Interviews, insight & analysis on Ecommerce

The rise (An introduction to) of Marketplaces and Retail Media

By Rupert Staines, Managing Partner at Incubeta UK

Ecommerce has been with us an awfully long time and if, like me, you remember the early days of the worldwide web and the launch of marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Zappos, then you’ll wonder why it has taken so long for these platforms to align and integrate with their natural bed partners in online advertising.

When you consider the parallel paths of development, evolution and stratospheric growth that both industries have experienced, it becomes clear that the primary drivers of these trends will ultimately merge. 

As consumers we are the readers, arbiters and shoppers in this digital age; we provide the fuel (DATA), the response (METRICS), and the basket (PAYMENTS) – a heady concoction for an increasing army of Data scientists and AI architects.

I don’t want to lay the success entirely at the door of the tech giants, but without these sophisticated engines or algorithms to satisfy our demands, we would still be paying too much for a lot of guesswork…. though impressively designed and created over the decades.

We see Commerce as the third branch of our online behavioural patterns in Search, Social and Sales; a seamless journey from discovery to learning to transacting. As a brand you have to move the consumer from passive to active which links communications to engagement and profit, where commerce is the likely end point.

As a newly styled specialist group, providing these services, we are rapidly constructing this journey of connecting Brands to Marketplaces (read all online retail) and their DTC Brand sites, through a systematic process of understanding the data and analytics, separating the wheat from the chafe, being creative, driving measurable sales and defining customer value. The landscape for retail choice online is expanding fast and, at the last count there were over 65 marketplaces in Europe with over 1m unique users per month, from the Amazons, eBays and BOLs of this world to the Zalandos, Etsys, and Manomanos to the more traditional Tescos, Ottos, and Carrefours.

It’s never a straight line and it is not a game of arbitrage where much of the industry played…instead, with an increasingly ‘cookie-less’ view, it’s about real people, real interest, and genuine bottom-line results for businesses…all supported by an enormous feedback loop.

Equally important, are our efforts to drive industry collaboration to be sustainable and drive more environmentally friendly practices; these have to be creatively delivered through our activities, with our clients and the platforms, to meet increasing customer demand. Honest content, innovative products, and carbon free deliverables are all part of being a responsible corporate citizen in the twenty-first century and none of us can afford to think otherwise.

So here we are, a third wave of digital innovation, about to break from the shackles of “retail sales” and siloed organisational structures to embrace and enhance the marketing domain of content and communications.

The size of the opportunity is mind-boggling with ecommerce rampant globally and set to top $7 trillion by 2025!

Can we say yet this is the year of Retail?


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