Marketplaces - Barriers & opportunities for retailers and brands in e-commerce

Executive summary 


Are you looking to start selling online? Or do you already own a webshop, and consider a marketplace to be the next step in your e-journey? Marketplaces are immensely popular, with the two international giants, Amazon and Alibaba, both being valued at about 470 billion dollar.[1] It almost seems like a no-brainer to participate on these hugely successful platforms, but have you really considered the benefits and the pitfalls of joining one? In this white paper, presented to you by The Retail Academy and bpost, we identify the questions to keep in mind when considering whether or not to participate on a marketplace! 


Pitfalls suggests the struggling blocks that might hinder a seller’s success. Obvious pitfalls of the marketplace are the sales commission, which is a fee you pay on each product sold through a marketplace, and the on-platform competition. Being present on the same channel as your competitors in combination with complete price transparency constricts your price setting strategy. A less obvious pitfall of the marketplace is data ownership. In a world where personalisation is a central topic in every industry, data is key. Data allows you to gain insights on your customers, which is essential in building brand equity. Marketplaces leave little to no room to work on brand equity. In the paper we’ve highlighted three key areas vendors must utilise to work on their brand! 


Marketplaces offer the traffic webshops can only dream off. Exposure to the traffic will grant your products the awareness which they would otherwise not have gotten. The service marketplaces offer are immediately available, without having the cost to set-up and maintain your own webshop, which makes it an ideal channel to try out a foreign market. Statistically it benefits your turnover to be present on a marketplace. Marketplaces also often offer extra benefits, such as the possibility to stall your products in one of the world’s best fulfilment centres, relieving you of all your logistic worries. 


Is your business suited for marketplaces? Did you keep all the factors in account when considering to join a marketplace? This study by The Retail Academy and bpost provides the answers to all your questions!



White papers