There is an emerging trend in the UK whereby many retailers are opening up their websites to third party sellers to increase their offering and secure more sales; this shift in tactic is leading to a number of new online marketplaces.
Rather than owning the inventory themselves, online marketplaces profit by taking a percentage of the products sold mitigating the risk of dead stock. In addition, this enables a rapid expansion of the range of products sold without the need for a large investment.
In the UK, 70% of consumers are now shopping online regularly with more than half of those choosing to use marketplaces due to the convenience and variety of products available. The Covid-19 pandemic is altering consumer buying behaviour and accelerating the shift to online shopping due to many physical stores being legally forced to close during multiple lockdowns.
The demise of high street stores
The pandemic is a huge threat to the UK highstreet with 17,500 chain stores disappearing from national highstreets already due to lockdowns and social distancing restrictions. Some brands have been able to stay afloat by selling online, and those few without websites either went into liquidation or today continue to struggle with the backlash of Covid-19.
John Lewis was one store forced to close a number of outlets leading to a £517m loss in 2020, Marks and Spencer suffered its first loss in 94 years, and retail giant Arcadia sold its entire empire of famous brands including high street staples Dorothy Perkins and Topshop. The 242-year-old department store, Debenhams, reached a slow demise and has been absorbed into Boohoo- all physical stores have shut for good as its products become available only on this online marketplace. This mass closing of high street shops has been noted as the worst on record with PWC accountants saying the impact is ‘yet to be felt’.
From High Street to Digital Marketplaces
That said, one high street name that has thrived during this time is Next, who pre-pandemic were already making half of their sales online and have been selling third-party sportswear from the likes of Adidas and Nike since 2006. As of 2020, Next was valued at £10.8bn, in comparison to Marks & Spencers that levelled out at less than £3bn. By building upon their existing marketplace business model, Next has increased its offering to over 200,000 products and they are now rated as the UK’s leading clothing and footwear retailer ahead of Asos and Boohoo.
M&S in 2020 followed their approach; founded in 1844 they have been a trusted own-retailer brand for almost 134 years. Seeing the growing popularity of marketplaces and noticing the perks of selling products to their large customer base without the risk of owning the inventory, M&S began adding third-party brands to their website to acquire more sales. With the infrastructure in place for next-day food delivery, M&S are now set to be the first big retailer to launch same-day, and sometimes half-day clothing delivery. This service has the potential to rival Next and Asos who currently offer next-day delivery, and could potentially sway UK customers away from Amazon as they meet the delivery and convenience criteria for consumers.
The Ethical Marketplace
Coined as the world's fastest growing marketplace, OnBuy.com has scaled into the UK scene since launching in 2016. It’s business model is to make sellers the centre point of their success by using monthly rolling subscriptions and competitive fees. Unlike Amazon, OnBuy commits never to sell their own stock and therefore sellers can be assured that the marketplace won’t use their sales data to leverage competing products.
This transparent and ethical approach has led to a 24,000 per cent growth in just 4 years, the platform offers over 30 million products, and assures safe payment with a Paypal partnership. Founder, Cas Paton comments how “Amazon controls around 29 per cent of the e-commerce market in the UK but that leaves a good 70 plus per cent that is not Amazon.”
Selling Via Marketplaces
When selling via a marketplace it can be difficult to keep track of orders, inventory, and shipments. Quite often retailers will have an ERP System to control stock, process orders, and integrate financials. Marketplaces can open a business to new markets, help them gain global visibility, and drive greater sales. With growth comes more data to manage; a simple integration between a Marketplace and an ERP System updates product sales, inventory, and order in real-time meaning that a business can sell with the confidence that they won’t miss an order or oversell. An integration is an easy method of managing business growth without changing business infrastructure or operational processes. Our OnBuy to Khaos Control Cloud API Integration is a popular solution for managing marketplace growth among our customers.
Integrate your marketplace storefront with roseta.io
Integrating with roseta.io can open up your business’s potential, increasing sales and enabling you to keep an eye on your order and stock movement at all times. We currently offer integrations to independent marketplaces, including, OnBuy, Etsy, and notonthehighstreet, and have a number of marketplaces integrations launching later in 2021.
Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you scale up your business and reach more customers.