Mirakl’s unparalleled partner ecosystem of technology partners and solution providers offer our customers expertise in eCommerce, strategy, marketplace implementation, and everything in between. Each brings deep knowledge and a unique perspective in the world of digital commerce – so as we look towards 2021, we’ve asked six of our partners to offer their insights on how they believe commerce will change in the year to come.
This week, we’re sharing predictions from leaders at LiveArea, Deloitte Digital, and SAP, each focused on the increased urgency of digital transformation initiatives – and the adoption of new digital-first business models.
LiveArea: The rise of low-risk growth channels and the “digital shopping mall”
Right now, many businesses are looking to grow their digital channels, whilst cautiously looking at their bottom line. A marketplace can be a low-risk enabler for accelerating digital transformation.
With the current situation, businesses need to be incredibly quick to market, whilst also being wary of challenges in cashflow and personnel. Significantly investing in marketing, technology, warehousing, packing, shipping, logistics and customer service can be a challenge.
Selling via a marketplace is a viable alternative, not just in terms of the technology involved, but throughout the eCommerce chain. It can enable a business to increase revenue without the need to hold inventory, for instance, manage and maintain a content-rich eCommerce website, or handle customer service and returns.
And, from a consumer point of view, one of the primary reasons we used to enjoy visiting the high street or a department store was the ability to browse and pick from a variety of brands and styles. The convenience of having this variety in one place makes it easier to shop a range of brands and categories in a single location.
With in-store shopping currently limited and its future uncertain, offering this variety and convenience a clear selling point for marketplaces. Consumers can pick from a huge range of products, easily add to cart and receive everything in one package on their doorstep.
Deloitte Digital: Wider digital adoption for businesses to recover, respond, and thrive
The global pandemic has disrupted businesses across the globe and exposed the kinks in linear business models, with a strain on one part of the model impacting entire ecosystems. Be it severe reduction in demand due to store closures, disproportionate demand shifts to certain categories or disruption in established supply chains leading to stockouts, businesses from manufacturers to retailers have faced the brunt of the pandemic. On the flip side, as a benefit to digital business, the pandemic has brought many new customers online and in categories that were once considered slower movers in the online space (like grocery). COVID-19 has thus accelerated the pace of digital adoption and has compelled organizations to really think hard of strategies to mitigate risks of linear business models.
The platform model, like marketplaces, provides a great opportunity to not only recover and respond to the current situation (think of quick expansion of product assortment to both core and non-core categories based on what the customer needs right now) but also, if done right, can help organizations thrive in the post-pandemic era (expand online assortment further, bring distributors online, tie marketplace products to store strategies etc.) by building a business model that is flexible, can scale fast with lesser risk. More organizations will now put marketplaces as a key consideration in their business strategies in the post-pandemic world. For a deeper dive, read Deloitte Digital’s Making an impact with marketplaces.
SAP: Embrace of intelligent technologies to achieve scale
With COVID-19 accelerating business model transformation, more companies will adopt B2B platforms. As marketplaces become a more common channel, the next level of differentiation will require an increased focus on personalization at scale. Driven by the internet, mobile devices and an increasing sophistication in data science, B2C organizations have set a precedent for the personalized, recommendation-based shopping experiences that today’s consumer demands. The infusion of intelligent technologies, backed by self-learning algorithms, into our personal lives has helped to overcome the reluctance business professionals have shown over the last decades, making the technology ready for large-scale adoption.
In 2021, B2B organizations will embrace intelligent technologies to scale commerce channels without losing their personal touch. For wholesale distributors, creating a superior customer experience goes beyond simply adopting B2C features but also requires retaining the traditional B2B processes and benefits that customers have come to appreciate, such as access to a knowledgeable salesperson who understands their unique needs. Emerging commerce and price optimization applications will gain popularity as leading distributors segment customers to deliver personalized experiences that boost growth and unlock new market opportunities.
This data-driven, personalized approach to B2B commerce is here to stay and will surely gain momentum into 2021. To learn how your B2B organization can close the experience gap, download this Harvard Business Review white paper.