What will this year hold for marketplace sellers? Understanding which direction the market is moving can help merchants plan their strategies for a successful trading year. Today Tamebay will look at the main marketplace trends that look set to take off in 2019.
Cross-border consumption, cross-border expansion
Borders are merging as consumption of exclusive products grows in popularity. Shoppers want to get a hold of goods that aren’t available in their countries. This might come as a result of globalisation or ever-changing customer behaviour. Globalisation or not, but merchants who want a profitable trading year need to deliver on customers’ desires.
Chinese shoppers, in particular, are now keen to purchase on demand pan-European brands. JD.com saw high purchasing volumes of European products including Dyson Airwrap, Sephora, Hansgrohe and Grohe. The marketplace say that it sees the future of borderless retailing that will allow a seamless cross-border consumption.
Selling to a global arena presents a financial opportunity. The advantages are two-fold. While a seller knows how to market products for its local shoppers, it can expand its range of customer expertise by studying foreign customers. Merchants can accelerate an understanding of regional market demand by setting up a support team to help them create a localised set of services. Non-domestic consumers are also more likely to buy high-ticket items in comparison to home shoppers who are familiar with local prices.
Of the pioneers of international expansion is Alibaba which have signed a partnership deal with a European distributor in a bid to establish itself in Europe. The marketplace is already working on developing a logistics centre in Liège, Brussels to increase the shipping efficiency of pan-European goods to China and vice versa.
Meanwhile, Amazon are losing no time in the cross-border expansion game. Last year, the marketplace launched their third ecommerce park Ningbo, China as part of their global selling initiative. Amazon have strategically chosen the location to support a localised international ecommerce export industry to help merchants expand their businesses.
Despite the commonly-used word ‘uncertainty’ in association with Brexit, it’s certain that it will become one of the biggest talks of 2019.
While no one really knows what exact issues merchants will face as a result of Brexit, GFS commercial director argues that they can start preparing themselves by understanding how different withdrawal scenarios will affect their business.
Robots vs humans
While there’s a fiery debate on whether the future will see robots replacing the humans. Amazon is again looking at the hot issue through their creative lens. Their logic is why not use robots to help humans.
Just before Christmas Amazon have announced a new hiring initiative of experts in robotics to design a speculated home robot. The marketplace are aiming to design a ‘lovable” and “essential” product for their customers. It will see a team of specialists putting in their psychological, environmental expertise into the product’s development. The device will also require similar mechanisms to Amazon Echo such as voice-activation.
Amazon are trendsetting a digital path of robotic assistants, but will we see other marketplaces following their steps in 2019? Not necessarily. Other leaders in the field might start their robotics journey by introducing automation to support their warehouses, delivery and logistics. While Amazon have now moved beyond this point when it introduced 75000 robots throughout 2017 to their fulfiment network, others can follow their automation strategy to accelerate their warehouse operations.
“Alexa, what’s the weather like right now?”
Voice-assisted devices are becoming our ‘digital-friends’ as they assist us in our daily requests whether it’s weather forecasting, playing a song or setting up a timer. As a result, shoppers no longer have to type in their burning questions a device akin to a personal assistant can do the job for them within seconds.
But is there a space for Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Home smart speakers in the shopping arena? My answer is that consumers need to be shown how to use them for online shopping. Marketplaces need to adopt solid strategies that will promote the use of smart speakers when it comes to buying. The comfort of buying from home and hands-free assistance is already on their side.