When we launched CometChat, way back in 2009, I had only one focus- to provide a simple chat solution for forum owners. We slowly learned that there were more than just forum users who wanted a chat solution in their websites & apps. As years went by, the user mindset evolved and now, chat has become a necessity in almost every application.
In this article, I will focus on marketplaces and how CometChat helps level the playing field as you take on this crowded space.
Two-sided e-commerce apps which connects buyers and sellers
Popular apps: Airbnb, Etsy, eBay, Letgo, Carousell
I say 2-sided because you have buyers on one side and sellers on the other. The sellers could be selling anything from renting their properties (think Airbnb) to sell used goods (think eBay). As a buyer, almost always you have questions when buying from an individual seller; so it's imperative for marketplaces to provide a way for buyers to connect with sellers. The faster your users connect with each other, the faster they purchase. The faster they purchase, the faster you grow.
The Old-fashioned Way
The traditional way to connect buyers with sellers is by providing the email address or phone number of the seller.
There are many issues revolving around this simple solution. For starters, the conversation moves completely off your platform and you can no longer curate the user experience. You also do not have any visibility into the conversation and cannot gather feedback about the seller. And most importantly, you can only pray that the buyer and seller do not skip you when performing the transaction. While this may be less likely for first-time buyers, repeat buyers, as they gain more confidence & trust, would be tempted to directly purchasing from the seller.
TL;DR- Directly connecting buyers and sellers harms your business due to loss of visibility and incentivizes sellers to perform the transaction off platform (to save any platform fees).
The CometChat Way
CometChat is designed to help you connect your buyers and sellers while ensuring a safe and secure messaging environment.
Here are some features that you will love in CometChat Pro-
First, build a great messaging solution
Time required: 1 day
You can seamlessly build a buyer-to-seller chat experience and allow buyers to chat with sellers. If you want to orient your conversations around the listing (e.g. product/event/property etc.), you can dynamically create private groups for every buyer-seller-product pair. This way if a seller has multiple products, the conversations never get mixed. And you can enhance the chat experience by providing emojis, custom on-brand stickers and voice notes.
Using our custom metadata feature, you can show smart cards right within the chat, making it easier for buyers or sellers to share product listings and purchase links.
Then, reduce off-platform conversations
Time required: Few minutes
With the help of our extensions, you can drastically reduce the probability of the conversation moving off your platform. Our Data Masking extension automatically drops (or masks) all messages which include phone numbers and emails. That's not all, you can use our Human Moderation extension to send these messages to a human moderator for further evaluation (and action).
Finally, increase user engagement
Time required: Few minutes
Since your buyers are mostly passive, when a seller sends a message, using our Email Notification extension, you can immediately send out an email to the buyer. You could also use our SMS Notification extension to send out a text on their mobile. And you don't have to show the sellers response directly within the email/SMS; you can modify our templates to simply point back the user to your platform. Once the user is back on your platform, not only will they look at the sellers response, they will also look at other products and there by increasing your customer's life-time-value.
That's not all, you can use our Smart Reply extension to make it super easy for buyers and sellers to respond to questions.
Today, your buyers are accustomed to having a great messaging experience. And if they aren't able to on your platform, they will take the conversation elsewhere like Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Skype. And we understand adding an in-app chat is complex. And that's exactly why we are here to help you go from 0 to 100 in days if not hours.