DIGITAL INTERACTIVE SERVICES
Digital marketplace: The future of online shopping
Have you listed your products and services on multiple marketplaces? If yes, are you able to manage the listings, prices, creatives, and content efficiently? During the pandemic, customers’ buying habits changed as they preferred online stores over brick-and-mortar shops.
Since then, online marketplaces have become the key drivers of growth for businesses. But managing multiple marketplaces and staying on top of your listings can take time and effort. The digital marketplace model is an excellent way to reduce the risk of holding excess inventory and the expenses of managing a physical store. It provides a low-risk model to reach a significantly larger audience.
The benefits of a digital marketplace
The aforementioned challenges should not deter you from going online. Statistics reveal that the e-commerce market in the US will surge past $1 trillion by 2023. The e-commerce sales in India were at $84 billion in 2021, up from just $30 billion in 2020. Businesses must recognise their growth potential in a digital marketplace.
- Convenience: The marketplace model has eliminated any entry barriers for a business to reach its customers. Businesses no longer need large investments to manage physical stores and warehouses. Most marketplaces offer fast onboarding and assisted promotion to boost sales.
- Global outreach: With an online digital marketplace, your business can sell their products and services anywhere in the world. You can target a specific country or demography with ease.
- Access huge customer base: Marketplaces offer a one-stop-shop solution for all customers. A physical store cannot match the choice and inventory that an online marketplace offers. Hence, a large customer base can be reached by an online marketplace due to the variety of products it offers.
- Easy payment and logistics fulfilment: Your marketplace manages operational requirements, be it payments, shipping, refunds, returns, or product pickups. This delivers efficiency into the system, allowing businesses to focus on their core job.
- Measure the KPIs: Most online marketplaces provide dashboards that help you monitor key performance indicators (KPIs) such as revenue, sales, reach, and customer satisfaction. It is not feasible for most businesses to develop this capability independently.
The challenges of listing on multiple B2B marketplaces
While B2B marketplaces are the future, managing your listing on multiple platforms has numerous challenges.
- The online B2B marketplace is a fast-changing model where you need to update products, services, prices, and creatives frequently. Doing so on multiple platforms manually is an uphill task.
- Providing customer support and keeping track of agreed-upon terms with multiple marketplaces is difficult.
- Lack of backend technology can create a large amount of manual work.
- Tracking and dealing with counterfeit products from suppliers and frauds is necessary but difficult without technology.
Industry trends in marketplace management
The pandemic has shifted the way customers buy products and services, and the following industry trends are set to influence online marketplaces.
- Shopping on mobile phones: Over 70% of online shopping happens on smartphone apps. It is crucial for businesses to offer a great buying experience for customers on mobile phones and desktops.
- Vertical marketplaces: Vertical marketplaces connect businesses with a group of customers within a specific niche. They have a specific target audience. This model brings high-quality leads that can be converted into sales quickly and easily. As a business, a vertical marketplace can help you offer more value to the customers.
- Voice commerce: The use of smart devices that work on voice commands is growing rapidly, and customers are using them to purchase products and services online. In the future, these devices will optimise voice search queries, increase search speed, and help businesses make their listings friendly to voice search.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): Chatbots are a great example of AI technology. They provide instant answers to customer questions, as well as learn and improve over time. Online marketplaces serving global customers cannot have a human workforce serving 24 x 7 and need to rely on AI chatbots to fill the gap.
Marketplaces have been the lifeblood of commerce since times immemorial. In today’s world digitization is expanding rapidly, and so is the need for digital marketplaces. Like any new digital transformation, this disruption too is currently on a test run and requires some tweaks, but it certainly promises trailblazing advancements and opportunities.
This article was first published on Business Insider