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.
Transforming the Retail Shopping Experience
The truth is, buying a product via a Marketplace platform may be a slightly new shopping experience for customers, in the same way that online shopping was new and different over a decade ago.
A Marketplace, in essence, is a technology-driven transformation of the retail shopping experience. It introduces new opportunities to delight customers, if operators take the time to educate them about the changes. Customers who are informed about what to expect as part of this transformation are more likely to adapt to its differences (just like they did with online shopping.)
Educate your online shoppers about the benefits of your online Marketplace. Be sure to include the fact that they will now have access to a wider array of product choice, at highly competitive prices. The opportunity, here, for the Marketplace operator is to create an optimal customer experience with very little incremental cost or risk. The benefits to the shoppers should not be understated. Let customers know exactly what a Marketplace is, how it differs from retail, and how it benefits them.
Marketplaces Going Mainstream
If concerned about how consumers will react to this change in your model, just look to the leader in the space. Amazon has proven the validity of the third-party Marketplace model with its unmatched success. Consumers have come to not only accept the experience of shopping from third party sellers within Amazon’s platform, they have consistently rated Amazon to be a leader in customer satisfaction among the top 100 retailers (both in-store and online.)
Thanks to Amazon, and others including Jet.com (newly acquired by Walmart), Alibaba, iTunes, and more, the adoption of the Marketplace model is outpacing consumer hesitation. These retailers have recognized that to compete in an Amazon world, they too need to institute Marketplaces on their own sites.
According to a study from Forrester Consulting, 89% of consumers believe that Marketplaces offer an appreciable convenience. Even when experiencing problems, customers are able to identify between the seller and the retailer. Forty-one percent said they would avoid the seller, but would shop with the retailer again.
Thanks to the success we see among our clients at Mirakl, Marketplaces are quickly becoming mainstream. The goal for every operator should be to have a well-established, strong Marketplace very quickly in order to remain competitive.
Written by Barry Murphy
Barry Murphy is the Director of Content and Product Marketing at Mirakl. In this role, Barry leads the alignment of Mirakl's offerings to market needs for the next generation of online commerce. Barry previously ran product marketing organizations for X1 and Mimosa Systems (now part of HPE). Barry also had a highly successful stint as Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. Barry received a B.S. from the State University of New York at Binghamton and an M.B.A from the University of Notre Dame.