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IRCE 2018 Recap: The Amazonification of the Ecommerce Model

IRCE 2018 Recap: The Amazonification of the Ecommerce Model


IRCE 2018 Show FloorIRCE is an ever-evolving experience, ebbing and flowing with the realities and trends of the retail and ecommerce. As the show says farewell to McCormick West, moving across the street next year as part of the larger Retail X show, we saw a mature conference where the user experience was clearly paramount and, for the first time, the ecommerce operator journey was mapped out and applied to to the show by FitForCommerce.

McFadyen Digital continued our long-standing IRCE sponsor status this year by exhibiting in a 10′ x 20′ space in booth #919 with a special guest host from platform partner Mirakl. Our focus was on the both online marketplace model via the Mirakl platform and the benefits of ecommerce in the cloud via platforms like Oracle Commerce Cloud and Magento Cloud. With well over 100 prospects, customers, and partners stopping by our booth to ask questions or talk shop, plus attending keynotes, sessions, and events, we got a solid bead on the themes and hot topics at this year’s show. The following represent our impressions:


McFadyen Digital at IRCE 2018While Amazon had no official presence at IRCE 2018, their influence was an almost obnoxious-level of obvious. The IRCE show has never seen such a focus on marketplaces and Amazon is a large reason why. Services geared towards the optimization of business and product listings on the like of the Amazon Marketplace, Walmart Marketplace, Ebay, Etsy, Rakuten, etc., have been present at these industry shows for a few years now, but this seemed like the first time they were as present as more common needs such as ecommerce platforms and digital marketing. Given that Amazon now accounts for almost half of US ecommerce, largely on the strength of their 3rd-party Marketplace, it’s safe to say that they are the most important of the lot and must be doing something right. An astonishing amount of people are looking to push their products and their brands onto these Marketplace exchanges. However, this also means that Amazon and other operators have proven the model.


McFadyen's Jeff Matteus explains the anatomy of a marketplace to an attendee.“Add a Marketplace to Any Ecommerce Platform” is the headline of a banner that McFadyen has been using since IRCE 2017. This has elicited much confusion over the past year, as businesses approach us about helping push their products to the Amazons and Walmarts of the world. Pushing and selling on another’s marketplace is a perfectly fine business model for many, but you do lose out on creating your own customer experience, you lose out on long-term customer development, and you lose-out on gaining intelligence about what your customers want. What McFadyen offers is a marketplace “pull” solution, rather than the more common “push”. We leverage the Mirakl marketplace platform to create your OWN Amazon marketplace. One where you are the center of the action, selected 3rd parties list on your exchange, and you gain the ownership of the customer, their experience, and the intelligence they provide. By using the very model that Amazon and so many others have been kind enough to prove, just about any large organization can benefit from adopting the marketplace model.

The 2018 iteration of IRCE marked a turning-point, based on the conversations we were having. It was a lot less of folks asking conceptually about the marketplace model, instead, opening with more specific questions about how to select new categories, how to onboard their own 3rd party sellers, how to plan a growth strategy for the marketplace model, and how to ensure consistent iteration of the user experience as the new model succeeds.


As with all growth areas, and, as the saying goes;  a rising tide raises all boats. The growth of the marketplace model is benefitting more businesses than ever as more than half of global ecommerce will be conducted on marketplaces this year. Whether you are pushing your products to marketplaces or pulling products onto your own, we’re all going to need a bigger boat pretty soon, or – at the very least – continue pushing the user experience forward. Competition breeds better customer experiences, better service, and innovations like user-contributed content and marketplaces. Game on!

If your organization would like to explore creating their own marketplace, please contact us at info@mcfadyen.com.

Thomas Gaydos
CMO & Digital Marketing Practice Lead
McFadyen Digital

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