The allure of online marketplaces
Online marketplaces are presenting brands with a flexible online channel to sell products without many of the otherwise associated costs, and they are booming as a result. Even with recent concerns that, used in the wrong way, they can sacrifice reputation and intercept the accrual of vital customer data, the added value far outweighs any potential risk for many brands, and here’s why. For one, online marketplaces offer a significant opportunity for overseas sales via a platform with a name and presence already established in international markets. On top of this, they can form the foundations of new trading partnerships with traders and suppliers which, when sought via more traditional routes, come with significant risks of their own. And when considering the routes to expansion prior to the Internet, online marketplaces are a comparative dream; far cheaper and almost instantaneous in comparison to the huge cost of setting up shop overseas or investing in a retailer relationship from scratch which, even then, provide no guarantees. Throw as much into market research, brand development and construction as you like, a process that is fundamentally based upon guesswork and good faith in factors so famously untrustworthy as fashion and economic stability, is inevitably going to result in some failures. But what if there was another alternative? Within the fashion industry, for example, Anatwine is harnessing the power of ecommerce and evolving global logistics to build an online network that connects brands and retailers on a global scale. By documenting the service level agreements of the retailer and working with brands to ensure they are matched and maintained along with the alignment of customer services and returns functions, brands can fulfil orders while matching the retailer’s documentation and delivery SLA, facilitating expansion opportunities for brands with no risk at all. By enabling the retailer to extend the range on offer without the need to invest in additional stock up front, they no longer have to concern themselves with quantities or shifting leftovers, while the brand can offer a far bigger subset of the overall range. Furthermore, access to real-time sales information across the entire retail network enables the brand to continually refine the offer to reflect the expectations of this new customer group, and arms the retailer with the perfect stock mix for a more personalised customer experience. The approach also fast tracks a brand’s understanding of local market expectations and idiosyncrasies through its commitment to both present products and fulfil orders from its own warehouse in line with the retailer’s policy – a process that ensures local expectations are met and understood immediately. To stay up-to-date, you can follow Anatwine on Twitter or LinkedIn.