By Jessica Iandiorio, SVP Marketing at Mirakl.
Today’s highly-informed consumer wants a simple, convenient shopping experience whether in a brick-and-mortar store, online, via catalogue, TV shopping networks, or on mobile applications. 86% of online shoppers purchase in more than 2 channels, and 74% of US online shoppers shop across at least two different channels from the same retailer, according to PwC.
To meet the demands of these consumers, retailers must build a consistent shopping experience aligned to consumer expectations. The role of a marketplace is to unify many sellers under one umbrella, driving major gains in both revenue as well as improving the customer experience across channels. A strong marketplace strategy can increase customer loyalty and brand advocacy. Here’s how:
Your customers can find everything they expect you to sell.
Customers expect you to provide them with a comprehensive product assortment that covers your entire brand universe. A marketplace increases your assortment and variety, delivering a broader set of products and goods across more categories. Darty, the leading electronics retailer in France, learned that selling bedding online was a hit on their marketplace, and now they sell it in the store.
Watch this 3-minute video where Darty’s CEO Régis Schultz discusses marketplace advantages for their overall customer experience.
With a network of thousands of sellers, you can exponentially increase your product range (without sacrificing data consistency), allowing your buyers to find what they need, whether they’re in-store or online.
Businesses with strong omni-channel strategies retain an average of 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% for companies with weaker strategies.
You can provide a fair market price.
Your buyers can access competitor pricing at the click of a button, whether they’re comparing options online or Googling from their mobile device in-store. Product pricing needs to be fair – not necessarily the lowest, but rather always aligned to the market itself. A marketplace allows you to increase your price competitiveness without sacrificing margin by allowing your sellers to compete directly on price. The visibility the sellers have to competitive pricing makes it easy to optimize their pricing against other offers.
You can offer strong customer service.
The customer journey comes with many stops along the way. From product search, to final delivery, and the management of an ongoing relationship, your delivery of “service” takes on a variety of meanings. Buyers must be able to find what they’re looking for, read detailed and quality product information, experience short shipping lead-time, and receive transparent seller information. By controlling the experience a buyer has with your sellers on your marketplace, and ensuring prompt service after the sale, you can safeguard their time spent with you, and earn their loyalty. Your ability to control the quality of everything from assortment to buyer/seller communication, and delivery, ensures a positive holistic experience for your brand.
A marketplace is a proven tactic to improving CX, and helps to future-proof a business against the inevitable but high demands of their increasingly well-informed buyers. For retailers and brands oday, it’s no longer a question of if, but rather, when to make the right moves to improve the overall experience of their shoppers to earn loyal, raving customers.
Related reading: Learn how Galeries Lafayette managed to take its customers requests into account, giving them an unrivaled choice, price, and availability with their Marketplace.