Customer Focus

IRX 2017 The new role for marketplaces in multichannel retail

For retailers and brands from Waitrose [IRDX RWAI] to Sainsbury’s [IRDX RSBR] to Burberry [IRDX RBUR], the Alibaba Group’s [IRDX RALI] Tmall marketplace is now a channel of choice as they target the Chinese market.

All recognise that selling via the marketplace gives them the opportunity to reach the millions of Chinese shoppers who now have both the aspiration and the means to buy from foreign merchants.

Others are partnering with marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, in Europe, Zalando [IRDX RZAL]. They’re opening branded stores on third-party sites as they make the most of the opportunity to sell to new audiences. Gap [IRDX RGAP], for example, started to sell on Zalando as it looked to reach a wider European audience than it had in its own right. Retailers from Asos [IRDX RASO] to HMV [IRDX RASO] have also enabled smaller sellers to do business on their own on-site marketplaces as they look both to provide a service to customers and to gain incremental revenues.

It’s not so long since many retailers and brands steered well clear of third-party marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay. They believed that by selling via these sites they’d lose their highly-prized control over the way they presented their brand, and they would lose the insight and data that they gain from sales on their own websites.

But the mood now seems to be changing – and driving that is the customer. More than half (55%) of US shoppers now start their retail searches on the Amazon website, according to a 2016 BloomReach study. That figure was up from 44% a year earlier and suggests that many retailers and brands will miss out on the intent to buy their products unless they are available on that site.

In the same way, retailers who previously would not sell via marketplaces in Europe and North America recognised that to sell in China they quite simply had to use a marketplace, whether Tmall or JD.com. Why? Because they recognise that’s where most sales – and searches – take place.

Marketplace eBay [IRDX REBY] said last year that its own research shows 88% of UK consumers expect to find their favourite brands through online marketplaces – but that those with “secret restrictions” that prohibit some brands being sold on some platforms, are missing out on potential sales.

One reason that consumers are now shopping via Chinese, and other, marketplaces around the world is that those sites have made a real effort to raise their game, by weeding out counterfeit goods and developing partnerships with the trusted brands that shoppers want to buy from.

Perhaps, then, it’s now time for those retailers that have held out against the marketplace to do the research and find out where their existing and potential customers are searching for their brand and buying. If that’s on marketplace sites, then this could be time to make the marketplace part of their retail strategy. By doing so directly, they may gain the insight ito customer behaviour that they value, but they’ll gain the contact details for shoppers that they can then target and persuade to shop directly on their own websites, and in their stores. Marketplaces – could be a win-win situation.

Find out more about how retail brands can use marketplaces profitably at the Marketplaces Revolution Conference at IRX 2017.

The Marketplaces Revolution Conference, to be held on April 6, is part of the InternetRetailing Expo, which runs from April 5 to 6 at the NEC in Birmingham. To learn more IRX 2017, its sister conference eDelivery Expo and to register for free, visit www.internetretailingexpo.com and www.edeliveryexpo.com.

Attendees can also get a 25% discount on their train fare to the NEC when they book through the IRX or EDX visitor information website.

Mentioned in this piece…

Waitrose

Waitrose

IRDX: RWAI

Waitrose forms the food retail division of Britain’s largest employee-owned retailer, the John Lewis Partnership. The company is the sixth-largest grocery retailer in the UK, with approximately 5% of the market. (more…)

Sainsbury’s

Sainsbury’s

IRDX: RSBR

Sainsbury’s is a British supermarket chain with a significant share of the UK market. (more…)

Burberry

Burberry

IRDX: RBUR

Burberry is a British luxury fashion house, retailing clothing, fashion accessories, fragrances, sunglasses, and cosmetics. (more…)

Alibaba

Alibaba

IRDX: RALI

Alibaba is the leading fascia within an eponymous group of ecommerce businesses. (more…)

Zalando

Zalando

IRDX: RZAL

Zalando GmbH is a multinational e-commerce company that specialises in selling shoes, clothing and other fashion and lifestyle products online. (more…)

GAP

GAP

IRDX: RGAP

GAP is a USA-based multinational apparel retailer offering clothing, accessories, and personal care products. (more…)

ASOS

ASOS

IRDX: RASO

ASOS is a global online fashion retailer offering both branded and own label product lines across womenswear, menswear, footwear, accessories, jewellery and cosmetics. (more…)

ASOS

ASOS

IRDX: RASO

ASOS is a global online fashion retailer offering both branded and own label product lines across womenswear, menswear, footwear, accessories, jewellery and cosmetics. (more…)

eBay

eBay

IRDX: REBY

eBay is a multinational business-to-consumer and consumer-to-consumer marketplace. (more…)

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One thought on “IRX 2017 The new role for marketplaces in multichannel retail

  1. Summer said:

    Oh nice! I wish I had someone sending me yarn from dieffrent places around the world! I used to travel a lot and I wish I had been a knitter then, I could have gotten some Japanese yarn myself at one time

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