NeoPlace Seller Survey Report

As we are building a cross-border e-commerce protocol, it’s always necessary to hear the voice from our target customer groups, since we value a lot about how public sees us, with the development of our first NeoPlace Market, we are in need to know about our product positioning before we on board our sellers to NeoPlace Market. In July, we conducted a survey in order to know e-commerce sellers’ current condition, and what they expect from our protocol, to verify our conclusions from previous experiences, with the support from our community, we collected 1,900 answers in 2 weeks.

After processing those answers and eliminating invalid answers, we have some interesting finds, and we will share the finds with you, here are what we got.

About 80% of our participants have been sold products online, which correspond in total 1439 person, and over 90% of them are not professional sellers — only 3.89% said that they are full-time professional sellers, and others just sell online once in a while (50.04%), or several times per month (21.63%).

Among those sellers, the major online platform they used are Amazon (30.58%), eBay (24.49%), AliExpress (13.72%), the other platforms are including Facebook, Etsy, Rover, and local marketplaces.

The category of products is diverse, from books to products for specific groups like children and pets. But electronics (46.16%) and clothing (26.73%) remains to be 2 big categories of selling in e-commerce activities. And main activities area is domestic market.

For income they got from selling online, we could see their average revenue per month is still low, revenue lower than $500 counts for 81.1% of total participants, and the income more than $20000 counts for only 0.36%, which is 5 participants. So we can get the conclusion that most of the e-commerce sellers are small to medium sized.

In next section, we used Likert scaling method, to see the degree of agreement of all the participants about some of the statements, these statements are used to measure the main problems exist in current marketplace platforms. For example, we identified high platform fees, less security, fake profiles and comments as problems, and their degree of agreement could be used to see how they feel about those problems, and how much they would like the problems to be solved.

We used 3 statements to describe the first problem we identified — high platform fees in conventional e-commerce marketplaces.

Likert scaling result — high platform fees

From the table above, we could see that despite over 50% of them don’t mind paying platform fees, but more than 65% of them thinks that platform fees are high for them, and nearly 30% of them strongly agree with reducing platform fees can improve their overall revenue, besides that, over 40% of the participants feels agree with it.

Likert scaling result — fake profiles

Fake profiles and comments is another severe problem exists on current e-commerce platforms, as we could see from the table, 66.86% of the sellers in total think that their sales have been influenced cause of fake comments from fake profiles. In the meanwhile, a decrease on sellers’ profit is just one of the aspects fake reviews could impact, it could also aggravate trust issue in e-commerce activities.

Likert scaling result — complication

Marketplace companies have ambiguous internal operation rules which will potentially influence sellers’ business, no one wants their sales under through unexpected changes, yet sometimes traditional marketplaces platform are putting their sellers in unfair situations — 45.44% of sellers think that marketplace platforms have different rules to limit their freedom to do business, and 34.73% of them had been through the situation that their product has been de-listed without prior notification.

Likert scaling result — less seller protection

Buyer protection makes sellers bear unnecessary lost if a dispute raised, even if sometimes the problems were not from sellers’ side. For example, product damaged during transportation, product return in 7 days without reason, etc. Sellers, on the other side, don’t get enough protection in e-commerce activities,

And when it comes to cross-border e-commerce activities, 593 of our participants, who have experience of selling international, have answered our questions, 67.79% of the sellers agreed that it’s difficult to find international customers, 67.46% of the participants agreed on that language barrier is a big problem when doing international transactions. Besides, they also think that currency barrier (65.43%), foreign exchange fees (76.9%), and long processing time (70.32%) are also a major problem which influences their business and revenue.

In order to sum up, we also asked top 3 problems sellers encountered on e-commerce marketplace platforms, which they found as hassles to better performance their business from time to time. After counting the frequency of occurrences of each answer from our participants, we listed in below the several problems that sellers struggle to solve, from highest to lowest.

- high platform fees, commission fees, and transaction cost.

- less trust and fake profiles & reviews from buyers on the platforms.

- Logistic: high delivery cost, delivery delay and product damaged during transportation.

- Poor security on the website, hack problems.

- High marketing fees, low marketing results and fierce competition.

- Slow platform support, lack of customer & seller communications.

- Not enough buyers and difficult to reach them.

The other answers include “too many regulations limit seller’s freedom to do business”, “policy favors buyers rather than sellers”, etc.

From what we’ve learnt, problems related directly with monetary issue — platform fees and commission fees, is the biggest concern sellers have when they run their business online. Secondary, it’s the fake buyer profile and trust issues that bothered sellers a lot. With these issues experienced by their sellers, it’s hard for marketplace companies to have breakthroughs.

Last but not least, we asked our participants how they expect from a Marketplace like NeoPlace Market, a blockchain based marketplace where everyone can create their own e-shop and benefit from a transparent, more secure and immutable data storage kind of e=commerce environment, here in below is what they expected from us:

- Low platform fees and costs.

- fast processing, listing and transaction.

- Convenient and simplicity, user-friendly interface and easy to use.

- Buyer and seller information secure, transaction and e-shop security and protection.

- Instant communication between buyers and sellers.

- Eliminate fake profiles and reviews.

As we can see from above, the problems they spotted from other platforms became the needs they want to switch platform and solve the problems. Which leave the space of development of marketplaces like NeoPlace Market, to build the marketplace on blockchain, so that problems like centralized data storage, high platform fees and fake profiles can be avoided in the future.

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