Online marketplaces are launching at an increasing rate, driven by the desire of many retailers to expand their product assortment (without the accompanying inventory risk) and to mimic the business model and success of Amazon’s marketplace. While the number of marketplaces has grown over the past year — and Merchantry expects it to increase dramatically in 2013 — online retailers face challenges offering the same level of product detail, transparency and logistical support from marketplace sales that their shoppers have come to expect. The Merchantry Report details the results of an online marketplace mystery shopping study commissioned by Merchantry and conducted by eCommerce consultancy the e-tailing group in August 2012.
Summary of Findings
The study reveals that marketplace customer experience compares unfavorably to that of eCommerce sites, particularly in regards to comprehensiveness of product information and logistics transparency.
Merchantry worked with eCommerce consultancy the e-tailing group to study tactics of online marketplaces. The study was conducted in August 2012.
Twelve sites were extensively reviewed and evaluated based on search functionality, comparable merchandising tactics from marketplace to retail, product information and customer service. Sites surveyed were Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Buy.com, Kohl’s, Newegg.com, OneStopPlus.com, Overstock.com, Sears, ShopNBC, TigerDirect and Walmart.
Researchers evaluated product listings, pricing, social media, customer service, shipping and return processes. Researchers placed orders with each marketplace and conducted queries via all available communication channels (such as phone, email and live chat).
About the e-tailing group
The e-tailing group is a niche ecommerce consultancy that helps merchants to deliver the right customer experience on their websites and across all of their channels while adeptly assisting technology companies to create and execute go-to-market strategies that simultaneously educate the retail community and deliver cost-effective thought leadership and lead generation.
Merchantry provides an eCommerce software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution that empowers retailers and media organizations to generate new revenue streams by building online marketplaces. Its extensible technology infrastructure coupled with its streamlined merchant onboarding enables expedited implementation of marketplaces. By offering product inventory supplied by third-party merchants, revenue is increased, while investment and risk is minimized. Merchantry delivers market-leading capabilities for some of the largest retail and media brands in North America and Europe. The company is headquartered in New York and has a regional office in London.