How to Onboard Vendors to an E-Commerce Site

E-commerce sites are exploding businesses that grow even bigger every day through their ever-enlarging vendor networks.

You can easily set up an online store in a few steps, without any hassles!

With uncountable users engaging with your site to become a vendor, keeping track of all their training can be a challenge. In this article, we will discuss how 3rd-party onboarding tools can be used to onboard vendors to an e-commerce site.

Should I really focus on onboarding vendors?

Yes, yes you should.

As an e-commerce site, you need to have active vendors that profit from their relation with you, so you need them to stick around.

This is where the term “retention” comes into play.

You need to evade early quits and increase the percentage of power users; which can only be done through onboarding.

This doesn’t just apply to vendors too, it applies to customers also. Having customers that stick around is just as important as having vendors that do the same.

Here are some honest facts on why customer retention matters for e-commerce.

What is a vendor onboarding software?

A vendor onboarding software is a combination of tools that aims to boost the efficiency of your vendors and potential vendors. It is a platform where you meet and onboard your vendors practically to guide your vendors as they go online on your e-commerce site.

A quality vendor onboarding software helps you build a fruitful and long-lasting relationship between your vendor and you. You accompany them while they are opening their online shop with you, and they become your partner as long as they are happy.

Why should you use a 3rd-party vendor onboarding software?

Creating the vendor onboarding process in-source is always an option. Through a long period of conducting user research, creating and optimizing the onboarding process, and maintaining it, you can have a solution that deals with all your onboarding problems.

The question is, however, can you afford the time and the money to create an onboarding flow from scratch alongside many other features a 3rd-party tool offers? Your answer to this question determines whether you need to outsource your onboarding with tools that you can create whole onboarding flows with, in just a few minutes.

outsource vendor onboarding

These 3rd-party onboarding tools are also completely code-free. So you don’t usually need coding experience or any technical background to create and implement product tours.

Still thinking that outsourcing will not be beneficial for your company? This article might change your mind.

What do your potential vendors need?

For many people, digital platforms are complicated and untrusting. So, your vendors need to know that you are available to help them grow with your support. People are demanding care from the very beginning of their experience with your site.

While establishing an onboarding process for vendors, we recommend you start by asking what challenges them. The first thing to focus on here is to find the pain points of your users that make it hard for them to understand the value of your product.

Your vendor onboarding process should be designed to address their needs from you. Your vendor onboarding software will help you solve your vendors’ problems and satisfy them. When you solve their problems, their motivation to stay with you increases along with their efficient effort in this partnership. 

Onboard Vendors to an E-Commerce Site in 6 Steps

Whether you are going in-source or out-source for your onboarding needs, what you need to do in order to create the best onboarding flow for your product, stays the same. We have summarised these to 6 steps which will help you achieve satisfied vendors that are also power users of your site.

interactive vendor onboarding

1. Interactive Training

Make sure that they comprehend the steps they need to take to be a vendor on your site and use it effectively. Interactive vendor training enables you to explain every single feature you offer to your vendor. Interactive site walkthroughs help you create live guides that show your value proposition step by step.

Boosting engagement among vendors with these interactive product tours helps you create a knowledgable and loyal vendor base. Vendors that reach their “Aha!” moments quickly are more likely to become fans of your brand.

2. Provide elaborate documentation

Using vendor onboarding software, you can create your training documentation easily. It is handy to provide brief information to show the bigger picture. But your vendors may need elaborate documentation covering the overall process, especially if they are not tech-savvy.

Do not expect them to digest everything in your e-commerce site. Instead, you can start by helping them complete the registration and open their online shop to lessen the burden on them.

3. Vendor onboarding checklists

Your potential vendors may quit in the middle of the process if they find it too complicated. You can create a vendor onboarding checklist to make it simple for them. Let them go step-by-step rather than jumping into the middle of the process.

Your vendor onboarding checklist may include registration, creating a profile; entering the prices, product descriptions, payment terms, delivery process, etc. These steps will organize the vendor onboarding process and show them what to accomplish next.

4. Create a self-service help center

Every vendor’s situation is unique, but there is no doubt that there will be frequently asked questions. You can offer an interactive help center to provide self-service support. So they will reach the information precisely what they are looking for without the need to wait for talking to a real person.

People are impatient and you will regret getting back to them late. Instant answers are great to keep the vendor satisfaction high.

vendor onboarding analytics

5. Track their progress to help more

Once you create your guides that will onboard your vendors, you need to track their performance since you can’t improve what you can’t measure. Creating an analytics tool if you’re working in-source or picking the 3rd-party tool with integrated analytics will help you see how your creations are doing and what needs improvement.

Once you explore the steps your vendors are having a hard time at and see in which parts your vendors excel, you can get a sense of the most optimal onboarding process for your site and start realizing it.

6. Let them be informed of new features

Let’s say your vendors are now online and their businesses are running. Now it is time to spend some effort on retention. Like we mentioned before, many other e-commerce sites are working hard to steal them from you.

So what you can do for high retention rates is to keep the connection alive all the time. If you launched a new feature, let them know about it, increase your feature adoption! In this way, you will strengthen the bonds between them and you. This way, your vendors will experience a constant sense of being cared for. Never forget that your partnership is supposed to last a lifetime.

Selman Gokce

Selman Gokce is the Senior Inbound Marketer of UserGuiding. He is highly invested in user onboarding and digital adoption, especially for SaaS, and he writes on these topics for the UserGuiding blog. When he's not writing, you can find him either listening to LOTR soundtracks while cooking or getting angry because he lost in a video game.

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