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13 marketplace trends to watch out for in 2022

13 trends marketplaces

Marketplaces undergo continuous change. COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on the trends and opportunities regarding marketplaces. In this article, we discuss existing and new trends in the marketplace space, and we give helpful tips to turn them to your advantage. Let us dive in!

1. Omnichannel strategy

One of the most important trends for marketplace managers is omnichannel selling. Companies with strong omnichannel customer engagement, on average, retain 89% of their customers. This is compared to 33% for companies with weak omnichannel customer engagement (0).

Learn about your customers, choose the right channels, define clear goals for these channels and keep testing your marketing strategy to get the desired results.

2. Niche marketplaces / vertical marketplaces

The ‘all-in-one marketplace’ market has been saturated to such a degree that the independent newcomers have little chance of making an impact. Although an online store like Amazon seems unconquerable, its weakness lies in the ‘horizontal’ approach to the market. ‘Vertical’ marketplaces can capitalize on this inherent weakness. A few examples of vertical marketplaces are Etsy and Airbnb.

3. Social media shopping

Shopping is a social experience. Although online shopping is very convenient, it misses many traditional shopping aspects. With social shopping, you can come close to the real-life experience. You can share opinions with contacts and friends or receive product feedback and suggestions. Social shopping is increasing in popularity. Here are some metrics that will blow your mind:

  • 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their purchase decision (1).
  • Brands that offer stellar service through social media are 71% more likely to have their products recommended to others (2).
  • 34.5% of customers choose social media for customer service contact (3).
  • 90% of Instagram users follow business profiles (4).
  • Millennials spend on average 5.4 hours a day with user-generated content (5).
  • 1.66 billion people log onto Facebook daily and spend, on average, 58 minutes (6).

There is little doubt that social shopping will become an important sales channel for many businesses.

4. The role of artificial intelligence

An example of AI that you encounter when shopping online is a chatbot. The algorithm most bots use is continuously learning from past conversations to improve future ones. AI allows the chatbot to respond to unique queries and personalize the response. Besides chatbots, AI will play a substantial role in data analysis. Good AI algorithms will be able to interpret data from API’s and user data to build analysis and insights that were not previously possible, giving marketplace managers an edge over others. It is expected that around $49 billion is spent on AI by e-commerce businesses in 2022 (7).

5. Sustainability

50% of consumers report a willingness to pay more for an environmentally friendly product or service (8). These are the areas you can improve your sustainability to cater to future consumer demands:

  • Biodegradable packaging
  • No wasted space in a package
  • Efficient shipping/returns
  • Not destroying surplus goods

6. Voice commerce

Another trend in the marketplace space is voice commerce. 72% of people say they have performed a search through a digital assistant. The market for voice commerce is expected to be $40 billion by 2022 (9, 10). As a marketplace manager, you can optimize your content to be more effective for voice commerce. These are the main levers you can pull:

  • Speech search is long tail, optimize your content for this (Adshark visualization).
  • Structure your keyword research around questions and answers, rather than single keywords or phrases.
  • Use a wide range of terminology to provide a more varied set of keywords and phrases so that you cover all relevant ways of asking a question.
  • Optimize your content for each smart speaker. For example, Alexa uses the Bing search engine whereas Siri mainly searches through Google.

7. Combination online/offline

One could assume that the growth of online marketplaces is going to bring an inevitable end to brick-and-mortar stores. However, current trends indicate that the online marketplaces will use the offline presence to strengthen their business. There are a couple of reasons for this:

  • Impulse purchases are more prevalent in physical shopping.
  • Certain items have a higher conversion rate when people can view/touch them in person.
  • Brands can build a stronger brand relationship with buyers by creating a unique experience.
  • Cross and up-sell are easier.

8. Overall growth

B2C online sales via marketplaces are forecast to increase by a 14% CAGR to $4.7 trillion by 2025, with marketplaces capturing a 61% share of total B2C sales. A noteworthy trend covered by Pattern in their report about European e-commerce (11), showed that online marketplaces are on their way up in 2020. Almost 60% of all euros spent on e-commerce was accounted for by marketplaces.

9. Advertising

Ranking first organically does not mean as much on marketplaces as it does on Google. Take for example Amazon. Amazon has increased the visibility of paid ads. Therefore, organic results may not even show until the bottom or the middle of the search results.

trend: sponsored products & brands on Amazon

As with almost anything Amazon does, it is expected that other platforms will adopt this advertisement approach to maximize revenue and profits. As a marketplace manager, you seldom compete without advertising, as more than 70% of customers search for products with the search bar on Amazon.

10. Mobile shopping

In recent years mobile commerce has grown substantially. Data shows that this marketplace trend is here to stay. It is expected that in 2022 ~73% (or $3.5 trillion) will be the mobile share in total e-commerce sales. As a marketplace manager, you should adjust your content to be mobile-friendly. Although most of this work is done by the marketplace, it is important to keep the end-user and its preferred device in mind.

11. New payment options

Providing customers with as many payment gateways as possible will increase your conversion rate, and improve the customer experience. These are the main ones to look out for:

  • Digital wallets (Google Pay, Apple Pay, PayPal, etc.)
  • Post purchase payment (Afterpay, Klarna, etc.)
  • Cryptocurrencies

12. Acquisitions

Investment parties are buying e-commerce businesses from entrepreneurs that have hit their ceiling on marketplaces, to grow them further. Start-up Dwarfs recently acquired 22 million growth capital to acquire marketplace businesses. We can expect more companies like Dwarfs to start doing this, which will make the marketplace space much more competitive.

13. New tools

E-Tailize is a tool that will enable you to easily connect your webshop to desired marketplaces, enabling you to build ads and push product placements easily and optimize your product flow. If you’re a data geek like we are, you can use our AI-based data analytics to get unique insights (like data gaps) and data about the market, competitors, products, and advertisements.

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