Commerce has evolved dramatically, and we witness the massive shift in the retail landscape. Companies are trying to keep ahead in the competition by seeking new strategies and products. The SARS crisis brought about Alibaba and similar Online Marketplaces in China that boomed in the last 15 years.

Similarly, Covid-19- pandemic has also brought about a need for more robust, digitalized, and customized Online Marketplaces. Online Marketplace is not a new concept. We have been living in an era of Amazon, eBay, Flipkart and so many more.But the increased demand for owning a customized Online Marketplace has risen multifold. Specialized and Industry specific marketplaces are being sought after

The shift in paradigm is characteristically responsive to the shift in consumer buying pattern. Online buying is no longer a choice but a compulsive need. The concept was taken apprehensively by the elders before the Covid-19 era. But no longer is that the case. We see literally everyone shopping online these days. It is a no brainer that Online Marketplaces core offering has always been Convenience. And we are in an era where convenience beats price. Most of us are ready to pay that extra buck for convenience. Although with intensified online price competition, customers do not really need to worry about the additional cost. Coupons, sign up free goodies, bulk order discounts, and so many more ways to save money. And with the social distancing and #stayathome, online shopping helps assuring that pandemic does not blowback.

While each brand had its own commerce site, the rush for having a full pack has tremendously increased. Aggregators have also boomed in the last 18 months.

But what is amusing is that brands are looking for Cognitive options that prepare them for at least next 5 years. Not just an online store but they are looking out for customized Online Marketplace solution that could integrate their current systems as well as take them a step ahead in competition. Things like Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence are all being integrated in the offerings. The recently launched or the upcoming Online Marketplaces assures the end customer enjoys a virtual “shopping mall” experience.

Logistics have become a custom fit offering to make deliveries easy and seamless. Concepts like Swiggy Genie have taken the overload of delivering door to door. Otherwise employing a logistic fleet to fulfill orders was a huge liability for the relatively small brands. So much has evolved in this crisis. Had the pandemic not happened, the exponential growth that we witness in online business, could have taken as much as half a decade to reach this point.

What you need to look out for are the new features that enable your Online Marketplace to be ready for the next 5 years. You do not want to keep switching or massively upgrading all the time. Some of the AI and VR driven inbuilt capabilities are enabling Visual Search and Voice Commerce.

Today the businesses need a centralized system that offers Order Management (OMS), Catalog Management, and Buyer and Seller Collaboration in one place. The users should not juggle between multiple products and technologies to find what they need. Merchandisers, Sellers, Buyers, Customer Service, Purchase Department, Logistics Partners, and Marketing Managers etc. should use one system to collaborate.

B2B marketplaces solutions have specific requirements related to contracts, Request for Quote (RFQ) and Negotiations. Such marketplaces should be flexible enough to cater most business uses across different industry verticals. So when you search for a solution provider, ensure that your Online Marketplace has all these features and is ready to take you a leap ahead!

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