Online marketplaces are leading the way in e-commerce when it comes to providing shoppers with more competitive pricing, broader product ranges, and an overall better customer experience.
As shoppers have become more online savvy and expectations of service and reliability have increased, retailers are realising that adding an online marketplace presence to their multichannel offering is now imperative.
Software platform solutions provider Marketplacer gives us five reasons why shoppers are choosing to buy from online marketplaces.
1 Products galore
The aggregation of online retailers into an online marketplace means shoppers have a bigger range of products to choose from than they would with most single online store offerings. Online marketplaces will seek out retailers to join the market in order to continue growing range and options for consumers.
TiniTrader CEO and co-founder Kerri Turner says the children’s products online market is always on the lookout for new retailers that can add something to the mix.
“What we found a year ago was there were key products not widely being stocked by retailers,” she says. “These might be artisan sorts of products, artwork, whatever it happens to be, but not just those sorts of things, it might be just pram brands that aren’t in stores widely.
“What it means is we’ve added a whole bunch of what we call specialised sellers, who are selling direct and who are just available online, which was really there to complement what was available from the retailers.”
2 Easy to find what you’re looking for
Most people have an idea of what they want when they go shopping and they usually read up on several brands or products and will compare prices before they make a purchase.
Niche online marketplaces are designed to make it easier and quicker for shoppers to find products that satisfy their criteria. Shoppers pop in a search term and it’s highly probable one of the hundreds of retailers on the marketplace will have what they’re looking for.
“What we very much try to do is ensure products are in stock and people can access them to purchase them,” Turner says.
3 Knowledge is king
Online marketplace retailers know their stuff. They have to because many of their customers are clued up and knowledgeable about exactly what they want. Stephen Jones, CEO and co-founder of online furniture, bedding, renovation and homewares marketplace House of Home, says shoppers have become far more discerning about interior design and furniture, in much the same way as fashion and food.
“Your friends walk into your place and they look around and say, ‘that’s a nice chair, where did you get that?’ Just like fashion or food, a lot of people are becoming very knowledgeable about what they like and what they want,” he says.
“The rise of the voyeuristic consumer, people watching things on reality TV shows like The Block or looking at Instagram feeds, is fuelling a lot of the consumer drive for people to get really specific about what they want, and becoming more demanding about how quickly they get it.”
Online marketplaces are catering to the growing numbers of shoppers frustrated by the lack of choice and poor selection provided by many of the bigger stores. Marketplaces often have an in-depth knowledge of the latest trends and can curate from a huge range to ensure you make the right choice.
4 No bad seeds
Online marketplaces provide shoppers with an added layer of protection when it comes to making online purchases. Since the proprietor of an online marketplace has an active stake in maintaining good relations between shoppers and retailers, they have to ensure both parties act in good faith.
“We’ll blacklist retailers who provide a bad customer experience because it reflects badly on our brand and potentially on our partner network brands, the other retailers,” says Jones.
“But we include everyone from the smallest, niche retailer through to big names like Dare Gallery. It’s fundamentally about offering retailers with a targeted means of advertising to people who are proactively coming to consume their products.”
5 Convenience is key
There’s no need to go from website to website looking for what you need, filling up a bunch of different shopping carts, when it’s all in one place. Shoppers find that the convenience of setting up their cart and browsing through a huge range of merchandise is one of the big selling points for using an online marketplace.
By Marion Gerritsen