Online marketplaces are growing at an astounding pace.

Orchard House and Channel Unity worked together to predict what 2022 holds for online retail marketplaces.  Almost all end with a common theme, quality data!

Mirakl’s 2021 Holiday Shopping Snapshot found that 94% of shoppers plan to continue, if not increase, their future frequency of shopping on online marketplaces.  Streamlining the eCommerce landscape is crucial to continued success and it’s why Orchard House works with Channel Unity to help businesses unify their processes to improve the management of orders and logistics. 

Channel Unity: The rise of unified retail

Online marketplaces have unlocked an opportunity to deliver a convenient, personalised shopping experience.  However, many businesses have only scratched the surface of what’s possible with the marketplace model. As customer expectations continue to rise, the ways that retailers leverage and capitalise on their marketplace data will become increasingly important. 

Unified retail promises to transcend channels once and for all. But most retailers aren’t ready to deliver it.

The age of eCommerce is evolving. Omni-channel isn’t enough. Tomorrow’s consumers will demand unified retail, a personalised shopping experience that fully transcends channels. In unified retail, real-time customer data informs every interaction people have with your brand. There is no lag between customers taking action, like viewing, buying, or returning a product—and your custom-tailored response-like providing a special offer or recommending content.

But the transition to unified retail promises to be rocky. That’s because delivering it requires both unified customer data and a thoughtful personalisation strategy—and most of today’s retailers lack both. According to a recent survey, more than half (56%) of retailers personalise less than half of the shopper journey.  Some sectors lag further behind, with just 11% of grocers personalising more than half their journey despite major investments in digital commerce since the pandemic.

Another complicating factor is that data from third-party tracking cookies will be going away.  Although Google has made it clear that Chrome will stop supporting third-party tracking cookies by 2023, most marketers aren’t ready.  A survey of more than 2,000 global business professionals revealed that only 37% believe they are very prepared for a cookieless future, which means 63% are not.

It’s no surprise, then, that Adobe recommends retailers unify customer data that’s scattered across multiple systems and siloes to accelerate their journey to unified retail. Rich customer profiles, ideally ones that can be updated in real-time, can power distinctive, personalised experiences without any data from third-party tracking cookies. It’s no exaggeration to say that the future of retail will belong to retailers that prioritise and unify their customer data and use it to deliver unified shopping experiences. 

The importance of complete marketplace integration

Launching an online marketplace is the beginning of a new way of doing business.  In order to achieve sustained success, retailers must prioritise its seamless integration across the entire organisation.

In 2022, marketplaces will continue to be a great opportunity for brands to broaden their assortment and drive revenue. As the marketplace model becomes more common, differentiation and brand alignment will be key to long-term success.

Marketplaces that give sellers the capability to control how they manage content and promote their brand will drive continued growth.  Marketplaces that are user-friendly, with an easy route to conversion, will be a key factor in brands choosing this model over traditional eCommerce. 

Brands that align their marketplace model with their own brand, both digitally and online (e.g. refunds, returns, etc.) will win in the marketplace, as customers will appreciate the consistency.

As always, data is key in marketing success - brands need to remember that, even if they are using the marketplace model, those who collect the best data and activate it in the most effective way will remain the winners.  Channel unity is at the forefront of this capability and will offer the ability to deliver online marketplaces that have been unlocked.

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