The spring lockdown highlighted how companies with a marketplace can react with greater agility in response to crises and changes in consumer behaviours. 

With 60% of products offered coming from their marketplace, Amazon was best positioned to meet new demands. As a result, they dominated share of the retail pie during the last confinement, doubling revenue compared to Q2 2019. 

Now, for the first time in history, many countries will be locked down during the biggest shopping period of the year. With a lot of stores closed, companies with a brick-and-mortar presence will need to again pivot to a digital-first strategy.

Retailers are working to ensure that their eCommerce infrastructure is robust, so that their customers can order the products they need to work from home and make sure their Christmas gifts arrive in time to go under the tree. 

The companies that have a flexible and adaptable marketplace strategy will be best equipped to meet the challenge. 

Mirakl’s Customer Success team recommends 3 key ways to maximize results in this unprecedented Black Friday and holiday sales season:

1. Expand your product range in response to evolving consumer behaviour 

Get ready for Black _lockdown_ Friday Infographics (3)

Now that more people are stuck at home, consumer demand is evolving, just as we witnessed during the first lockdown. Mirakl has captured insights on the products that were most popular during that period. Retailers can expect high demand for products in grocery, health & hygiene, work from home, DIY and home deco, and home entertainment categories, as well as of course Christmas gifts.  Additionally, as a result of the pandemic, many customers are also looking to support local brands and businesses. 

Marketplace is a great tool for retailers to quickly expand their product offerings  without needing to increase warehouse and storage facilities. In fact, during the spring containment, thousands of new sellers were onboarded on Mirakl marketplaces.

You can too quickly onboard new sellers and categories in response to changing consumer needs. This flexibility and agility to scale at speed with low risk is vital to be able to respond to both the predictable (Black Friday) and unexpected (lockdown) demand in retail sales. 

 

Top marketplace tips:

  • Make sure that you work with marketplace sellers to stock up on products in key categories.
  • Support local companies by onboarding small producers and shops as sellers on your marketplace, offering your customers the opportunity to support them during a time when they may be facing economic uncertainty. Cdiscount led the pack by offering local sellers the opportunity to sell on its marketplace with favourable conditions. 
  • Set up a Christmas Gift Guide as Mirakl customer Nature & Decouvertes did to help customers find gifts for their loved ones as quickly as possible. 

 

2. Offer customers affordable products 

A recent McKinsey survey of consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis found that 38% of French and 42% of UK respondents have seen a decrease in their 2020 incomes due to Covid. And more than half of US consumers plan to spend less on holiday shopping compared to last year. 

The economic crisis and increased unemployment require retailers to be sensitive to the reality their customers are facing . Many will be feeling anxious about their Christmas shopping. You can use your marketplace to offer customers more products at a better value. 

 

Top marketplace tips:

  • Work with your marketplace sellers and plan your promotions calendar to offer your customers the best value you can.
  • Consider onboarding new marketplace sellers with refurbished product offerings (eg. laptops, game consoles and smartphones). Through their 2nd life initiative, Mirakl customer Boulanger offered refurbished hi-tech products on their marketplace. This equates to better prices for customers and also responds to their strong demand for more sustainable products.

 

Boulanger 2nd life initiative

Boulanger is currently offering refurbished hi-tech products on their marketplace

3. Use your marketplace to offer the best-in-class customer experience

Black Friday is an opportunity for you to evolve your marketplace customer experience, especially as consumers rely more on eCommerce for their holiday shopping needs. 

Secure your stock and don’t display unavailable products

30% of missed sales opportunities are a result of stock-outs during big campaign days. Prevent this and customer frustration by closely following stock on top-selling items and ensuring your marketplace sellers can back up your retail offering when products are out of stock. 

 

Top marketplace tips: 

  • Make retailer and marketplace products work together by enabling multiple offers on every item so that your customers never see out-of-stocks, as Carrefour Spain has done via its Mirakl-powered Marketplace. 
  • Managing sellers:
    • Diversify & grow your seller base by onboarding more international sellers using Mirakl Connect.
    • Offer more visibility to sellers with high stock.
    • Suspend sellers refusing orders due to lack of stock (by making the most of Mirakl Quality Control features).
  • Ensure that out-of-stock products don’t show up on your website. 

 

Leverage your physical stores to offer a truly omnichannel experience

 Your marketplace can play a key role in your omnichannel strategy. During the last lockdown, retailers who leveraged their physical network to provide customers with a true omnichannel experience outperformed. For example, omnichannel retailers like Fnac, Leroy Merlin and E.Leclerc in France gained more than 2M unique monthly visitors on their websites compared to 2019 (Médiamétrie and Fevad). 

During the first lockdown, click & collect allowed food retailers to offer their clients a shopping experience better aligned with health & safety restrictions. And for non-food retailers it was the only way to maintain store activity while meeting safety standards, compensating for ~25% of their usual turnover.

 

Top marketplace tip:

  • Strongly consider enabling Click & Collect for eCommerce and marketplace products as it offers cheaper, more secure delivery, and can be faster than normal shipping methods, especially for bulkier items.   

 

While this lockdown will make the holiday period challenging for retailers, the right strategy can help you support your customers and ensure that you maximize your eCommerce growth this holiday season. Connect with the Mirakl Team to get more advice on how to make the most of your marketplace strategy during the 2020 holiday sales period. 

Luca Cassina

Written by Luca Cassina

Luca Cassina joined Mirakl in 2019 with over 20 years of experience in retail, ecommerce, and digital payments. Prior to Mirakl, he ran the Fashion Marketplace at Amazon Europe and held various senior leadership roles at PayPal, including serving as Managing Director Western Europe and as General Manager Northern, Central and Eastern Europe. Previously he was the Country Manager Switzerland at Schibsted Classified Media and the Founder and CEO at TalentManager.com.

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