Wouldn’t it be great to have an online personal shopper – an expert who always knows the right product or service for your specific need and exactly where to find it? Furthermore, when working with them, you’re left with the confidence and peace of mind that you’ll get precisely what you looked for, and at a competitive price.

To make this experience a reality, many businesses are embracing the curated marketplace model, where customers can browse a carefully organized, selected list of high-quality products and services. Curated marketplaces do not have to be small marketplaces. Instead they offer the best of the marketplace experience, creating a one-stop shop that meets all of the buyers’ needs while staying true to the brand promise that buyers trust.

When done right, a curated marketplace strategy empowers businesses to tap into a new level of hyper-growth: in 2020, enterprise marketplaces grew at double the rate of overall eCommerce, and retailers who leveraged the marketplace model saw a 34% lift in overall organic site traffic.

For more information be sure to read the Enterprise Marketplace Index: The industry’s largest compendium of third-party marketplace insights.

To achieve this balance of scale and integrity, marketplace operators should focus on three key items: offering the right assortment, onboarding the right sellers, and utilizing the right platform.

Offering the right assortment

Before launch, developing a marketplace assortment strategy is key. Initially, it’s often best to start with products and services that are core to your company and its values. This is because your customers already look to you as the trusted expert for their needs; a marketplace allows you to build on this authority and strengthen your position as an industry expert. 

It’s also important to specify who you want to be as a digital brand, and how the marketplace will help you achieve this goal. 

Marketplaces have to serve the brand. Before launching an online marketplace it's important to define who you are as a brand; who you want to be as a digital brand; and how the marketplace will serve your brand in addressing customer pain points.

Constance de Polignac, Global Customer Experience Advisor – SAP CX, SAP

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Super-Pharm and the Kroger Co. are two Mirakl Platform Pioneers using the curated marketplace model to address pain points, and ultimately deliver greater value for their customers:

  • Super-Pharm, Israel’s leading pharmacy chain, is utilizing the marketplace to transition from a pharmacy business to a wellness brand – extending their product selection past what could traditionally fit on their shelves. It’s also a way for them to test out new products and sellers, to determine which partnerships to pursue and even what items to offer in their stores. 
  • The Kroger Co., America's largest grocery retailer, has looked to the marketplace as a way to offer bulkier and uniquely shaped items, like brooms. Despite selling incredibly well in-store, products like these are often difficult to store and ship from Kroger’s own fulfillment centers. 

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Onboarding the right sellers 

Once you have identified the categories you’re adding, it’s time to select the sellers who will help expand your catalog. Remember, customers will associate their experience with your brand, regardless of who is fulfilling the order - after all, they are shopping on your marketplace.

In 2019, Premier – a leading healthcare improvement company – launched  stockd®, an eCommerce marketplace powered by the Mirakl Marketplace Platform. While scalability was important, they needed a way to ensure they could also continue to build on their credibility as a trusted leader in the healthcare supply chain. 

Looking at everything from insurance minimums to where sellers were in the supply chain, Premier developed a robust, ongoing process to closely vet new and existing sellers. Leveraging Mirakl, they were able to quickly and confidently onboard new products and sellers while continuing to deliver the high-quality medical supplies they were known for, even during an international shortage. 

“The marketplace model offered us a faster, flexible way of doing business,” says Matts Burns, Director of eCommerce Solutions at Premier. “It also allowed us to maintain our reputation as a trusted leader, remaining both reputable and ethical in our business practices.”

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Utilizing the right platform 

The foundation enabling your marketplace is just as important as what’s on it. You need a platform that allows for scalability and enhances brand value. Operators can use Mirakl Connect to discover a highly curated group of sellers for the marketplace – offering better quality and capabilities at scale so you can grow your marketplace GMV. The right marketplace technologies not only allows you to find the right products and sellers, but also build your assortment, manage your offers, and ensure a consistent customer experience - all without sacrificing scale. 

When done correctly, and with the appropriate technology-driven solutions, businesses can achieve remarkable results. In 2021 SalonCentric, L’Oréal USA’s salon professional distribution operation, will launch the salon industry’s first dedicated professional beauty products marketplace. The move will add more than 200 new vendors, a total that is only expected to grow. In addition to strengthening their existing selection, the marketplace will allow them to break into new categories – ultimately solidifying their position as one of the largest wholesale salon & beauty suppliers in the industry.

"With this marketplace, we are embracing innovation in service of our customers’ success, offering them immediate access to the widest selection of products and brands with a seamless eCommerce experience,” said Bertrand Fontaine, President of SalonCentric.

Curation at scale drives marketplace success  

Selecting the right assortment, onboarding the right sellers, and choosing the right platform, is a great foundation for launching, and scaling, a curated marketplace. With a strong curated strategy, businesses have a powerful tool at their disposal to precisely expand their catalog without sacrificing brand integrity. The curated marketplace allows industry experts, across all verticals, to effectively meet the needs of their customers and remain at the forefront of the eCommerce revolution. 

Tzipi Avioz

Written by Tzipi Avioz

Executive Vice President, Customer Success at Mirakl

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