Sellers in MultiMerch
Sellers (or vendors) are the heart of online marketplaces – MultiMerch is not an exception.
This guide covers the seller system in MultiMerch in detail.
MultiMerch seller system – the basics
Seller system architecture
MultiMerch allows your marketplace visitors and your existing customers to sign up for a seller account and use the same email address for both customer and seller activities.
So in effect, seller accounts are an extension to customer accounts.
This works in a similar manner to online marketplaces like eBay where you'll use a single set of credentials to both buy and sell.
Each MultiMerch seller has their own public profile page and their own store front area, but all of these are located within your marketplace and are not completely individual stores.
This is similar to marketplaces like Etsy where sellers have their own profiles and stores, but all of them still belong inside the marketplace.
For your sellers this means a much simpler onboarding since they don't have to set up and manage a full blown online store - only to sign up at your marketplace.
For you as the marketplace owner this means you can offer a much more consistent experience for your buyers since you're the one in charge of your marketplace - sellers don't have any administrative access to the marketplace.
It also means that while sellers can style their profiles and stores with custom avatars and banners, they will all still be using the main theme of your marketplace so their stores won't look out of place.
Seller stores and profiles
All MultiMerch sellers have their own profiles and store fronts within your marketplace.
Seller's profile is a page displaying the information about the seller – such as the description, some public details, recently published products, customer reviews and other data that helps customers assess this particular seller.
Both seller profile and store pages are displayed within the layout of your marketplace so your customers always have the same consistent experience when looking through different seller stores.
Finally, all MultiMerch sellers are listed on a separate "marketplace sellers" page which lets customers browse and sort through seller profiles.
Sellers control their MultiMerch profiles and stores through their MultiMerch seller accounts.
Just like customer accounts, seller account controls are located in the front store part of your marketplace.
This saves you the trouble of providing your sellers with the administrative access to your marketplace.
It also makes it possible to use themes to style your seller account areas to make your sellers feel at home.
Seller accounts consist of a number of different pages and let your sellers control most things related to their accounts – from personal details and the look of their profiles to their product catalogs, orders, shipping and payment settings and other settings.
MultiMerch has a system of seller groups to make it easier to you to apply different attributes to different sellers – such as commission rates, badges and other properties.
Each MultiMerch seller always belongs to one seller group – the default group is created by MultiMerch during setup.
Creating seller accounts
MultiMerch has three different ways of creating seller accounts – new seller signing up, existing customers applying for a seller account and marketplace administration creating seller accounts manually.
New sellers signing up
New sellers sign up at your marketplace by going through a two step process.
First, they fill out the basic account details and create their login credentials.
Then, they'll fill out the seller profile form, which contains additional information about the seller – such as the store name and description, avatar and banner and a few other details.
Once this process is completed, your new sellers receive access to the rest of their account and can start listing products.
MultiMerch also offers a setting to enable manual validation (moderation) of new seller accounts – in this case, newly created accounts will be inactive until approved by the administration.
Customers becoming sellers
Existing customers can also apply for a seller account with MultiMerch through their customer accounts.
In this case, they'll only need to fill out the second "profile details" form while their existing account data and credentials will be used to let them log into their accounts as usual.
Manually creating sellers by the administration
In additional to sellers signing up themselves, the marketplace administration can create seller accounts manually – for example, following a prior agreement.
The manual seller creation page can be found via Admin > MultiMerch > Sellers > Create a new seller.
Here, MultiMerch makes it possible for the administrator to either create a new user account for this seller or create a seller account for an existing customer.
Seller account navigation and controls
Sellers can access their accounts by logging into your marketplace via the usual login page.
Both new sellers and existing customers will see the links to their seller account pages in their account overview.
If enabled, the account sidebar will also display links to all account areas – user data and credentials, customer account pages and seller account pages.
Depending on your marketplace settings, your sellers will have access to one or all of the following account sections:
Note that seller account controls are located in the front end side of your marketplace – this means you will be able to apply custom design and styles to all seller account pages via your marketplace theme.
The Dashboard is the central part of all seller accounts in MultiMerch.
It displays all of the important information to sellers including the sale and earning chart, latest orders, reviews, invoices and messages as well as the top viewed and selling products.
The Profile page lets your sellers modify the information displayed in their profiles.
This is the same form they've filled out during sign up.
Your sellers create and manage their product catalog via the Products page.
This page displays all products created by the seller and makes it possible to create new products, categories, options and attributes.
After publishing their products, your sellers will begin receiving orders from customers.
These can be viewed and processed via the Orders page.
For more information about orders in MultiMerch, please see the Orders page of this guide.
All of seller's sales and expenses are recorded as transactions, which form seller's balance.
Sellers can view their transaction history and balance statement by visiting the Transactions area.
Marketplace payouts to sellers are made according to their balances.
Invoices are physical payments between your sellers and the marketplace.
Sellers can view and pay their invoices by visiting the Invoices section.
These can be payments of sign up and listing fees that have to be paid by your sellers as well as records of past direct payments from customers and payouts from your marketplace.
Sellers can create their own discount coupons and share them with their customers during discount campaigns.
These are managed through the Coupons interface.
Discount coupons created by your sellers are only valid for their own products.
Your sellers have access to 6 different reports in their Reports section:
- List of sales
- Sales by day
- Sales by month
- Sales by product
These let sellers generate detailed reports about their sales performance and financial statements for specific date periods.
Sellers can view all of customers' reviews for their products in the Reviews section.
This page lists all current reviews and lets sellers read and respond to them if needed.
If the question feature is enabled in MultiMerch, customers can ask sellers questions about their products.
The Questions page lets sellers view and respond to customer questions.
All questions and answers are then publicly displayed on product pages.
MultiMerch comes with a private messaging system that lets customers, sellers and marketplace administrators communicate with each other without leaving the marketplace.
If private messaging is enabled, sellers will be able to view and respond to customer messages in the Conversations page.
In addition to this page, sellers will also see and be able to respond to order-related messages directly on the order information page.
The Settings area lets sellers configure various properties of their accounts that are not related to their profiles.
This includes address and invoicing settings, payment methods and combined shipping configuration.
If combined shipping is disabled, shipping settings will only be avaialble on a product level in product listing forms.
Browsing seller profiles
List of sellers
MultiMerch displays all seller profiles on the Seller list page, which allows customers to browse through all seller profiles in the marketplace.
You can also enable the display of sellers on a map – in this case, your visitors will be able to see the locations of your sellers and their stores on one map.
To enable the seller map, you will need to specify your Google Maps API key.
Seller's profile is the homepage of each MultiMerch seller in a seller-focused marketplace.
MultiMerch seller profile pages display the profile information of the seller – the description, a list of the newly published products, seller badges, social media profile links as well as customer reviews about this seller's products.
While seller profiles and stores are located within your marketplace, sellers can upload custom avatar and banner images to give their profile pages a distinct look and feel.
Seller stores are front store areas of your marketplace that display seller products organized into seller's own category structure.
This makes it simple for customers to browse through individual seller's product catalog while still having access to your regular marketplace navigation.
MultiMerch lets sellers organize their products into their own categories within their stores while also displaying them in your main marketplace categories.
You decide whether to let sellers publish products directly into marketplace categories or to only allow them use their own categories and keep the marketplace categories a curated list of select products.
No matter where the product is listed to, MultiMerch displays the information from seller's profile and a link to it on product pages so customers can always visit seller's store if they feel like looking through the rest of seller's catalog.
MultiMerch seller profile pages will use the design and styling of the marketplace theme you have installed.
This makes it possible to create different types of online marketplaces simply by using different themes.
Seller management for the marketplace administration
Viewing, creating and editing sellers
MultiMerch provides the marketplace administration with convenient means of managing seller accounts.
The administrator's list of sellers can be accessed via Admin > MultiMerch > Sellers and displays the most important data about seller accounts.
The table contains basic seller details and statistics and offers the administrator a way to view seller's public profile, log in as the seller as well as modify and remove the account.
The Edit seller screen provides further controls for individual seller accounts and makes it possible to view and modify most of seller properties.
To make it easier to create seller accounts, MultiMerch administrators can manually create seller accounts through the admin area.
This lets the marketplace staff create new user accounts from scratch or create seller profiles for existing marketplace users.
Creating and managing seller groups
MultiMerch has a concept of seller groups, which makes it possible to group sellers and assign specific properties to all sellers belonging to the same group.
Seller groups can be viewed and created via Admin > MultiMerch > Marketplace > Seller groups.
Each MultiMerch seller will always belong to one specific group and will have group properties applied to their account – such as commission rates and badges.
Marketplace configuration related to seller accounts
In addition to seller and group level settings, MultiMerch offers marketplace staff a number of global configuration settings related to seller accounts.
These can be accessed via Admin > MultiMerch > Settings > Seller accounts.
For a more detailed description of MultiMerch settings, please see the Configuration section of this guide.