A central idea behind the online marketplace has been taken from the high street department store where many different brands and products are all available under ‘one roof’.  This is where I’d draw a line under the similarities, as an online marketplace takes the model to a new level. There is no need to commit working capital on inventory as the products displayed are held by the retailers and brand partners. The online marketplace combines eCommerce and  well-crafted customer journey design and advanced use of actionable data to attract visitors onto  a website with the intentional of selling branded products and services.  Customer insight derived from CRM, analytics and big-data. Cutting edge algorithms can use AI with actionable insight being sourced from big data and blockchain taking care of the transactional elements.

Real time integration between the suppliers and the online marketplace means that products presented to consumers  are available at the point in time that the purchase is made.

There is a convenience factor for the consumer in that orders can be placed at any time, via any internet connected device. Another benefit to the consumer is that the online marketplace will offer a much wider selection of products than a typical high street store or a single brand website.  The desired product can be easier to find through the application of advanced search and machine learning. This is a happy hunting ground for personalisation and recommendation engines for promoting the customer’s  ‘next best action’  across all customer touch-points.

Online marketplace vendors can augment the model by providing technology and software / applications to their trading partners that enables traders to simply plug-in the ‘retail tech’.  By effectively ‘outsourcing’ sales and marketing activities in this way, trading partners are liberated from these costly operational functions, freeing up time to focus on their products and services.

I plan to add more to this post in due course about the significance of applying Block-chain into the tech-stack and how and why this may lead to increase popularisation of the ‘online marketplace within the retail sector.

There is a massive opportunity in online marketplace for businesses to create amazing customer experiences supported by actionable insight that drive up online revenues and sustainable growth. Conscious that I have a unique set of skills and experience to innovate and deliver value into this area, I am looking forward to my next online marketplace opportunity.

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