How to perfect merchant experience with proper onboarding

I once got on an Uber with magazines, headrest monitors, and a whole snack bar.

It was only a 15-minute drive, but I had the ride of my life.

When  I got off, I thought to myself, “some people know how to provide a good customer service experience.”

merchant experience
Hand cream?! My driver didn’t go that far 😳

Obviously, the Uber driver was in it for the 5-star review, but this got me thinking about their own experience with Uber.

“I received a good customer experience from Uber, but what about the drivers’ experience with Uber? Is the merchant experience that good that they want to be at the top of their game?”

I am nowhere near finding out the answer, but I sure do know why it matters.

Let’s talk about merchant experience and how you can perfect it for your merchant-based product.

What is the merchant experience?

Merchant experience is, in its traditional sense, a commerce-related term referring to the payment process on the part of merchants done in a secure channel. Also referred to as merchant services or merchant services experience, this process can be provided by merchant acquirers, ISOs, VARs with the main goal of a fast, secure service.

However, today we will be talking about a different type of merchant experience. The type of experience that refers to the way merchants see and use platforms.

I bet you wanted to know how the Doordash or Uber Eats interface looked for the drivers at least once. I try to take a sneak peek every time 😁

If you don’t know already, they look a lot different than what we see on a regular user account.

They are obviously way more complicated.

For example, did you know a Doordash driver has to confirm they have certain items with them to start dashing? Or that Uber Eats drivers can see delivery stats?

Likewise, restaurants working with Uber Eats have their own thing going on.

Now, these are all a part of the merchant experience. But the real question is, why does it matter?

 Why does merchant experience matter?

Merchant experience is important for one very simple reason: that is how it all works.

The service industry is based on two elements, the customer and the provider. One cannot exist without the other. It’s the law of supply and demand.

Still, countless delivery, shipping, and other service platforms are obsessed with their users.

They want more. And they can be very convincing.

On the other part of the service equation, drivers, restaurants, and the rest of the service providers simply don’t have to suffer through a lousy merchant experience.

That is why merchant experience matters.

There is a huge emphasis on the user experience. To keep the equation balanced, you need to give your service providers the same attention.

And just how might one do that?

how to create merchant experience

How to create a stellar merchant experience for your product

Let’s say you are starting a hypothetical company that brings customers and home services people together.

You have your user interface ready, the next is the interface for the providers.

Now, keep in mind that you are going to be working with babysitters, housekeepers, and gardeners. That means the age, tech proficiency, backgrounds, and general experiences of these people will vary greatly.

You have to offer a great merchant experience. But how?

By minding three important points.

  1. Understand that merchants are your users too
  2. Optimize your platform for better merchant use
  3. Educate right

1- Understand that merchants are your users too

Let’s get one thing straight first.

If someone is using your platform/app/website, they are a user.

Obviously, merchants – all organizations and individual workers interacting with your product – are your users. They experience your product and therefore have a merchant experience, some better some worse.

You can’t change this fact, but you can change one thing. The experience they have, for the better.

And you can only do this by acknowledging that merchants are users too. If you got it down, let’s proceed.

2- Optimize your platform for better merchant use

Remember how painful it was to build that hypothetical platform for your users? Bet it was a crazy time.

And how much time and effort you put into the merchant app? I just can tell that it was not as much.

C’mon, we have talked about this. If a merchant is also a user, they deserve a merchant experience as good as the user experience. So what you do is take a look at your merchant app and optimize it.

We both know it needs exactly that.

And while you are at it, don’t forget your service providers might come in all shapes and ages. Keep it user-friendly.

If you lose one customer, you lose one customer. If you lose one provider, you lose several customers.

3- Educate right

So, you have worked on your merchant app/website and it is as simple as can be.

Let me tell you, it is not simple enough.

I have been on a computer since I was 5 and on a phone since I was 10, and it took me a whole day to figure out how Slack works.

But the thing is, you don’t have to get it any simpler, you have to educate the users right.

Sadly, even the biggest merchant-based companies lack good user education. Why do you think there are YouTube videos named Uber Eats driver app walkthrough?

And how do you educate your merchants? Through user onboarding.

Creating the right onboarding for your merchants in 3 steps

Congratulations, your hypothetical service platform became a huge hit and people are interested in working with you.

New service providers are signing up to your merchant app every day, and of course, you want to onboard them right. Let’s look at how you do that.

1- Welcome them right

So, yes, the merchants are your users. But at the same time, they are looking to get money from your platform. The last thing you want is to scare them off with a possibly complicated app/website.

First impression matters.

To ease the nerves, I suggest starting off with a welcome message and a product tour. Even better, go for a walkthrough/interactive guide (wait, how?)

merchant experience flourish onboarding
Flourish’s welcome message and onboarding tour!

Show them you don’t bite, and that they can work comfortably in the environment you provide. And most importantly, show them around. Thoroughly.

merchant experience onboarding ghostwriter ai

2- Turn it into a proactive process

You have introduced your platform the right way, educated the service providers on how to use the platform, and they are ready to get to work.

What need there is for any more onboarding stuff, right?


On any platform, website, app, tool, product, onboarding is and should be proactive. That means you don’t just exhaust onboarding at one go. That’s not only intimidating but also inefficient. 

You show what a certain feature does when the user gets to that page and actually uses it. Even better if you turn it into an interactive experience.

Let the users explore it in time. You won’t regret it.

3- Keep them updated

Service platforms change greatly over time. Of course, the users are notified. But for the service providers, it can take more than a notification.

By employing tooltips and pop-ups in your platform for your merchants, you can elevate the merchant experience way more than you think. 

merchant experience onboarding popup

Remember, the service providers deserve the accessibility the end-users are experiencing. An e-mail won’t do.

CitizenShipper: the top example of a stellar merchant experience

The national online and mobile shipping marketplace CitizenShipper has been having onboarding problems for both their end-user and their driver interface.

The reason why was obvious.

“As a two-sided marketplace, having a stellar onboarding experience is our lifeblood: the customers get cold feet and leave your platform even when they experience the slightest difficulty with using the platform.”


Of course, they were going through the troubles of any other SaaS business: their developers were always busy. So, they found UserGuiding.

Take a look at their driver interface:

merchant experience citizenshipper

They didn’t just stop at the initial onboarding but also adopted UserGuiding’s resource center feature to keep it proactive:

merchant experience citizenshipper onboarding

What difference did this onboarding process made on the merchant experience?

In the “Drivers” segment, who are their main partners, they experienced a 15% increased activation rate.

Impressive, right? “But, how do I do that?”, I hear you ask. Here’s the answer.

And here’s the rest of CitizenShipper’s story.

The #1 Merchant onboarding software for web platforms: why UserGuiding?

I will not hold back here: UserGuiding has all you can ask for to create the perfect merchant experience and onboard them to your product. And you can try them all for FREE.

But just in case, let me tell you all the reasons why UserGuiding is what you need.

1- It is no-code

I mean it.

No trick, no lie. UserGuiding is fully no-code.

And if you have been in the SaaS industry for long enough, you know just how much it matters. Take CitizenShipper, for example. Even if they had their developers free, they would have to code.

And that is not a fun process.

With UserGuiding, however, neither you nor your developers need to worry. Get in there and don’t code!

2- All the necessary features, in one place

From start to finish, all patterns of an efficient user onboarding process are on UserGuiding.

Like what?

Product tours and interactive guides…

Welcome messages, update pop-ups, and other types of in-app messages…

merchant experience welcome message

Tooltips and hotspots…

merchant experience onboarding tooltips

Checklists (where you can put all your interactive guides)…

merchant experience onboarding checklist

And the latest addition to UserGuiding, resource centers (hey, there is one over there 👉) …

merchant experience onboarding resource center

3- Powerful Analytics

Whether you can onboard the service providers right or not plays a huge role in your business.

And to be able to track the onboarding, you need analytics. A powerful one.

Thankfully UserGuiding offers just that.

merchant experience analytics

4- Segmentation/Targeting

Not all platforms have service providers as homogenous as Uber or Doordash. For example, your hypothetical home service provider platform has many different merchants.

It is very likely that you might have to onboard your babysitters, gardeners, and home cleaners in different ways. And for that you need segmentation.

merchant experience segmentation

All in all, UserGuiding has all that you can ask for. What are you still waiting for, let’s get you started 💪


Merchant experience is greatly overlooked, and almost always sloppily designed. No matter how your merchant interface looks, it is up to you to redeem it. And that is through a good onboarding process.

As long as you remember your merchants are also your users, there is very little to worry about.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is merchant services experience?

Merchant services experience is a term related to payment processing in commerce and e-commerce. By providing a secure payment channel for the merchants, merchant services experience is achieved.

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Serra Alban

Serra Alban

When I realized I won’t be the next Greta Gerwig I found myself as a creative content writer at UserGuiding. I’ve been obsessed with UX design, customer success, and digital adoption ever since. If you could stare at good UX for hours like me don’t hesitate to hit me up on LinkedIn. I might end up dropping too much movie trivia but hey, old habits die hard.