Enhancing customer relations through the marketplace

Data plus customer relations is THE combination of the future for retailers. Retailers must constantly innovate to attract customers and, if possible, achieve the Holy Grail, i.e. anticipate customers’ needs and identify what they want to buy before they are even aware of it themselves. To achieve this goal, retailers have a trump card up their sleeve: the marketplace.

This is the market model that enables retailers to rapidly introduce and test products and vendors, while providing more detailed knowledge of their customers’ expectations. On a single interface, the marketplace brings together a vast range of products and vendors, offering consumers a unrivalled range of choices, which obviously attracts a large number of visitors. For example, a marketplace such as that run by our Scandinavian client, CDON, hosts 120 million visitors per year! These visitors constitute a vast data resource available to marketplace operators.

 

High-performance tests at lower costs

Customer queries on search engines amount to a gold mine for retailers who can use this information to understand what consumers really want.

More generally, consumers’ global behavior can be analyzed: their browsing journey on the website, their time spent on each page, the list of items previously ordered and their search history, etc. Marketplace operators can use this information to adapt their offerings or create new products.

The marketplace provides the opportunity to rapidly test consumers’ reactions to new products and ranges. It can also dramatically reduce the risks and investments related to production and marketing.

It helps retailers to decide whether they should offer these new products to their customers. The flexibility of the model also allows retailers to sell certain items on the marketplace, in order to test customer interest. If the results are encouraging, retailers can then offer the same products in their stores. This leads to the introduction of products that meet their customers’ changing demands. This is clearly beneficial not only for sales, but also in terms of image. The retailer is systematically positioned at the forefront of trends, one step ahead of the competition: a considerable advantage, given the growing competition for online sales.

 

A booster for online sales

According to FEVAD, 100% of the 15 e-commerce sites that generated the highest traffic levels in France in 2020 had their own marketplace and 53% were fully fledged marketplaces in their own right. Sales via this channel rose by 44% in Q1 2021.

The market is mature... and consumers are increasingly savvy. In this context, the ‘customer-centric’ approach has never been so important in terms of strategic and operational leadership. The number one goal in 2021 is to gain loyal customers. The experts at Forrester [1] are therefore predicting that spending on data and the customer experience is set to rise by around 30% this year. It is now clearly established that a company’s growth depends on seamless processes and consequently on a continuous customer experience. It is therefore wise to enlist the services of a specialist such as Octopia, which can intervene throughout the entire value chain, drawing on both technological (digital marketing and customer service, etc.) and logistics expertise (with a dedicated Fulfillment offering, bringing together all stages in the logistics chain, from receiving the order through to picking, packaging and shipping).

 

Consumption is constantly changing, a fact that retailers are all too aware of. This requires them to adjust their offerings on a continuous basis. Only by focusing 100% on their marketplace business can they spot upcoming trends and anticipate their customers’ needs. Furthermore, most retailers implement a dedicated structure for the marketplace offering. A strategy that is a sure-fire winner!

[1] Forrester report on digital forecasts for 2021