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#TheNTWKSummit23Report | Marketplace Trends

Speakers: Santiago Sanchez, Juozas Kaziukenas, Tom McFadyen, Liliana Arroyo, Francesc Alsina

With the rapid growth and development of eCommerce in recent years, the landscape is continuously evolving to keep up with changing consumer preferences and emerging technologies. Santiago Sanchez, Juozas Kaziukenas, Tom McFadyen, Liliana Arroyo, Francesc Alsina explore some of the latest trends and insights, providing a comprehensive overview of what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.

1.B2B Marketplaces & Rise of Niche Marketplaces

Santiago Sanchez: “Marketplaces are leading online sales. Many brands and retailers are already selling on marketplaces, and some of them have even opened their stores for third-party sales, becoming marketplaces. While B2C marketplaces have been proliferating among ecommerce and traditional retailers, B2B marketplaces have quietly exploded and are seen the next frontier.

A study by McKinsey & Company predicts that the B2B market will be valued at $18 trillion by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 19% in both the US and Europe. As a result, B2B platforms are experiencing exponential growth and increased opportunities for niche specialization.

These specialized platforms cater to specific markets or industries, offering a more targeted and tailored shopping experience for consumers, compared to those available on larger platforms like Amazon or Walmart.

With retail giants often dominating general product categories, niche marketplaces offer a more level playing field for smaller brands and entrepreneurs to thrive. By focusing on specific interests, needs, and tastes, these platforms carve out a space for themselves in the crowded marketplace landscape.

Tom McFadyen: “Zooming in on B2B digital commerce 360, those marketplaces went off the charts with a mind-blowing 130% growth last year. I mean, 130% is massive, even compared to the already impressive 19% overall B2B growth. So, we're talking about colossal opportunities and a truckload of niche marketplaces.”

2. Vertical Integration and an Emphasis on Services

Traditional marketplaces mainly offered a digital catalog for transactions, not providing much value beyond that to customers. However, modern marketplaces are transforming their platforms by focusing on vertical integration and offering additional services alongside product listings.

For instance, retail media networks or advertising options for sellers are being added to marketplaces, enabling them to reach larger audiences and further monetize their offerings. Amazon is a prime example of this trend, having grown its advertising business to the tune of $40 billion by leveraging its vast customer base and data insights.

Moreover, emerging marketplaces are offering various value-added services such as financing options, fintech solutions, AI-powered personalization, and more streamlined user experiences, making the value proposition for both customers and sellers even stronger.

3. The Power of Data and Analytics

As modern marketplaces become more open and transparent, they're leveraging the power of data and analytics to attract and retain sellers. By providing sellers with data about best-selling products, trends, and consumer patterns, these platforms make it easier for businesses to understand their target audiences and identify areas of growth.

Additionally, emerging marketplaces are offering valuable tools like dashboards and reporting, giving sellers in-depth insights that can help them make better-informed decisions and optimize their business operations. In a digital landscape with abundant data, the ability to turn this information into meaningful insights is becoming a key differentiator for successful marketplaces.

Juozas Kaziukenas: “They're sharing data and insights with potential sellers, so they know what's hot and what's not. Now, these marketplaces are opening up, becoming transparent.”

4. Artificial Intelligence: Personalization and Efficiency

AI has become a game-changer in the e-commerce industry, and its impact will only continue to grow. Businesses can deliver personalized experiences to their customers, streamline operations, and improve overall efficiency. 75% of online shoppers want personalized experiences, and 44% of consumers are more likely to become repeat buyers if their experience is personalized. AI-driven personalization can take many forms, from product recommendations and targeted marketing campaigns to voice assistants that enhance user experience.

As AI continues to advance, expect to see even greater adoption in the world of marketplaces, both for enhanced customer experiences and improved operational efficiencies on the sellers' end.

Source: "Pivotal Trends and Predictions in B2B Digital Commerce in 2023"|commercetools 2023

5. The Focus on Trust and Sustainability

Consumer trust and environmental sustainability are becoming increasingly important considerations for modern marketplaces. Privacy concerns and ethical issues are prompting businesses to develop more transparent, sustainable, and accountable practices.

As a result, a growing segment of marketplaces is prioritizing initiatives such as fair labor practices, environmentally friendly packaging, and supply chain transparency. These factors contribute to a more comprehensive picture of the product's journey, fostering trust and loyalty among consumers who value sustainable and ethical business practices.

Liliana Arroyo: “The mindset shift is instead of thinking about platforms, thinking about infrastructure. And thinking about these marketplaces and other platforms alike as critical infrastructure for the country.”

Some examples of successful circular marketplaces include:

  1. ThredUP: A fashion resale marketplace that sells second-hand clothing, extending the life of garments and reducing textile waste.

  2. Wallapop: A mobile app that allows users to buy and sell second-hand items locally, encouraging reuse and reducing transportation emissions.

  3. Loop: A global shopping platform that offers products in reusable packaging, eliminating single-use plastic waste.

These circular marketplaces not only benefit the environment but also provide economic opportunities for sellers and affordable options for eco-conscious consumers. But there are also several challenges they may face:

  1. Consumer behavior: Consumers often prioritize price and convenience over sustainability. Changing this mindset is crucial for the success of sustainable marketplaces.

  2. Competition: Sustainable marketplaces may struggle to compete with larger, more established platforms that offer lower prices and faster delivery. To succeed, they must find ways to differentiate themselves and appeal to eco-conscious consumers.

  3. Regulation: Governments must play a role in promoting sustainability, but regulations can sometimes hinder the growth of sustainable marketplaces. Balancing the need for regulation with support for eco-friendly businesses is essential.

Francesc Alsina: “The future is all about sustainability, or we won't have a future at all. There's a shift happening, where people value honesty over instant gratification. Short-term, cheap buys may seem tempting, but in the long run, investing in quality means buying less. Let's embrace sustainability and make thoughtful choices.”

Get on the list to discover the latest digital business trends in #TheNTWKSummit23Report.

Written by Bety Soca ©TheNTWK


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