Going Beyond the Marketplace Boom: What Retailers Should Know
It’s no surprise that in order to remain competitive, retail brands need to deliver a top-notch unified commerce experience — especially as they expand their reach and adopt new sales channels. One way retailers have tried to improve the e-commerce experience is via digital storefronts, which use APIs to connect smaller retailers with established retail marketplaces like the Amazon Marketplace, the Walmart Marketplace, and the new Target+ marketplace. Since its development in 2010, the marketplace industry has absolutely taken off, reaping a staggering $1.66 trillion spent globally on the top 100 online marketplaces in 2018.
So, What's All the Hype About Anyway?
To some retailers, the idea of leveraging a marketplace could seem like an elusive and confusing undertaking, but doing so can offer several benefits. When most retailers are just getting started, they’ll begin by setting up their own online store. The problem arises when they end up only reaching consumers that are already aware of them, or that just happen to end up on their page by chance. It’s not exactly the most effective strategy for broadening your reach.
By selling their products on a popular marketplace, retailers can leverage the name of a bigger company to boost their own brand visibility. Everyone knows about the retail giants we see every day, so by using them to optimize the channels customers use to find their merchandise, smaller retailers will almost immediately have millions of people looking at their product. Not only that, most marketplaces have their own shipping functions and processes that retailers can leverage instead of creating and navigating their own.
How Do I Know Which Marketplace is Best for my Needs?
Choosing a marketplace can depend on a number of factors, but most important to consider is the type of goods you’re selling, the specific audience you’re trying to reach, and the level of functionality for each. To offer a functionality comparison between the available marketplaces, I’ve created a mini cheat sheet for some of the most popular choices available. Below is a simple breakdown of the Amazon Marketplace, Walmart Marketplace, and the new Target+, which should help guide you towards which might be the best for your brand.
What Can We Expect to See Next?
We see a lot of retailers hyperfocused on digitizing every aspect of their business, which makes sense when you look at recent buyer behavior. The problem comes when they put all their eggs in that digital basket. I doubt the digital economy is going anywhere any time soon, but the fact of the matter is that consumer patterns are ever evolving. While the modern consumer may want everything online as soon as they can get their hands on it, it’s likely the future consumer will still find value in the in-store experience.
As buying habits begin to change, we’ll start to see more digital companies create physical locations — like Amazon opening its own physical stores. That omnichannel experience has already been stressed in some ways, but the in-store experience will undoubtedly make a comeback in coming years. The trick is having the right technology to help manage and balance the different touchpoints and interactions that occur along that chain of supply and demand. In order to keep track of the omnichannel madness, it’s important to have one consolidated place for all sales and orders that are received through each channel, enabling you to track and monitor that data all in one place.
There’s no question leveraging a marketplace solution will boost sales and increase brand visibility tenfold, but it’s important to be thoughtful in the approach. After researching the best fit for your company and choosing the best partner for your audience, retailers can be rest assured in their decision to integrate into their marketplace of choice. By striking a balance between the digital and in-store experience and aggregating each touchpoint along the supply chain, companies will find themselves thriving in the future of retail by building and evolving an ecosystem of their own.
Tammy Moyer is a senior product manager at Cleo, a supply chain ecosystem integration software.
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Tammy Moyer is a senior product manager at Cleo, a supply chain ecosystem integration software. Tammy is responsible for leading the strategic direction for a line of B2B integration products. She ensures alignment between the needs of the market, customers, and Cleo. Tammy has more than 20 years of experience in the software industry, including positions as a network engineer, software engineer, test engineer, and product portfolio manager. Tammy holds an information sciences degree from Penn State University, where she focused on integration and enterprise architecture.