Marketplaces have continued to grow in popularity over the last several years. Offering extreme convenience and countless shopping experiences for consumers, there’s no indication that their popularity will wane. In fact, Statista Digital Market Outlook forecasts that by 2025, online shopping revenue in the U.S. will exceed $1.3 trillion.
It’s no wonder enterprises of all shapes and sizes are interested in making their goods and services available online. But how is success achieved in such a competitive market? Understanding the competitive advantages of online marketplaces is the first step in delivering on your consumers’ desires. Also, read about the three key areas new-age businesses should focus their time and capital on to build a robust online marketplace.
Marketplaces: Best Shopping Destinations for Consumers
Marketplaces offer consumers varied options in relation to goods and vendors. A recent survey of shoppers highlights the leading reasons they prefer ecommerce sites that sell goods from multiple retailers or consumer goods brands.
#1 Value and better pricing
This one resonates loudly with many of us. Who doesn’t want to uncover a deal and save some hard-earned money? Everyone desires a bang for the buck!
#2 Better and vast product selection
With a larger selection at their disposal, customers can easily compare prices, scour reviews and ratings, and compare the quality and characteristics of an item before making a purchase decision that is most advantageous to them.
#3 Delightful shopping experience and convenient delivery options
Normally, customers have a variety of customizable shipping options they can choose from. In most cases with online marketplaces, buyers experience efficient customer service, leading to a positive shopping experience and repeat business.
What Does It Take to Build and Support a Marketplace Solution?
Consumers today have more choices than ever when it comes to shopping online. As a business, that competition can be daunting. But focusing on these three key areas can ensure you’re investing your time and money in worthwhile initiatives.
1. Marketplace Performance and Features
Approximately 13% of users abandoned their online session because the website had errors or crashed while in the process of checkout or during the payment process. Ensuring your app is feature-rich, adequately populated, and bug-free is critical to attracting new buyers and maintaining existing clientele.
Categories and Products
The appeal of marketplaces is the vast number of categories and large product assortments available to consumers. Whether consumers are searching for niche, every day, or high-end luxury products, availability is abundant on marketplaces. Product availability helps to increase activity, drive repeat business, and increase revenue.
Investing in Intelligent Search Technology
Intelligent search optimizes traditional search. Businesses that invest in this technology help their customers get answers to their searches more quickly and easily. Powered by artificial intelligence (AI), intelligent search combines natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning (ML). With intelligent search, information is located as quickly as needed because data silos are broken down and information can be extracted from any data source. For customers, search results align better with intended desires and their overall experience is improved.
2. Customer Experience (CX)
For marketplaces to attract customers and drive sales, there is a continual need to enhance the customer experience. Businesses have found diverse ways to interact and engage with customers to nurture and drive their buying journey.
What do the words customer centric and hyper-personalization mean to today’s brands? The following bullets illustrate some attention-grabbing statistics outlined in a Deloitte report:
Interacting with the customer across multiple channels is now the norm. Success requires carefully crafted digital engagement strategies that can provide tailored shopping experiences with dynamic pricing and promotions that keep customers coming back. Crafting an omni-channel experience creates a smooth journey for the customer, no matter their entry point. Designing the right service journeys for the right devices, optimizing and connecting individual touch points, and employing the right technology at the core all help to achieve the “total experience” for customers.
Easy Payment Systems
According to the Baymard Institute, 17% of U.S. online shoppers have abandoned orders in the past quarter solely due to a “too long/complicated checkout process.” Processes that are too complicated adversely affect the user experience. A seamless process reduces confusion and puts the user at ease. There are many actions enterprises can take to simplify the user experience and reduce cart abandonment.
Loyalty programs are an effective marketing strategy that benefits both companies and consumers. Through loyalty programs, companies usually extend benefits in the form of discounts, rewards, or even free products to their customers. These offers help to build and maintain long-term client relationships. Additionally, the data companies gather from these loyalty programs allows them to improve their sales and marketing strategies.
3. Market Strategy
An excellent app and great CX are nothing without a thoughtful plan of attack. Devising and end-to-end strategy for your online marketplace’s inception, launch, and future will lay a solid groundwork for the entire lifecycle.
Time to Market
Time to market is such a critical factor when it comes to competition. In an ever-changing technological and business landscape, staying ahead of the competition can determine the fate of a product or solution. Although speed is important, you mustn’t compromise on quality. All aspects of the marketplace need to operate seamlessly before launch.
Features and Functionality
For a marketplace to be successful, operators must manage the seller and customer experience from beginning to end. A few vital questions that need to be answered include:
Talent and Expertise
New initiatives can be costly, but even more costly if the right experts are not in place for digital transformations. Without qualified professionals either in-house or hired, companies run the risk of failure and falling behind competitors.
Build vs Buy
Deciding whether to build or buy a marketplace is a decision to be considered and deliberated seriously. There are numerous factors to consider and with each come different questions the company will need to address to accurately assess their position—cost being a paramount factor. Assessing your team’s skills, financial situation, and goals for the future will help in being strategic about your decision to build or buy your online marketplace solution.
Best Practices for a Robust Online Marketplace
Ecommerce keeps growing without a virtual end in sight. The rapid growth of marketplaces is undoubtedly due to the appeal and ease of use for consumers. However, it’s important to look at the totality of the behind-the-scenes actions that companies must implement to continually drive traffic. The qualities and features of your online marketplace, its impact on CX, and your overall strategy will help ensure your success. However, the support of a trusted technology partner can take you even further.
The effort needed to build and support a marketplace solution can be daunting, while the decision to build or buy can be clouded by indecision. If you’re looking for an immediate solution, hiring a trusted partner like Adapty can help to ensure 100% success. Discover how Adapty, an Apexon company, can support you to make customer-led decisions.