Are Online Marketplaces The Future Of
Increasing adoption of e-commerce marketplaces isn’t just benefitting customers. E-tailers are also reaping the rewards of selling on online shopping platforms.
The use of e-commerce marketplaces is on the rise – and our region is seeing an endless choice of platforms. Global players like eBay rub shoulders with Asian powerhouses such as Lazada, Shopee and Rakuten. African consumers are shopping on Jumia and Takealot, while shoppers in the Middle East are making purchases on Noon and Desertcart. And dozens of smaller start-ups are emerging all the time, providing platforms for SMEs to sell their products and offer more choice and convenience for customers.
The white paper shows that over half of consumers across AMEA already buy exclusively through marketplaces, accounting for a 79% share of all e-commerce spend. E-tailers are taking actions to respond – over two-fifths of SMEs now sell on marketplaces only, compared with a quarter who only sell to customers direct. Those polled in our survey recognized that marketplaces offer a more democratic way of shopping that caters to all types – and ages – of customers.
The benefits of marketplaces for shoppers are obvious. Consumers can browse far more products and have greater choice than they would have on a single-vendor site. For e-merchants, it’s a little more nuanced. Major benefits are that SMES get to sell across multiple platforms; no longer limited to their own website, they gain access to customers and traffic they never would have reached before. Other perceived benefits are ease and speed of set-up and lower costs or financial risks.
Marketplaces are just one option in the multi-channel mix
To succeed in e-commerce, SMEs need to maintain an independent channel; operating an omnichannel sales strategy with both marketplace and direct site presence.
SMEs can optimize their own site functionality and UX/UI (user experience and user interface) to help build brand awareness and deliver an enhanced service to repeat customers.
At FedEx, we’ve responded to the needs of e-commerce businesses we work with to integrate our shipping services with leading platforms right across the region. In 2021, we launched our Compatible and Alliances programs, enabling e-tailers to gain instant access to our shipping solutions and sell effortlessly on e-commerce platforms.
Delivering wins with our Compatible and Alliances program
There’s a lot to be said for simplicity. Under the FedEx Compatible program, our customers can generate FedEx shipping labels and access shipping and documentation features without leaving the e-commerce or marketplace platforms. They can also manage orders from multiple channels – both marketplaces and direct channels - all under one roof.
End-consumers benefit too, as they’re offered a range of shipping options at the check-out, from fastest and most expensive to cheaper and slower. Additional options and added convenience help to enhance the customer experience.
At the same time, the Alliances program allows all partners in the e-commerce ecosystem, including online shipping providers, to offer their online customers direct access to FedEx services at favorable rates.
Looking ahead, one thing seems obvious. All e-commerce players will need to remain agile in the face of shifting trends, and maintain an omnichannel strategy to stay visible and shoppable across all platforms. And what does the future of e-commerce hold in store? Will consumers increasingly shift away from making direct purchases from brands? How will marketplaces position themselves to lure buyers and sellers? As the e-commerce landscape continues to evolve, we’re excited to see what comes next.
For more insights from our report and to download the white paper in full, head here.
300 SMEs with less than 250 employees engaged in e-commerce were polled in each market alongside 500 consumers (1,000 in India) over the age of 18. To access the individual market report for each region, click on the name of the market above.