Top 5 Takeaways from Mirakl’s Platform Pioneers Summit
September 17, 2020
The marketplace revolution has begun and at LiveArea we are thrilled to be on the front line with our partner Mirakl – the leading player in this space – and to sponsor its Platform Pioneers Summit, which concluded this week.
Now more than ever clients rely on us to help them evolve their digital businesses. Mirakl’s marketplace platform is a key to unlock innovation and growth and extend a brand’s reach into profitable new channels, a point illustrated across the summit.
The summit started with an inspiring story – a COVID-19 marketplace the company stood up in 48 hours to assist the French government. In three months, the online marketplace delivered $60 million in lifesaving products. Since its launch, the marketplace has distributed more than 550,000 liters of hand sanitizing gel, one million masks, and 100,000 gowns, glasses, and other personal protective equipment (PPE). This is one of many stories illustrating the value Mirakl’s SaaS marketplace platform and why LiveArea is a proud Mirakl partner and summit sponsor.
The summit gave online airtime to many pioneers, B2C and B2B companies – Kroger, Toyota, Carrefours, to name a few – that have quickly and completely transformed their business models and revenue streams with Mirakl’s marketplace technology. It opened a window on best practices and reasons to embrace marketplaces, along with what to consider as you ponder an investment in this transformative technology.
Here are takeaways from the summit.
1. Marketplaces are here to stay
Companies are flocking to marketplaces and it makes sense. Opportunity is massive. Forrester data shows that marketplace sales already account for more than 50% of online transactions, with a growth trajectory that’s on track to reach nearly 70% by 2022. And according to Gartner, by 2023, the majority of online sellers will list their products with marketplaces. Yes, marketplaces are here to stay – and LiveArea can attest to this as we see more B2C and B2B customers consider and integrate this channel in their go-to-market mix.
2. Mirakl is continuously improving its technology
Mirakl’s engineering team is continuously improving its SaaS platform with new features, including more than 80 enhancements since last year and steady investment in the platform’s microservices architecture and security. Nagi Letaifa, vice president of Engineering, highlighted a handful of meaningful enhancements to the platform.
It’s easier now, for instance, to adapt product assortments in response to the shifts in demand. Sellers can be integrated into catalogs in hours now as opposed to weeks or months. Powerful automation tools ensure high-quality product information and completeness.
Now seller performance metrics, lead time, and ratings can be monitored. An algorithm can be used to automatically suspend underperforming sellers, prioritizing sellers that are giving customers the best experience.
Communication is critical in a marketplace setting. Mirakl’s streamlined messaging makes it easy for operators, sellers, and customers to communicate through messaging. At the same time, it’s easier for marketplace operators to monitor and intervene, if necessary.
With artificial intelligence automapping in Mirakl’s Catalog Integrator and Catalog Manager, product catalogs can be mapped with no human intervention. The automation improves catalog accuracy and the agility and speed new information is added to and published in a marketplace. Lastly, Mirakl has simplified the complex logistics surrounding multi-shipments.
3. Always be ready to pivot
Agility is a competitive superpower. Businesses able to adapt access and product assortments in response to shifts in demand are thriving. Consider the case of Premier Inc., an alliance of 4,100 U.S. hospitals and health systems, and more than 200,000 other providers and organizations. As an industry leader, Premier has created one of the most comprehensive databases of actionable data, clinical best practices, and efficiency improvement strategies.
John Sganga, Senior Vice President at Premier, attributes the success of his company’s healthcare marketplace to its ability to quickly pivot – daily, hourly – to address market demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Premier’s stockd marketplace offers a curated assortment of office, medical, and personal supplies for physician and medical offices, senior living facilities, home care providers, and physical therapists. During the COVID-19 pandemic, stockd has served as a source for PPE and other critical supplies in short supply through traditional supply chain channels. The marketplace has enabled access for skilled nursing and assisted living providers, physician’s practices, essential businesses like construction firms that need to protect their workers.
With one-stop-shopping on stockd powered by Mirakl, buyers can easily compare products and pricing from a qualified network of reputable sellers.
In about six months since its launch, the stockd marketplace has added 165,000 SKUs from 40 sellers and continues to drive new business for Premier. With 65% of the stockd target market planning to maintain or increase online business buying in the next three years, Premier expects site traction to continue growing quickly. Monthly site visits to stockd increased more than fivefold between January and April.
4. Don’t create a marketplace as a separate experience
This is the “commandment” that guides The Kroger Company’s Mirakl marketplace. Jody Kalmbach, Kroger’s Group Vice President of Product Experience, talked about how customer experience is at the center of everything America’s largest grocery retailer does. “Customers don’t think about channels, we have to make that line much blurrier,” she explained.
Leveraging Mirakl’s best-in-class marketplace solution, Kroger broadened its ship-to-home capabilities by offering more relevant products for customers through new partnerships. Kroger Ship,which launched two years ago, offers customers an extended aisle of products made available through marketplace partners.
Today, Kroger’s strategic investments in eCommerce technology and channels have positioned the company to more effectively respond to the sustained, increased demand for delivery, pickup, and ship-to-home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Kroger’s first-quarter 2020 results, its digital sales grew 92%.
5. Work with skilled technology partners
Finding the right partners will accelerate your marketplace success. Multiple platform pioneers featured at the summit emphasized this point. All agree that integrations can make or break a marketplace, so teaming with skilled technology partners is essential to implementing and managing the technology underpinning your marketplace. Although you may have the in-house talent to pull it off, it’s better to team with a provider that can provide best-in-class skills to speed your success.
If you didn’t attend the summit, I encourage you to register for the event and view recordings of the sessions, which are available online. To learn more about LiveArea and for guidance on implementing Mirakl’s marketplace platform, contact us.