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Deep diving into data: three things an online marketplace can teach you about your business


Has your organisation invested in an online marketplace platform of late, or perhaps it’s weighing the benefits of doing so?

As ecommerce continues to explode, in Australia and around the world, the business case for establishing a site which displays both your own range and those of third party suppliers has become a compelling one. It’s not uncommon for marketplace proprietors to see their revenue surge by between 30 and 50 per cent, as they reap the benefits of larger and more frequent sales. But although it’s a compelling one, this isn’t the only benefit that comes from having your own online marketplace. Go with a premium platform and your business will have unprecedented access to a wealth of insights that can help you optimise your operations and product offering.

Here are three ways you can use marketplace data analytics to up your game.

Mind the gap

Think your product range is as comprehensive as it comes; that you stock or can order in everything your target market might conceivably want to buy from your business? Open an online marketplace and you’ll be able to test that hypothesis. 

The web data your digital platform collects will allow you to see all the searches that customers and prospects conduct on your site, including those that draw a blank. Clock customers searching in vain, over and over, for a particular item and it becomes a no brainer to add it to your product range. Dig deeper again and you’ll be able to see where searchers are located geographically and whether they looked at potential alternatives before surfing to another site. That’s intelligence you could potentially use to determine what products you’ll keep on the shelves in any bricks and mortar outlets you may have, as well as in your online range.

Stretching yourself

The same data can also give you great visibility into product categories and markets where you’re not active – yet. See customers repeatedly searching for products that are complementary to those that you offer and you may look to branch out sideways, by signing up suppliers in those categories. 

That’s a strategy that’s worked wonders for surf fashion and footwear marketplace SurfStitch, which has latterly begun selling surfboards and accessories alongside its traditional swimwear lines. Barbecues Galore, meanwhile, is cooking up a storm of sales, by offering everything from cookware to gourmet condiments alongside the traditional barbecues and furniture lines on its marketplace. 

Observe third party suppliers doing sufficiently well – courtesy of the data analytics capabilities baked into your marketplace platform, you should be able to see all the details of every single sale they make – and you may decide it’s worth your while to get into those categories yourself, rather than merely serving as a middleman. 

Stars and stragglers: assessing your suppliers 

Enter the marketplace game and you’ll soon learn that your site is only as good as the suppliers you allow to sell their wares via the platform. Given customers are unlikely to distinguish between ‘your’ stock and that of your partners, teaming up with vendors whose product quality and service standards are sub-par may result in damage to your brand and business. 

Choose a marketplace platform with sophisticated data analysis features and you’ll be able to head this problem off at the pass. Running reports on return rates and complaint resolution times will allow you to determine which suppliers are an asset to your organisation, and which should be sent packing as soon as possible.

Getting smarter – and more successful

In 2021, Australians’ long running love affair with ecommerce is showing no signs of abating. We spent a collective $49.7 billion on online shopping between June 2020 and June 2021, according to the NAB Online Retail Sales Index: July 21. Against that backdrop, adopting marketplace technology and using the insights it yields to grow your brand and business continues to look like a very smart move.

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