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Leveraging connectors to build the best marketplace strategy in FY22

E-commerce may be booming in 2021, but the year remains shrouded in uncertainty. When will lockdowns end? When will borders open and tourists return? Has spending stabilised to ‘normal’? 

The smartest retailers will capitalise on uncertainty through innovation. A marketplace strategy is fast becoming one of the best ways for retailers to grow long-term, and thanks to a host of new connectors and strategic partnerships, there are several ways to achieve this that are geared for impact and efficiency. What was once the domain of large retailers alone, is now a possibility for everyone. 

Become a third-party marketplace and sell what you don’t own

While we hear a lot about the big behemoth marketplaces like Amazon, Ebay or Alibaba, currently there is growing interest in a different kind of third party marketplace. Indeed, 75 per cent of participants in an E-commerceGuide report purchased a product on Amazon in 2020, but around 55 per cent bought products from ‘other’ marketplaces. 

A third-party marketplace strategy is where you invest in the IP to sell other companies’ products without taking the risk of buying the product. 

Recently, Netflix announced an online shop of “curated products including apparel, toys and games,” to sell merchandise tied to its programming. In Australia, the likes of coastal culture retailer SurfStitch has realised exponential growth by selling other companies’ products through their online retail site, without carrying the inventory or development costs.

Third-party marketplaces give you the ability to expand your market share and product range – all quickly, easily, with minimal friction.

How to approach becoming a third-party marketplace

Thanks to advancements in headless commerce and API-driven platforms, there are two modes of deployment for companies to consider – connected and headless.

A connected implementation

“Connected” is an implementation model that connects a marketplace platform’s core back-end to your existing e-commerce engine. 

For example, Marketplacer’s recent partnerships with Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Adobe Commerce and Shopify to build out Connectors, allow users to continue to function as normal while adding the power of a marketplace to their existing e-commerce offering.

In this model, both the user experience and the shopping cart, search and checkout functionality, continue to be driven by your existing e-commerce engine, while Marketplacer drives the back-end supplier automation and administration. This can be achieved with either a headless Marketplacer build or using one of our pre-built connectors.

A headless implementation

In the headless model, you use your own custom developed front-end or “head” which represents the user experience. But in this model, the marketplace platform delivers both the core back-end plus the shopping cart, search and checkout functionality that sits behind your customer experience.

HMD Global (Nokia phones) recently worked with Marketplacer to develop a headless API that supports the checkout journey on the global Nokia.com/phones/en_au site, allowing the Australian arm of the business to simply ‘turn on’ its local e-commerce shop – a program that generated instant ROI in just nine weeks. Marketplacer’s integration centred on speed and agility, making it easy for the HMD Global team to seamlessly onboard third-party sellers in Australia. As a result, Nokia’s latest 5.4 model is selling even faster than expected, and the team sees plenty of untapped opportunities to drive sales online.

Both headless and connector models allow you to quickly add marketplace functionality to your current site with no need for new development and without forsaking existing investments in your platform. Enhancing, not undoing. 

A marketplace strategy that allows you to expand your range and reach most efficiently while leveraging your existing technology is how many businesses – big and small – are augmenting their e-commerce into the future. 

  • John Mullins is Chief Alliance Officer at Marketplacer.

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