Wondering if 2022 should be the year your organization rides the wave of online marketplaces? Or maybe you’ve already taken a trip into space but found it a little rockier than expected?
Online marketplaces have become extremely popular of late, with e-commerce businesses of all sizes understanding the benefits of selling their wares and tens, even hundreds of third-party suppliers.
Research shows that online marketplaces increase order value, customer loyalty, and trust. The model allows retailers to expand into new assortments and categories without investing much money. Revenue increases of 30 to 50% are not uncommon, making the business case for going this route very compelling.
Make a mess of it
But setting up an online marketplace that will boost your brand and increase your sales isn’t as simple as simply integrating your ecommerce platform with your new partners’ online ordering systems and hoping for the best.
TTo the user experience element of the exercise, yes. his can be a recipe for trouble. We have found that companies fail to realize their investments’ full potential in online marketplaces because they have not paid attention.Regarding
Most of the time, they have failed to mention that they now use a marketplace model. Consequently, the average buyer will not realize that the items they add to their shopping cart will not arrive together from one central warehouse.
Confusion and dismay can arise when the mentioned items appear in droplets and droplets. Drive a wave of phone calls and emails to the contact center, all of which must be answered quickly if the company is to avoid a surge in negative online reviews.
And then there’s the potentially fraught question of returns. This can become a flashpoint if a retailer’s third-party sellers have significantly different policies. If these differences aren’t made clear, contact center agents and brick-and-mortar sales assistants could have unpleasant confrontations with customers who thought they might come for a refund or exchange.
At Marketplace, we know there’s not always a second chance for retailers who disappoint shoppers regarding customer experience. That’s why we like to work closely with our customers from the start to ensure they don’t need one.
Once an online marketplace project is launched, the first step should be to map out the process changes required and the associated change management activities.
This allows a company to see potential breakpoints and issues and help retailers mitigate them before complicating the process by bringing in third-party sellers and products.
Introducing the latter to your site requires several decisions: how to inform customers and prospects that your site is a marketplace; whether you explicitly mark each item provided by a partner; and how to change your delivery and returns policies, to name a few.
There are no right or wrong answers – it’s up to your business to determine what shape the market will take – but your choices determine the work that needs to be done.
The last mile
After participating in many successful implementations, our team knows two things. First, when it comes to the customer experience, it doesn’t pay to take shortcuts, and second, focusing obsessively on the last mile of the customer journey is a super smart move.
Advise customers that an order of multiple items can mean multiple deliveries instead of one large package, clearly communicate delivery times and provide accurate tracking codes, and let them know exactly who to contact if they have questions and complaints, and you’ll get the have avoided pitfalls typical of novice marketplace operators.
Setting up an online marketplace is a strategic move. It can boost your sales and profits, provided you keep the customer experience at the forefront. By working with expert partners who understand the complexity of the model and implementation process, your company is well-positioned to get the most out of its investment in this groundbreaking technology.