Brands today are riddled with challenges. From rising costs and expanding product assortments to swaying customer loyalty in favor of convenience, and then factor in the complexity of the customer experience that continues to evolve and it can seem overwhelming.
All these challenges have many businesses taking a serious look into the world of eCommerce marketplace solutions. Not simply joining one, but starting their own. The question for eCommerce leaders is no longer whether to do it, but how to do it in a way that makes the most sense for your organization and buyers.
The eCommerce experts at Echidna are sharing 3 key considerations when evaluating the various eCommerce marketplace solutions. These insights will not only help you choose a marketplace to meet your current business requirements but provide you with the scalability and speed you require for future growth.
The first step in your journey is to decide what type of marketplace makes the most sense for your business to set up. The three models listed below all carry unique business cases and not all of them will be viable with all eCommerce marketplace solutions out there today. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the route you want to go before you start reviewing technologies.
Certain architectural principles can make the difference between the success and failure of your marketplace. For example, a marketplace that offers a low-code or composable approach will empower your business the agility to innovate with changing customer expectations and a competitive landscape. The 3 architectural principles are key foundational elements for today’s evolving digital age so make sure your eCommerce marketplace solution includes them:
1. Microservices- these small, individual applications perform a specific task or service such as pricing, promotions, customer account, and shopping cart. Microservices offer simplicity in maintenance, enable faster innovation and are more easily adaptable to changing customer preferences. Make sure to look for a vendor that offers microservices “packaged” vs. separate components.
2. API-First- Over the last few years, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a popular buzzword for those looking into eCommerce technology. APIs are a critical component to being able to connect a growing ecosystem and enable a “headless” approach. Make sure to look for marketplace technology that is API-first vs. having them added after the fact and also that all the platforms and data are written to be exposed via APIs.
3. Cloud/SaaS Native- Rapid time to ROI, no upgrades, improved reliability- you’ve likely read articles on the value of cloud-based solutions. When looking at a marketplace solution you’ll also want to make sure it is “native” Cloud/SaaS so you are getting the full benefits of scalability, security, performance, and monitoring services. This means the applications have been built from the ground up for the cloud, not retrofitted for the cloud-like many legacy on-premise solutions.
Make sure you and your team understand how you intend to handle the increased complexity of inventory visibility, order management, and fulfillment that comes with operating an online marketplace. Your marketplace is ultimately an extension of eCommerce, so having a seamlessly integrated order management system can provide significant value, speed, and flexibility.
It makes sense for a lot of businesses to look for a marketplace solution provider that offers a built-in OMS. With a single, fully integrated solution you will lower your total cost of ownership, improve time-to-revenue, and lessen risks with deployment.
Whether you are just considering your marketplace approach or already working to implement an eCommerce marketplace solution, the team at Echidna can help. As a leading eCommerce agency, we can help guide your marketplace strategy and decide on the best technology for your business growth goals. Our team is experts in delivering end-to-end solutions with high complexity for B2B, B2C, D2C, and mixed business models to help leaders continue with their growth and innovation well into the future. Contact our team to start a conversation today.