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For the 12th edition of the MeetUp, L’Exception concerns itself with the increasing popularity of marketplaces for brand development. An innovative new channel to improve investment, distribution and capital, we analyse these three principle qualities during our meet up that took place on 9th October 2018.

To tackle this subject, we invited three industry experts to our roundtable discussion: Business developer at La Redoute, Bénédicte Dupuy spoke to us about the radical shift in market positions via e-shops. A specialist in fashion and homewares, La Redoute is also home to La Brand Boutique, a platform for contemporary designers and a dedicated marketplace.

Anne Laure Auvray, e-commerce manager at Faguo expressed her point of view as part of the engaged grassroots brand, explaining the benefits and limitations of marketplaces for brand development.
Finally, we called on an expert - Thibault Mollat du Jourdin, CEO of The Agent. For the last three years, The Agent has been offering a fashion cross-border e-commerce service to boost brand visibility and digital sales.

With over 10 million customers, La Redoute has been running their iconic marketplace for 8 years, offering an accessible and affordable way for young brands to reach a larger audience. A renowned and respected platform trusted and used frequently by a wide range of consumers – brands can rest assured that their products are in the right hands.

“ It’s first and foremost an opportunity for added visibility to a customer that they wouldn’t normally be able to reach,” says Bénédicte Dupuy.

It is also a strategy of selection – working within a larger catalogue of products. A new brand might not have the visibility or popularity to convince buyers but can start selling via a marketplace, increasing their legitimacy and selling power in a category that is completely new to them – as exemplified by Faguo that launched its prêt à porter and leather goods collections on a marketplace.
« Getting your brand on a marketplace isn’t straightforward. That’s why 90% of brands work with a service provider or integrator (an agent, shopping flux, tradebyte, mirakl, diatly)…”

These intermediaries put brands in contact with marketplaces, integrating their products onto the platform and dealing with the technical aspects like shooting and re-touching, respecting the visual norms of each e-shop and overlooking the day to day with the objective to maximise sales on each respective marketplace.

Thibault Mollat du Jourdin explains, « As soon as you enter into an international marketplace, the standards really increase.”

And these standards concern multiple parts of the product offering, including fast shipping that respects the marketplaces T&Cs, regulating stock to ensure availability, efficient customer services and exceptional product presentation. Service providers are able to support brands in many of these administrative and logistical aspects such as international commercial trade. For example, The Agent, choosing to focus on Asian marketplaces (RED, JD, Secoo, Lazada, Balan etc.) is able to support and guide brands on entering a new continent or commercial zone – helping with trading regulations, operational disparities and brand development abroad.

Using an agent obviously has a price: commissions can be as high as 30% (with fixed charges on top). After a few years of trading, certain marketplaces will allow brands to work directly with the platform – reducing commission. Brands must consider these channels as an extra distribution opportunity and not their sole trade route.

Anne Laure Auvray underlines the importance of this point, « Marketplaces are a distribution channel. Don’t expect the platform to develop your brand for you – it’s up to each brand to work on their image themselves.”

For Faguo, working with an agent allowed the brand to work with multiple marketplaces at the same time and to push the sale of their while catalogue freely whilst respecting their price margins and without having to manage customer services or shipping/returns. This strategy allowed them to convince buyers from larger department stores to commit to purchasing collections whilst still being showcased on marketplaces, too.

In conclusion, the marketplace phenomenon is an important visibility opportunity. Consumer trends are varied from one country to another, whilst marketplaces allow personal aggregation: offering a large catalogue of products adapted to customer habits. Integration onto a marketplace continues to be a strategic development opportunity – unique to each brand.

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