Online marketplaces are leading the way in e-commerce when it comes to providing shoppers with more competitive pricing, broader and deeper product range, and an overall better customer experience.
As shoppers have become more online savvy and expectations of service and reliability have increased, retailers have started to cotton on to the fact that adding an online marketplace presence to their multichannel offering is now an imperative.
Here are five reasons why shoppers are wising up to the benefits of buying from online marketplaces.
1 Extended product offering
The aggregation of online retailers into an online marketplace means shoppers have a bigger range of products to choose from than they would from 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 marketplace is always on the lookout for new retailers who 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 sort 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.”
This means shoppers can not only peruse a vast range of products, but also find products that match their requirements perfectly, or even exceed them.
2 Easy to find what you want
Most people have an idea of what they want when they go shopping. When the pre-purchase research begins, shoppers usually read up on several brands or products that might fit with their requirements and will do price comparisons.
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 Retailers with specialist knowledge
Online marketplace retailers know their stuff. They have to because many of their customers are clued up and knowledgable 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 demanding about how quickly they want to 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 store options. 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 Trusted retailers vetted by an intermediary
“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.”
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, there is an onus on them to ensure both parties act in good faith.
5 Convenience of buying from unlimited sellers in one cart
There’s no need to go from website to website looking for what you need, filling a bunch of different shopping carts, when it’s all in one place at an online marketplace. Shoppers find the convenience of setting up their cart and browsing through a huge range of vendor offerings is one of the big selling points for using an online marketplace. There’s no juggling different shopping carts, filling out new forms, it’s all just there in the one spot.