Marketplaces also contribute to loyalty


Marketplaces drive customer loyalty, according to an independent study

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It's long been our belief that online retailers have a whole bunch to gain from expanding to provide marketplace platforms for third-party sellers. And recently, we came across a detailed piece of research, published last year by Forrester Consulting, which adds persuasive details to the case for marketplaces.

Entitled, unequivocally, 'Retailers Must Seize The Marketplace Opportunity', the report finds that as well as encouraging customers to make more orders, marketplace functionality can help online sellers build loyalty, and promote confidence in their platform.

The researchers, working on behalf of Mirakl and ChannelAdvisor, found that fully 89% of consumers around the world recognize the convenience of marketplace shopping, with 90% saying they'd make repeat purchases of similar products from the same marketplace.

Adrien Nussenbaum, co-founder and US CEO of French marketplace platform developer Mirakle, summed up the findings as that "by launching marketplaces, retailers can open up new opportunities to better reach consumers and interact with them."

He added that his company had "discovered that in France alone, 70% of consumers buy products on marketplaces once or twice a month."

And, why wouldn't they? When they're well-implemented, marketplaces allow consumers to choose from a wider range of products, and discover new brands that they mightn't previously have heard of.

Creating a climate of trust is key

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The study finds that within the marketplace shopping experience, content generated by fellow customers plays a vital role in creating a relationship of trust between sellers and buyers.

Indeed, in France, more than three-quarters of people said that opinions and evaluations were important factors in their decision to buy via marketplaces.

But of course, sellers within marketplaces must do a range of things in order to create an optimal buying experience. Needless to say, products must be of high quality, and arrive quickly and in perfect condition.

When sellers get these things wrong, marketplace operators do have some wiggle-room - the study found that most consumers don't blame the marketplace itself when they have a negative experience with a seller.

Even so, we think it's crucial that marketplace entrepreneurs do everything they can to support their sellers and help them to offer the best possible customer experience - and this means choosing the strongest platform available.

Get this right, and marketplaces can create a close relationship with the customer

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Globally, the majority of consumers surveyed said they were satisfied with their purchases on marketplaces - more than 90% of transactions had the result of making customers more likely to return.

So we think that, in becoming custodians of customers' experiences in their interactions with individual sellers, marketplace operators have the potential to gain a closer relationship with their users than they might as mere e-commerce retailers.

Seemingly with this in mind, the Forrester report recommends that online retailers move into the marketplace environment with three strategic goals in mind: to improve customer experience, create a feeling of trust - and of course, to gain customers' attention.

The report's fundamental recommendation is that retailers shift their whole way of thinking about online commerce- creating their own marketplaces, proactively recruiting and continuously evaluating new sellers, and all the while developing their their technological resources.

Forrester based their report on online interviews with 2,520 consumers in Germany, the United States, France and the United Kingdom, between January and April last year. Each interviewee had made at least one purchase via a marketplace during the previous month.

The company also surveyed five marketplace operators, to learn about their current strategy, the benefits of their platform, and the strategic difficulties and challenges they face. The interviewees within those companies all occupied a managerial or otherwise influential position, helping to determine the direction of marketplace strategy.

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