We're talking about retail and we're live. Welcome to Retail Week Live 2018!* This year we're back at the enormous Intercontinental O2 near the historic borough of Greenwich, the place where time was created and we will be bringing you all of the highlights (well, as many as we can fit in!) from the two day conference. As we enter an increasingly unpredicatable and turbulent year for the UK retail industry, it's never been more important to hear from leaders across the space and their priorities to build a stronger future for retail.
From Mary Wollstonecraft to Simone de Beauvoir, Rosa Parks to Amelia Earhart, Marie Curie to Mary Seacole - history remembers great women who in the face of great adversity triumphed. Yet there are thousands of voices we’ve lost, whose fearless actions and thoughtful words paved the way for successes we enjoy today yet aren’t remembered. That’s why every year on March 8th we celebrate International Women’s Day - all women are equal, regardless of who they are and what they have accomplished. A day dedicated to empowering, inspiring and pushing for positive social change. This year the day falls amidst the World Economic Forums' Global Gender Gap Report which shows that it will take 217 years to close the gender parity gap, proof that it’s more important than ever that we #pressforprogress
This week Dick’s Sporting Goods made many headlines by taking a moral stand: They will no longer sell assault style rifles in their stores, and have raised the age to buy a firearm to 21. While they didn’t sell the exact gun to the Parkland shooter, they did sell a shotgun to him in November of 2017.
With less than two weeks to go until one of our favourite UK industry events of the year: Retail Week Live (7th - 8th March, Intercontinental O2) - I grabbed five minutes with Nick Bareham, UK Country Manager at Mirakl to find out what to expect from his presentation and why now, more than ever, retailers are adopting the marketplace model.
With Valentine’s fever rife in the air - we’ve got to thinking about how retailers can take inspiration from the dating game and apply it to their product strategy. With the growth and astounding success of retail behemoths like Amazon and Alibaba it can be tempting to fear that the key to weathering the current retail storm is to offer more and more products. But this is a Sisyphean task. Our advice is to focus on what you’re good at, and only bring in third party products that complement your approach! Here are three Valentine’s inspirations to apply to your product strategy this year:
Originally featured on Salmon.com
I’ll start by saying that as a Londoner I’m predisposed to be a little bit grumpy (an inevitability for anyone faced with the Central Line at rush hour) - Like many others, my expectations for shopping online have rocketed in the past few years and at least once a month I can be seen having a rant on Twitter about a disappointing experience. We all know what makes for a frustrating customer experience - getting to the last page of the checkout before being informed that item is out of stock, being charged £8 for a next day delivery or finding out that dress you bought last week is now less than half price in the sale.
As we say goodbye to - what was by all accounts - a turbulent year for the UK retail landscape (not to mention political), we’re taking a moment to look at the top stories to emerge from Christmas Peak 2017, and what they can tell us about the year ahead.
As mentioned previously, many people at Mirakl have taken a pledge not to shop on Amazon for gifts this holiday season. Our goal is to support other retailers to help them stay in business while they fix their customer experience challenges. Yes, those retailers may have been slow to make the right investments, and aren’t moving quickly enough to fix things, but let’s literally buy them some time.
I’m very proud to showcase the launch of Christian Lacroix’s “Brand Platform” christian-lacroix.com built in collaboration with Mirakl.
The Christian Lacroix brand is iconic to me - I’m French, I love fashion, and the bold Christian Lacroix designs have always delighted me. And although I’m always proud when any of our clients launch their online marketplace with Mirakl, this presents a historic use of the marketplace model. The House of Christian Lacroix is now successfully selling directly to customers online: the universe of Christian Lacroix products is now available under on a single “Brand Platform.” This new online experience sells Christian Lacroix menswear, women’s accessories, and lifestyle collection on christian-lacroix.com.
One of the joys of parenthood is that it gives a great opportunity to rewatch movie classics. This weekend I decided to watch the movie BIG with my 7 and 9-year-old daughters. During the famous piano dance scene my daughters asked me, “Dad can we go to this store? It looks amazing!”
As the industry moves into peak season, it feels rather like the calm before the storm. In an attempt to smooth out the extreme peaks which characterise UK Christmas season, many retailers are starting sales earlier than ever. Whilst there’s a lot of controversy about opting in or out of Black Friday, it has undoubtedly come to represent the catalyst for peak.
It’s important to start by clarifying that typically in the marketplace model, 3rd party sellers control their prices. The marketplace operator takes a commission on the sale, but doesn’t control the price.
However, today one of the largest Marketplace operators decided to wield their power and control 3rd party seller product prices. The Wall Street Journal covered Amazon’s decision to discount third party products ahead of the 2017 holiday season.
I’ll never forget the three years I spent working in the Covent Garden branch of Accessorize at Christmas time. Between wading my way through colourful knitwear and wrapping close to 1 million Christmas gifts, I developed what I can only describe as a loathing for Christmas music and even the mere mention of festive cheer.
Since its launch in Las Vegas in 2016, Shoptalk has quickly established itself as a must-attend event in the retail calendar. Ever since the announcement that one of our most loved conferences in the US would be making its European debut in Copenhagen, we’ve been excited to witness the industry come together to celebrate a fantastic year for retail in Europe.
In March I published a piece titled, “Reimagining Retail: Nordstrom” in Chain Store Age. The point was to take a traditional retailer, showcase the clear need for change, and suggest a path forward. The first thing I suggested is that Nordstrom open the door to new business models.
When using a PIM with your multi-vendor marketplace, quality standards can be embedded and automatically enforced, the performance of your vendors can be easily tracked, and non-performing vendors can be easily corrected or terminated.
One thing is clear: Doug McMillan is not waving the white flag. If anyone embodies the spirit of fighting back against Amazon, it’s Walmart’s CEO. In the March-April 2017 issue of Harvard Business Review, Doug opened up about his near and long-term strategy for Walmart.
Amazon and Alibaba have created massive marketplaces where buyers can purchase virtually anything they want from any location. To compete, many companies are looking to expand their product assortment and geographic reach by incorporating multi-vendor marketplaces into their existing eCommerce stores. There are risks to this strategy but most experts think the potential benefits outweigh them. For an in-depth look at both the pluses and minuses of a multi-vendor marketplace strategy, read on…
Gartner recently released the Hype Cycle For Digital Commerce, 2017* and several new categories have been added, including Marketplace Operation Applications.
Amazon's eCommerce growth and profit margin is largely driven by the company’s marketplace strategy. More than 50% of the units ordered in Amazon’s retail business are from its third-party marketplace sellers. Those sales are virtually pure profit for sellers as Amazon does not stock the product, fulfill it (unless the seller pays for Fulfillment by Amazon or FBA) or service it. Rather, Amazon simply takes a commission in exchange for connecting buyer and seller. That being said, we can assume that the lion's share of Amazon's innovation dollars are funded by marketplace sales and Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) business-- not its own retail business.
With the news that Amazon will acquire Wholefoods for $13.7 billion, industry pundits are weighing in on why the eCommerce giant would buy a chain of grocery stores. The theories are wide ranging:
At Mirakl, we get asked all the time: “what is the difference between dropship and marketplace?” Because the terms are often used interchangeably, there is an incredible amount of confusion about the important distinctions between dropship and marketplace. This post will clear up that confusion, succinctly outline the differences between the two models, and show how the models work together and why every retailer needs a marketplace (whether utilizing dropshipping or not).
If you’re looking to book accommodations on Airbnb, you’ll notice something a little different this week. Airbnb experiences are taking center stage with “above the fold” placement on Airbnb.com. Ever the innovators, Airbnb’s leadership team was not satisfied to solely disrupt the travel accommodation industry, they have a lot more of the $7.2 trillion dollar travel & tourism industry to conquer.
Find Mirakl At B2B Online In May – See Why Launching A Marketplace Makes Sense For All Kinds of B2B Companies
Mirakl is proud to be sponsoring B2B Online because we firmly believe that every B2B company can benefit from a marketplace. Whether you are a manufacturer wanting to convert site visitors without upsetting your channel, or a distributor needing long-tail assortment and 100% inventory visibility across both internal divisions and external suppliers, a marketplace is the right solution for you. Come check out Mirakl at booth #304!
Earlier this month, a colleague asked me what I was most excited about regarding the upcoming Marketplace Summit by Mirakl. I have been heads-down on planning and coordinating that it seems I hadn’t had a chance to really step back and look at the event as a whole and take in all of the topics that will be hit on. Viewing the full agenda makes me realize just how ambitious this event is. Not only will we examine the strategic nature of the marketplace model and how it powers some of the world’s most successful platform businesses, but we will also highlight the operational benefits that Mirakl customers gain from their marketplaces. The summit is a chance to learn not only why businesses should launch marketplaces, but how they should do it. This event is a “must-attend” show because, as one of our expert panelists – Marc Vicente of Cdiscount – said, “marketplace is not some trendy, fancy project – it is the next generation of eCommerce.”
With less than one month to go until the Marketplace Summit by Mirakl, it’s fast approaching and we have lots of exciting content and speakers to share. The Summit is the largest global gathering of marketplace executives in the world. Sharing strategy, best-practice, industry leadership and customer testimonials, it promises to be a place to learn and share all things marketplace! The timing couldn’t be better, with Gartner having named Marketplace Management as one of the hot eCommerce topics of 2017.
This week has been a very busy week at Mirakl Towers, not just because we have launched a new services product but because we have made a big step in growing ourselves as a platform business. Let’s take some time to consider this.
In January of this year, Gartner called out marketplace management as one of the hot topics in digital commerce for 2017. Marketplaces are a foundational element of any eCommerce strategy, underpinning and optimizing other projects such as omni-channel and personalization. Too often, though, retailers look at marketplace management as just another project, which is unfortunate when you consider the success other retailers have had with marketplaces:
Let’s face it: Amazon Business is crushing it. Whether it be doing over $1 Billion in revenue in its first year of operation, or winning a $5.5 Billion public sector contract, Amazon is setting the standard for B2B procurement in the same way it did for B2C procurement.
Manufacturers contributed $2.17 trillion to the U.S. economy in 2015, according to the National Association of Manufacturers. With consistent growth, this sector is heralded as a major source of jobs, and economic development. But, many manufacturing firms and B2B distributors are faced with changes in the very fabric of how they do business - the way in which customers buy.
Gartner recently released the report What’s Hot in Digital Commerce in 2017* and it outlines many things merchants are doing to offer better customer experiences. Gartner analysts talk to a huge number of brands, manufacturers, retailers, distributors, wholesalers, and eCommerce professionals and have finger on the pulse of what kinds of projects are taking priority in digital commerce.
Global B2B eCommerce sales are projected to reach $7 Trillion by 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan.
I’m an 8.5 month pregnant lady. It’s fair to say I’m in perma-crisis-mode. When I received a wonderful gift of a 3-month subscription to Birchbox from my sister-in-law, I was thrilled. To have something show up monthly that gives me beauty products that make me feel better about myself, as I cross over 30 lbs weight gain, is really a blessing.
Running online promotions can be a powerful way to boost sales. Having a Marketplace where 3rd party sellers can offer promotions to your customers will increase sales even further. Not only are online sales sensitive to pricing, but a Marketplace is unburdened by the constraints of retail. Without worrying about inventory stock, or the pressure of profitability, you can run Marketplace deals, sales, and marketing campaigns that drive real impact - surprisingly significant impat. The first time a Mirakl customer in the fashion space applied promotions on Marketplace products using the strategies outlined below, they realized a 272% growth in month over month sales revenue.
What would encourage one of your customers to switch brands?
As detailed in a recent MarketWatch article, retailers Macy’s and Kohls are struggle to catch up to what journalist Tonya Garcia calls “the Amazon effect,” as evidenced by their weak holiday sales at the end of 2016. What’s more, both Macy’s and Sears recently announced more store closings in 2017.
On every retailer’s to-do list in 2017 is surely a series of technology initiatives meant to improve efficiency, maximize opportunity, and ultimately grow revenue.
In a time when brick and mortar retailers are seeking new ways to attract new customers, and create loyalty among existing shoppers, the concept of a Marketplace has emerged as an ideal way to optimize a business’s cross-channel strategy.
By 2020, customer experience will overtake both price and product as a key brand differentiator, according to a recent Customers 2020 report.
Earlier this week, we blogged about the importance of Mirakl’s partner network as we announced our partnership with e-commerce service company Echidna. Now, we are excited to announce the next phase of Mirakl’s strategic partnership with SAP Hybris. This announcement centers on the availability of our SAP-certified extension for the SAP® Hybris® Commerce solution. The extension makes it even faster and easier to integrate the Mirakl Marketplace Platform™ with SAP Hybris Commerce by pre-configuring and automating a majority of the integration work. It gives our joint customers the opportunity to deploy a winning marketplace strategy within weeks.
Often, the thought of letting third-party sellers offer products alongside a retailer’s own is scary. But, that fear is only theoretical; in practice, retailers see compelling results of increased revenue, improved customer loyalty and retention, and increase in profitability. These are the results that the Marketplace model provides. Case in point: Darty. With 400 physical stores across Europe, Darty (part of Darty Group Plc) is the leading French retailer in consumer electronics and household electrical goods.
At Mirakl, our partner network is extremely important. Partners bring expertise in all sorts of e-commerce areas that are important to our customers. That is why we are excited to announce Mirakl’s partnership with Echidna, a leading cloud e-commerce agency. This partnership gives both B2B and B2C merchants access to e-commerce strategists, technologists and marketplace experts. The goal of the Echidna and Mirakl partnership is to deliver on the promise of the digital enterprise and innovation for the online merchant.
The success of your Marketplace relies on your ability to not only proactively recruit a large number of sellers, but also maintain the quality of these partners. After all, they are an extension of your company’s brand and stewards of your organization’s promise to customers.
“Failure is success, if we learn from it!” - Malcolm Forbes
Learning from our mistakes is a surefire way to avoid making them in the future. When it comes to the world of online Marketplaces, there have been many examples of success. Just look at what Amazon has been able to create alongside Apple’s iTunes, Alibaba, Wayfair, or Jet.com (aquired this summer by Walmart for $3 billion).
The truth is, not all sellers make the cut. Some simply don’t have what it takes to perform well on Marketplaces. They either lack the internal structure or, in some cases, the willingness, to succeed.
Before you commit resources to training and onboarding, be sure to qualify the readiness of the seller. You should also leverage a rating system on your Marketplace.
Your sellers are a critical component of the virtuous cycle of your Marketplace. Without them, your product inventory remains limited, and your ability to grow is stagnated.
To maximize sales, one tactic with your Marketplace is to focus on the core categories of your business, those that drive traffic and customer loyalty already.
This strategic approach to categories has three benefits:
- It will provide existing customers with a much larger range of products
- It will increase your buyers’ chances of finding exactly what they are looking for
- It will also generate sales quickly as awareness is already strong for your brand within your category.
Seller recruitment can be challenging, but it is a critical element of a successful Marketplace. These sellers bring the depth assortment and long-tail products necessary to offer customers the best choices possible and ensuring they can find what they need. You’ll need enough sellers to ensure continuous product availability and breadth of choice.
At Mirakl, we have discovered three keys to success with a Marketplace ( where third-party partners sell alongside the online merchant):
- Offer a large array of product choice
- Provide a great buying experience
- Prioritize fair and competitive pricing
Although there are many benefits to opening a Marketplace for retailers, including a larger product assortment, reduced risk, increased revenue and improved customer experience, there is still a common misperception among omni-channel: the fear that eCommerce customers will be disappointed, for example, when they see a product online in the Marketplace, but are unable to find it in the store.
“To be, or not to be…” these words reflect the infamous struggle of Shakespeare’s Hamlet as he contemplates whether or not to continue living while waiting for Ophelia, the love of his life.
Your situation as a retailer may not be so strikingly dramatic as our friend Hamlet, but you may think you are faced with a decision nonetheless. Do you compete with Amazon? Or Not?
We hear it all the time:
“Won’t creating a third-party Marketplace only take away from my existing online sales?”The threat of cannibalization is a common fear among online retailers when they are considering a Marketplace offering. In the world of ecommerce, competition is just a click away and customers behave accordingly: they search, compare and then choose.
4 questions for Mathieu Jourdain, head of e-commerce at Natalys
Since 1953, Natalys has provided for future and young parents from pregnancy to the third year of the child. The brand joined the Sergent Major group and launched its e-commerce website, Natalys.com, in 2009. The brand now embodies the example of a successful cross-channel strategy. From launching its marketplace to optimizing its product catalogue, Mathieu Jourdain, head of e-commerce at Natalys, shows us the keys that made this long-standing retailer a shining example of successful cross-channel retailer.
Are you worried about your competition? Does the threat of rival sellers perhaps keep you and your team up at night?
To an extent, all competition is healthy in business. It fosters innovation, encourages vendors to better serve their customers, and gives power to the consumer to determine who ultimately earns their loyalty.
While these are important results of a Mirakl Marketplace strategy, there is a bigger, more critical, and more important business driver at play.
“It’s been said that there are three kinds of marketers and how they deal with trends: Those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”
(Forbes - Brand and Marketing Trends for 2015)
Global consumer E-commerce sales are expected to reach 1.92 trillion dollars this year. In the US, e-commerce sales this year will top $350 billion for the first time. The impact of the Internet on the retail experience is no longer some hypothetical possibility - it’s real, and it’s causing many retailers to reevaluate their strategies.
To meet the demands of these consumers, retailers must build a consistent shopping experience aligned to consumer expectations. The role of a marketplace is to unify many sellers under one umbrella, driving major gains in both revenue as well as improving the customer experience across channels. A strong marketplace strategy can increase customer loyalty and brand advocacy. Here’s how.
It is interesting to note that hundreds of European retailers have opened Marketplaces for selling 3rd party products, while only a handful of North American retailers have. Is it possible that North American retailers have already surrendered to Amazon? In the report 20 Startups All Retail eBusiness Executives Should Know In 2016, Forrester Research analyst Sucharita Mulpuru notes that, “Amazon’s biggest retail weapon is its third-party marketplace: the company increases the selection for customers but avoids incurring large expenses because it doesn’t own the inventory.”
According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index Retail Report 2015 survey, overall retail satisfaction is declining as Internet retail satisfaction is improving. Even though customer satisfaction with Department Stores actually stayed steady or even improved, foot traffic declined nearly 10%.
The online shopping experience has never been better, thanks in large part to Amazon. The company’s unparalleled focus on delivering first-class customer experience has given consumers greater expectations in terms of service, delivery, choice and price transparency.
Amazon would not have been able to achieve such tremendous results without launching its online marketplace, providing increased product choice, competitive prices and superior customer experience, without the restraints of inventory and logistics.
Adrien Nussenbaum, US CEO and Co-Founder of Mirakl, gives his view on the future of B2B Ecommerce
Eric Chemouny, Senior Vice President EMEA of Mirakl, gives his view on the IMRG Fashion Connect event 2016
Online marketplaces have been a significant trend in retail for over a decade. Three of the world’s biggest e-commerce firms – Amazon, eBay and Alibaba – are all based on marketplace platforms. Many brick-and-mortar retailers have launched their online marketplace, attracted by the value proposition of increased product choice, competitive pricing and a superior customer experience, without the restraints of inventory and logistics. The National Retail Federation’s “State of Retailing Online 2015 report” notes that thirty-two percent of retailers planned to spend more on online marketplaces in 2015 vs 2014, as online marketplaces play a prominent role in customer acquisition.
Embracing the Shared Marketplace Economy: How Tech Vendors Are Changing the Face of Retail
The multi-billion dollar Uber and Airbnb entities are running the always-in-the-headlines, oh-so-sexy shared economy we’re seeing today, and they have tapped into a secret, scrumptious sauce that has consumers renting out their living rooms and sharing rides around town, producing revenues worthy of the Three Comma Club. But that secret sauce isn’t so secret anymore, and the on-demand tendencies of society today have bled into virtually every major consumer-focused industry. If you’ve been paying attention to ecommerce starlet Jet.com lately, you’ll know why online marketplaces (no, Amazon and eBay are not the only ones!) have the power to turn the online retail model as we know it on its head.
Why B2B Sellers should consider marketplace according to Adrien Nussenbaum
As business buyers spend more online, B2B sellers face pressure to give them more of what they want in a single online destination. One option for sellers is to turn their websites into online malls.
The Auchan Marketplace project: an example of digital transformation of an historic retailer
Customer service: one of the pilar of online marketplaces success
Customer service is an indisputably important factor when it comes to online retail. Good customer service can be the greatest sales asset a retailer can have, encouraging loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations. But bad customer service cannot only see a particular sale lost in an instant, but long-term irreparable damage done to the brand.
Adrien Nussenbaum explains why in his opinion, Marketplaces have transformed the whole world.
Why retailers should consider launching their own marketplaces
Did you know that 45% of Amazon’s business is now conducted via Amazon Marketplace? Retail giants — including Walmart, Sears and Best Buy — are also launching their own online marketplaces. The wave is coming!
How greeting cards stores can benefit from marketplaces
Should smaller Greeting Cards stores sell via online marketplace ? Is it a relevant way of increasing sales? Adrien Nussenbaum, co-founder of Mirakl and marketplace expert, answer these questions every greeting cards seller should be wondering about, at the time of on-going rise of online marketplaces.
Social media, a strong asset for promotion on marketplaces
Adrien Nussenbaum, Mirakl co-founder,gives his best practices how to embrace social media and sell more of your products on an online Marketplace.
Read the article on Digital Marketing Magazine or E-Seller News.
Why retailers should consider social shopping
For many people, shopping has always been a social activity. Whether it is friends being dragged around the shops to offer opinions on potential new outfits, or children taking their parents with them to get a more experienced perspective on bigger ticket items like cars; shopping involves chat, discussion and listening to the opinion of people you trust and respect.
Customer service: the key of success on online marketplaces
Customer service is an indisputably important factor when it comes to online retail. Good customer service can be the greatest sales asset a retailer can have, encouraging loyalty and word-of-mouth recommendations. But bad customer service can not only see that particular sale lost in an instant, but long-term and irreparable damage done to the brand.
International expansion for smaller retailer: how marketplaces can help you test the water on new markets
UK online retail exports are set to reach £60bn by 2018, according to a recent report by the IORMA Global Consumer Commerce Knowledge Centre. This means that for smaller retailers, there is a wealth of new opportunities and growth potential and a real chance to boost profits.