and COO of Rakuten.com.

4 more posts from this author

Comments (1)


Russell Oakley

I believe social media is a fragile platform and should not be fully relied on as the backbone of any business. To many businesses are learning too much on social media and putting all eggs in one basket.

over 3 years ago

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