What are these e-commerce platforms, how are they managed, and what kind of scenario are they part of?
A dialogue among software houses on the question of e-commerce
Mirakl, the French company that supplies e-commerce software on cloud, and the US software house Adobe are helping to turn retailers, wholesalers and distributors into digital companies to maintain a benchmark role in their markets. What are the benefits and opportunities to be gained from including the marketplace model in their e-commerce strategy?
The marketplace broadens and enhances the offer
Today’s technology is ready to support the digital transformation; the main factor holding it back is the lack of organisation in companies, for example those that have an E-commerce Manager and a Retailer Manager, both of whom have different KPIs, but the same customers, because customers who shop online collect their purchases in-store, and this creates difficulties when it comes to orchestrating a digital strategy.
There’s a big difference between retailer customers, who purchase to sell brands, and manufacturers who have to sell and distribute products. The issues they have to deal with are different, in terms of both logistics and margins. The roads brands and retailers go down are meeting with increasing frequency, because retailers can extend their offer, and the brand can gain in appeal. The former can open new online and physical stores, broadening their product catalogue, and the same applies to the latter.
As in other sectors, the trend being followed is set by the USA, where many retailers have been operating through both e-commerce and marketplace for some time now, so the question of the marketplace is becoming a potentially necessary element to generate new business drivers, whatever the industry and whatever the business model.
Mirakl turns e-commerce into a marketplace
There has recently been an acceleration in what was already a growing trend towards online shopping, which is undoubtedly being guided by marketplaces. The first study conducted by the Enterprise Marketplace Index showed that marketplaces have grown by over 80% year on year during the pandemic, which is more than twice the overall growth rate of e-commerce in general. This is because shoppers are looking for greater choice and range of stock online, and the marketplace model is able to respond to this demand.
What is a marketplace? Operators, third parties and customers
Since this is a term often used to describe different things that regard online purchasing, it is useful to clarify exactly what a marketplace is. A marketplace is a platform on which three main players interact: first of all, there’s the operator, who facilitates operations in their marketplace, which is nothing other than an extension of their e-commerce. Many operators decide to become a marketplace for a question of range extension, to boost their e-commerce product stock without any risk of goods remaining unsold.
The second type of players is third-party retailers: companies that produce and sell one or more categories of goods, and which are recruited for their e-commerce products to be sold by the operator and to use their front-end to display the products. The third group is the end customers: private individuals in B2C or companies in B2B. The digital platform based business model brings advantages to everyone involved.
Success and measurable growth with the marketplace model
Embracing a platform-based strategy and transforming their business model using marketplace technology as a base is the best strategic choice a retailer can make:
- It increases the offer. By expanding their stock through supplies from third parties, companies are better able to cover their customers’ needs, and this in turn brings in more customers, attracted by the wider offer.
- It has an impact on revenue and profits. The direct impact of the marketplace is the net revenue it generates. One of the advantages of adopting this business model regards not only revenue, but also profits, because there is a significant reduction in the risk of losses, and company processes are delegated to the operators who manage everything with their own rules.
- It guarantees growth. The companies that have used a marketplace platform have not only survived; they have actually prospered during the pandemic.
How do Adobe and Mirakl collaborate as regards offering on the marketplace issue?
Mirakl is a solution that allows e-commerce to become a marketplace, but it is a back-end solution whose main objective is to encourage the management of third-party sellers. Adobe Commerce Cloud remains central to the e-commerce solution, integrated with Mirakl Marketplace. The two platforms complement one another perfectly, and also have a very strong partnership at a global level; the synergy between the two offers customers the best in terms of both front-end e-commerce solutions, offered by Adobe, and of technology and consulting.
Adobe has two types of partners: technology partners such as Mirakl, and solution partners, such as Alpenite.
A marketplace is more than just an IT project; it’s an actual transformation for the company, and a project of this type has many implications from the point of view of strategically orchestrating flows, on impacts and logistics. This three-sided approach makes it possible to cover customers’ needs in terms of both technology and support.