You may not realize this, but you probably interact on open marketplaces all the time. If you’ve ever bought a Groupon or sold something on eBay, then yes, you have!
The crux of an open marketplace is that buyers and sellers interact freely and the platform itself allows for transactions to take place. The demand for these types of exchanges has only grown across industries, mostly because of the convenience they offer as well as the expanded opportunities for buyers and sellers. When supply and demand meet, it’s beneficial to all parties.
Open Marketplaces See Record Growth
Open marketplaces aren’t new, but they are growing. There are really no limitations on the continued and future growth of online marketplaces. Internet Retailer’s “Online Marketplaces: A Global Phenomenon” reported that sales on online marketplaces reached $1 trillion in 2016. Additional research from UPS in “The UPS Pulse of the Online Shopper” determined that 32% of respondents found brands on marketplaces. This data firmly cements the online marketplace as the future of commerce.
It’s also what consumers are used to, everywhere but the green industry, one of the few industries that didn’t have a streamlined marketplace until recently.
Building the Platform
Marketplaces are growing in popularity but they’re not easy to get moving. Building the platform takes capital, work, and insight into how the current marketplace is operating. A successful platform has to offer a solution or improve the lives of the and sellers.
The solution for the green industry
The primary solution provided by a nursery and landscape supply online marketplace is to expand options on both sides of the transaction.
Buyers, typically landscaping companies, landscape designers, public gardens, zoos, golf courses, and municipal entities, can, by participating in a marketplace, source plants and hardgood products from multiple suppliers. This allows them to meet their budget without compromising quality or selection. Further, with such a marketplace, delivery can be coordinated as well. What once took hours now may take only minutes.
Suppliers also get to expand their market. Without an online marketplace, it would be much harder to survive in an e-commerce world and the burden would fall on individual businesses. Expenses for marketing including pay-per-click and social media advertising would be wholly absorbed on their own. When suppliers join a marketplace, the customers are already there. Because a platform vets both sides of the transaction, there is a level of trust built-in to the process. Buyers won’t be hesitant to try the new supplier and suppliers have guaranteed sales.
Online Marketplaces Level the Playing Field
You don’t have to be the biggest name in the industry to make a marketplace work for you. Everyone has the ability to compete. If you have the right product at a competitive price, then you’re in the running. Likewise for smaller buyers, before, suppliers may have viewed you as less of a priority because of your lower purchase volumes. In a marketplace, you have access to everything larger buyers can purchase, and at the same competitive prices.
Being a member of a marketplace also makes the system more transparent. This transparency is actually in every step of the new supply chain. When everything is visible, markets operate better.
How are Marketplaces Different from E-commerce websites?
Online marketplaces consolidate purchasing activities from multiple suppliers onto one site. While it’s no secret that most landscaping businesses shop online, everyone still suffers from a fractured supply chain, hopping around to multiple sites to price check or complete orders.
It’s a huge time suck, and also increases likelihood of mistakes.
Buying complexity makes it harder to reconcile purchases and puts a strain on the supply chain at every level by splitting orders, resulting in jobs starting with only half of the materials onsite. Marketplaces eliminate these issues while preserving the ability to order from multiple suppliers.
Tune in next week for our final segment on going digital in the green industry!