Enterprise Marketplaces are Exploding – Gartner’s Take for 2021

Today, most enterprises already recognize the necessity in having a Marketplace strategy. This means planning out how your company will reach a larger audience to sell more goods through platforms like Amazon and Alibaba or by building your own marketplace.

eCommerce trailblazers like Mike Rubin, the Founder of Fanatics, reaffirmed the importance of having a Marketplace: “When I look at our growth over the next decade, marketplaces will be a big chunk of that growth.”

Leading analyst firm, Gartner believes that “By 2023, 15% of medium-to high-gross-merchandise-value digital commerce organizations will have deployed their own marketplaces, thereby creating an entirely new digital ecosystem.” (2) 

The projected Marketplace boom has given rise to many SaaS Marketplace solution providers. Gartner recently published their first Market Guide for Marketplace Operation Applications (MOA) as a way to map the leaders in this developing space and their respective philosophies on running and scaling Marketplaces. 

Mirakl and Commerce Dynamics were vendors named in the report that represent two ends of a highly contrasting Marketplace model spectrum. 

According to Gartner, Mirakl provides “an MOA that integrates to other commerce platforms through APIs or prebuilt connectors to Adobe (Magento Commerce), SAP Commerce Cloud, and Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud.” (3) An example would be the seamless integration of third party products into Best Buy Canada’s online catalog. The intent is for third party products to feel no different than if it were sold directly by Best Buy. This strategy mirrors Amazon’s endless aisle of products that can be delivered to users for low cost, extremely quickly and at high volumes. 

Sample Mirakl Marketplaces include: Airbus Helicopters, Kroger, Best Buy Canada, Carrefour, Conrad.

On the opposite end, Commerce Dynamics takes a specialized approach to Marketplaces. Gartner’s report details that “Commerce Dynamics focuses on “trusted seller” marketplaces, in which the marketplace operator has an existing relationship with third-party seller – the Marketplaces powered by OpenCanvas are highly curated.” (3) 

Sample Commerce Dynamics Marketplaces include: MLB Marketplace, NHL Marketplace, MiLB Marketplace. 

In “The Race to the Bottom”, a report published by Commerce Dynamics, they assert that there’s another way to compete in the platform economy. “Going beyond ‘price and speed’ (allows)  Marketplace innovators to standout and capture their unique platform opportunity.” (1) Commerce Dynamics’ Marketplaces enable sellers on these platforms to stand out and differentiate. On the MLB Marketplace, each seller (e.g. The NY Yankees) has their own microsite to celebrate their unique differences.

“We believe that strong enterprises will differentiate from the Amazon model by focusing on a Marketplace experience that their buyers can’t find anywhere else. Amazon and Alibaba are still supreme but brands can compete by dominating their segment using a branded Marketplace focused on engagement, premium vendors and superior products.” 

– Michael Grieve, CEO, Commerce Dynamics 

Gartner is helping define the strategies that enterprises can adopt when they consider launching their own Marketplace. Platforms continue to re-shape the world. Enterprises have the opportunity to either master their presence on Marketplaces like Amazon or own their own Marketplace destiny. 

Sources

  1. https://www.commercedynamics.com/race-to-the-bottom/
  2. https://www.mirakl.com/mirakl-named-sample-vendor-in-gartner-hype-cycle-for-digital-commerce-2019/
  3. https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3997250