Brand building has never been more crucial, more challenging in a world where marketplaces reign supreme and search is frequently unbranded. Marketplaces account for half of all worldwide eCommerce sales, and the sheer volume pushes businesses to engage.
Nearly $2 trillion is spent each year on the top 100 marketplaces, and the world’s largest companies are getting into this battle. Target has established a new marketplace, Walmart is expanding its marketplace, and Google is aggressively courting Amazon’s sellers.
China is home to the world’s largest marketplaces, as defined by gross merchandise volume (GMV), including, Tmall, Taobao, and JD.com.
One of the quickest ways to grow worldwide is through virtual marketplaces. They also assist smaller firms to fulfill orders more efficiently. Marketplaces, on the other hand, are frequently viewed by brands as a necessary evil, generating sales while putting pressure on margins.
For a long time, brands have been apprehensive about handing up consumer connections and data to marketplaces. And those concerns may come true. Amazon was accused earlier this year of utilizing data from its own vendors to promote competitive items.
Despite these reservations, the number of transactions necessitates a brand’s presence in the marketplace. People, however, are not looking for the companies that are trying to contact them.
Consumers look for solutions rather than brands
While markets serve as entry points for brand discovery, people do not visit markets to look for brands. As one observer put it, “consumers can discover anything on digital markets except your brand.”
Consumers increasingly begin their purchasing experience on Amazon, where they search by categories, features, benefits, and reviews. According to observers, search has become the new brand:
- 70% of Amazon searches do not contain a brand name.
- Search, not branded marketing or merchandising, accounts for over 90% of Amazon product views.
Aside from market domination and search activity, today’s customer also wants to buy from businesses that have a greater purpose. Shoppers throughout the world are increasingly buying in accordance with their ideals. Purpose-driven consumers—roughly 40% of all consumers—want products and brands that reflect their convictions and are ready to pay a premium for them.
The movement is being led by Generation Z, which is currently the largest consumer group. They are also prepared to adjust their buying habits in order to lessen their environmental effect as they are concerned about problems such as recycling and sustainability. Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Europe have the largest concentrations of purpose-driven customers.
The desire to purchase with independently owned enterprises is likewise aligned with the need for purpose-driven brands. According to Shopify proprietary research, 65 percent of shoppers favour independent brands.
The following are the primary reasons to shop at a huge, corporately owned business:
- Reliable (34%)
- Lowest price (51%)
- Good product selection (57%)
The following are the main reasons to buy at an independently owned business (online or in store):
- Good customer service experience (31%)
- Purchasing unique products (33%)
- Supporting entrepreneurship (33%)
Unfortunately, it has become increasingly challenging to satisfy this segment of audience. As most of the customer journey begins on marketplaces, brands often miss out on necessary data that is required to offer personalized shopping experience.
Brand discovery may frequently begin with brandless marketplace searches, but purchasing decisions are influenced by the research that consumers do online. To reach the purpose-driven customer, you must rethink your marketplace presence and provide compelling non-marketplace experiences.
Provide experiences not offered on marketplaces
The ability to interact with others is the new luxury. Technology tiredness has come from the integration of technology into many aspects of human life, including transportation, work, entertainment, and hobbies. Many people are afraid of the role technology plays in their lives, and they want human connection as a result.
What is evident is that firms that personalise the purchasing process are being rewarded by customers. As a result, businesses are emphasising individualised experiences that are not available on marketplaces.
Offering customised experiences with a human touch is the antidote to marketplaces, from dynamic website content backed by real-time behavioural data to assisting individuals in customising their purchase process.
As Loren Padelford, General Manager of Shopify Plus states,
“ Strong brands recognize they have to get customers from a marketplace to their own properties so they can create a relationship with them that will last over time.”
Personalization, whether delivered by an algorithm or a human being, is too profitable to ignore.
According to retailers, it has the potential to unlock $2.95 trillion this decade. It requires a blend of modern technological solutions and old-fashioned customer care to provide distinct branded experiences.
A complete 74% of firms in the United Kingdom and the United States have a site personalization plan in place, with considerable increase projected in all channels by the end of 2021, including email, mobile, loyalty programs, conversational marketing and in-store POS.
Each channel provides an opportunity to add a human touch to it. Improved human-AI collaboration enables companies to customise storefronts through real-time publishing of creative and dynamic content. User-generated content offers personalised online experiences via customised microsites, live streams, and promotional videos.
New opportunities for brand building have already started emerging in marketplaces. Walmart has totally changed the marketplace experience by providing new promotional options, such as lifestyle photography.
Instead of a vast product dump, the idea is to make the marketplace personal and local. Expect incumbents like Amazon to follow suit as established merchants strive to disrupt the marketplace experience.
Investing in the human touch in 2021
In 2021, leverage on customers’ desire to support brands that share their values by bringing life to marketplace product pages, customising experiences, and enabling customers to co-create products and experiences with you.
Reassess the possibilities for branding on marketplaces
Product pages are the front entrance to your brand on marketplaces, yet they are frequently overlooked. Replace uninspiring visuals and forgettable content on your marketplace product pages with content that differentiates your company from the rest.
- Sync product creative automatically
Creative elements should be synced automatically between channels and sites. This cannot be done at scale if photos and graphics are manually uploaded from spreadsheets to individual marketplaces.
Build or acquire marketplace experience dashboards that connect inventory, product information, and digital marketing resources to become an API-first business.With the press of a mouse, you may update everything at the same time.
- Gather information to your enhance your product pages
Consider each product page to be its own profit and loss statement. While client data on markets may be more difficult to get by, you may integrate marketplace and other channel data to uncover trends across collections and categories. Rather than guessing, utilise the information to better adapt product pages and maximize productivity.
- Make time for human-to-human interactions
- Automate time-consuming and complex processes so that your employees can spend more time with consumers.
- Workflow automation automates complicated company procedures, allowing staff to focus on growth rather than time-consuming, repetitive chores.
- Event automation enables you to organise and execute significant sales events, product drops, and flash deals effortlessly.
- Marketing automation frees up time by offloading data analysis and repetitive campaign creation.
- Inventory management automation automates replenishment, updates stock quantity and whereabouts in real time, and notifies predictive demand forecasting.
Trend in action – Gymshark
Gymshark, an aspirational fitness wear brand, has created a platform which customers can use to interact with their fitness idols. These long-lasting interpersonal ties are formed both online and offline.
Gymshark lets clients pick where and how they connect with its influencer network, from trainer-led streaming workouts to in-person expos.
Gymshark has become the fastest growing private company in the United Kingdom by allowing clients to pick their own adventure—virtually, in person, or a mix of the two.
“We are nothing without our community, so we will use this new investment partnership to get even closer to them on a truly global scale,” says Ben Francis, Gymshark’s founder.
He further says, “I’m incredibly proud of what Gymshark has achieved to date from our roots in Birmingham, but it’s all about looking forward. I firmly believe Gymshark has the potential to be to the U.K. what Nike is to the U.S. and Adidas is to Germany.”
- Marketplaces account for half of all worldwide eCommerce sales, with customers looking for solutions rather than brands.
- Creating a brand has never been more important—or more challenging. The good news is that socially conscious customers are prepared to pay a premium for firms that have a mission.
- Brands should provide engaging, immersive experiences for their marketplace product sites while also delivering distinct customised products through their own channels.
We hope this article in understanding how marketplaces are giving a tough to brands who are trying to build a place for them in this eCommerce industry and what necessary actions you need to take as an emerging brand to survive and flourish in this highly competitive eCommerce business world.