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Australian ecommerce platform Marketplacer announced in December 2021 that it had successfully raised US$38 million to begin its U.S. expansion, product development and partner program.  

The company has already secured US$85 million of funding and has over 100 marketplace clients. It has also partnered with ecommerce giants such as Salesforce (who has invested in them), Adobe, Publicis Sapient, and Fenom Digital.  

To date, Marketplacer’s 100 clients have added more than 13,000 businesses, agencies and enterprises for shopping cart services, payment processing, promotions management, and drop-shipping in one platform.

IBRS interviewed Marketplacer’s executive team about their business and the opportunities that meshed marketplaces have for local merchants and service providers.

What is Marketplacer?

Marketplacer’s SaaS-based platform allows organisations with existing ecommerce platforms or large online communities to quickly integrate third party sellers into their environments. Amazon revolutionised retailing by allowing other retailers to sell on its shopping platform, and gained not only additional revenue streams but also expanded the value of the Amazon site to shoppers. Marketplacer’s platform effectively allows organisations to create a similar business model.

Marketplacer simplifies connecting an enterprise’s current ecommerce system (such as Salesforce Connected Cloud or Magento 2) with affiliated merchants. It allows an organisation with an existing base of customers to rapidly present new products and services to them from affiliates. 

The operator portal provided by Marketplacer covers day-to-day onboarding, marketplace management, product and return maintenance, central database management, process payments and payouts, tax and accounting, orders and logistics, communications and marketing, ratings and reviews, and data and insights. 

The seller portal allows sellers to access their own marke​​tplace and manage orders, refunds, logistics, marketing and promotion, as well as insights and reporting.

Why it’s Important

A new ecommerce segment emerges

Major players in the ecommerce platform industry such as Shopify, WooCommerce, Bigcommerce, and Magento have dominated much of the market. 

However, Marketplacer differentiates itself by allowing sellers to take advantage of pre-built connectors to fully maximise the platform that complements their existing tools and offering to support a wide range of products and services for sale. In addition, its front end is decoupled from back end logic and channel programming language, aside from being framework-agnostic. 

While Marketplacer is not the only platform attempting to define this new ecommerce segment, it has an edge in terms of out of the box integrations and features. The recent capital injection will position the vendor well in the US market, but also strengthens its long term stability in the Australian market.

IBRS predicts that Marketplacer’s biggest competitors will come from large enterprises that have acquired tech startups to expand their services and offer similar capabilities through their SaaS products, such as Oracle’s purchase of NetSuite in 2016, to expand Cloud solutions in more regions and industries. 

Aussie vendors punching above their weight

Many Australian tech and software companies have earned success overseas such as Canva, Atlassian, Afterpay, Xero and NEXTDC, all with market caps above US$5 billion.  

However, most local enterprises - including government - fail to recognise that smaller Australian vendors just starting to do well overseas are worth putting on their shortlists. This is not just a concern regarding national pride. IBRS notes that in many cases, smaller local vendors offer good value and generally have positive project outcomes, due in no small measure to having development resources close to their clients and having a vested interest in keeping such founding clients content.

In addition, local ISV (independent software vendors) often have solutions that are designed specifically to meet domestic compliance requirements and business processes: especially those that support public sector functions.

Another issue worth noting is that there has been a ramp up in the number of acquisitions of Australian tech post-startups in the past years. In 2021, Queensland based Clipchamp was bought by Microsoft, SaaS company CitrusAd was purchased by the Publicis Group, and Quantium was acquired by Woolworths. Channel partners and specialist IT service providers are also being snapped up.

Who’s impacted

  • CIO
  • Development team leads
  • Business analysts

What’s Next?

Australian enterprises should look beyond the traditional mainstream players to emerging vendors and local providers. Pay attention to the benefits of local support channels and the costs associated with gaining experienced, local implementation partners that have expertise in the local market.

Finally, when working with internal teams to determine how new platforms will demand changes to operations and even the business model, look more closely at the implications of selecting such tools or platforms, including security and reputational risks, from local vendors as well as the international brands.

Related IBRS Advisory

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