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Marketplaces are becoming a common need for online sellers, for many reasons. With the pandemic giving a boost to online shopping, many companies have tried to take advantage of the increased activity in this space. But this has also driven increased competition, as companies who previously didn’t sell online or only had a minor presence, build up their sites to attract customers.

To compete in this landscape, one way to increase hits to your site is to expand your product catalog. When you sell more products, customers are more likely to discover your site in the first place through searches or relevant ads. And once they’ve arrived at your site, with more products available, the more likely it is that you’ll have what they want, leading to increased cart size through recommending related products or simply getting customers to buy additional products that fit their profile. By meeting more of their needs, customers are more likely to come back in the future for additional purchases.

Of course, expanding your product catalog organically is not easy – you need to identify the types of products you want to add, source them or manufacture them, manage the product information and pricing, acquire and manage inventory across distribution centres or physical stores, and finally fulfil orders using a larger set of products. All of this has cost and risk associated with it, and it also has a long runway before you can make those products available in your online store.

With marketplaces, most of that cost and risk is taken on by the marketplace sellers. The timeline is also greatly shortened, since the sellers already have products available for sale. All that’s required is to onboard the desired sellers to your marketplace, and then they will provide the new products, along with all the information needed to present them and make them available for sale on the storefront. They also typically manage their own inventory and fulfil their part of the order, taking that work away from you. In this way, you can provide more value and convenience to your customers, without the downsides of expanding your own product line.

Of course, to do this requires that you first enable a marketplace capability in your existing commerce implementation. One way to do that is to use a 3rdparty Marketplace vendor, of which there are several on the market. However, there are many advantages to using a built-in Marketplace capability, such as we are releasing in HCL Commerce.

  • As with any 3rdparty solution, an integration is required if you do not choose a marketplace that is already part of a commerce platform.
  • Data like product information and prices is repeated in multiple places and must be kept in sync.
  • You have yet another system that must be managed. It requires skills that must be learned/acquired by your organization.
  • You need to consider non-functional requirements like performance, scalability, security, etc. Will it perform to the same level as your existing site? Do you have the sorts of skills to tune it as well?
  • In addition, business users will have to access a different set of tools and learn how to use those. Essentially, it’s a second separate commerce system that needs to be managed and maintained.

With a built-in solution, there are no new skills to learn. The existing capability is leveraged to enable Marketplaces. Non-functional metrics like performance follow the same architecture as the rest of your Commerce system. And functionally, it is the same as well. Catalog data is in the same table structure. Multi-site inheritance works the same way (providing your solution offers this capability). The authoring process is the same. Even customizations that enhance the experience can be re-used. You already have the skills inside your organization to run a marketplace on your existing system. All you need is the built-in capability.

With HCL Commerce there is no additional cost for a marketplace solution. This capability is part of the platform and is not an add-on and is available in v9.1.11 for all customers out of the box.


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Further Reading
fast ecommerce track to a competitive edge
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Today’s Marketplace Technology: A Fast E-Commerce Track to a Competitive Edge
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Creating B2C-like online shopping experiences in B2B
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Creating B2C-Like Online Shopping Experiences in B2B
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