[ Expert opinion ] Marketplace: why, how and what’s next?

Marketplaces are booming around the world so Emmanuel Chaumeau, Marketplace Expert at HiPay, gave us some ins and outs of this promising sector!

It’s now common knowledge that marketplaces are redefining e-commerce by offering a broader product range to customers. For example, the French Federation for E-commerce (FEVAD) explained that the number of marketplaces increased by 18% in 2016. While it’s a smaller growth than in 2015, it’s still significant!! In France, marketplaces now represent 28% of e-commerce sales.

Why should e-merchants launch their own marketplace in 2017?
E.C.: I would say that the primary reason is to develop their online presence. The point of an online marketplace is to grow customer loyalty by offering a ever-expanding range of products. A brand, whether online or not, must use its reputation and expertise to make its marketplace successful.

What should merchants watch out for?
E.C.: Above all, it is imperative to stand out in the market in order to maximize their chances of marketplace launch. Like I said earlier, e-merchants must offer an expanding product range to create a loyal customer following. There is nothing to stop them from diversifying and offering new product categories.

Moreover, merchants must trust their abilities and avoid selling products on an existing marketplace like Amazon as well as their own. Sector leaders are well-referenced by search engines and brand users. Becoming well-known is an attractive prospect; but there is always risk of keyword cannibalization.

Finally, there’s no need to be reminded that merchants must seek exceptional advice during marketplace launch on how to best structure their teams. An effective team will act as a moderator for both merchant and client. This is what makes Amazon so successful: they always have a team ready to intervene if problems arise.

What’s next for marketplaces?
E.C. : Marketplaces will see two major changes in the coming months. First, the sector is slowly opening up to more than just classic retail. B2B websites have been digitalizing for some time now, but some parts of the payment process must be refined in order to better meet the needs of professional buyers.

Another thing to consider is the increased consumer shift from offline to online. Since consumers are going less and less to physical stores, they expect the experience to be flawless. To address this expectation, stores are installing tablets storewide that are directly connected to the entire marketplace to satisfy customer demands in case of limited stock. It is an inescapable introduction that will turn traditional commerce upside down.