Marketplace trends 2019: 8 predictions by industry experts

Want to know how the industry is predicting marketplace trends 2019?

2018 is coming to its end, and what a year it has been! We entered the year talking about classifieds becoming marketplaces, by enabling complete transactions through payment solutions on their sites. And we’re leaving it, with marketplaces looking to expand their offerings with more value-added services, beyond transactions, to complement their offering and make sure that users have the best possible experience on their site.

In an industry where it feels things can change overnight, it makes you wonder what will happen in 2019?

In order to answer that question as accurately as possible, we turned to the ones who know the most about our field; marketplace experts and professionals. Here is their prediction of marketplace trends 2019.

The industry’s verdict; here are the top marketplace trends 2019.

“There’s one dominating trend for marketplaces in 2019: Convenience. Improving the user experience way beyond enhancing the user interface is the direction everybody is heading. Finding the best deal, the perfect job, employee, car, home, tenant or roommate will be made easier than ever. And there is more. The marketplaces are integrating services like delivery, payments, contract handling, insurance, finance. Users will be able to arrange everything if not with one click then at least from one hand. Smart technology – assisted by machine learning and artificial intelligence – will facilitate the process. Superb customer support with a strong human component will be the determining factor for success.”

Katja Riefler, Principal, Managing Director Aimgroup

“Digital marketplaces will continue their growth in 2019 and I believe that transformation will not be radical, but more disruptive business models will continue to appear. AI will continue to drive transformation and I am sure it will lead to more AI driven marketplaces. The three main categories where I believe this technology will be most influential are categorization, fraud prevention, and price recommendation.

Optimizing for voice search will be certainly a growing activity. I also see a shift of paradigms in the online classified businesses as it seems to be moving towards tech businesses and also towards transactions model. I am looking forward to seeing what the new developments in the business will be.

In May we’ll be in Budapest for our spring conference where I am hoping to find out more about how other professionals from our industry see the future. This year we are developing a new concept: “ICMA: The sharing conference” to build on the very open and familiar atmosphere from our events where we are learning from each other. Happy 2019 and see you in Budapest!”

Lucian Luncan, chairman of the board at ICMA, Head of Classifieds at RussMedia Digital

“For years, trust has been the mantra of marketplaces, and that continues to be true in 2019. However, trust is just one of multiple key elements in a more personalized user experience expected by visitors in the new year.  

Time is money and users will not want to scroll through page after page of listings irrelevant to them. If you want to win you present your visitors with a few, but high quality, safe and relevant search results.  

To be able to provide a truly personalized user experience for each individual visitor, marketplaces will also have to truly embrace machine learning in 2019. Without good algorithms in place, it will be impossible to predict needs or label content in a way that will provide sellers with quality leads and buyers with great recommendations.  

Finally, with the move from classifieds to marketplaces that offer a full stack experience with value-added services, it will be more important than ever for companies to free resources from tasks that business critical but aren’t adding to their USP.  

In 2019 a lot more marketplaces will realize that some parts of their operations can be easily outsourced to experienced partners. Those that embrace this line of thought will be able to pour all resources into developing unique features and adding ancillary services and I anticipate that they will be the ones growing the most in 2019.”

Patrik Frisk, CEO Besedo

“As a lot of pivotal trends are on the rise, 2019 is going to be a very interesting year in the industry – like a season finale of a Game of Thrones season. The online classifieds are being pressured on one hand by performance players like facebook and google moving into new categories, on the other hand, by players coming from the transactional side like fix-pay tech-enabled brokerages etc.

That creates a very interesting dynamic on the market, where the new playing field becomes: customer service and personalization. Not reach, not # of listings, but how much does each player know about each of its customers and how well it can adapt its platform to each user’s needs. So it all comes down to data collection, insight creation, personalization. Problem with that is – most online classifieds have platforms which are made for “mass production” not customization. So we expect a lot of industry players to heavily and swiftly move into these directions:

  • Investing in user data collection and analytics
  • Verticalisation: in order to serve users better, launching platforms for each segment of users.
  • Move into transactions and performance: additional costs related to new tech need to be covered by deeper integration into the value chain. The marketing revenue pool simply won’t be enough.
  • From destination to distributors: classifieds will still use their domains and brand to attract traffic but will use those platforms to segment users and send them to the most fitting vertical, rather than trying to service them all within one platform.

As a company which helps classifieds battle all of those issues ahead, we are very excited about 2019! To sum up: Who will win in the battle of Facebook vs classifieds? Will existing players manage to turn their “faces” towards their users fast enough? Can the transactional players grow fast enough to join the battle of giants? Find out on the 2019 episode of “real estate migrates online”.”

Andrzej Olejnik, Founder & CEO at Homsters.com

“The market is changing in 2019 with the European Emission Test changes where it is directly proportional to the Road tax and also Company car tax in the UK. 2019/2020 being the second stepped rise in three consecutive years in cost for both tax elements. This means a change in the profile of new cars being registered with Diesel registrations expected to fall by 8% and petrol and electric expected to continue to strengthen. This is mainly down to people withdrawing from company car provisions and replacing it with a personally ran car and claiming Mileage from their employer or asking for an additional salary increase to compensate.

So the direct result of this for car classified sites will be both an increase in traffic looking for a used car to use replace outgoing company cars, an increase in interest of alternative all-inclusive payment methods for new vehicles such as personal contract hire and increased awareness of CO2 emissions and Bik and a much higher volume of related questioning when looking at potential new company cars. This is where Ripley chat can identify and learn new lines of questions and appropriate answers, engaging customers quickly and accurately retaining them on your classified site and capturing unique leads.”

Gareth Law, Head of Sales at Ripley chat

“The year 2019 will be a turning point for the whole marketplaces industry. A perfect storm of AI-driven technology shift combined with mobile first trends and generation shift with millennials taking over shall force all industry players to adapt quickly or vanish.

Already, several newcomers on the market are disrupting the legacy system, and there is no comfort zone for legacy monopolistic brands anymore. Competition is global and local at the same time, so there is no place to hide.

The only way forward for traditional marketplaces is rapid adoption of AI in the core of their businesses. Potential of this technology is just too huge to neglect. AI is transforming today’s marketplaces in very a profound way by revolutionizing UX for both sellers and buyers, so perfect matchmaking becomes a reality, and overall economy of platforms increases significantly.”

Davor Anicic, Business Developer Styria Data Science

“Buyer-seller conversations on marketplaces, especially in the high-value automotive and real estate, are still likely to start with a call in 2019, but they’re increasingly unlikely to end there. Our data shows conversations that start as a phone call or on-platform chat rapidly move to a preferred communication utility like WhatsApp – where sharing information is easy, instant and media-rich.

Marketplaces will need to keep pace by finding smart ways to better leverage these communication utilities to protect sellers and buyers while allowing them to connect safely.”

Mark Griffioen, Co-founder at Sudonum

“It’s hard to believe another year is behind us, 2018 was a fantastic year and 2019 looks like being the year of the consumer, it’s all about you! 

Here are my top 6 predictions for marketplaces in the coming year: 

Peer to Peer is here! The sharing/gig economy has been growing fast, it’s enabling individuals, manufacturers and small businesses to sell direct, build real relationships and fuel local economies rather than big corporates pockets. Keep an eye on automotive, clothing and homewares moving to new models next year. 

It’s been quite a year for privacy and Identity with fraud and data leak scandals appearing every day. It’s so important that we are all able to validate that you are who you say you are, without having to “do stuff” in the analogue world. We’ll start to see super simple ways to verify your identity, move your ID from site to site and have confidence that others are who they say they are too. 

Nothing will be more important than Trust, it’s the ultimate customer-centric measure. Without it, you can’t have loyalty, and without loyalty, you don’t have customers. Trust will take center stage in 2019. 

AR, VR, and IoT – am I predicting a rise in acronyms? Not quite, but we’ve been playing with Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Voice Commerce and connected devices like watches for a while. In 2019 we’ll start to see a huge uplift in sales, customer service interactions, and beautiful shopping experiences.   

True Omnichannel experiences in retail are the only thing that can save our high street brands.  We’ve been talking about this for a decade but in 2019 multi-channel marketing and multi-channel interactions to sell products will be at the heart of everything. Done properly you can expect 166% higher engagement than single-channel campaigns.  

Finally, we know that Real Time and Controlled Payments are set to go boom and delight consumers in 2019. Everything we are seeing is being driven by demand for real time, instant payments. This means you can pay or get paid in seconds. Couple those instant payments with new ways to protect yourself. At Shieldpay. We hold your money until you’re ready and move it in real-time when you’re happy. Good times. 

2019 to me will be the year where consumers are finally at the centre of everything. You’ll be super confident buying, or selling with anyone, anywhere online – and what’s more, you’ll be able to make that happen by shouting at Alexa from your bed! 

Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year from everyone at Shieldpay!”

Tom Clementson, Director of Consumer & SMB Shieldpay

Is your marketplace ready to compete and grow in 2019?

As the marketplace industry has kept on changing, the role of content moderation has changed too. With moderation previously only seen as a fraud prevention activity, it has now developed into becoming an enabler for marketplaces to achieve high content quality, user safety, and excellent user experience.

It’s vital to have a solid moderation set up in place in today’s landscape, but it may not be what differentiates your site 2019. In many cases, it may make sense to outsource parts of or your entire moderation to a third-party solution provider who’s an expert in the field. This will help you free up valuable resources to develop innovations that will boost your competitive advantage.

If you want to learn more about content moderation and how we can help your marketplace grow, get in touch with a moderation expert.

We wish you a happy new year and a successful 2019!

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