What Does it Take to Become “The Marketplace Experts”?
In its 33-year journey that started in 1989, McFadyen Digital has completed over 250 large-scale eCommerce marketplace projects for prestigious clients, including several dozen of the Fortune 500. The company has been focused on marketplace strategy and implementations to launch and grow enterprise marketplace at scale in a journey that began over fifteen years ago.
2021 was a watershed year for McFadyen Digital that continued to drive client successes through transformative business models and innovative technologies. We ensured that our client’s customers were delighted by scalable and profitable shopping experiences and that their seller communities remain informed and active.
We are excited to enter 2022 with a new tagline that truly defines who we are and what we have become in this long and exciting journey– “The Marketplace Experts.” Let’s try and deconstruct the making of marketplace experts and look at how we have earned such a designation.
#1 We’ve Been Building Marketplaces for Over 15 Years
While the marketplace model has become extremely popular, McFadyen Digital actually developed some of the earliest marketplaces on the web. Whether speaking about the two marketplaces built for the US Military or one of the largest early marketplaces in Teleflora, we were one of the early development and advisory pioneers of the marketplace space. Additionally, we have been in the digital commerce industry for over three decades, predating the likes of Amazon. With over twenty years of experience with large enterprise commerce projects, our strategy, technology, design, and ongoing innovation services delivered from our US, Brazil, and India offices provide scalable and repeatable results. That translates to working with a very versatile list of clients across verticals/ products/ categories. This experience provides a rich and unique perspective for what works and what doesn’t based on what has and has not succeeded in the past.
#2 Future Ready For Marketplaces of Tomorrow
Be it MACH architecture, composable commerce, crypto-currency, or feature-rich core marketplace technology, McFadyen Digital has been at the forefront of industry-leading technology/processes. This has helped us power the globally successful online marketplace for over 15 years. Our solutions are driven by our client’s needs, not by one software vendor or platform. Our solutions are platform-agnostic, and our core purpose is to drive client success with transformative business models & innovative technologies. Platforms have revolutionized how eCommerce works and provide a critical competitive advantage to businesses. We have enabled many enterprises to platform their businesses. We bring to the table technology expertise, and visionary user experience with a transformative strategy to create market leadership and solve critical business needs for clients.
#3 Unmatched Marketplace Talent Pool
We have hundreds of marketplace experts across three continents in areas of strategy, development, user experience, marketing, analytics, and operations that have helped design and build dozens of enterprise-scale marketplaces that cumulatively generate billions of dollars of GMV. Our marketplace-focused human capital helps clients from initial strategy definition to marketplace design and implementation to long-term support and growth. Our experience includes both B2C and B2B clients and marketplaces for products and services. Many of the solutions we have built have scaled to over a million products or SKUs. We have built marketplaces from scratch, and we have leveraged commercial marketplace platforms as a starting point. Many of these marketplaces are internationalized, global solutions deployed to many countries, languages, currencies, payment processors, tax calculators, fulfillment systems, etc.
#4 Visionary Marketplace Thought Leadership
Our commitment to advancing marketplace best practices reached a crescendo in 2021, where we published industry-leading books, analyst reports, and market first whitepapers. Let’s take a look at some of the key publications.
- Marketplace Best Practice Book
Transforming Commerce in the Platform Economy
Marketplace Best Practices explores the online marketplace model as a means of platforming an eCommerce business. Written by Tom McFadyen and the online marketplace experts at McFadyen Digital, this text covers the what, who, and how of online marketplaces from those who have been creating both retail and business-focused marketplaces for over 15-years. Launched January 26th, 2021, this book was Amazon Best Seller in 2 Commerce categories and has sold 1,451 copies (357 Print, 1094 Kindle). Marketplace Best Practices offers in-depth content for just about any marketplace topic leaders could ask for — from building a winning strategy to successfully launching to scaling and optimizing.
- Marketplace Suite Spot
Industry First Marketplace Vendor Comparison.
McFadyen Digital launched the second edition of the industry’s first and only marketplace vendor comparison report, titled “Marketplace Suite Spot,” on October 4th, 2021. The Marketplace Suite Spot Report evaluates the top technologies businesses can use to create, launch, and grow their digital commerce marketplace. This edition compared marketplace development platforms Marketplacer, Mirakl, Spryker, Ultra Commerce, Energy, VTEX, and Webkul. Only into its second edition, the “Marketplace Suite Spot” has already become the defacto industry standard for marketplace vendor comparison and stands very well received in the industry. In addition to the seven marketplace leaders analyzed in detail, a little summary of ten rising niche players and challengers is documented. The new wave of contenders are AppDirect, Arcadier, CloudBlue, Convictional, Izberg, MarketCube.IO, ShareTribe, Upper, Vendasta, and VNEcoms.
- Marketplace KPIs Whitepaper
An Overview of Marketplace Performance Management
McFadyen Digital launched the industry-first whitepaper focused on marketplace metrics called “Top 20 Marketplace KPIs That Matter”. The white paper looked at the key metrics an operator needs to measure and manage to initially succeed and continually grow their marketplace. Beyond simple growth of the consumer base or number of transactions, all platform angles, sellers, catalog, logistics, and back-office functions are examined for efficiency and effectiveness. Marketplace has tremendous potential for growth and profit. Still, the marketplace operator has to measure and manage the right metrics to pull the right levers to keep the momentum flowing in a positive direction. The key areas covered were “core concepts of marketplace business”, top 20 KPIs, and how to set up governance for analytics.
- Marketplace Best Practice Events
An Overview of Marketplace Performance Management
In 2021, McFadyen Digital conducted 7 virtual events featuring customers and partners over 1000 registrations, 490 attendees, and 672 On-Demand video views. Some of the notable ones included “Conflict Free D2C” with partner VTEX that talked about how the marketplace model can bring harmony to your channel while bringing the data from owning the user experience to you. How the marketplace model turns potential channel conflict in channel growth, what makes for a successful D2C marketplace strategy. “Staffing a Marketplace” with platform organizational design experts Peter Evans, Shaun Budnik, and Tom McFadyen discussed the impact of the platform model on staffing with real-world examples and actionable planning advice.
#5. Recent Launches of Award-Winning Marketplaces and Commerce Evolutions
McFadyen Digital had a slew of big marketplace launches.
- In April 2021, McFadyen helped UNFI launch the UNFI Community Marketplace, the first-of-its-kind wholesale food industry marketplace in North America. The marketplace functionality utilized the Mirakl marketplace platform as implemented by McFadyen Digital, working closely with teams from UNFI and Mirakl. The best-of-breed technology approach ensured that the Community Marketplace delivered a user experience that customers expect.
- In July 2021, Zebra Technologies, one of McFadyen’s prestigious clients, won the Best Enterprise Customer Shopping Experience award at the Oracle 2021 Markie Awards. Zebra won on the strength of a best-in-the-business B2B buying experience that takes the simplicity and convenience of consumer shopping and brings it to the often-complex realm of business transactions. This category was open to Enterprises with more than $500 Million in yearly revenue as Oracle asked entrants to show “how your organization architected a standout customer experience that shifted your focus from driving transactions to building brand advocates. While not a marketplace site, the transformative nature of this Enterprise project confirms that, while McFadyen is committed to the marketplace model, transformative commerce projects remains a core competence.
- In Aug 2021, McFadyen assisted ChemDirect, an online B2B marketplace for on-demand, direct ship chemicals, in launching their redesigned marketplace experience. The new site offered chemical buyers an efficient, easy-to-use, secure online ordering process with fast delivery times while providing chemical suppliers with an additional sales channel, a new way to connect with customers, and access to real-time market insight. It even won the coveted “Platform Pioneer Award” in the launch faster category. This award recognizes those whose marketplace strategy quickly delivered value for their organization.
- BaySupply.com, the world’s first online marketplace for fastening industry, was launched in Dec 2021. Bay Fastening Systems engaged the McFadyen team to build this highly customized website offering unique features for buyers, sellers, and manufacturers of fastening products in 2020. Within weeks of launch, Bay Supply already sees excellent traction for its marketplace in terms of an uptick in average order value and overall marketplace monthly revenues.
So, there you go…now you understand how we have earned the tag of “The Marketplace Experts.” We just don’t implement marketplace solutions; it’s what we live every day as we help our retail and B2B clients deliver the scalable marketplaces that their customers demand. While the pandemic period has been difficult for many businesses forcing them to pivot towards new opportunities; for us, it has been the catalyst that has reinforced our core capability, which is the marketplace. So, if you are seeking a trusted partner for your marketplace journey, get in touch with us.