Monday 21 September 2015 – the first big day back this autumn for all the e-commerce professionals who have arranged to meet on 21, 22 and 23 September at the E-Commerce Paris 2015 event (Porte de Versailles). It is an opportunity for SQLI to demonstrate its expertise and give a lecture on the first day in partnership with Mirakl on a key subject this autumn: MarketPlaces.
It is 5.15 p.m. and the room is beginning to fill up. There are round 40 people, and the speakers and host are having their last rehearsal.
Kamel Tansaout, Continental Europe Commercial Director at MIRAKL, and Eric Costechareyre, Connected Commerce Manager at SQLI, are hosting this Marketplaces lecture with a focus on the B2B market.
What opportunities does opening your own Marketplace offer? Even before talking about solutions, Kamel reminds everyone about the context and the issues connected with it. What is a Marketplace? It is connecting buyers and sellers of goods and/or services through a secure space, made available by a third-party operator.
Yes, marketplaces are changing the world. You no longer need to have a permanent stock of products. It is a commission-based system which makes the marketplace the most profitable e-commerce platform that can exist. Kamel illustrates this very well with a few examples from the news:
- Über, which has the largest fleet of taxis without owning a single vehicle.
- Alibaba.com, the most profitable retailer which has no stock.
- Airbnb, without owning any real estate assets, is the number 1 for accommodation. Airbnb needed just 4 years to be in a position to offer 650,000 rooms in 192 countries, compared with Hilton which took 93 years to build 610,000 rooms in 88 countries.
- Amazon.com, which sells more than 1 billion products on its marketplace.
More products, more customers, more suppliers, more income and more profits thanks to the commission system. This is what a marketplace PROMISES.
Why a B2B Marketplace?
Now companies will work with operators such as Cdiscount, Amazon, Fnac, and IKEA for BtoB supplies because it is easier. They no longer use the traditional B2B channels like catalogues, classic e-commerce websites, etc.
Marketplaces have redefined the standards of the online buying experience and this phenomenon also affects the professional buyers for major accounts.
According to a survey conducted by Forrester, the most important buying criteria in the eyes of professionals are:
- Comparing prices
- Having a broader selection of products and services
- Having a better B2B customer service
- Customer ratings and comments
All of these criteria are fulfilled in a marketplace.
Creating your marketplace will make it possible:
– to change scale in terms of product listing:
- No more stock required and no logistics
- A great deal of flexibility in the listing and setting of prices
- Risk-free product testing
- Attractiveness and profitability of the e-commerce website
– to increase income and improve margins with a commission + subscriptions (rent paid by the retailer) model.
– to optimise resources (management of suppliers, procurement teams).
How to a successful marketplace project?
Kamel has set the scene and we are all convinced that the marketplace is a real lever for business growth.
However, to ensure that a marketplace is relevant and a success you need to proceed with a robust methodology, as Eric says.
A marketplace project will have an impact on a lot of departments within a company: sales, marketing, communication, IT and senior management.
Coordinating all of these groups will be key in successfully completing the project.
With an existing front-office, e-commerce platform, CRM, PIM/Catalogue, or online payment, it is important to know that the marketplace will bring functional components to the ‘operator’s’ back office which will enable it to administer sellers accepted on the platform and manage the platform itself.
A ‘sellers’ back-office module will enable the new retailer to have a management interface for their activities.
The Mirakl solution offers all of these modules specific to the marketplace. It will then connect to the existing system to manage sellers, offers, manage commissions, and enrich the PIM/Product catalogue.
Using the Mirakl solution, it will take an average of 6 months to complete the project.
In summary, the key factors for success according to Eric are:
- Support from the highest level of the company’s management
- A strong project team (available and legitimate) in terms of project ownership and the coordination of the many parties involved
- Clearly defining your product/price/services strategy
- Good coordination of those involved (internal and external)
- The standardisation of ‘product data’
- Progressive roll-out of your marketplace: put the model in place quickly and fine-tune it iteratively.
And above all do not wait until the end of the project to launch seller recruitment campaigns (a key point for a successful marketplace).
Go further with our practical guide addressing the key players in those companies that wish to apply the model of the marketplace to their context :
Discover the mirakl solution.