Setting up an e-commerce website is good, but starting a marketplace is better! Marketplaces are now the first places that consumers turn to for online purchases, and boost the activity of retailers with a pre-established online presence. It is the ideal configuration: with an online presence, activity, content and visitors, retailers who integrate a marketplace into their website can accelerate their growth without any logistical constraints or investment in stock. Below is a 5-step action plan for a successful integration.

1. Become a "marketplace operator”

It is almost like a change of religion: an online retailer is not the same thing as a marketplace operator. The former orders products from suppliers and manages customers, while the latter connects sellers and customers. The two roles are ultimately very different. As Mehdi Benmouha, Head of Solutions Engineering at Octopia, explains, a retailer must consider sellers on their marketplace as customers and not as suppliers. "It’s a real paradigm shift, but it's the only way to succeed," he insists.

In this new configuration, the retailer no longer simply sells, but offers a technical service of connection with a clear value proposition for both customers and sellers. Especially sellers! If the seller experience is wanting, it will be difficult to retain them. And yet they are the ones who condition the offer. What if the retailer does not have this sales culture? Delegation is always possible, as Mehdi Benmouha explains. "We develop marketplace solutions, but we are also experts in seller relations. If desired, retailers can use our services for the everyday management of their relationship with sellers."

2. Define the offer to build a successful commercial strategy

Stay true to who you are! It might seem obvious, but the success of the project depends on this. The marketplace must propose an offer in line with the brand's DNA. The idea is to expand your catalog with complementary items proposed by different sellers. Thus, the marketplace ensures that it meets the needs of its clients thanks to a wide range of products, even if it means offering products that are analogous to your own. Selling on a marketplace is competitive by definition.

This means a change of culture in-house: whatever the source of the sale, whether it comes from a seller or the platform itself, it is beneficial for the retailer. Teams must therefore see the marketplace as a complementary asset to their e-commerce.

3. Detail the desired services for the marketplace

What service offer should be put in place? This is a strategic question: when buying products on the marketplace, the brand's customers must enjoy the same quality of service as when they buy the platform’s own products. Otherwise, this will have doubly negative consequences: they will abandon the merchant site AND the marketplace. To avoid this, Octopia offers complementary solutions for its marketplace offer, covering the entire e-commerce value chain:

  • The Octopia Catalog: Octopia customers have access to its catalog of over 14,000 sellers, available via one-click inboarding
  • Fulfillment: logistics services to guarantee the brand's commitment to quality of service
  • Customer relations: 24/7 availability, instant responses and real-time monitoring of the request processing
  • Payment outsourcing: support for retailers for seller payment in compliance with the most recent legal requirements.

4. Develop connections between the future marketplace and the technical solution

"Once the retailer has chosen their Octopia services, we move onto the project integration," says Mehdi Benmouha. "We run workshops to get the user teams on board, advise the customer on their roadmap... and develop the connections between the future marketplace and Octopia’s solutions." This integration capacity also applies to the front office. "We have also developed integration accelerators. This means that a website built on an e-commerce platform can very quickly become a marketplace while still operating with the same content management system thanks to Plugins", the expert continues. Another strong point of the integration of Octopia solutions concerns payment. "At Octopia, we can organize the management of payment flows for a marketplace according to different forms and in compliance with financial regulations."

5. Recruit salespeople and create the catalog

"Finally, it is time to put together the offer itself. Octopia offers a wide choice, with access to a catalog of over 100 million products proposed by 14,000 rated sellers in France and abroad. A team of experts helps the customer retailer with prospection and the technical integration of the sellers into the categories the customer retailer has chosen for their marketplace."

These are the fundamental rules for successfully moving from a merchant site to a marketplace. The door is open... All that remains is to take the plunge! Time is running out: there is no longer any doubt that marketplaces are the business model of the 21st century. The proof is that buyers now start their product searches on marketplaces rather than on Google. So there you have it.