Think Different: Choosing the RIGHT Multi vendor, Commerce & Marketplace platform

Published by TRADLY TEAM on

There are 100+ Multi vendor, commerce and marketplace available in the industry. There is thousands of marketplace launched every few months across the globe. Hundreds of them get succeed sustain at first year, Handful of them grow in 1-4years as a $100million company. Some grown exponentially and some are doing great. 

Let’s go through choosing a right one through a thought process.

You have 4 Important Players in the platform   

  1. Your Customers: Your end customers who will be buying the product and services
  2. Your Sellers/Merchants: The one who will be supplying the product and services to your marketplace platform
  3. Platform Operator: You who will be managing the platform 
  4. 3rd Party Service Providers: Additional integrations and service providers like payment, shipping, ERP, Marketing, Analytical tools, etc.

Main questions you want to ask choosing Multi Vendor Commerce and Marketplace

  • Which is your target Industry? (1) 
  • Who is your target audience?  (2)
  • What is your business model? (3)
  • Is all of this are matured or emerging or still nascent? 
  • What is you long term plan? (4)
  • How much of capital and resources you have? (5)

Which is your target Industry? (1) 

Matured

  • If the business industry you are targeting is matured one like the below, the four players in the platform require very complex operations, requirements to be fulfilled. 
  • Your Merchants & Buyers: The maturity and number of years in business operation means lots of process and operation are already defined. When it’s defined, then the system must accommodate this needs. Especially different vendors need unique requirements based on their business nature.
  • Platform owner: You also want to setup different rules (commission, product catalogue, storefront, etc) and access rules to vendors.
  • Hence matured cannot transition easily and solution providers like Adobe Magento and Vtex have developed different modules to support these needs.
  • 3rd Party Service: Implementing matured solutions also request integration support and service providers who have expertise on implementing this solution. Hence it is not a self serve. 

Emerging

  • B2C business who have less than 10,000 unique products and have strong brand centric / thematic business
  • Platform owner: You want less complex features and less advanced features. What you need is simple and straightforward self managed platforms to run your business without much 3rd party involvement.  
  • Your customers: Prefer everything digital first, experience driven and not process platforms. And still the traditional retail in a different experience

Nascent

  • These industries are betting high on newly discovered business. Examples like airbnb, Uber, postmark, depop, Taskrabbit, Upwork, kickstarter and many others who are disrupting and successful in few markets. 
  • The platform owners are trying to apply this similar approach in other industries. It might be risky to build a tech to support this new models while taking risk on business model tool. Things like health platforms, social commerce, construction, storage, mining, etc.
  • This need hybrid and flexible solution to accommodate business decisions, fast to market, etc.
Target Industry Preferred Players 
Matured Industry like traditional manufacturing, automobiles, retail chain outlets, multi national traders, Single D2C with 100Million in revenue VTEX, Adobe commerce & Magento
Emerging Industry like Marketplaces, Sharing Economy  TradlyPlatform, Sharetribe
Nascent Stage like social commerce, Open C2C TradlyPlatform

This sort of transition easily take few months to launch the brand and business. 

Who is you target audience? (2)

In a matured environment

  • Most of your target audience will be the the business users with less software technology knowledge, operational minded person with strong formulated process.
  • Externally it also be different partners who might need different logics and system UI.
  • Persona working in the office, On Desktop, Using POS devices, etc.

In an emerging environment

  • Most of the them are tech savvy people who wants to do everything in a digital and new ways.
  • Examples includes new D2C brand retailers, on demand logistic providers who use mobile for almost everything. Persona who are using Shopify, Etsy, Sharing co-working spaces, etc falls under this category.
  • They will be using devices like Tablet as POS, Mobile App as a operational tool, Outsourcing most of the things to 3rd party service providers (Sharing logistics, Designs from gig workers, etc)

Still nascent environment

  • The Gen Z users who are into social shopping / commerce doing their business on instagram, Facebook, Poshmark, Upwork, Mini Product creators, Writers on mobile and selling only on amazon e-publishing, working on remote, etc.
  • They live on laptop, smartphone and apps. They mostly requires automation, mobile analytics, etc.
  • Due to Covid, This has been becoming mainstream.
Audience Players
Matured business profiles VTEX, Adobe Magento, BigCommerce
Emerging business owners Shopify, TradlyPlatform
Nascent TradlyPlatform, Sharetribe

What is your business model? (3)

Some solution providers purely focus on B2C. Some focus on multi method and hybrid model. When you are choosing the commerce platform, you need to consider your long term business strategy. 

  • Do you want to be on just one industry? Consider a commerce provider who supports multi industry 
  • Do you want to evolve from B2C to B2B and also exposing your product to other marketplace? Then you need to consider who provide NATIVE, Marketplace technology and integrated solution who can allow you to easily transition instead of building one. 
Model Players
B2C Magento, Shopify, 
B2B Megento, Bigcommerce,
C2C, Social Commerce TradlyPlatform, 
Sharing economy like airbnb, task rabbit TradlyPlatform, Sharetribe

What is you long term technology plan? (4)

  • Do you want to sometime migrate the front end to your own solution? Consider an API first commerce solution provider who can expose all the backend systems via API, so you can build additional apps on top of it and also do integrations with API. #APIfirst
  • Do you want to connect commerce to every possible experiences?  (Like Standalone Kiosk, IOT Devices, Apps, Digital banners, Smart watch?) #DeviceAgnostic
  • Do you want to have different modules to be working standalone and loose coupled? ( Order and Transaction management only product, Social feed product, Tracking and fulfilment app, Catalog management system, etc)
  • Do you want to build everything in house or you want to use external tools? If you need external tools/app, then you need to consider a provider who has a app/extension marketplace to natively enable additional features.

How much of capital and resources you have? (5)

  • Do you have 100+ team to run your IT operations? As common, You will be building on you own or go after low code development approach
  • Do you have 25+ team, solution and service providers who can support your business? Adobe commerce, Big commerce or any other headless solution
  • Do you have lean or plan to have lean team? Better an out of box solution with sustainable fee, good roadmap, solid product and collaborative support team.

Exclusion

We have excluded companies in the below list due to their target audience and cost of solution being towards the fortune500 and licence cost easily touches 100K to few millions

  1. Oracle Commerce
  2. Salesforce commerce cloud
  3. Commercetools
  4. SAP

Conclusion 

Consider the four players on their needs when choosing the right multi vendor and commerce platform. 

  • Avoid choosing the platform on what they are now with the features but where they are heading to looking at their roadmap clearly.  (Think long term)
  • Do not get sold by just looking at the famous brand list in their customers list. If the famous brand has made a mistake, you will follow the same mistake
  • Choose one or two commerce solution provider who can be sustainable for you. You may succeed the game if your resources and capital can be spend on something sustainable for you on the long run. 

Still need an assistance to choose a right platform? We offer a supportive consultation with internal private assessments sheet which you can use it to rank and find the right players. Just submit the form on tradly.app with a message hint “Consultation or Assessment Sheet”


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