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Platform Pioneer Summit 2022 Boston – Recap & Highlights

Research shows that marketplaces are growing at twice the rate of overall ecommerce, which was a big topic of conversation at this year’s Platform Pioneer Summit by Mirakl. Every year, Mirakl hosts a pair Summit events, one in Paris, one in Boston, designed to bring together this community of marketplace operators, aspiring marketplace operators, partners, and industry experts to share knowledge and experiences amidst the desire to see this rising marketplace tide raise all proverbial boats.

And we may all soon need a bigger boat, as today, more than 60% of consumers prefer the marketplace over traditional eCommerce due to broader product assortments, better prices, and more last-mile delivery options. The question for many businesses is how to do this successfully as they seek to understand more about the marketplace playbook from those who have already achieved success through this model. That practical exchange of ideas backed up by examples is where the Platform Pioneer Summit really shines.

On May 18th and 19th hundreds of Platform Pioneers gathered in Boston to share, learn, provide perspective, and reveal the secrets to success from the world’s most trusted online marketplaces. It provided an exhaustive playbook that enterprise businesses need to break through with a successful, scalable marketplace strategy. The magic of this event is the actionable data and best practices from the world’s top Platform Pioneers and subject matter experts while also providing a platform for digital and marketplace leaders to connect and network. Another attraction is the opportunity to discover and get a sneak peek at market-leading new features and capabilities coming to Mirakl’s enterprise marketplace SaaS platform. The show has something for everyone, from the business leader to Mirakl customers, and partners in the marketplace ecosystem.

This Boston event followed the Platform Pioneer Summit held in Paris on April 27th and 28th. It was hosted at the Palais Brongniart, the historical Paris stock exchange site located in Paris’ II arrondissement. The Boston event was held at the brand-new Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport, blending waterfront views and luxurious art-inspired spaces with Boston’s hottest restaurants just steps from their hotel.

Break Through – This Year’s Theme

The theme this year was “break through”. The theme had many dimensions, evident from the world-class content presented by marketplace industry leaders like Kroger, UNFI, and Bed Bath & Beyond. The theme provided a great vantage point to look back and absorb how the industry has evolved both in the face of the pandemic and innovations and technological breakthroughs. There has been a shift in the industry’s perspective; it isn’t e-commerce vs. marketplace or us versus them. This year’s event showcased how a win-win scenario can be created using the synergies of the ecosystem marketplace platform provides. Collaboration and doing things together can help businesses scale faster. Many of the client presentations had this overarching theme.

McFadyen at the Summit

McFadyen Digital was a proud Platinum sponsor this year along with Adobe, Deloitte Digital, SAP, and other industry leaders. McFadyen had a considerable presence at the show with an 8-member team in attendance and leading/sponsoring two networking roundtable sessions. The first session was called “Breaking Through The Traditional Way of Doing Business: Building Buy-in for Marketplace Within Your Retail Organization.” An insightful session that looked at the how and what of building a business case for an online marketplace. The hosts and participants tackled topics like creating organizational readiness for a marketplace, empowering internal teams with marketplace strategies, and lastly, the KPIs to measure and communicate marketplace success. Prior to this session, McFadyen debuted its brand-new ebook titled “Building the Business Case for an Online Marketplace.” The ebook helps the readers understand the marketplace business model and critical elements to consider while building a business case and was authored by Lee Riesterer, Chief Digital Officer at McFadyen Digital. You can download the ebook here.

The other round table/ networking session McFadyen presented was titled “KPIs That Work For You: Using Marketplace Data to Inform Business Decisions.” This session showed how marketplace businesses could create brand-new customer insights to help your organization make more informed business decisions. This session provided the perfect platform for manufacturing and distribution leaders to connect and discuss the KPIs driving their business. Some of the major areas the roundtable covered were how to leverage purchasing trend insights to optimize demand and supply balancing, how marketplace data can provide feedback into research and development, and measuring marketplace value beyond GMV. McFadyen Digital has also published an ebook on this subject called “Driving Actionable Insights with Marketplace Performance Management” It looks at the importance of a data-driven performance management strategy and the key metrics an operator can use to drive actionable insights that continually grow their marketplace. You can download the ebook here.

Key Sessions & Marketplace Success Stories

May 18th – The event on the first day was Customer Day, exclusively meant for Mirakl customers. Mirakl shared the most recent market findings and discussed how they could help enterprises find a breakthrough with marketplace success. This comes against the backdrop of marketplaces gaining more momentum in consumer adoption, and research shows that consumers prefer them over 1st party e-commerce websites.

Three types of sessions followed this during the day. Masterclasses, B2B roundtables, and customer spotlight were all presented by Mirakl’s esteemed customers, who shared their insights, and success while embarking on the marketplace journey.

The first Advance Masterclass covered the topic “Scaling Your Seller Account Management Practices.” It covered some of the best practices for seller account management strategies as they relate to the growth and success of the marketplace. It was an exciting session with clear steps to bring the seller strategy to the next level.

Growing Your Seller Base to Scale Your Business masterclass talked about some strategies around the successful seller recruiting practice. It showed how marketplace operators could continue to grow the seller base before and after go-live while maintaining seller quality.

The concluding masterclass of the day was about “Tools for Successful Change Management.” Regardless of where one is on their marketplace journey, establishing a strategic vision for the marketplace within the marketplace is critical. This session covered tools needed to achieve successful change management.

This was followed by the round table sessions that covered areas like “Profitable Customer Acquisition,” Streamlining Large Seller Onboarding, and Data Quality Management, amongst other marketplace relevant topics. Towards the evening was the Customer Spotlight session, where marketplace operators came together to deep dive into their marketplace journeys.

May 19th – The second day of the event was the Platform Pioneer Summit. In his opening keynote, Mirakl’s co-CEO and co-founder Adrien Nussenbaum provided perspective on how the top enterprise marketplaces worldwide are breaking through the industry challenges to achieve profitability and scale. He was joined on the stage by Platform Pioneers, who shared stories about the impact marketplaces have on their business and the strategies they are deploying to stay ahead of the curve. This was followed by Mirakl’s Chief Product Officer revealing exciting new product innovations. She also elaborated on the strategies that Platform Pioneers are employing to scale their marketplace success.

The second day was filled with customer round tables, masterclasses, networking sessions, and Platform Pioneer Insights.

The day began with a session called “Marketplace Leaders Tell All.” The session had veteran marketplace leaders Bill Bennett, VP of eCommerce at Kroger, and Umesh Sripad, SVP, Digital for Bed Bath & Beyond, joining Adrien Nussenbaum to discuss some of their breakthrough moments. Both leaders touched upon the importance of having strategic partnerships to help extend their overall reach and open new opportunities. It was enlightening to hear about their early wins and critical lessons learned.

The Master Class on how to “Achieve Curation at Scale with a Well-designed Marketplace Strategy” by Merkel covered strategies to confront and overcome common marketplace concerns like cannibalization and protecting brand DNA, guidelines for sourcing, and building relationships with trusted, high-quality marketplace sellers.

A masterclass from Adobe titled “Using Your Marketplace to Transform Your Business from Product-Centric to Customer-Centric” featured insights from UNFI, the largest publicly traded wholesale distributor of health and specialty foods in the United States and Canada. Thomas Kraus, VP of Digital at UNFI, talked about how they leveraged the marketplace to deliver an improved experience for buyers and sellers while maximizing marketplace analytics to make informed decisions.

Platform Pioneer Insights had two sessions that ran simultaneously. One was titled “Manufacturers & Distributors Reveal Marketplace Best Practices.” This featured Jodi Fountain, VP of eCommerce at SalonCentric, Hemant Dudeja, Marketplace Manager at HPE, and Joe Sawyer, CMO at Mirakl. They shared insights on designing their marketplace strategies to achieve maximum value for their business.

The other Platform Pioneer Insights session was titled “Retailers Reveal Marketplace Best Practices.” This featured Matt Fischer, VP-Operations at Shop Premium Outlets, Evan Moore, SVP-Content and Commerce at NBC Universal, moderated by Eric Yale, Business Consulting Director at Mirakl. The two leaders revealed the strategies they have deployed to break through the inefficiencies of traditional eCommerce, leveraging the scalability and agility of the platform model to deliver customer delight.

2022 Platform Pioneer Award Winners

Every year Mirakl recognizes and acknowledges the clients and partners who are visionaries, innovators, and catalysts for change, both within their organizations and industries. The award honors companies across B2B and B2C with the grit and determination to transform their businesses through the enterprise marketplace model. The nominees also include marketplace partners who are part of the marketplace ecosystem. The award is given across four categories.

  1. Launch Faster – This award honors Platform Pioneers who have displayed rapid time to value, having shown marketplace profitability within months. This year’s winner for the “Launch Faster” category was Bed Bath & Beyond.
  2. Grow Bigger – This award category honors Platform Pioneers who have achieved rapid scale through hypergrowth for their marketplace with year-over-year solid growth figures. Partstown was the winner in this category.
  3. Operate with Confidence – This award honors Platform Pioneers that have displayed a steadfast commitment to maximizing the benefits of marketplace opportunity. Liverpool took home the honors for this one.
  4. Partner to Win – An award especially meant for Mirakl partners that have played a critical role in empowering Platform Pioneers to transform their business by leveraging enterprise marketplaces. The winner was Kroger.

Key Takeaways

The marketplace revolution has permanently changed buyer expectations. Endless assortment, pricing, and convenience are proving to be the new competitive advantage driving marketplace growth worldwide, helping them achieve faster profitability. The Boston edition of Platform Pioneer Summit showcased just how marketplace enterprises are reaching a new level of efficiency. Here are key takeaways from the show.

  1. The Focus now is on Collaboration – More and more Mirakl clients validated this through their presentations. Apparently, a breakthrough can come if it’s a win-win for all the parties, and as they say, rising tides lift all boats, and that couldn’t be truer for the marketplace ecosystem.
  2.  Data-Driven Marketplace Operations – This was also a common theme amongst the top digital and marketplace across industries. Marketplace performance management through KPIs is the fastest route to growth and scale. The Marketplace Performance Management Dashboard from McFadyen Digital is an industry-first best-practices packed intelligence tool created for marketplace operators by marketplace experts. These powerful dashboards and reports systems help ensure your marketplace operations team is measuring the right metrics to drive actionable intelligence that translates into profit and scale. 
  3. Capability Building Through Continuous Innovation – In this hypercompetitive marketplace landscape, continuous innovation and agility have become essential not just for growth but even for survival. Mirakl showcased some of its own capability building through acquisitions and new product features. The acquisition of Target2Sell makes it easier for customers to discover and purchase the products they want from automatically vetted and curated third-party sellers. While “One Creditor” brings the benefits of the marketplace model to large corporate clients enabling them to be the central creditor for all transactions on the marketplace.

Platform Pioneer Summit is now the biggest conference in the world that is exclusively focused on the marketplaces. Its a great place to be get a early lead on emerging trends and innovations. This years event was filled with action by way of customer cases studies, new platform features and tremendous opportunities to network. We came back with great learning and industry insights and cant wait for the next edition of the Platform Pioneer Summit.

About Mirakl 

Mirakl offers the industry’s first and most advanced enterprise marketplace SaaS platform. With Mirakl, organizations across B2B and B2C industries can launch marketplaces faster, grow bigger, and operate with confidence as they exceed rising customer expectations. Platforms are the new competitive advantage in eCommerce, and the world’s most trusted brands choose Mirakl for its comprehensive solution of technology, expertise, and the Mirakl Connect ecosystem to unlock the power of the platform business model for them.

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