Mirakl hosted a webinar with leading online marketplaces to highlight best practices, guidelines for ensuring maximum growth and preserving brand integrity along the way. Here are a few of the highlights from the webinar, and some important takeaways for all online retailers who wish to break into the marketplace space.
The e-commerce landscape looks far different than it did two years ago. The pandemic has accelerated the pace of e-commerce adoption, and the demand isn’t showing any signs of stopping.
This year has seen many developments as a result of the pandemic. From unprecedented supply chain disruptions to delivery backlogs, retailers are facing myriad challenges. But this hasn’t caused the demand for e-commerce to slow – in fact, the demand for e-commerce is skyrocketing. As such, retailers are now turning to online marketplaces as their pathway to maximising e-commerce growth.
There’s data to back this sentiment, too. In 2020, marketplaces represented 62 percent of all online sales. This figure is growing at double the rate of overall e-commerce growth. So it should come as no surprise that navigating this landscape requires an updated and modern playbook.
The webinar, hosted by Mirakl featured a stellar lineup from Mark Gray, Director of Marketplaces at Click Central and Jay Goodey, Executive Director of Onceit NZ, two leading online marketplaces in Australia and New Zealand.
Click Central is a brand-focused marketplace that was born out of Click Frenzy. Launched in a record time of only 90 days, the Click Central team relied on Mirakl’s leading technology and expertise to accelerate time to market. When asked about the initial thought process behind its launch, Mark Gray, Director of Marketplaces, explained that the marketplace aims to be different from others in the industry right now. “Click Central is really unique – we’re taking a different approach in Australia,” Gray said.
Furthermore, he explained that with so many marketplaces currently in the Australian landscape, it’s imperative that there be a differentiating factor when launching something new. “When we evaluated launching Click Central, we asked ourselves ‘Is the market saturated? Are there too many players out there?’, and we realised that it’s not the case. E-commerce is growing by leaps and bounds, but if you can find a unique proposition and distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd, you will succeed.”
For Onceit, the marketplace is a way to expand its offerings to its loyal, brand- and value-focused customer base. Over the next 12 months, the New Zealand-based retailer expects to increase assortment by 70 percent and onboard 250+ new marketplace sellers. “It’s given us a really great foundation that we know we can grow on,” Jay Goodey, Executive Director, Onceit NZ, explained. “There’s really good scalability for the model, and while it’s an investment, we think the ceiling is a lot bigger than what we’re currently doing, particularly in our market.”
Mark Gray has extensive experience working with marketplaces, including the development of Catch’s marketplace and TheMarket.com in New Zealand. We asked him what two or three key learnings he brought with him to aid in the development of Click Central. After launching Catch’s marketplace using Mirakl’s platform, he knew that it was the right way to introduce Click Central to the world, thanks to its easy onboarding process. “We’ve found that it was the best in class to launch merchants really quickly and effectively,” he said.
Top tips given by Gray for those wishing to enter the marketplace landscape include focusing on the uniqueness of the platform itself. “View marketplaces not just as a sales channel, but really focus on making it a marketing channel,” he told Power Retail. With this in mind, he also shared that while discounting is important, it should not be the main focus to prioritise.
Secondly, Gray explained that it’s not just about conversions, and while this is majorly important for businesses to identify, it’s also imperative that they focus on the time customers spend on the site. “I’d much rather have somebody come on and spend four to six minutes on the site, rather than come and in and do a ‘one-step’ checkout,” he says. Ultimately, it’s about creating an experience for the shopper that they will remember, which then can encourage them to return to the platform at a later date.
Echoing Gray, Jay Goodey shared another advantage that marketplaces can bring to retailers: greater insight into their customer base. “Little bits of data you get along the way help with strategic decisions,” he shared.
So, what does success look like for marketplaces, such as Onceit and Click Central? It’s not only about the GMV (Gross Merchandise Value), but it’s also about making sure the sellers on the platform are having a positive experience.
“If we break it down into metrics, it’s about encouraging a good GMV growth per seller,” shared Laurence Greenway, the Senior Platform Strategy Consultant APAC, at Mirakl. “It’s extremely important. It doesn’t matter how many sellers you onboard, if none of them sell any products they’re not going to be around for much longer,” he said.
Another major factor to consider is the type of seller you onboard onto your marketplace, Greenway continues. “The more good sellers you can onboard, who are bringing a good product range and who are helping you to deliver the assortment and experience you want your customers to have,” he continued. “If you’re able to encourage GMV growth and each time you onboard a seller, and they are effective in selling their products, that’s the dream scenario for any marketplace.”
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