At the end of 2016, Ripley Chile made a transformational decision that would fundamentally change the way it does business: it became the first retailer in Latin America to consider online marketplace as the core of its vision for the future.
One of the most iconic retailers in Chile, Ripley has $1.9 billion in revenue and operates more than 70 stores in Chile and Peru. They’re stocked with clothing, accessories, electronics, and home furnishings, among other categories.
Over the past three years, Ripley has undergone a true transformation. Starting as a department store brand with an eCommerce channel, it has become one that supplies everything its customers are looking for with the help of an online third-party marketplace. Ripley’s future vision: to become a marketplace first, with an eCommerce presence and physical stores.
From brick-and-mortar retailer to marketplace
Ripley uses its online marketplace to test new products and categories. With data on customer buying behavior, website searches, browsing behavior, Ripley can identify opportunities to expand its own assortment and make data-backed decisions.
The marketplace also empowers Ripley to offer more of what its customers want to buy, scaling its assortment in a way that simply isn’t possible with traditional first-party retail. With the launch of the marketplace, Ripley can rapidly onboard new sellers and grow its offers dramatically. To date, the retailer has 165,000 active offers on its simple.ripley.cl marketplace in Chile, with an assortment of everything from fashion to furniture, electronics, sportswear, shoes and more, backed by over 1,100 sellers.
iPhone XR sold by a marketplace merchant on simple.ripley.cl
Following the success of the marketplace in Chile, Ripley decided to expand to its stores in Peru – and is well on its way to replicating Chile’s success. In under a year of operation, Peru’s marketplace has reached more than 200 sellers, with tens of thousands of active offers available online to Peruvian customers 24/7.
Integrating first-party and third-party offers for a seamless customer experience
Ripley’s marketplace isn’t a standalone platform separate from its other retail operations. Part of Ripley’s success has come from its focus on integrating marketplace sellers to make marketplace products feel like a cohesive part of Ripley’s offerings – and Cyber Day is one of the best examples.
Cyber Day happens twice a year, in May and October, for three days. The sales are like a local Black Friday sales event, and are Ripley’s biggest sale days of the year: during last year’s Cyber Day sale, Ripley did 3X the GMV of the entire previous month in just three days.
During Cyber Day, Ripley offers discounts across its first-party eCommerce site, and last year, Ripley worked with its marketplace sellers to create exclusive offers that can be incorporated into the sale. The result is more deals for shoppers, and more opportunities for their merchants to make sales.
For this year’s event, which happened earlier this month, Ripley built on that success and achieved record growth. During the most recent Cyber Day sale, their marketplace GMV grew by more than 70% compared to the previous year, topping more than US$4 million over the course of the 72-hour event.
For Ripley’s marketplace, the best is yet to come
Marketplace sellers are establishing physical footprints inside Ripley department stores.
Since the marketplace launched, Ripley has continued to evolve its marketplace strategy – and it isn’t stopping at online sales.
Ripley is now starting to accelerate its omnichannel strategy with marketplace, inviting strategic marketplace sellers into physical stores in the form of sleek “seller shops.” Ripley’s customers at its brick-and-mortar locations can shop, and make purchases, from marketplace merchants – an extra incentive for brands, and for consumers who want to be able to find everything they need in one place.
Ripley is also exploring opportunities to use the marketplace model to offer more than just products. Up next, the retailer is considering adding services, like furniture installation, to the marketplace, working with service providers to deliver even more of what customers want.
Between its international expansion, integrated product offerings, omnichannel strategies, and (coming soon!) service options, Ripley is using the marketplace model to become an entirely new kind of retailer, with the marketplace at its core.
Written by Daniel Topper
Director, Latam at Mirakl