RBTE 2017: Marketplaces are worth the risk when going global

Retailers are increasingly turning to marketplaces as a way to launch their brand into new markets.

Simon Taylor, head of new business development at N Brown Group, said marketplaces like Amazon and Alibaba are "definitely where the industry is going".

"With many international markets, despite the best will in the world, there are preventative measures to stop you having your own platform – including logistics and legal," he said on a panel at RBTE 2017.

"Marketplaces offer you the best opportunity to sell the majority of your products in those markets."

He said he understood how retailers might be concerned by the loss of control and risk to their brand when using a third party, but he said they must weigh up the risk of brand damage versus building up a brand in a new country.

"In some of those markets you don't have any customers anyway," he said. "So there's not a huge amount of collateral damage to the business."

He added: "But you can test the market – and there might be a business argument that if sales are good you can invest in your own platform."

While there is an argument that retailers lose out on customer and sales data when using marketplaces, Taylor said there is leeway with most vendors. He advises retailers to discuss this and amend terms and conditions before they embark on a relationship with a marketplace provider.

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