In a recent InternetRetailing webinar, How retailers are successfully expanding into online marketplaces, Ciarán Bolllard, chief executive of Kooomo and Jim Baillie, founder and chief executive of JetStream Online considered the place of marketplaces in domestic and international strategies.
Rise of online marketplaces
• About 1bn people active on marketplaces.
• 90% of ecommerce transactions in China are through marketplaces.
• By 2020 39% of digital sales will come via marketplaces, and the balance through web stores and other sales channels.
Pureplay vs category driven marketplaces
• Pureplay (eg eBay, Amazon, TMall) = higher cost of entry
• Category-driven (from Farfetch to Shutterstock, Storefront, AirBnB and more) = very interesting, lots of growth. Good way to dip toe into water. Can be better places to sell product to niche audience, though not such a wide audience.
• Why sell via online marketplaces? Sales, brands looking to expand internationally, great tool to expose brand to significant audience while controlling pricing and margin.
• Google vs Amazon: most people going to Amazon to search for a product, people tend to end up on Amazon vs Google. Google addressing this with Google Shopping, working to increase awareness of products and services. Interesting dichotomy that Amazon winning the battle right now. Will be interesting to see what happens, especially with the emergence of voice search.
• Considerations: who controls brand image? Resellers selling directly on marketplaces, but bigger brands might want to have more control, some pulling back from allowing their products to be resold on platforms. By losing sales on marketplaces it’s affecting their core pricing. Position of brand/customer experience. Loyalty, packaging other considerations.
• Expectations on shipping: in 2017 Amazon shipped more than 5bn items to Prime subscribers, with its fastest delivery to date standing at 8 mins.
• Is that experience good for the customer? Great from logistics point of view, but studies show some customers want nice packaging, customer loyalty, online exclusives with items available only through own e-shop for a limited period of time.
• Ways to differentiate via Amazon/eBay
Marketplaces - how does it affect pricing through e-shop. We know it’s often a race to the bottom on eBay, Amazon. What’s the best way of maximising sales value?
• Advice on points from getting ready internally to managing KPIs.
Example: Diadora - how it managed its stockpiling challenge by using marketplaces.
How to break into Asia using marketplaces
• 90% of all ecommerce transactions are on the marketplaces.
Nearly half of 1.4bn population of China are active internet users.
• Online sales in China were $366bn in 2016 - almost as much as US and UK combined.
$25bn of sales on Singles Day alone.
• Opportunity of China, largest market in the world for ecommerce. Entering the market can be cheap or expensive, depending on what a brand wants to do. kaola.com has 24.2% of the domestic market, TMall Global 20.3%, VIP.com 15.7%. (With graph)
• What’s clear is that pureplay marketplaces (JD.com, kaola.com, TMall) have a large market share. But give the size of the audience it’s worth considering all the other sales that are made through category-driven marketplaces as well.
• How can brands export products to China? What sells in the UK may not sell in Asia. Consider cultural fit, brand positioning, domestic vs international. • Cultural fit/brand positioning/domestic vs international.
• The rise of voice search: 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.
• Amazon Alexa application grew by more than 500% in the second half of 2016 - and Echo Dot was a bestseller in early 2018.
Extending sales channels for voice products - and what I need to consider.
Positioning brand, consumer experience vs customer experience for e-shop.
Ensuring not losing core pricing through e-shop.
Visit the Kooomo webinar page to view the webinar in full, including the slides and the final Q&A session.