En seulement 4 mois grâce à Marjory, Électro Dépôt a lancé sa Marketplace de produits reconditionnés Reconomia. En savoir plus

The circular economy is on the rise. Citizens, consumers, governments, companies, NGOs, etc. are all mobilising to move from a throwaway society to a more circular economic model. E-commerce is part of this transformation, as shown by the multiplication of marketplaces for reconditioned products (non-exhaustive list at the end of this article). In France, the Back Market marketplace has become the champion of refurbished electronics in a few years. And we’re not talking about second-hand products (like Vinted) but about refurbished products which, unlike second-hand products sold between individuals, are (in principle) subject to checks and tests by the professional selling them. Are you interested in starting a marketplace for refurbished products? Then there are 5 things you should do to launch it successfully

Choose a mature market

The marketplace is above all a business model before being a technological choice. And this is even more true for refurbished product marketplaces. Before launching a project of this type, ask yourself whether the market on which you wish to position your marketplace is a mature market, both in terms of supply and demand (customer appetite). On the supply side, it is important to look at whether this market has already begun to structure its circular channels (reconditioned, recycling). Are there, for example, specialised repairers who can become sellers on your marketplace and/or control the quality of the products displayed there? In terms of regulations, are the practices and rules for reconditioning products in this market codified? On the demand side, we can mention among the attractive markets, ready-to-wear, childcare, books and telephony, which are now mature markets where the customer brakes on the purchase of non-new products have been lifted (essentially the fear of low product quality). More generally, these are markets where products have a rapid obsolescence or limited use over time. However, whole areas of retail are still little explored (such as large and small household appliances, computers, furniture, DIY tools, etc.).

Securing you sourcing

This is the nerve of the war. Because without products to be reconditioned, there are no reconditioned products to sell! Of course, as a marketplace operator, it is mainly your sellers who will have to source their products  and find products to repackage. However, it is up to you to ensure that you are in a market with several sources of access to the product. Be on the lookout for partnerships that will allow you to source these products. Get in touch with eco-organisations, recycling channels or retailers who are often at the forefront of product returns to their shops (defective products, products for which customers have invoked a guarantee, products deemed irreparable). Securing sourcing also means putting in place systems to control the quality of products, in addition to what the professional selling them can do. This is what the Affinitiime marketplace offers for example, which not only allows B2B buyers to source refurbished phones but also offers them a technical analysis service of the equipment before it is sent to their customers. The B2C refurbished products marketplace can therefore be doubled with a purchasing marketplace allowing the sellers of your B2C marketplace to source products but also spare parts, which is a key element of the refurbished economy. Because without spare parts and qualified repairers, there is no product to sell on your marketplace!

Properly onboarding your sellers

The targeting of salespeople is also essential. It is a question of identifying the sellers who will be able to display a lot of products but above all to commit to their quality. To do this, you will need to draw up a quality charter and contract with each seller to ensure that he/she takes responsibility. The seller onboarding stage must also be particularly careful. Especially because, on marketplaces for refurbished products, your sellers may be refurbishers or product repairers who do not always have a perfect knowledge of digital sales channels, which are those structured and regulated by marketplaces. So think about developing simple onboarding kits, with video tutorials, to facilitate the onboarding of sellers and help them quickly understand how to operate the main processes of their marketplace: the creation of their seller space with the verification process (KYC/KYB), the completion of their seller file, the listing of their products, the management of orders and reimbursements, the management of other elements of their back office, the management of the payout and the associated workflows, etc. In addition to onboarding, it is important to put in place procedures to regularly audit your sales staff, either directly by your teams or by analysing customer opinions and feedback.

Pay attention to merchandising

As in traditional commerce, merchandising is key in a marketplace. Merchandising refers to all the techniques used to present services or products in order to encourage consumers to buy. On a marketplace for refurbished products, there will be no standard seller's presentation or classic product sheets. It is probably more important than on traditional marketplaces to provide clarity and reassurance. The seller, who can often be a repairer, can for example make a short video presentation. In addition to the photo of the reference product (new), the seller should offer other photos of the product in its current state, taken from several angles. It will also be necessary to qualify the condition of the product in accordance with the grading system proposed by the operator. While the circular economy is making progress in the standardisation of products - as shown, for example, by the recent introduction at European level of a reparability index that manufacturers must include on their products - the gradation of the condition of refurbished products (as new, very good condition, fair condition, etc.) is not yet harmonised for all markets (apart from a few markets such as mobile telephony, with a grade that reflects the general condition of the phone (aesthetics, condition of the battery), without impacting its performance). Each operator therefore defines its frame of reference to which the seller must conform. The condition for the success of your marketplace: that everything is clear for the buyer and that he has a maximum of attributes to filter his choices.

Be aware of regulatory changes

We mentioned this earlier. The refurbished economy is becoming structured and standardised, just like the channels that underpin it. But we are only at the beginning. The regulatory framework of the refurbished economy is therefore evolving rapidly and as a marketplace operator you will have to pay particular attention to it. Let's give some examples. With regard to eco-taxes, for products that are subject to them, there will be no need to include an eco-tax cost on the selling price, as an eco-tax will already have been paid and collected on this product. This may have an impact on the checkout of your marketplace, especially if you rely on existing frameworks designed for the sale of new products. As far as VAT is concerned, reconditioned products, considered as second-hand products, are subject to VAT on the margin paid by the reconditioners and not by the end customer. For advice and expertise on these regulatory issues, consider approaching the non-profit eco-organisations financed by the eco-tax.

As you can see, the refurbished market is huge, estimated today at more than 50 billion euros worldwide (including 22 billion euros for smartphones). In this market, the marketplaces that will be the first to make their mark will be driven by its formidable growth potential. On the condition, however, that they are vigilant about the 5 points listed in this article!

Contact Alexandre Amiot on his Linkedin page if you want to discuss this topic with him.

Written by Alexandre AMIOT on Linkedin le 04/23//2021 taken up and translated with his authorization

Contact: alexandre@marjory.co

In 2010, La Redoute, a historic player in distance selling (think of the famous eponymous catalogue), accelerated its transformation by launching its e-commerce website and then adding a marketplace module. Today, the total volume of business handled by La Redoute exceeds 1 billion euros, of which ⅓ is generated by the marketplace module!

Like La Redoute, more and more e-merchants are choosing to add a marketplace module to their e-commerce website. In this way, they complete their own offers with offers from third-party sellers. 

While there are many advantages to turning your e-commerce site into a multi-seller site, for this project to be a real success, you must take into account the impact on the user experience, your information system and your organisation.

Creating value by launching your marketplace.

Broaden the depth of your offer.

As an e-merchant, selecting and listing products in your website catalogue takes time and money. Indeed, adding a product to your website implies having to stock it, finance this stock and manage the entire logistics chain. On top of that, you will have to manage the sales you will make with this product in order to avoid stock-outs or overstocking as much as possible, in order to offer the best possible experience to your user-customers. 

Thanks to the marketplace and its multi-seller dimension, you can quickly, and at low cost, expand the range of products you want to offer to your customers. Each seller in your marketplace manages the addition of their products to your platform, their stock, their orders and their deliveries. And even the after-sales service!

The marketplace model also allows you to present yourself as a reference site in your sector by offering a large number of brands in each category on your site. This makes it more likely that customers will make all their purchases on your site. 

Let’s continue with the example of La Redoute. The customer who shops on the La Redoute website will have access not only to a wide choice of clothing categories (trousers, dresses, sportswear, underwear, shoes, etc.) but also between La Redoute’s own offer and the third-party offer of major brands (Mango, Adidas, Levis, Ralph Lauren, Etam, etc.)

Optimise your operating costs.

As mentioned earlier, in a marketplace model, the third party sellers are directly responsible for publishing/managing their catalogue, shipping their products and providing after-sales service. The marketplace only acts as a trusted third party in the sales process. 

This allows you to reduce your storage and logistics costs in relation to the number of items on your site while taking a commission on each sale (one of the marketplace’s business models).

In the event of questions about a product offered for sale by a third-party seller or an order, the seller answers the customer directly. The same applies to disputes: the customer first contacts the seller and its customer service department to reach an agreement. The marketplace only gets involved if it is difficult to resolve the dispute. 

Another option for optimising your marketplace costs is to offer new services to your sellers. This is what Amazon Fulfilment does by offering its sellers space to rent in its warehouses. If you have a logistical infrastructure, you can offer it to your customers and take responsibility for storing and shipping their products in exchange for a fee for this service. This is a good way to make use of underused assets such as empty storage space. 

Test your customers’ appetite for new product families.

Opening your site to third-party sellers also allows you to test your customers’ appetite for new product families. The marketplace allows you to test, without heavy investment, the interest of your customers for certain product families that are not available in your own offer, but for which you wish to measure the interest of the market. A life-size test in a way!

For example, when it was launched, Mano Mano (formerly Mon Echelle) had its own offer exclusively focused on DIY. Very quickly, the furniture category of the marketplace achieved a lot of sales, which encouraged Mano Mano to create this new product family in its catalogue 

The same goes for La Redoute, which through its own offer “La Redoute Intérieur” only offered decoration and furnishing products for the interior. The marketplace has enabled it to open up a new family of garden and outdoor products offered by third-party sellers. Sales in this segment have exploded, leading La redoute to create its own garden and outdoor products. 

Focus on high margin products.

The marketplace can also allow you to focus on the products that bring you the most margin. Certain product families (such as ‘grey goods’ (TV, sounf, hifi)), are a must on your website to keep your customers happy. But sometimes, as an e-merchant, you may not be able to order them in large enough quantities to benefit from really good prices from your suppliers. With a marketplace module, you can decide to reserve the management of this family of products to your third-party sellers, who will have better prices to offer. 

Let’s keep our example of La Redoute. As La Redoute did not have sufficiently high sales volumes of ‘grey products’ (TV, sound, and hifi) to hope to obtain good prices from their suppliers, they decided to stop selling these products themselves and to leave this family of products to the marketplace sellers alone. 

Securing the internationalisation of your online sales website.

Opening your e-commerce website abroad represents a real risk for brands. Indeed, consumption methods can be different from one country to another, not to mention the merchandising of the site, and even less the management of payments, currencies, as well as the calculation of international delivery costs and customs duties.

Adding a marketplace module to your website that is open to third-party sellers can help you to accelerate your international presence by relying on local sellers, who will remove the hidden costs of your international e-commerce sales. 

Take into account the impact on the user experience, the information system and the organisation. 

Although the marketplace model has many advantages, it is important to take into consideration some factors in order to make your project a real success.

Provide a clear and seamless user experience.

The user experience or UX is key in a shopping journey. It is important to be able to offer a fluid user experience that avoids your customer having to “live” the segmentation between your own e-commerce offer and that of third-party sellers. This fluidity is achieved through a multi-seller shopping cart, a clear process for managing disputes and returns. Some retailer marketplaces with a physical sales network offer in-store returns, which makes the customer experience even more fluid. 

In short, to successfully add a marketplace module, it is imperative to be clear about who is selling and delivering the product. This will allow your customers to understand why the service linked to certain products (offered by third-party sellers) is different from the one you usually offer as an e-merchant on your own offer (delivery costs and times, payment methods, etc.)

Selecting, onboarding and supporting your third-party sellers.

It is extremely important to select your third-party sellers carefully. Indeed, by selling on your marketplace, they become full representatives of your brand. This is why you need to select trusted sellers who share your brand values. It can also be interesting to accelerate the recruitment of third-party sellers by addressing sellers who already have a culture of selling via the digital channel. You also need to adapt your organisation to dedicate teams to this onboarding and think about the best way to optimise it (automating certain tasks) and to lead it. 

In order to guarantee a good level of service on your marketplace, it is important to educate them and see them as partners. This will require account managers in your organisation who will manage a pool of sellers.  This way you can help the seller to develop his/her turnover and to implement corrective actions in case of recurrent problems. 

Equip your marketplace with a centralised catalogue

It is also essential to set up a centralised catalogue and a product presentation charter on your site in order to guarantee perfect homogeneity and to facilitate search actions. Remember that by opening your site to third-party sellers, you no longer have complete control over the content of your site. Also, don’t be tempted to overemphasise your own offer to the detriment of your third-party sellers. 

You must give visibility to the other sellers on your site. If they don’t have enough visibility or if the sales are not sufficient for them, they will stop selling on your platform. And the added value created by your marketplace module will fade away. 

Optimiser l’impact sur votre système d’information. 

Even if you already have an operational information system to manage your e-commerce website, the addition of a marketplace module requires its evolution, in particular with the implementation of an OMS (order management system) that allows you to process multi-seller orders, as well as a marketplace middle-office, which will allow your sellers to manage their orders from a dedicated space. Our advice on this point is to spend some time on your target architecture, trying to use process modelling and/or flow orchestration tools that will reduce the costs of adapting your information system.

Do not neglect change management !

Adding a marketplace module to your e-commerce website is above all a transformation project. On the one hand, because you are adding a business model (the marketplace model) to your own offer (purchase -> resale). On the other hand, by introducing a multi-seller offer you have to adapt your organisation. You will need to develop your teams or bring in new skills to help your sellers get onboarded and support them (account manager) in developing their business on your marketplace. By testing your customers’ appetite for new product families, you may have to deal with certain families exclusively in third-party offers and stop operating your own offer. More generally, this type of transformation project also requires a great deal of education about what a marketplace is, both internally, for your teams, and externally, for your sellers and their buyers. In short, change management is a key success factor. 

In conclusion, adding a marketplace module to your e-commerce website is more than just a technical issue, it is a real transformation project. It is therefore a strategic project for your organisation that must be conducted with thought, rigour and perfect execution. To carry it out successfully, you need to select the right partners who will be able to support you in the framing of your project as well as in its construction and implementation (support for example on the targeting and onboarding of sellers). 

Choosing a partner like Marjory will allow you to accelerate your time-to-market, to reduce the technical and organisational impacts. Our process driven approach and our ability to quickly connect all the e-commerce / marketplace bricks on the market (custo bricks or saas bricks) will allow you to succeed in this transformation. In addition, you will benefit from the professional services of our experts, who have worked on similar issues for major brands (La Redoute, Auchan, Leroy Merlin, Accor, etc.)

Do you have a marketplace project? Contact Axelle!

Are you familiar with the term MVP? This acronym, which has become trendy in the tech world in the past few years, refers to Minimum Viable Product. This is a method whereby project developers come out with an initial product featuring only the functions most demanded by its target audience, in order to test its market as early as possible. A few years ago in a client meeting with a large European aviation company, as I was singing the merits of this method, someone dampened by enthusiasm by saying: “Do you really think it makes sense to make an MVP for our next long-haul plane?” And while this method can’t be applied to each and every project, it would be wrong to think it is incompatible with complex endeavours. A good example is the use of this method to launch a marketplace. Let’s try to debunk a few myths on this topic!

Aren’t MVPs and marketplaces contradictory?

In their essence, marketplaces offer a wide range of functions: vendor account creation, purchase funnel, multi-seller cart, seller back office to manage orders, online payment system, breakdown of commissions, etc. This breadth of functions could kill any hope to be able to launch an MVP which, in its essence, is reduced to its most basic functionalities. However, open-source and proprietary frameworks exist today that can quickly develop these functionalities via fairly simple configurations. The challenge, then, is no longer the development itself but having a clear idea of where you want to take your marketplace project. It’s also about deciding, bearing the MVP method in mind, to which product or service category, countries, etc, you want to limit your marketplace MVP. The time will come at a later stage to refine functionalities and develop new ones.

A marketplace MVP is useless!

I’ve often heard this argument, mainly from the same people who thought a marketplace MVP was impossible. Like all MVPs, marketplace MVPs are very useful in two fundamental ways. First, they give you the tools to start onboarding your first sellers, one of the key assets of your marketplace. Successful onboarding is a significant precondition to the success of a marketplace’s launch, and the only way to test it is to operate it on the back of an MVP. Some of the marketplaces I know launched an MVP first with this sole purpose. The other advantage of the MVP is that it allows you to run your first end-to-end transactions and uncover unhappy flows, those exceptional cases that are hard to anticipate in the project development phase and can lead to unforeseen events as the MVP goes into production. Discovering potential issues early enough in the project allows you to increase the perceived added value of your marketplace for clients, and differentiate yourself from competition.

A marketplace MVP makes you dependent on one framework!

This is a make or buy decision. Sometimes, relying on someone else’s framework can be interesting to accelerate time to market for a marketplace project. In a competitive market, it’s a good way to come out first. Some marketplace project developers are reluctant to this idea because the framework does not constitute an asset for their company (IP in startup language). This could be a valid argument if choosing a framework was a permanent decision. However nowadays, orchestration solutions such as Marjory (a little self-promotion never hurt anyone) can help operators become less dependent on the frameworks they rely on to build and run their marketplace. If you think in terms of platforms, microservices, API connections, orchestration, workflows, etc, the dependency argument stops making sense, because changing frameworks or integrating custom solutions becomes easy!

It takes a very long time to launch a marketplace MVP.

Time is relative. It all depends on when something starts and when it ends. By nature, launching a marketplace MVP can take a long time if you start from a blank canvas. If you count the development of a strategic positioning (value proposition, client profile, catalogue structure, etc) and of a business plan, then yes, an MVP can take some time. But if these scoping elements have already been decided, it is possible to launch a B2C marketplace in 3 months -- I can confirm that. Why? Because orchestration solutions such as Marjory, which offer off-the-shelf best practices, pre-integrated module libraries and intuitive workflow editors, allow operational profiles to build a marketplace MVP in a low-code manner!

MVPs are very expensive!

It’s always taboo to talk about money, which is why I kept this topic for last, as a polite young man! Trying to give a price range is always risky. And that’s the main thing, right? How much will it cost? In a competitive world where new marketplaces are launched every day, being first to pull the trigger is a significant advantage, even if it costs a little more. It’s also important to get your MVP ready quickly (see the previous myth). By leveraging open-source and proprietary solutions, an orchestration tool and the advice of experts, you can launch your marketplace MVP for less than €100k.

Are you convinced yet?

The MVP method may not bring about the next airline revolution, but it certainly will contribute to the transformation of trade, by allowing startups and established companies such as retailers to quickly demonstrate all the power of the marketplace model. Let that be clear!

Written by Alexandre AMIOT on Linkedin the 01/21/2021 taken up and translated with his authorization

Do you have a marketplace project? Contact Alexandre!

Are you familiar with Rungis International Market, the largest physical B2B food marketplace in Europe? Imagine if, before being allowed inside the market, or each time they wanted to make or pay for an order, customers had to present a piece of ID, their company registration number and a list of all shareholders possessing more than 25% of their company’s stocks? In the physical world of trade, these checks are not always conducted because payments are often made in cash, and trust relies a lot on non-verbal cues!

Mandatory KYC for marketplace Payment Service Providers (PSPs)

Online, however, trade practices are very different. Over the years, regulators looking to prevent fraud, money laundering and terrorist activities have come up with processes to verify client identity. It all started with banking regulators imposing KYC requirements on all regulated entities (such as banks).  Because they are associated with banking institutions, Payment Service Providers (PSPs) are also subject to this regulation. As a result, they have an obligation to check the identity (or KYC) of their customers, and of the marketplaces for which they manage cash movements and payments. Marketplaces can make KYC document collection easier for the PSP by forwarding them the documents already collected for client onboarding.

Different requirements for different marketplaces and customers: KYC, KYB, KYS

So what do these KYC processes look like for marketplaces and their clients? Clients that create an account, want to conduct transactions or use new services (such as financing, which is becoming increasingly available on this type of platform), must send a number of documents, the nature of which differs according to the client’s profile. For instance, a listed and an unlisted corporation will need to present different documents. Depending on the type of marketplace, the KYC process can take on different names. On B2B marketplaces, it is often called KYB (Know Your Business), while on e-procurement marketplaces, it is referred to as KYS (Know Your Supplier).

KYC document collection and authentication is costly at up to €800 per seller

Recently, the onboarding manager of a large, CAC 40 corporate group’s procurement marketplace pointed out that his teams spend a lot of time on the admin required to onboard sellers. For one, they have to chase suppliers repeatedly to make sure they send all the required documents. Additionally, there is a constant back-and-forth with clients and KYC and PSP services when documents are not scanned properly, for instance. Overall, based on the average salary of onboarding personnel and the time spent collecting KYC/KYB/KYS documents, the cost of onboarding is estimated at around €800 per seller. You can imagine, then, how costly this is for a marketplace onboarding about 10 new sellers a month!

Simplifying and automating KYC document collection is an imperative

Simplifying and automating KYC document collection is therefore a business imperative for marketplaces. They need to make these processes more secure while lowering collection costs -- urgently. If they don’t, prohibitive seller onboarding costs may affect their profitability. Innovative solutions are available today to secure and centralise the collection of the various documents required for KYC processes.

It is therefore crucial for marketplaces to quickly implement this type of solution, without losing sight of the quality of the user experience, since this is central to a marketplace’s value creation.

Author: alexandre@marjory.co

What exactly is marketplace seller onboarding?

Let’s take the example of a business (a seller) opening a shop on an online marketplace. This first stage is called seller onboarding or integration, and its successful conclusion is crucial in a marketplace’s success.

Sellers are key players for a marketplace: to draw a parallel with physical trade, sellers don’t get a lot of customers if they don’t inspire confidence. And the same goes with their product display: if there are not enough products on display, or if the display doesn’t look good, no customer will enter their shop. On the other hand, a seller that inspires confidence and whose shop offers a broad range of products will attract numerous customers. It works exactly in the same way for an online marketplace.

If you operate a marketplace, it is your duty to give seller integration the utmost attention, offering businesses simple and comprehensive onboarding to incentivise them to sell on YOUR platform.

The various steps of seller onboarding

As in any other commercial partnership, it all starts with the signing of a contract between the seller and the marketplace. Following the important phase of contract signing, which details general terms and conditions, three main stages emerge.

1. Seller account creation

This is the part where the seller creates their account. To do that, they must provide all the information required for KYC (Know Your Customer) or KYB (Know Your Business), depending on whether you run a B2C (consumer) or a B2B (business) marketplace.

This information is important, in that it allows the marketplace to verify the identity of the seller. The goal is to only present buyers with trustworthy sellers, whose legal and financial integrity has been verified. The marketplace operator has an obligation to collect this information and all relevant supporting documents, as they may need to present them in case of a control or dispute.

Documents required can differ depending on the sector, but generally, they include the company registration and the ID of the executive director, as well as that of all beneficial owners (individuals directly or indirectly controlling the company and who own more than 25% of its shares and/or voting rights).

2. Product cataloguing

This is the part where the seller creates their account. To do that, they must provide all the information required for KYC (Know Your Customer) or KYB (Know Your Business), depending on whether you run a B2C (consumer) or a B2B (business) marketplace.

This information is important, in that it allows the marketplace to verify the identity of the seller. The goal is to only present buyers with trustworthy sellers, whose legal and financial integrity has been verified. The marketplace operator has an obligation to collect this information and all relevant supporting documents, as they may need to present them in case of a control or dispute.

Documents required can differ depending on the sector, but generally, they include the company registration and the ID of the executive director, as well as that of all beneficial owners (individuals directly or indirectly controlling the company and who own more than 25% of its shares and/or voting rights).

Once the seller account has been created and all KYC/KYB information has been provided and authenticated, it is time to allow the seller to add a product or service catalogue to their shop.

In real terms, how is that done? The seller must add all product references in your marketplace’s back office (either directly, or via a flow integrator) to make them visible in their shop.

First, they add so-called ‘cold data’, which doesn’t require frequent updates: the product description and the various options available for it in the seller’s shop for your marketplace.

Let’s take a B2C example. In order to sell a pair of jeans, the seller must first add the specific model and its description to the marketplace. Then, assuming the item can be purchased in different sizes and colours, each of these options must be added in the back office, along with their EAN (European Article Numbering, also called International Article Number or IAN).

This allows for the creation of posts by your sellers. To increase the number of sales made on your platform -- and therefore your profits, you can support your sellers in writing these posts.

The referencing of the different offerings available on your marketplace works just like the referencing of websites on Google: an optimised website with a lot of varied content that’s regularly updated is more visible than others. It is the same for your sellers’ products. This is why you should incentivise them to put a lot of care into writing good product descriptions and choosing the right photos to display: it will all make your marketplace more appealing!

3. Activating references

Activating references (or products) on the marketplace is done by adding so-called ‘hot data’ (which must be updated as frequently as possible). Along with the product description, this hot data, which mainly includes price and available stock, represent offers.

Once your sellers’ IT systems have been connected to your marketplace back office through an API, product updates become automatic.

Finally, we highly recommend telling your sellers to make a test purchase to make sure their online shop works properly: ask them to make an order from their own shop to check that all processes go smoothly.

Training to offer your sellers at the time of onboarding

In order to make your sellers as autonomous as possible on your marketplace, it is important to train them to use your back office.

4. Order workflow management

Order workflow management training is often done through guides written by marketplace operators to help sellers and make them as autonomous as possible to handle this process. These guides lay out the different actions that must be executed within the order process.

5. Dispute management

Another important point on which to train marketplace sellers is trilateral customer relationship management, in case of a dispute or even a question coming from clients (buyers).

When contacted by their clients, sellers must set up a process to manage the question and/or dispute. If there are too many exchanges without a resolution, or if the two parties cannot reach an agreement, the marketplace operator steps in and offers mediation.

Financial management

The last step in seller onboarding is the implementation of monthly or bimonthly account reconciliations. Simply put, this is about paying the seller for the sales made on the marketplace, and collecting the marketplace commission. Here, third-party invoicing or factoring solutions adapted for the B2B world are available to make the seller’s life easier.

The little extra

Today, some marketplaces offer their sellers sponsored posts, following SEA (search engine advertising) or paid referencing models such as Google Ads. This allows them to boost sales by giving certain sellers the option to stand out on the marketplace, while securing extra revenue. This value proposition is the cherry on the cake for marketplace seller onboarding!

Author: emeline@marjory.co

Inspired by the success of community platforms like Airbnb, Etsy or Uber, you have decided to launch your own marketplace. Here are five vital steps you need to undertake to make your project successful.

1- Clearly define your target and customer promise

Defining your target market and formalising your promise to customers are two essential stages in the launch of your marketplace, and will greatly influence its success. Don’t forget that you will have not one, but two types of clients: sellers and buyers.

Let’s take the following example: I would like to create a B2B platform for fashion brands to sell high-quality leftover fabrics. The premise is simple: connect companies with surpluses and offcuts with potential buyers. Therefore, I need to attract big fashion brands, high fashion houses and fabric manufacturers on one side, and fashion SMEs, stylists or designers on the other side.

Sellers can generate extra revenue while cutting waste management costs, and buyers get access to superior quality fabrics at reduced prices and become part of the circular economy.

2- Build your business process and create an efficient workflow

You then need to build the operational architecture that will allow you to deliver on your promise. One of the main mistakes people make is to start thinking about their future marketplace solution before defining their business process and workflow. This amounts to the various task sequences, the interactions between players involved, and the tools you will need to support your teams and ensure the success of your project. At the end of the day, the technical platform needs to adjust to your organisation’s needs, not the other way around. This is particularly important, as the implementation of a marketplace can have a huge impact on all of your company’s departments (accounting, finance, marketing, customer service, etc.) and their individual relationships. You need to be able to comfortably measure and manage this impact.

Before creating Marjory, we went through complicated marketplace projects, where the difficulty of realising our vision with the market’s existing technological building blocks led to months of delay before launch. Marjory is the platform we wish we had at the time. The idea is to allow operators to build and integrate the best workflows in a simple way, and to manage organisational issues by gathering the totality of stakeholders – both internal and external – and the expertise required for the life of the marketplace, all into a single point of integration.

3- Choosing the right tech solution

You can either build the platform yourself from scratch or choose SaaS marketplace solutions, plug-and-play or open source. The decision will depend on your budget, technical expertise and desired time to market. In any case, we can help you adjust the marketplace for your organisation. 

The performance (and the success) of your marketplace will also partly depend on the quality of its integrated services.

Marjory puts you in touch with service providers, allowing you to optimise the integration of value-adding solutions.

4- Always keep an eye on best practices

Onboarding enough third-party vendors, controlling the quality of product sheets, automating processes… How familiar are you with marketplace best practices? Adopting the right methods is crucial to succeed in launching and growing your platform in the long term. It will allow you to improve results, solve problems more efficiently and be more responsive to changes. Aware of the significance of these intangible resources, Marjory has created a catalogue of best practices, which you can adopt, adjust and leverage.

5- Prepare for what’s next

It’s always good to be one step ahead! Even if you haven’t deployed your marketplace yet, it can be useful to know how you would like to see it grow. In fact, you can build your platform in a way that it easily adapts to market evolutions and client needs.

However, keep in mind that marketplaces generally need more time than traditional e-commerce sites to reach their cruising speed. You will need patience to confirm the success of your project and to develop a good user base. To maximise your chances, don’t hesitate to ask for help in the creation of your marketplace. Marjory, for example, supports its clients in every single one of these crucial steps. We help you go from inception to creation, and assist you in the execution of your marketplace and in preparing for its growth.

Author : kamel@marjory.co

Do you remember the first time you visited the Airbnb website? All of a sudden, you had access to thousands of accommodation options in hundreds of global destinations. In a few clicks, you could to rent a room in someone’s home in Tokyo’s Shibuya neighbourhood, sleep in a cabin in the middle of the Norwegian forest or book a holiday home on a paradise island. Today, it’s hard to imagine planning a vacation without the private accommodation platform. Airbnb, Uber, Amazon: these companies revolutionised their respective sectors with their innovative vision and platform mentality. Whether or not these web giants can be called “marketplaces” is debatable, but the fact is that they all contributed to the emergence and popularity of this new economic model. And new economic models push significant changes in mindsets.

A new way of doing business

Marketplaces have brought various disruptions to the world of e-commerce. First, it is a shift of the traditional economic model, from disintermediation to reintermediation. New market entrants got to define this new business model, but for incumbents, it has meant a complete turnaround of the positioning strategy… which has been particularly challenging, since marketplaces somehow feel “unnatural” compared to the way they usually do business.

Marketplaces have also turned suppliers into clients in their own right, and a key element of the ecosystem. Third-party sellers’ satisfaction, and more importantly their loyalty, has become more important (and more complicated) than that of buyers. Platforms are waging a fierce battle to attract and retain as many sellers as possible. This often involves offering and putting in place extra services as a selling point for marketplaces.

A radical change of mindset

In this new world, the operator must imperatively develop a “seller-centric” mindset, on top of a “customer-centric” focus. For example, the e-procurement marketplace launched by Accor is a good illustration of this change of approach, which can sometimes be radical for a large group. With the opening its brand to include franchisees not required to purchase from the Accor Group, it became essential to develop a competitive offering in order to ensure a consistent customer experience. To achieve that, Accor decided to turn its purchasing department into a marketplace, allowing franchisees to buy directly from suppliers on a platform controlled by the Group. This is complete u-turn for Accor! The same people who used to manage supplier accounts now manage the accounts of sellers that have become customers. Where the system used to be structured in a way that “stepped on” suppliers (with strong-handed price and end-of-year discount negotiations, playing on competition, etc.), it is now oriented towards seduction (to attract and create loyalty with vendors that franchisees can’t find anywhere else) and collaboration (to help them develop and add value to their offering).

An agile organisation

Embracing such changes requires high agility and a strong leadership. Upon launching a platform, a company’s agility relates to its organisational maturity. A marketplace only has one goal: operational excellence. Startups must therefore be able to manage fluctuations with a small team, while having the power to handle capacity building. 

Agility also means being able to add services. Once the marketplace is deployed, once this formidable project is finally off the ground, it needs to be continuously improved and updated according to market needs. This is very complicated, not from a technical standpoint, but from an organisational one, because implementing new services has an impact on operational processes.

Marjory supports marketplace operators in these two crucial stages – capacity building and addition of services – by setting up business processes that combine automation and human intervention.

We are convinced that marketplaces are going to become the port of call for the great majority of goods and services trade on the internet, offering opportunities for all stakeholders. This is why we help these platforms launch and grow their business in a simple way and according to their individual needs.

Author: kamel@marjory.co

In the early 1990s, a young 30-year-old entrepreneur launches an online bookstore. Jeff Bezos has the ambition of building the largest online store in the world, offering anything and everything – starting with books. Realising that he won’t be able to make this vision a reality through a traditional e-commerce website, he instead offers corporate and individual sellers the option to sell their products on a marketplace. At the time, everyone thinks Jeff Bezos is crazy. But today, Amazon is one of the most powerful companies in the world, and marketplaces have established themselves a staple model, for traditional brands and retailers as well as for pure players.
The vast majority of popular e-commerce sites also host a marketplace. In its 2018 report on French e-commerce, [https://www.fevad.com/bilan-e-commerce-ventes-internet/], the Federation of e-commerce and distance selling (Fevad) found that  marketplace sales represent 30% of these sites’ turnover. Our partner Mirakl announced in early 2019 that purchases made on the marketplaces running on its platform doubled in 2019, reaching a total of over a billion US dollars [https://www.mirakl.fr/mirakl-depasse-le-milliard-de-dollars-de-ventes-annuelles-sur-ses-marketplaces-clientes-2/] – a significant milestone.
So what is causing this tremendous success?

A win-win model

The marketplace ecosystem has three main players: operators, sellers and buyers. And the primary reason for the model’s success is that it offers great benefits to each and every one of them!

The operator is like the conductor of the marketplace, establishing the ground rules and ensuring that exchanges are made in optimal conditions. Operating a marketplace also means being free from stock and logistics constraints, which is why more and more operators are opting for this model. As the platform grows and gathers more sellers, the offering and pricing become more competitive.

For third-party sellers, the marketplace is a new distribution channel – and an amazingly efficient one! – increasing online visibility and making it possible to acquire new clients and grow sales.The seller leaves most marketing to the operator and reduces technical costs. And there’s the added benefit of tools and services provided by the marketplace to facilitate sales.

Finally, for the buyer, a marketplace is the best place to find everything he or she needs (very much like a mall). They have access to a great range of products offered by a variety of sellers, but enjoy a unified shopping experience. It saves them research and shopping time, and it allows them to save money by easily comparing the different offers. For companies, the B2B marketplace simplifies all purchasing activities, which are usually complex, and sometimes even offers a very high level of supplier certification. In any case, marketplaces bring buyers both security and comfort.

A growth lever for e-commerce

Marketplaces tackle new challenges in the e-commerce sector, and as shown in the numbers above, they represent a tremendous growth lever both for pure players, which act as intermediaries, and for hybrid operators, who get to generate extra revenue and capitalise on existing infrastructure to explore new online commercial horizons.

One of the inherent strengths of the model is its scalability, making it adaptable to any type of activity. B2B, B2C, C2C… General marketplaces offering products and services in a wide range of categories, or vertical marketplaces specialized in a type of object or segment, such as Etsy with handmade products or ManoMano with home improvement… There is almost an infinity of marketplaces to trade physical and immaterial goods and services.

Marketplaces, as a sector, are successful. But building and operating a successful marketplace is far from easy, and presents many organisational challenges. Marjory helps operators launch their platform faster, more easily and at a lower cost, thanks to an innovative solution that combines advice with the aggregation and orchestration of the whole range of marketplace service providers. So you can make the most of the opportunities presented by this new model!

Author : kamel@marjory.co