Fragmented E-commerce Part 3: Redefining “Marketplaces”

This article finishes our series on fragmented e-commerce and online shopping behaviors. 

The first article showed that it was pointless to fight against the fact that fewer and fewer online shoppers were going directly to a merchant’s e-commerce sites to buy. After a while, shoppers preferred the shortest route in the buying process: the platforms on which they spend most of their time and where they are already known: Amazon, Ebay, Walmart, Facebook, Instagram, etc.

Gone is the world in which Google, through its natural referencing with Adwords, was the sole gateway for online buyers. It is important to accept this, because it is pointless to predict how buyers will behave. Smart sellers adapt to those new buying behaviors as the old ones decline. This is true in all industries.

Then, in the second article, we saw that this redistribution of the cards was in fact an opportunity precisely because the cards were being redistributed: a very large number of retailers had embraced this new trend, while others were resisting it.

The purpose of this final article is to explain how to anticipate the future of this redistribution of cards–the future that will take your e-commerce site to the next stage of its development.

Because make no mistake about it: in one form or another, the future of an Ecommerce site will pass through the Marketplaces.

Resistance is futile. And the “marketplace” is still evolving.

The image we have of Marketplaces is limited. Say the word “marketplace” and most people will envision a website resembling today’s home page of Amazon, eBay etc… Products, categories, filters on the left, images and banners, a search bar at the top.

In reality, however, this is just one type of Marketplace: a site with a wide range of products on your computer screen or phone. This image is true today, but it will not be true in very few years.
The future will indeed prove one thing: our idea of what a “marketplace” is today is actually limited.

A Marketplace is not just a website with categories, banners and filters. A Marketplace is an aggregator of offers from merchants. Period. The look and layout are secondary.

There is no indication that a Marketplace should look like what we see today when we say this word.

So, how do we understand what a Marketplace on the Internet really is?

The return of catchment areas and the disparity index

One phrase is the key to understanding this idea: the catchment area.

If there is fragmented e-commerce, it is because buyers are gathered in different places. Not physically, like in a shopping mall, but digitally. They are brought together on platforms.

Tomorrow, with the digitalisation of our living spaces (apartments, streets, offices…) each screen will become an online shopping platform: your fridge will show you products to buy, your tables will offer to buy online, your Google Home will select products by voice, cash machines will offer you products from nearby shops, and your bathroom mirror will also become an online shopping screen.

And all these devices are determined to collect a percentage of the purchases they allow.

Let’s go further: what’s the advantage for a brand like GE to sell you a fridge and collect only $100 of profit margin when they could give it to you free and collect, via its integrated screen, 10% of your food purchases over 5 years?

With an average of $12,000/year in groceries for the average household, that calculation is simple.

Our fridges will be no more than a pretext to enlarge the catchment area of their manufacturers or distributors.

The race for the digital disparity index

Behind the data centers of Facebook, Google, Amazon and even manufacturers, an unprecedented war is being waged: one that will lead to the creation of the largest and most attractive catchment area possible. Like a race for the digital disparity index.

A new E-commerce world is being born before our very eyes.

20 years after eBay, Google and Amazon, the new revolution is finally arriving: fragmentation.

The Internet of Things is the next “marketplace.”

The coming e-commerce world is one in which the gateways to the shopping trade will no longer be just Google and its traffic redirection, but in which it will be necessary to connect its products, stocks, orders, inventory and new products to multiple platforms, themselves connected to the Internet.

A world, therefore, in which e-commerce sites will have to be connected to the Internet of Things, not just be on the Internet

Magento and Prestashop have allowed you to put your shop on the Internet. But soon, that won’t be where the shoppers are found

Shopping Feed and other flow managers like us will allow your shop to be, at last, connected to the Internet of Things . That is, to the things that open a continuous flow of product sales in a fully connected environment.

Closing the loop

It will have been necessary to close the loop, the one that re-creates the catchment areas, to finally bring together physical and digital commerce.

Tomorrow’s e-commerce managers will be more focused on targeting the catchment areas than the traffic. We will then speak of “targeted catchment area”, and no longer of “targeted traffic”. This is the real future look of marketplaces.

Shoppingfeed syndicates search-optimized product listings on all of the world’s most powerful marketplaces, syncs and refines inventory data, perfects your listings, and automates your fulfillment workflow.