The Best Ways Great Marketplace Support Systems Enhance Your Business

The Best Ways Great Marketplace Support Systems Enhance Your Business

Marketplace support systems – specifically customer and vendor support systems – are vital to the success of your multi-vendor marketplace. In fact, without great customer support, you can break your business and reputation.

Have you ever submitted a support or pre-sales question only to receive no reply? You’re not alone. Unfortunately, providing poor support is the number one reason why potential customers and vendors might think twice about choosing a platform.

Thankfully, success can be yours as long as you strive to provide the highest level of support possible. This requires training staff in the use of your products and services, creating user-friendly systems to communicate with customers, and having the tools to resolve the issues quickly.

Today, we’re going to outline the reasons why having great marketplace support systems is a must for all multi-vendor platforms. This means we’ll discuss the various processes that you need to plan and execute to ensure that your support systems work for you instead of against you.

So let’s get right to it!

Training And Operating Procedures

When you first launch your marketplace, you might be the only person providing support for all aspects of your platform. Alternatively, you might have someone on your team who works on support from day one. Either way, the standard operating procedures and training systems need to be developed and maintained. These will change over time as your services evolve.

If you don’t plan and develop your training and operating procedures, it can become very hard to scale them. In addition, you won’t be able to disconnect from your business to have downtime. For these reasons, it’s crucial to plan your marketplace support systems from the beginning.

Your training and operating procedures are some of the most important aspects of your marketplace support systems. Also, take note that if you want to hire someone to assume a specific support role, your marketplace support systems need to be clearly defined.

Remember, failing to manage the above aspects correctly limits your ability to scale them. Thus, take your time and refine these procedures – it’ll boost your chances of success!

Optimizing information management can contribute to a boost in e-commerce sales

Marketplace Support Systems Need To Scale

Your marketplace support systems are the actual systems that you choose to provide support. These need to scale or you’ll have difficulty succeeding.

There are two kinds of support systems – those that allow you to provide support to your users and those that your users can employ to help themselves.

You can provide support to your users via email, ticket-based systems, or forums. Providing easy-to-use self-help systems is also essential because well-designed documentation and training materials can drastically reduce your customer inquiries.

Choosing the right support system will ensure that you can scale your business without any issues.

Now, let’s explore the two main types of marketplace support systems in more detail…

The 2 Marketplace Support Systems That Your Business Needs

For your online marketplace to succeed, you need to develop marketplace support systems that 1) let you help customers and vendors and 2) let customers and vendors help themselves.

1. Customer and vendor support systems

There are various types of customer and vendor support systems. These are:

i. Email support

Email-based support is something that has been around since email was first invented. Email is easy because it requires little to no training and works on any device. Email support could be as simple as an inbox where all messages are sent, and as complex as a multi-user hosted solution with metrics, multiple mailbox support, and more.

It might be tempting to start your support with a simple email address with all requests going into an inbox that you check throughout the day. There are several problems with this approach. For one thing, it can be hard to track a conversation if there are more than a few replies. You might miss a reply as it goes to spam, or your customer might miss a reply for the same reason.

The simple solution doesn’t scale at all and can quickly make support a nightmare for you and the customers. This is why we advise against the catch-all approach to support. Email is error-prone. In addition, your and your users’ replies can get lost.

among the most effective marketplace support systems are emails

ii. Email and ticket support

The most common support system in use today extends the idea of a simple mailbox into a complete ticket-based multi-user system. This takes the simplicity of emails and adds complete management and a scalable backend to the system. You can get metrics such as average ticket wait time, average resolution time, and more. They can also include self-service documentation sites and AI chatbots.

Examples of email-based ticket support systems include ZenDesk, Helpscout, and Freshdesk. We use Helpscout here at WC Vendors for all our pre-sales and pro support.

Each ticket includes the entire conversation of the support request so that any agent can jump in on a ticket and assist. If you have multiple departments and support channels for your products, you can easily route your customer queries.

These are the best systems for scalability because you can easily add and remove support agents as your business evolves. Moreover, it allows your agents to easily take over for each other in case of sickness or vacation. You can also use metrics to determine when you need to schedule your agents based on when and from where your tickets are being submitted.

iii. Forum support

Another popular support system is via a hosted forum system. This could be completely open to all users or it might be restricted to premium users only. Forums can be great if they’re planned and managed correctly. They’re also a great avenue for self-service support as all solutions are available for the customers to search for. Furthermore, if you find some of your users answering questions, they might be a lead to a new hire as your platform grows.

Unfortunately, having an enormous customer and vendor base could bring scaling and support issues. For example, if you don’t have the best forum notification systems, you could end up missing posts from paying customers. This, in turn, could require you to migrate to ticket-based support to fix the issue.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that a forum won’t work for you. Thus, if you want to ensure an effective and successful system, it’s a good idea to have someone on your team moderate the forum.

If you aren’t ready for a ticket-based support system, we recommend trying a forum as your first support system and then evaluating your systems as your business grows. In addition, you’ll need to plan and deal with forum rules, forum policies, and spammers. These days, most forum software boasts high-quality spam detection systems, so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

among the best marketplace support systems are forums

2. Self-help systems

People don’t always want to ask for help. Thankfully, if you can provide great self-help systems, then you can reduce your support request traffic and empower your users to help themselves.

There are various options when providing knowledge bases and other self-help-based systems. You can host these yourself or use a hosted solution.

i. Self-hosted

These kinds of support systems can be as simple as a sub-website that has articles outlining various aspects of your features and how to use them. You can acquire one of many free or paid knowledge base plugins.

Alternatively, you can custom-build your own system. These are either extremely easy or complicated to set up – it depends on the kind of solution you choose.

Here at WC Vendors, our documentation uses a subsite with a handy plugin known as Heroic Knowledge Base from Hero Themes. The developers also have a theme that works with the said plugin so that you can easily and quickly establish a searchable online knowledge base.

Self-hosted solutions can be of exceptional value. However, they do come with some shortcomings when compared to the more powerful hosted solutions.

ii. Hosted solutions

On the other end of the scale, hosted ticket-based systems provide integrated searchable knowledge bases that integrate with the tickets and AI chatbots. This means that if you have all of your documentation in the same location, then it’s easy to link in your replies as well as have the chatbots automatically reply based on what they find in the knowledge base.

The power of a completely integrated support system means that your ability to scale is much easier. You can have auto-replies, pre-sale bots answering questions based on your knowledge base, and more. We highly recommend this solution for your multi-vendor marketplace as it has the most functionality in a single solution.

While hosted solutions can cost more, you’ll know exactly how much you’ll need to spend every month. This can help with your financial planning and cost projections during your business planning stages.

hosted solutions make excellent marketplace support systems


When creating your marketplace support systems, you’ll need to have clear policies for both customers and vendors. These policies form part of your standard operating procedures. Because they should be available on every single page of your site, it’s best to have a link to each policy in the footer of your website.

The policies that you should have for your site include:

1. Support policy

The support policy should outline what is and isn’t covered by support.

As much as possible, avoid using lengthy legalese that’s hard to understand. Consider making it extremely clear what your support policies are with a simple table that says if specific requests are covered or not. These policies are also part of your training systems so that your staff knows what to do should a request fall outside of support.

2. Shipping policy

Your marketplace could be involved in the shipping of items. If this is the case, you need to have clear shipping policies and terms.

Shipping delays are the number one reason for chargebacks in e-commerce stores. You need to work with your vendors to ensure that you, they, your support staff, and your customers have realistic expectations regarding when items will be shipped and how long delivery will take. If you can, provide tracking details as soon as possible.

3. Refund policy

Having a clear and concise refund policy is important for your marketplace support systems. It should clearly define the timeframe during which a customer can request a refund, specify the eligible reasons for refunds (if any), and outline the processing timeline for refunds.

The refund policy can cause serious issues with your business if not handled correctly. It also equips your customer support team with the necessary tools to understand the standard operating procedures for processing refunds.

you must clarify the policies that govern your marketplace support systems


Having great marketplace support systems is the best way for multi-vendor platforms to ensure that they have happy customers and vendors. As such, it’s essential to provide support to all those involved with your e-commerce business.

To recap, you can offer active support via customer/vendor support channels such as:

  1. Email support
  2. Email and ticket support
  3. Forum support

Alternatively, you can provide passive support using great self-help systems like:

  1. Self-hosted
  2. Hosted solutions

Also, don’t forget to develop the policies that determine the nature of your marketplace support systems:

  1. Support policy
  2. Shipping policy
  3. Refund policy

Remember: your support systems will constantly evolve as your business does. Thus, it’s important to monitor these systems and make sure that you’re providing the best possible service you can.

What marketplace support systems do you use? How well do they work for you? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below!

Posted in Marketplaces 101