Ahead of this year’s InternetRetailing Expo (IRX 2018) and eDelivery Expo (EDX 2018), Mandeep Singh, founder and chief executive officer of Trouva spoke to InternetRetailing on marketplaces, and in particular, how retailers can choose one that will not only work with their business model but more importantly, benefit their company in the long term.
IR: What one piece of advice would you give to retailers looking to use marketplaces to reach into new international markets?
MS: At first glance, it may seem hard to decide which marketplace to work with, but the answer is easier than you think. It’s likely that there’s at least one out there that suits you and your business. Marketplaces like Etsy focus on sellers crafting handmade products, Alibaba is good for European brands looking to reach customers in Asia, while Trouva only works with the best bricks-and-mortar shops who have proven themselves to be one of the world’s best independents.
It’s worth focusing on just one marketplace so you can focus resource and time to ensure it becomes a successful venture. Ultimately, working with a marketplace is more like a partnership than a new channel.
Fundamentally marketplaces can give you scale and access to an incremental consumer base which would be impossible to achieve otherwise. My advice would be to do your research; really understanding whether a marketplace can help you achieve your business goals is the key to a successful marketplace strategy.
IR: In your view, what’s the most important upcoming trend in multichannel/ecommerce that is set to change the way we shop – and sell? Why do you think this is so important?
MS: There has been a lot of negative press around artificial intelligence (AI) but at Trouva we’re looking to harness the positive power of AI and automation. We aim to use it to automate the manual tasks of our network of retailers to free up their time so they can focus on running their bricks-and-mortar shops. On the consumer side, we hope to use AI for personalisation, to provide our customers with product recommendations and relevant content.
IR: What are you most looking forward to at IRX (beyond your own presentation)?
MS: I’m most looking forward the ‘The Final Mile’ track at IRX discussing one-hour delivery (something which Trouva has been offering for over a year) and hearing predictions for how delivery convenience will have changed by 2020. In particular, I’m looking forward to Julien Callede’s fireside chat to hear how Made.com plan to approach the crucial ‘final mile.’