Forrester: Marketplace Operations Can Add Value

E-commerce marketplace operations are challenging for retailers. They aren’t easy to police and standardize, risking consumer and vendor wrath, but according to Forrester Research, they can be valuable.

The market research firm’s study of e-commerce marketplaces yielded four key findings:

  • The addition of a marketplace enhances the customer shopping experience. Digital consumers shop on marketplaces at least three to five times per month in large part because they allow those consumers to explore, discover and purchase multiple products and services on a single website.
  • Building trust is a central part of marketplace operations. User-generated content, such as product reviews, influences shopper buying decisions. This visibility into product and seller performance enhances shopper trust in a seller, even if that seller is unfamiliar to them.
  • Many consumers differentiate between the retailer and marketplace seller. Consumers who have a poor shopping experience are able to identify what went wrong and why. Two-fifths of consumers who have had an issue with their marketplace purchase would not purchase from that seller again but would shop with that marketplace again. If well managed, a marketplace should not affect the retailer’s brand negatively.
  • Marketplaces help build deep customer relationships. About 90% of consumers surveyed said they were satisfied with their purchase from a marketplace. This satisfaction results in increased loyalty, and that same proportion of consumers said that they would shop with the same marketplace again when purchasing a similar product.

Forrester surveyed 2,520 consumers who have shopped on multiple online marketplaces in the United States, the United Kingdom, France or Germany. In addition, Forrester interviewed five retailers who had their own marketplaces or were selling on marketplaces.