The fast digital revolution brought on by the coronavirus has put online marketplaces in the forefront. Sellers now strongly want and need to be a part of this transformation, but in their haste to build their digital supply chain, they may not fully comprehend the consequences of marketplace selling.
It’s easy to see why there’s so much buzz. Online marketplaces give a flexible business opportunity with minimal start-up expenses, an extra channel for promoting and selling items, lower marketing expenditures, and allow for development into new geographic areas.
Customers choose marketplaces over brand websites for a variety of reasons, including user reviews, product comparisons, rapid and free shipping, and easy returns. Marketplaces accounted for 62 percent of worldwide e-commerce sales in 2020, with the top 100 selling $2.67 trillion.
The possibilities are appealing. Setting up a marketplace strategy for success, on the other hand, necessitates a grasp of what it takes to offer digital services and subscriptions at scale. Let’s clarify the air by debunking a few prevalent misconceptions.
1) There’s just one marketplace and you’re done.
Joining or building a marketplace isn’t the end-all solution for ensuring a smooth digital supply chain. It’s only one path to digital transformation, and the solution is frequently more than one marketplace; it might be two, three, or even four. Companies may even have separate marketplaces for various sectors, such as one for small and medium-sized businesses and another for large corporations.
A variety of purchasing points that are plentiful, convenient, and varied assist to build a next-level consumer experience and allow for more adaptability. Vendors that use three or more channels to advertise their products might experience a 200 percent boost in gross revenue. As a result, sellers must diversify their sales channels strategically with the assistance of a long-term plan and recognize that a marketplace is an extension of their total digital presence and an important element of their branding.
Vendors should examine the following elements and avoid the following traps while preparing for a multi-marketplace offering and developing a winning game plan:
- Choose the appropriate marketplace: It may be tempting to take a scattershot strategy and post your products on as many marketplaces as possible, but this generally results in poor results and a waste of time and money. It might also give clients the idea that your products and services are inconsistent. Find platforms that match your multi-marketplace approach and allow you to sell successfully with competitive pricing points and acceptable margins by identifying your key strengths. Keep in mind that quantity isn’t as important as quality.
- Customize your content for each marketplace: In addition to being a red signal for search engines like Google, duplicating content strategy shows a lack of judgement and regard for your target audience. Examine your selected channels carefully and find the specific factors for success on each one, such as what they demand, how their algorithms operate, and what their consumers respond to best.
- Understand the importance of timing: Listing the appropriate items in the right location at the right time is a key component of a successful multi-marketplace strategy. This necessitates keeping a careful eye on market demand, current trends and possibilities, and customer behavior across all channels.
- Ensure that your multi-marketplace sales tactics are in line with your overall goals: Because a marketplace is an extension of your company, your sales techniques should eventually assist you promote your goal, vision, and values as a seller if you want to achieve long-term success.
2) Backend operations are negligible and a burden.
It’s not just the sparkling marketplace’s front end. Businesses need have robust backends for catalog and subscription management, which entails a lot more than just publishing. However, while selling on numerous marketplaces may appear to be a lot of effort, there are a variety of technologies that may remove this everyday tedium off your plate and out of the realm of human mistake.
For the greatest outcomes, automate all phases of the process, including introducing your services to different markets, registering purchase orders and charging, and handling upgrades, downgrades, and cancelled subscriptions.
It’s also critical for sellers to have the proper technology in place to link their infrastructure, staff, and partners with data in a seamless manner. It not only improves operations, but also facilitates improved cooperation among all stakeholders, provides simple access to consumer data and analytics across all channels, assists in the consolidation of data silos, and unifies the customer experience.
Automation and data integration, above all, give actionable insights. Accessing insights allows sellers to respond in real time and encourages them to develop and innovate based on the customer’s experience, requirements, expectations, and purchasing behavior, allowing them to stay relevant and competitive.
3) The term “ecosystem” is only a marketing term.
The importance of strategic relationships should not be underestimated by sellers. The ultimate objective of marketplace selling is to orchestrate an ecosystem, with alliances allowing dispersed innovation and new revenue streams for you and your whole network.
A well-managed ecosystem may generate a positive feedback loop and help you gain a competitive advantage that would be impossible to accomplish alone since a robust network of partners can offer products and services beyond those of a single firm.
In reality, the best consequence of digital supply chain development is an ecosystem advantage, since it may exponentially expand the value and utility that your firm has to provide to your consumers without incurring exponential expenses.
You must first acquire an ecosystem attitude before you can begin to construct your ecosystem. Traditional selling is done by hand and in person, and any product modifications, as well as sales and marketing strategies, are conveyed to each partner reseller separately. This is no longer conceivable in order to scale in an ecosystem. You must automate every part of your business, including sales, marketing, and fulfillment, or it will fail.
Also, don’t try to recreate the wheel. Companies that try to create their own marketplace management platforms on their own will fall behind because the time, work, and money required is too great. Instead, firms should band together around a common technology solution that enables them to rapidly and effectively create and manage digital ecosystems.
Software providers, in particular, should design solutions with ecosystems in mind. “How can I combine this product into a comprehensive solution within an ecosystem?” you might wonder. To integrate into and stand out in an ecosystem, you should also aim to simplify full-time product delivery and customer service.
An endeavor well worth pursuing
Asking the proper questions is the foundation of every successful plan, and hopping on the multi-marketplace trend is no exception. Create a comprehensive, easy-to-follow plan from beginning to conclusion. Consider who you’re attempting to reach and what problem you’re trying to address. Then, from the moment of research and purchase to product delivery, payment, and post-delivery services, map the whole customer experience.
Starting with contract flows, publishing, provisioning, order flows, billing and invoicing, channel management, reporting, business intelligence, and subscription management will eventually touch on all other areas of concern.