The new world order of commerce: maximising sales via retail marketplaces
Convenience is core to the customer experience, with many consumers willing to pay a premium for it. Shoppers are increasingly downloading apps or visiting marketplaces that offer the convenience of multiple brands and products, packaged and delivered within a single retail experience.
In fact, marketplaces like ebay and ASOS have seen exponential growth on the back of their third-party sales channel offering. And all retailers are trying to keep up with the fact that 54% of global shoppers make Amazon.com their go-to marketplace.
More channels...more juggling
For retailers managing the already complex omni-channel nature of their direct sales channels, third party channels are an opportunity – but they can also be a burden, if not managed properly.
Marketplaces offer consumers the convenience factor they have come to expect. If consumers visit online marketplaces like Amazon frequently, then showcasing brands and products on these platforms builds credibility and trust. Not only that, it enables more sales; on Black Friday alone last year, Amazon more than doubled the number of third-party items it delivered from the previous year to total two billion.
Marketplaces also serve as a fantastic way to promote and scale new product lines, by making discovery possible for an audience beyond retailers’ regular customer base. From the perspective of margins, marketplace product placement can also run itself without the investment in overheads associated with most Direct to Consumer (D2C) channels.
Consistency at every touch point
However, to make marketplace investment successful, these opportunities still need to be managed carefully.
Ultimately, wherever consumers are shopping for products they expect a single and consistent customer experience; everything from price points to inventory management, customer support and fulfilment should reflect a retail brand’s promise to customers- regardless of the sales channel. And with product and service reviews consistently used across most marketplaces, the cost of getting it wrong is high.
To integrate with these third-party sales channels, retailers also need to navigate specific operational legislation, data policies and fulfilment procedures unique to the individual marketplace. Equally, they must ensure marketplace activity doesn’t clash with the day-to-day demands of D2C channels on stock availability and allocation, or negatively impact on wider business costs and margins.
In order to do this, retailers need to evaluate how best their business operations can adapt to support a consistent, streamlined, multi-channel experience for their customers, across additional channels. Implementing technology that offers easy access to a single view of an entire retail business – from back-end operations right through to customer behaviour – will help to make sure golden opportunities like marketplaces boost overall profits, rather than turn into an expensive burden.