|[September 11, 2012]
Merchantry Issues First-of-Its-Kind Report on the State of Online Marketplaces
NEW YORK --(Business Wire)--
eCommerce marketplace technology provider Merchantry
today released The
Merchantry Report: The State of Online Marketplaces. Merchantry,
which expedites the implementation of marketplaces for retailers and
media companies, worked with eCommerce consultancy the
e-tailing group to study tactics of online marketplaces, leveraging
its 15-year mystery shopping track record. While online marketplaces
offer additional revenue opportunities for retailers and merchants, the
study found that there are many areas to improve upon before retailers
can fully realize the benefits of these marketplaces.
Twelve sites were extensively reviewed and evaluated based on search
functionality, comparable merchandising tactics from marketplace to
retail, product information and customer service. Researchers placed
orders with each marketplace and conducted queries via all available
communication channels. The results demonstrate that online retailers
face challenges offering their marketplace shoppers the same level of
product detail, transparency and logistical support online shoppers have
come to expect and rely on.
"Profit-maximizing practices that have become standard in the eCommerce
industry are not consistently applied on marketplaces, where we found
incomplete product information, limited functionality and inadequate
customer experiences," said Lauren Freedman (News - Alert), president of the e-tailing
group, which issues the EG100 annual eCommerce mystery shopping survey
of 100 online retailers. "Details are ultimately what matter to
shoppers. Given our findings, online marketplace shoppers would face
many disappointments on the path to purchase; marketplaces have to
better capitalize on selling and service fundamentals to retain
Sites surveyed for The Merchantry Report were Amazon, Barnes &
Noble, Best Buy (News - Alert), 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. Key findings of the report include the
Marketplace products are not extended the same functionality as
Only 39 percent of marketplace products could be added to a wish list
versus 83 percent of retailer-owned products.
Gift registry functionality was available on just half of marketplace
Retailers that provide free shipping extend the offer to marketplace
products only 33 percent of the time.
While the majority of eCommerce sites incorporate social media tools,
the majority of online marketplace products do not have social media
Marketplace product information is often incomplete.
Only 50 percent of marketplace product listings state seller/merchant
Less than half of marketplace products feature customer ratings.
Only 20 percent of product pages have enhanced guides or videos.
Logistics are inconsistent for marketplace products as compared to
Out-of-stock inventory notifications are universal but processing
times are not often shown.
The average time for customers to receive marketplace orders was high
(4.57 days) - more than one day longer than the industry average (as
reported by the e-tailing group).
Conducting marketplace product returns is more difficult as not all
merchants include complete information (e.g., how to return, to whom
Cross-channel services are not in place for pick-up or returns for
online marketplace shoppers.
Email responses were incomplete or they redirected customers to the
marketplace sellers/manufacturers more than half the time (55 percent).
"The results of the report highlight that a mix of business, operational
and technical factors must be considered when building and establishing
online marketplaces," said Tommaso Trionfi, CEO of Merchantry. "A number
of the existing operational and technical challenges could be alleviated
by implementing a marketplace platform."
Online marketplaces offer additional revenue opportunities for retailers
and merchants. Retailers can easily expand product selection while
merchants achieve broader distribution. According to Forrester (News - Alert) analyst
Sucharita Mulpuru in the May 2012 report Why Every Retailer Needs an
Online Marketplace, "Technical execution [of marketplaces] is easier
than ever. The technology investment for those retailers that want to
build an online marketplace should not be underestimated but while in
the past there has not been a plug-and-play solution for marketplace
owners, companies like Merchantry provide this service and enable a
relatively easy execution."
Merchantry, originally founded in 2004 as Ixtens, built the catalog
management technology behind some of the world's largest online
retailers. Leveraging its core competencies in catalog management and
multi-channel distribution, in-depth understanding of eCommerce retail
and experience with Amazon and other retail clients, Merchantry
developed the first enterprise-class SaaS (News - Alert) marketplace platform. The
company now enables retailers, media companies and merchants to generate
new revenue streams - retailers can expand product assortment without
investing in inventory, while publishers are able to further monetize
content - ultimately providing online shoppers with a more diverse or
curated product selection and greater convenience. Merchantry's
streamlined merchant onboarding and flexible multi-channel management
gives clients the agility to capitalize on new opportunities such as
mobile, flash sales and international eCommerce. Interested retailers,
merchants and media companies can visit http://www.merchantry.com
for more information.
A webinar discussing the report and its results will be held on
September 19, 2012. To register, visit merchantry.com/resources/webinars.
To access full report details, visit merchantry.com/the-merchantry-report.
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. For more information, visit http://www.merchantry.com.
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