11 Essential Best Practices from Leading Enterprise Marketplaces
The definitive guide to enterprise marketplace success, as told by the leading organizations that exemplify them.
Enterprise marketplaces are the largest and fastest-growing drivers of eCommerce growth, making them essential for any organization seeking to meet its customers’ needs. To be successful, enterprises must accept that launching a marketplace is the beginning of a new way of doing business – one that requires a new set of best practices for success.
Mirakl has codified the expertise of more than 300 leading enterprise marketplaces, operating in 40+ countries, across industries in retail, manufacturing, distribution, and procurement – all powered by Mirakl and founded by Platform Pioneers who recognized the power of the enterprise marketplace model.
Best practices backed by Platform Pioneer insights
The best practices fall into three categories, each supported with case studies, examples, and insights from leading Platform Pioneers across industries.
Your strategic vision creates the foundation for a successful launch and drives the continued growth that defines the world’s most successful marketplaces.
01.Forget the IT project – go all-in from the start.
The benefits of the enterprise marketplace model can only be fully realized with organization-wide strategy and buy-in. Treat your marketplace as a business-wide priority with executive sponsorship and strategy to match.
"We took almost a hundred years to get to 800,000 of our own products. It took us four years to get to 6 million marketplace products. We couldn’t have done this without marketplace. Even with this success we know we still have a long way to go to reach the full potential of the marketplace opportunity."
02.Leave fears of product cannibalization in the past.
Opening your marketplace across all the categories your customer may want – both core and non-core – increases overall gross merchandise value (GMV), boosting your bottom line.
"Home for Campadre is growing 80% YoY. Opening in our core home categories gives us such a range of products that the customers shouldn’t want to go somewhere else. We want to be the one-stop-shop for home."
03.Enable competition to accelerate growth.
Your customers expect to be able to find anything, anytime, anywhere. When you open up competition between marketplace sellers on every product in every category, you ensure that you always have what your customer needs so that you never lose that sale.
"Our marketplace is at the center of our digital transformation strategy. There are no limits on our assortment, so we’re able to offer everything for everyone every day at the best price."
04.Don’t put your marketplace in a box – use it to amplify your growth.
The most successful marketplace operators use their enterprise marketplaces to accelerate core growth objectives, solving the big challenges that could stand in the way.
“The marketplace model gives our business a fast way to expand our offer both within Europe where we have many more suppliers we’d like to work with, but also to quickly onboard new partners globally.”
05.Beware the “do it yourself” trap.
The right partners help you address challenging, complex processes while leaving you to focus on the critical elements of your marketplace strategy that only you can provide. Seek them out to accelerate your marketplace growth.
Through its marketplace at shoppremiumoutlets.com, Simon Property brings together high-quality brands at discounted prices, offering an online complement to its brick-and-mortar stores. Standardization is key to offering a consistent shopping experience, and Simon relies on technology partners to automatically standardize and integrate product listings on the marketplace.
Key operational decisions determine how your buyers experience your enterprise marketplace, and ultimately whether they’ll come back for more.
06.Don’t confuse curation with scarcity – stay true to your brand DNA by embracing curation at scale.
In the most successful enterprise marketplaces, scale and curation go hand-in-hand. Adopt a curated seller and offer strategy that spans existing and relevant new categories, preserving brand DNA without inhibiting growth.
"Our marketplace rounds out the Express assortment with complementary products and categories that resonate with our customer. It is a way for us to both acquire new customers and gain greater share of wallet from existing customers, and marketplace is a key component of our EXPRESSway Forward strategy."
07.Integrate your marketplace wherever your buyers are.
By partnering with trusted, high-quality marketplace sellers and aggregating offers into each of your channels, your marketplace will serve as a natural complement to your brand promise.
For Mexico’s leading department store, Liverpool, its marketplace is its fastest-growing digital channel, with sales growing by 7X in 2020. The secret to its success: Liverpool treats its marketplace offers just like its first-party assortment, offering them online, in its 120+ stores, through click and collect, and through the Liverpool Pocket mobile app.
08.Give your marketplace a marketing plan of its own.
When you expand your assortment with an enterprise marketplace, you can grow revenue from both existing and new customers. Your marketing and customer acquisition strategy must recognize and reflect both of these pathways to growth.
From the earliest days of its marketplace initiative, Sprinter’s multi-channel marketing strategy has supported its growth as the largest online sporting goods catalogue in the Spanish market. Beginning with a press release and media outreach at launch, and continued by SEO and dedicated email and social campaigns, marketing is used to support the marketplace’s growth at every step.
Use growth enablers and change management to foster, monitor, and respond to marketplace success by creating the right conditions for growth
09.Bring every stakeholder to the table.
Enterprise marketplaces bring a new way of thinking – and a new way of doing business – into an organization. Embrace it by placing change management at the forefront with a plan that accelerates achievement of marketplace goals.
Decathlon, the world leader in sports equipment, took a data-first approach to building the case and strategy for its marketplace with executives. Feedback from customers, website search data, and input from Decathlon’s category managers all came together to develop a strategy that worked for the business, and for stakeholders in its regions. Decathlon has already launched its marketplace in 6 countries, with plans for expansion organization-wide.
10.Invest in building the team that your marketplace deserves.
To achieve the scale that is at the core of enterprise marketplace success, your marketplace needs a dedicated team that can support every step of the marketplace journey.
"At the beginning, we focused on setting up the foundation of our marketplace team. After we launched, we adapted our approach by taking a step back and asking, ‘how do we grow and sustain what we launched with?’ As we grow, the marketplace team is working with our first-party team to help identify assortment gaps and opportunities, and to deliver on goals for category expansion."
11.Use your marketplace performance data wisely.
Refresh your business objectives and measures of success to align with the marketplace model, and monitor them closely to understand its impact on the business and identify opportunities to accelerate growth.
"The data that we get from our marketplace helps us add value to our customers and to our dealers. We can be more personalized, and use customer behavior on the website to inform our pricing. It really helps with the optimal stocking levels for our dealers and for us in our parts distribution center. Ultimately, with our marketplace, we’re able to make more informed, data-driven decisions."
Embrace these best practices and achieve new levels of growth
Launching and scaling an enterprise marketplace has become mission critical for any organization seeking to meet its customers’ needs. Doing so successfully requires a new playbook.
These best practices represent the strategies that every organization – regardless of its industry – must embrace to build a successful, continually scaling enterprise marketplace business. They’ve been developed with the expertise that comes from supporting more than 300 leading Platform Pioneers as they create trusted, high performing, customer-centric marketplaces, powered by Mirakl, to fuel their growth.
Every enterprise has the opportunity to do the same, using their brand, reputation, and deep customer knowledge to create even more value for buyers.