Marketplaces and Expansion: The Role of Alternative Marketplaces

If marketplaces have come to play a central role in e-commerce, it is because they offer an excellent way for any retailer to expand their reach, attract new customers and trial new ranges. But how should businesses work marketplaces into their sales strategy? Marketplaces are indeed booming, with giants such as eBay and Amazon at the heart of many retailers’ e-commerce strategies. And third-party marketplaces can also be a good way to grow as they can offer considerable extra exposure for products. But at a time where the online retail game is changing, it also makes sense to look at alternatives. So there are a few things to look at regarding the best fulfillment system and marketplace for any business.

What are the alternative marketplaces?

Price isn’t the only consideration for shoppers as they are also looking for specialist or unusual goods. Smaller and more specialised marketplaces have then started for niche markets, in order to offer more unusual products, or which have developed new business models and offer a wholly different experience to the user. For businesses, specialised marketplaces also mean being in front of discerning shoppers, who are driven by uniqueness, quality and suitability. That is very good in terms of price because for these shoppers quality prevails, not price.

For businesses, the interest of marketplaces is that they offer a simple way to connect with customers. If mainstream retailers and Amazon and EBay dominate their sectors in the UK, it is not the case everywhere else.  Indeed, in France or in China the secondary marketplace market booms. Besides, specialise marketplaces allow to find a smaller but more significant audience on non-mainstream websites.

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Fulfillment System: How to choose a marketplace?

One of the interesting alternative marketplaces is Zalando, a Berlin-based marketplace that specialises in fashion, clothes and shoes. They differ from others by offering extremely generous shipping and returns policy. Another interesting one is Tophatter, where shoppers compete in 90-second auctions to win deals of up to 80% off jewellery, electronics, beauty, and fashion – on mobile.

The main reservations for merchants though that they are unsure of how to choose the marketplaces that work for them, how to integrate them into their existing portfolio and how to assess Return On Investment (ROI). Even if it cannot compare to Amazon in terms of revenue, they should add 5 to 10% of sales. And, even more importantly, joining communities and associating with experts can definitely lead to sales down the line.

At Fulfillment Logistics, we care about choosing the right marketplace and think you should have plenty of information and research in order to make an informed decision.


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