There is a reason we, as consumers, have differing and disparate shopping experience. Retailers have differing and disparate customers. Pitney Bowes Retail (R)Evolution is the perfect forum for discussion of successes and challenges. Have you ever seen a room of experienced retail professionals collectively node their heads? I have.
There is no silver bullet
Chris Koeppel, Fulfillment Director at Nordstrom.com, Mitul Shah, Head of Delivery Operations at Harrods, Peggy Waldo, Vice President of Ecommerce at WWE and Pete Mitchley-Hughes, Head of Transformation at MYER sat down with Meg Higgins, Vice President of Client Strategy and Development at Pitney Bowes in a panel titled "Perspectives from the Front Lines." As these seasoned retail leaders from some of the world's most recognizable retailers discussed their Companies’ international expansions, it was clear, there is no silver bullet. Investments in digital infrastructure, physical warehouse, business systems, software and custom marketing approaches mean adapting for today and preparing for the foreseeable future.
Embracing the fragments?
While standalone retailer struggle with fragmentation, global marketplaces have the opportunity to embrace them. That said, growth is predicated on audience size. Attracting audience is predicated on having the right mix and right amount of brands and products on a given marketplace. So, while marketplaces are not as stymied by fragmentation as single retailers, they are not immune. Jon Kapplow, Pitney Bowes’ Senior Vice President of Consumer & Merchant Solutions hosted a panel of three global marketplace business leaders: Ananya Tripathi, Chief Strategy Officer of Myntra, Reid Wegner, Director of Business Development at Rakuten and Jonathan Haney, Head of Outbound Shipping at eBay.
Anaya, Reid and Jonathan share responsibility for delivering a space for international retailers to sell their brands and products, but these marketplaces vary widely across countries.
Rakuten started in 1997 and currently hosts 106 million of Japanese shoppers (the population of Japan is roughly 120 million people) making it the main destination for online shopping in Japan. Rakuten utilizes a leaderboard-type strategy with Brands to gain exposure. That said, the Japanese shopping market is both seasonal and event-driven so retailers cannot overlook marketing despite how popular their brand(s) may be.
Myntra, India’s largest marketplace has 20 million customers, yet, Ananya Tripathi still calls it “day 1”. With a population of 1.2 billion heavily dispersed across a country where infrastructure is evolving, 50% of Myntra’s demand is in tier 2 and 3 cities, not in major metros where more brick and mortar shopping may be. 85% of sales are on mobile devices and at one point Myntra abandoned its desktop interface as a differentiator. Myntra is seeing competition from Amazon, but Myntra and Jabong (which Myntra acquired in 2016) have 45% market share, Amazon has 20% despite heavy investment in advertising. Ananya credits remaining brand-focused and communicating new product launches to interested customers via a customer’s feed.
eBay, associated with being the de facto American online auction marketplace, is the largest ecommerce retailer in South Korea with both the traditional auction site as well as Gmarket, which eBay acquired in 2009. According to Jonathan Haney, Head Outbound Shipping at eBay, “basically [has] everyone” in the South Korean shopping market shopping on either eBay or Gmarket.
So what does this mean?
Be a customer. Have your expectations. Be impressed when those expectations are met – because a lot of people worked very hard to meet them.
Follow the action on the (R)evolution Live site.