Aligning Your Brand Strategy with eCommerce Marketplaces

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In 2017, eCommerce marketplaces took a whopping 56% of B2C online retail spend globally, according to Forrester.1 As eCommerce retailers continue to adapt in the context of Amazon, owned eCommerce marketplaces are becoming increasingly popular. Retailers must determine whether to join an existing marketplace to expand one’s reach, adopt one’s own marketplace and onboard channel partners, or stick with traditional eCommerce and compete.

What is an eCommerce marketplace?

eCommerce marketplaces are website or apps that facilitate third-party sales between vendors and buyers. Amazon is the most popular B2C eCommerce marketplace and the largest online retailer in the world, generating $232.9 billion in revenue in 2018.2 But as marketplace platforms becomes increasingly accessible, traditional online retailers are participating in marketplaces to expand their reach, or adopting marketplaces and onboarding third-party sellers themselves, at increasing rates.

Engaging customers in new marketplace environments offers substantial rewards for online retailers, providing new channels and contextual relevance while leveraging the online resources of a third-party partner. But as marketplaces blur the lines between retailers selling in shared environments, how can retailers retain their brand identity for indiscriminate consumers? And in which retail environments—marketplace, traditional eCommerce, or both—will retailers’ brands shine through?

2020 Study: ‘Strengthening Brand Identity When Owning, Participating in, and Competing with eCommerce Marketplaces’

In our upcoming 2020 report, Strengthening Brand Identity When Owning, Participating in, and Competing with eCommerce Marketplaces, we explore how retailers can both capitalize on growth and protect their brands in evolving marketplace environments. We’ll conduct a qualitative study of 100 retailers in three segments—marketplace owners, marketplace participators, and non-marketplace retailers competing with online marketplaces—to measure the pros and cons of adopting one’s own marketplace or joining another, and uncover how customer experiences in marketplaces align with retailers’ brand messaging. Finally, we explore retailers’ brand objectives in the context of marketplace environments in the years to come.

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