Main obstacles to overcome in a marketplace project

The first expert to share his thoughts is Vikram Ramdul, Marjory’s COO. Having completed a great number of marketplace projects, the details of which you can find here, Vikram has offered to shed some light on the main obstacles to overcome in a marketplace project.

When deciding to create a marketplace, the first thing you should do is identify all of the project’s expected internal impacts.

The two main impacts are: change management and flow management.

Change management derives from the adoption of new tools used to make the company’s new business activity work, but also from the new work methods adopted, to onboard suppliers for instance.

New positions are necessary for this business activity, which requires very particular operational and technical skills.

With the launch of a marketplace project, all of the company’s operations are disrupted, from marketing to e-commerce, where the team suddenly finds itself having to juggle new priorities such as seller onboarding or logistics. This disruption must be anticipated, and the company must involve collaborators in the transformation as much as possible.

The launch of a marketplace should absolutely not be a side project. Kickstarting a new activity such as this should be part of a strategic plan.

Various strategies can be adopted: for instance, Amazon launched its marketplace site with the goal of increasing turnover. The marketplace is its main activity.

On the other hand, Auchan has created a marketplace that represents only 0.04% of its retail network’s turnover. The goal here is to leverage this channel for drive-to-store marketing through click-and-collect, increasing footfall in the stores. The marketplace “only” represents €20mn out of Auchan Retail’s overall €22.7bn of global turnover in 2019.

Before getting started on the creation of a marketplace, it is worth remembering that this is a very heavy project organisationally; a very structured scoping phase is therefore necessary, first and foremost.

The purpose of the scoping phase is to predict and anticipate as many elements as possible. For instance, one should create the marketplace business model, think about the front end (the part of the site visible to consumers), but also the middle and back office, or UX/UI, starting with the question: “how should sellers, their products and buyers be referenced?”.

Finally, it is equally important to consider all regulatory issues, such as marketplace payment management, KYC (know your customer) or AML (anti money laundering) depending on your activity.

Things to remember:

  • The launch of a marketplace is a project that fits within a company’s overall strategy (it is never a side project, and should always serve the goals of the company).
  • The marketplace head should clearly scope the project and anticipate all constraints, be they organisational, human (change management, new skills), operational (business, user experience) or technical (flow management between all stakeholders and between the front, middle and back office).

See you soon for more advice,

The Marketplace Experts