ONLINE MARKETPLACES ARE FRONT AND CENTER
Standing in the Great Hall at the State Room in Boston on July 10th, a couple things became clear; the online marketplace model is being adopted by some incredibly forward-thinking organizations, and the notion of platforming your business is far more than just the latest buzzword. Even with the momentum demonstrated at this event, the term “online marketplace” still means different things to different people as a matter of perspective.
When most retailers or distributors think online marketplace, they see an opportunity to leverage marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart, eBay, Rakuten, and others as additional sales channels for their offerings. When attendees of this event think online marketplace, they see an opportunity to make their business a platform that enables others to sell and connect with their buyers. They see the ability to offer endless aisle selection and a better customer experience. They see an invaluable source of market research and increased profits. They see the opportunity to seize an opportunity for market position before someone else beats them to it. For these leaders, the perspective is all about the online marketplace model being the 3.0 iteration of Ecommerce. First we transacted online, then we interacted online, and now we break down barriers and cross borders – architecting digital commerce platforms – not just stores. That’s what this event was about…the dawn of the marketplace economy and the visionary early-adopters positioning their organizations to dominate.
INTENSELY FOCUSED FORMAT
While juggernaut technology events have their purposes and their charms, more focused events like this have come along emphasizing education, demonstrating experience, and illustrating real-world possibilities in place of the over-selling and commercialism seen at many of the larger events. When you strip away the circus and focus on the content, you get an event like The Marketplace & Platform Summit, combining real-world marketplace success stories and expertise with art-of-the possible instruction and thought leadership from some of the brightest minds in the Ecommerce space.
The event opened with a networking gathering surrounded by harbor and city views of the State Room, followed by a sit-down lunch in the uppermost floor of the space. There was an energetic buzz at lunch as conversation was lively and table-hopping was frequent. After lunch, everyone was directed into the Great Room area for an opening by Mirakl’s Global VP, Marketing, Jessica Iandiorio, followed by Mirakl CEO Adrien Nussenbaum speaking about marketplaces as ecosystems that will fuel the future of digital commerce. The packed Great Room was then treated to a roundtable discussion from top retailers about how they are using the marketplace model to grow and innovate. This panel included leaders such as McFadyen client Jon Fahrner of Albertsons Companies, Antonio Guichard, Liverpool’s CDO, and Tony Chivari, Enterprise Marketing leader for 1800Flowers.com, and ranged from gaining invaluable insights into customer needs, to offering endless aisle selection, to improving the overall customer experience.
The topic then turned to how the marketplace model is reordering business boundaries and creating new opportunities, presented by McKinsey & Company Senior Partner Venkhat Atluri. The intersection of existing business models and the creation of entirely new models with the advent and popularization of the marketplace model makes international commerce more possible than ever. New possibilities was also one of the themes of the “The $9 Trillion Platform Revolution” where Mirakl’s Tzipi Avioz expertly moderated a roundtable discussion with Nick Ostergaard of Toyota Material Handling and Christopher Shen of HP Enterprise, discussing the possibilities for B2B online marketplaces.
THE MARKETPLACE MASTER CLASSES
While the customer stories and art-of-the-possible presentations were as valuable as they were well received, the deep educational component was contained in the dueling 90-minute Master Classes. McFadyen Digital’s Tom McFadyen presented The Marketplace Maturity model, an original model used to help guide Ecommerce operators through 5 Marketplace Maturity Steps from the typical 1st-party Ecommerce, though to creating and then optimizing a 3rd-party marketplace. Attendees learned about the 5 maturity stages, then about the various strategic, technical, and operational steps required to mature from stage to stage. When put into practice, these lessons can help an organization define a maturity roadmap for their marketplace as well as establishing benchmarks and measurements to gauge the health of their marketplace. Brady Emerson from Deloitte Digital presented the other Master Class session, which covered the topic of platforming your business and how the marketplace model has reinvented the way we do business, and changed how we think about customer engagement and customer relationships.
Both Master Classes seemed very well received, earning high marks and undoubtedly spawning countless ideas in the minds of the attendees.
AND ABOUT THAT NETWORKING…
The latter part of the event saw the audience learn about Best Buy Canada’s incredible 3-year marketplace journey, a Mirakl platform update, and a thought-provoking session with Mr. Nussenbaum and Bain Capital’s Scott Friend, titled Getting Your Company to 2019. Following the end of the presentations was a Cocktail Reception with a live trio, then a Bastille Day party complete with a live ten-piece band.
This brings me to the final point I wanted to make about this event…the networking was awesome. From the Lunch, to the break in the middle of the afternoon, to the two post event social gatherings, there was a very social vibe at the 2019 Marketplace & Platform Summit. And while Mirakl’s Bastille Day parties have been aptly described as “Epic” and “memory erasing”, there’s no forgetting the dozens of incredible conversations we had during these breaks, often spurred on by the content in the sessions. These kinds of meaningful interactions are the hallmark of a good event, and this one had them in spades.
THAT’S A WRAP
The McFadyen Digital Team would like to sincerely thank the Mirakl team for putting on such a great event, thank our fellow sponsors for making it happen, and thank all of the presenters and attendees for the amazing stories, content, and conversations. For those who we spoke with, we look forward to continuing the conversations. For those who may have questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re experts on the Mirakl platform, have been implementing award-winning marketplaces for over 10 years, and would love to learn how we can help you succeed.
Download your copy of the Marketplace Maturity Model with Marketplace Enablement Steps.
CMO & Digital Marketing Practice Lead