Summer is coming to an end, which means you’re probably starting to plan for next year. And if you’ve been following how Platform Pioneers like H&M Group’s Afound and Satair are transforming their businesses, you might already be thinking about what your platform strategy might look like. 

Digital native companies aren’t the only ones leveraging platforms to change the way that they operate. With an online marketplace, you have a transformative model that can propel your business to the top of the platform economy. 

In Create Enterprise Marketplaces to Accelerate Digital Business, leading research and advisory firm Gartner puts it this way: “The enterprise marketplace is a new business model in which organizations change their ways of doing business, create wider ecosystems, develop new capabilities, and generate new sources of revenue.” 

If you want to capture the full benefits that online marketplaces offer, you need to start with a concrete and compelling strategy. Answer the following questions for your organization – and download Platform Your Business to Win, Mirakl’s top-to-bottom guide on the platform economy – so you can hit the ground running next year.

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Question 1. What opportunities are you missing today that a platform business model can help you capture?

When you decide to platform your business, you gain exciting new opportunities – to engage with your customers, offer more of what they want, and strengthen your relationship with them. Ask yourself: how can our platform “fill the gaps” in our offerings, and further enhance our customer relationships?

Question 2. How will your platform benefit your customers? 

Successful platforms are customer-centric. Delivering greater value to your customers is how you’ll achieve network effects, the positive feedback loop of more buyers and more sellers that makes businesses like Amazon and Farfetch so successful. 

How will your platform build on the trust that you’ve built with your customers and improve their experience? What can you do to identify what your customers are interested in buying from you, and how will you give them exactly what they want? And as you look to scale your business, how can your platform reach more customers and better serve their needs?

Question 3. What are your goals for your platform, beyond monetizing your eCommerce traffic? 

Many companies think that they need to have a lot of traffic in order for a platform strategy to be successful. But platforming isn’t just about deriving more value from the website traffic you already have. It’s a way to operate differently, extend your reach beyond how you serve customers today, and completely remodel your value chain. 

Here’s an example to kickstart your thinking. Through the MyToyota Store, Toyota Material Handling has created a new digital marketplace for their customers that brings their distributors’ offers online. With it, Toyota gets much more than a commission on sales from their dealers. They’re deepening their understanding of what their customers are looking to buy and ensuring a high-quality experience for them, which builds brand loyalty. They’re also giving their dealers a new sales channel, and helping them build stronger long-term relationships with customers. The value clearly extends beyond the commission that comes from the marketplace. 

So ask yourself: Where are our biggest knowledge gaps now, and what other opportunities are there to deliver products or services that extend our reach into our customers’ lives?

Question 4. How will you sell the “platform strategy” internally to ensure success from the start? 

One of the key characteristics that most successful platforms have in common has nothing to do with the customer, or the type of platform. It’s about change management. Specifically: the most successful platforms are the ones whose internal stakeholders are in alignment. 

So as you start to think about implementing a platform for your business, consider: who will be the internal advocates for this new way of operating, and who will need convincing? What strategies will you use to sell your stakeholders on platforming?

Discover the answers in Mirakl’s guide to platforming your business

Platforming will transform your business – but you don’t have to go it alone. Get your guide to success in the platform economy, and find four more questions that every executive should ask at the start of their platform journey. 

When you download Platform Your Business To Win, you’ll also find a deep dive on the different types of platforms, including which are best for your business, plus stories of the Platform Pioneers who have already done it.

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Sara Matasci

Written by Sara Matasci

Content Marketing Manager at Mirakl

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