How Innovation Will Change the Future of the Marketplace


Millennials and younger generations are poised to take over mainstream businesses and C-suite jobs across the world. Steeped in digital technology from birth, these young consumers and professionals are accustomed to using digital tools, shopping globally online, getting their news directly on their phones and making business and personal connections through social media platforms both here and abroad. Unlike Baby Boomers, the millennial generation accepts the need for frequent updates, new products based on social trends and exciting new platforms for buying and selling products and goods.

These consumers embrace eCommerce innovation instead of resisting change, and B2B companies need to cultivate this attitude and keep pace with emerging technologies to succeed. The era of the mobile, social and vertical marketplace platform has dawned, and forward-thinking companies can leverage next-generation marketplaces to expand their operations, widen their bases and provide greater accessibility to products and services at venues where their customers shop for other goods. That’s a critical step for B2B companies that want to get their share of the growing B2B market that’s predicted to reach $6.7 Trillion by 2020. [1]

Millennials enjoy collaborating with businesses when they support a company’s core philosophy, but access to the cutting-edge features of a company’s marketing platforms is even more critical for developing loyalty and generating sales. Price matters less than user experience, convenience and access to advanced self-service features. This shift in the B2B business model affects everything in marketing and sales. B2B companies can’t even attract and retain top talent unless they innovate regularly and adapt to new expectations. One study by Deloitte found that 44 percent of millennials expect to leave their jobs over the next two years because of antiquated technology and the regressive attitudes of company executives. [2] Employee loyalty is no longer given blindly to companies but to organizations that innovate, have forward-thinking HR policies and provide staff with opportunities to network and collaborate with favored brands and businesses.

 

Rosy Prospects for the Marketplace Future


Given these marketing trends, it’s easy to see how important it is to market B2B products and services across multiple channels including the emerging international eCommerce platforms. Amazon’s success is impossible to deny because its marketplace, Amazon Prime, has attracted between 250 million and 330 million daily users. [3] That’s a huge audience that’s risky to ignore. Amazon’s marketplace features include in-demand services such as video streaming, which 19 percent of millennials use as their preferred source of entertainment. Other key statistics for Amazon include: [4]

  • Amazon sellers earn $1 million annually, or about four times as much as eBay sellers.
  • 2.1 percent of Amazon sellers earn more than $10 million in annual revenue.
  • 55 percent of sellers earn 20 percent or more profit.
  • 63 percent of Amazon sellers only sell their products on marketplace platforms.
  • About 29 percent of Amazon sellers are unhappy with their omnichannel management software.


Regardless of whether a company sells products to businesses or retail consumers, legacy software can fall short. It’s almost impossible to manage multiple sales channels in different tax jurisdictions and foreign markets without full integration of channel management, CRM and ERP software.

Amazon’s marketplace platform pleases its core users by offering a suite of integrated digital tools such as repricing software, apps that manage inventory and SKUs and programs that assist sellers in meeting stringent FBA standards. Sophisticated automation algorithms save time and money that sellers can use to resolve issues, explore innovative marketing ideas and invest in business opportunities.

 

Marketplace Future Offers Signature Opportunities


Many organizations failed to survive major changes in business practices and consumer trends. Marketplace platforms offer opportunities, but only those companies that cultivate flexibility and agile technologies are assured of success. Blockbuster Video, Digital Equipment Corporation, Montgomery Ward, Polaroid and GM are companies that failed to adapt to changing markets and technologies. Organizations that succeed--and are more likely to master marketplace sales--overcome resistance to change by following these practices:

  1. Implementing multiple projects and selling across multiple channels to develop new markets
  2. Planning obsessively on how to respond to various business and marketplace scenarios
  3. Following business competitors’ actions closely
  4. Showing a willingness to cannibalize the company’s existing revenue streams to build more lucrative opportunities
  5. Abandoning traditional practices readily to develop promising revenue streams

 

Extraordinary Marketplace Services


B2B companies that don’t expand into marketplace channels miss out on some extraordinary sales, marketing and financing benefits. Innovative technologies generate new ideas for businesses such as marketplace lending. The online marketplace for loans and business credit serves as a shining example of what technology innovations can do. [5] Alternative lending recently ignited small loan growth globally through peer-to-peer lending.

 

Marketplace eCommerce Innovations Include a Range of Services


Regardless of whom a company targets--wholesale B2B clients, retail shoppers or niche markets--a marketplace channel is probably now available or in the planning stage. Some of the current and future marketplace channels include these possibilities that were compiled by Citi Global Perspectives: [6]

  • Consumer-direct marketplaces
    Etsy and many other companies offer platforms where companies can sell products and services to consumers directly. Other direct platforms include Amazon, eBay and Squarespace, a platform that allows businesses to set up store-within-marketplace operations to sell goods. Direct-to-consumer platforms could challenge brick-and-mortar stores within a decade.
  • Epigenetics
    Genetic diseases have proven hard to treat, but dedicated platforms for selling orphan drugs that control genes could trigger advanced research and specialty marketplace platforms to sell drugs and therapies. These sites could also sell related treatment equipment and wearable monitoring devices.
  • Smart eCommerce
    Amazon already supplies a customized list of recommendations based on buyer behavior and purchasing history. Contextual commerce would enable smart appliances to remind people when supplies are running low. Consumers could order food from their refrigerators and pantries and garden supplies from their smart tool sheds.
  • Open Source Robotic Technology
    Robots perform repetitive tasks without complaining, and businesses and consumers increasingly order industrial robotics technologies for various business and personal applications. Robotic marketplaces could double sales of these products by 2020.

 

Innovation Permeates eCommerce Culture


Ongoing innovation has become institutionalized in today’s successful businesses, and marketplace successes clearly illustrate the value of eCommerce innovation. Some marketplace platforms survive, and others haven’t, but savvy B2B companies can get cost-value benefits from their investments even from poor performers when they use the right marketplace management software. For example, integrated software enables companies to cut through regulations and red tape, target a more lucrative customer base and offer flexible real-time pricing to optimize sales conversions.

 

Using Innovation to Trigger Growth


Market platforms offer the ideal forum for testing new products, markets and strategies. In today’s competitive marketing arena, you need great products, fair prices, responsive eCommerce platforms and outstanding customer experiences to provide each visitor to your multichannel marketing venues. The millennial generation is taking control of the world’s joysticks and showing off their digital prowess. This generation considers history before the Internet as prehistoric. If you don’t want to end up like the dinosaurs, it’s important to cultivate eCommerce innovation. The marketplace future lies in automation, engineering and pleasing customers. Digital technology and business integrations give you the tools to ace those three challenges.

References:

[1] Handshake.com: Alibaba & B2B E-Commerce Growth: What You Need to Know
www.handshake.com/blog/b2b-e-commerce-growth-alibaba/

[2] Ideadrop.co: Millennials and the increased need for innovation 
ideadrop.co/millennials-need-for-innovation/

[3] Blog.appeagle.com: Amazon Marketplace Stats That Will Shock Every Seller (Part 2)
blog.appeagle.com/amazon-marketplace-stats-2

[4] Webretailer.com: 10 Statistics from the Online Marketplace Seller Survey
www.webretailer.com/lean-commerce/statistics-marketplace-seller-survey/

[5] Blog.lendingclub.com: The next wave of innovation for marketplace lending - Lending Club Blog
blog.lendingclub.com/next-wave-innovation-marketplace-lending/

[6] Businessinsider.com: CITI: 10 innovations that will completely change the future of the global economy
www.businessinsider.com/citi-10-innovations-that-will-completely-change-the-future-of-the-global-economy-2016-7/#big-data-in-energy-1

 

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