Marketplaces are growing rapidly: in 2020, 62% of global online sales were made on marketplaces. It's not surprising to see these platforms occupy the first places of the most visited e-commerce sites in the world. So what are the questions to ask yourself and the key points to check before setting up your own marketplace?
The marketplace will revolutionize retail and transform your approach to business. To stay in the race, you must offer your customers what they expect: a wide range of products that will be delivered correctly and quickly. Don't be afraid to put your products in competition with those of third-party vendors: if your customer comes looking for a reference and doesn't find it at your store, he won't hesitate to go to your competitor.
It's better to have a complete and integrated offer in your brand environment. And it can even allow you to identify trends! But the depth of the catalog is not its only advantage. The marketplace is also a service provider. It must offer a shopping experience that meets your customers’ requirements.
So how can you stand out from the crowd while respecting your brand DNA? With a high level of quality from start to finish!
The marketplace on the supply side
The first strong point of any marketplace is its merchant ecosystem! By extension, its success factors are based on the depth of the product catalog, the recruitment and animation of salespeople. For the retailer, this is a sine qua non condition to be able to constantly optimize the offer and the shopping experience. On this point, technology is certainly essential but not sufficient. What good is a robust and ergonomic platform without differentiating products to offer?
Products necessarily mean sellers! That's why the quality of your seller portfolio is the main factor for choosing a marketplace solution. However, completeness should not overshadow the quality of the products offered for sale. Don't forget that your marketplace will be the first showcase of your brand image.
It is therefore important to target your sellers to ensure the relevance of the products sold and the quality of service they will provide to your customers. 70% of consumers consult online reviews before making a purchase and for more than half (60%), negative reviews influence their purchasing decision. You must therefore monitor the quality scores of your sellers, and animate your merchant community to continuously improve consumer satisfaction. And everyone wins: sellers and customers alike!
The marketplace on the logistics side
Another key point in the implementation of a marketplace: logistics! Delivery is part of the customer experience and is a major factor for an online purchase. You need to pay special attention to it and anticipate the different steps of the logistic process, especially when it is done internationally.
55% of consumers do not hesitate to choose a competing platform in the case of a faster delivery. Today, customers expect the same perceived quality in the delivery of their product as they do in their shopping experience: diversity of delivery options, real-time tracking, choice of carrier and rates, home delivery, etc.
There can be no e-commerce without efficient delivery, and no efficient delivery without an end-to-end optimized shopping experience, from the online order to the final delivery point. And here, fulfillment is the best answer.
The fulfillment from A to Z
What is fulfillment? Fulfillment is a service that integrates all the steps that follow an order placed on your marketplace.
- Data recording and processing
- Product storage
- Picking in the warehouse or picking at the point of sale
- Preparation, packaging and labeling of the package for shipment
- Postage or shipment via an external carrier
- Order tracking information to the customer
- Payment processing
- Delivery according to the chosen option, within the agreed timeframe
- After sales customer support
The result: a centralized and simplified management, synonymous with a more fluid customer experience. For example, Europe-wide fulfillment will guarantee shorter shipping times, which will ensure customer satisfaction.
The marketplace on the service side
Last key point: the quality of service associated with your marketplace. Consumers need to rely on available and efficient customer support. 24x7 accessibility, instant answers, omnichannel contact points (chatbot, social networks, call center, video, emails, dedicated customer space...), real-time follow-up of your request processing, etc. In the marketplace model, it is the seller who first responds to customer requests. It is therefore preferable to ensure the quality of the answers provided. How can you do this? By deploying a marketplace solution that allows you to track exchanges between customers and sellers. This way, you will have an overview of all the requests made and will be able to verify that all of them have received an appropriate response.
For an optimal follow-up, you can for example integrate the sending of satisfaction questionnaires, the rating of products or salespeople. By being proactive, you increase your chances of quickly dealing with a potential source of dissatisfaction as well as transforming a dissatisfaction into a positive impact. This is a must when you start a new venture in the marketplace!