Marketplace – sounds modern and innovative.
It is easy to associate this notion with start-ups, e-commerces, digital marketing and a whole stream of technological wording.
However, in that mix of terms the word marketplace has very strong roots and its origin should be sought already in antiquity. A marketplace is nothing else but a market. Since antique Babylonia through Assyria, Phoenicia or ancient Greece the term has travelled throughout centuries and took quite a similar form – of an urban marketplace, governing itself with its own laws depending on Country or towns in which the market was organised. Today, the marketplace has found its purpose in digital reality. Names of towns were changed to names of domains, big e-shops, within the framework of which anyone can offer their commodities, according to given rules.
Another dimension of the market appeared in the mid-90’s of the twentieth century. The phenomenon of market virtualisation was initiated in 1995 by ebay, existing to date and faring well. In Poland we have our giant, Allegro, created in 1999. Currently, more giants like Empik, Carrefour, Emag, Komputronik or Mediaexpert are more willingly providing their virtual space. Individual sellers can place their own products in the offer of these e-shops. In general, all that is needed is a well-optimised product file in a proper format that contains a GTIN/EAN number.
Strategic elements decisive in the triumph of marketplaces
Ebay has been on the market for more than two decades, Allegro is close to celebrating its 20th birthday. Success of these platforms comes from various factors. These, however, can be summarised in few points:
The platform selects and verifies – in a world where information is so easily accessible, we increasingly place emphasis on how the given e-commerce protects our data. As conscious users, we are more likely to seek out offers that clearly and trustworthily take care of our business. The success of a marketplace results mainly from the fact that, besides execution and functionality, it provides security through verification, e.g. of the salespeople.
Building image through consistent presence in social media – this is not even just about the image. It is also important that the potential of social media allows also for simpler and faster registration. As a result, it saves the users’ time, but also builds reliability of the platform. Opinions and ratings left by the users “coming” from the social media are not anonymous, because the system uses information that is already there.
Mobile devices and technologies “in the pocket” – today, the omnipresent smartphones provide the possibility to place orders almost anywhere. Marketplaces use their capabilities by designing the functionality of their platforms in such a way that each user can use them as conveniently as possible. This is also a great convenience for sellers who always have access to their accounts.
Attractive offer, broad range of products – an undisputed advantage of marketplaces is that they offer a very rich product range. It is much easier to find the product you want within the “boundaries” of a single platform. It is also very valuable that the user can compare prices, delivery conditions of the product from different vendors.
Market segmentation – the marketplace is also subject to segmentation. Although the pioneers that have already been mentioned offer virtually any kind of product, it is industry-specific virtual markets that are being created. Portal Showroom focuses on fashion, DaWanda on unique products and Komputronik on technologies, etc.
Marketplaces in Poland as another source of income?
The more and more interesting and yet relatively new trend of the marketplaces is increasingly boldly outlined on the Polish market. Maybe not so much new as refreshed. At present, this idea is joined by other e-commerce giants in Poland – Empik, Carrefour, Emag, Empik and MediaExpert. Each of these entities has slightly different rules for joining the program. However, there is one common denominator. There is always a well-prepared optimized product file required.
What are the benefits of joining the marketplace programs? Essentially, there is one basic benefit: increased profits from sales. However, there are several other noteworthy advantages that come from working with recognizable brands:
Image – indeed… Your product will appear in an e-shop, which is recognizable. It does not mean that you rid yourself of the chance to present your own brand. Empik or Carrefour provide space on the product card (in a quite visible place) where information (along with the company logo) regarding the party actually selling the product will appear.
Advertisement – free in a certain way. While the marketplace from AdWords or Google Shopping directs traffic to their sites, your products will always be advertised as well. It is a kind of fair deal. You offer your product – you put it on the website of Empik or Emag – marketplace directs the traffic to Your product card and sells it via your system – both sides should profit.
You manage – product management remains your responsibility to a great extent. The marketplaces will monitor the quality of the offer which can also be considered as a plus. If something is wrong with your offer, you will find out about it and you will be able to react faster.
Enormous range – Emag has about 3.5 million visits a month, Empik about 10 million, eCarefour.pl about 300 thousand of unique users (the smaller number results from the specifics of the store, the offer is used by users from larger cities where you can quickly deliver the ordered food products), and MediaExpert about 14 million unique users. These are enormous numbers. By deciding to work with the giants, we immediately allow users to find products from our offer.
All you have to remember is that most of the cooperation is based on a commission system. It is worth to count everything accurately and to judge whether the commission percentage is attractive enough for us. It appears, though, that it is. For example, the relatively recently launched marketplace on carrefour.pl already had 70 external suppliers at the start, which expanded the offer by about 70,000. products. The danger for this model may be that it is necessary to find a consensus for both parties, and this is not always easy. You need to acquire salespeople and increase sales.