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EDITORIAL From Superdrug to Faire: putting marketplaces in context; plus ChannelX World

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

Marketplaces are a key theme of today’s InternetRetailing newsletter. We’re reporting first on the size and significance of marketplaces to the UK economy. Research from Shieldpay and the Centre for Economics and Business Research puts UK business turnover from marketplaces at more than £280bn – but says that as yet this only accounts for a relatively small share of sales, with potential for much more growth. In a survey of business decision makers it found that the benefits of marketplaces lie in being an easier way to make sales, while the reputation of the marketplace host itself is important to 20% of respondents. 

It’s into this market that Superdrug is launching what it describes as the first health and beauty marketplace from a high street retailer. Brands are being invited to join the site when it launches in September, as a way to enable Superdrug to expand the range it can offer its customers.

We also report as wholesale marketplace Faire makes it easier for its independent retailers to find brands they want to sell. It’s developed a showroom where brands judged to have particularly high quality clothing and footwear can show their wares. That goes to one of the challenges of operating marketplaces – standing out from the competition from a much bigger range. 

It seems that’s a challenge more retailers and brands will need to tackle as more customers head for marketplaces. Research in the RetailX Top1000 Europe 2022, out this week, shows that close to 66% of visits from European consumers to the Top1000 brands are to marketplaces. Since the Top1000 is made up of 528 retailers (20% of traffic), 379 brands (14% of traffic) and 93 marketplaces, marketplaces far outperform other types of sites putting them well ahead in the race to attract shoppers. 

It’s this kind of channel split that a new InternetRetailing/RetailX event focuses on. We report on the first ChannelX World event, which takes place in October.

Today we’re also reporting on research that suggests UK shoppers will spend much less on Christmas this year, and when they do spend they’ll be looking for Black Friday bargains. And today’s guest comment comes from Jerry Wallis of SS&C Blue Prism who suggests that retail leaders are futureproofing their workforce by focusing on automation. 

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