Content Strategy for Marketplaces by Sr PM, Rahul Chidgopkar

Importance of content in online marketplaces. 

What are online marketplaces? 

Online marketplaces connect buyers and sellers digitally and facilitate a transaction. 

Broadly, marketplaces might be product-based (Amazon, Alibaba) or service-based (Airbnb, Fiverr). 

Marketplaces drove sales worth $2.67 trillion 2020 and remain a popular model for new businesses. 

Why is content important? 

Trust is a key component of an online marketplaces. 

Content contributes directly in building or breaking trust. 

A solid content strategy helps not only in driving the first purchase but also sustains trust for future purchases. 

Why is content challenging in marketplaces? 

Low control over content. 

Most content on marketplaces is user generated. 

As marketplaces grow/diversify on both seller and buyer sides the content needs and checks become exponentially complex. 

Pillars of excellent content - 3 C. 

1. Correctness (Is the content displayed correctly in your market?) 


  • User feels betrayed 

  • In some cases, incorrect content can harm the well-being of your customers. 

  • At best, they themselves try to verify the information; but most likely they will just stop using your products 

  • Repetitional risks. 


  • High cancellations or returns 

  • Post-transaction customer support tickets 

  • Poor reviews 

  • Customer churn - Low or dropping re-order rates. 

Recommended actions - Startup 

  • Manually confirm all data with sellers before publishing 

  • Cross-reference important data points with other public datasets. Ex.Google Maps. 

  • Periodically contact top sellers to re-verify data. 

  • Monitor all tickets and reviews to (in)validate content accuracy as a cause 

  • Post transaction surveys. 

Recommended actions - Grown up 

  • Automatically cross-reference with external & internal datasets 

  • Deploy fraud detection models 

  • Generate content accuracy/freshness score and engage sellers to keep improving it 

  • Automated workflows to validate content updates 

  • Request for specific content for critical information. Ex. images of certification 

  • Analyze tickets and reviews 

  • Conduct post transaction surveys 

  • Create API integration with sellers. 

2. Coverage (Do you provide all the content needed by the buyer to make a decision?)  


  • User feels confused & frustrated 

  • Incomplete information puts the burden of research on the user which they expect to be simplified by the product 

  • In the best case, they take efforts to find the missing information; most likely, they will switch to alternatives. 

Root cause 

  • Inadequate understanding of user needs. 

  • Seller is unable to provide all the information. 

  • Seller is not motivated to provide all the information. 


  • High cart abandonment or listing page drop-offs. 

  • Pre-transaction support tickets. Ex. live chat contacts or contacts to seller. 

  • Browser searches on the page (Ctrl+F) 

Recommended actions - Startup 

  • Conduct user research to identify all important pieces of information 

  • Deploy live chat & prominently display contact information so user can reach you easily with questions 

  • Provide seller contact if you are unable to answer questions 

  • Review all pre-transaction support tickets. 

  • Post transaction surveys 

  • Update seller interface  to collect new info easily; add nudges. 

Recommended actions - Grown up 

  • Conduct user research 

  • Deploy chatbots to capture long tail of information needs 

  • Embed surveys on product listing pages to collect feedback 

  • Analyze tickets and reviews 

  • Post transaction surveys. 

3. Consistency (Is the content consistent across all parts of the marketplace?) 


  • User feels stressed if important information is inconsistent 

  • In best case, they spend additional time researching; most likely, they will drop-off. 

Root cause 

  • Inconsistent data sources 

  • Inconsistent business logic 

  • Sellers have multiple pages/places to update the same  information 

  • Teams add/remove information based on their area of ownership. 


  • Very hard to detect, low reporting 

  • User feedback - support tickets, live chat, etc. 

  • Increased friction in user journey - abnormal back and forth among pages. 

Recommended actions - Startup  

  • Startups are less likely to face this issue because of lower data complexity 

  • Build a single source of truth for all information. Avoid creating multiple tables with same/similar data 

  • Keep business logic centralized. Avoid re-writing business logic in several places. 

Recommended actions - Grown up  

  • Create single source of truth. 

  • Avoid materialising information across multiple tables, if possible 

  • If materialising is unavoidable, ensure consistent logic is used for materialisation 

  • Wrap business logic in services to avoid duplication 

  • Ensure seller interface does not have duplicate/similar fields 

  • Conduct feature parity audits. 


  • Content is a key success driver 

  • Ensuring that your content is correct, covers all important aspect and is consistent is a basic expectation of your customers. 

  • The right content not only helps customers discover you but it also guides them through the buying process. 

  • Content needs evolve over time (new customers, new sellers), so its important to have feedback channels. 

  • Keeping your sellers engaged throughout the journey enhances your chances of success. 

Rahul Chidgopkar, Sr PM.