97% of millennial business buyers are already making purchases on online marketplaces, and their preferences are changing how B2B businesses sell to their customers. Businesses who want to keep being successful in this new environment are turning to marketplaces, and we’re not just talking about Amazon Business – 66% of B2B companies are planning to build a larger ecosystem of third-party partners and products to deliver a better experience to their customers.
As Sylvain Bozoc, Head of eCommerce and Marketplace at METRO France, told the audience during the Marketplace & Platform Summit by Mirakl in Paris: “At METRO France, we had in mind that we have to do something to answer our customers’ needs first, and to be sure that we are not going to lose our customers because of all these initiatives in the market.”
METRO France leveraged the advantages they already had in the evolving world of B2B commerce: their brand DNA, the quality of service that they can already deliver, their sales team, and their physical stores. Working with Mirakl, they took these assets and created a unified omnichannel marketplace strategy. Now, they’re able to offer a real endless aisle to their business customers.
How the marketplace enhances METRO France’s omnichannel strategy
METRO’s omnichannel strategy consists of four key touch points to its customers. First, it maintains brick-and-mortar stores where customers can walk in and purchase products. METRO also has a salesforce in the field to serve its customers, as well as a call center to handle customer needs. And finally, the company runs METRO.fr, where customers can place their own orders whenever they need. But even with all of these channels, METRO knew that its permanent assortment alone wouldn’t be enough to meet customer demand for a real one-stop shop experience. To deliver it, they launched a third-party marketplace.
Before, we added 50,000 products to our shelves, and it was huge. Today, 50,000 products is nothing for our customers. The marketplace is a good compromise: we can sell products and earn money on products, even when our purchasing department can’t compete with other players in the market. Sylvain Bozoc, Head of eCommerce and Marketplace, METRO France
At each touch point – online, in-store, in the field, and through the call center – METRO France offers its permanent assortment, products through dropship, and the marketplace assortment from all of the third-party merchants that METRO has partnered with.
Empowering METRO France employees to deliver on the endless aisle promise
The marketplace dramatically expanded METRO’s product offerings, but to make sure that customers were able to actually find everything they need, METRO needed to integrate marketplace products across the stores, online, call centers, and salesforce.
That’s why internal training was a key part of METRO’s launch plan. The METRO team learned the real value of the marketplace, and the company shared the strategy behind why some products were part of the permanent assortment, while other products were shipped & sold by third-party merchants.
We explained to our team: what is the strategy? Why don't we buy this product, why don't we store this product, why don't we invoice this product? How are we selecting products and merchants so that we can be sure to deliver high-quality products and services to our customers at the end? Sylvain Bozoc, Head of eCommerce and Marketplace, METRO France
The retailer worked with Mirakl to perform 22 sessions in the field, training employees on the “what, why, and how” of the marketplace. Those employees are charged with delivering the marketplace message to their colleagues, store managers, and other METRO employees, and serve as partners of METRO.fr and the marketplace.
The aim of the marketplace is to empower our employees with an endless assortment. Our employees are equipped with tablets, smartphones, and computers to help and assist our customers to take orders in the field directly on METRO.fr. Sylvain Bozoc, Head of eCommerce and Marketplace, METRO France
A strong start for METRO France’s marketplace
Just a few months after METRO France’s marketplace launch, there are already signs of success: customers’ net promoter score (NPS) for the marketplace is high, and each month, the GMV of the marketplace is doubling.
In closing, Bozoc offered one last piece of advice for companies looking to leverage an enterprise marketplace strategy: stay true to your customers, and your brand. “You have to be sure that you build your marketplace with your own DNA. You have to be responsible that the DNA of your marketplace is in place before launching something. It's key.”
Watch the full session with METRO France, as well as other B2B and B2C sessions from the Marketplace & Platform Summit by Mirakl, on Mirakl’s YouTube channel.