Fifteen thousand marketplaces later, the demand for Arcadier’s marketplace platform continues to grow. Two groups of profiles contribute to this burgeoning demand. The former consists of budding entrepreneurs and the latter are made up of traditional corporate entities, such as physical retailers and distributors, who seek to digitalise their businesses. Whichever group you may belong to, the recent edition of Rapydtalks held in conjunction with the Singapore FinTech Festival provides indispensable advice for marketplace creation. In this session, where the audience mostly attended virtually, Arcadier’s co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer Kenneth (Ken) Low and New Business Manager Evelina (Eve) Ip sits down with Rapyd’s Chaitanya (Chatty) Anand and Kristine Phung to discuss the growth in online marketplaces adoption and its consequential demand for bi-directional payments. The key pieces of insights from that engaging fireside session is succinctly summarised below.
1. Understand the Types of Marketplaces and their Features
The first word of advice was provided by Eve, is to know the type of marketplace you want to build and the features you would require before you even begin your marketplace business. Eve broadly defines the four main types of marketplaces that dominate eCommerce, and that includes B2B, B2C, Services and Rentals, and Digital Goods. She further explains that across all marketplace types, there are common features which are required across the board. Just to state a few examples, all marketplaces would definitely require a standard admin portal to manage buyers and sellers, customer support and FAQs. There is also a myriad of unique features specific to certain marketplace typologies. For instance, Eve notes that B2B marketplaces often require features such as Requests for Quotations (RFQs) and Minimum Order Quantities (MOQs). By understanding the type of marketplace you envision to create and the features you need, it becomes easier to translate it tangibly, and there will be less investment required to re-do workflows later on which ensures greater success in your online marketplace business.
2. Emerging Marketplace Market Trends
When asked about what to expect for marketplaces in 2021, Ken highlighted four major undercurrents which we will see emerging to a greater extent. The first of which is that online marketplaces are becoming more hyper-local and hyper-vertical. This means online marketplaces are now focused on a set of target audiences they serve regardless if it is in a particular industry or a specific locality, for example Airbnb is a marketplace specifically for accommodation sharing. Ken further explains that this phenomena has grown as a result of COVID-19 as local entrepreneurs and communities in small towns around the world have created online marketplaces to help “mom-and-pop stores” go online in locality based marketplaces.
Secondly, online marketplaces have started to utilise Blockchain technology to augment and enhance trust within online marketplaces. One such Arcadier powered marketplace that has utilised Blockchain is ProjectXChain, which is a blockchain-enabled toys and collectibles e-commerce platform. The enhanced trust from Blockchain allows creators to authenticate their creations, and collectors to grow their collection with a peace of mind.
The third undercurrent is the increasing demand for progressive web-app (PWA) capability, where regular web pages are made to behave as mobile applications. Using PWA, many entrepreneurs and corporations are now seeking to embed existing marketplaces into their own environment. This trend is fast emerging as more companies who already have publicly available applications do not want to introduce a new platform for its existing customer user base.
Finally, Augmented Reality (AR) is now a commonly sought after feature in eCommerce, especially as COVID-19 has hindered any form of physical events. Ken mentions that many trade show organisers and shopping malls have approached Arcadier to request for the incorporation of an AR experience, which attempts to replicate the actual experience of being in a trade show or shopping in a mall
Eve explaining the different types of online marketplaces
3. The Hassle of Payments and a Rapyd Solution
Coming to the aspect of payments, Chatty shares his expertise by highlighting vital aspects of payments to consider for a successful marketplace. Firstly, the onboarding of sellers needs to be done quickly and smoothly. Next, if it's a cross-border marketplace business, there is a need for a centralised database to hold multiple currencies to efficiently accept global payments. Finally, if it's a domestic marketplace business, there may be a need to support local payment methods, especially if the market has low credit card adoption and dominant local payment options. Examples of local payment methods include Grabpay and PayLah in Singapore, and Alipay or WeChat in China. Without the sensitivity to adapt to these nuances, a marketplace may fail to make any headway in its business and enable transactions to occur easily.
These may seem like daunting tasks for a potential marketplace creator to handle. Thankfully, Rapyd’s as a Fintech-as-a-Service platform has software solutions that deal with these pain points. For instance, Chatty points out that the Rapyd API allows for 65 different currencies to be stored in a central wallet. In addition, the Rapyd system has connections to a number of local payment wallets around the world. The combination of Arcadier and Rapyd capabilities will enable anyone to create a marketplace and accept payments efficiently and effectively.
4. COVID-19 and the Inevitability of Digitalisation
Over the past two decades, digitalisation has been an unrelenting wave, changing our lives irreversibly. As Eve puts it, no one is “immune to digitalisation”. Despite this wave of digitalisation, Ken notes that businesses have traditionally put off digitalisation for as long as they can. Chatty adds that the fear of the cost of moving from a physical to digital mode of business has deterred many from moving online. Today, COVID-19 has sent a firm message that digitalisation is inevitable. In Ken’s words, traditional businesses are forced by COVID-19 to “close down or remain relevant”. Evidently, there is now a larger cost to procrastination. For existing physical businesses who seek to go online but have delayed doing so, the time is now to cast aside the hesitation and take the leap towards digitalisation.
With such comprehensive advice given, the ball is now in your court to create your own online marketplace.
Clarence Siut is with the Marketing and Customer Success team at Arcadier, a SaaS company that powers next generation marketplace ideas. You can follow Arcadier on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for more news and updates.