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All Eyes On Marketplaces: 3 Things Retailers and Brands Need To Know Now

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Global lockdowns and a hesitancy to make unnecessary trips drove online retail more than ever before in 2020, with even the most loyal bricks and mortar customers forced to swap in-store discovery for scrolling. Incredibly, Charged Retail reports that the industry saw the equivalent of 5 years of growth in just 12 months. 


As unsurprising as this may seem to some, what’s worth noting is that 40% of shoppers have said that this period has changed their purchasing habits for good. By no means does this equate to the death of the High Street, but it certainly strengthens the need for retailers and brands alike to diversify their offering and multiply their revenue streams. 

So how do marketplaces come into all of this? Well, according to research done by Adobe, 57% of shoppers are buying from marketplaces compared to just 13% from a retailer’s website directly. What’s more, they say that the average online shopper makes 11 purchases from a digital marketplace, opposed to just 3 from a standalone online store. 


1. A trillion-dollar industry, built on convenience and trust

Digital Commerce 360 analysed the world’s top 100 digital marketplaces in terms of gross sales and found that USD 2.6 trillion was spent on them in 2020 – accounting for 62% of online sales across the globe. 

For a brand or retailer, there are several benefits of selling on an online marketplace; reduced marketing costs, additional sales opportunities and access to new markets to name just a few. But what keeps the customers coming back?

Of course, for many, it's the convenience of an online marketplace that reigns supreme – both in terms of product discovery and also services, such as delivery, incentive discounts and a smooth returns process. Also crucial to the marketplace appeal, however, is the trust they foster. Put simply, the role of a marketplace is to create an environment where confidence in a brand or product can grow, whether that’s through the ability to leave and read peer reviews, see transparent stock levels, or enjoy reputable third-party service for things like payment and shipping. 


2. B2C rules apply for B2B

As the lines between B2B and B2C continue to blur, it’s worth knowing the impacts that online marketplaces are having on modern wholesale too. 

Showing a significant shift towards digital platforms and marketplaces, a study by Oracle Commerce Cloud and WBR Insights found that 73% of professional buyers are using online channels. Where Baby Boomers and Gen X still lead the preference for a tendering process when sourcing, Millennials, who are increasingly moving into decision-making, leadership roles, are most likely to prefer marketplaces; 14% more than Baby Boomers and 16% more than Gen X. 

With 97% of Millennials buying through marketplaces, it’s of little surprise that they expect the same world-class online sourcing experiences when using them professionally as they do personally. 80% indicated that they would want a convenient B2B buying journey akin to those found through the likes of Amazon or Alibaba. 


3. Go niche

When thinking about this type of e-commerce, typically, the big players will be the first to come to mind. However, in their study of the top 100 online marketplaces, Digital Commerce 360 found that more than half of the platforms had been founded in the past seven years – with an increasing number of more niche marketplace offerings being developed every year. 

Whether seeking B2C or B2B opportunities, when looking for the perfect online marketplace, it’s worth doing extensive research to find the right fit. Taking the time to find the marketplace that best aligns with your sector, customer needs, USP and brand ethos could be the easiest way to see early, long-lasting success. 

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Written by Jordan Evans
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Written by Jordan Evans