Marketplaces the Forefront of eCommerce

Marketplaces the Forefront of eCommerce

With sales accounting for more than 50% of e-commerce sales in 2015 (MarketWatch), Amazon is certainly the hands-down winner when it comes to online selling. But they are not the only game in town. Established marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, Walmart, Newegg and Sears provides sellers with an expanded marketplace reach. And newbies like Jet, Tanga, Choxi, Mirakl, Privalia, Game, Flubit and Bluefly are all slowly chipping away at the competition.

Marketplaces are at the forefront of e-commerce and represent significant opportunities for retailers to expand.

  • Trust matters. 76% of consumers trust making a purchase on a familiar marketplace. 90% of consumers surveyed were very satisfied with their experience on Amazon or eBay.
  • Easy and convenient. 85% of consumers feel marketplaces are convenient and 89% say they can easily find products.
  • Customers appreciate choice. 81% of consumers like the many product options marketplaces provide.
  • Opportunities to expand. 83% of consumers discover new retailers through marketplaces.
  • Feedback makes an impact. 2/3 of customers say that feedback and reviews for products and/or sellers were important in their purchase process.

There is room for improvement. 

33% of surveyed buyers listed returns and dispute resolution as a concern when buying on a marketplace, something both Amazon and eBay have been trying to address with automated returns and stringent seller standards. Quality control can also cause potential problems, as surveyors identified product quality and late receipt as reasons behind any problems they had experienced.

Etsy is considered the best marketplace when it comes to content and minimized potential problems.

The key to success?

Master the details of the marketplace you are selling on (PIM, pricing, logistics, reverse logistics) and don’t get stuck on a set-and-forget mentality. Successful marketplace sellers must evolve and learn to align their goals with that of their selling partners. And always diversify, diversify, diversify. There are plenty of marketplaces to try out, including niche markets like Bluefly that can be extremely effective at reaching targeted clientele.

Survey data discussed in this article is based on a commissioned study by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Mirakl and ChannelAdvisor March, 2016 and was presented at ChannelAdvisor Catalyst 2016 by Sucharit Mulpuru, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research. The study base included 2,500 consumers that have shopped online in a marketplace.

Jodi Gaines Pereira

Jodi Gaines Pereira is the co-founder of ReplyManager, a web-based tool designed to help online sellers manage their incoming customer communications. She served as CEO and blog editor until it's sale to XSellco. She is also a founding partner of iguanafarmGroup, a product development and engineering company. Jodi is a frequent contributor to online publications such as Tamebay and WebRetailer and often speaks about customer experience and marketing within the eCommerce community and is an accomplished singer / songwriter.

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