2016 was a year of big changes and challenges in our industry, some of which you can revisit in our wrap-up post of the year. That was however last year. Now it is time to look forward.
Here are some predictions for the online marketplace industry in 2017 that you should not ignore.
It’s no news that relevancy is king. The mobile revolution has made users increasingly more impatient. If what we’re looking for isn’t manifesting itself within seconds, we will look to another site to fulfill our needs.
During the last couple of years site owners have tried multiple strategies in order to up the relevancy of their sites and retain users. In 2017 we expect these attempts to continue.
Jayson DeMeyers writes in Forbes that “”Dense” Content Will Become Essential to Cut Through the Content Noise.” Meaning that content needs to be distilled until it contains the exact information relevant to users; because we skim read articles, quickly moving on to the next and we share content after just reading the headline.
DeMeyers is mainly talking 2017 marketing trends, but this is relevant in the marketplace industry as well, since the user generated content on your site also needs to attract and retain interest. Users need to be encouraged to create precise, relevant content and you need to prune your site of duplicates, irrelevant content and other elements that can dissuade users from thinking “this site is suitable for my needs!”
Niche market targeting is another hyper relevancy trend we will see more in 2017.
Apps like Wallapop or Letgo where shopping is localized based on your position has seen a lot of success in 2016 as have marketplaces focusing on very narrow offerings. We will see a lot more of this in the coming year, but additionally we predict that marketplaces will look to create an even more unique customer experience. For instance by making use of Real-Time customization. This is already used in ecommerce and in their report 10 ecommerce trends for 2017, Absolunet assumes this will increase in frequency. What dynamic content will look like on marketplaces in 2017 will be interesting to follow, but we will be very surprised if the industry doesn’t dive into this area.
Delivery as Part of Service Offering.
Online marketplaces are no longer just a convenient facilitator of content between buyers and sellers. With the increased competition in the field and with users becoming ever more aware of their options, more services are anticipated, with sites are increasingly looking for ways to make the buyer (and seller) journey smoother.
One service we expect to see offered more by marketplaces is delivery. Japanese-based classifieds app Mercari has already shown that offering delivery as part of the purchase process can be done successfully and the added service is undoubtedly one of the reasons for its quick rise to third biggest player in the market in the US.
Within the e-commerce industry Walmart is getting creative; customers who make an in-store purchase can drop off other customer’s orders on-line orders, on their way home.
Then there is Volvo, who together with Swedish startup Urb-It, are proposing to deliver orders to the trunk of your car within 2 hours of ordering.
Can these examples be carbon-copied to our industry? Perhaps not, but 2017 will certainly bring innovative ideas on how to improve the after purchase flow for online marketplace users.
AI Infused User Journey – from Moderation to Fashion Cam
AI! For anyone interested in tech news, AI will have popped up constantly during 2016. But the AI buzz is far from over and 2017 will see a lot of interesting new applications. At Besedo we’re working at innovative ways to apply AI to the content moderation process and we’re looking forward to sharing a lot of exciting AI reliant features for Implio throughout 2017. Get a grasp on AI moderation by reading this post.
On a broader scale AI is going to change the way customers interact with brands and their general interaction with and expectations of your site.
Innovative uses of AI on classifieds sites have already started. Willhaben.at for example, has just launched a “fashion cam” allowing users to upload pictures of their favorite clothes and subsequently the AI of “fashion cam” will look for available garments on the site that match the shape, color and pattern of that item.
Fighting Back against Facebook
If 2016 was a wrestling match between traditional classifieds sites and Facebook, the latter would probably have won on points. By launching sales groups, Facebook marketplaces and a lot of other initiatives the social media mastodon showed their intentions of becoming a serious player in the field. However, 2017 allows for a rematch and we expect to see the traditional players introduce a lot of new moves to secure their dominance.
The entire online marketplace industry is a little volatile at the moment with Facebook moving in as a new serious player and with Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn. In 2017 we’ll see how much these two giants will focus on our industry and we expect a lot of initiatives from the traditional players to stay competitive.
Obviously we’re just making educated guesses here, but one thing we can promise for certain; 2017 is going to be an incredibly interesting year for all of us working in or following the online marketplace industry!
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